Life, living and Web 2.0

Web 2.0 and more

  • Author: Amol Dalvi

    Amol Dalvi

Blog has been moved

Posted by Amol Dalvi on August 16, 2008

I now post at www.marketingautomationhub.com.

See you there!

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Posted in Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Drive up your Blog ranking

Posted by Amol Dalvi on March 5, 2008

My co-worker Luke forwarded a nice article.

Hey guys, 

Here is a great article I came across that really has some great ideas for driving web traffic. Many of these are tried and true techniques but there are also a lot of other innovative ways included in this article as well….

http://seonoobs.com/104-ways-to-get-backlinks-mega-backlink-guide/ 

Some of the items on the list are questionable. But it does exemplify why it is hard to make your blog stand out in the mega-crowd of blogs on the Internet. Just posting blog posts won’t drive traffic; you have to do a lot of grassroots effort.

Posted in Democratization, Technology, Web 2.0 | Leave a Comment »

Interesting articles

Posted by Amol Dalvi on February 17, 2008

I ran across a couple of very interesting articles/posts –

1. Olinda – a social broadcast radio with beheavior mining and a hardware API! Read here.

2. Google’s upcoming data center plans. Can you imagine how big a data center Google needs…? Read here.

Posted in Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Google SocialGraph API

Posted by Amol Dalvi on February 1, 2008

Google has launched an API around social networking. In the words of Google:

What is the Social Graph API?

The Social Graph API makes information about the public connections between people on the Web easily available and useful for developers. Developers can query this public information to offer their users dramatically streamlined “add friends” functionality and other useful features.

Now here is what I understand of it – 

We all know that Google crawls the web and figures out which pages link to each other. Google is also crawling the web to find out how sites are related to each other. This is done using –

 a) “XFN”: You can change the links on your page (the <a href=””> tags) to include a parameter called “rel”. “rel” basically indicates how is the linked site related to the current site – is it a friend’s site, or is it a colleague’s site, or is it another of my sites, etc.

b) “FOAF”: Include a series of tags at the top of your site page(s) to indicate who your friends are.

Google is basically going through the “rel” parameters and the FOAF xml tags and storing how one site is related to another. And they have now made this information available to everyone via their new API.

Take a look at the 3 minutes video here, particularly the scenario at the end.

Posted in Democratization, Integration, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Paperless billing

Posted by Amol Dalvi on January 6, 2008

Over the past couple of years, mostly last year, I have been diligently shutting off paper bills. Instead of having paper bills mailed to me I have been asking the service provider to send me electronic bills via email. So, I was quite surprised this weekend when I cleared out all the bills for 2007 to find several paper bills over the last year. There are still about five or six vendors sending me paper bills.

 So here’s my resolution for this year – I am going to eliminate more paper bills.

I say “more” because I know some small service providers aren’t savvy enough to provide electronic bills. But I think if I ask for e-bills and put some “pressure” on them, hopefully they will embrace electronic billing. I know it’s a small thing, but every less paper printed is better for you, me and the environment.

Can I encourage you to go electronic and request e-bills from your service providers?

Posted in Life & living, Technology | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Web 2.0 definition

Posted by Amol Dalvi on December 25, 2007

I was on the O’Reilly Radar home and clicked over to the Web 2.0 page: http://radar.oreilly.com/web2/. At the very top is an interesting and refreshing definition of Web 2.0:

“…..Web 2.0 is a transformative force that’s propelling companies across all industries towards a new way of doing business characterized by harnessing collective intelligence, openness, and network effects.” 

I really like that. Web 2.0 is not about technology or AJAX or video sharing or blogs. It’s about:

a) collective intelligence;

b) openness (which I think goes hand-in-hand with collective intelligence); and

c) network effects (a wide, easily available, easily accessible and open network makes the collectivness and openness possible).

Posted in Democratization, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Integrating Vontoo and Salesforce.com

Posted by Amol Dalvi on December 19, 2007

Last week we released the latest version of 5Buckets. This last release was centered around one major feature – integrating with Vontoo.

Vontoo integration screenshot

Vontoo is a permission based voice messaging product. Their tagline is “Say It. Send It. Track It.” Essentially you can create audio clips and have Vontoo make phone calls to your list of opt-in subscribers. Sounds a little intrusive? Initially I thought so too. Phone calls after all have a little urgency to them. So receiving marketing messages on your phone is definitely annoying.

However, there are many situations where I want to get a phone call – school delays, weather alerts come to mind first. But beyond those reminder of a webinar I signed up for or a company wide communication by the CEO also lend themselves to phone calls. Vontoo has a customer in the music industry. The band has recorded messages and phone calls go out to fans about upcoming concerts, ticket sales & CD releases. Hmm, I certainly won’t mind a recorded message from Bono or Paul McCartney. 🙂

5Buckets is now integrated with Vontoo. It is another “output device” much like ExactTarget is an output device for email communications. The “input device” – the placeholder for phone numbers & email addresses – can be Salesforce.com or your own SQL Server database. For example, you can create a report in Salesforce.com that lists customers that completed their one year anniversary with you. Every day, 5Buckets will pull from Salesforce.com the list of customers with anniversary today and send them a pre-recorded voice message from Vontoo thanking them for their business.

This simple scenario can be extended to include email communications. For example, 30 days before the anniversary date an email could be sent by 5Buckets reminding the same customers that their renewal is due. An email as a renewal reminder, and a personal phone call on their anniversary thanking the customer when they renew.

Posted in 5Buckets, Integration, Technology, Vontoo | Leave a Comment »

Integrating Salesforce.com and Boldchat

Posted by Amol Dalvi on November 17, 2007

A project we are wrapping up here at Right On Interactive is an integration between Salesforce.com and a chat tool called “Boldchat”. You may have been to web sites where they let you chat with the sales person or a customer service representative. So, instead of emailing or calling the company, you can chat with a live person right on the company’s website. Boldchat is one such product that enables companies to provide the chat feature on their website.

                                                                                 Click to Chat 

We have a customer that uses Boldchat on their website; the chat is used by prospects looking for product information. We recently implemented Salesforce.com for this customer and customized their online quote request form to create an Opportunity in Salesforce.com when someone submits the form. Customer was really happy with the way the Opportunities were coming in from the online quote form (slight digression – the quote form checks if the person submitting the form is already in SFDC and creates or updates the record; additional data is captured in a custom object) that he decided that he wants the chat sessions in Boldchat to create Opportunities in SFDC too.

Boldchat is a mature product. They have a well documented API. So, the initial question of “how can we get the data out of Boldchat” was answered quickly – use the API! The next question on my mind was – “but chat sessions are quite unstructured”. Unlike an online quote form, an IM session is very loose and “all over the place”. There is no telling when or how chat visitor indicated their name, their contact information or what product they were looking for. I even looked at the some of the chat sessions and the sessions were literally all over the place. They ranged from simple questions to detailed technical discussions.

We solved the problem by using what’s called a “pre-chat survey”. The chat visitor is required to fill-out some initial information like their name & phone number and some other optional information. That gives us the basic information we need to create/update Contacts in SFDC; and the entire text of the chat session is then dropped in as an Opportunity with the LeadSource set to Boldchat.

 Boldchat’s website is: www.boldchat.com and more info about Boldchat’s API is here: http://wiki.boldchat.com/api/ 

Posted in Boldchat, Integration, Technology | Leave a Comment »

ExactTarget API help

Posted by Amol Dalvi on October 28, 2007

If you are like most ExactTarget API users, your first introduction to the ExactTarget API must have been a PDF document. A large 100+ page PDF document. A little daunting, not so much because of the complexity, but because who the heck has the time to go through a 100+ PDF document. Then someone at ExactTarget probabaly mentioned the ExactTarget Developer Community to you. The community has many useful resources – the documentation, code samples (yes!), forums, a call wizard, ET API experts that respond to your questions!

Let me point out one more piece of the Developer Community that I find very useful – an online help file. It is listed on the “Resources” page, towards the very end of the page. This is the entire REST based API in a search-able, indexed Help format!!!! You can search for a specific API call and get to it directly, no need to thumb through a 100+ PDF. 🙂

Full disclosure – this Help file currently has only the REST based API and the Batch API guides. The Web services API and the ET for AppExchange API are not in there (ExactTarget – please add them in asap!!).

Posted in ExactTarget, Technology | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

ExactTarget API tip

Posted by Amol Dalvi on October 21, 2007

Here’s a quick little tip about the new ExactTarget Webservices API, particularly the one that does the integration between Salesforce.com and ExactTarget. When you trigger an email send using the ETforAppEx API, make sure you specify –

a) IndividualResults = true;

b) IndividualResultsSpecified = true;

This will ensure that the send, open(s), click(s) are dumped in to Salesforce.com by ExactTarget. The manual says there is no need to explicity specify IndividualResults, and that the tracking will be dumped in to SFDC by default. But as a good practice I would strongly recommend you specify it explicitly. You really don’t want to be left guessing if that tracking information will really be sent to SFDC or not.

Send me an email (adalvi -at- rightoninteractive.com)  if you want a more detailed code sample.

Posted in ExactTarget, Technology | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »