Looking for One Direction concert tickets? You’re not alone.

One Direction ConcertThere’s a good chance you have already heard about One Direction. An English-Irish pop boy band is currently on its second tour called “Take Me Home Tour”. Social media is one of the main factors that helped build the hugely successful brand 1D. So why not use social media in the hunt for available concert tickets for the 1D shows!

One Direction was formed in London and finished third in the British televised singing competition The X Factor in 2010. Propelled to international success by the power of social media, the band is often described as part of a new “British Invasion” in the United States. How big is 1D on Twitter? Take a look at the never-ending stream of Twitter posts craving for its concert tickets:

One Direction embarked on its second concert tour “Take Me Home” in February 2013. The tour consists of more than 100 shows in Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia. Ticket sales reached 300,000 within a day of release in the UK and Ireland. In Australia and New Zealand, all 190,000 tickets for the eighteen shows were sold.

But you probably only need one or two tickets. So go ahead and try the One Direction concert page with all the band’s tour dates. On this site, you might find your desired tickets or be able to sell unused tickets to other fans. The oft-cited “clean cut, wholesome, whiter-than-white, middle-class, parent-friendly pop” band’s show is waiting for you. Enjoy the show!

Check out One Direction concerts and tickets »

HOW TO: Sell concert tickets for free

There are many website options available on which music fans can sell their unused concert tickets. Whether it is eBay, its subsidiary StubHub, or TicketsNow owned by Ticketmaster, music fans are typically forced to pay a commission when selling their tickets online. However, ConcertIn.com offers a better alternative for music fans – on this site, ticket sellers can make transaction without paying commission fees.

Sell concert tickets for free at www.concertin.com

Until now, if fans needed to sell their concert tickets because they thought they may not make the show, they could post their tickets at StubHub.com. If the transaction went through, the seller would pay a 15 percent commission. Furthermore, the buyer, too, would pay a commision – 10 percent of the total ticket price. On the sale of a $100 ticket, StubHub would make a handsome profit of $25.

But at www.concertin.com, you can sell tickets for free – no commission fees are charged. After signing in with Facebook, you can list a ticket for sale. If you don’t opt for a paid promoted ticket listing, your ticket offer still appears on the concert page in the “Tickets for sale” section. In this case, the seller’s identity is shown only to his or her Facebook friends who can reply to the seller and make a deal.

Even if users who want to sell tickets and who want to buy are not Facebook friends, they can conduct a transaction thanks to the ConcertIn website. The non-friend users can also reply to the seller to buy tickets after paying a small fee, usually $0.99. The identity of the seller is revealed, and both parties can get in touch and negotiate the details of the transaction.

If ticket sellers want to find buyers faster, they can pay to promote the ticket listing. For a fee of 9 percent of the total ticket price, sellers get their ticket offers exposed, including their identities, to all fans visiting the concert page. Prospective buyers can easily contact the ticket seller, either by e-mail or on Facebook. Compared to StubHub’s $25 profit, ConcertIn makes at the most $9 on the sale of a $100 ticket.

Before you decide which service to use to sell your unused concert tickets, be sure to check out all the available options. And don’t forget that you can sell concert tickets for free – with a little help from your (Facebook) friends.

Buy and sell concert tickets at www.concertin.com

We are announcing the launch of www.concertin.com, where music fans can find upcoming shows of their favorite musicians and buy and sell concert tickets.

Our new website serves two purposes: live music discovery and concert ticket reselling. Fans of live music can see upcoming shows of artists and bands they like on Facebook. And now, based on the feedback from our Facebook app users, we have added an option where users can list their concert tickets for sale. The basic version is free, with one restriction: only the seller’s Facebook friends can see the ticket offer. Tickets listed within the paid version are promoted to all users, not just friends, for 9% commission from the total ticket sale, allowing the ConcertIn website to connect fans who want to sell tickets with a much broader buyer pool.

The secondary ticket market has always been a shady place, be it for sports or concert tickets. The new ConcertIn website solves one of the biggest problems with the secondary market: the lack of transparency. Every user at www.concertin.com is required to login via their Facebook identity. Using API, our service utilizes Facebook data to record the music a user likes, their location, and their email address. Not only does this help streamline user registration, it also brings a clear and transparent user identity to the marketplace.

Each ticket sales listing is accompanied by a user’s profile picture, name, location, and number of Facebook friends. This information helps to confirm that the ticket seller is a real music fan rather than a scalper located hundreds miles away or a fake person with just a few friends. Improved transparency should result in better conditions for true music fans, who will be able to buy tickets at www.concertin.com for more reasonable prices.

the ConcertIn website

Facebook: data-driven, data selling

Facebook is an ad agency; most of its revenue comes from selling ads. In fact, it’s the second biggest ad agency in the world, right after Google.

Facebook needs to grow in order to please investors with the coming and awaiting IPO this year. Facebook, just like Google and other tech businesses, is a data-driven company. Hell, they must have huge data sets. They’re such hot stuff in the information society, Facebook will have to host their data centers in the Arctic soon.

But back to the data business. Look at the metrics that Facebook regularly makes public; user engagement and time spent on site. More than half of Facebook users visit the site every day, and in the time spent on site parameter Facebook significantly beats other big competitors. These two figures represent key values that are supposed to grow in order to justify the current $100+ billion valuation of the company.

The new Timeline feature is a great example of how to keep visitors on site for longer. The Timeline is almost never-ending as you scroll down… much more exciting than the former boring profile, right? The same is true for the News Feed; the main page of Facebook. Interactive designers, engineers and social behavior scientists optimize this page. They test, measure, learn, improve and test again. The features that push engagement and time spent high stay on the site, the rest gets killed. And this cycle goes on and on.

So you might complain that your Facebook is cluttered with stupid pictures and cat videos, missing important updates. That might be the case. The pictures and videos – all the multimedia files in general – attract more Likes, Shares and comments, bringing back other curious friends eager to see the cute overload. It’s cheap but it pumps the numbers up on the graph.

Musicians: Get Your Facebook Page Done Right

Today artists, bands, labels, even promoters do their marketing on Facebook. Technology has become “social” and social media can create unforeseen opportunities as a communication, distribution and sales channel. It is not easy to figure out how all this works despite there being millions of social media “consultants” and wanna-be gurus. A lot of knowledge is needed, especially in technology, design (not decoration), psychology and social science. If this expertise is lacking, misunderstandings can happen easily and the potential is wasted.

Tip: in a hurry? Skip to “Let’s get to work”

Facebook and Pages

Facebook is the dominant social network in today’s world; the site allows musicians to fully harness the power of the social graph. What? Well, I mean Facebook friends. Why? Because music is a very social vertical. You would rarely go to a concert alone. If you like a song, it is very likely you will share this experience.

Facebook offers a special product that musicians can use to sell music, promote live shows and engage with their fans. It is called Facebook Pages. Facebook has also published a special manual for music artists and bands where you can find very useful tips.

How musicians’ Facebook Pages look today

To be honest, they look quite “MySpacey”. Artists and bands try to flood their pages with a lot of content without having a clear vision of how the page should look and how it actually works. It really reminds me of a MySpace over-decorated web site though. Facebook is a different story. The whole social network was designed with the focus on the users’ needs. Each element of the Facebook site is deeply thought-out and easy to use. Ok, enough theory.

Let’s get to work

Take a look at Facebook Page of Skafander and see what we can improve.

  1. Keep it simple, stupid

    This is the most important rule and also the reason why Facebook has outgrown MySpace. In other words, less is more. Do not try to post everything you find interesting. Think about your fans, if they will find it valuable. If you are writing a text, keep it short and break it up into a few paragraphs. Sometimes you can see a really long story at the Info tab. Who reads it?

  2. The Page and the tab are two different things

    Please note that the page, or the Facebook Page if you like, is the entire web page. The tab is a part of the page, every page usually has a few tabs. There are native Facebook tabs like Wall, Info, Photos, and then the administrator can also add a custom application tab like our own tab Concerts. Musicians often add different, so called, “band pages”. In most cases these tabs, despite being called “pages”, bring the MySpace touch and feel into Facebook. For fans this is a frustrating experience. There is simply too much content which is not presented in a user-friendly way.

  3. Tune up your welcome tab

    The fan lands at your Facebook page and sees … Wall? If so, try to think about forwarding your fans to the Info tab instead. You can also create your own welcome tab using the Static FBML application. However, a basic knowledge of HTML is needed in this case. Otherwise just set up your default landing page at the page admin section (Manage Permissions):

  4. Each tab should focus on a particular content type

    Do not mess up apples and oranges. Separate all your effort into tabs and put each type of content into one tab. The info tab presents a brief introduction and links to other tabs. Wall includes the latest news and posts from fans. Music tab offers latest tracks with easy Share and Buy options. Concerts tab shows upcoming live shows with Buy tickets links. Store tab offers merchandise; users can pay with Facebook Credits among other ways.

  5. Avoid duplicating

    Duplicating creates confusion. If you take a look at the first picture, you get the idea. Should I share this or that one? Now there are two walls, right? How about Photos? So prevent fans from asking such questions. Just give them a single choice of tabs with clear labels. They will be happy to navigate easily through your Facebook page by switching the tabs.

Done. Now what?

If you have completed the steps mentioned, you have now got to the never-ending track of continuous development. Sure, sounds terrible but now it’s important to measure results and see what can be further improved. You want to get results, correct? So keep on making your Facebook Page better.

Originally posted at MusicThinkTank.

Between Two TechCrunch Posts: Working On Stuff That Matters

In May 2008, I won a TechCrunch Meet-up pitch contest with the idea of the ConcertIn web-based service for concert lovers. Fast forward to September 2010, we were soft-launching a Facebook application that helps people discover live music. So what happened during those 2+ years? Why did it take so long?

Well…I cooperated, on average, with one and a half co-founders, but unfortunately both working relationships died, the latter even before he fully started working on the project. During those years, I tuned the idea of a service, optimizing the service concept according to new trends. The primary goal, however, has always remained intact: to build something that really matters. Simple, easy to use, and useful.

And that is not easy considering the fact that people prefer to use services with no real value. Take a look at Facebook with more than a half-billion active users. The service is based on a philosophy that people need to share more. Personally, I prefer to share less – especially when others are increasing their “sharing” rate over time. Does the sharing make people happier? I strongly doubt it, unless you are a narcissist with no self-confidence. Never mind, Facebook’s valuation tops 30 billion dollars. A lot of money for…?

Take Zynga, a gaming giant that has grown – rather, exploded – inside the Facebook ecosystem in past years. More than 200 million users monthly reap what they sow, play poker, and rule the Caribbean while sitting behind a computer. They also spend money buying – wait for it – virtual goods. The addicts all over the world have explored the look and feel of this app. My message to them is: “Get real. Why don’t you go to Vegas and spend some real money playing real poker, you lazy (—)!”

Okay, cooling down now. Do you know what Facebook and Zynga have in common? Their No. 1 goal is to keep you on-site as long as possible in order to pump up their personal data warehouses. They will do whatever they can to fulfill their mission. Facebook will show you in the “Picture memories” section a picture of your kitten that passed away last week and you, crying, will be politely watching happy ads right below. Zynga will boost your little gambler ego just to sell you a brand-new product that you cannot touch, feel, smell, taste, or kick in the ass. Sad…frustrating…but true as both companies are in the ad industry.

We took a different approach. We chose Facebook as our primary distribution channel. Distribution is what Facebook is really efficient at. We add content (tour dates and concert tickets) and context (showing you concerts of artists and bands you like). We don’t want our users to spend more time with our application than is absolutely necessary. That is why we are now also collecting your email address – so we can email you when your favorite artist or band will be touring in your area. We move forward, step by step gathering your feedback and usage data to help us to build something, perhaps small at the beginning, that really matters.

Geeks on a Plane made me yet more realistic

Starting a technology company in Czech Republic is Catch-22. Early-stage companies need in many cases investments (angel, seed) in order to take off. But they currently have hard times to secure the financing. Why? There are no investors willing to take a risk at the early-stage. Angels and VCs prefer to invest in already profitable projects. I know we are not in the Silicon Valley but rather in the middle of nowhere in terms of technology investors. Unfortunately I am pretty sure it is not going better any time soon.

So I really have to thank all the Silicon Valley Geeks on a Plane (led by Dave McClure) for (coming here and) making me yet more realistic. All local geeks should also thank to Jack DeNeut (Nelso.com) for organizing the event. I also appreciate Dan Franc who was, together with me, the only Czech speaker yesterday. Isn’t it a shame?

What is wrong with the social graph?

The web turns into a social space. Every new web app tries to grab a piece of the social media pie. To be viral is a new disease that spreads all over the web. From my point of view, this is a very unhealthy evolution. I blame the base of any social network, the social graph, which does not represent the reality well enough.

How many friends do you have? Not on Facebook, Twitter or FriendFeed, but in the real world? Have you ever met them face to face? Probably yes, right? What type of content do you usually share with them? Do you show them pictures from your vacation in Hawaii? Perhaps you talked about your frustration from buying high-priced live concert tickets on the secondary market. Maybe you recommend your favorite restaurant to some of your friends from time to time.

OK, now log in at www.facebook.com. Or use MySpace, Twitter, FriendFeed, whatever. One of your so called “friends” shares a new picture of her little puppy. Simply cute overload, as some of you would say, but what the hell does it have in common with me? One more example that I “really” enjoy seeing is status updates. I love “Watching very funny video at http://tinyurl.com/snipr.by. Join me now!” You read the status update first on Twitter. Then it automatically show at Facebook and then, last but least, FriendFeed follows. God bless data portability in this form!

These two above mentioned scenarios illustrate a huge gap between handling the real world and treating the virtual space. To harmonize our offline and online presence, we need to change our attitude towards one of these two worlds. Most likely it won’t concern the real one 🙂

Social media is a new pill that we take each morning and evening. True, many people use it continuously 10+ hours a day. In the current state of social network the pill does not make our lives any better. What I can see is mostly a lot of noise, redundancy and irrelevancy. How to get rid of this? Adding some kind of semantic information to social networks could be a solution, at least in part. For instance I like the Link – Blogroll admin section of WordPress because it uses XFN specification for describing the social graph. The system asks me what the relationship is like when I add a new link.

It is definitely the way to go as more details about a certain relationship is given the higher content relevancy can be reached within the social network. Furthermore this is the direction we should take if social networks are supposed to represent the reality.

Another problem is caused by both people’s uncontrolled creativity and an easy access to digital technologies that allows us to share almost anything. Simply there is too much content on the web and especially inside social networks. Users need tools to cope with this information overload. Take Facebook and its redesigned homepage with the News Feed. I can pick my friends and add them to friend lists. By choosing a given friend list I can filter the lifestream. Moreover I can hide inappropriate friends or applications with a single click. To a certain extent these features provide a good help to me but not the perfect one.

So far the most efficient filtering system I have found at www.friedfeed.com. Each item in the FriendFeed stream is accompanied by a Hide link similar to the one at Facebook. But there is a difference. Except the basic hide functionality for hiding the unwanted or irrelevant content, the user can set up advanced Hide options.

I am really a big fan of this Hide feature. Let’s say you want to display only blog posts (or tweets) from TechCrunch.com that have at least one comment (or so called “Likes”) from any FriendFeed user. No problem here. Moreover you can set up multiple filtering criteria. This way you can clean up the displayed life stream so you see only the relevant content. One more thing I like at www.friendfeed.com is the stream item clustering. That means they put similar or equal activity items together (tweet and Facebook status update showing the identical message for example) into a single (though expandable) activity line. Ultimate redundancy killer!

The entire world of social networking is still very immature. We should be slowly heading away from Snowball effect games, Six degrees of separation experiments and “popular” quizzes to something more useful. Current social networks are more or less empty containers where selling ads are the last instance the providers rely on. It needs to be fixed.

Drinking beer in 2.0 style (and how to build a devoted community)

Let’s assume you are damn thirsty and heading to your favorite pub to have a nice cold beer, as usually. You enter the pub, have a seat and are waiting for a waiter. Wrong! Not here and not now as it’s the old school.

This is the new deal. You enter the pub, have a seat and help yourself with a built-in self-service tap. So you don’t need to wait for a waiter anymore and can drink as much as you want. It’s simply the well-known on-demand model. Each table in the pub has its own tap mechanism. Taps are connected to a central cash desk which measures the beer consumption of each person, table and pub in the franchising network.

Because the consumption data are also being aggregated over the internet, in each pub you can see drinkers’ leader board on a big screen. You can also compete with other pubs in the network and see online where (in which pub) people drink most beer. Isn’t that amazing?

I just wonder if they build a Facebook application (perhaps FB Connect would be more appropriate) posting to News Feed messages like “John just finished his 10th beer”. They could also use Twitter API so you could automatically broadcast “I’m totally drunk”. Just make sure your wife is following you on Twitter in case you need a ride at 3 a.m.

But seriously, there have not been many innovative projects launched in the Central Europe region lately. This is an exception and I believe others will follow. The company behind the unique self-service tap system called “The Pub” is based, not accidentally, in Pilsen (Czech Republic) where the original Pilsener beer is coming from.

So far I like the concept very much. My biggest concern is the fact how intensively the online and offline worlds can cooperate. Of course they could go further and use a huge potential of the internet for increasing the awareness of their excellent idea by building the real world community with the help of virtual social networks and lifestream web services.

By the way, could you beat the current record of drinking 14 liters of beer during one session? 😮