Archive for December 14th, 2008

December 14th, 2008

The most interesting 404 error pages: a way to keep on the conversation

by Laurent François

Have you ever wondered why Twitter or other online services broadcast original error pages ?

The reason is that when you’re an user, you just want something that works. So you can probably become angry, itched, nervous.

And as in real world, you just want to escape the wrong situation, otherwise you’re going to do a stupid thing (fight with the bouncer, break a glass, launch a pineapple on a car…) or start screaming.
These original Error 404 pages have a fantastic purpose: they talk with the unsatisfied user, and make him feel that beyond a webpage, there are just human beings (yes, even @ Google!).
Humour, apologies, every brand has its own tactics. No one is blind, but in a sense, these creatives make you lose less value than without them.
Here’s a little selection:

December 14th, 2008

Friendship for sale: an Ebay example of what is Facebook worth

by Laurent François

Just imagine an Ebay profile named fidel and friends saying:

” i am bidding for your friendship. i like meeting new people. you can be my friend on facebook if you win this auction. you will get full access to my entire profile just like my other friends do. you can post to my wall, check my personal info, and chat with me, and the other things friends do on facebook. after the auction i will send you a request to be friends. it should also be noted that the above picture is not me. “

And guess what: the bid hasn’t reached 1 dollar yet (it finishes in 24 hours). So how comes someone’s friendship is more “valuable” than another?
I think you have to consider Facebook’s propagation model: it’s all about what you already own, and what you already are:

  • your schools
  • your culture
  • your communities
  • your career
  • your old buddies
  • the professional and personal meetings you do in real life

So basically, if I’m a tycoon, my address book is very valuable; if I come from nowhere, it is not valuable.

This example is pretty worrying and in the meantime reassuring:

  • worrying because Facebook implements de facto a world in which you are a value
  • reassuring because Facebook’s notion of friendship is not true friendship but networking