Online Community Lessons from Photojojo

If you received a dollar for every online community idea that has been tried on the Internet for the last decade, you’d probably be a very rich person by now.

Launching an online community it’s quite easy.

The options to launch an online community are endless: you can create a Ning community, launch a Facebook Page or Group, use a simple online forum, create a Myspace page, etc.

However, the hard part comes when it’s time to keep your community members engaged and interested enough to let others know about how cool your community is.

On this post you’ll learn from the experiences in running an online community by Photojojo’s Founder, Amit Gupta.

Continue reading “Online Community Lessons from Photojojo”

What drives you to choose a service to share photos online?




These are just some of the many options available these days for sharing photos online. I’ve always wondered what are the true drivers for one person to choose one option over the other, so that is why I started this online poll at LinkedIn.

What drives you to choose a service to share photos online?

Continue reading “What drives you to choose a service to share photos online?”

Photo Sharing Websites

The top question that people ask me when people find out about my online marketing and web analytics blog, is how I came up with the name idaconcpts.  I really like words that are similarly written and understood in several languages, and ideas and concepts are two of them.  I played around with different variations of these words, until I realized that what my blog was truly about was putting ideas and concepts into e-commerce.  Therefore, putting these ideas and concepts would be put to work into commerce, or would put the “e” in e-commerce.  Hence, idaconcpts.

Yahoo! Flickr - 468x60

One of the best things of writing at is that I have a passion for analyzing photo sharing websites and my readers seem to share that passion with me.

idaconcpts stats 05_28_2009

Over 34% of the readership at idaconcpts follows the posts about the BIG 5 of photo sharing: Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Slide.  Please note that I am limiting myself to websites (as opposed to desktop apps such as Picasa).  At the same time there will be debate about:

  1. why I am not including Myspace and Facebook (which obviously have major photo sharing activity),
  2. if I include photo printing services such as Shutterfly, why I don’t include major online photo printing services like Walmart and Costco, and
  3. if I am not including Picasa Web Albums, why am I selecting Slide, which obviously is not a photo sharing website, but rather a widget generator like Sprout Builder.

And my answer is that they are all great questions that I will tackle on future posts to come!

In the meantime, let’s continue the analysis of the BIG 5, which started back in November 2008 with the post Flickr versus Snapish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly and continued with the follow-up post Revisiting Flickr versus Snapish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly. In this posts we analyzed the traffic to these photo sharing websites through Google Ad Planner and Google Trends.  Today we will take a look through another great web analytics called Compete.

Compete is an awesome cloud computing web analytics tool that allows you access website activity info from any website.  The first killer feature of Compete is that it allows you to compare 5 websites side by side.  Even though Google Trends and Google Ad Planner do offer this service, Google Trends‘ information is quite limited, and Google Ad Planner’s information is limited to a handful of websites.

Here a couple snapshots of Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Slide using Compete:

Site Comparison of (rank #32), (#587), (#668), (#34), (#172) | Compete-1

Site Comparison of (rank #32), (#587), (#668), (#34), (#172) | Compete

The second killer feature of Compete is that it allows you to take a look into the subdomains (finally!) of entered websites.  Google Trends does not (as of 05/29/2009) allow that feature, it only allows you to take a look at the web analytics of the home page.

Remember point 2 above? With this tool I can finally tap into finding out how much traffic from goes into

Subdomains for | Compete

Finally, Compete allows me to post these simple little graphs, which previously I had to take a snapshot using Skitch and upload to my blog.  I still love Skitch, but this saves time!

What about an updated analysis of Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Slide using Compete?

Dear reader, you already have a start with the post Flickr versus Snapish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly and its follow-up post Revisiting Flickr versus Snapish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly. Now with Compete, you can slice and dice the data in no time!

Best of luck in your research!

Viral marketing

Take a look at the AARRR model from Dave McClure and tell me what you think is the hardest step?

The AARRR Model from Dave McClure (Master of 500 Hats)
The AARRR Model from Dave McClure (Master of 500 Hats)

I asked this same question to a class of MBA students here at the Shidler College of Business and the answer of choice was the last step:  Revenue.

Yes, conversion is very, very hard to do.  However, I think that what my MBA colleagues missed is that you cannot get to the Revenue step without Retention and Referral.  Even though viral marketing only appears under the Referral step, I have found from my personal experience that viral marketing involves both Referral and Retention.

The current state-of-the-art of Acquisition is so advanced that acquiring users (more than 30 seconds on your site and at leat 2-3 pageviews) is relatively easy.


There are plenty of techniques (refer to the orange square above) that are pretty effective of practicing interruption marketing (as Seth Godin calls it and he provides quite a sad example of it).  A highly effective of acquiring customers is through Facebook Advertising, if you want to find out more about it read this post on how to target your audience using Facebook Advertising.

Currently web marketers are masters of the Acquisition step and MBA students (future web marketers) are focusing on finding out how to excel at the Revenue step.  The best example of this sad business model is the thought that Twitter is a Cash Cow in the Making (derive a funny @name, horde tons of followers, and reap the CPC rewards).  In a nutshell, the thought is that Retention and Referral are going to happen automatically somehow in any startup model.  During the dot-com era, and some still today, Internet startups fail to understand that the most common source of failure for startups is a lack of customers and not a lack of product development.  Often startups are good at managing its product development, but terrible at managing its customer development.

The gold (a.k.a traction or conversion) is to develop effective, scalable, contagious, ADDICTIVE Retention and Referral steps.

Viral marketing is essential for the success of any business enterprise.  Word-of-mouth beats any marketing concoction any given day.

Really good examples of viral marketing are:

1. Photojojo’s Scavenger Hunt: This little forum post has created 504 responses from Photojojo’s readers.  It is a very, very simple idea, yet very, very, very A-D-D-I-C-T-I-V-E.


2. Sprout widgets: I am big fan of Sprout because it allows you to tell a story and then that story can be shared with others.  Here is my stab at creating a Sprout widget for iLovePhotos.  This little widget can be found in various places of Facebook and I have found that people see it as a little pin of support for a little startup from Hawaii.  You can found our widget at Bacon Lettuce Photo – The iLovePhotos Blog.

3. Blogs that instead of being e-mail are ME-mail: the perfect example is Flickr.  This should not be a surprise but it is still a very hard idea to push.  Instead of telling people how great your company and product are, you should be telling your users how awesome they are.  Build a tribe (another Seth Godin term) that is about making feel your users good.


Retention and Referral are hard to achieve and there is no magical sure-shot way to do it.  I hope that this post gets you thinking about their importance.

Exploring Flickr Communities

For the last week, I have been quite busy exploring Flickr communities, in order to develop a better understanding of what drives people to organize and share their digital photos online.

Here’s my Flickr photostream:

Through the search of full text (and tags) such as face detection (face detection), face recognition (face recognition), and photo lover (photo lover); I am finding the most interesting people you can imagine.

Why face detection and face recognition? Because I believe that we can use face detection and face recognition to make organizing, sharing, and enjoying your photos better!

Why photo lover? Because that’s the term we use to describe the users of iLovePhotos.

I will keep on exploring Flickr communities the rest of this week and will write about my experiences later on next week.

Fun times at
Fun times at

Revisiting Flickr versus Snapfish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly

Yahoo! Flickr - 468x60

The response to the post:

Flickr versus Snapfish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly

has been great! Thank you very much for reading it. Here is a breakdown of the number of daily readers provided by WordPress BlogStats


I am really happy that my Spanish colleague, Gemma (who writes a great web analytics blog in Spanish called ¿Dónde está Avinash cuando se le necesita?, a great tribute to Avinash Kaushik) found some inspiration to use Google Trends (one of my personal favorite tools!).

Another great tool for broad research is Google Ad Planner (currently in Beta, so you need an invitation, mine took about a week to arrive).

Let’s take a look at the BIG 5 (Flickr, Photobucket, Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Slide) of online digital photo sharing using this tool:

using Google Ad Planner
Flickr versus Snapfish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly: using Google Ad Planner

Google Ad Planner provides much more in-depth information on a monthly basis (the figures for unique visitors and pageviews are on a 30-day basis).  The reach is for the United States.  As discussed on the previous post, Photobucket appears to continue to have the upper-hand over Flickr.

What I found really interesting is that if I was to theoretically put ads on these 5 sites trying to reach everybody in the United States, I would reach 31 million or have a country reach of 13% or have 660 million pageviews.

Do you think that is a lot? Wrong! Take a look what would happen if I just select Facebook and Myspace:


That’s 90 million unique visitors or a country reach of 39% or 20 billion pageviews!

Does that mean that advertising on Facebook and Myspace is better than advertising on the top 5 of online digital photo sharing?

If your objective is to monetize on printing services, I would dare to say no.


Take a look at the age and income distribution of the audience at Myspace using Google Ad Planner:


Compare it with the demographics of the audience at Shutterfly:


Obviously Shutterfly has a more mature audience with more spendable income, so they would be more prone to spend on printing services than a younger audience with a tigther budget.

Of course, you could argue against this hypothesis.

Yahoo! Flickr - 300x250

Let me hear your thoughts.

Flickr versus Snapfish versus Photobucket versus Slide versus Shutterfly

An important part of my job is to understand the trends in the online photo sharing industry and I wanted to provide a couple of insights to my readers using Google Trends.

Daily Unique Visitors of 5 key players in the online photo sharing industry.
Daily Unique Visitors of 5 key players in the online photo sharing industry.

For the period May 2007 – September 2008, Flickr and Photobucket compete for the highest number of daily unique visitors worldwide out of the five selected online photo sharing:  Flickr, Snapfish, Shutterfly, Photobucket and Slide.

Take a look at the latest performance of Photobucket and Flickr:

What caused that there were more daily unique visitors at Photobucket than at Flickr?

Yahoo! Flickr - 300x250

Photobucket is capturing more daily unique visitors than Flickr in the top photo sharing market: U.S.

However, Photobucket should not rest in its laurels, because Flickr is ahead in the second most important photo sharing market: India.

What about Slide?  Slide enjoyed an important spike in the last quarter of 2007, but its number of daily unique visitors is coming back to previous levels.   What caused this?

2 reasons: hi5 and England.

Worlwide, people who search for the the term “slide”, also search for:

As you can see, hi5 appears several times and it different languages!

This is relevant because hi5‘s daily unique visitors worldwide dwarfs that of the top 5 players in the photo sharing business (note: I drop Snapfish, because Google Trends only accepts 5 websites at a time).

Plus, Slide did pretty good during that period in England!

Finally, what about Snapfish and Shutterfly?

They depend on each other because:

People who search for “snapfish” also search for “shutterfly”.

And people who search for “shutterfly also search for “snapfish”.

In conclusion:

  1. Markets outside of the United States DO matter!  Increased demand in important markets (e.g. Slide in England, Flickr in India) can generate a lot of views, which potentially means increased ad revenue.  Just ask Dave McClure, web analytics guru and blogger at Master of 500 Hats.
  2. Despite all the hype about international markets, the leader must keep its focus on the top market, the U.S.
  3. Keep a close eye on the SEO tactics of your rivals and copy what seems to work (Shutterfly and Snapfish).

Yahoo! Flickr - 468x60

What do you think?

Web analytics of using Google Trends – Part 2

Yahoo! Flickr - 468x60

The response to the original post Web analytics of using Google Trends has been great!

Not only is the most popular post at, a whooping 67.90% of total post views to date, but also got the attention of web analytics guru and Google Evangelist, Avinash Kaushik!

Therefore, I would like to follow up on what has happened since the original post on 08/09/08.

First, there has been a movement on the sites that are also visited by visitors of

The 09/19/08 updated list is:

  1. (tools/widgets/applications to use in Flickr)
  2. (blog dedicated to complement your daily coffee ritual, nice!)
  3. (a blog to kill time, plenty of funny pics and captions)
  4. (delivers useful/innovative information for designers and web-developers)
  5. (RPG game in Chinese, what’s the connection here?)
  6. (offers a new media alternative to blogs)
  7. (everything for photographers: photos, equipment, articles, etc.)
  8. (tumblelogs are a new way to express yourself, see #6)
  9. (independent consumer report site, still unsure about connection)
  10. (according to Wikipedia – social news website on which users can post links to content)

Important movements from the previous list are:

Please note that I have done the top 10 list as opposed to the previous top 8 list, because previously the top 3 websites were just name variations of (e.g.

Some observations:

  • Flickr continous to be searched mainly in the USA.  Second to the USA, India is still ahead of all other countries in looking/visiting Flickr.
  • Inside of USA, California is by far the most active subregion with Flickr.
  • Previously, according to Google Trends, and are the top other sites visited by Flickr visitors.  #3 is  Now, is #1, is #2 and remains #3.

This time I used “flickr” on Google Trends to find its search volume index.


Search Volume Index of term, flickr, using Google Trends
Search Volume Index of term, flickr, using Google Trends


  • The letters above indicate important news related to that point in time that the term “flickr” was searched.  Previously I concluded that “photo sharing is only exciting if it is better” and this conclusion appears to be true because of the following headlines:
  • Yahoo buys Flicrk – ZDNet UK – Mar 21, 2005
  • Flickr goes international with seven new languages – Zee News – May 4, 2007
  • Photo Editing is now a Picnik for Flickr Members Worldwide – – Dec 12, 2007
  • Flickr Lets Users Upload Video – – Apr 9 , 2008
  • Flickr turns to Getty to sell amateur photos – WJLA – Jul 9, 2008
  • Furthermore, is, at this point of time, the top site also visited by visitors.


New conclusions!

  1. Photo sharing is only exciting if it is better…, can incorporate other forms of media, and can be embedded in blogs (or new forms of blogs!) with a fresh, new approach!
  2. People that spend time looking at pictures also spend time looking at content-blogs for entertainment.
  3. Still unsure about connection about and, also unsure about connection between and

Yahoo! Flickr - 468x60


What do you think? : )

More on Google Ad(key)Words

This post will be short and sweet because I need to take a drive road test today because I am buying a brand new car!

Yesterday on my way home, I was reviewing a SEO whitepaper by Brian Clifton and Nikki Rae from Omega Digital Media tittled “How Search Engine Optimisation Works”.  This 20-page document explains how search engines work and how search engine optimisation (SEO) can help you achieve high search engine visibility.

According to Clifton and Rae, web sites appearance on search engine results depends on 5 key factors (p. 8):

  1. Which Keywords the user entered
  2. Your web page Keyword Density for these keywords
  3. Your web page Keyword Prominence (page location) for these keywords
  4. Your Link Popularity – the number of other sites that link to you
  5. Your link and keyword Relevancy
These 5 factors are essential for SEO and I promise that the next 5 posts are going to be on these topics. In the meantime, let’s take a look at idaconcpts WordPress Blog Stats regarding keywords that that returned matches with


As it becomes obvious the term that returned the most matches to idaconcpts is google analytics flickr.  This makes sense because as of right now, 08/21/2008, my post that has an analysis of Flickr using Google Analytics is the most viewed page of this blog (30 views).  The term flickr was included in 7 out of 20 of the search engine queries that matched idaconcpts.  The term google had the same outcome.

Therefore, the terms google and flickr are golden ones to consider for my personal Google AdWords campaign.  However, the important part is to be able to combine with appropriate terms (remember quality over quantity! I want my readers to remain in the blog, not leave right after they click on it!).  Possible keywords are google analytics and the different mispellings of analytics (e.g. analytic, analystics, analytis)!  Believe or not, including this misspelled words, inflates my search engine keyword result matching.  Cheating?  Clifton and Rae don’t believe so!

(p. 9) Don’t forgit misspelled keywhords!  (p. 10) The Google Trends tool is an excellent free resource for checking mispellings, relative keyword popularities (e.g. product X versus product Y) and regional variation (e.g. cell phones versus mobile phone).

What do you think?

Apple vs Mac using Microsoft adCenter Labs

Today I began reading Avinash Kaushik’s Web Analytics: An Hour a Day.  Supposedly I was going to read it for an hour (as the title clearly states!) but I found myself immersed in it for about 2 hours.  The book is packed with useful terms, acronyms, companies, examples, best practices.  All of this in just the first 49 pages.  Just to name a few:  customer driven innovation (CDI), Coremetrics, Omniture, WebTrends, WebSideStory, Clicktracks, comScore, packet sniffers, etc.  A lot of food for thought for future posts here at

Originally I wanted to discuss about Kaushik’s trinity, whose objective is actionable insights and metrics, but I got caught with Microsoft adCenter Labs.

I had no idea about the existence of this lab, so it is quite sensible to explain what it is all about (in their own words):

Microsoft adCenter Labs is an applied research group dedicated to researching and incubating new digital advertising technologies. Formed in 2006, Microsoft adCenter Labs combines the talents of more than 120 top researchers and engineers, all dedicated to developing cutting-edge ways for consumers and advertisers to connect. Our researchers work across a broad range of technology areas, including keyword and content technologies, audience intelligence, ad selection and relevance, social networking, and video and interactive media. The algorithms developed by our team operate in the engines of Microsoft adCenter products such as Paid Search, Content Ads, and Behavioral Targeting. We are also committed to investing in developing online advertising products that will shape the future of advertising through more relevant and meaningful ads across online video, television and mobile devices.

Here you can find plenty of free little tools that (if correct) would provide great insight into the field of web analytics.  Just as Kaushik recommends, this website is “perfectly suited for 1) learning lots and lots and lots about search engine keyword behavior and long-term trends 2) understanding the demographic profiles for your (or your competitor’s) website visitors.”

Learning lots indeed!  Today I had to continue to network to learn more about the needs of organizing large collections of photographs.  I cannot go into much details but I can tell you that gender distribution is a major factor in my analysis. One particular question that I have is what are the differences between male and female Mac (or Apple!) users, and how does their experience relate to their use of Flickr.   Let’s use the Keyword Forecast tool from Microsoft adCenter Labs to find some insights into this question.

According to Microsoft, “This tool forecasts the impression count and predicts demographic distributions of keywords. Enter keywords separated by semi-colons and click the submit button.”

So, I used the terms:  Apple: Flickr; Mac.  Originally I was going to just use Apple or Mac but after finding the results I found that there important differences about the keywords Apple and Mac.

Keyword Search using Apple, Mac and Flickr
Keyword Search using Apple, Mac and Flickr

From the graph above, it becomes clear that before March 2007, the keyword Apple had a much higher trend than the keyword Mac, something happened in March 2007 that turned the tables around for the relationship between these two keywords.  I would have to look into that and a useful tool for that would be Google Trends.

But let’s continue to use this tool for now.

Gender Distribution of Mac, Apple and Flickr

Wow! According to this graph, it appears that for the period 04/2006 – 06/2007, the keyword Apple is associated mostly with females and the keyword Mac is associated mostly with males.  This is a key finding for marketers trying to reach a particular gender of Mac (or Apple!) users.  It appears that talking about Mac to a female audience of Powerbook users is not such a good idea!  Earlier we discussed that is very related to, so this would be an important to consider if Flickr is trying to reach female Apple users at the latter website.  The keyword Flickr has almost neutral association with either women or men so the tipping point would be the use of Apple or Mac.

Lastly, the Keyword Search tool offers an age distribution bar graph.

Keyword Age Distribution for Apple, Mac, and Flickr
Keyword Age Distribution for Apple, Mac, and Flickr

From the graph above, my main observations would be that 50+ old keyword users prefer the keyword Apple over Mac, and that 25-34 old keyword user prefer Mac over Apple.  All other age distributions seem quite normal.

Conclusion:  vive le diference! Gender is highly important for SEO for Mac related web analytics projects!

What do you think?