Friday, April 27, 2012

Mass Intelligence

The Economist Group has created a series of articles that is recommended reading for anyone using Bitmenu as a platform for delivery of their digital media.  As the image at left suggests, our current media landscape is dominated by delivery mechanisms that effectively target and serve "mass" and "elite" audiences.

Along with the rise of social media, casual purchasing and digital delivery, the Rise of the Mass Intelligent audience might be just as important.  

"There remains a large audience for high-quality journalism and media. To survive in the digital world, publishers shouldn’t appeal to the lowest common denominator, but instead focus on targeting the mass intelligent. And it may come as a shock that, at the end of the day, this may mean making your publication smarter, more intelligent and a little nerdier."

The lesson here for content creators and publishers?  Don't ignore the nerdier aspects of your brand and your fans.  Distribute your most popular materials freely, and at the same time charge for high quality, high fidelity and enhanced versions.  The mass intelligent will thank you!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Video Showing Setup and First Offer

We've just posted a screencast showing how a new user sets up their Bitmenu account and creates a new item for sale.

We call it a recipe:  prepare your media, logo and thumbnails beforehand, then link to your Amazon of PayPal account.  With your account setup, you can upload your files, create offers and sell.

Making the screencast was fun.  We hope it is useful and helpful to you.  Please let use know if you would like more like it and by all means link to it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Production Upgrade: New Downloader

Today we are making an improvement to the Bitmenu system that has been the result of observing tens of thousands of downloads.

As of today, Bitmenu has simplified the download process for most users.  Our new Flash-based downloader explicitly asks the user where they want to store their purchase, provides download status and then displays a "download complete" dialog.  While the process might seem simple, that's just the point.  We have reduced the process to its essential elements.

Not all users will see the new system.  If a user does not have Flash installed on their computer, our system will then look for Java in order to use the Java-based downloader.  If neither Flash nor Java is on the device  (some 8% of purchases are coming from smartphones and tablets now), the download will be managed via HTML.

In all cases, the user has one full download per purchase.

It's worth noting the unique nature of the system.  Louis CK's system lets buyers download 5 times and Pottermore gives users 8 tries for each e-book they purchase.  The Bitmenu system proves that one download is enough.  The benefit to users is they can try as many times as needed to get a full download.  Most problems come from network issues and with Bitmenu they can just try again.  

The good news for publishers is they can count on each download being tied to a purchase.  There is no "leakage" when a user sends their fulfillment URL to a friend.

Of course, our customer service team stands ready to assist users who encounter problems such as lost files, hard drives and computers.  Users sometimes ask for a second link for their home computer if they first downloaded to their office computer or after they have had to reformat their systems.  It's a straight-forward process for us to verify the purchase and authorize another single access link.

With today's upgrade, most buyers will see a smoother download.  We look forward to your feedback. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bitmenu's Purpose

This blog allows us to speak openly about how Bitmenu fits in the world and how it compares to what's going on elsewhere.  It's also a good vehicle to speak about what we at Bitmenu are doing.  I'm going to use an excellent outline provided by Nilofer Merchant.

Our goal is to enable creators of media to build sustainable businesses around their creations.  It's a pretty simple idea.  The tools available for creating and consuming great stuff exist, but building a business from sharing is challenging even the most established organizations, to say nothing of individual producers.

We see being paid simply for delivery as a vital, missing component.  With Bitmenu, creators can introduce their works to new audiences and interact with their known customers without requiring tedious registration and financial information.

Our method has been to participate with each new way people create and deliver digital content.  We started by helping podcasters, since that is what we were doing at the Stanford Professional Publishing Courses.  We made our system work with standard browsers, mobile devices and social media services to invite participation from creators of a wide range of genres and interests.

We make it a pleasure to buy and a fun to sell.  While making money is serious business, we designed the Bitmenu purchase flow to be as easy as possible.  Buyers just buy and take delivery, and Sellers get paid.  Fulfilling that purpose is a great pleasure for all involved.

This blog enables us to take our message directly to those who are contemplating how to direct their talents, how to engage their audience, and how to sustain their efforts.  Please share this message with those who need to hear it.  Also continue to share your feelings and suggestions with us.

For our part, we will speak about how to use Bitmenu from a seller's perspective as well as the buying process.  We've watched our first set of publishers develop production workflows and promotion timelines.  We will continue to use this blog to paint the picture of how creators are building sustainable businesses.