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How One Twitter User Broke The News Of Whitney Houston’s Death An Entire Hour Before The Press

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-one-twitter-user-broke-the-news-of-whitney-houstons-death-an-entire-hour-before-the-press-2012-2


When news spread Saturday night of Whitney Houston‘s passing, it was the AP who had the first official statement from Houston’s publicist confirming the singer’s death.

But an entire hour before that, Twitter user Brittany J. Pullard (aka @BarBeeBrit) was the first person to tweet the news, according to the below graph posted by Twitter, courtesy of @isaach.

Twitter Chart Whitney

@BarBeeBritt, who resides in Los Angeles and enjoys the Hollywood club scene, as evident by her Twitter feed, tweeted at 4:02pm PST to her then-799 followers:

WHitney Tweet

The tweet only received three retweets and @BarBreeBritt never revealed how exactly she heard the news, but Twitter user @AjaDiorNavy quickly had specific details of Houston’s passing at 4:15pm PST that weren’t released to the public until nearly 24 hours after the initial incident.

Twitter

Once the AP tweeted the official statement from Houston’s publicist at 4:57pm PST, rapper Lil Wayne quickly expressed his condolences and received 29,000 retweets, according to Mediabistro.

Other celebrities voiced their sympathies as well, but after Lil Wayne, the top tweets went to:

Justin Bieber (15,000 retweets): “just heard the news. so crazy. One of the GREATEST VOICES EVER just passed. RIP Whitney Houston. My prayers go out to her friends and family.”

Nicki Minaj (9,000 retweets): “Jesus Christ, not Whitney Houston. Greatest of all time,” as well as tweeting a vintage photo of the late singer alongside Michael Jackson.

Katy Perry (8,000 retweets): “So devastating. We will always love you Whitney, R.I.P.”

As if there were any doubt, it appears Twitter truly is the fastest news source. Sorry, TMZ, solid effort.

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 news No Comments

21 Crazy Facts About The Unbelievably Corrupt Olive Oil Industry

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/fake-olive-oil-2012-1


Olive Oil

Olive oil has played a prominent part in Mediterranean culture for over 2,000 years and is beloved by foodies the world over.

However, the industry has a dirty little secret.

A lot of the “Italian extra virgin olive oil” isn’t what it says on the tin. Sometimes its not extra virgin, sometimes its not Italian — and sometimes it’s not even made from olives.

Here’s what you need to know about one of the world’s most lucrative criminal endeavors.

Olive oil is far more expensive than other oils, but surprisingly easy to fake.

(Source).

The fake industry seems to have almost as long a history as the real industry.

In the past merchants used to mix the oil with lard.

(Source)

It’s probably because of how valuable it is — way back in ancient Rome, per-capita consumption of olive oil was as much as fifty liters every year.

“People were prepared to spend the same amount of money on olive oil back then as they do on petroleum today.”

Nigel Kennell a specialist in ancient history, tells the New Yorker’s Tom Mueller.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Thursday, January 19th, 2012 news No Comments

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

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-owner-of-flash-sales-site-rue-la-la-is-losing-up-to-half-its-staff-2012-1


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 SmartBargains.com, 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 SmartBargains.com 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 SmartBargains.com into Rue La La. SmartBargains.com 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

American Apparel’s Profits Are Getting Clipped Thanks To Groupon (APP)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/american-apparel-groupon-2012-1


american apparel

Just when it looked like things were starting to look up for cash-strapped American Apparel, profits are reportedly getting shaved.

Why?

Groupon.

From The New York Post‘s James Covert:

The hipster clothing chain racked up impressive sales gains during the holidays, but profits were squeezed hard as it took steep discounts, including those from a barrage of Groupon offers nationwide, sources told The Post.

American Apparel rang up millions of dollars in the fourth quarter selling cardigans, corduroys and sexy leggings through the daily deals site — a heap of bargains amounting to a “small but material” percentage of the company’s $157 million in total sales during the period, said one source briefed on the company’s finances.

The controversial clothing company has been struggling to turnaround its operations.

Read more at NYPost.com >
 
SEE ALSO: Here’s What American Apparel Thinks The Holidays Should Look Like >

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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 news No Comments

Why Loyalty Credit Cards May Soon Be A Thing Of The Past

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/credit-suisse-retailers-loyalty-programs-2011-12


loyalty credit card

Credit cards have been a staple for retail rewards programs for decades (you know, like that Visa card they try to make you sign up for every time you go to Gap). They’ve been an effective way to reward customers, and for retailers to get additional funding.

But a new report by analysts Michael Exstein, Chrisopher Su and Trey Schorgi at Credit Suisse says that it’s time for retailers to abandon the credit card. Why are credit-based rewards programs not the right way to go anymore?

1. The cost of rewards programs keeps rising for banks. As rewards competition ramps up, issuer margins are pressured.

2. As the programs get more expensive, banks will offset costs in other areas. This will result in either less beneficial terms for retailers, or higher fees for consumers. Retailers may have to increase their own rewards programs to remain competitive

3. Retailers’ relationships with their customers could be hurt, because banks (who are now in control of many retailers’ credit businesses) could squeeze consumers. Since the programs are branded for retailers, not the banks, consumers would deem them responsible.

Credit Suisse instead suggests that the answer to these woes is simple. Switch over to programs based around membership fees or other upfront investments. “Going forward, we think the emerging trend will be the need for consumers to “invest” in loyalty programs, thereby creating a “vested interest,” says the report.

So what brands are doing it right so far?

Amazon — The Amazon Prime membership program has been vastly successful. Consumers pay an annual membership fee of $79, and get shipping benefits, free use of Amazon Instant Video and perks for their Kindle.

Costco — The largest membership warehouse club in the world has three levels of membership. There’s a $55 annual fee for businesses, a $55 ‘Gold’ card for individuals and a $55 executive member upgrade, which gives folks a 2% discount on most purchases.

Sam’s Club — Walmart’s warehouse subsidiary has a similar system, with a $40 per year Advantage card for individuals ($100 for Advantage Plus which offers extra savings) and a $35 per year Business membership ($100 for Business Plus).

Macy’s — “Thanks for Sharing” is a program that’s working for Macy’s to generate loyalty. It requires a $25 upfront investment (which is actually a donation to charity), in exchange for rewards.

Target — The REDcard is a ‘hybrid’ method which has been working well since the retailer started it up in 2010. It offers 5% savings on everything and includes shipping benefits.

These programs all capitalize on the concept of creating that “vested interest.” Customers, having already paid a set of promised benefits, will be more likely to keep spending to use those benefits that they’ve already paid for. They’ll keep coming back.

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

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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 news No Comments

Huge Company Bans Internal Email, Switches Totally To Facebook-Type-Stuff And Instant Messaging

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/company-bans-email-2011-12


In case big email providers like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo hadn’t already been scared stiff by recent online communication trends, this news should wake them up.

A huge French company has just banned the use of email within the company. Instead, having concluded that the vast majority of email is just time-wasting noise, it is switching all employees to a Facebook-like interface and instant messaging.

The company is Atos.  Susanna Kim of ABC reports:

CEO Thierry Breton of the French information technology company said only 10 percent of the 200 messages employees receive per day are useful and 18 percent is spam.  That’s why he hopes the company can eradicate internal emails in 18 months, forcing the company’s 74,000 employees to communicate with each other via instant messaging and a Facebook-style interface.

Caroline Crouch, a spokeswoman for the company, told ABC News the goal is focused on internal emails rather than external emails with clients and partners. Atos has already reduced the number of internal emails by 20 percent in six months.

When asked how employees have responded to the policy, Crouch told ABC News the overall response “has been positive with strong take up of alternative tools.”

Breton, Atos’s CEO, says he hasn’t sent an email in three years. (And he’s obviously managed to keep his job.)

This trend at the corporate level mirrors email trends among young people–the future workforce. As the chart below shows, the use of web-based email by the younger crowd is plummeting, as these folks communicate via Facebook, IM, and texting instead.

Email is still an extremely convenient way to communicate, so it’s not likely to go anywhere. But there’s no question that email is losing share of digital communications, including in the workplace. And that’s not good for companies that depend on it for their livelihoods.

chart of the day, web-based email use by age year over year, nov. 18, 2011

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Sunday, December 4th, 2011 news 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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