Five Months Later, GM Still Isn’t Buying Facebook Ads (FB, GM)


Facebook Carolyn Everson

General Motors dealt a heavy blow to Facebook when it announced it would be pulling the $10 million a year it had been spending on ads with the social network days before Facebook’s IPO.

In July, the companies were talking about a rapprochement.

 It turns out that, five months later, GM still isn’t back on Facebook.

Inside Facebook reports that sales chief Carolyn Everson has reorganized her team around specific sectors, including a dedicated automotive team.

Facebook has also launched an ad exchange, which lets advertisers use third-party data to target users on the site—a feature General Motors wanted back in May.

But those efforts haven’t been enough, according to Inside Facebook:

When a reporter asked about GM pulling its ad spend, Everson confirmed that the auto company is still not advertising on Facebook but the two companies are “working incredibly closely.” She said Facebook has a team in Detroit meeting with GM every week. Until Facebook can deliver results for GM, Everson says, she doesn’t want them to spend money on advertising.

“When they spend, I want them shouting from the mountain tops that we’re their best marketing partners and they can’t live without us.”

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Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 news No Comments


Oh Good, a Bunch of Kid-Friendly Sites Are Taking Advantage of MinorsWhile internet seems like an untamed wilderness much of the time, there are actually a surprising number of measures in place to help your wee ones navigate it unharmed. Like, say, systems to keep big bad corporate wolves from gobbling up the personal information of kids under 13.

You know; the ones that McDonald’s, Nickelodeon, General Mills, Subway, and Cartoon Network have been outright ignoring on their kid-friendly online honeypots.

As the NY Times reports, nearly 20 children’s advocacy groups have banded together to accuse the aforementioned toddler tempters of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Specifically, the sites in question encourage minors to share the email addresses of their friends without parental consent. What’s worse is that it’s so clearly an intentional skirting of the law. According to one of the lawyers leading the charge:

“Under the law, they can’t just collect e-mail addresses from kids and send them marketing material directly. So they are embedding messages saying, ‘Play this game and share it with your friends,’ in order to target the friends.”

The technical legal term for this sort of thing is “icky,” so let’s hope this puts an end to it. There are enough predators online as it is without having to worry about’s intentions.

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Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

How Chobani Founder Hamdi Ulukaya Unleashed The Greek Yogurt Craze Upon America


Hamdi Ulukaya chobani greek yogurt

The Chobani brand is widely credited with starting the Greek yogurt craze in the U.S.

Consumers have gone nuts for it since the product hit shelves in 2007, and Chobani has grown into a massive force.

Turkish native Hamdi Ulukaya is the man behind Chobani. The 40-year-old ran a modest cheese company in New York state before getting into the yogurt business.

Now, the company is the No. 3 maker of non-frozen yogurt in the U.S., raking in about $750 million in sales, according to Symphony IRI. The only ones ahead of it are industry titans Yoplait (owned by General Mills) and Dannon (owned by Danone).

And it all started with one snap decision.

Ulukaya didn’t come to the U.S. from Turkey in 1995 to make yogurt — he had a very different plan.

“I came from a family of farmers who made cheese and yogurt, but that was the furthest thing from my mind at that time,” he told Forbes. “I came here for education, to learn English, to learn business.”

That changed once he saw the opportunity. Ulukaya had always thought that American yogurt brands were “horrible,” and thought if he made something better, people would flock to it.

In 2005, Ulukaya received a direct mail ad that said, “Fully equipped yogurt factory for sale.”

Ulukaya initially threw away the ad, but decided the next day that he wanted to buy the former Kraft Foods plant in Columbus, N.Y. It took him five months to come up with the funds to do it.

He bought it using less than $1 million in loans, including one from the U.S. government’s Small Business Administration, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Everybody around me thought I was nuts,” he told the WSJ. “Here was this huge company, Kraft, getting out of this plant. If there was value in it, why would they close it? But you just have a gut feeling you can do something.”

It took 18 months to come up with the Chobani recipe.

“I wanted to make sure the product was perfect because I only had one shot and it had to work,” Ulukaya told the Wall Street Journal

He worked with his sixth employee — a “master yogurt maker” and family friend from Turkey — to create it.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Thursday, June 21st, 2012 news No Comments

GM Pulled Ads After Facebook Begged It To Use Free Media (FB)


free sign man

General Motors pulled its entire $10 million ad budget after Facebook executives urged the company to concentrate more on posting free content to its web page, according to Reuters.

The account dovetails with BI’s May 16 report, which noted that General Motors wasn’t executing the basics — posting compelling content for free on its Brand Pages — of its Facebook strategy correctly.

Reuters said:

Facebook may only have itself to blame for why General Motors rained on its IPO parade this week.

… During the meeting with GM, Facebook officials emphasized the lure of free posted content on their website, the sources said. By contrast, the ads looked “kind of meager and perhaps expensive by comparison,” one source said.

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Friday, May 18th, 2012 news No Comments

This New California Mobile Privacy Deal Is Absolutely BRILLIANT (GOOG)


California Attorney General Kamala Harris

If you live in California, you’re soon going to have a chance to read a privacy policy for every single app you download onto your mobile phone.

That’s thanks to a “Global Agreement” signed by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and six big companies in the mobile space: Google, Apple, RIM, Microsoft, Palm, and Amazon.

Just one question.

Who reads privacy policies?

You probably don’t. Just like you don’t read the terms and conditions when you download and install software, or sign up for an online email account, or rip the tag off a new mattress.


The 1% of you who do read privacy policies are probably the exact same 1% who are losing sleep because information from your iPhone address book was secretly being uploaded to the servers of Path and some other app makers.

So the Attorney General and the six companies win for looking aware and concerned about online privacy, and the privacy zealots get to rest a little easier before going off on their next crusade. (Probably against Google.)

Plus, apps makers now all have to hire lawyers to write up these privacy policies and interns to put the policies online and build links to them in their apps. Which increases employment!

Wins all around. Well done.


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Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

Not Enough Data To Explain Why Doctors Are Leaving Medicare



The government is having a hard time conducting a full review of physicians who have opted out of medicare, according to a memo released last week by the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The evaluation sought to answer what type of physicians opted out, whether the number of physicians opting out increased or decreased over time, and why the physicians chose to opt out. 

According to deputy inspector general Stuart Wright, the evaluation was not completed because Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) and legacy carriers do not maintain sufficient data

While CMS provided the Office of Inspector General (OIG) with 7,900 providers ranging from 1998 to March 2011, only one out of 10 MACs and one of six legacy carriers provided OIG with all data elements required by CMS. Consequently, the OIG claimed it could not sample opted out physicians and interview them. 

The memo implied that the number of physicians opting out will increase in the future, considering “the potential for legislated decreases in Medicare reimbursement for physician services. ” It briefly references a 2011 August report published by the Texas Medical Association, which reported that 50 percent of Texas physicians are considering dropping out of Medicare program altogether. 

This trend is nothing new. TMA has released another report in March 2011 that showed that 34 percent of Texas doctors are not accepting new Medicare patients or have limited the number of doctors. Similarly, a report by AARP released in February 2010 surveyed 413 Idaho physicians and found that 17 percent have completely closed their practices to new Medicare patients.

The Physicians’ Foundation has published numerous reports on the topic. A 2008 survey reported that 12 percent of physicians have closed their practices to Medicare patients and the 2010 survey reported that 52.2 percent of physicians said that health reform would cause them to “close or significantly restrict their practices to Medicare patients.”

Now See: Why doctors are loosing money >

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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

The Owner Of Flash Sales Site Rue La La Is Laying Off A Big Chunk Of Its Staff


rue la la

UPDATE: Rue La La has reached out to us to update the story with some additional information.

Rue La La just laid off 11 percent of its 500-person staff, according to the company.

The Boston Business Journal first reported the layoffs.

Site owner Retail Convergence is also shutting down, a discount shopping site, according to the report.

Some employees were offered other positions in the company, and everyone was offered some kind of severance package, a source close to the company told us.

“It was a mess upstairs. People were crying all over the place,” one unnamed employee told the Boston Business Journal. 

Rue La La operator Retail Convergence raised about $25 million from General Catalyst Partners and Breakaway Partners before being acquired by a company called GSI Commerce for $350 million, reports The Boston Business Journal.

eBay then bought GSI Commerce in 2009, and Rue La La got $500 million in debt and equity financing as part of the deal, according to the report. Retail Convergence, the owner of Rue La La and was spun out as part of that deal.

Here’s the full statement from Rue La La:

Since launching in 2008, Rue La La has transformed online shopping and has become a leader in the “private sale” shopping space.  In a continued effort to revolutionize off-price shopping, we have made the strategic decision to double down on our core business.  This heightened focus on our core includes the restructuring of our Rue Local business by outsourcing our sales force and consolidating into Rue La La. was originally launched 1999.  These moves unfortunately resulted in the elimination of some staff positions.  Rue La La has continued to see dramatic growth with nearly $300MM in sales in 2011 and similar growth planned for 2012 and beyond.

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Thursday, January 12th, 2012 news No Comments

This Retailer Is Doing So Well It’s Opening Hundreds Of New Stores For The Third Straight Year


dollar general

Dollar stores are booming in a struggling economy, and one of the big boys of the industry is doing so well it’s planning another period of explosive growth, reports Gail Hoffer and Drug Store News.

It will open 625 stores and hire around 6,000 employees over the course of 2012. The discount chain already has about 9,800 stores spread across 38 states, and some of the new stores will be in previously unoccupied states California and Massachusetts.

Dollar General has adopted an aggressive growth strategy since the start of the recession. This marks the third straight year it has opened hundreds of new locations, and the chain has created more than 21,000 jobs since 2009.

It’s not all about the economy though. Dollar General had to be smart in its expansion strategy too — after all, Walmart is its biggest competitor, and the world’s largest retailer has had similar success recently.

It thrives on hitting markets that Walmart hasn’t taken over, such as small towns that can’t support one of Walmart’s massive big box stores. It also competes with the other big dollar store chains, like Family Dollar. The hybrid concept — somewhere between a giant discounter and a small dollar store — has worked admirably.

Plus, while dollar store marketing plays a significant role in getting people through its doors, Dollar General is actually also a clear leader in price over both Walmart and its dollar store compatriots.

NOW SEE: The 20 Brands With The Most Loyal Customers >

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 news No Comments

Even Major Sites are Not Yet Benefiting From the Full Power of Search

@glenngabe‘s post on  FaceYahoogle – The Impact of Facebook, Yahoo, and Google on Website Traffic inspired me to also look at the search terms driving traffic.  Most sites, even major ones have their own brand terms driving traffic. This is OK, but it is taking significantly less advantage of the full power of search.A more ideal scenario for sites is that they have a large number of non-brand terms driving traffic — i.e. the keywords they want to be known for are driving traffic to them.  The premise is that if the user already knew the brand or brand name, it would be redundant for the advertiser to spend awareness ad dollars on them. The advertiser wants to get users to their site who do not already know their brand name.  This is especially true for pharma drug websites, as you will see in the following examples.


These sites have such a diverse set of products, services, or topics, we don’t expect the top search terms driving traffic to be anything other than their brand terms.  But they should have a long tail of thousands of keywords driving traffic (and they are, in the following examples).





These sites focus on specific product categories, so one would expect that they should have keywords around their product category driving traffic — e.g. clothing, chocolate, wine, etc.  But as you can see, most don’t and the total number of keywords driving traffic could be larger than it is now (implying more long tail keywords). – clothing

jcrew – computers, consumer electronics, iPod, music

apple – chocolate

godiva – clothing, women’s



Such sites should be all over search terms that surround the topic areas that they want to be known for. But as you see from the analytics, most don’t. Instead, the top terms driving traffic are their own brand name. Again, if the user already knew the brand, additional advertising would be wasted on them. The sites need to make efforts to “own” additional keywords (or at least “show up at the party”) so people who don’t know the brand name might still have a chance finding them when they type in other keywords surrounding the specific niche.

Sutent (Pfizer) – cancer drug


Nucynta (J0hnson & Johnson) – pain drug


Spiriva (Boehringer Ingelheim, Pfizer) – COPD drug

NOTE: This is the best of the bunch of drug sites.  COPD, the disease area they want to be known for, does actually show up in the first 5 search terms driving traffic, along with emphysema and their product name handihaler. Also, notice they have nearly 10 times the number of keywords driving traffic compared to the other 2 drugs cited (65 vs 7 or 8 )


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Sunday, December 6th, 2009 digital 1 Comment

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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