Can Google+ save Facebook?

Google+ has been, by nearly all measures, a successful early launch of a still to be fully defined, but promising early product. After the oddly satisfying exercise of ‘whisking’ my contacts with profiles into circles of startup buddies, colleagues, work acquaintances, and ‘posters’ of smart people that generally create or share good content through Facebook or Twitter, I browsed an interesting, but fairy moderate stream, and shared a brief study on the level of consumer engagement generated through crowdsourcing. Then I navigated to one of my other 25 windows, and brought up Facebook, and took out my defriending knife.

Moving from G+, there was Facebook in all it’s non-white space, formatted glory, The Blue Lady herself. I’m not a hater, I think Facebook is great, and I think even her detractors realize its tremendous value, but are irked by something in the delivery. All of my friends are there, great access to companies, causes, and events I care about, and some well built out apps. It’s not that Facebook doesn’t have enough, it’s that it occasionally has too much, or more accurately, that perhaps I’ve tried to put too much into it.

I’m fascinated by the great, passionate people I get to meet in the startup world, and I get to meet a lot of them. More and more though, when I get back from a conference or event, I find myself met with Friend requests from people I’ve known for 15 minutes. I I’m a public guy and probable over-sharer, but Facebook is not generally where I’m going to talk about my views on crowdsourcing or my company’s latest milestone, it’s where I share esoteric references to old friends, off colored jokes, rants about aquariums, and pictures of my 2 year old.

I get why though. Linkedin is where I keep my contacts so that I don’t have to file them, where I try to make useful connections between good people I know, get context on people I meet, and where I can explore the networks of the people I know. It’s not a place to stay in touch, to foster a relationship, to share news, perspective, a bit of personality and serendipity with people that you have some overlap or looser association with. Twitter has been a useful tool, but has never come close to meeting this need for me. This, to me, is Google+, a clean, well lighted place for the people you meet and want to stay in touch with.

I’m interested in seeing how Google+ evolves, but I don’t currently see it as a threat to my Facebook usage. By having Google+, I’m excited to have a better experience with new people I meet, but after “The Great Defriending” I’m looking forward to better interactions with my friends on Facebook. I’m old enough to remember the Pavlovian shiver that “you’ve got mail” wav would release (don’t make fun, in my day AOL was all we had, and we were happy to have it gosh darnit) and how that eventually faded in direct correlation to the amount of messages from friends verse clutter and spam, shades of which I had started to feel creeping in on Facebook. Post my Google+ transition and Facebook cleanup, not only is my Facebook stream less cluttered and more interesting, I feel like I’m around people I know well again, I don’t have to feel as filtered, to worry about making bad second impressions, and I don’t think I’m alone, I feel like I’m hearing the more authentic voices of old friends who have made a similar transition; it’s what originally brought me to Facebook, and I’m happy to have them back. We can swear again on Facebook, and it’s all thanks to Google+.

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New Winner, Share your ideas with Kraft, and New contest

Hey there Appswellians,

It has been a very busy period since our last post. For those that haven’t seen, we’ve been very busy launching http://www.appswell.com/business, as a way for innovative brands to connect with their customers.  As many of you know, as part of that side of the Appswell business, we’ve been working hard on things like powering the mobile platform for GE’s $200 Million Ecomagination Challenge (that’s $200,000,000 if you like counting zeros). We’re also really excited to have just launched the Kraft App Challenge, which you can download here: http://bit.ly/hyejf2 , or search for it on iTunes. If you love the idea of Appswell, and have a really great idea for an App that you think Kraft Foods should build, the Kraft App Challenge is the perfect place to make that a reality.

We’re opening up a quick survey and giving out iTunes giftcards to 5 respondents, plus your feedback is absolutely essential in how we grow Appswell:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZK2QWHT

Also, big news, we’re announcing a brand new winner, Aston Ogle with his online store idea, and kicking off a new contest period. As with every new contest, we’re resetting vote counts so that fresh new ideas get a chance, so now is your perfect opportunity to get the word out and claim the top of the charts. Here’s a link to the Appswell App on iTunes if you feel like sharing, or please take a second to rate us if you could: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/appswell/id330307475?mt=8

Aston’s idea for an online store was one he says born out of a passion he’s had his whole life. Here it is in his own words.

“My whole life I have been trying to launch a clothing line and finally I came across ipod touch and saw the endless apps that are available to billions… this then set off a lightbulb in my head that said why not make an online presence for billions for clothing or an online store…after checking out such sites as etsy and redbubble I then checked into app creators and low and behold came across appswell. I submitted the idea and showed it to family and friends and they also commented and helped me rise to fame.. submitting it endless nights on facebook and twitter and getting tons of likes for months…each month I lost out I tried harder and harder the next, until finally I am now the winner and yes Appswell backs their promisses and soon I hope to see this in the Apple Store in front of millions… Thanks Appswell for great commitment to helping others and helping to make my dream a reality. ”  Aston Ogle Aka Groovensoul – winner of Create an online store app.

Be our friend at http://www.facebook.com/appswell , send us your feedback (and maybe win a giftcard at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ZK2QWHT ) or at feedback@appswell.com, and thanks again for sharing Appswell and your ideas,  no way we could do it without you.

Thanks,

Dan

Founder @Appswell

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New winner, National News, giftcard giveaways and more!

We’ve got a ton of news, including the announcement of a new winner, Wrecking Ball: http://www.appswell.com/site/idea/1972 , and the start of a new contest, that will run through August. In case you’re wondering, vote counts reset as part of this contest, to give every idea a fair shot. Remember, ideas that do well almost always are ideas that people were able to build support for after they posted. Use the integrated share buttons to let your friends know about your app ideas.

Just in time for the heat waves, our free UV detector (Get the app here: http://bit.ly/aOVgNQ ), which let’s you be safer in the sun is hot hot hot, just featured on Appolicious http://appo.me/7cexw this week,and can be seen tomorrow on the Early Show (8 AM hour) CBS across the U.S. Be sure to download, rate, and tell your friends and support ideas from the Appswell community.

For those of you that haven’t noticed, or have been away for a while, we’ve instituted weekly and daily winners, with the top vote getters getting $50 weekly and $10 daily in iTunes giftcards. Daily winners must have 7 or more votes to qualify, weekly winners need 20, and we’ve had some very happy winners, and hope to have some more.

Hey, check us out on Facebook too, at wwing w.facebook.com/appswell . We’re doing some Facebook only iTunes giftcard giveaways in the coming weeks, so be sure to be our friend.

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Gift cards, minimum votes required for daily and weekly winners

Thanks to everyone for their patience as it took us 2-3 days to get the latest batch of giftcards out for daily and weekly winners. Apple was able to help up our monthly purchase limit on giftcards,  and we hope to keep sending them out in response to all the great ideas we’re getting,

We’re seeing some good increases in app downloads, sign-up, and ideas submitted lately. What we’re not always seeing too much of is voting. The ideas that do best are the ones that start to get momentum by the people who submit them. Remember, those share buttons are in the app for a reason, don’t be shy on showing off to your friends how good your ideas are. On that note, now that we’ve been running daily and weekly winners for more than a week now, we’ve got a small tweak. Winners must get above a certain minimum number of votes within the day of the contest (midnight to midnight) to win the giftcard. We made this number very low, and hope to be giving out giftcards every day. Daily winners only need 7 daily votes, weekly winners need 20 weekly votes. We think this is a fair number that should be easily reachable, let us know in the comments below!

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Copyrighted ideas, daily giftcard delay

Hi Appswellians,

A quick update to wind up your week. We’ve deployed the change to separate game ideas, as we had mentioned in our blog post earlier this week.

We’re also going to be weeding out ideas that deal with copyright protected material. We’re looking for ideas submitted that we could legally make, so while we would also love an app that gave us all HBO for free, or the next Star Wars app, unless your Uncle is George Lucas and he’s signing away rights, we just can’t do it, so you’ll see those ideas disappearing from the site.

Gift cards! Congrats to all our daily and weekly winners! We love giving these to you, and you love getting them! Apple, however, apparently doesn’t love anyone buying more than $100 worth of gift cards a month. Thankfully, our account with Apple is many years old and in good standing, and the business team at Apple rocks, so we’re working on getting our monthly limit bumped to accommodate all winners. This shouldn’t take more than a few days, so to the 3-4 people affected, your cards are on their way.

Our UV detector app is also doing really well! Check it out, and if you like it, don’t forget to drop us a review, and please keep spreading the word about Appswell.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/uv-detector/id375347084?mt=8
Thanks,

The Appswell Team

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Change regarding game idea submissions

Hi Appswellers,

We’re writing to give everyone a heads up on a change coming later this week, and to get your feedback and input on how we might implement this change. We’re getting a lot of ideas coming in through Appswell lately, which we love. In particular, it seems as if we’re getting a very heavy volume of ideas for games ideas. We love games as much as the next app user, but games are a very specific niche of apps, and we never really intended Appswell to be a maker of games. We’re really looking for inventive, creative new ways people could use their iPhones, not so much the very creative stories and scenarios of types of videogames we see proposed. Typically, most app makers are either game shops that build game apps, or they are not. Very few companies successfully make both game and non-game apps. Appswell will make non-game apps.

We still encourage everybody to continue to submit game app ideas, though these game ideas will be given their own section. You can still view game ideas, and bring your friends in to vote, but game ideas will be viewable only through the games category of the app, and will not be eligible for any of the contest prizes (daily, weekly, or grand). We will award monthly a $100 prize to the top game idea, and we will consider these winning ideas for development, but we do not guarantee that we will develop the top game idea. We think defining our intentions will allow Appswell to provide a better experience, and build great apps we know we can do a great job on. That being said, we anticipate and understand that a certain portion of our audience that’s very keen on seeing their game apps built will be disappointed.

For fairness sake, for ideas that are currently in strong contention for the grand prize, we will grant an exception. Any idea currently in the top 5 of all vote-getters for the current contest period will be considered eligible for the grand prize. We will not be making a similar exception for any future contests.

So what’s a game app? We believe there are a lot of great non-game apps out there that incorporate a component of gaming or game theory, particular social or networked apps, through leaderboards, status, and a variety of other methods. There are also much more obvious game apps, such as action or arcade style games. 95% of the time, we think it’ll be pretty clear cut if an idea is a game idea or not, and the other 5% of the time, Appswell will use it’s judgment to review questionable apps. We’d very much like to hear your thoughts on how best to determine games verse non-games below.

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Appswell 2.0, daily winners, apps launched, winners announced!

Wow, do we have a lot of cool stuff to share with you. First and foremost, we’ve got a 2.0 version of the app that just went live today, and with it,  Daily and Weekly winners. Get the most votes in a day and win a $10 iTunes Giftcard, top weekly and get a $50 giftcard. We’re also running new grand prize contests monthly too, so we’re picking winners and giving out grand prizes every month. A new contest just started on the first, and we’ve reset all the vote counts, so plenty of time to get your ideas in. Here’s a link to the app in iTunes if you want to share with a friend: http://bit.ly/cTupY9 and our website at www.appswell.com . Remember, Appswell is only as successful as you let us be, so please take the time to share with your friends, download the apps, and review if you like what we’re doing and want to support us.

TWO CONTEST WINNING APPS JUST LAUNCHED
We’ve also just launched two winning apps from past contests, the UV detector, a great looking and incredibly useful app for people to be smart about the sun, and see and share the UV index in their area. Here’s a link to the free app on the store: http://bit.ly/aOVgNQ
And Ivbeen, a fun social travel app that let’s you pin places you’ve been, write notes, and get status to see how you compare and rank against your friends and the community. Also free on the store, you can find it here: http://bit.ly/bOFgKi

NEW WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT
We’re very excited to announce that we have a new winner for the contest period that just ended last week. After authenticating all the votes, the winner is Taxi-Meter! Don’t rely on the cabbie, run your own meter, or use it for fun with friends that always bum rides, and see how much your route might cost http://www.appswell.com/site/idea/1414 Congrats to Randy09 for winning $1000 and the ability to see their app made!

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Twitter From Dummies

D. Sullivan
As the founder of a socially oriented, mobile based startup I get a handful of questions every week about how I feel about Twitter (conflicted), if Appswell is active on twitter (yes, @appswell), and especially, how we’re navigating and are we planning on doing more with it. And yes, before someone beats me to it in the messageboards, I’m aware there’s a definite geek factor at play in my social circles that I have a few opportunities to discuss this every week.

I also read, or am recommended to read articles by apparent brilliant twitteratti on what they’re doing, and 8 tips, or 11 tips, or 5 great secrets, or 6 big no-no’s that are going to define my success on Twitter. These articles are, I’m assured, dumbed down enough for me to grok, in the popular “For Dummies (by smart people)” parleance. I’m certain that a percentage of these people know what they’re doing, and they’re advice should likely be followed. If you are one of those people, prepare to be underwhelmed, and if you’re looking for that sage experience, I’d recommend going elsewhere. I’m not one of those guys.

I’m someone who thinks Twitter might be a useful tool for my business, I don’t have more than an hour or two to spend on it a week, I started out a little blindly, and feel like I’ve gotten a bit better at it over the past six months. I’ve occasionally found that, when starting something, insight from someone who’s taken a few decent steps is more valuable to starting myself than the knowledge of someone who’s gone miles down the path.

I think most of it comes down to brevity and tools.
Brevity. For a medium so devote to brevity, it’s amazing how longwinded some people are, how many tweets there are discussing all possible aspects of tweeting (btw, this may be longwinded, but it’s a blog entry). This carries over to people’s objectives when they first start using twitter; I want to connect to all the right people, I want to grow my userbase, I want to have Oprah retweet me, I want to get 50 new followers a week. As a business, if you just wander in to Twitter, you’re likely to fall into the trap of following vanity milestones rather than business goals, or, be your typical 4 follows, 3 tweets abandoned account.

Figure out three things that would be helpful to your business that you think you might get off twitter, for example, monitoring trends in your brand or industry, keeping up on the competition, or try to identify some possible hires. It is a ‘social’ network, so don’t be a shill, be genuine and engaging, but know what you want to get out of it.

Tools. Twitter is a cluttered place, and it’s easy to lose the forest through a few vocal trees in front of you. You need tools. Probably a few different ones depending on your needs, but don’t go overboard. I struggled at finding the good ones for a few months, but almost all of them are now aggregated at http://www.oneforty.com (the App store for Twitter), and peer reviewed, and ranked by popularity. It’s where I found Tweetdeck, which is my usual window to the twitter world (I will not use the term ‘twitterverse’) Oneforty has a business section too, which is a good place to uncover some new tools, but don’t go overboard, and have a 15 app dashboard every time you want to log-in. Define your objectives, work with the best tools that you think explicitly solves those issues. If you really get to churning along, and feel like your time on Twitter has been valuable from using Twitter, I try asking the smartest people I know if they’re getting any new value from Twitter that they weren’t three months ago, or I check in to see if there are any breakout new apps that are distinctly different in what they provide.

So start small and don’t go overboard, there are a lot of false positives that feel like benefit but are often just ego stroking, know what you want to get out of it, be disciplined on measuring if you are, don’t be a schmuck once you’re on there, and find the right tool for the right job.

Hope someone finds it helpful, and interested if my experience as a relative newbie business user jives with anyone else’s.

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New Contest! AKA, what happened to my votes?

Hi Everyone,

We’ve got a brand new contest that just started at Midnight with the new month. New contest means all the votes reset, and everyone gets a new crack at getting their idea made. Usually ideas that have done well have been strong towards the beginning of a contest, so get out there and get those votes in! Anyone who’s voted for you in the past can come back in and vote for your idea once each contest period. Look for a new update to the app, with daily and weekly winners, getting $10 and $50 iTunes gift cards coming in the next few days as well.

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