Creating a unified marketing effort. for whatever final "brand" BOINC unifies under

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Profile Jonathan Brier
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Message 20805 - Posted: 15 Oct 2008, 6:25:56 UTC

Beginning of Discussion
I started looking at how to market BOINC not too long ago and realized there was no real good way to do so without some focus and cohesion. I started last year with an effort to market it one on one to students. This turned out to be difficult because of the steps required to get BOINC up and running on a computer and furthermore the continued effort to find projects. Anyway to make a long thread short I found Gridrepublic. This had many of the features that were necessary to make BOINC more user friendly, but doesn't solve all the problems. I think it is a great step forward in creating an interface for the average user.

Main Point
My main point of this thread is to create a starting point for the marketing of BOINC, but from a marketing standpoint the current state of BOINC is lacks the features for good marketing. My first suggestion is those under BOINC need to unify and collaborate. I would like to call to order this topic to be the beginnings and ends of this ordeal. As well as the initial point to the marketing of BOINC.

Marketing of BOINC now should be one of the main priorities. As without outreach there really is no continued growth or potential breakthroughs. Though the system of independent projects marketing is inefficient since if marketed as one they would have to expend less resources but gain the same if not better returns. Reason is they all use BOINC and BOINC is able to share resources between projects. By marketing BOINC verses individual projects one can get a better return.

It is to my understanding that it is David Anderson's preference that BOINC is not the brand and that either BAM! or GridRepublic become that brand. I agree that BOINC need not be the brand, but it still needs to play some aspect like "made possible by BOINC" as this is the one thing that links all of the projects together.

Addressing of Topics
Some things need to be addressed before looking at what will be the unifying brand for BOINC.
One BOINC is a product to facilitate science by volunteers and it is the volunteers that need to have a say in what the brand is and what features they need in the product to make them use it. The survey of the BOINC user community did part of this, but it failed to get one essential demographic. That being the people who have never heard of BOINC and never have used the program. As it has been said that our community is stagnate. The only way to attract more users other than awareness is providing a product that they understand and want to use.

Joke
Ok now that we've solved everything time to party... Just kidding there are many things that still need to be covered. I am not trying to dictate what is to be done, but I am giving my opinion as a business student on recommendations of how to proceed in unifying BOINC and my main interest creating the marketing and outreach for BOINC or the unified brand.

Unifying BOINC may be a long and difficult road, but it is a necessary thing if going mainstream is the idea.

Key concepts
A few key things needed to be addressed for Unifying BOINC.
-Is this what the user wants and is this what the average Joe wants?
-Can you find the projects easily?
-How will this one image be managed by one or many?
-Does it make things easier for the user of BOINC both on the public and project sides?
-What will keep me returning?

My input:
The unified image needs to be clear, simple, and easy to use with the information that someone who doesn't know computers too well can use and navigate easily. The unified image isn't for the users of BOINC now, but those of the mainstream. Looking at what is popular in social networking is a good idea and adding the community like features to BOINC is good as well. At the same time though as much as we might think new features might attract new members it really will start with finding that one place where everything is available and doesn't require a lot of work to begin.

My final opinion on the unification:
The GridRepublic website is the best place for now for BOINC to unite under due to its clean cut image, easy to setup for the average Joe, and its current incorporation of bringing all the projects together in one place providing information and the ability to manage all the projects in one place. With incorporation of the www.unitedboinc.com ideas and info. I feel that this would be the best possible starting place to unite BOINC and create a brand that the BOINC community can unite under. As once we find a single name to join under it is from there that the image can

The beginnings of a Marketing Plan for BOINC and PR:
-There needs to be a coordinator for these efforts
-A clear and decisive plan needs to be formulated of how communications will be held to coordinate the activities
-What type of marketing is going to be focused on first (I am looking at this right now)
-A location to collaborate is essential to share successful techniques and promotional materials poster, videos, letters, etc. (here is a great start in the promotions section, but with roll out of the GridRepublic community feature this may be the place to share)

Call for Key Members Phone Conference on Marketing and Issues Needing to be Tackled
I would like to set that sometime in the future a conference phone call is made with (TBD) to discuss the BOINC marketing and how this will be conducted as well as the backing of one Unification. As even as much as one can write back and forth the true ideas and potential solutions might be lost in misunderstandings. It may take a few phone calls to settle this issue, but to advance BOINC to the public this is necessary and should not wait for next year's Conference. The phone call before conducted as to not waste time needs to have a structured topic that will effectively lead the conversation to the goals. The topics can be decided in the discussion below and I will facilitate in the managing of this list. I come with no bias, nor connection to any significant group, my main goal and has been for the past two years to create a higher awareness of BOINC, until now I have tried the grassroots version. Now I am ready to step up and have started this and am now working at creating corporate contacts to begin my awareness campaign for BOINC or the decided brand.

Note: for the unification it does not mean stripping away what BOINC is now or fundamentally changing BOINC, but creating one permanent face that would allow for better marketing and outreach for BOINC. Without finding this unity it will exponentially create difficulty in expanding BOINC's awareness. (by BOINC I refer to the use of it on computers)

Feedback Note:
So begin and lets see what we can conclude and accomplish here. Remember we are working for the better good of BOINC not ourselves so try to keep things constructive and on topic.

Thank You!
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Matthew Blumberg

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Message 20821 - Posted: 16 Oct 2008, 4:11:51 UTC - in response to Message 20805.  

Thanks for the kind words about GridRepublic. Going back several years now, the entire point of the GridRepublic exercise was to provide a central point of access -- a point of "unification" for all projects. A place where it would be point-and-click easy to discover, join, and manage projects from one friendly interface.

As you mention above, we'll be rolling out some community features this weekend, I think (pending coordination of the schedules of the two guys who are doing this work) -- we've got a nicely integrated forum-and-wiki; the idea is that we can have discussions in the forums and then use the wiki to document "best ideas" and "best practices" and to organize group activities in various ways (ex, keep track of organizations contacted, etc).

By way of illustrating what I have in mind, take a look at our beta site --

* Main Advocacy Page

* Online Advocacy Page

[note: the above are links to the gridrepublic BETA site; pls don't add any content at the beta site, as additions will be lost when we migrate to the live site... so pls hold off making additions till everything is moved to www.gridrepublic.org]

But if you browse the pages above you will see what our community pages look like, and also some preliminary ideas about things we can do as a group. The content there is just a start; i'm sure with a group these ideas can be improved and expanded, and with a group we can really make some progress on implimentation.

Also, if you browse the pages you will see that there is the wiki, and also a discussion forum (just click the "discussions" tab; one login authenticates you everywhere, so it's seamless). in this context, i hope to have many cross links, ie, links in the wiki page that say "let's discuss" and then connect the user to the forums (Ex, see the "Let's Discuss" links on the Online Advocacy Page )

So, bottom line, I do invite everyone interested this subject to make GridRepublic a home for this discussion, and this work.

(I'll post when we're migrated to the live site, and meanwhile will stay tuned here.)
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andrew gillette

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Message 20837 - Posted: 16 Oct 2008, 18:06:11 UTC

I am glad that this thread has become an openly discussed topic on the dev forum. I agree with everybody so far about the necessity of making BOINC mainstream. Looking at the trends towards making this happen in conventional computing, people like Gates and Jobs made the user environment more GUI friendly and there was the obvious tangible benefit of having a computer that was capable of playing games and running office applications.

The projects that Matt is putting together through Grid Republic are a great start and I applaud everyone involved with making BOINC go viral with myspace and facebook. Matt what kind of participation/support do you need from BOINC users that are active on this thread?

I'd like to see some youtube videos to popularize BOINC. Does anyone on this list know of someone who is talented at video production editing and would make a pro bono youtube video that would popularize the concept further?

I want to help in any way that I can. Currently I'm working on some optimizations and investigating open courseware that may prove to be applicable to BOINC soon.

Best,
Andy Gillette
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Profile Jack
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Message 20855 - Posted: 17 Oct 2008, 16:29:39 UTC - in response to Message 20837.  

I began a seperate thread dedicated to organizing topics for our discussion. Feel free to add or suggest we remove items from our discussion.
http://boinc.berkeley.edu/dev/forum_thread.php?id=3238#20854
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Nicolas

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Message 20856 - Posted: 17 Oct 2008, 16:49:23 UTC - in response to Message 20821.  

* Main Advocacy Page

* Online Advocacy Page

All those pages seem empty.
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John37309
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Message 20869 - Posted: 18 Oct 2008, 0:12:56 UTC
Last modified: 18 Oct 2008, 0:24:14 UTC

Even thought there has been a large increase in the number of new BOINC projects, BOINC software and the projects themselves are actually declining in numbers in proportion to general Internet growth. There is a thinning effect happening. I really do hate to see this happen when with a small change in direction, BOINC projects could be growing at a considerably faster rate.

I believe that some kind of collaborative group or organisation needs to be set up where project administrators and scientists can share resources and information and possibly even funding for promoting and marketing their projects on a semi professional level.

Someone must start this initiative to market and sell all the projects as one single combined entity. If it does not happen and things keep going the way it is now, the decline will continue and BOINC projects will always be a minority pastime that only hard-core computer geeks get involved in.

I believe that the only person who can start this new combined marketing and promotion initiative would have to be someone from the BOINC project management or the principle investigator or project admin from one of the top 5 or 6 projects. One person must take the initiative and lead the way.

If BOINC projects are not sold and marketed to the general public as one combined unit, the current thinning will become much worse.

Marketing and selling the concept of BOINC science projects will work best if carried out through one promotional website where ALL projects can contribute to the effort. One single United effort to combine resources into one website. The BOINC social network, the science social network, the BOINC science education network, the BOINC science news network, all with relevant information presented in a way that people enjoy reading and browsing. It could be all one network!....... Not people working on their own to make things fit into someone else's social network.

Unite, or BOINC projects will continue to be a minority thing!

John.
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Profile Jonathan Brier
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Message 20874 - Posted: 18 Oct 2008, 8:03:27 UTC

Great the discussion is starting.

Now if we can aim to get 2-5 large project managers involved and 2-5 mid to small project managers involved I think that we would have the right people present to start with a first conference call to get a better understanding of each other and to cover some of the topics found in Jack's discussion list. I also have outlined my vision of the unification and posted a link of of there too.

Discussion Topic Thread Link

To unfortunate news Skypecast has been temporarily removed by the people at Skype so an alternate conference calling is needed. I have found free open source for up to 20 person conference called dimdim. It which provides chat, sharing desktops, and a shared white board, but only has audio for 3 people to talk at a time and the host chooses who to give the mic to and has the power to take it away. One bad thing I cant get my mic to work on it. This would work for our needs, but if anyone else knows of a free conference program with voice being the importance then please post it here.
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John37309
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Message 20878 - Posted: 18 Oct 2008, 20:32:08 UTC - in response to Message 20875.  
Last modified: 18 Oct 2008, 20:52:02 UTC

Carl,
Call me cynical (but realistic ;-) -- but most if not all project managers/PIs/scientists/professors are just geared towards getting participants on their project (if at all); due to the nature (& "Catch-22") that all projects are so widely different (climate modeling to earthquakes to protein folding etc). And if they weren't so different, then they would be "competing" against each other (for participants, funding, etc)!

Don't all the projects fall under the one single banner of "Science". The government of every first world country has a large budget to support general science as a whole. But not every government has a special budget to fund earth quake science or gravity wave detection or SETI. But as one combined United group of collaborating scientists, BOINC projects can easily be explained to people in a simple way and resources for marketing and promotion can be shared to benefit all.

Some people don't want to look for ET, but they might be interested in climate change or Malaria Control. Some people don't care about solving world humanity problems but they might be interested in the LHC at CERN. All projects need to be explained in simple terms in one website with many people contributing to that one website.


So what we sort of have is the "prisoner's dilemma" problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoners_dilemma), which has only been "solved" for BOINC because SETI@home has such a huge following and Dave Anderson is nice enough to promote projects & encourage SETI@home participants to try other projects (even if they don't want to ;-).

David had the vision to make this whole thing happen in the first place, i believe he has the vision to see that no one person can visit 30 or 40 different project websites on a regular basis to keep up-to-date on all the science that is happening. He is good to promote all the projects in an unbiased way.


But of course SETI@home participant numbers are declining as well. The dearth of new major BOINC projects & mainly funding for it is not helping (i.e. what or where is the next Einstein@home or climateprediction.net etc? it seems to be mostly "comp-sci side-projects" these days.)

The next big project is never going to come because things are just thinning out further. Too many websites to visit! Too many message boards!

I think what's needed is stuff outside of our control -- a major discovery by a project, a "reawakening" to this stuff on slashdot (who have always been to "geek elitist" for it) or some sort of blog/social site. Or (most probably) the success of World Community Grid and GridRepublic catches on through their (more professional & effective) methods.

But there is success!!! and there has been progress!!! There are results!!

Problem now is that the good results and breakthrough are being lost in the Internet information highway because they are not being recorded in a single place where popular news and media can visit one website that carries all the latest news and breakthroughs in a proper CMS style website like BBC news website, or CNN, or cnet.com. My latest website venture, United BOINC - www.unitedboinc.com is an attempt to create a media rich website that looks like any world news or science website. So far, unfortunately, i was turned down when i asked David to link the United BOINC website into the BOINC source code so BOINC users could find the website.

Probably what's needed is some huge donor or celebrity to get attention (and funding) for making BOINC projects, or better yet, the "virtual campus supercomputer" idea takes off at a major university and then others follow suit (which could probably happen more from an "alumni organization" standpoint rather than hoping scientists & PIs would reach some critical mass). It seems pretty tough these days for the traditional scientist "we'll get funding from the NSF etc".


Yes, some people also live in hope of winning the lottery!. I never buy lottery tickets, my mind is too methodical and scientific to get sucked into gambling. Some people don't wait for lottery wins, they see why something like BOINC projects are in decline and they try to fix the problem with realistic solutions!

BOINC projects have high profile people and organisations in IBM, Berkeley, Oxford Uni, LIGO Scientific Collaboration, Cern, etc, etc. If they can share resources for promoting and marketing through one media rich website, then we can tell the world about BOINC and all the projects.

This whole thing is not a massive change, BOINC software already has most of the social networking features, we just need to combine them into one single combined place where the general public can come and learn about them all.

John.
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Ldong

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Message 20906 - Posted: 20 Oct 2008, 18:59:18 UTC - in response to Message 20878.  

Hello Carl,
I take a look at the website www.unitedboinc.com . I feel it is really great.
One suggestion: How difficult for you to setup a area for each project and let the project manage to build up the area themselves? I guess it is not very difficult if the web site is based on CMS. If you can do it and help project managers to move their stuff to you site, That would be great. How do you think?
Thanks, Ldong
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John37309
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Message 20909 - Posted: 20 Oct 2008, 23:08:38 UTC - in response to Message 20906.  
Last modified: 20 Oct 2008, 23:14:33 UTC

Hello Carl,
I take a look at the website www.unitedboinc.com . I feel it is really great.
One suggestion: How difficult for you to setup a area for each project and let the project manage to build up the area themselves? I guess it is not very difficult if the web site is based on CMS. If you can do it and help project managers to move their stuff to you site, That would be great. How do you think?
Thanks, Ldong

Hi Ldong
Anyone can create an account on the United BOINC website - www.unitedboinc.com especially scientists or project admins and they can submit content or edit the current content on the website. Its a CMS and its proper web publishing software.

Jack Shultz of the Hydrogen@home project has already used the website to create html pages for his own project website. You can write complex html articles with the very simple user interface and copy the articles to your project. Not only that, but there are several volunteers on the website that will help edit your articles to make them more interesting for user to read.

Read the Hydrogen@home article that Jack wrote; http://www.unitedboinc.com/news/1-latest-news/88-what-is-hydrogenhome-brief

John.
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Matthew Blumberg

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Message 20912 - Posted: 21 Oct 2008, 4:30:49 UTC - in response to Message 20856.  
Last modified: 21 Oct 2008, 4:57:03 UTC

nicholas, the links work for me -- does anyone else have similar problems viewing our beta site?

(in any case the live site is all..most...there... lost a day due to teething babies... hopefully all will be live tues or wed...)
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Matthew Blumberg

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Message 20913 - Posted: 21 Oct 2008, 4:41:18 UTC - in response to Message 20906.  

Ldong, I'll note that at gridrepublic we also have an area where projects -- or others-- can create project-specific content, ex this page this page about LHC

you'll see that it is very simple to use -- there's a WYSIWYG editor, you can insert images and youtube clips, and links to discussions, etc.
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Matthew Blumberg

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Message 20962 - Posted: 24 Oct 2008, 21:51:22 UTC

So at long last -- sorry for the delay -- the GridRepublic Community pages are online...

There's plenty of room for improvement, and still a few rough edges, but I'm excited about it as a start; please drop by and take a look...
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Message boards : Promotion : Creating a unified marketing effort. for whatever final "brand" BOINC unifies under

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