Amazon Cloud Drive

Not sure what all the fuss is about Amazon’s granting anyone who with an Amazon account a free five gigs of storage for their music. I’ve been storing music in my Dropbox account for three years. But what is very cool about the service is the integration with Amazon’s MP3 store — a fine alternative to Apple’s iTunes — and the uploaded app that plows through an iTunes library and can transfer it out of that ugly file management hell to the cloud where it is truly device independent.

 

So I signed up, downloaded the uploader, let it scan my music, selected a few albums and move them up to the cloud where I can now play them on any Android device or through any PC web browser (not sure if I can play music on my iPad via Safari and the web player… nope, Safari pukes on Amazon, imagine that).

The five gigabytes are free, and if you buy an album from Amazon you get upgraded to 20 gb — which is a decent amount of free storage — for one year (after which it reverts to the original 5).

The catch is that Amazon reserves the right to go through your files, so uploading a stack of crappy MP3s you downloaded from Napster is not a wise idea. I put my paid purchases from iTunes up there and for once I can listen to my music on something other than the single PC that holds the library or the device that is synched to that PC.

God bless the cloud. Google is allegedly working on the same concept – not a surprise — and we certainly would have had an easier time with the late Skylight project which really desperately needed a music source. This ends my mixed affair with iTunes at last.

 

Salesforce-Radian 6: social lead gen

Salesforce.com’s acquisition of social monitoring company Radian 6 isn’t that big of a surprise — although I had to think for a few minutes on why the poster child for cloud-delivered application services and sales management tools would acquire the Canadian monitoring service for $326 million.

The metrics and analytics space is crowded with social metrics vendors — most of which put pretty dashboards on top of gross census figures (how many followers, fans, likes, retweets, etc.) and data crawled by Google — who don’t bring a lot to the table in terms of precision and salient insights that a web metrics platform like Adobe’s Omniture has done in classic web site measurement. The fact that Adobe didn’t grab Radian 6 (or any of the other players that are crowding for attention) is not surprising — but why would Salesforce take on social? For the cachet? To get on the frothy bubble?

If Salesforce’s sweet spot is sales management then Radian 6 could be used for social lead generation — that detection-of-desire model I wrote about two years ago.

If the first phase of social monitoring was to prevent Dell Hell from happening, and the second phase was influencer identification, I think the third and most lucrative will be the detection and analysis of people in market for stuff and talking about their need for that stuff within their social graph. We messed around a little with this at Lenovo — looking at Twitter for indications such as “I need a PC” or “Should I buy a Mac or a ThinkPad” — and then tried to seal the deal with a one-off discount coupon to get the Tweeter into the e-commerce engine.

The problem with most social metrics is sentiment. The “red-yellow-green” type of analysis that a brand would use to see if people think positively or negatively about them or a specific issue or a specific product over time. Sentiment is the province of pollsters and professional surveyors — and any conceit that it can be automated is just that. A conceit.

But — if social analytics can provide attribution of an action — be it a news story, ad campaign, etc. — to a change in fundamental business results: sales, reduced costs, or improved customer loyalty, then bingo, it makes sense for a company focused on the provision of sales tools to acquire a company focused on pulse taking.

Here’s Nathan Gilliatt’s trenchant analysis of the announcement.