I am Joannes Vermorel, founder at Lokad. I am also an engineer from the Corps des Mines who initially graduated from the ENS.

I have been passionate about computer science, software matters and data mining for almost two decades. (RSS - ATOM)


Entries in Social networks (4)


LinkedIn DirectAds, early thoughts

I just started my first LinkedIn DirectAds campaign a few days ago. I had significant previous experience with Google Adwords, and I was interested to see how DirectAds could perform compared to Adwords.

From an outsider perspective, LinkedIn looks the perfect marketplace for a niche B2B software technology such as Lokad which specializes in demand forecasting. Indeed:

  • I know exactly the profile of the people I am trying to reach: vertical, job description, company size, location, etc.
  • My willingness to pay for each super-targeted lead is rather high.

DirectAds are extremely similar in their format with AdWords. The only minor difference is the presence of small 50x50 icon along your add (the illustration of this post is a screenshot of one of my DirectAds).

The core difference with Adwords is that instead of betting on keywords, DirectAds are selected based the profile of the audience you want to reach. The criteria available for audience filtering are:

  • Company Size
  • Job Function
  • Industry
  • Seniority
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geography

Yet, it must be noted at that, at present time, only 4 (out of the 7 available) can be selected at the same time within a campaign. This restriction is rather odd and annoying. In my case, company size, job function, industry and seniority are good enough, but geography would have been a bonus too - especially for localized ads.

Then, the job function offers only 18 categories which is a very rough granularity. Again, I would have preferred to be able to directly specify keywords listed in job description entered by the LinkedIn members.

Finally, my initial selection is giving me about 14k members as my target audience. After 48h of display, I have 2k impressions for a single $2 click ($2/click is the minimal bid).

Very low traffic is probably the downside of LinkedIn DirectAds. With such a limited audience, even assuming a good conversion rate, but it will take months to recover the 2h spent initializing the campaign.


Discovering Twitter

I have been hearing a lot about Twitter for a long time. I am still puzzled a bit by the concept, but apparently a significant percentage of the registrants at Lokad do have a Twitter account. So now, I can start wasting time on Twitter too while pretending it's company work :-)

More seriously, it appears that a couple of competitors, prospects, customers are actually discussing of sales forecasts out there, so it might be worth keeping on eye on that.

Thanks to Rinat, a twitter account for Lokad had been setup a while ago. Since this account is intended to be a company account, we need to handle several users here. Sharing passwords isn't such a great method, so I have decided to give a try to CoTweet.

I have also setup a personal twitter account, although, since I am already lagging behind with my various blogs (including the present one), it's not clear if I will be able to keep up with the frequency that appears to be expected by the Twitter community.


Homeworks going freelance

I am a regular customer of freelance services. It's especially useful when you need to translate your website or when you need open source developments (because confidentiality becomes irrelevant).

Usually, I am browsing the freelance websites on the buyer side; yet I only recently gave a try to the provider side. Most freelance websites include tons of job like

  • Simple sort in Java, NEED HELP


  • Solving a puzzle in C

  • ...

Those jobs are clearly student homeworks, and I have been stunned by the fact that those jobs may represent one job out of two on most freelance websites (yet those jobs are tiny on average; thus the business impact is probably much smaller than 50%). Western IT companies might not already exploit outsourcing to its full potential but US IT students seem to be really good at it.


More on WS directories - is over

In my previous post, I was reporting that was badly dysfunctional. Well, the problem has been solved, is no more. On their home page, they blame the market for being too slow to adopt Web Services. Well, I do agree that surprisingly the adoption of web services has been fairly slow; yet, you can't blame the market for obvious bugs in your web application.

Also, (my company, which provides time-series forecasting web services) has been listed in, a new flashy - good looking - web services directory. Yet, only 200 web services are listed at this point. I guess that somehow BindingPoint was not entirely wrong in their analysis, the adoption rate for web services has been really low for a technology that has been supported by so many major players (MS, Sun, Ibm) for several years.