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social networks

Renren struggles with the current social network world


Renren is firing people, should we be worried?

Rumors of layoffs and decreasing advertisement revenues could be the start of a slow decline for the once great Renren

Two problems face this company as of the end of 2012. An increasingly competitive environment with other platforms like WeChat and Weibo stealing the proverbial thunder from Renren. Apparently there can only be so many social networks out there before we get bored of some for not evolving at the speed of light. 


The other problem Renren is faced with is how to make money out of mobile advertising. This seems to be quite the pickle for more than one e-commerce/web company out there. In a bid to stay with the times, Renren's CEO Joe Chen has announced that there will be more management and higher investment geared toward the mobile aspect of Renren's products. 


Inevitably, another aspect of their decline is a general sluggishness of the economy and the sector they are in. But, because everyone suffers from that and it's not really a reason in itself to explain the situation compared to other companies. 


The end is nigh


These layoffs may or may not have been blown out of proportion. It sound like it could make sense as the company has seen decline in advertisement revenue and has openly acknowledged the strains of adapting to a world that has shifted to mobile. If they are downsizing for fears of the future then WeChat and Weibo will be rubbing their hands with glee. If, on the other hand it is not more than a little strategic recalculating then Renren will not be just another victim of China's social networking world. 


Renren's golden boys?


The company's gaming department is getting bigger and better. It was announced on the App Store China that Renren was the top publisher of games this year. On top of that, Nuomi which is their group buying service has risen and now accounts for over 10% of Renren's net revenues in the 3rd quarter. 


Layoffs due to a company worried for its future? Maybe. A definite and quantifiable decline of Renren group? Surely not. It is impossible to evaluate what will happen to this company but lets meet back here at the end of next quarter and talk about it. 

LinkedIn likes Black Hat SEO


LinkedIn is the most popular professional business social network website in the West, and it is one of the very few foreign social networks that has an important (though niche) market share in China.

Because of its popularity, every day people search for new connections and potential employees using its “People” search tool. They commonly search using the keywords search box, visible on its own by default.

Yes, LinkedIn has a search engine as well…

LinkedIn’s popularity means its search tool is very frequently used; whoever is ranking first for their desired keyword will get many more views of their profile. LinkedIn can fall victim to black hat SEO practices that allow certain users to artificially inflate their rankings and appear very often in searches that they want to be relevant for. Let’s search for “SEO”:

Let’s take a look at the 1st result:

He looks like a nice enough fellow; certainly he could be deemed as relevant for a generic search for “SEO”, but how did he manage to get to the first position in a search with 692,296 results? The following may have something to do with it…

The keyword SEO was repeated 9149 times in the profile! Actually this number is much higher in reality as is possible to click to see “more…” (of “SEO” that is). The keyword density on a given profile is one of the most important factors which LinkedIn uses to calculate relevance and determine rankings.

Of course, in each account you may see different results, since LinkedIn calculates relevance based on degrees of separation and common groups as well.

Actually, this search:

  • Was done with a newly created account that has no connections and does not belong to any groups.
  • Had all the filters set to the default value (including location “Anywhere”)
  • The results are sorted by “relevance”
  • Was performed in English

However, these results repeat across different accounts we tried this on. Keyword stuffing alone was enough to beat all the other relevance factors used by LinkedIn in different accounts (try yours!).

Our takeaways

1. As SEO gets more complex for the big web players (Google, Bing, Baidu,…), other services that have search engines “on the side”, have much simpler algorithms which are open to black hat SEO.

2. LinkedIn has a big window of opportunity open to abusive users that use keyword stuffing to rank higher in LinkedIn SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

3. A spammy profile may get more views but many people will get turned off when they look more closely (or get you posted on a blog post about Black Hat SEO!)

4. And finally… repeating a couple of keywords in the body of your LinkedIn profile will definitively make you more visible.

On a final note, I advise you to check my LinkedIn profile before I start stuffing my own profile (only kidding, we only use white hat SEO)!

How Facebook Intends to Get Back on its Feet

facebook logo

How's Facebook Doing?

Not so great obviously! So far, the stock exchange hasn’t been so nice to the American company. The share price went from 38$ down to 20$ since its entry in the market. However, it hasn’t planned to let it go. Even though the net result is less good than last year, it remains close to what was expected and we can see a raise of the benefits compared to last year.

Recently, Facebook has done a few modifications on its website that has now more than 950 millions of users. The company of Mark Zuckerberg introduced a new feature that allows the advertiser to promote their page newest status to more fans than it’s usually done.

More recently the social network announced the launching of a new possibility for companies to advertise on its website. First, they will add new options for the facebook pages to target their fans more precisely.  There will also be the release of a new feature very similar to Google Adwords, that would allow the advertiser to sponsor the keywords. The advertiser would buy keywords paid on PPC but since they can only redirect to a facebook page, they won’t be able to buy just any word.

On a SMM point of view, this is a really great opportunity to have better results with your Facebook company page. The ROI will increase dramatically. But keep in mind that you have to make sure this is really the kind of advertisements your company needs and that it is part of a marketing plan you’ve established before. If any doubt, you should contact our web marketing agency!

Will this New Marketing Feature be Efficient?

If Facebook manages to success as well as Google did, that would probably put them back on tracks.

However, you must keep in mind that Facebook’s users are often dissatisfied with the advertisements they found too often on the website. According to a survey of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook would be, amongst all the social networks, the one that users are the less satisfied with. Let’s hope that this new kind of advertisement won’t be too intrusive for the user.

Anyway, this might be the hand Facebook needed to be back on the market for good, considering the number of users (that has decreased by 4,8% during the past 6 months according to Nielsen) as well as the price of its shares. Maybe they will even catch up on Google shares that are valued at 641$ by the time I write this article.

Anything else we Should Know about the American Social Network?

Latest rumor would be that Facebook’d like to be a new actor in the mobile phone’s market.
So far, it has been denied. But you know what they say: Rumors always have a part of truth.

Google Search Goes More Social


Google recently unveiled a new social search feature named “Search Plus Your World” that brings new search results from Google+ and Picasa.

Google Search Plus Your World

If you’re in the US, and when you search on in English, you can now access 2 kinds of results: either classic links from the whole web or links coming from your Google social network (Google+) and photo sharing service (Picasa).

In this new social search, Google displays statuses, photos, circles, and profiles that may interest you from Google+, as well as business & celebrities pages linked to your search. Photos from Picasa can also be displayed.

Here is the official video presenting the new social feature:

Users can simply decide whether they want to get social results or unpersonalized results or not. They can simply choose to turn on/off the toggle button displayed below:

Search Plus Your World Toggle Button

Social Search isn’t New

It isn’t the first time Google includes contents from social networks into its search engine.

In December 2009, the search results page displayed real time status updates from Facebook, Twitter or some blog posts related to the query into a box and then a dedicated page. This feature was removed in July 2011.

In the meantime, Google released the +1 button to its search results page in March 2011. The button was connected to the new social network Google+ in June 2011. Content liked by circles of friends were given priority in the search engine results.

Social Search for Better Search and More Money

With this new feature, Google strives to improve the quality of its search results. However, it’s also a good way to promote Google+ that is still small compared to Facebook and Twitter.

And the idea behind getting more and more registered users is also getting more money from advertisement. Indeed, social networks enable advertisers to run targeted campaigns that are generally more expensive as better targeted.

According to eMarketer, 10.6% of all marketing expenses will be allocated to social network advertising in 2012, so Google wants to get a share of the cake.

A Fierce Debate

Following the announcement, some voices said Google was a threat for the Internet.

According to Wired co-founder, John Battelle, Google excludes Facebook from its social search, and this is harmful for the Internet development.

Some others think Google is pushing its own services too much, abusing from its leading position. According to the famous SEO specialist, Danny Sullivan, the role of search engines is to redirect towards the best information even though not present in-house.

And What About My SEO?

With this new feature, Google makes search more social, and therefore more personalized.

Is SEO dead? As every major update on Google search, not it isn't, it will just evolve. Previously to this announcement, Google decided to turn on secure search for signed-in users, affecting many search queries.

If you aren't familiar with Google+, I'd recommend you to read why your should create a Google+ page.

What do you think about new Google social search feature? Are you excited about it? Do you fear it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Why Start a Google+ Page?

Google+ THEM SEO & Web Design

Google+, the search company's social network, recently revealed "Google+ Pages" for Business. Brands, companies, and celebrities which have been waiting for this new feature since last June can now register on Google+. 

With more than 40 million users, Google+ is doomed to play a key role in Social Media Optimization (often abbreviated as SMO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM), as other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Renren in China.

What is a Google+ page?

Google+ pages allow brands, companies, institutions, NGOs and celebrities to be present on the search giant's social network. They are similar to standard individual pages that users can follow and add to their circles.

Below is the official video introducing Google+ Pages:

Google+ pages can be recommended through the search engine "+1" button, and use chat and video conference features. A logo enables users to differentiate a business page from an user account. For the time being, you cannot create a username for your page.

Several companies already created a Google+ page, such as the brands below:

Google+ Business Brands

10 reasons to start a Google+ Business page

There are several reasons why you should start your Google+ Page:

- Branding: Promote your brand, explain what your company does, and present the products and services you offer.

- Broadcasting: Use your Google+ Page to announce your company news and events, and share useful information with your fans.

- Customer relationship: A Google+ Business Page enables you to get closer to your customers. You can get to know your followers, and interact with them!

- Traffic: Drive more traffic to your company website. Social networks now represent a considerable source of traffic for your website.

- Privacy: A business page cannot add an individual to its circles unless the user previously added the company in his circles. You can also customize your message to your audience, choose who should receive your update among your circles: everyone, your customers, your coworkers, or any members of a group you created.

- Market: 40+ million users you can have access to. This is far less than 800 million Facebook users, but I'm sure this number will continue to increase dramatically in the months to come.

- Blog: If you have a company blog, you can now promote your blog posts in your Google+ page.

- SEO: Creating a Google+ page is a key step to boost your SEO. As for Google +1 buttons, having your Google Page followed and shared by many users will enable your website to achieve high rankings in the search engines results pages.

- Connect: Business pages will be indexed and ranked very well by Google. The search engine will automatically redirect the user to the company Google+ page when the user enters "+" before the company name (for example +Google).  This feature will be available to certain brands in the US only. Below is a video introducing Google Connect:

- Cost: It's free!

Does THEM have a Google+ page?

Yes, you can add our SEO & Web Design Google+ Page to your circles (click on the image below to add us to your circles).

THEM SEO & Web Design Google+ Page

How can I create a Google+ page?

If you want to open a Google+ page for your business, you can do it here:

Is Google+ available in China?

As other many social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that are blocked in China, Google+ isn't currently accessible in China.

Facebook back in China?

facebook logo

Rumors about Facebook’s comeback in China have been surging on the Internet as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been in Beijing for a few days.

Facebook Chief in Beijing

Facebook Chief who is currently on vacation in China has met the leaders of one of the most popular Chinese Internet portal, namely A few days ago, Mr Zuckerberg named Time magazine’s person of the year also met Baidu CEO Robin Li.

In addition to his interest in learning Chinese Mandarin, Facebook Chief never hid his willingness to reenter the Chinese market, currently holding the world’s largest Internet population.

No Facebook in China

Facebook has been blocked in China since July 2009. Other social media sites, like Twitter and Flickr, are also banned in China

China is still one of the main remaining holdouts from Facebook worldwide domination (Facebook has more than 500 million users). Thus, the Chinese market would represent a vast market of new users. 

The country already has two major domestic social networks (Kaixin and RenRen), greatly similar to Facebook

What strategy for Facebook in China?

The question is now to know whether Facebook Chief has used his trip to start persuading Chinese leaders to allow again Facebook into China.

To face the local competition and become a major player in the Chinese SNS market, Facebook will have to obey Chinese regulations. Not sure Facebook is ready to do so...

One of the other alternatives for Facebook in China would be to establish a partnership with a domestic player.

Facebook hits 500 million users

facebook logo

World’s largest social network service Facebook hits 500 million users according to a post on their blog.

Facebook: 500 million strong 

Despite difficulties about privacy concerns, Facebook has gained almost 250 million users compared to one year ago. 

However, the world's leading social network has to find other ways to maintain its growth since some markets like the US seem to be saturated.

That's why Facebook recently announced its willingness to go local and grow in Asian countries, notably in China (even if it's still blocked!), Russia, South-Korea and Japan where it isn't the leading social network.

In China, Facebook competes with local social networks such as Tencent QQ, Renren Network (former Xiaonei) and Kaixin001.

Facebook launches new application

Facebook also unveils a new application namely "Facebook stories" allowing users to share stories that highlight the benefits of Facebook in their life.

For example, Ben Saylor, a high school student, who used Facebook to organize a community effort to rebuild a theater in Kentucky, after it was damaged by floods in May.

Next objective for Facebook is clearly to reach 1 billion users.

Chinese private social network P1 doesn't want to expand abroad

P1 private social network

Yu Wang, founder & CEO, announces today at the 6th edition of CHINICT in Beijing that the Chinese private social network has no intention to expand abroad.

"It's a small world..."

Founded in 2007, P1 is a private social network. Contrary to typical Chinese networking sites like Renren Network and Kaixin001, it only targets a small audience: affluent and urban people who need to expand their network. In order to provide a trusted environment, P1 membership can only be obtained through invitations, insuring members to connect with aliked people.

P1 is doing fine in China...

The network currently consists of 700,000 individuals in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Their business model is based on advertizing, ecommerce (private sales) and offline events (parties, social activites...) exclusively reserved to P1's members. Since the network wants to remain a close community, there is no need to advertize. In addition, Yu Wang says that P1 focuses only on China and there was no plan to expand abroad. The other internationally well known private social network is aSmallWorld.

Kaixin001 wants to become more than a gaming social network

Kaixin001 gaming social network

Kaixin001, one of China's largest and fastest growing social network site, hits 80 million users, Hans Tung (Kaixin001's Board Director) says at the 6th edition of CHINICT which takes place on May 27th & 28th 2010 in Beijing, China.

CHINICT is a conference which gathers every year all the actors of tech innovation and entrepreneurship in China.

A successful Chinese social network

Famous for launching social games on a social platform, Kaixin001 has had an astronomical growth very quickly online since its foundation in 2008. The company thinks that the key thing of any SNS site is the social relations on the site : friends and family who are all on the site and who can share headlines, etc.  Gaming tries to build things that users would welcome, users would enjoy.

For example, Happy Farm, the most famous game in the platform, hit more than 15 million active users in 2009. Even after this peak, they are still 10 millions this year. Kaixin001's success in China can also be explained due to the permanent blockage of other social network webstites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

A Gaming social network, and then ?

Kaixin001 needs some time for 3G adoption as well as smartphone adoption. But the Chinese social network does not want to be known solely as a gaming platform. It is now getting itself into the travel sites business as well. They also seem ready to open to third-party. Nevertheless, despite its growth, Kaixin001 doesn't think that time to IPO has come yet...

Google Buzz Video Presentation with English Subtitles

google buzz

google buzz is the new attempt from google to enter the social networks sector. it's right within gmail (so you need first a gmail account to use it), and it seems well thaught.

google buzz works also with twitter, flickr, picasa, google reader and other feeds.

Of course (but is it a good idea?) it is not linked with facebook! the king in the world of social networks. i guess when you want his thrown, you don't help him increase his authority.

here under, the text of the video, for those of you who don't have flash insalled.


  • The first thing we all do when we find something interesting is share it!
  • More and more this kind of sharing takes place online
  • google buzz is a new way to share photos, videos, updates, and more...and start conversations about the things you find interesting
  • it's built right into gmail and uses the friends you've already made
  • there is nothing to set up you're automatically following the people you email and chat with the most
  • you can chose to share publically with the world or privately to a small group of your closest friends
  • buzz goes beyond status messages, it automatically pulls images from links, plays videos inline, and let's you flip your photos the way there are meant to be seen. Big and Fast
  • you can connect other sites you use like Picasa, Flikr, Google Reader and Twitter so your friends can keep up with what you're doing around the web
    all in one place
  • buzz makes sure you see the stuff that matters most
  • the best part about sharing is getting responses to your posts, buzz sends this comments to your inbox to make sure you don't miss them, you can respond right from there to keep the conversation going
  • if you want to make sure your friends see something, you can send it straight to their inbox by adding them with an AT reply
  • you sometimes see recommended buzz from people you are not directly following
  • buzz identifies posts that may interest you, or are popular among your friends
    and recommends them to you so that you don't miss out
  • and it works on your phone, so you can keep up with what your friends, or people near you, are buzzing about
    when you are out in the real world, you usually wanna say something about where you are, buzz makes this easy
  • so try it out, click the buzz link in gmail to get started
    or visit to learn more