Making Money Online Forum

Posted by adgag adgadgvadgv on Monday, September 27, 2010

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Mobile payments are the logical extension of online shopping; a way for customers to buy what you have while they’re on the go. But the technology has some added perks that make it a powerful purchasing tool for small businesses.

There are a lot of resources and articles out there telling businesses to pay attention to location-based networking or to maximize their social media presences, but there is a lack of information on the monetary benefits of these investments. Mobile payments, however, are a great way for businesses to make money.

It should be noted, there are two related fields of mobile payment: First, using your phone as a credit card in-store, and second, paying while on the go. We’ll be focusing largely on the latter.

Below is just a selection of reasons that small businesses should care about mobile payments. Add your voice to the comments below: Is this just another fad? Are mobile payments still years away? Why has North America been so slow to adopt?

It’s Going to be Everywhere/>

We already use our phones for everything: Calling, texting, surfing the web, video chats (thank you, Phone), and updating our social networks. class='blippr-nobr'>Societyclass="blippr-nobr">society, by and large, has grown accustomed to using phones for daily activities. Why shouldn’t instant purchasing be added to that list?

Total worldwide mobile payments stood at USD $68.7 billion in 2009, according to a study from Telecoms Market Research. That number is predicted to rise by more than 800% in the next four years. Simple, DIY credit card processing solutions, like the Complete Credit Card Solution and Square, have already hit the iPhone market, and more services are expected in the future for all platforms.

Social Impulse/>

Phones are inherently social, and advanced functions like geo-location are making it easier for users to connect with others in their networks to share consumption habits and recommendations. Location-based services, for example, enable users to recommend their favorite restaurants, shops and others venues. And group buying sites like Groupon have expanded the possibilities for quick, social purchases.

By adding a mobile payment option, small businesses can capitalize on these peer recommendations with a purchase. Rather than direct your customers to an online shop site or have them note it down for later, they can instantly buy your product.

Mobile payments take advantage of impulse purchases; essentially when you buy something based on spur-of-the-moment decision making. class='blippr-nobr'>Impulseclass="blippr-nobr">Impulse buys are usually associated with emotional reactions to a product. They are partly why ringtone sales have been so successful. Like a tone? You can often download it instantly with just a couple clicks, no secondary sites necessary. Make sure your customers are able to buy your product the instant they want it.

Micro-Transactions/>

The real heart of small business mobile payments is the micro-transaction. Paying less is generally better than paying more. People are also more willing to pay frequent small payments rather than throw down a lump sum. Using ringtones as an example, more people would pay $1 for several ringtones than shell out $5 in one go for five ringtones.

Small business can follow this trend by selling less-expensive goods online, as smaller goods could be a real hit for the mobile payment crowd. Customers can more easily rationalize those smaller purchases and drive more sales to your business.

Another perk for biz owners is that mobile transaction fees are usually less than credit card fees. Sales through mobile could save you a small amount on every purchase.

Customer Data/>

Mobile payments enable merchants to collect data in much the same way as your everyday credit card purchases. Adding mobile payments to your business can help keep track of customer phone numbers, buying histories, and any other necessary information. Having this extra source of data about customers and their purchasing habits will enable you to offer more targeted and relevant deals, discounts and products to specific purchasers.

Collecting data can be a bit tricky, since it gets into privacy rights and issues (e.g., Facebook privacy concerns), so make sure your business is aware of how you can and cannot use customer information.

Regardless of your purposes, whether it be data, profit, or social loyalty, mobile payments are definitely an area for small businesses to watch.

More Business Resources from Mashable:

- HOW TO: Choose the Best Workspace for Your Business/> - 5 Winning Social Media Campaigns to Learn From/> - 10 Emerging Social Platforms and How Businesses Can Use Them/> - 10 Free WordPress Themes for Small Businesses/> - 8 Funding Contests to Kick Start Your Big Idea

Image courtesy of iStockphotoclass="blippr-nobr">iStockphoto, photo_smart

For more Business coverage:

    class="f-el">class="cov-twit">Follow Mashable Businessclass="s-el">class="cov-rss">Subscribe to the Business channelclass="f-el">class="cov-fb">Become a Fan on Facebookclass="s-el">class="cov-apple">Download our free apps for iPhone and iPad

Online forums and communities present a largely untapped opportunity for making money — at least according to Dan Gill, cofounder and chief executive of Huddler.


The San Francisco startup is officially launching today. It’s one of those weird launches where the company has actually been working with customers for more than a year, and is only now getting around to telling the media that it exists. Gill said he wanted to make sure the technology was solid before doing too much to publicize it and attract competition.


Community-building software is a broad category, but Huddler approaches the market with a specific audience and mission. It’s looking for popular, product-focused forums that are built on either vBulletin or phpBB technology. Huddler contacts the owner of the site, offering to modernize the forum and bring in more money too.


Gill gave me a long list of benefits that Huddler can offer over older platforms. It gives the sites a makeover, so they look a bit less old-fashioned, not to mention more advertising-friendly. It optimizes the pages for search engines, and also makes them easier to share through Facebook Connect. And all the software is hosted online, rather than installed on someone’s computer, which means there’s less hassle for whoever’s managing the site.


Financially, there’s not much risk to the forum owner, since the software is free. Huddler is only paid by through a percentage of the increased revenue that it brings to a site. That revenue boost comes in a number of ways, Gill said — since the sites are product-focused, Huddler creates a product page with a link where visitors can buy the item in question. It also allows companies selling related products to create their own pages on the forum and engage with the community. And of course the sites can run advertising.


The transition to Huddler can be a challenging one because of the technology issues, as well as the likelihood that change will upset some forum members. Gill didn’t offer any details, but he hinted that he has seen his share of angry comments from users who didn’t like a new forum. But Huddler has become more proficient at both moving content to a new site and preparing users for the change, he said.


There are now 24 sites using Huddler, adding up to a total of 9 million unique monthly visitors. The success stories include EpicSki, which saw a 70 percent increase in natural search traffic after switching to Huddler, and DenimBlog, which doubled pageviews in two months and is now bringing in three times the amount of revenue.


Huddler raised $5.5 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates last year. For now, the company is focusing on existing forums because they’ve already got the audience, but Gill said, “There’s no reason you won’t be able to start your own Huddles in the future.”


[image via Flickr/Daniel Borman]


Next Story: Salesforce: Yes, Chatter really does improve productivity Previous Story: Otoy scores important deals for its server gaming technology




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This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Mobile payments are the logical extension of online shopping; a way for customers to buy what you have while they’re on the go. But the technology has some added perks that make it a powerful purchasing tool for small businesses.

There are a lot of resources and articles out there telling businesses to pay attention to location-based networking or to maximize their social media presences, but there is a lack of information on the monetary benefits of these investments. Mobile payments, however, are a great way for businesses to make money.

It should be noted, there are two related fields of mobile payment: First, using your phone as a credit card in-store, and second, paying while on the go. We’ll be focusing largely on the latter.

Below is just a selection of reasons that small businesses should care about mobile payments. Add your voice to the comments below: Is this just another fad? Are mobile payments still years away? Why has North America been so slow to adopt?

It’s Going to be Everywhere/>

We already use our phones for everything: Calling, texting, surfing the web, video chats (thank you, Phone), and updating our social networks. class='blippr-nobr'>Societyclass="blippr-nobr">society, by and large, has grown accustomed to using phones for daily activities. Why shouldn’t instant purchasing be added to that list?

Total worldwide mobile payments stood at USD $68.7 billion in 2009, according to a study from Telecoms Market Research. That number is predicted to rise by more than 800% in the next four years. Simple, DIY credit card processing solutions, like the Complete Credit Card Solution and Square, have already hit the iPhone market, and more services are expected in the future for all platforms.

Social Impulse/>

Phones are inherently social, and advanced functions like geo-location are making it easier for users to connect with others in their networks to share consumption habits and recommendations. Location-based services, for example, enable users to recommend their favorite restaurants, shops and others venues. And group buying sites like Groupon have expanded the possibilities for quick, social purchases.

By adding a mobile payment option, small businesses can capitalize on these peer recommendations with a purchase. Rather than direct your customers to an online shop site or have them note it down for later, they can instantly buy your product.

Mobile payments take advantage of impulse purchases; essentially when you buy something based on spur-of-the-moment decision making. class='blippr-nobr'>Impulseclass="blippr-nobr">Impulse buys are usually associated with emotional reactions to a product. They are partly why ringtone sales have been so successful. Like a tone? You can often download it instantly with just a couple clicks, no secondary sites necessary. Make sure your customers are able to buy your product the instant they want it.

Micro-Transactions/>

The real heart of small business mobile payments is the micro-transaction. Paying less is generally better than paying more. People are also more willing to pay frequent small payments rather than throw down a lump sum. Using ringtones as an example, more people would pay $1 for several ringtones than shell out $5 in one go for five ringtones.

Small business can follow this trend by selling less-expensive goods online, as smaller goods could be a real hit for the mobile payment crowd. Customers can more easily rationalize those smaller purchases and drive more sales to your business.

Another perk for biz owners is that mobile transaction fees are usually less than credit card fees. Sales through mobile could save you a small amount on every purchase.

Customer Data/>

Mobile payments enable merchants to collect data in much the same way as your everyday credit card purchases. Adding mobile payments to your business can help keep track of customer phone numbers, buying histories, and any other necessary information. Having this extra source of data about customers and their purchasing habits will enable you to offer more targeted and relevant deals, discounts and products to specific purchasers.

Collecting data can be a bit tricky, since it gets into privacy rights and issues (e.g., Facebook privacy concerns), so make sure your business is aware of how you can and cannot use customer information.

Regardless of your purposes, whether it be data, profit, or social loyalty, mobile payments are definitely an area for small businesses to watch.

More Business Resources from Mashable:

- HOW TO: Choose the Best Workspace for Your Business/> - 5 Winning Social Media Campaigns to Learn From/> - 10 Emerging Social Platforms and How Businesses Can Use Them/> - 10 Free WordPress Themes for Small Businesses/> - 8 Funding Contests to Kick Start Your Big Idea

Image courtesy of iStockphotoclass="blippr-nobr">iStockphoto, photo_smart

For more Business coverage:

    class="f-el">class="cov-twit">Follow Mashable Businessclass="s-el">class="cov-rss">Subscribe to the Business channelclass="f-el">class="cov-fb">Become a Fan on Facebookclass="s-el">class="cov-apple">Download our free apps for iPhone and iPad

Online forums and communities present a largely untapped opportunity for making money — at least according to Dan Gill, cofounder and chief executive of Huddler.


The San Francisco startup is officially launching today. It’s one of those weird launches where the company has actually been working with customers for more than a year, and is only now getting around to telling the media that it exists. Gill said he wanted to make sure the technology was solid before doing too much to publicize it and attract competition.


Community-building software is a broad category, but Huddler approaches the market with a specific audience and mission. It’s looking for popular, product-focused forums that are built on either vBulletin or phpBB technology. Huddler contacts the owner of the site, offering to modernize the forum and bring in more money too.


Gill gave me a long list of benefits that Huddler can offer over older platforms. It gives the sites a makeover, so they look a bit less old-fashioned, not to mention more advertising-friendly. It optimizes the pages for search engines, and also makes them easier to share through Facebook Connect. And all the software is hosted online, rather than installed on someone’s computer, which means there’s less hassle for whoever’s managing the site.


Financially, there’s not much risk to the forum owner, since the software is free. Huddler is only paid by through a percentage of the increased revenue that it brings to a site. That revenue boost comes in a number of ways, Gill said — since the sites are product-focused, Huddler creates a product page with a link where visitors can buy the item in question. It also allows companies selling related products to create their own pages on the forum and engage with the community. And of course the sites can run advertising.


The transition to Huddler can be a challenging one because of the technology issues, as well as the likelihood that change will upset some forum members. Gill didn’t offer any details, but he hinted that he has seen his share of angry comments from users who didn’t like a new forum. But Huddler has become more proficient at both moving content to a new site and preparing users for the change, he said.


There are now 24 sites using Huddler, adding up to a total of 9 million unique monthly visitors. The success stories include EpicSki, which saw a 70 percent increase in natural search traffic after switching to Huddler, and DenimBlog, which doubled pageviews in two months and is now bringing in three times the amount of revenue.


Huddler raised $5.5 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates last year. For now, the company is focusing on existing forums because they’ve already got the audience, but Gill said, “There’s no reason you won’t be able to start your own Huddles in the future.”


[image via Flickr/Daniel Borman]


Next Story: Salesforce: Yes, Chatter really does improve productivity Previous Story: Otoy scores important deals for its server gaming technology





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Posted by Brian Krassenstein on Sep 27th, 2010 and filed under Featured News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry. Portage Wisconsin. Flooding in Portage WI ...

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Study Finds That Apple Dominates Tech <b>News</b> - NYTimes.com

The company effectively seizes journalists' attention and makes events out of its product introductions.

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Posted by Brian Krassenstein on Sep 27th, 2010 and filed under Featured News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry. Portage Wisconsin. Flooding in Portage WI ...

Fox <b>News</b> Will Take Sarah Palin Off The Payroll If She Declares A <b>...</b>

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