Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

CrowdFanatic: A Facebook App for Fanboys and the Brands That Love Them

With the rise of social networks, professing one’s love for a particular brand is as simple as clicking “Like” on a Facebook page. But, for Facebook, that activity can be somewhat siloed: You’re either preaching to the choir on a fan page or sharing that love with your circle of friends via status updates.

While that may not irk the average “Twilight” fan, it’s a potential thorn in the paw of social media marketers who want their campaigns to go viral.

Enter CrowdFanatic, the recently launched app that lets fans interact on Facebook by pitting opposing groups against one another.

Thus, Google Android fans can challenge Apple zealots in an “arena,” a page where participants can exchange comments back and forth, making the case for their particular beloved product. From there, anyone can share a link to the discussion to attract others.

In other words, the app essentially gives fanboys of different stripes a battleground in which to duke it out.

In a time where viral marketing can make or break a given product (thePebble smart watch, for example), the idea is an interesting one for brands looking for a wider reach. Get enough users to rally behind your cause — be it a movie, a political candidate or a laundry detergent — and the court of public opinion could turn more customers and supporters your way.

While individual fans can start their own “arenas,” the most obvious use case is for social media marketing campaigns. The app is currently free to all Facebook users, but founder Yaron Bazaz and his team are currently working on a plugin for Facebook brand pages, wherein companies could connect CrowdFanatic to their page for a licensing fee, as well as a cut of the revenue share from an online donation system.

“Brand pages on Facebook are isolated islands, crippling their efforts to promote their agenda and engage users,” Bazaz told AllThingsD in an interview. “After the first ‘Like,’ most of the supporters will never return to the brand page.”

Of course, it seems that little stands in the way of each “arena” devolving into a vitriolic back and forth, or even keeping participants on topic.

The Apple versus Android debate I created, for example, had three responses, last I checked, all of which were extolling the virtues of the vodka + Red Bull cocktail. Bazaz and his team have the ability to manage comments, arenas and topics, although this seems difficult to scale if the app takes off.

To be sure, CrowdFanatic is still in its infant beta form. Bazaz has raised an ample $300,000 in seed funding, he said, and is now aiming for a Series A round. The six-employee start-up has offices in Vancouver and Sunnyvale, Calif.

(Photo credit: Nerds on Call/Flickr)


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