This Week in Consumer Web – August 27, 2010

This week GroupMe, TaskRabbit, and FoodSpotting each raised close to $800k in funding and Etsy just to throw everyone off raised $20MM, giving the five year old commerce website a $300 Million dollar evaluation. Sprout, a social platform monitoring and measuring service just implemented a pricing structure a few days ago giving the two year old company (funded by the founders of GroupOn) the opportunity to show its power in the ad network world. All of these companies have active twitter accounts and a new study by Ericsson found that half of consumers watch On-Demand internet television. Consumers are taking their offline experiences and rushing to manage them online and companies are scrambling to keep up.

No less than a decade ago it was strange to get car insurance online (eInsurance) and even five years ago entering detailed bank account information to monitor expenses seemed crazy (Mint.com). Consumers still want better deals and are even more verbal about it with various website and ways to review, comment and blog. First there was the hurdle of trusting the internet, now the battle is to organize it. Squeaky wheel gets the grease but what if all the wheels are squeaking? How do you begin to filter the white noise?

Today you can send a text to your premium friends-list using GroupMe to grab sushi for dinner. You might even tweet that you are going to the restaurant to which it can respond to you via tweet/text with a coupon/offer/discount/survey. Afterwards you can use CampusFork.com or Foodspotting to then take a photo and upload a fresh picture online to a website where it can get voted/liked/reviewed by peers or seen by the restaurant brand watchers/paid internet trolls/corporate social media team and given an offer/coupon/retail advertisement. You could even use TaskRabbit to have ice/food/dessert dropped off at your apartment by someone else before you got home. All of this can be done via mobile and some companies are just now rebranding their websites to have facebook like buttons?

Here’s what we learned this week:

  • Mobile is still hot: mobile continues to expand as apps evolve how we book beauty appointments, hook up with partners, and even print documents while on the go.
  • Companies will continue to need help: managing and filtering through online customer feedback is tedious and most corporations don’t have any man power dedicated to support this even with a fancy software API
  • The Consumer is right: what consumers are saying is getting backed up by pictures, posts, and others on the internet who had the same experience. Its easy to tell someone on the phone they are mistaken, the internet–not so much.

Virality is changing and the shift in venture capital investment indicates consumer networks are taking social networks and making them product specific. Is there an even more valuable group of people to have access to from a marketing opportunity and damage control perspective?