Author Archives: slaverystopsnow

Using Deep Pockets, Strong Social Media Presence, and a Bit of Hype to Crush the Competition

Where the world of vacation rentals meets collaborative consumption you will find a cadre of both old and new companies each attempting to eek, rake, or shovel their revenues from the revolution that is the shareable economy. Some of the old timers like HomeAway, which owns VRBO have nearly a million properties listed on their various sites, catering to travelers around the world. Other new entrants like Airbnb presumably have a smaller number of properties, yet they also have a much slicker website and a far better user experience for both the owner and the renter. Interestingly Airbnb plays by a slightly different set of rules than other competitors in the space and instead of listing how many properties they have, they emphasize the number of cities (34k) and countries (192) where they have properties. With a market valuation of nearly $10B and oodles of investors pouring cash into Airbnb, are they creating a lot of hype, or are they doing something truly different? Let’s use social media to take a look at how these two competitors differ.

First let’s talk about their Klout scores:

Pic 1

Airbnb is looking good at 83, versus HomeAway’s 71. Granted, Airbnb doesn’t have the history and longevity of HomeAway but they have also gotten way more attention from the press. Although most of the attention is highly favorable, there have been few more scandals, like some sketchy Onion articles and some snafus around evasion of taxes, and yet also a lot more social media volume. As you can see in the ten-day chart below generated by Topsy, there were 73k tweets for Airbnb compared to only 1400 for HomeAway.


One could argue that volumes alone don’t tell the story, so when we look at sentiment as well, we see the score is still imbalanced with 76 for Airbnb versus a 48 for HomeAway:

Pic 3

In summary, with the nearly $1B in Airbnb investments over the past 5 years, and the involvement of more than a dozen major investors, this startup has taken the relatively stable and ordinary business model of renting out properties online, HomeAway’s bread and butter since 2004, and made it sexy, sleek, and modern. While one could argue that there are not many substantive differences in the business models and approaches of the two companies, it is clear that Airbnb is doing a far better job of selling themselves and their culture and is undoubtedly reaching more people. If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? Who cares! Similarly if Airbnb has the same business model and approach as HomeAway, but is crushing them in terms of awareness, sentiment, tweet volume, etc, then does it really matter that they have the same model?


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A Nigerian Girl’s Courage Should NEVER Result in Slavery

Exactly three weeks ago from today, 276 Nigerian were schoolgirls were forcibly kidnapped from their boarding school at gunpoint and driven out into the bush in the middle of the night. Fortunately 53 of these girls were able to escape, and their stories are nothing short of horrifying. Some of the captured girls are already rumored to have been sold for as little as $12, undoubtedly becoming child brides and sex slaves instead of getting the education that they so bravely had sought.

This unspeakable act of violence was carried out by a mob of gun-toting cowards led by a man who calls himself Abubakar Shekau. Shekau is a man who brags about marrying off nine year old girls. He is a man who claims that the education of a girl is a sin and that a girl should be married by the age of 12. Ironically, he is also a man who is incredibly ignorant about the education that he claims to hate and the faith that he claims to love. In reality, he is not a man at all, but rather he is a fearful-yet-dangerous animal.

So what will happen to these girls? Unfortunately the news media didn’t pick up this story until about a week ago, so the trail is quite cold. Major media and world leaders only began to take notice after a grassroots social media campaign had begun to go viral, fueled by the raw compassion and anger of a few. This few stirred the hearts of many, creating a major social media uprising centered around the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, and finally culminating the signing of a petition by more than 275,000 people. As of today, exactly three weeks after these abductions, President Obama has pledged to help Nigeria with U.S. resources and expertise. Three weeks.

How is it that the world can watch in awe week after week as we comb the bottom of the ocean for a missing jetliner, yet two weeks pass before our leaders and major media channels even acknowledge that there has been an incident with these girls? Cynics might say that the slow response is about power, oil politics, or race– but I believe it is about knowledge. The world needs to know about the hopes, dreams and sheer potential of those girls. The world needs to understand the courage that it took for those girls to seek education as means to escape from the oppression around them. The world needs to know about the nightmare that is child marriage, and the violence and injustice that occurs in the dark crevices of world, where ignorance and violence feed on the defenseless on a regular basis. Once the world knows about these things, the only human response is unilateral action. Let’s put the same intensity into finding those girls, that we put into finding that black box. Let’s shout a message to the world for all to hear– girls deserve an education and the slavery stops NOW!

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Socially Responsible? Really? What’s Your Slavery Footprint?

Check out this interview of a seemingly socially responsible guy, who was shocked and embarrassed to find that 56 slaves support his posh, Patagonia-buying, whole foods shopping West Seattle lifestyle. Find out YOUR slavery footprint at today!

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by | April 19, 2014 · 10:21 am

What Good Looks Like: A Social Media Analysis of Made-in-a-Free-World


Human trafficking is a $32B per year industry, involving more than 29 million victims. As you can imagine, there are more than a handful of people and organizations who are extremely pissed off about this injustice. When it comes to the slew of non-profits and NGOs fighting human trafficking, you can’t go far without bumping into the folks at Made In A Free World. Let’s start with their brilliant slavery calculation website, which is an incredibly innovative tool providing a dynamic assessment of the number of slaves that were employed to support the good and services YOU own today. Then there is MIAFW’s public action site, which has helped thousands of individuals send hundreds of thousands of letters to major businesses such as Microsoft, Starbucks, Intel, and thousands of others about their slavery practices– with responses of those organizations then being “graded” and tracked publicly. Both of these innovative services appear to be the product of content creators and activists at MIAFW. This group represents themselves as the formation of concerned business and individuals who have banded together under the shared mission of ending modern day slavery. Considering the fact that MIAFW is far more advanced than most of the other players in this space, our team at Slavery Stops Now has elected to examine a few critical areas pertaining to their social media strategy:

1. Does it look like they follow a social media content calendar?

Yes, it is clear that they are staying on top of their social media presence with a regularity that is far from random. There is a clear cadence of public awareness campaigns, events, original content, sharing of others’ content, and then the ever-present call to have followers fill out their slavery footprint survey or watch their movies, such as “Call + Response” or “I’m with Lincoln”.

2. How many people contribute to the social channels?

It is unclear whether more than one individual from their organization is contributing to their social media presence. On the MIAFW website, the bio page only goes into detail about their CEO, Justin Dillon… and with a resume like that, who can blame them! Their tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube video contributions are all made by the organization itself, without specific attribution to a particular employee of the organization. Considering the crossover of consistent messaging between Facebook and Twitter, I would say that each of these posts is being done by one very talented-yet-busy senior marketing person in charge of their social media content posting. On the creative side of their contributions, it is clear that MIAFW has a very strong in-house team as well as a remarkable external network in the arts and film industry, as evidenced by the number of high quality films and YouTube videos that they have produced and the media exposure they have gotten for these pieces.

3. What is the message they are getting across?

The folks at MIAFW are clearly working to raise awareness about the reality of modern-day slavery, as well as to create public pressure on businesses to reduce or eliminate the practices that lead to it. While a good smattering of their creative content appears to be produced in-house and is quite impressive, I believe the real impact of their efforts comes from the ripple effect of the people that they mobilize in the process of driving awareness campaigns. Their call to action continues to drive downstream ripple effects throughout the twittersphere and beyond.

4. Who are they trying to reach?

It seems MIAFW truly has an omnichannel approach to reaching businesses, governments and individuals in creative and impactful ways through major media channels. According to their website, CEO Justin Dillon has been commended by multiple presidents, and has appeared on dozens of venues such as CNN, Katie Couric, Dr. Phil, MSNBC, New York Times, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Ad Week, CBS, Fox, NPR, Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Fast Company and others. Clearly MIAFW is trying to reach anyone and everyone who will listen… and it appears to be working.

In summary, the folks at Made In A Free World seem to be doing all the right things to get their message across to an extremely broad audience. From their creative content, to their viral calls to action, all of their messaging themes flow into the seemingly relentless drumbeat of their unstoppable social media campaign. Made In a Free World is clearly doing what it take to get noticed, and is making a very positive impact, despite the fact that they are dealing with an unsavory topic that makes the average person want to head in the opposite direction…

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