woensdag 26 oktober 2011

Edit Huddle: The Crowd as Editor

By Rachel Hyman, head of marketing at Edit Huddle

Blog Errors are a Problem

Think about your favorite blogs, whether they’re political, tech, or news blogs. If they publish frequently, chances are their posts have errors — something is misspelled, the grammar is wonky, or there’s a broken link. Even at blogs with attentive editors, mistakes slip through. Thing is, even if you’re not an out-and-out grammar Nazi, those irritating errors suck. They’re distracting. They make the blogger and the blog look bad, and they attract a flood of commenters who seem to thrive on pointing out errors, detracting from more substantial conversation.
Bloggers, rightfully, are more focused on generating and disseminating quality content than they are on catching every single trivial error. Blog readers want to read clear, error-free posts and the grand majority of them look to the comment section for something more meaningful than “You spelled ‘accidentally’ wrong. Again.” So what’s the solution?

That’s where Edit Huddle comes in. Edit Huddle is a tool that lets blog readers flag particular errors, sending that information to bloggers via a clean dashboard. The tool seamlessly integrates with blogs, allowing authors to fix their posts directly from the dashboard. The tool itself is simple and unobtrusive for blog readers to use: they simply highlight the section of text that contains the error, select the type of mistake it is, and the information is sent directly to the blogger.
Why use Edit Huddle?

Everyone on the Edit Huddle team is a huge blog reader, and we all get frustrated over errors, especially when the comment section gets inundated with people more concerned with pointing out mistakes than with having a productive discussion. Our founder, Imran Ahmad, noticed that many commenters on his favorite blogs were highlighting the same errors, but that there was no easy way to directly contact the blogger. Unsatisfied with the idea of sticking his correction in the comment section and calling it a day, Imran realized that he could harness the power of the crowd to make corrections, improving the blog experience for readers and writers alike.

We believe that there’s a large market of blog readers who would avail themselves of the Edit Huddle tool — much larger than self-proclaimed grammar Nazis who take to the comment section upon spotting errors. See, for instance, this comment from a recent Thought Catalog article:

Thought Catalog posts about 65 times a week. That’s a lot. They also don’t have a stringent editing process, and typos crop up all the time. See the reply by ‘Guest’ up there? 18 people agreed with that commenter. Those are all people who have picked up on the fact that Thought Catalog has recurrent errors, and they’re all potentially people who would use the Edit Huddle tool, even if they wouldn’t comment like Max did.

The crowd is so essential to Edit Huddle because they, the blog readers, are the ones spotting the errors and flagging them to be sent to the blogger. Edit Huddle is literally unimaginable without the scores of readers — the silent majority — who want to read high-quality, professional content and are engaged enough with the blogs they visit to conceivably submit corrections. 

As we move the startup along, we consider not only the bloggers who would put the tool on their site, but also the blog readers whose corrections are paramount to the success of Edit Huddle. We always keep in mind that even if we pitch Edit Huddle to bloggers, the blog readers are our users as well. The feedback of these blog readers has already been incredibly useful. For instance, we’ve been playing around with where on a blog post to put the “Corrections” button that enables users to submit errors, according to the different comments we’ve gotten. Because the crowd is the one submitting the errors, we’re intent on making the process as simple and nonintrusive for them as possible.

History + Progress

Edit Huddle was conceived at the Chicago SocialDevCamp Hackathon. We were one of the winners at that competition, which only pushed us to work harder. We soon competed in Chicago Startup Weekend and gained some incredible traction in an intense 54 hours. We contacted over 1,200 bloggers and got a 17% response rate. We found that 85% of survey respondents would use the Edit Huddle Tool, and 40% would pay $1.99 for it. We also got nince influential bloggers to agree to beta testing, which means the Edit Huddle tool will first be rolled out in front of a total 80,000 readers. “This is something we would definitely use on our website,” said Seth Kravitz, co-founder of the Chicago entrepreneurial site Technori. “I love the simplicity of your implementation." After buckling down for two and a half days, we were declared one of the winners at Chicago Startup Weekend.

Since Startup Weekend, we’ve been working around the clock to ensure the success of Edit Huddle. Right now, we’re focusing on a Wordpress plugin, and we plan to extend seamless integration to a multitude of other blog platforms. We’ve also been connecting to Chicago entrepreneurs, readying beta testing, and launching our new website. Beta testing will start shortly; expect to hear about a full launch soon.

Get in Touch

Please check out our new website and sign up for an invite. You can also connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. We love hearing from people who are into startups, entrepreneurship, technology, crowdsourcing, and above all bloggers and blog readers! Email press@edithuddle.com to get in touch.

dinsdag 4 oktober 2011

PR: "Brand Expedition goes to stock market"

“English edition will conquer the world”

Utrecht – In order to translate his successful book 'Brand Expedition, an expedition to Europe's most inspiring brands', Martijn Arets will, in the next 8 weeks, use crowdfunding in order to sell 1000 stocks of his book.

Last Monday, he used an old cargo bike to visit the place where the big boys play – or rather, sell their own stocks: Beursplein 5 in Amsterdam, near the Beurs van Berlage. Using a fun guerilla action, he created attention for his own shares. Investors, besides the standard share of 20% of the book- project, will get free books, access to exclusive presentations and Skype advice sessions of brand consultant Arets.

In 2010, Arets travelled across Europe in a old Volkswagen T2 camper van and interviewed the CEO's, founders and brand executives of 20 authentic European brands. He captured his experiences in the book Brand Expedition. In order to finance the translation and production, together with Symbid he initiated this crowdfunding campaign.

Arets: “Banks generally aren't in tune with what you do as an entrepreneur. The pro of crowdfunding is that shareholders become immediate ambassadors of your project. Because they share in the profits they're very motived to activate their own network. Investing is possible from €20 and after 7000 sold books after taxes, a break-even of their input is accomplished. In order to sustain the shareholders' interest in the long run, they automatically get a share of 10% in any of the following translations. Currently a Chinese translation is in consideration”.

45 million fans
To immediately put his English translation in the spotlights worldwide, Arets will challenge the fans of the visited brands (45 million on Facebook alone) to read a chapter about 'their' brand in front of a webcam. They will participate in the first online video book ever. Arets hopes that this action connects at least 1000 brand fans and will globally position his story.

Arets proved last year that he has a keen insight in how to use social media to create attention about his expedition and his book: he gathered nearly €1 million of free publicity. One example is a video he made with a secret camera where he, in different bookshops, bought his own books before they were actually on sale. The attention this video got on Twitter and other social media outlets, made sure that his book within a couple of days after the release was available in several bookshops.

Note for the editors: Martijn Arets is available for interviews and press photo's in high resolution are available through request. For more questions please contact him at: martijn@brand-expedition.eu.

- Youtube channel with video of e.g. ‘stockmarket’, ‘bookstore guerrilla’ and booktrailer
- Flickr channel Brand Expedition with lowres pictures and press photo's