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Tech-Babble: How Much Do You Know About Social Media and SEO?

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

So you think you’re a digitally-savvy marketing professional or interactive virtuoso? Confident that you’re up on the most cutting-edge slang or lingo that is the rage of every SEO/SEM expert? Can you speak fluently with the new social media terms that are being bandied about in conferences and boardrooms so often these days by posturing consultants and executives in search of that enviable, approving nod by business power brokers, venture capitalists, and CEOs?

Well, take this ultimate tech-vocabulary test and see how well you score, but be forewarned. This test is not for the technophobe, the holiday-weary, or those otherwise suffering from a chronic case of “old school” nostalgia.

(Note: This quiz is the first in a series of four to be published over the coming days. Be sure to check back to test your wits!)

First of Four Quizzes:

1. A pingback is:
A) a way of measuring hits per day to any particular designated web link
B) a tracking program code that is able to return web users to your website once they have left, if desired
C) a method for Internet authors to request notification when somebody accesses one of their files
D) a short, whimsical way to reach out and acknowledge other Bloggers who have viewed your website

2. Crowdsourcing is:
A) the term used to describe research being conducted among a broad range of web consumers
B) a way that large aggregation websites can collect personal data from their customers
C) the practice of using the skills of those outside an organization who volunteer their time contributing content or solving problems
D) the marketing practice — by large community websites — of aggregating a large number of like-minded users of the site

3. Microblogging is:
A) the practice of creating many tiny Blog posts that are able to be aggregated into larger portal or community website environments
B) a web service that allows the subscriber to transmit short messages to other subscribers of that service
C) an emerging form of brief Blog posts that are transmitted across mobile channels
D) the practice of authoring short Blog posts on a high frequency — perhaps as often as 5 times daily

4. A permalink is:
A) the web address of an single item of content such as a Blog post
B) the web address, or URL, of a web page with lots of different items and links
C) a URL that is stored on a computer indefinitely through “permacookies”
D) just another term for a bookmarked website URL that is stored on your computer

5. Badges are:
A) personal icons placed on a Blog or personal profile that are created by the user
B) images displayed on a Blog that signifies the Blogger’s participation in an event, contest, or social movement
C) small data files containing personal information about the user of any form of social media
D) just another industry word for a “personal profile picture”

6. Trackbacks are:
A) the specific path informed by cookies back to a website that was visited several links earlier in a web search
B) a place on a Blog for other Bloggers to leave a calling card, instead of commenting
C) a marketer’s way of identifying and managing the way visitors access their company website
D) none of the above

Answers: See bottom of Blog post.

Scorecard:
1/6:  Welcome to Neophyte City. Consider professional development immediately.
2/6:  Room for much improvement, but relax — you have many friends still living in the 20th Century. VCR’s are really cool.
3/6:  You are showing healthy signs of successful “geekdom.” Go crazy. Look for an interactive marketing conference.
4/6:  A strong showing; proceed to pose or posture in meetings and spout confusing techno-babble with no fear.
5/6:  You should be writing this Blog. Contact me for details.
6/6:  Google and Facebook are looking for smart engineers. Call now and demand an expense account and a six-figure salary.

ANSWERS: 1-C; 2-C; 3-B; 4-A; 5-B; 6-B

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Posted in Business, Media, Technology | No Comments »

 

Tablets 2011: Bits, Bytes and Miscellaneous Technology News

Monday, December 20th, 2010

We’re close to Christmas, which can only mean one thing: Yes, consumer electronics manufacturers are gearing up for big CES event in Las Vegas on January 6.  That’s the chance for everyone in the trade to convene, share holiday successes and war stories, reflect on what went well during 2010, and look ahead to new products in development. In this post, I’ll share a range of news about gadgetry and everything electronic. There are many developments to digest in the world of digital media content and channels, including a few new online stores as well as new devices. For serious geeks and those part-time dabblers in emerging technologies (like myself), welcome to a feast of breaking news about arriving, and a few departing, products and services in 2011. Among the players in news posts below are Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Google.

Is This the End of Delicious?

Is it true? Is Yahoo considering terminating Delicious, the social bookmarking website? In an effort to streamline operations, the Times reports this morning that Yahoo may be about to cut services like Delicious (http://www.delicious.com/) and also, the local, social calendar site, Upcoming (http://upcoming.yahoo.com/). Eric Marcoullier, founder of http://www.mybloglog.com/ and also a former Yahoo employee, first posted the slide yesterday, which was apparently part of an internal presentation by Yahoo. The slide also shows plans to merge, eliminate or reduce investment in other services such as Yahoo Buzz, a news aggregator, and AltaVista, a search tool.

Dana Lengkeek, Yahoo spokeswoman, stated, “Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in under-performing or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond. We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months such as Yahoo Buzz, our Traffic APIs, and others. We will communicate specific plans when appropriate.”

Yahoo stated last week that it was planning to lay off about 650 employees, or approximately 5% of its workforce. Sites like Delicious have gained a popular following and will no doubt leave a trickle down effect for many content managers of corporate websites and for anyone who has relied on it as a means to promote viral content.

Yahoo May Shut Down Some Services

Apple Announces Opening of Mac App Store for Personal Computers

Last week, Apple announced the official opening of its App store on January 6. According to the news release, Apple states that the new store will “be available in 90 countries at launch and will feature paid and free Apps in categories like Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity and Utilities.”

According to Steve Jobs, “The App Store revolutionized mobile apps,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We hope to do the same for PC apps with the Mac App Store by making finding and buying PC apps easy and fun. We can’t wait to get started on January 6.”

Just as it did with Apps for the iPhone, Apple said it planned to split the revenue from the store with developers, with 30 percent for Apple and 70 percent for the software creator. The arrangement works poorly for traditional software companies, but for smaller developers, Apple’s pricing model remains a fair price to host, distribute and market the apps. Developers can visit a special link for news and information: http://developer.apple.com/programs/mac/

News Release: Apple to Open Mac App Store January 6

Article in The New York Times

Microsoft Getting Into the Tablet PC Business

Also last week, articles emerged announcing that Microsoft will introduce a whole new series of tablet computers. Chief executive Steve Ballmer is expected to present these new products at the Consumer Electronics Show January 6-9 in Las Vegas, showcasing devices built by Samsung and Dell, among a number of other manufacturing partners.

Ironically, at Comdex in 2000, Bill Gates made the announcement that introduced the world to the first tablet PC, offering a fully functional computer with the “intuitive aspects of pencil and paper.” That day, Bert Keely, a software architect at Microsoft, demonstrated the prototype of the first ‘Tablet PC” during Gates’ speech.

The Samsung device is described as “similar in size and shape to the iPad, although not as thin. It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.” The tablets will apparently run on the new Windows 8 operating system.

Microsoft to Announce New Slates Aimed at the iPad

A New Landmark Day in Consumer Activity Online

On Christmas morning, besides the millions of adults and children that will rush to sort presents under the tree, book publishers like Random House will be receiving a few gifts as well.

These publishers are realizing that they, too, have something similar to Black Friday when gift recipients awake to unwrap their holiday gifts and jump with excitement over their new e-reader, because what comes next? Going online and buying books to read, of course!

“With so many people receiving an e-reader for the first time on Christmas, one of the things they’re going to want to do is go looking for the books they want to read,” says Anne Messitte of Vintage/Anchor, a division of Random House. “And we think it’s an ideal moment to really begin helping the reader curate the collection of e-books that they want.”

In a shift that underscores the immediacy of the Internet, the new Random House campaign doesn’t start days or weeks before that day. Rather, the campaign, called “The eBook Insider” begins on December 25 as a social media and Google-based initiative. Print ads in The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review will follow the web campaign.

The book campaign will be available free online at knopfdoubleday.com/ebooks; Amazon.com; BN.com; Borders.com; and on other e-book retail websites.

As the brick-and-mortar experience wanes for book publishers, this pioneering initiative provides a new operational model for marketing and selling content. “The future of book marketing is increasingly going to be about curating books for readers for readers,” said Ms. Messitte. “As publishers, we’re letting readers know about the books that are worth reading.”

A Christmas Morning Spree

A New Bookstore With 3 Million Titles

Google did their homework in the process of building their new e-bookstore. Culled from over 15 million books in library archives, the company has created a smart outlet for e-books where many are for free and the remaining are reasonably priced.

Besides offering free Android and iOS reading Apps, Google’s eBookstore supports Apps for the Nook, Sony readers and other tablet devices, as well as offering traditional online access to ebooks. The site has only been open for 14 days, but online reviews and comments have generally been favorable.

It’s a critical move, explains Forrester’s James McQuivey. “Google’s entry into the market is key because it will be reaching potential customers at a unique point in their book-buying journey, at the point of web search, not at the point of searching the bookstore.”

The books on Google’s e-Bookstore are not compatible with the Amazon Kindle, but it appears that Google is carefully watching the early stage research surrounding this new venture and will respond with broader capabilities for various e-readers, if necessary.

Google Opens Doors to E-Bookstore

Google Takes e-Books to the Next Level

Google eBooks: Is That All There Is?

http://books.google.com/ebooks

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Posted in Business, Media, Technology | No Comments »

 

Bubble 2.0: Can you say I.P.O.?

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

bubble internetTwo year-old web start-up Groupon rejects a Google bid for $6 Billion. Twitter announces a new round of venture capital — $200 million to be exact, and is valued at $3.7 Billion as of December 15 — all after 3 years in existence. What’s going on here, and haven’t we learned anything? Here’s a quick look at the capitalization of a few current tech companies to put it in perspective:

Groupon: Founded 2008; approximately $170 million in financing to date; privately held, no public records for revenues are available. Valuation: $6 Billion offer just rejected.

Twitter: Founded 2007; approximately $360 million in financing to date; privately held, no public records for revenues are available. Valuation: $3.7 Billion.

LivingSocial: Founded 2009; approximately $50 million in financing prior to $175 million investment from Amazon in early December 2010; Valuation: Unknown.

Facebook: Founded 2004, total financing to date unknown; privately held; estimated revenues for 2010 are over $1 Billion; Valuation: $40+ billion by some estimates.

The new valuation of Twitter’s worth places the company at $3.7 billion, nearly four times the estimate that was made only a year ago. Gartner analyst Ray Valdes said the valuation reflects rising investor interest in hot Internet companies. “The valuation is not outlandish,” Valdes says. “It reflects their growth and the time we are in.”

Hmmm. “Hot Internet companies,” and “the time we are in” — that all sounds about right.

bubble internet

Jack Dorsey

The recent financing for Twitter was provided by investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (kpcb.com), a name that may sound familiar among M&A deal-making Aficionados. Kleiner Perkins was very active the first time we all imbibed with the same level of tech-giddiness, that infamous financial period in time being the late 90’s. (Has anyone seen Mr. Gekko?)

Those early tech stock favorites that we remember with such fondness and not a little scar tissue, companies like Webvan, WorldCom, Global Crossing and AOL? That’s right, the ones that failed miserably to live up to colossal expectations? Well, it seems that many of the same players that brought us those fabulous hits of the golden age in technology are back in town for Web Bubble 2.0, this time with a new troupe of young business school entrepreneurs and founders to front for the operation. Nice work if you can get it.

If you saw “The Social Network,” you’ll be familiar with the story of Sean Parker (formerly of Napster, Causes and Plaxo), who still owns 4% of Facebook. Eric Lefkofsky, cofounder of Groupon, made much of his fortune when he sold his first startup, StarBelly, for $240 million in 2000. And did anyone know that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is part owner of Twitter? Heck, even AOL-founder Steve Case is in on the action again. He’s is a substantial investor in LivingSocial.

As for Groupon, as much as the Google $6 Billion offer felt inflated, analysts estimate that the private company could do as much as $500 million in revenue in 2010. As a prospective acquisition, that would have been only a 12x multiple — actually a bargain price for a company that can demonstrate enviable future projections for earnings. But can we really be sure that a startup in its second year has already reached the half billion benchmark in sales? That’s an impressive feat if it’s true — and all during the worst recession since 1939, no less. I’ll have some of that kool-aid, please.

Curiously, the acquisition did not go through ultimately. Eric Lefkofsky and Andrew Mason, Groupon’s 30-year-old founder, will likely angle for a well-timed I.P.O. instead. Groupon’s capital investment began with $100 million from its co-founders (Lightbank – www.crunchbase.com), and now includes venture capital from groups like Battery Ventures, Digital Sky Technologies, Accel Partners and New Enterprise Associates. These firms will surely come out of the deal in fine shape as they watch their initial seed capital multiply many times over once the companies go public.

bubble internet, facebook, groupon, twitter

Mark Zuckerberg

Of course, Facebook is the Internet darling, the poster child for Web 2.0. In 2010, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have reached a pinnacle of public attention, most recently with Time naming Zuckerberg “Person of the Year.” While Zuckerberg presently retains 24% of the company, there are dozens of others with ownership who will be invariably calling their NetJet representative and popping the bubbly on the evening of the impending public offer.

Many celebrities are involved; even Bono recently doubled his stake. He’s in for about $210 million at the moment. For the life of me, I don’t see how $1 Billion in reported sales translates to $40 Billion (plus) in value. And being a private company makes the due diligence that much more difficult. Reports online state that revenues grew at breakneck speed since 2004, but are we actually to believe that from those humble origins in a Harvard dorm room, “Mark & friends” will post $1.1 Billion in 2010? Please.

Soon it will all balloon even more. With technology, it’s just inevitable. In a way, these are the snake oil salesmen, remedy hucksters and medicine men of our time. There is indeed serious value to their companies, no question, but the proven predisposition is for technology entrepreneurs to befuddle us with newfangled language, baffle us with the power or prospect of a new, different world, mesmerize us with a paradigm shift, a changed model. In return, it’s only natural for us to be dazed and dazzled by those brightly colored shells and the way that confounding little pea keeps shifting. As an investor model, it can be a dangerous proposition.

The stage is set for overvaluation and inflation of common stock, be it NASDAQ or NYSE. We’ve already seen the public fascination gain scale at a consumer level, gases creeping ominously into the picture, the din of many tens of thousands of professional journalists and Bloggers inflating a global media discussion. As the whole beautiful mirage slowly lifts and ascends into the sky, it’s almost impossible to resist how incredibly beautiful the colors are, the full but fleeting spectrum reflecting across a growing surface tension of skin drawn tighter and thinner, ever more precarious.

In fact, after 3 years of global downturn, this particular Internet party looks even more attractive than it did before. Perhaps we should order some Beluga and a bottle of Cristal. Or shall we wait until the deals are done and indulge in a decadent snifter glass of Louis XIII Cognac? My, oh my, the decisions are absolutely exhausting here on the sidelines of Web Bubble 2.0.

There will no doubt be a very large crowd of affluent investors standing eagerly behind the familiar “high roller” velvet rope. When it all happens, they’ll be chomping at the bit to accept that exclusive offer, that “personal favor” which the broker of their private managed account offered to them. (“Goldman, I hear you whispering to me, buddy.”) The rest of us will fall in line and also buy, simply because the smart ones did so, and because the price is going higher. We’ll be convinced because the news about the opportunity is all we can hear — broadcast as such over every possible media channel — all reason drowned out by the blinding, transcendent lights and conviction that we are absolutely, forever and without question living in a new business world, one where the new rules are governed by tiny, ubiquitous web buttons with names like “Join,” Like,” “Add” and “Share.”

bubble internet, facebook, goldman sachs investment banking

Andrew Mason

And the financiers, angels, investment firms, those with the longer memories who count on those of us with shorter ones, they will have made their investment back and then some. To quote a common adage from the street, “they’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.”

Ah, good times. Now, we get to go on the ride once more, just in time for a hard-earned, real, yet fragile recovery that is beginning to finally gain traction. Attention, passengers: Please return your tray tables and seat backs to their full, upright and locked position. Place your bets and enjoy the flight. I’ll see you on the other side.

The Daily Start-Up: Groupon’s Andrew Mason, Man Of Steel

Groupon’s Andrew Mason on Charlie Rose Video

Twitter Financing Raises Its Value to $3.7 Billion

The Daily Deal: A Cornucopia of New Ventures in Group Discounting

VENTURE CAPITAL-Groupon’s success inspires copycats

Would Your Business Use Groupon Again?

A Business Creator Sees Big Returns From Social Media

The Daily Start-Up: Groupon Blows Into Dot-Com Bubble

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Posted in Business, Technology | 2 Comments »

 

iPhone Ban on Donations Via App Angers Many Charities

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Why doesn't Apple agree to let people donate to Charities through those Apps?

Apple does not allow charitable donations via Apps on its iPhone. Beth Kantor, co-author of “The Networked Nonprofit” and CEO of Zoetica, a consulting firm for nonprofits, has started a petition protesting the ban by Apple. Others, like Jake Shapiro of Public Radio Exchange, have met with executives at Apple and worked to create a charity-friendly experience on the iPhone. Presently, Apple takes 30 percent of all sales on the iTunes store, and this would present image problems if the company were to take the same percentage for charitable contributions. EBay’s PayPal unit teamed up with MissionFish in August to roll out a donation feature through its App on iPhone, but in October, Apple insisted that PayPal eliminate the donation system from its App. Why doesn’t Apple want to enable charitable giving through its store?

Donations Ban on iPhone Apps Irritates Nonprofits

Shopping And Giving: The App

Choosing Recipients of Charity

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Posted in Marketing, Technology | No Comments »

 
DWAYNE FLINCHUM
Founder & President,
IridiumGroup Inc.

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