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Too Many Group Buying Sites Not Enough Online Shopping Stores

We have well over 40 if not 50 group buying websites in the Philippines. I think that’s crazy. I may have only tried this 3 times (2 from then Beeconomic, 1 from DealGrocer which I haven’t even used) but I’ve often wondered: with all these group-buying sites sprouting like them milk tea shops, is that super convenient online shopping experience almost here?

I know we’ve had Multiply (even before it officially focused on its Marketplace) for a while now, Shopinas most recently and ebay.ph to name the popular ones, but none of them made me really want to buy anything online. And although I really appreciate the fact that they’re out there helping the e-commerce industry, it’s just that I find their categories disorganized, they lack inventory or I feel a bit iffy buying from another person instead of an actual company. So I’d rather go to the mall. 

It would be nice to have something like Amazon or Zappos in the Philippines. Where the product pictures aren’t taken in the seller’s living room, you can zoom in to see fabric or item details and the image thumbnails are big enough to see even from the main page.

If we get more merchants selling online and the buying process streamlined, who knows, maybe it could lessen the people in malls and even reduce traffic every payday!

In Japan and Korea, 92% of them prefer online shopping than visiting malls and this was in 2010. 

I thought about it some more and realized how the biggest roadblock to this is that Filipinos are still skeptical of buying anything online. We don’t trust technology that much yet. How many of us Filipinos really use online banking to pay for our water, phone and electricity bills? I don’t know a lot of people (outside of the tech-inclined) who do this yet but maybe you do.

The popularity of group-buying sites here is supposed to help pave the way for better e-commerce in the Philippines. But with scams and bad experiences happening with these online purchases, it really doesn’t help make that dream happen any sooner.

For those interested, here’s a good interview article on why India’s e-commerce growth was slow back in 2008. This one I feel applies to us:

"Whether it was the iPod when it was first launched or satellite TV when it was first unveiled in India or the recent shift towards grocery shopping in organized retail chains – all of them have these two things in common – a clear value to consumers and a strong promise around quality execution. Without these two things, it is very difficult to change customer’s behavior, especially when the customers already have a fairly decent alternative. eCommerce adoption is no different, and it has not yet hit the tipping point because of these very factors."

It’s been 3 years and here’s a good read on how they’re doing now: E-Commerce in India - The Second Coming. I understand it’s like comparing apples and oranges but it’s something to consider anyway.

Do you know of any good online shopping stores here aside from those I’ve mentioned above? 

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Why Liking Your Own Facebook Status Makes No Sense

It’s not exactly cool to like your own Facebook status nor to give yourself a high-five in public but for those hating on them self-likers on Facebook, there might actually be a reason why they’re doing it - they want to increase their Facebook EdgeRank Score!

For those who said “Facebook whuuut?”, today is your lucky day - you won’t have to Google it because today’s blog post is all about this EdgeRank thing!
 
I won’t go into the boring formula (which I’ve learned from Myles Vives btw) but instead just talk about the importance of this Edgerank Score and what factors affect it.
 
EdgeRank Score is basically the reason why your posts are seen (or not) by your Facebook friends or if you have a fan page, fans. The higher your EdgeRank score, the more likely it is that your posts will show up on other people’s newsfeeds.
 
I know there’s a recent update where you’re now able to sort your Facebook stories either by Highlighted stories (this is where you’ll be showing up if you have a high EdgeRank score) or by Most Recent, but this really doesn’t change a lot of things because I know a lot of people who haven’t changed this setting, or know that it even exists.


So what affects this Facebook algorithm?
 

1. Affinity 

I like George Clooney, and if I were friends with him on Facebook I’d probably like most (not all because I plan on not being too creepy) of his posts, poke him and write comments on all his status messages and photos. Maybe I’ll even tag him in my pictures or notes or comments to my friends. I’m doing this, of course, so he’ll notice me.


BUT, with Facebook’s affinity score, just because I’m doing all these creepy things on George’s Facebook account, doesn’t mean my posts will show up on his newsfeed. All of his posts, tags, or whatever else he does on Facebook though, I’ll see. Oh the heartbreak.
 
See, on Facebook, we all get affinity scores from our friends while they get affinity scores from us. Think of it as a grading system and the test is interacting on Facebook. I’m giving George Clooney a high affinity score of course because I keep liking and commenting on all his shee. Unfortunately, he’s ignoring me which means he’s giving me a really really low score which is why whatever I post on Facebook won’t show up on his newsfeed.
 
And since there are probably a lot of people like me trying to stalk him on Facebook, he will definitely show up on their newsfeeds and possibly on other people too even though they didn’t interact with him. This is what makes him popular on Facebook.
 
That person you’ve been stalking on Facebook? He’ll keep showing up on your newsfeed.
 
To increase your affinity score, whether for a Facebook fan page or for your own account, you need to make sure that people interact with you. That they write on your wall, comment on your statuses, send you private messages, etc.

2. Weight

Your Facebook posts are basically objects that has its own weight. With Facebook, if it’s a video, a picture or a link, it adds more “weight.” According to the Facebook experts, photos, videos, and links weigh more than your typical status message with Facebook app updates having the least weight.

3. Time or Age

This is the easiest. Newer posts will score higher. The older your post is, the less relevant it is and the less interaction it will get. Bam. So keep posting! For brands, I’ve seen it work better if you post every other day with once every day as your limit. For personal profiles, I find that they show up more if they post a lot and that’s not fun if you’re being flooded by rants or lookbook pictures of themselves. The good news is, if you don’t like what you’re seeing, you know you can always de-clutter and unsubscribe.


 There you have it kids! Affinity Score + Weight + Time = EdgeRank Score!

 
As for the friend liking her own post to increase her EdgeRank score, she helped add some weight to her post, plus her affinity score from herself just increased!
 
If you want to read more on this, head on over to http://edgerankchecker.com.

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Quick Review: SemCon 2011 

SEMCon or Search Engine Marketing Conference is an event held yearly (since 2007) by Fiera de Manila together with organizers like YugaTech, iMV Solutions and SEO Philippines. It’s basically a gathering of search engine marketers, strategists and consultants so they can teach other digital marketers, SEO practitioners, and different types of noobs like me! 

This event is actually proof that direct mail still works. I almost forgot about this conference until I received an over-sized postcard that was sent to our office. While SEMCon is obviously not as big as the IMMAP Summit - perhaps part of the reason why I didn’t hear (or read) much buzz around it, according to Fiera de Manila, both days still had about 90-100 participants. 

This was my first time attending SEMCon so I’m not sure what the previous attendance numbers were as it’s now their fifth year doing this.

I’m going to do a quick run through of some of the main “conference factors.” Here goes!

1. Cost

I know conference fees aren’t something most attendees worry about as they’re usually from big local or even multinational companies that have huge training budgets. But I can’t help but think about small business owners or freelance digital marketers. It’s not exactly cheap at P14,000 for 2 days.

For reference, I looked at the previous SEMCons and they started at P8,500 in 2007, P9,500 in 2008 and 2009, and then last year went up to P12,000. I’m part of that group hoping it won’t cost P16,000 next year. 

2. Seminar Kit

This is how my seminar kit looked like:

That’s the 2-day seminar schedule printed on a folder, a tote bag, SEVEN sheets of ebay.ph fliers, 3 eBay buttons, my seminar badge, a flier ad for another event and a SEMCon branded notebook.

Let’s go back to those ebay.ph fliers I received.

I understand receiving one flier but SEVEN? Do they want conference attendees to go out and distribute fliers for them? I asked one of the attendees I met at the conference and she told me she didn’t even bother looking at the fliers. I, on the other hand, looked at them, took a picture (for this post) and off to the recycling bin it went. I have nothing against ebay.ph of course. I just feel it’s a waste of money and paper. Poor trees. 

Same goes for the buttons. I’ve never been on ebay.ph so when I get a button like this…

I start to think whether they realized that some of the attendees might not have even bought, much less sell, anything on ebay.ph and just had them done without really thinking it through. Or if they believed this would entice me to sell on ebay.ph. 

Either way, it didn’t help leave a good brand impression, at least not to me. Plus the buttons felt cheaply made. Like it was intended for people to look at for two seconds and then throw away without feeling the slightest tinge of guilt.

I’d rather just get the event schedule and my badge.

3. Venue | Food

They had it at the AIM Conference Center in Makati. I was pretty happy with the venue. It was easy to find and the place looked solid. 

Carlo Ople at SEMCon 2011

…That is until I looked up all the previous SemCon venues and they were all at the Hotel Intercon! I wonder what happened this year. Maybe they didn’t serve food last time? 

Speaking of food, it was okay. Typical buffet catering service. I’d rate it as 2.5 out of 5 (as in it’s not bad but it’s also not good) but it was good enough in that I didn’t have to go to McDonald’s to eat lunch or leave the place to buy food elsewhere. 

I would like to mention though that the catering staff was really friendly. I give importance to service so I suppose that makes up for the food quality.

4. Speakers

I loved most of the speakers! I’m planning on writing a separate post on some of them but for now, here’s a quick list:

  • Marc Macalua with his stoic but hilarious presentation on Google Panda
  • Hans Koch and his detailed report on the two group buying sites he worked with
  • Myles Vives with actual Facebook tips people can follow
  • Carlo Ople on social media tools and even some off-the-record bits
  • Allan Caeg advocating UX in the Philippines

The Verdict

So the food wasn’t exactly mouthwatering, the conference fee was a bit on the high side, and the seminar kit was slightly disappointing. But why do people go to conferences anyway? Not to try amazing cuisine for one. (Although that would be a bonus.)

At the end of the day, the important question when attending conferences is always, “Did you learn about things you wouldn’t have learned elsewhere?”

And I did. Plus I met cool new people. 

I told Abe of YugaTech (who is really nice and down-to-earth by the way) that I will definitely go next year and even bring some of my co-workers with me. I think it’s worth it. 

Plus I’m sure it will be even better next year. I know it takes a lot of time and hard work putting all that together so I’d like to thank and congratulate the event organizers. I had fun! :)

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Top 3 Must-Follow Tech Sites for the Social Media Dork

A social media dork?
 
Yes, that’s me!
 
If you want to get the latest news in the tech industry, you’ll need to be dependent on Google Reader. In my case I use FeedDemon, Reeder for my phone, and Flipboard (best app ever!) for my iPad.
 
I initially started off using my trusty bookmark folders and making sure I check my ‘News’ folder every day but that didn’t work out as I ended up forgetting to check some sites and then eventually all of them. Then I tried subscribing to them via email and that just drove me nuts. It was stressful seeing you have 100 unread ‘emails’ per day!
 
I wish I made full use of Google Reader 3 years ago!
 
I have a bunch of sites I subscribe to (including those I feel are thought leaders) but I’ll only list out three of the major tech news sites for now and hope you’ll help me add some more to it.  

1. TechCrunch

Quick background on TC for my fellow dorks. TechCrunch was founded by Michael Arrington in 2005. While some of you may know Mike (we’re tight like that, first name basis nah mean?) as one of the biggest jerks in the tech media industry what with pictures like this:



…he’s actually a good example of how it’s never too late to build something great and even out of your ‘career path.’ Mike founded TC when he was 35. Before that, he was just an average corporate lawyer! Now, TC makes about $10 million a year with 9.2 million visitors a month.
 
It’s no wonder all tech-inclined people seem to think everyone and their grandmas are reading (or used to read - some may think they’re too ‘mainstream’ now) TechCrunch.
 
Sometimes though they end up being like a less gossipy Valleywag spilling details on CEOs fighting and whatnot. Add to that all the drama they’ve been happily publishing after the AOL acquisition. But hey, at least you’re in the know, right?

2. Mashable

All girls know this. Pete Cashmore is HOT. (Btw, Pete Cashmore is taken. Sorry.)

His hotness and love life aside, Mashable was founded when Pete was NINETEEN, sick, and in Scotland. Interestingly, it was founded the same year as TechCrunch. It gets more pageviews (50M pageviews per month) than TC but makes less money - although they did say they’ve doubled their revenues.

You might run into some duplicate stories if you also follow TechCrunch but what I like about Mashable is it has a lot of social media news and tips you can follow. It’s definitely not as product-oriented as TC but with Mashable, you know they’re really try to engage their readers and give a more ‘community-oriented’ aura.

If you’re an “interwebz marketer”, you know you should be reading Mashable. They might be posting 100 articles a day (double that for TC) but you have to check it at least once every two days and scroll through the articles to stay up to date.

(P.S. Here’s something special for the dudes out there: Emily Chang interviewing Pete Cashmore. Yes, Emily Chang is hot. There, I said it.)

3. GigaOM

The last but definitely not the least on my list.

GigaOM was founded in 2006 by Indian writer, Om Malik. He was already 40 when he founded GigaOM. And he isn’t a jerk. Ha.

If you don’t want the AOL drama nor news on Ashton Kutcher or Justin Beiber, this is a good option for you. Some readers say they’re about to take TechCrunch’s place after TC got bought by AOL but we’ll see.

I personally don’t read too much of GigaOM but I’ve asked some loyal readers and from what they’ve said, GigaOM produces higher quality content as they do more research on new products and technologies. They may not be breaking stories but they’re more analytical than TC.  Shoo, if you have extra cash and want super in-depth data/research, why not subscribe to GigaOM Pro? What’s $199 a year for quality research and analysis right? No? Well, they let you in on some snippets of it anyway… sometimes.

GigaOM does have significantly less pageviews than both Mashable and TechCrunch at 4 million uniques, but they do have a better business model than both of them. This year, they’ve already raised a total of $14 million dollars in funding - more than both VentureBeat and BusinessInsider. That tells us a lot in terms of their future as a company.

There you have it! Three sites for the social media dork.

If you don’t like constantly checking these sites or getting a crapload of articles to read on your reader, then you can just go to Techmeme - a tech news aggregator that uses both algorithm and human editing to find the most popular stories.

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Track Link Activity via Google Analytics and HootSuite (Free!)

We weren’t using HootSuite yet when they first came out with Google Analytics integration so when I tried it out a couple months back, it didn’t make sense to me to use it.
 
1. It’s not free. You’ll have to use your HootSuite report points for this. And one report starts at $50. If I’m not mistaken, you get 50 points for $50. Google analytics reports from HootSuite start at $10. And if you have more than one account, that quickly racks up. It’s a rip-off especially for small companies like us.
 
2. If you have a lot of traffic, the tweets to web conversion does not make sense. Especially if Twitter doesn’t bring you at least 10% of your total traffic. It’s just going to look like a flat line with dots against your web traffic graph.
 
3. You can just use HootSuite’s Custom URL Parameters!
 
If you aren’t already using this, HootSuite actually has a blog post on this one. I’m just going to show you how it will look like on your GA dashboard.
 
Step 1
 
Change your Custom URL Parameters:



When I first tried this out, I couldn’t find the drop down and that’s because I didn’t click on the link bar. Click on the link bar and you’ll see that gear. Click on it and the custom URL parameter settings will pop up.



The source and medium labels are pretty straightforward, it’s the Campaign name that you need to be specific with. Here I used ‘Peanut’s Twitter Account’ because well, this is my Twitter Account.

Step 2

Go to Google Analytics and under Traffic Sources, you’ll see it neatly labeled! (There’s a waiting period before Step 1 and Step 2, give it a day before they show up on your GA account.)



Now I know just how many visits Twitter gave me based on my ow.ly links!
 
I can also check under Campaigns and see my Twitter account in there:

Wow I brought in more than 5M visits! That’s amazing… editing skills.
 
Using HootSuite’s Custom URL Parameters, I don’t need to pay $50. Because that’s ridiculous.
 
It’s free, I just need to set it up once and you can use it on multiple Twitter users! By that I mean, those Twitter accounts that need to be managed by different people.

You’ll be able to measure how much visit each HS account has brought in and optimize based on the data that you have. And all it takes is just 5 minutes (or even less) for each of your HootSuite members.

5 minutes or $50?

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What is this new Facebook Page metric called “People Talking About”?

Facebook just released three new metrics to add to your Facebook Page Insights just last week. The other 2 metrics are just different versions of what the old Facebook analytics had - Likes and Reach (in the old version it was Weekly/Monthly Likes and Interactions)
 
The newest one that’s being talked about is called “People Talking About.”
 
Here’s how the old Facebook Insights page used to look like:


Don’t make fun of the data on that page! It’s a new one we haven’t ‘launched’ yet! 
 
When I read an article about this on Mashable, I was sure they weren’t going to use “People Talking About” as the final product feature name. I mean, what is that?! Why not use something like “Brand Activity” or something?! At least use a noun. But I digress.

So what does this People Talking About have?
 
It measures ‘stories’ generated by your Facebook page’s post. It includes:

  1. Post Likes
  2. Number of Post Shares
  3. Post Comments
  4. Number of Answers to Your Question
  5. Event RSVPs
Here’s how it looks like on our other brand page:



A note to HootSuite users: You’re supposed to see the pink dots on dates where your page posted but I didn’t see any on ours. My guess is that this is because we didn’t post using Facebook directly. Interestingly, we had one post on the 2nd of October which was a Facebook Question (meaning we didn’t use HootSuite) but obviously, it still didn’t show up in there. Not sure what happened. (I’ll post again if I see any changes on our Insights page.)

I don’t know if I’m blind but I can’t seem to find the Engaged Users and Talking About This graph that Facebook included in their Insights document. It’s supposed to look like this:



If you’re able to see this on your Insights page, please let me know where you found it.
 
What’s good about this new set of metrics is that you get to drill down on where your most active Facebook fans are from. You also get to find out if they like answering your questions more than commenting on your posts or even analyze which type of content is most likely to be shared.
 
AND you find out that no matter how annoying the Ticker was (I’m used to it now), it actually helps your Facebook page. But I’m pretty sure you already knew that. Check out our Like sources:



I wish they broke it down even more though. I want to see which Facebook Likes are directly from our Page, from the News Feed or from the Ticker.
 
Overall this is good news. The weekly Active Users and New Likes didn’t really help much and I’m happy Facebook is offering even more detailed analytics.  
 
….Except for this one bit of change they’re going to make. Facebook will soon be getting rid of the Reviews tab.
 
This does not make me happy because we now have a lot of reviews and they’re all 5 stars (fine, maybe 99%)! We’ve had this tab up since 2009 and I cherish this section of our page just because it’s so hard to get people started on writing reviews.
 
Since the brand we handle does not have a physical location, I’m not sure our Facebook fans will even get a chance to write a recommendation for us.
 
This is sad news. So if you have a lot of reviews on Facebook (using the Reviews tab of course), I suggest you save them now for future reference… and for sentimental reasons.
 
For Facebook Page owners and admins, you can try out this new Insights page by going to http://www.facebook.com/insights/
and clicking the link up top to view the new Facebook Page Insights.

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How to Sync Your Files Through the Interwebz

If you work on your computer a lot (and you probably do if you’re reading this), I hope you’re not using your USB stick to transfer Word docs or Excel files so you can work on them at home.

Probably the only time I will think of using USB sticks is when I’m transferring BAFs (big ass files). And by that I mean 3GB and up. But on the off chance that you still plug in that USB stick every day for transferring work files so you can edit them later on, maybe I can show you a better way.

My work needs me to be on the internet ALL the time (okay fine, just most of the time). I need to constantly have access to files I just sent, files that have been sent to me or files that are just sitting there but at one point could be urgently needed. It’s nice to have all my work-related files available from my office computer.

But sometimes these things happen:

  • Diarrhea. Can’t stay at the office obviously. But you need to get sh*t done. (Pun intended)
  • Vacation. Or maybe even weekends. (Don’t deny it, you check emails even when you’re not supposed to.)
  • Work computer died. (Something to do with torrents? Hmmmm.)

You NEED to be prepared. Now that free Wi-Fi is offered almost everywhere and ‘unlisurf’ plans are available even for prepaid accounts, you have no excuse not to have access to the internet. (Note that I didn’t say fast internet!) Unless of course you’re still using a brick phone…? Exactly! 

So let me share with you my top 2 tools for SYNCING your important files at work with your home (or any other) computer. 

1. Use Dropbox or Sugarsync.

Some of you might find this too basic but see, I’m also trying to write this post for people like my sister who doesn’t care about online tools and how it will help her tremendously with her school work. “Huh, what’s the internet?”

I’m kidding. She knows what the internet is although she probably thinks it’s Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg will be very happy to hear that.

But yes, I will have to explain what the ‘cloud’ is.

Just imagine an actual cloud.

Okay that looks good. Now imagine that’s the internet.

Actually, ignore that. Here’s a better image thanks to whatisthecloudcomputing.com:

If you upload your files to any of these tools, that cloud I showed you saves them so that even when you’re using a different device like your mobile phone or your mom’s computer, as long as you remember your login details, you can still access those same files and even make changes to them.

I don’t need to email myself documents anymore!

Work on that article from your office computer and when you get more ideas for it after you get home, you can just easily access that same file from your home computer and make changes. What? You need to run errands the next day? Does that involve falling in line and waiting for eternity? Don’t worry, you can access, make changes or add even more content from your mobile phone. All changes are saved and synced! Phone, work or home computer, it’s there. 

Just download Dropbox or Sugarsync!

If you only want to sync documents and not your entire photo album, I suggest using Dropbox instead as it is free as long as you don’t use up more than 2GB.

You just drag all your files that you want synced to your Dropbox folder and you’re done. You can access it from your phone (you need to install the app of course) and from other computers (either through the desktop app that you download and install or through the Dropbox website). Don’t forget that you need access to the internet to do all this.

I’ve been using SugarSync  for about 2 years now and it has helped me countless times especially during the days I’ve mentioned above. One thing to keep in mind with Dropbox is that they don’t encrypt your files. If you’re planning something against the government, downloading files you don’t want other people knowing (hmmm) or just plain paranoid, this is definitely a deal breaker.
With SugarSync, I just  sync all my work folders so that if I have unfinished documents that I need to work on when I get home, it’s just there! I don’t need to drag files to folders. And I can even work on it while I’m on my phone.

Pricing for SugarSync starts at $49.99 a year for 30GB. Dropbox on the other hand is at $199 a year for 50GB.

Again, if you don’t want to pay, just use Dropbox’s free 2GB!

2. Use Google Docs.

If you haven’t noticed the upload button when you go to your Google Docs page, you can actually upload all sorts of files to it! This feature has actually been available since 2006 (FIVE years ago) but I’ve never really paid attention to it until… last month.

Best thing about this of course is it’s free. So if you’re dead broke, but need to protect more than 2GB of data, then Google Docs it is.

Now as to that question about your files being safe… I’ll leave that up to you.

Check out how it looks like now:

That’s Word, Excel, PDF and PowerPoint right there. They look fine when accessed via Google Docs. Of course you’ll lose comments and edits if you like tracking changes made to your Word documents so I hope you’re not expecting to get all the capabilities of  a full Word doc version. I consider this the super last resort if you don’t want to download anything and just want to be able to quickly upload your documents and access them later on.

I won’t be using this though because I’m happy with SugarSync. I don’t need to do anything, it just saves all my changes automagically!

There you have it! 2 simple ways! I’m sure most of you already know this but for those who are still highly dependent on them USB sticks… it’s time to move on.

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WTH. Cebu Pacific is the second most tweeted airline?

Since last week, Cebu Pacific has been bragging about being the world’s 2nd most tweeted airline. Is this something that they should actually be happy about?

To find out, I looked up eezeer, the company that released this data, and looked at their Twitter reports for airlines within the last 6 months. Here’s what I found:

This spreadsheet that I made only includes Airline Listening, one of the categories they include in their report. Eezer defines Airline Listening as public tweets received by airlines – also called ‘Twitter mentions.’ They also have other categories like Airline Talking Champions (a list based on public tweets sent by airlines), global satisfaction, customers’ reason for tweeting, etc. I only included Airline Listening mainly because that’s what’s been making the news and what Cebu Pacific has been raving about.

The red highlights on the spreadsheet are airlines that made it to the top 10 ”Most-Complained-About Airlines” published by Travel + Leisure just this August. The green highlight was only used once – for Southwest Airlines.  And that’s because they get so few complaints that they can actually claim that they’re America’s least-complained-about airline. Note though that this list is from the US Department of Tourism.

And that’s where my problem begins.

Air Asia and Cebu Pacific are obviously Asian airlines but unfortunately there is no Asian nor Philippine tourism data available to tell me what the most-complained-about airline is in the Philippines or in Asia. Are these two airlines on this list because they’re one of the worst airlines? Or because people have been raving about them? Is there even a best/worst list? I suppose that would be strange to do since the Philippines only has four major airlines. I checked out our DOT website anyway just to see if they have published anything close to this and look what I found:

Nice. I had to use IE to check this out and they have nothing on airlines. Just hotels, travelers and destinations. Guess I’m left to do my own research!

My first stop was to check Twitter Sentiment. This is a good way to verify if being the 2nd most tweeted is really something to be proud of since it could also mean you are simply the most tweeted because people want to complain and ask you for help and not exactly to praise or say hello. Note that Twitter Sentiment only gave me tweets from 3 days ago.

Okaaay. Not bad! Now let me look at the actual tweets since the problem with sentiment checking is that there’s no human involvement in it e.g. a tweet could say ‘I f*cking love Cebu Pacific’ but it will still count it as negative because it has the f word.

Just one negative tweet that was recorded as neutral and a couple of positively-rated tweets meant to be neutral. The rest are pretty accurate.

I’m not satisfied yet so I check out Social Mention to see what they have. Social Mention shows me tweets beginning the 1st of September.

Is this really reliable? Hmm. Look at the top keywords for Cebu Pacific and that should give us an idea of what people have been mostly tweeting to them about: promos! This prompted me to check what PAL has.

@flyPAL’s strength is higher, passion is also higher but if you check out the keywords, they’re less positive. This makes more sense to me now adding all this with the recent articles I’ve read on these two airlines. I will attribute this to the fact that after all, PAL is laying people off and essentially struggling, while Cebu Pacific is being talked about as the 2nd most tweeted airline on top of their already popular seat-sale promos. (If you look at Cebu Pacific’s quarterly report, you’ll see they actually have 12.1% increase in revenues for the six months ending June 30th.)

Without any other source of data, I go back to eezer and check out their comparison widget. They’re the ones who released this data anyway so we’ll see what they show me.

I compared PAL vs. Cebu Pacific’s brand karma and interestingly, Cebu Pacific only surpassed PAL twice within the last 3 months. Cebu Pacific actually went as low as -16/-17 in brand karma points with PAL only going as low as -6/-7. Very interesting.

My last idea was to look at these 2 airlines’ Twitter accounts. You’ll see a big difference in the way they talk to their customers.

@cebupacificair obviously takes the jolly/happy/cheerful character which could be why they have 60,000 more followers than @flypal. The former also has double the number of tweets at 6,457 vs. PAL’s 3,663.

Tweets just mirror people’s experience with your brand and with Cebu Pacific making traveling way easier and more affordable for most Filipinos, this might just be why more people are tweeting about them – because more people are flying Cebu Pacific. As for that big drop in their brand karma, I say more people tweeting just means more chances of getting negative tweets.

Cebu Pacific is doing a good job managing their Twitter account and while they may receive hate tweets, they seem to respond to them quickly and calmly. So yes, I think them being the 2nd most tweeted airline is an achievement.

Now as for their service… Not sure what to say about the on-time departures’ as I experienced very very few of them this year. Am I just unlucky or is this really happening to most travelers?

How about you? How was your experience with Cebu Pacific? Do you think they’re doing a good job on Twitter? 

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The New Facebook Timeline

Yes yes, I’m one of the many people who pretended to be a Facebook developer just to see how this new timeline feature looks like. After reading about it on almost every single tech blog after the f8 conference, and seeing the video for it, I decided that testing out the new Facebook Timeline should be on my to-do list. Surprisingly, it was really easy to do!

If you haven’t tried it out yet, head on over to Mashable’s how-to blog post. It’s pretty straightforward and the process is not complicated at all.

Now that Facebook has their own ‘timeline’, I wonder how this will affect Twitter’s version of it?

See, the word ‘timeline’ used to be just for Twitter even though some people claim it’s a ‘Twitter thread’ (I don’t know why when it doesn’t look anything like a forum) while some call it ‘Twitter stream’ (which makes more sense). But still, most people who really use Twitter should know that it’s called a timeline.

Facebook on the other hand, takes ‘timeline’ to the next level mainly because theirs is the real thing. It’s literally a timeline. Your posts, photos and wall posts are organized by month, year and even from when you were born! With Twitter? It’s just a tweet stream that disappears eventually depending if you’ve been archiving them. 

While it may look complicated during the first 2 seconds you see it, it’s really not. In fact, the design is clean and… I hate to say this, but it actually looks nice. Timeline makes more sense than how the old Facebook profile page looks like… IF you like looking back at your old posts or photos.

The design also encourages users to add old photos or even places you’ve been to. Check this out, you can even add your life events - with surgery and breaking a bone already added in there!

Some may want to make full use of this and have their ‘lifebook’ open for all their friends to see but I know a bunch who just want to put the past behind and forget that they even wore elephant jeans when they were in high school or that they actually dyed their hair blue in college. It’s a good memory bank but not everyone wants other people to see that!

My aunties, uncles and parents will probably like this because this gives them a chance to show the world that they actually used to be skinny or that at one point, they also used to have hair. (Now if only they can figure out how to use it.)

The Facebook timeline is cool but I don’t think I’ll be adding old pictures to complete my very own lifebook. I’m happy using Facebook to share links, some pictures and to talk to my friends and family. I don’t think I’m the real target demographic for this release.

You have to think, “Why are they suddenly asking me to add details of my entire life on Facebook?” 

Is it because they just want you to tell your life story so you can express who you are to your friends? Or is it because they want you to live on Facebook so that they will have more chances of serving Facebook ads to you and make more money from it? 

Remember, Facebook is expected to IPO late next year so these changes are intended not just to increase users’ time on Facebook but to add more ways to serve even more targeted ads. 

If you’re interested in how this works, check out what they released just a month ago: Facebook Ad Targeting by Topic