Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Search Engine Objectivity in Question as Google Publishes Owned Content Above Competitors

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

In addition to being a popular search engine, Google Inc. has also increased its content ownership online over the past several years – and that content is now being highlighted in search results.

Reports indicate that Google is showing favoritism for its own content properties and, in the process, is displacing relevant results from competing companies.

Travel site, local business review site and medical website are among the group of executives and web property owners that has noticed the favoritism. Executives and owners claim that Google’s practices are in direct competition with its position as a search engine.

For example, Google’s Place pages show details about local businesses and contact information for specific keyword terms. Recent changes to the way results are displayed put Google’s own resource on top of the search engine results, displacing the non-Google local review websites and even local company websites.

For its part, Google has not responded directly to the allegations but claims that its focus is on users, not on websites, and that the search results answer questions for those users.

Hooked on Gadgets — And Paying A Mental Price

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Scientists say that juggling e-mail, phone calls, instant messages, text messages and other incoming information can change how people think and behave.

They’re saying that our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information and the potential addictions it creates mentally.

People have a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats and this constant barrage of stimulation from our gadgets and connectivity can provoke that response. This triggers a dopamine squirt, giving pleasure, and this is what can become addicting to many people and the lack of which can create a feeling akin to boredom.

A guy by the name of Kord Campbell is an example of this in action. A few years ago, inundated daily with email, instant messages, and more online, he missed an email that was the most important of his life. A firm was offering to purchase his Internet startup. Twelve days later, the email finally caught his attention and he made apologetic responses to the suitor who ultimately purchased his company.

He missed the email while responding to many that were, by contrast, basically irrelevant to his business and even personal life. Even after turning off the gadgets and sitting down for family time, he often craves them and continues to think about what he might be missing. His wife complains that this makes him “no longer able to be fully in the moment.”

Campbell is not alone and scientists have found that while the much-publicized deadly consequences of this constant interaction (car wrecks from cell phone use and texting) are noted, few know about the non-lethal threats this barrage creates. Creativity, deep thought, and constant interruptions to family life and productivity are creating rifts in relationships and losses in revenue for many.

Even when the affected person sets aside the gadgets and enters “real life” to spend time with family or friends, the fractured thinking and lack of focus persists.

Scientists say that while the healthy brain craves stimulation, it’s akin to how our stomachs crave food. We need some, but too much is actually detrimental.

Apple Overtakes Microsoft To Become #1 in Tech

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

As the technology era moves from desktops to handhelds, so too does the power shift between technology companies.

This shift was seen this month when Apple, whose iPhone and iPad gadgets dominate the handheld markets, surpassed Microsoft in value on Wall Street.

Just a decade ago, Apple was considered a dead fish, just waiting to be flushed. With the rise of portable gadgets and the shift in market shares away from business needs and more towards consumer wants, came a shift in power and valuation as well.

In the past decade, smart phones, mobile entertainment devices, and more have risen quickly to overtake the business and PC markets. With their rise came the rebirth of Apple, now the world’s foremost gadget giant.

The desktop and notebook markets are still dominated by Microsoft with Windows and Office being the operating system and productivity suites most often chosen by computer users. Computers themselves, however, have seen a rapid change towards portability as smart phones become more and more like the netbooks and smaller desktops available – often with similar price points as well.

Apple currently sells twice as much (in revenue) in gadgets as it does computers with smartphones racing ahead in sales at a pace five times faster than desktops. Many in the tech industry think that Microsoft is now in its own downward spiral, unable to deal with fast-emerging technologies while Apple is hitting the cutting-edge and fighting to stay there.

Hollywood Wants Direct-to-TV Shortcut

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Major Hollywood studios are said to be in talks with the nation’s largest cable television provider to facilitate sending newly-released movies to TV within weeks of their box office debuts.

This shortcut in how movies are delivered and viewed would completely alter how film distribution takes place and would likely have huge implications for the rental market.

Time Warner Cable broke the news of its “Premium Video on Demand” at a cable industry convention earlier in June. The cable giant presented several scenarios for how it could work; the one receiving support from most studio executives seems to be the idea of taking movies 30 days into their box office release and sending them to pay-per-view viewers at home.

This shortcut-to-home would mean that those willing to spend the money to see the new movies before they hit video (a full three months early) would pay a premium to do so. That premium of $20-$30 could mean a large income for studios and TW.

Talks are ongoing and nothing is finalized, say insiders, but some studios may sign before the summer’s end and these Premium Video on Demand offerings could be available as early as December 2010 or the first quarter of 2011.

Those likely to be most affected by this shakeup would be secondary theater venues, which often receive movies well after their original debut, and rental outlets, which are already suffering from a sluggish economy and streaming options such as Netflix. These businesses thrive on the staggered system that Hollywood currently uses to promote movies, pushing them to premier theaters, then secondaries, then DVD release for rental and purchase and then cable or satellite TV.

The proposal was pitched to most major studios in Hollywood including Warner’s own Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, Universal, Paramount and others.

Better Twitter Search Engine Will Cost

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Bill Gross recently unveiled a new venture called TweetUp, designed to improve Twitter’s search engine abilities while also capitalizing on companies who want their Tweets to be read first.

The new platform works in a somewhat similar fashion to Google search and ads: A user types in a search phrase and comes up with the most relevant tweets available on their query – along with a series of ads that companies will pay to have pop up at the top of the page.

Gross suggests that his new venture will be incredibly useful to Twitter users who have a hard time sorting through all the noise to find the Tweets that are most relevant to what they’re interested in.

The search engine that could find more relevant Tweets would probably be extremely popular – but the question is whether it will remain so with the added feature of paid ranked advertisements. If users don’t accept the paid ad placement as legitimate, the new search engine may not be nearly as popular as Gross is counting on.

So far, however, TweetUp is raising capital quickly from investors like Index Ventures and Revolution: $3.5 million to date. Part of the confidence is based on the quality of the algorithm TweetUp uses to sort relevant (non-paid) Tweets, which Gross considers to be as high a quality as Google’s fabled algorithm for ranking the relevance of the Web’s contents at large.

Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct, leading in DRTV direct response television and infomercial campaign management industry. With a Wharton MBA and over 25 years of marketing and advertising experience

Apple Seeks to Make TV Cheaper

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

apple-ipadOne of the many possible applications of the iPad is as a portable mini-TV, but the expense of buying a TV show via iTunes has proved prohibitive for many people.

After all, it costs essentially the same amount of money to buy a full season of a show in high-definition on iTunes as it would to purchase the same season on DVD – which can then be watched on a full-screen TV.

If Apple wants people to consider watching TV off their big screens and onto a screen as small as the iPad or even the iPod or iPhone, it needs to eliminate the pricing problem. Rumor is it’s in talks to do just that.

Apple is attempting to reduce the price of TV shows to 99 cents apiece, which is one-third of the current price for an episode of a high-definition show at $2.99. The new pricing has by no means been finalized, and there are even whispers that networks have pulled out of the talks entirely, but insiders are saying Apple is still pushing hard to get their new price point.

If Apple does, it may be able to make the iPad into a reasonable alternative to a big-screen TV – sure, it’s not as big, but for the price, it’s still high-def, and it’s still all the shows people want to see.

Is Twitter Really Worth $1,000,000,000?

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Twitter CEO Evan Williams recently confirmed that the website has received new funding of $100 million, which added to the microblogging site’s previous funding makes for a $1 billion valuation for the microblogging service. Among the investors are Spark Capital, Benchmark Capital, Institutional Venture Partners (all of whom doubled their original investment), T. Rowe Price and Insight Venture Partners.

This may seem surprising to many who questioned Twitter’s ability to make money at all with its free social media service, especially considering that to date, Twitter has yet to earn a dime. Is it realistic to think these investors are going to see real advertising money in the future?

It’s still hard to say. There’s no current online advertising model that seems applicable to a distributed service like Twitter. Twitter has proven invaluable to marketers who use it to connect with their customer base, but so far it’s yet to bring Twitter itself anything of value except its enthusiastic investors.

Ideas for how to use Twitter as a revenue-generating company vary from running keyword ads next to tweets as Google does for its searches and for blog content. However, so far there are no plans to put ads on Twitter until 2010.

Though Twitter has yet to make money for itself, this hasn’t stopped other companies from thinking they have something here. So far Twitter has turned down acquisition bids from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Thus far, Twitter seems to be sitting on a gold mine that no one knows how to drill.

Jivox Gives Small Business Owners a Leg Up in Online Advertising

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

The best place for a local small business to advertise for a reasonable price used to be the local newspaper, but with print publications folding left and right, those ads are no longer getting the returns they used to.

While many technology-based businesses are already learning to adapt their advertising strategies to the web, small storefront businesses may be intimidated by the Internet and uncertain how to translate their 2-by-3-inch print ad to that medium.

Enter Jivox, a small start-up company in San Mateo that offers small businesses the online tools to create a good-looking video ad for a reasonable price. Once the ad is created, Jivox takes the mystery out of web advertising by marketing the video to websites that potential customers might be visiting, like their regional newspaper site and other related online media. That means the small business doesn’t need to figure out where their offline customers are spending their time online.

With the dual assistance offered by Jivox – creating the ad in the first place, and then finding the correct audience online – a lot of the mystery of the web is removed, and it gives many of these companies a genuine chance to compete with other, larger companies who can afford to have a whole section of their marketing department devoted to figuring out new media advertising.

The company is run by Diaz Nesamoney, a successful start-up entrepreneur twice before, and this looks like another great offering. He’s already signed on the assistance of CBS and Media-News Group, as well as hundreds of eager small, local businesses who are grateful for a leg up to the big leagues of Internet advertising.

Cars That Still Sell for Sticker Price

Monday, November 30th, 2009

There is no shortage of news out there talking about how poor the car industry is doing these days. It is clear that this is indeed the case judging from record-low spending in advertising to the sharp drop in consumers who own cars or are currently shopping for one. People are holding on to their existing cars for longer and holding off serious car shopping overall. 

So it’s a little surprising to hear that recently reported there are a shocking number of cars out there that still sell for sticker price – or more.

Some of these cars are rarely, if ever, sold below sticker in the entire history of the auto industry, including such movie stars of the car world as the Aston Martin (of James Bond fame) and the Ferrari (which has always spoken for itself). BMW also has several cars that are doing very well in sales – especially those models that only produce a few thousand of each every year.

Beyond the crème-de-la-crème of autos, the other sector that’s doing very well is hybrid vehicles. Both Ford and Toyota have been seeing sticker-price sales of their hybrid vehicles, and they may be assisted by the promise of lower gas mileage and savings at the pump.

Those who are praying the American auto industry makes a rebound can find good news in the General Motors’ Camaro. The car is reincarnation of the classic muscle car, and it is actually selling for above sticker price – as much as $2,500 and more.

Advertising Dollars to Reach the Female Demographic pt 1

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

The facts are amazing: Even though women still earn less money than their male counterparts (78 cents for every dollar a man gets), women make more than 80 percent of the buying decision in all homes. No wonder infomercial advertisers strive to capture the attention of females. But what complicates matters for marketers is how women shop. Unlike men, women research items more extensively and are less likely to be influenced by ads. This means marketers need to fine-tune their advertising messages and be seen in marketing venues that women deem credible.

Today, companies are paying more attention to the style and form of their products in an effort to appeal to women, and marketers are shifting away from only running television ads in favor of promotional efforts in venues women trust, such as reviews in women’s magazines and spots on TV shows like Oprah and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Such activities prove that marketing today is getting more fragmented. What used to work in the past won’t necessarily work today. So in order to have your product or service reach the female market-even if it’s not a female-oriented product-you need to view marketing a bit differently than you did a few years ago.

A recent article in Advertising Age magazine details how women spend their leisure time. In it, columnist Mike Vorhaus asked women of all ages to identify from a list of activities their favorite leisure activity. What he found in the female category impacts all drtv advertisers who have a product that targets women-or who simply want to get a piece of the buying power that women possess.