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See The Entire Hyper-Local Marketing Business Collapsed Into One Intense M&A Target Graphic

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/see-the-entire-hyper-local-marketing-business-collapsed-into-one-intense-ma-target-graphic-2012-12

There are a LOT of hyper-local marketing companies in business right now. Everyone knows Groupon and LivingSocial, of course. And Facebook and Google also have local offer businesses.

But there are also tons of smaller ones, and sub-units tucked into larger businesses — like AOL’s Patch and MSNBC’s EveryBlock.

Some of the businesses are publishers of local information (Patch, and YP, for instance). And others are hyper-local marketing businesses like Groupon or The Weather Channel. Google, of course is both. They all have one thing in common: They’re in the business of helping local businesses advertise themselves to local customers.

We decided to try and display them all in a chart based on size, and whether they are likely to acquire, or be acquired, by other companies. (With all due respect to LUMA Partners, let’s call this an InsiderScape.)

The result suggests that the business has organized itself into two types of companies: a small set of large, acquisitive players; and a large set of small, non-acquisitive players. (There are very few large players that don’t have acquisition histories, and very few small players that are scaling up via leveraged acquisitions.)

Crucially, this huge number of companies are all doing essentially the same thing — digitally connecting local businesses with their consumers. That suggests this is a commodity environment in which companies are likely to experience severe downward pressure on their ability command prices from merchants. And that means consolidation, through M&A, is likely.

Check it out, and let us know if we got anything wrong:

hyper-local graphic

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Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 news No Comments

Meet Nestle’s Squadron of Internet Comment Warriors

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5955484/meet-nestles-squadron-of-internet-comment-warriors

Meet Nestle's Squadron of Internet Comment Warriors Every company has to deal with people who talk about it on the Internet, and different ones handle it differently. Nestle for instance, maintains an elite team of Digital Accelerators that, as an article by Reuters reveals, watches the wide world of Internet comments like a hawk.

The Digital Acceleration Team, comprised of over two dozen people, is located in Nestle’s HQ in Switzerland where they man a control room outfitted with all manner of displays, keeping a close eye on the words of commenters across the globe, and deciding when to intervene.

From Reuters:

Pete Blackshaw, 47-year old head of digital marketing and global media, is in charge. On a recent weekday, the American and his staff of 30 to 40-year-olds were monitoring the online action on such topics as the latest cute dog photo on the Purina pet food website, or who was drinking Nescafe.

…”If there is a negative issue emerging, it turns red,” says Blackshaw, indicating a screen powered by software from Salesforce.com Inc., which is also used by such brands as Dell computers and delivery company UPS. It captures millions of posts each day on topics of interest to Nestle.

Nestle insists that it neither pays pro-Nestle bloggers nor buys fake fans and followers. Instead, it merely supports a group of professional browsers to comb over the most mundane references to the company day after day, week after week. Historically, Nestle has had some serious enemies, so the lengths to which they’re going might not be too far out, but it’s still wild to imagine the control room devoted to this monitoring, and knowing it actually exists.

You can read more about how this team works over at Reuters, and even see pictures of their super serious-looking office. Commenting about Nestle is serious business. [Reuters]

Image by PozitivStudija/Shutterstock

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Sunday, October 28th, 2012 news No Comments

Caterina Fake Launches Pinwheel, Which Lets You Leave Notes Around The World

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/caterina-fake-launches-pinwheel-which-lets-you-leave-notes-around-the-world-2012-2


Caterina Fake

Caterina Fake, who previously cofounded Flickr and Hunch, has launched a new startup called Pinwheel, which lets you leave vitrtual notes around the world.

She announced the launch on her personal blog earlier today.

Enter the Internet of things, where you can choose to follow people, places or things. The notes you leave can be private, or you can share them with everything and everybody. 

The possibilities seem endless.

For instance, Fake shared a note she wrote for her friend Lauren:

note

Perhaps this would be a more useful note when you’re roaming around town: “Find me a Nearby Toilet NOW.” 

That seems to be coming soon: Fake wrote on her blog that she plans on building out a notification system so you can get pinged when someone you follow sends out a note.

We knew last year that True Ventures, SV Angel and her fund, Founder Collective, invested.

As far as making money, Fake is betting on selling sponsored notes.

The site is still in private beta — you can sign up here for an invite to try out the web and mobile app. The iOS version is coming up next.

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Friday, February 17th, 2012 news No Comments

Zynga Is About To Lose Its Global Director Of Brand Advertising

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/sources-zynga-is-about-to-lose-its-global-director-of-brand-advertising-2012-2


manny anekalManny Anekal, the global director of brand advertising at Zynga, is leaving the company to become COO of Kiip, a firm that operates a network that places branded rewards inside mobile games for advertisers, according to two sources.

Anekal’s Linkedin page currently states he has been on extended medical leave from Zynga. He is expected at Kiip next week.

Kiip has 20 employees, is based in San Francisco, and its clients include Best Buy, Disney and Sony. The company inserts branded rewards inside mobile games for advertisers. When players reach a new level, for instance, Kiip can reward them with free merchandise from advertisers.

Anekal leaves Zynga after its sales and marketing budget rose to $234 million, according to its Q4 2011 results.

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

P&G To Lay Off 1,600 After Discovering It’s Free To Advertise On Facebook (PG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/pg-ceo-to-lay-off-1600-after-discovering-its-free-to-advertise-on-facebook-and-google-2012-1


old spice

Reality appears to have finally arrived at Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest marketer, whose $10 billion annual ad budget has hurt the company’s margins.

P&G said it would lay off 1,600 staffers, including marketers, as part of a cost-cutting exercise. More interestingly, CEO Robert McDonald finally seems to have woken up to the fact that he cannot keep increasing P&G’s ad budget forever, regardless of what happens to its sales.

He told Wall Street analysts that he would have to “moderate” his ad budget because Facebook and Google can be “more efficient” than the traditional media that usually eats the lion’s share of P&G’s ad budget.

This is coming from the man who increased P&G’s adspend by a staggering 24 percent over the two years through October 2011, even though sales rose only 6 percent in the same period.

Note that P&G’s revenues were up 4 percent to $22 billion in the quarter but the company’s costs for sales, general and administrative work were flat.

P&G’s staggering ad budget has become a bit of an issue among analysts. On the call, McDonald and his crew were asked about ad costs three different times! . McDonald eventually said:

As we’ve said historically, the 9% to 11% range [for advertising as a percentage of sales] has been what we have spent. Actually, I believe that over time, we will see the increase in the cost of advertising moderate. There are just so many different media available today and we’re quickly moving more and more of our businesses into digital. And in that space, there are lots of different avenues available.

In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that the return on investment of the advertising, when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient. One example is our Old Spice campaign, where we had 1.8 billion free impressions and there are many other examples I can cite from all over the world. So while there may be pressure on advertising, particularly in the United States, for example, during the year of a presidential election, there are mitigating factors like the plethora of media available.

P&G’s Old Spice campaign is a textbook example of what the entire company should be doing. The problem is that the entire company isn’t doing it. Check out Mr. Clean’s Twitter stream, for instance. Oh, right—he doesn’t have one.

McDonald’s recent discovery that digital media is free comes after the long-delayed launch of Tide Pods, now scheduled for a month from now but with only a limited supply. It was originally planned for July 2011. The ad budget for that campaign is estimated at $150 million and will come from agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

The problem is that while P&G has struggled to get a single U.S. pod out the factory door, several of its competitors have already launched competing laundry pod products.

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Monday, January 30th, 2012 news No Comments

Guess What The Biggest Topic On Facebook Was This Year

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/boonsri-dickinson-guess-what-the-biggest-topic-on-facebook-was-this-year-2011-12


The death of Osama bin Laden.

10 percent of all status updates (in English) mentioned Osama bin Laden in the days following his death, according to a Facebook blog outlining the top ten global trends in 2011.

Coming in second was Green Bay Packers beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Charlie Sheen was winning in March, if you recall.

Each month engagement centered around the hottest current events. For instance, conversations about the Royal Wedding were really popular during April. Mentions of the marriage shot up 600-fold, according to the Facebook post.

This is what your status updates revealed:

Facebook Top Ten trends

The blog post also looked at the memes that emerged this year.

In it, you’ll see planking — you know, where people lie down in an unusual place. It hit a spike after Max Key, the son of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key uploaded a photo to Facebook, then celebrities gave the meme a second wind, but then it just sort of disappeared.

If you don’t know what “lms” is or “tbh” — then you’re clearly not spending enough time on Facebook.

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Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 news No Comments

Appcelerator developers warm to Windows Phone, give BlackBerry the cold shoulder

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/15/appcelerator-developers-warm-to-windows-phone-give-blackberry-t/

As the year winds to a close, it seems that developer sentiments have shifted since we last checked in with Appcelerator and its opinionated community of coders. In a survey performed in conjunction with IDC, the results suggest a steady interest to develop for smartphones and tablets of the iOS and Android variety, but also reveal a punctuated surge in enthusiasm for Windows Phone. The platform experienced an eight percent uptick since last quarter, with developers citing Nokia’s involvement as a primary motivating factor. While Microsoft’s OS still lags significantly behind the front-runners, it has significantly separated itself from other competitors. For instance, interest in BlackBerry smartphones fell by seven percent, to roughly half that of Windows Phone. It should be noted that this survey doesn’t reflect the development community as a whole, but merely of Appcelerator Titanium users — if you’re curious, the product is a cross-platform development environment for mobile apps. While the 2,160 respondents may not perfectly represent reality, we wouldn’t be surprised if they were darn close.

Appcelerator developers warm to Windows Phone, give BlackBerry the cold shoulder originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 15 Nov 2011 10:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5574937/starbucks-is-slowly-reviving-the-coffee-nerding-of-america

Starbucks Is Slowly Reviving the Coffee Nerding of AmericaThe Clover was a nerd’s way to make coffee. Every parameter precisely, digitally controlled, for the most of tweaky of experimentation—or you can make the exact same cup over and over. Then Starbucks bought the company.

What happened next: Waves of independent coffee shops ditched their $10,000 Clover machines, for practical and philosophical reasons. Starbucks rolled them out to 50ish stores across the Northeast, Seattle and San Francisco. Then expansion stopped. That was almost two years ago.

Starbucks’ first Clover showed up in New York around two months ago, in a nearly 20-year-old location that’s been converted into a concept store. The thaw is beginning. Starbucks plans to finally expand the Clover’s footprint gradually over the next 6-8 months, as they figure out how to integrate the machine into the natural rhythm of stores—which is basically dominated by Frappuccinos these days, not coffee.

In a way, it’s a hard sell. The kind of people who would be most interested in coffee made via Clover, designed to pull the most out of a coffee—so shitty coffee would taste shittier—don’t go to Starbucks. Starbucks is so reviled by people who actually like coffee that they’ve experimented with burying the Starbucks name two pilot stores in Seattle which are designed to look more like the kind of place that serves Intelligentsia or Stumptown coffee. So it’s heartening to see them try to live up a bit more to the ideals of caring about coffee and how it’s served.

Starbucks Is Slowly Reviving the Coffee Nerding of AmericaFor instance, while 30 days is what Starbucks considers the expiration date on beans in a store—16 days longer than any self-conscious shop would serve them—if you order a cup made with Clover, you’re far more likely to get beans roasted within the 2-week mark. (In part because there are limited quantities of some coffees served using Clover, like the Jamaica Blue Mountain they’re offering starting tomorrow.)

They’re also making use of their spin on Clovernet, which was one of the big hype points of the machine: Shops and their baristas could share, upload and download recipes for coffees made via Clover. Starbucks pushes recipes for each coffee it serves on the Clover—around 4-6—to stores via a similar network, so there are custom parameters for each coffee. African coffees get a different treatment versus South American ones, as they should.

For all the technology in the Clover, though, it ultimately comes down to the guy (or girl) handling it. Hopefully, it’s someone nerdy enough to know what the Clover was before it landed in front of them at Starbucks.

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Monday, June 28th, 2010 Uncategorized No Comments

Inside Google’s Secret Search Algorithm

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/zzkIcilnJp4/inside-googles-secret-search-algorithm

Wired’s Steven Levy takes us inside the “algorithm that rules the web“—Google’s search algorithm, of course—and if you use Google, it’s kind of a must-read. PageRank? That’s so 1997.

It’s known that Google constantly updates the algorithm, with 550 improvements this year—to deliver smarter results and weed out the crap—but there are a few major updates in its history that have significantly altered Google’s search, distilled in a helpful chart in the Wired piece. For instance, in 2001, they completely rewrote the algorithm; in 2003, they added local connectivity analysis; in 2005, results got personal; and most recently, they’ve added in real-time search for Twitter and blog posts.

The sum of everything Google’s worked on—the quest to understand what you mean, not what you say—can be boiled down to this:

This is the hard-won realization from inside the Google search engine, culled from the data generated by billions of searches: a rock is a rock. It’s also a stone, and it could be a boulder. Spell it “rokc” and it’s still a rock. But put “little” in front of it and it’s the capital of Arkansas. Which is not an ark. Unless Noah is around. “The holy grail of search is to understand what the user wants,” Singhal says. “Then you are not matching words; you are actually trying to match meaning.”

Oh, and by the way, you’re a guinea pig every time you search for something, if you hadn’t guessed as much already. Google engineer Patrick Riley tells Levy, “On most Google queries, you’re actually in multiple control or experimental groups simultaneously.” It lets them constantly experiment on a smaller scale—even if they’re only conducting a particular experiment on .001 percent of queries, that’s a lot of data.

Be sure to check out the whole piece, it’s ridiculously fascinating, and borders on self-knowledge, given how much we all use Google (sorry, Bing). [Wired, Sweet graphic by Wired’s Mauricio Alejo]

Additional Information on Real Time Bidding

http://go-digital.net/blog/2009/09/rtb-real-time-bidding-may-make-ad-exchanges-more-efficient-but-it-still-wont-save-display-ads/

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Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 digital No Comments

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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