Monthly Archives: October 2011

New Daily Deals Best Practices Study

As of today, e-mail is still the top converting channel for daily deals providers. And that surprises some people.

But, don’t confuse e-mail with blanket spam. These daily deal e-mails are often highly targeted –  segmented by location and specified interest type. This is a win-win. Because daily deals providers were losing subscribers with so many deals (e.g. manicures and massages) being irrelevant to so many of their subscribers (e.g. males). So, now, by offering self-segmentation, these e-mails can become exciting to receive again.

When daily deals providers master the combination of segmentation, delivery and timing – e-mail marketing still beats out social shouting. But, the incentives for social sharing that daily deals providers like Living Social may be the best way to grow this opt-in e-mail base.

YouNow Makes the Reality TV Audience the Stars

Reality TV has become  superfluous. It’s cheap to produce, and highly addicting to watch.

But there’s a next level of “reality” that YouNow hopes to bring to Internet television. Where the television audience has multiple roles, including viewer, judge and even contestant. For instance, let’s say YouNow offers a Country Artist of the Week competition. You use your webcam to broadcast your talent. And in real-time, the Internet audience either votes you down (gong-show style) to skip to the next contestant, or votes you up to extend your airtime.

In theory, I love this idea. Especially the real-time audience-as-judge aspect. But, as this gains in popularity and you have 10,000 people vying for air-time, how do you decide on who gets air-time? But, if they can figure this out, I think it’s a brilliant idea.

Hulu Ad Swap Aims at Increasing Interruption Engagement

You have to give them credit for trying.

Hulu is trying to their hardest at successfully monetizing interruptions. So now, if you don’t like the ad you’re seeing while watching Hulu, you can use Hulu Ad Swap to switch the ad. You won’t see that digital ad again (it’s clearly irrelevant or intrusive to you), and the online advertiser won’t be charged for that impression.

Here’s the problem. What’s the end game? Actual enjoyment? How often are you going to enjoy an ad so much, you would prefer watching it to skipping that?

No, it’s not impossible. But it requires an incredibly different view of advertising than exists today.

Maybe Hulu’s Ad Swap is the predecessor to this evolution of branded entertainment, as opposed to branded interruptions.

Who Did The Latest Google Panda Update Bite This Time?

The latest round of Google Panda updates algorithm updates that affect the universal search engine rankings – have bitten again. This latest update, dubbed “2.5”, has resulted in a new tumultuous list of winners and losers.

The losers? Press release distribution sites, e.g. PRNewswire and BusinessWire. The winners? Google sites, including YouTube and Android.com.

Unfortunately, it’s a little hard to figure out the rhyme and reason to the winners and losers list, without understanding specific company practices. Industry thought leaders claim that authorship markup should be your next step if you are struggling to avoid Panda bites, as Google seems to be ever more concerned with original authorship of content. And dare I take a leap when looking at the winners list and say that Google is valuing video more and more?

Google Moves to Retail with Official Google Stores

First came the Apple retail stores. A technological Disneyland within your local mall.

Next, Microsoft followed suit. And now, Google is looking to create their own retail experiences with official Google Stores. The first Google Store has opened in London, called the Chromezone – which lets you experience Chromebooks and other Google accessories. No Android mobile devices. Not “all things Google”. Just Chromebooks. And apparently, it’s a short-term idea, meant to mainstream these Chrome notebooks.

Perhaps if successful enough, they’ll keep it around?

It’s hard to bet on retail right now though, isn’t it? Can’t Google just buy some AdWords or something?

By Alisha Lowans

Facebook Trolls Still Pining for Dislike Button

Since the dawn of time…the time spent on Facebook…people have wanted a dislike button. In fact, the official page for requesting a dislike button now has over 3.3 million likes. But, Facebook has continued to avoid this request, and they are actively trying to prevent app developers from including this functionality.

Why? Well, they want Facebook to be a positive place. A dislike button could theoretically be used properly. And could be used for comedy. But, it could also be used to hurt somebody’s feelings. Facebook could instantly become the instant bully platform. “Check out my new haircut!” (dislike)

There’s also some pragmatic reasons for not adding a dislike button. Let’s say you just watched a movie you don’t like. Wouldn’t it be nice to post your status update that says “Just watched Twilight…” and then thumbs down it? But here’s the problem. Do people thumbs up your post if they like your thumbs down? If there are 5 likes and 5 dislikes, should it show up as 0?

By Alisha Lowans

$199 Amazon Kindle Fire Legitimate iPad Threat

Ok, I’ll be honest. I’m pretty excited about the new Amazon Kindle Fire.

No, it’s not an iPad. It’s $199. It’s a glorified e-reader. It lets me plays games. It lets me e-mail. It lets me browse the Web. It lets me play videos.

Well, I’m not even exactly sure why you would need the power that an iPad offers. I don’t think I could ever justify a $499 iPad purchase when I could purchase a cheap $299 laptop. But, a $199 version that’s not a big joke?

It’s pretty game-changing exciting. Maybe it’s just me. But unless any big red flags come up, I’m getting one come Christmastime.

The Magic Has Died

Steve Jobs, Apple’s chairman of the board, and former CEO has passed away after a long bout with pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.

Not only does the death of a beloved figure remind us of our own mortality, but there is a real and present fear that Willy Wonka has died – that there’s no one else in the entire world who invents the beautiful future like him – and we’re terrified there’s no one else who can.

Apple has released the email that now CEO Tim Cook sent to the company’s staff alerting them of the news:

Team,

I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email rememberingsteve@apple.com.

No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.

Tim

Chrome to Become the #2 Browser by End of Year

Google Chrome is poised to become the second most popular browser in the world by the end of 2011. And they deserve it. Their speed, security and simplicity is what a great Web browser should be. And these features contain to grow Chrome’s popularity – with an anticipatory end-of-year due-date when it will pass Mozilla Firefox for the coveted #2 spot, probably for good.

Now, all that’s left is Internet Explorer – the browser people use who don’t think they have a choice or care. I say it again – a wonderful business lesson for how important a first-to-market strategy is for your product. You learned on Internet Explorer. You stay with Internet Explorer. Unless there’s an extremely compelling reason to switch.

For many of us, Google Chrome has given us that reason. I think Android tablets defaulting to the Chrome browser may be the real long-term answer for getting that #1 spot over time.

Google Analytics Launches Real-Time Traffic Reports

Google Analytics is launching real-time site traffic reporting, so you can stare at your screen all day and watch your site traffic grow in real-time.

Personally, I don’t understand the benefit?

Now, I understand the desire for post-facto real-time analysis. For instance, it would be helpful to see what hours in the day most of my audience is watching the recorded video information sessions on my site. Because then I could make sure my live chat staffing was on call when they would be most wanted.

Perhaps I’m just unimaginative, but I can’t figure out what you would do with real-time analysis, except create yet another tab in your monthly Google analytics report that no one will read – because it’s relatively impossible to take action upon.