Avoiding gaffes in online news… Catering to Gen Y… Bigger than Second Life…

How not to market in online news communities

If you have an opinion, a question, or, increasingly, a product, online news communities such as Netscape, Digg and Reddit are becoming THE places to get the word out.

But, as with conventional social networks, there are protocols that must be observed. The Online Marketing Blog has helpfully provided some tips for those venturing into the online network world.

Don’t send press releases to online networks: The more people who see your press release, the better, right? Wrong. Sending a press release to an online networking site will only bring you scorn. PR is no replacement for authentic opinion and reporting on your business

Pick your online name carefully: Don’t pick a very commercial or blatantly branded moniker if you plan to contribute to an online network. Be interesting, not overly commercial.

Honesty is the best policy: Attracting positive comments and votes is the name of the game when it comes to getting noticed on online news communities. Posting glowing comments to your own post, or getting a friend to do it, just doesn’t work. Commenting honestly on others’ posts, and letting them comment honestly on yours is the only sure way to increasing your profile in an online community.

Going too far?

Yes, employers know they have to bend over backwards to keep young staff. But how far backwards? A survey from recruitment company Talent2 has surveyed 1731 respondents and found that 25% say the stresses of work life are such that they would like a plug-and-play room at work in order to “escape”.

A further 25% would like a meditation office to bring peace back into their life. John Banks from Talent2 suggests installing a video-game console with 40% of Gen Y employees agreeing that this is a great suggestion.

“Many organisations have a TV in their break-room… this is just the logical next step. Introducing a video-game console into the workplace is a way for employees to take a break from their work, while still maintaining a high level of concentration and keeping their brains active and alert in a fun and entertaining way,” he says.

And here’s a suggestion (from our publisher!): A locked cupboard for the employer to go to for five minutes a day and scream in frustration.

Bigger than Second Life

We found Barbie.com, Mattel’s social networking site for little girls’ avatars, a few days ago. After some more investigation we find there are more such sites for kids mimicking Second Life functionality.

Kids’ site clubpenguin.com and teen girl site stardoll.com each attracted about 4.5 million unique visitors in March, while newer sites such as gaiaonline.com and habbohotel.com are rapidly developing large followings.

The attraction, apparently, is the opportunity to create a new digital self, dress up and socialise in the digital environment. Apart from shopping for clothes with online dollars, kids spend their time playing games and chatting.

For businesses looking to build their brand with a younger audience, the opportunities seem huge — if they can just figure out a way to establish an authentic presence in worlds where grown-up outsiders are viewed with suspicion.


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