How to Design Web 2.0 Logos

web2-logos.JPGWeb 2.0 logos are clearly distinguishable from their look and feel. But how do you put a finger to it in terms of design style? Check out this blog for an overview of the most popular logos we see.. The font of some logos are also identified, which really helps since its a bitch for graphic designers in trying to find them… (or at least for amateurs like me)

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Get your web marketing education, you Old Media guy..

Jeremiah Owyang, from Podtech, has this beautiful summary of the various web marketing forms and tactics. I think of this post as the beginnings of the definitive guide that will enter all major marketing textbooks over the next couple of years. Get a headstart on everyone else NOW. If your company’s marketing director is pondering whether web marketing is restricted to mailing lists, newsletters or think that buying banner ads is really advanced, get ready for a re-education.

My favourite part is Section 5 “Community and Social Media Marketing”. I believe widgets will rule this year and get really mainstream, after Vista launches.

Unlearn English with Zlango

Zlango has received $12M funding from Accel Partners (fyi, the facebook investors) and Benchmark Capital. The service they provide is a text-to-icon translation service. I see it having immense impact among the IM users of ages 10-16 , also regarded as the next generation of kids who already are struggling with their English writing. Zlango, if successful, will eradicate the use of english over the web. We will enter the Web Version of the Caveman Era.

Here’s a horrible peek into the future, with the Adam and Eve story from the Zlango site.

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I think its a ridiculous idea. I already dislike people who use too much icons to talk in IM, why the hell do I want more? Did I tell you this site was created by the Israelis? Man, I should emigrate there, my fart could probably be the next bio-fuel to solve the world’s problems. 😉

The Commoditizing of Social Networking Sites

GigaOm makes his point on something I fully agree – social networking will become a feature.

Why? Because social networking as an independent subject matter by itself gets boring after a while. Scale has already been achieved by those that focuses on social networking as the end goal – MySpace and Facebook. You have to provide a greater utility beyond just “linking to your friends online”. Nor will explicit dating as the end-goal be a compelling reason for people to join a social network. I rest my case for networks like Xuqa that plastered hot chicks on their homepage a while back in order to lure desperados.

But I do not think the social networking war has ended. The definition of social networking is pretty wide to encompass just about any site that allows you to browse other people’s pofiles and connect with them as “friends”. Friendster used to dominate a few years ago, and then usurped by a new generation of teeny-boppers who never heard of Friendster but used MySpace instead. Similarly, MySpace will also be susceptible to an upstart social network – one that began by being highly customized for a local niche group, like the high school students 5 years from now who think MySpace is lame and want something their own generation created. There is, after all, a limit to the number of friends you can maintain online, hence network size, which MySpace has now, might not ensure its longevity. Secondly, a premium-content-based approach taken by Fox to make MySpace an entertainment portal is still an experiment by Old Media to see if they can transplant their ways successfully to a new medium. First movers never always win.

What do you think? Want to make your own social network today? See a list of turnkey solutions here.

Moving On: Web 2.0 Australia

The Readwriteweb has a good review of the scene Down Under. I found this remotely similar to Singapore.

Other than a few exceptions (such as TVP and NEO) Australian VCs are too conservative and have little knowledge of Web 2.0 and Internet business models. For this reason a number of Australian startups – like Omnidrive, Touchstone, PodCast Network and others – are actively looking for VC funds in the US.

The Aussie scene is notable for two Techcrunch-profiled startups I read about- OmniDrive and FwdItOn. I also found this new Aussie real estate search engine, Suburbview, particularly appealing for prospective Singaporean retirees once it has developed more features like integration with existing classified listings, land valuation data, amenities listing, close-up pics or relevant legislation guidelines. A model to follow will be Zillow or Trulia. A Singaporean equivalent will be tough, even Google Earth dun quite capture the 3D effect of our residential landsape. I wonder what other vertical cities like Tokyo has in terms of Web2.0 real estate search engines.. hmm..

Regulation of social media?

UK seeks to ban and criminalize companies that engage in creation of fake marketing materials like flogs, splogs or other websites and claiming them to be users/ customers’ creations. Under charges of misrepresentation, social reviews will now be regulated to ensure higher authenticity. From TimesOnline:

Online consumer reviews are playing an ever greater role in shaping shopping habits, with websites such as TripAdvisor for the travel industry being seen as increasingly influential.

However, a string of businessman in the UK and the US have been caught posing as supposedly independent customers in an attempt to boost sales.

A recent investigation found that poorly rated travel establishments could lift their reputations from one to four stars in hours by posting fictional positive reviews.

Could this be the kneejerk response following Edelman PR agency’s unsuccessful forays into blogging for their clients, particularly “WalmartGate”? And more recently Pay Per Post’s brush with the FTC guys as covered here, here and here?

What next? Is this the beginning of an avalanche of legislation by govts around the world? Will Big Brother be stepping more to regulate the blogosphere?

Going Gaga over Citizen Advertising

Church of the Customer blog has the lowdown on user-generated advertisements making it to the Super Bowl this year. But first, see this CBS News article for a view from mainstream media.

This is not good news. The shift from professionally produced to user-generated advertising makes us poorer in both economic and cultural terms. The arrival of user-created commercials at Super Bowl XLI represents the American Idolization of traditional entertainment — the degeneration of professional content into a “talent show” for amateurs.

In complement, CBS was really mournful in the rest of the reporting, with phrases like “the professional creator is being “disintermediated.”, the “tsumani” of downward pressure on wages created by new technology” because amateur productions cost a minscule fraction of professional ones.

Amid all the hoopla of traditional advertising agencies dying or making a renaissance with this new channel of ad-making, I found this excerpt from Church of the Customer insightful:

Madison Avenue is not in the business of creating fans — it’s in the business of widespread message distribution. But Mad Ave’s influence and energy are fading not just because technology-assisted creativity is commoditizing their business, but because citizen-created content doesn’t care about New York’s infatuation with status and positioning debates. The power centers of influence are shifting to Google’s server farms and thousands of online communities. The fans have co-opted Madison Avenue’s work. Super Bowl ads are a circus freak show, and that’s how about much influence they carry because the minutiae of product, brand and company discussions are being shaped in online forums, which Google follows like a studious court reporter. The points made in those forums are often carried forward to offline discussions, where they’re added to the mixing bowl discussions of personal experiences of people and ultimately, their purchase decisions. There’s your advertising.

Change is good if its for the better. The dynamic range of quality for amateur productions is undoubtedly way higher than professional counterparts. But feeling apologetic for slow-moving dinosaurs in the advertising world who do not understand the new realities of social media today is wrong.

Who feels sorry for retailers with great products who cannot afford the huge fees of ad agencies? Who feels sorry for the customers who pay inflated prices? Why feel sorry for traditional advertising when you can use web forums, blogs, podcasts to reach out and interact with your consumers directly and more personally?

An example of a user-gen ad here