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Sites for Free Stock Photos That Are Perfect For Start-ups

As the Marketing Manager of a start-up for start-ups I need a lot of stock photos for our website, social channels and print collateral. I have a set budget for marketing and I don’t want to waste it on getting cheesy stock photos. I think that aligns pretty well with the challenges start-ups face when it comes to stock photos so I’ve compiled a useful list of the best places to find stock photos for start-ups. I even sorted them in a handy way. You’re welcome.

The requirements:

  1. They have to be free because ain’t nobody got money for that.
  2. They can’t just have a bunch of white guys shaking hands because the world doesn’t actually look like that and no one wants to see another one of those bad stock photos.
  3. It has to be really really really re-hee-eealy easy to figure out if you are going to get a strongly worded letter about using it.

person-woman-apple-hotel-largeI Need Something Specific

Pexels

This is my personal favorite, being mostly in tech this site has a huge selection of pictures of phones, laptops and tablets to use.

StockSnap.io

The search on stock snap is great. The tags are easy to use to find high quality royalty free stock photos.

Pic Jumbo

There is a ton of variety on Pic Jumbo. You’ll find a few borderline cheesy stock images but for every one of those you can find 10 really great ones.

 

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Scratching a Niche

These guys do one thing and do it well. Working in a niche? Scratch with one if these sites.

Foodie Feed

Warning! Do not browse before lunch. This site is full of appetizing food photos fit for any food based start-up.

New Old Stock

Looking for a great vintage photo? Browse the archive of vintage public domain imagery at New Old Stock.

photo-1423483641154-5411ec9c0ddf

Send Me Inspiration

Even the best marketers run out of ideas from time to time. Sometimes you need to find something specific and sometimes you need something to spark a little inspiration. Get these stock photos right to your inbox to get your creative juices flowin.

Unsplash

Receive 10 high quality artistic stock photos everyday from Unsplash right to your inbox.

Snapwire Snaps

7 hand-picked snaps every 7 days that are completely free to use.

Death To Stock Photos

These guys are sending you packs monthly. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to watch them travel the country in search of the best stock photography.
apple-hand-iphone-6-4322

 

I’m Just Browsing

These sites let you get lost in the never ending scroll of beautiful imagery.

 

Magdeleine

These user generated photos are gorgeously curated for your viewing/using pleasure.

Refe

Get user generated photography for free from Refe.

 

Do you have a favorite free stock photo go to? Leave it in the comments, I am always on the hunt for more great places for images.

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How Do I Get Started Growth Hacking My Startup?

I recently had the opportunity to attend a General Assembly Seattle presentation on growth hacking tech startups by growth hacking pioneer Nik Badminton. Nik is a self-described “recovering management consultant, ad man” author, futurist and the current Regional Director at Freelancer, the world’s largest freelancing, outsourcing and crowdsourcing marketplace. Freelancer was founded in 2004 and is now worth over 1.8 billion dollars and has over 13.6 million users, attributing most of their success to growth hack marketing.

So what is growth hacking?

Growth hacking is a marketing technique predominantly used by technology startups, which uses creativity and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure quickly. It focuses on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing. Examples of growth hacking are viral marketing campaigns, social-driven campaigns and using innovative tools in interesting ways to get results quickly and for little or no money. Think Twitter, Facebook and Airbnb. These companies all used inexpensive, creative ways to gain traction and growth for their startups.

Growth hacking isn’t just marketing; it affects multiple parts of companies, often driving new product lines, or sometimes removing them. It puts marketing and production in one room, working together to create growth.

Growth hacking isn’t just marketing; it puts marketing and production in one room, working together to create growth.  ← Tweet this Twitter_logo_blue

 

Let’s talk about some growth hacking success stories.

hotmail-logoIn 1996, Hotmail launched the first free email program on the Internet. When growth was slow, Hotmail invested in all traditional marketing avenues and saw very little growth. They found that most new sign-ups on the site actually came from user referrals. Hotmail hacked their growth by adding a simple line at the end of every email sent:

 P.S. I love you. Get your free email at Hotmail.

One year later, Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft and had 12 million users (17% of internet users at that time).

airbnb-logo

Airbnb is the perfect example of what is called a software growth hack. They actually reverse-engineered their site to automatically send all Airbnb listings to craigslist without actually hacking into craigslist’s API. Craiglist intentionally does not have a public API. The users Airbnb wanted were already online, they just had to get their attention. They were able to grow their rooms and renters by tapping into the user base of craigslist by creating specialty software within Airbnb’s platform. Previously to this, Airbnb had experienced limited growth. This is an example of how a growth hack actually affected the product Airbnb was offering to its users. Eventually, craigslist was able to remove this service from Airbnb, but it had already done its job by bringing millions of new users to the platform.

freelancer-logo

Freelancer really loves to capture new users by energizing their community. A great example of this is the contest they offered in which they challenged users to expose the Freelancer logo in the craziest ways, with a $25,000 cash prize going to the winner! The winner was an entire city in Bangladesh that printed a 2,000 square foot banner that was marched through the city by 300 people into the stadium where they were offering to teach women how to use Freelancer to generate income. The video went viral, drawing millions of new users to the site!

So how do I get started growth hacking my startup?

Nik’s recommendation? Stop. Stop and think. Strategy is the most important part of growth hacking. He says:

Jumping ahead without a well-thought-through and structured strategy will mean less results.

It’s important to set up framework. Nik suggested starting with GO SAM.

GOAL
OBJECTIVES
STRATEGIES
ACTION
MEASURE

While you are strategizing, Nik recommends asking yourself, “Does this matter?”

Does it offer users utility and value? Does it drive revenue? If it doesn’t, scrap it. ← Tweet this Twitter_logo_blue

 

You’ve set your goals and objectives. The strategies have been hammered out and you’ve rolled out your growth hack. Now what? It’s time to track what you’ve done. Growth hackers are obsessed with tracking every activity. Your analytics are going show you what worked and what didn’t. Where you need to focus and what needs to be let go. Analytics will help you repeat your successes and avoid repeating your failures. Your analysis will help you more accurately predict the future outcomes of projects.

You know a little about what growth hacking is, who has yielded success with growth hacking and how to get started. Now get out there and start strategizing how to growth hack your tech startup!

Want to learn more?

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Seattle Startup Week | Matt Heinz explains why you have to fail in order to succeed

matt-and-audienceThe dust surrounding Seattle Startup Week is settling, but on Wednesday morning, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, we hosted a Startup Week event in our Redmond location. Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, joined us for breakfast and told us how we could scale our sales and marketing without breaking the bank. One of the ways to do this is to assess what you’re doing on a regular basis. Regular as in weekly, or—better yet—daily. Another way is to fire a lot of bullets. As Matt said, “You will not get it right right away.” Because what works for one company may not work for you.

Matt explained:

“Even if you do the math of what you need to achieve, even if you define your customer in a really crisp way, you will still fail a lot. If you’re doing it right. The path to innovation and success is paved with failure.”

Matt described the following scenario: A company thinks they have a great idea and they just go for it, guns blazing. But what if it doesn’t work? Or what if parts of it don’t work? You have an entire program or organization built around something that’s broken. They just built a cannon that doesn’t fire. They just wasted a lot of resources.

“What if you fired a couple of bullets instead? That’s faster, easier, cheaper. Some of those bullets will hit the mark, some of them won’t. But if it hits the mark, and you validate it a couple more times? Put down the gun and pick up a cannon.”

“We all need cannons in our business,” Matt explains, “But we can’t figure out which cannon to build until you do some testing and actually validate that.”

Check out Matt’s SlideShare deck from Wednesday’s presentation:

And for those who were unable to attend the event, you can see the full video here:

Check out our recaps of our other Startup Week events:

Kicking off with Aviel Ginzburg of Simply Measured
Russell Benaroya talks night runs and how to ease the loneliness of entrepreneurship
Angel investor Andy Liu illustrates the importance of building rhythms

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matt-heinz-presenting

Who does Google think you are?

jamie-and-kate-at-googleYesterday, Google and the Fremont Chamber of Commerce hosted an educational lunch on the ins and outs of Google’s free, online analytic tools.  While at the event, I met representatives from other local businesses; watched thinkspace Community Manager and recycling enthusiast Jamie fawn over Google’s sophisticated, color-coded recycling bins; and posed for a photo op with a pillow shaped like one of the little green Android robots.  Thanks to a representative from the Google Analytics team, I also learned how this tool can help businesses better understand their website’s traffic, and how to use that information to implement better marketing strategies.

One of the reports that Google Analytics generates is the “Audience Report,” which helps you get to know your website’s visitors.  Google Analytics has the capability to break these statistics down by age, gender, interests, location, etc.  Where does Google get this information?  By analyzing the websites you visit, Google has glimpsed into your cyber soul.  They have you figured outOr at least they think they do.

Want to know who Google thinks you are?  Sign into your Google account and check it out.  Me?  According to Google, I’m a 25-34 year old, English-speaking female, with apparent interests in language resources, t-shirts and vans & minivans.  So let us know: Who does Google think you are?  Are they right?

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A Declaration of Independence rewrite for modern marketers

What if the Declaration of Independence was written by modern sales and marketing professionals, attempting to free themselves from archaic processes, irrelevant strategies and old-school management structures?

Using as much of the same language as possible, this is what it might look like. Have a great Fourth of July Weekend everyone!

IN UNISON, July 4, 2013.

The unanimous Declaration of Modern Sales & Marketing Professionals the World Over,

When in the Course of the latest fiscal year or quarter, it becomes necessary for sales & marketing departments to dissolve the political & organizational constraints which have both connected and kept them from one another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the new, integrated and collaborative station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation from past practices and embrace of the new reality.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all leads are not created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator (be it marketing or sales) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Conversion.–That to secure these rights, Sales and Marketing Departments are instituted among Companies, deriving their just powers from the consent of the executive suite, –That whenever any Form of Management becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Sales & Marketing Departments to alter or to abolish irrelevant habits and processes, and to institute new collaborative best practices, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Success and Sales Results.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Organizations long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that too many sales & marketing organizations are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms (and barriers and politics) to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Missed Numbers, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such traditional organizational barriers, and to provide new Rules for their future success.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Sales & Marketing professionals; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Operations. The history of the historic, ineffective Sales & Marketing system is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these teams and objectives. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

-It has refused Assent to Buyers, the most wholesome and necessary for the public pipeline.

-It has forbidden marketing managers to enact new processes of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till an organizational consensus should be obtained; and when so suspended, the organization has utterly neglected to attend to them.

-It has refused to enact other new processes for the accommodation of large districts of the sales team, unless those sales reps would relinquish the right of access to leads in the CRM, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

-It has called together random administrative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Leads, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with archaic measures and lead follow-up systems.

-It has dissolved Management teams repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness attempts to improve lead flow and pipeline growth on the rights of the sales team.

-It has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be enabled with CRM and marketing automation access; whereby the Management powers, incapable of Reaching Consensus, have returned to the marketing team at large for their exercise; the Sales Team remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

-It has endeavored to prevent the population of these Lead Funnels; for that purpose obstructing the Processes for Naturalization of New Leads; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Redistribution of Qualified Opportunities.

-It has obstructed the Administration of Conversion, by refusing Assent to Lead Nurturing for establishing Conversion powers.

-It has made Lead Quality Definitions dependent on Subjective Will alone, for the tenure of their conversion to SQLs, and the amount and payment of their commissions.

-It has erected a multitude of New Lead Stages, and sent hither swarms of Irrelevant Offers to harass our leads, and eat out their substance.

-It has kept among us, in times of peace, Crappy Content without the Consent of our prospects.

-It has affected to render the lead definitions independent of and superior to the teams that manage them.

-It has combined with others to subject us to a buyer persona foreign to our understanding of customer needs, and unacknowledged by our lead stages; giving Assent to their Acts of pretended Conversion:

-For Quartering large bodies of unqualified leads among us:

-For protecting them, by a mock Drip Campaign, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these Sales Departments:

-For cutting off our Campaigns with all parts of the world:

-For imposing Sales Quotas on us without our Consent:

-For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Reporting by Excel:

-For transporting us beyond CRM to be tried for pretended pipelines

-For abolishing the free System of Sales Process in a neighboring Territory, establishing therein an Arbitrary lead definition, and enlarging its Qualifications so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Sales Teams:

-For taking away our Unconverted Leads, abolishing our most valuable Collateral, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Landing Pages:

-For suspending our own Nurture Campaigns, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all sales opportunities whatsoever.

-It has abdicated Pipeline Management here, by declaring us out of its Protection and waging War against us.

It has plundered our territories, ravaged our Databases, burnt our trade show booths, and destroyed the lives of our sales reps.

-It is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Call Centers to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the VP of a civilized organization.

-It has constrained our fellow Marketers taken Captive on the high Pipeline to bear Arms against their Own Departments, to become the executioners of their peers and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

-It has excited interdepartmental insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our sales stages, the merciless Unqualified Savages, whose known rule of qualification, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A VP whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the manager of a free process.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Old School brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their management meetings to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our advancement and sales processes here. We have appealed to their native justice and revenue objectives, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these disconnects, which, would inevitably interrupt our pipeline growth and quotas. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of collaboration. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Sales Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united modern Sales & Marketing Organization, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme CEO of the organization for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Sales Teams, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Sales & Marketing teams are, and of Right ought to be Integrated and Collaborative States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Isolated States of Old, and that all political connection between them and the Old Way of Doing Business, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Integrated and Collaborative States, they have full Power to levy Process, conclude Pipelines, contract New Customers, establish Quotas, and to do all other Acts and Things which Modern States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Sales Goals, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Revenue Objectives.

______________________________________________________________________________

This article was written by Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing, and reposted from the Heinz Marketing blog with his permission.

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Conversations That Sell

A guest-post from Anne Samoilov

Today’s post comes to Thinkspace courtesy of Anne Samoilov and is republished by permission.  Anne has been helping solopreneurs become more productive, create and launch their life’s work. She teaches about topics including online launching, product launch, small business growth, productivity, self-management, motivation, business planning + goal setting. Anne’s background also includes 10 years experience as producer for animation, visual effects, and game development. We’re excited to have Anne here on the Thinkspace blog – as well as a featured speaker in a series of brown bag workshops.

conversations-that-sell

Is it possible something you said 4, 5, or 6 months ago affected your recent launch sales?

Does it really matter what you say to people about your launch? Will it make the difference between sales and dead air?

Is there a known, working method of reaching out, touching, connecting, getting to know your customers before you open the doors, starting conversations that actually lead to sales?

And don’t you want the RIGHT people to take your offer?

There’s nothing worse than making an offer and getting the wrong audience on board… though it does tell you something about what you’re offering… but I digress.

Talking about your upcoming launch, sharing the behind the scenes, taking people along for the ride – it’s crucial to your launch bottom line – but the process is riddled with mistakes people make when they’re first starting.

It’s not as simple as posting 5 times a day on social media (and hoping for the best). If you track your tweets – you know most people don’t click on those posts.

You can’t just run an ad on Facebook – and again, think that everyone will be magically drawn to it.

And – you can’t hope those guest posts – ok that ONE guest post you did – a year ago, will help you grow your audience.

Unless, you understand what it takes to get the right people’s attention NOW.

I learned that to get the conversation started meant focusing on (BRACE YOURSELF THIS MIGHT SOUND SELFISH) the what I wanted back.

Yes – the exchange of ideas – opinions – feelings – experiences… that’s what I wanted.

Once I determined what I wanted back – I changed my approach to communicating forever.

And I’m going to share the secret with you in a very special,  in-person workshop on March 20th here at thinkspace.

Conversations That Sell: How to tell the world about your launch + reach more of the right people.

  1. The easy launch conversation starter that equaled sales within 24 hours – most people don’t realize that this simple strategy is so powerful – and it even surprised me.
  2. My top 3 “no brainer” methods to prepare your audience for a launch.
  3. The one no cost “everyday” business tool that saved me hours in time and money.
  4. How my “Launch Leak Strategy” allows you to “tease” your launch and create excitement before you even launch!

And then – I’m going to share my proven “before, during and after” launch communication plan that will take all the guess work out for you!

Anne will be presenting at an upcoming thinkspace event – March 20th, Fearless Launching: Conversations That Sell, Workshop #2.  For more information and to register for this event, click here.  If you aren’t able to physically be present for this event, view the webinar by subscribing here.

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Why Having A Social Media Department Is A Bad Idea

When you think about the rise of social media and it’s prevalence in today’s business world, you would think that a company with the right resources should have their own social media department, if not only as a part of the marketing team.

That’s just plain wrong. A dedicated team for social is not the way to go about it and the numbers prove it. The idea is to create a social culture with people who have the tools and knowledge to drive authentic sharing, blogging, and a lively community without it being a huge burden on any one person or group.

The existence and adoption of social media platforms proves that humans by nature, want to share. Your employees are no different. Train them to do social regardless of the department they may work in and you’ll end up with a diverse group creating content that is going to appeal to a wide range of people. Not only that, you automatically get access to the combined social networks of all your employees because they want to share what they are up to and what they create with their friends and family.

Don’t departmentalize, teach everyone to socialize. You will find that you have a treasure trove of hidden talent and social superstars at your disposal. The authentic content that they create will drive traffic, brand recognition, culture, moral, and yes, fans, friends, followers and sales.

[Click to enlarge]

social media department, twitter, facebook, social media integration, how to do social, social media, social media marketing, social media business, authenticity, authentic, content, salty waffle

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10 Reasons To Do Social Media The Right Way [Stats]

social media, social media marketing, social media classes, community, salty waffle, social media advertising, social media factsWe live in a world surrounded by ads, that’s clear. With more methods of advertising, come more ways we learn to block them out. We are numb to many types of push marketing techniques, those types of ads and campaigns that saturate and annoy. Thankfully, we also live in a world where social media offers a way to avoid expensive, annoying, futile ad efforts.

With a well done social effort you can connect your brand on a personal level. People will seek out a connection with you via social media versus you seeking the customer’s attention by other means, potentially irritating them. When you pull versus push, word of mouth and the community is on your side. Check out the numbers on pushy marketing and look at the potential for extending brand loyalty with social:

  1. $4.26 billion will be spent on social media marketing globally in 2011
  2. 43% of Facebook users who “unlike” a brand do so because of too much push marketing
  3. 64% of Facebook users have liked a brand on Facebook
  4. 25% of social media users are more likely to look into a brand advertising on social media (15% of these users are more likely to purchase from social media advertisers)
  5. 41% of users who have unfollowed a brand on Twitter did so because they were over-marketed to
  6. 78.6% of consumers have joined a company’s community to get more information on the company
  7. 71% of community members say they are more likely to purchase from brand
  8. 66% of company community members note that the community has made them more loyal to a brand
  9. 63% of corporate community members note that they will recommend brand to friends/family
  10. Ford’s 2011 Explorer launch on Facebook generated a 200% greater return than a Super Bowl ad
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Google Is Going Through Changes, Here’s 3 You Need To Know About

With a crazy number of projects launching from Google Chromebooks to Google+, along with a few more clandestine endeavors, it’s easy to lose the less sexy stories in the shuffle. Here are 3 changes that are going to affect your business and search in huge ways starting….now.
google eminem

...goin' through changes

  1. Google+ Brand Pages: Looks like overwhelming demand for a place for businesses on Google+ has hustled Google along on this. Google+ for businesses will be launching before the end of the year with some awesome looking features. Look out for Google+ pages from Mashable, Ford, and others in the next couple of weeks.
  2. Yelp Reviews: Google continues their fight with Yelp and just recently removed all third-party reviews from Google Places pages. Google says it’s all about local search, some claim it’s because the quality of Yelp reviews has declined, but the bottom line is, no more Yelp reviews on your Google Places page. This is bad for you if you don’t have a bunch of native Google Places reviews already. It’s going to become necessary to get reviews for your Places page if you want reviews to show up on what is most likely one of the top results for a search on your business. Not only that, Google Maps will pull Google Places reviews, so you’ll want Maps users to see sparkling praise of your business, not a blank slate of sadness. Could this also be more evidence that Google Places is going to become part of Google+, as in Google+ for businesses? Maybe…
  3. Authorship: Further efforts to provide better search results and reward good content has led Google to place some focus on the authors. It’s in trial mode right now, but Google will display the author’s information and thumbnail image right in the Google search results. It’s easier to see than it is to explain…The benefits of this are many: Instant recognition, instant credibility, and an improved reputation for your blog’s authors that will likely give them a significant boost in social media influence as well, leaving them more powerful proponents of the content on your site. Make sure to get set up to display author information.
google+, social media, authorship, salty waffle
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3 Social Media Start Ups That Are Going to Change Your Life

No doubt, these three companies will change the social media world in the next year to three years. If you want to be ahead of the curve, check out what they do and why we think they they will be so important below.

social media, social media vocabulary, social networking1. Diaspora: Diaspora started to a lot of hoopla and continues to generate buzz after some students from NYU raised over $100,000 in less than a month using the Kickstarter funding platform. Diaspora aims to be an ‘open’ alternative to Facebook. Basically, Diaspora wants to put the control over your social network in your hands. The company stresses Choice, Ownership, and Simplicity. Diaspora is for those that think Facebook takes too many liberties with your data and lets you keep ownership of whatever you add to the network. The interface will look more like a WordPress blog editor than a typical social network and will give users near complete control of how they connect with others.

The model Diaspora is pursuing is almost opposite to that of Facebook’s and they believe that as people become increasingly aware of their lack of control on other sites, Diaspora will provide them with a solution. Open is certainly the way of the future in Web 3.0, but Diaspora is very ambitious. Their values will certainly affect the social media world in the near future even if comes in the form of another project.

2. Empire Avenue: Very basically, Empire Avenue is a social stock market made up of you and your friends. The higher your influence in social media, the higher your stock price. You can add your various social networks and social media activities you do will all contribute to your overall influence score. We talked about Pay With A Tweet a while back and this plays on the same idea that individuals and their network have value. You can buy and sell friends or anyone in the virtual stock market. Additionally you are free to choose what kind of advertisements you carry with your profile and the site has a very rewarding revenue sharing set-up.

As social media users continue to become more aware of the power they posses and can build up online, start-ups like Empire Avenue that help them turn that into an actual return will explode.

3. OneTrueFan: This may be the most influential start-up of the three. They have been described as ‘foursquare for web pages’ and they love that description. This takes the idea of check-in and applies it to web page. Like Foursquare, you are awarded points for checking-in and participating with a venue, only with OneTrueFan, the venue is a web page. This has the potential to be a powerful social layer for businesses to use on their site to get more participation from their most active fans. The name comes from the idea that each site will have one true fan, in other words, a mayor. People will compete to the be the number one fan through activities placed on the website and by checking in upon visiting. Look for almost every even semi-social website out there to have a check-in system in place within the next three years at most.