Is Buddy Media the Zynga of Marketing?

Is Buddy Media the Zynga of Marketing?: There’s little doubt that Facebook is an enormous universe unto itself. After all, Zynga has built a gaming business worth up to $20 billion while getting substantially all of its revenue via the Facebook platform. Buddy Media clearly wants to be the Zynga of marketing. It has closed a whopping $54 million round of financing, which brings its total backing to date to $90 million. What’s more impressive is the round isn’t to cash out early investors and execs but will go directly into the business, giving it a valuation approaching $500 million. This is a pretty stunning figure for a company that helps businesses manage their Facebook pages. Buddy Media has an extensive client list that includes eight of the top 10 brands, and it plans to use the funding to expand into Europe. Buddy Media licenses software — and we’re not talking about Google here — to help brands connect with their customers on Facebook. It’s yet another sign that Madison Avenue is hopeless in finding new agency models. Why agency-holding companies weren’t able to build a business like this is mystifying. WPP at least plowed $5 million into Buddy Media’s last round. Buddy Media’s competitors include Vitrue and Context Optional.

Incentivizing Ad Views: You know you’re at the tail end of a bubble when failed ideas come around for the third time. The New York Times profiled a new site, called Loffles, that hit on an incredible idea: why not give consumers rewards, in the form of sweepstakes entries, for watching ads? Brilliant. Only problem is this has been tried repeatedly, first with AllAdvantage and iWon, and then later with Bradport, EMiles and others. It has a dubious track record of attracting large audiences and the type of audiences that are valuable to advertisers. In the words of 360i CEO Bryan Wiener, “The whole concept is antithetical to marketing.” Loffles will most likely find that out. It has a mere 3,400 users now, only out there a few months. What’s most mystifying is why the NYT gave so much space to at tiny company with no track record and a model that’s been shown not to work.

Journalism in the Social Era: Forbes is busily overhauling itself for the digital age. The company is embarking on an interesting experiment to turn its website into a fully fledged social platform. Forbes’ chief product officer Lewis DVorkin explains its latest iteration on the article page in a post that describes the reporter as playing the role of programmer and curator by using Forbes’ tools to do things like create slideshows and related articles boxes. That might be a bit far. Still, it’s good to see an old-line publisher rethinking how it does business.

Quote of the Day: Eric Ries thinks startups too often focus on growing for the sake of growing.  “Don’t be in a rush to get big, be in a rush to have a great product.”

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