Startup Blog

Warning: Twitter and Facebook Can Lead to Robbery

Posted Mike Volpe on 6/15/09 9:31 AM

An article on AZ Central (sent to me by Dan Tyre) talks about a man who sent status updates to Twitter and Facebook and believes those led to his home being robbed - because it was clear he was going to be away for some time.  Read the full article.

How to protect yourself from social media robbery:

  1. Get a monitored alarm system so the police will get called if you have a break in.
  2. Keep your home address as private as possible - don't publish it on any of your profiles.
  3. Try to keep your travel plans mysterious so it is unclear when you will come home.  Maybe just post your photos after you have come home, not during the trip.

Other ideas?  What do you think?

My Ads that Facebook Rejected

Posted Mike Volpe on 3/12/08 6:40 PM

I have been playing around with some ads on Facebook, and was a bit surprised when I had a couple rejected.  I thought I would republish them here for your enjoyment.  Their policies are rather strict, including "no slang words".  It is funny, because I am just trying to increase the click through rate, which increases their revenue.

"The text of this ad contains excessive or incorrect capitalization. All ads must use appropriate, grammatically correct capitalization. The title of your ad, as well as the first word in each sentence, must begin with a capital letter. Lastly, all proper nouns and acronyms should be capitalized. As per section 4 of Facebook's Advertising Guidelines, all ads should include standard and proper capitalization."

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Child CEO, Should Hire a Real CEO

Posted Mike Volpe on 2/6/08 7:52 PM

I have thought for a while that Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook Founder and CEO) is certainly a very smart guy for starting Facebook and bringing it to its current level of success.  But I also think he is crazy for not selling at least a portion of his personal holdings - just to take some winnings off the table and make sure he is set for life.  Zuckerberg could do this with about 1% of the company, and still have a gigantic stake in Facebook.

The other thing that I find surprising is that he, and the investors, think he is the best CEO for the company right now.  They have hundreds of employees and are thinking about going public. Now, when I was 23, I certainly thought I was capable enough to lead a huge company through and IPO and manage all of the employees.  But, I was wrong.

4 Reasons Why Mark Zuckerberg Should Hire a New Facebook CEO

  1. Mark Zuckerberg will have trouble building a team.  The job of the CEO is to build and hire a great team.  Many really qualified VPs will have trouble working for a 23 year old.  No matter what your knowledge of social networking, there are just larger corporate issues you have zero experience with, and I think being 23 makes it a lot harder to hire a great management team.
  2. Mark Zuckerberg will have trouble pleasing Wall Street.  Wall Street (those folks you need to deal with after an IPO) can be hard to please.  One thing that they value is experience and seniority.  The current Facebook CEO has neither.  Having a gray-haired person in charge makes Wall Street feel good, and makes IPOs smoother.
  3. Mark Zuckerberg will lose touch with the customer.  Facebook is no longer for college students.  It is growing by over 250,000 users per day, and the biggest demographic is people not in college.  This is a very different audience with very different needs from college students.  One very valuable skill that marketing and product development people hone over many years is the ability to understand customers that are not like themselves.  I do not think a 23 year old can do that.  And it is critically important that the CEO has the pulse of your target market.
  4. Mark Zuckerberg has the wrong skills for the next phase of Facebook.  Facebook has crossed the chasm.  It is now going into the mainstream and has well over 60 million members.  Facebook is not about innovation, being scrappy and developing cool new stuff anymore.  Facebook is now about monetizing page views, a proper management structure for growth, and building profits.  Mark is clearly a good founder and startup CEO.  That role almost never overlaps with the roles of a mid-stage growth CEO.

Disclaimer - I have not met Mark Zuckerberg.  I have no idea how truly smart/stupid, mature/childish he really is.  This article is an opinion based on a little work experience and watching an episode of 60 minutes.  And of course, I am also jealous!

For some other commentary on Facebook, see this article about the top 10 Facebook career mistakes and the classic "Cool Wand" Facebook story.

Playboy Missing Huge Marketing Opportunity on Facebook

Posted Mike Volpe on 2/1/08 12:09 AM

Playboy is missing a huge marketing opportunity on Facebook.  You can think what you want about the company and what they sell.  This article is about marketing only. 

I was surprised to see that one of my 200+ friends became a "fan" of Playboy on Facebook - for those of you not into Facebook yet, I know this because on Facebook you get a news feed of what your friends are up to, and when a friend becomes a fan of something, you get a notification.  Being a fan of a company is sort of like becoming friends with a person.  Companies are starting to create a business page on Facebook (see this article about creating a company or business page on Facebook for free) and then people can become fans.  This allows the company to send messages to the fans and post new information on the page that notifies the fans of changes.

My company, HubSpot, which does Internet marketing, recently created a page on Facebook and we have over 120 fans so far.  Playboy also has a page, and they have over 1700 fans.  Pretty cool.  Except here is the problem.  There is almost nothing on the page.  Playboy, a huge media company - meaning that their job is to publish content - has almost no content on Facebook.  They are very rapidly letting down their 1700 fans.

Playboy Facebook Marketing Mike Volpe


What should Playboy post on Facebook?  Well certainly nothing too "adult", but they could post a bunch of things that would be perfect for Facebook.

How Playboy Should Use Facebook, But Isn't

  1. All the Playboy Bunnies should have profiles.  Playboy should help its models maintain Facebook profiles, and they should be fans of Playboy.  They could join under professional names, to maintain their privacy, but allowing the fans to interact with the Playboy bunnies ads a whole level of personal interaction never possible in a mass scale before.  This is a great way to engage your fan base.
  2. Add events.Playboy makes a lot of money allowing other brands to use the Playboy brand (Dewars Scotch has thrown "Playboy Parties" in a number of cities before)  What if these events were virtual? Or what if they used Facebook to promote live events?  This could be a powerful way to quickly, cheaply and easily promote events.
  3. More photos.  I mean, what really is Playboy without photos.  Of course they don't want to give away stuff they charge for, but all they have posted now is one album with 6 photos.  This is like posting 6 words from an entire set of encyclopedias.  Post some more photos!!!  You probably have a trillion photos in your archives.   
  4. Develop a Facebook App.  By developing an application, Playboy could further engage the Facebook community. There are lots of ideas for a Facebook App for Playboy - voting for your favorite Playboy bunny, something interactive that helped you live the Playboy lifestyle, some way to interact with Hugh Hefner.  Lots of ideas, so little time.

I hope this article has given people at companies besides Playboy some ideas of how they can use Facebook for marketing.  And, I also hope it makes you think about launching something before you are ready when it can disappoint over a thousand of your fans.

Finally, if anyone from Playboy is reading this and would like to hire me as a consultant to talk through more details on what you should be doing on Facebook, contact me using the contact form at

Top 10 Facebook Career Mistakes

Posted Mike Volpe on 1/16/08 7:44 PM

We all know that Facebook is a powerful marketing tool.  It is also a dangerous tool if you are not smart about how you use it, and you can make some big mistakes on Facebook.

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