return

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5879847/bribing-customers-to-get-five+star-amazon-reviews-is-a-new-marketing-low

We all read reviews and check star ratings on Amazon before we buy stuff. We’ve already seen that companies sometimes write reviews themselves, and they’re easy to spot by the way they’re written. But there’s a new trend among some less trustworthy Amazon sellers: bribing customers to write favorable reviews.

Accorrding to a report by the New York Times a compnay called VIP Deals has been offering its customers a complete refund on their purchase — while still allowing them to keep the item — in return for a review.

The product in question is a Vipertek brand premium slim black leather case for the Kindle Fire — a fairly lucrative market given how many Kindles were sold over the holidays. VIP Deals have been selling the case for under $10 plus shipping (the official list price was $59.99). The New York Times explains what customers experienced:

When the package arrived it included a letter extending an invitation “to write a product review for the Amazon community.”

“In return for writing the review, we will refund your order so you will have received the product for free,” it said.

While the letter did not specifically demand a five-star review, it broadly hinted. “We strive to earn 100 percent perfect ‘FIVE-STAR’ scores from you!” it said.

Apparently VIP deals has no web site and uses a mailbox drop in suburban Los Angeles as a return address, and last week had received 4,945 reviews on Amazon for a nearly perfect 4.9 rating out of five. Since, Amazon has removed the product page.

Speaking to the New York Times, Anne Marie Logan, a Georgia pharmacist, said: “I was like, ‘Is this for real?’ ” she said. “But they credited my account. You think it’s unethical?” Just a bit, Anne. Just a bit. [New York Times; Image: MikeBlogs]

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Friday, January 27th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

There’s Only One Way To Make A Ton Of Money And Be Happy Selling Your Start Up

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/theres-only-one-way-to-male-a-ton-of-money-selling-your-start-up-2012-1


Venture Capital Ad

There is a common belief that venture capital has become a necessity to get start-ups off the ground.

The seemingly endless flow of funds is very appealing to the up-and-coming company looking to sling-shot themselves to instant growth.

While VC funding can give an important vote of confidence and is absolutely necessary for large infrastructure projects, there’s another side to VC funding— it can actually become a huge hindrance. As I’ve discussed before, skipping venture capital can leave your company with the freedom to grow in a sustainable way, creating more value for all stakeholders.

This means when you do sell – as my company AdoTube did recently— you are able to reap all the rewards of selling a healthy profitable company while being a big part of its future. Read below for the 5 reasons why skipping the VC can leave you with more money and probably more importantly a better company legacy.

1.       VCs just want their return

Venture capitalists have a portfolio of investments consisting of multiple start-ups, and therefore only care about average portfolio results. On the other hand, founders have all their eggs in one basket. Not only is this company their brainchild, but it is also their savings on the line. While founders are interested in the eventual payout, providing a product or service that consumers are excited about can be even more important. This focus on the long-term can lead to a greater eventual pay-out as well as a better company legacy.

2.       It’s easy to waste VC money, diminishing overall value

It is easy to overspend when it is not your money. When a small company comes across millions of venture capital, a lot of that cash can get thrown out with the bath water. Keeping the company small and growing it with your own sweat, blood and hard earned cash can lead you to be thriftier in your decisions. When AdoTube started, we made sure every purchase would earn us back revenue, otherwise why waste the money? Ultimately, this allowed us more value for our investment and helped us get a better return.

3.       VCs go big or go bust

Multiple rounds of VC can put founders in a situation where the company either becomes extremely successful or goes bust. Venture Capitalists’ are looking for the big payday, and if the instant pay-out is not immediately apparent, the company can come to a screeching halt. Founders, on the other hand, can take their time building the company up growing it organically. Without venture capitalists looking for their end return, there is still a lot of middle ground available to time a company’s growth spurt with the market.

4.       VCs don’t care about company culture

VCs aren’t incentivized to make deals that are best for the company and the founders. They are incentivized to sell for the most money. The problem is that while every founder dreams of retiring to the Caribbean after they sell, the reality is that their role with the company is often far from over. Founders are often needed to stay on board to steer transitions or integrations are also often the best person to run the newly acquired company. Culture is paramount in making sure all of this happens smoothly and benefits everyone.

5.       VCs don’t know what’s best for the company

Venture Capitalists don’t understand your business like you do. They study revenues and look for synergies with other companies. VCs can even value companies differently depending on how they might merge with another. Valuing a company based on this can take away from the goals of founders, forcing companies to work more like a widget factory than a company. A simple sale could also mean the instant death of your company, destroying all the value that you created (just talk with the guys at Foursquare). While the VCs walk away with a pay-day the company that you spent years creating is gone in an instant.

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Thursday, January 12th, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s How Traders Did Flipping Groupon, LinkedIn, And Pandora Stock On IPO Day (GRPN, LNKD, P)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-heres-how-traders-did-flipping-groupon-linkedin-and-pandora-stock-on-ipo-day-2011-11

IPOs are rigged. They’re set up so that the banks who underwrite them can get their best clients in before the stock inevitably pops.

This reality does not, however, keep traders from trying to take advantage of that pop. It doesn’t always work out.

For example, according to SigFig, most people who bought and then sold Groupon stock during its IPO lost money.  Just more than 1.16% of them got a 10% return.

Traders who played the IPO game with LinkedIn were more likely to be winners. Only ~5% of them lost money. A tiny slice of them – 0.76% – actually doubled their investment.

SigFig made a cool chart to illustrate all this:

COTD Groupon

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Thursday, November 17th, 2011 news No Comments

How You Can Get a Fresh iPad for $100 (Updated) [Apple]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5848784/how-can-you-get-a-fresh-ipad-for-100

How You Can Get a Fresh iPad for $100 (Updated)I love my iPad. It’s the original model, bought on April 3, 2010. It’s been working perfectly since then but the battery life was really bad, lasting only a couple of hours lately. It was exhausted. I had to replace it.

In the process, I got a fresh iPad 64GB at the Apple Store for just $100. The good news, you can get one too.

After so many charging cycles, my original iPad’s battery was exhausted. It took forever to recharge and only a few hours to completely run out. I remember the days when I first got it. I could use it normally for a couple of days, watching at least two Netflix movies on it or browsing the web, running some apps and reading comic books.

I went to the Apple Store to ask for a battery replacement. But, as it turns out, you can’t replace an iPad’s battery. As the guy at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar told me: “See? They don’t have screws. We can’t replace the battery.”

Then he added: “If you want a new battery, we have to give you an entire new iPad.”

How? My iPad was out of warranty. I didn’t buy Apple Care. Furthermore, the iPad itself was broken on one side. One day I dropped it on the floor and the aluminum got quite chipped on one side.

He answered that this was no problem. I only have to pay $100 for the “battery.” In return, they would give you a reconditioned iPad with the same storage size as yours, with a fresh battery inside.

So I did exactly that. I paid the hundred bucks and got back home with a perfect battery life and an iPad with no blemishes whatsoever. If your battery life is sketchy—which is probably the case if you bought it back in April 2010—you should go to an Apple store, pay your hundred and get a fresh new iPad on your hands.

And your old iPad doesn’t go to waste. These get refurbished too. Any bad parts get replaced and go back into the cycle of Apple life.

Update: A former Genius shares his tips in the comments:

• You can do the same thing with any iPhone for $79, and most iPods for $69.

• Apple will replace an iPhone in almost any condition (the only exception being for devices that are literally broken into little pieces, or ones that are missing parts) for $199, even if it’s liquid damaged or cracked.

• Apple will replace any OOW damaged iPad for around half the price.

• On an iPhone 4, if the back glass is cracked, an Apple employee can replace it for $29 in only about 5 minutes, also not a bad idea if your camera lens is scratched beyond repair

• If you restore your device before bringing it in, there are no usage records saved and they have to take your word for it that the battery is defective.

That’s pretty good customer service indeed.


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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 news No Comments

Stop paying Kim Kardashian $10,000 per tweet – She’s NOT Influential if no one re-tweets

Source:  AdAge.com

Yahoo Scientist Questions ROI of Kardashian’s Sponsored TweetsDuncan Watts Explains His Model for Predicting Value of Influencers on Twitter

Ad Age Digital Conference

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Stop paying Kim Kardashian $10,000 per tweet. That’s the recommendation based on the work of Yahoo’s principal research scientist Duncan Watts, who presented his findings at Advertising Age’s DigitalConference.

“If you recruit enough people who, on average, influence just one other person, you could get a much better return on investment if you aggregated them and altogether paid them a tenth of what Kardashian gets.”

But in looking at influencers, Mr. Watts found that it’s incredibly hard to predict who will be a major factor on Twitter, a conclusion that runs counter to the prevailing wisdom of social epidemics popularized by the book “The Tipping Point.” While he acknowledges there are certain personalities such as Kim Kardashian who can potentially trigger a larger cascade of re-tweets given her large amount of “followers” (“Tipping Point” enthusiasts call her a connector), close studies of social platforms reveal that influence is spread more efficiently and more reliably when done through many-to-many connections, rather than through a few highly connected individuals.

“Most of them will send tweets, and no one else re-tweets,” Mr. Watts said. “A lot of times, not that many people are listening on Twitter.”

More supporting details here: http://www.marketingcharts.com/direct/celeb-twitter-followers-have-low-authority-13297

Celeb Twitter Followers Have Low Authority

While celebrities have high numbers of Twitter followers, those followers usually have minimal reach and influence, according to social media consulting firm Sysomos.

Celebrity Followers Offer More Quantity than Quality
Celebrities seem to have large amounts of followers with low Twitter authority levels (see “About the Data” for more information on how authority levels are determined). Of five celebrities examined, the average follower of President Barack Obama had the highest authority rating on a scale of 0 to 10, 2.4. The most common authority score among Obama’s roughly 4.2 million followers is 1, held by 20%.

sysomos-twitter-celeb-june-2010.jpg

Interestingly, the celebrity whose fans had the second-highest authority score of 2.1, pop singer Lady Gaga, had the second-lowest following of about 4.5 million. The most common authority score of followers of all celebrities except Obama was 0.

Actor Ashton Kutcher had the highest number of followers (about 5.1 million), and the third-highest average authority score (1.8). Pop singer Britney Spears had the lowest average follower authority score (1.3) and second-highest number of followers (about 4.8 million).

Celebrities seem to have large amounts of followers with low Twitter authority levels. This could be because they attract everyone from all walks of life. Some people may only be on Twitter to see what their favorite stars have to tweet about. In addition, most celebrity followers tracked by Sysomos had few followers themselves, pushing down their authority scores.

Social Media Heavyweight Followers Have Most Authority
Social media heavyweights, private citizens who have made a name for themselves on Twitter, had the fewest followers but the highest average authority scores for their followers. Following the pattern seen with celebrity tweeters, the social media heavyweight with the fewest followers, Jason Falls (27,195), had the highest average follower authority score (4.8).

sysomos-twitter-heavyweights-june-2010.jpg

Conversely, the two social media heavyweights with the most followers, Chris Brogan (139,693) and Jeremiah Owyang (64,775), tied for the lowest average follower authority score of 4. The most common authority score for all social media heavyweight followers was either 4 or 5.

Online Media Beats Traditional Media
On the whole, the five news/media sources tracked by Sysomos show more variety among their scores than the celebrities or social media heavyweights. However, online media sources attracted fewer followers with higher average authority scores than traditional media sources.

sysomos-twitter-newsmedia-june-2010.jpg

Online media source Read Write Web, with about 1 million followers, had an average follower authority score of 3, which was also its most common follower authority score (19%). This tied online media source Mashable in average authority score, most common authority score and percentage of followers with the most common authority score. Mashable has more followers with about 2 million.

Online media source Tech Crunch ties traditional media source Time.com with an average follower authority of 2.4 and most common follower authority score of 2, at virtually the same percentage. However, Time.com has significantly more total followers (2.1 million) than Tech Crunch (1.4 million).

Traditional media source New York Times has the highest total number of followers (about 2.5 million) and lowest average authority score (2.2). It also has by far the lowest most common authority score of 0 (22%). Not surprisingly, sources that specialize in social media attract users that are more active on Twitter.

Facebook Fans More Valuable Customers
While there is variation in the value of different types of Twitter followers, on the whole Facebook fans of a brand provide more value as customers than non-fans, according to a new study from digital consulting firm Syncapse Corp.

The average value a Facebook fan provides a brand is $136.38, but it can swing to $270.77 in the best case or go down to $0 in the worst. This value is based on Syncapse analysis of five factors per fan: product spending, brand loyalty, propensity to recommend, brand affinity and earned media value.

On average, a Facebook fan participates with a brand 10 times a year and will make one recommendation. Value can differ significantly by individual brand. For example, in the case of Coca- Cola, the best case for fan value reaches $316.78 but is $137.84 for an average fan. In the worse case scenario, a fan is worth $0.

About the Data: Using its social media monitoring and analytics platform, Sysomos looked at the authority rankings of five celebrities, five social media heavyweights and five media organizations. Rankings were based on the kind of Twitter users following these celebrities, social media heavyweights and media organizations. Each Twitter user is assigned an authority ranking between 0 to 10 – with 10 signifying someone with very high reach and influence. This authority ranking is based on the number of followers, following, updates, retweets and several similar measures used by Sysomos.

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Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 analytics 1 Comment

Is the value of #FB pages declining?

Link to this post:
http://www.google.com/buzz/104482663123760919339/WmnUu1raAGx/Is-the-value-of-FB-pages-declining-Well-of-the-30

Liza Post – Twitter – Public
Is the value of #FB pages declining? Well, of the 30 posts on @starbucks wall, 16 are spam. #sm #socialmedia #marketing
1 person liked this – Augustine Fou
Augustine Fou – I think this is a great example. People are fans by clicking the “become a fan” but they are not active on the page. If there were a lot of active people and enough of them clicked the “report” link on the spam items, then most if not all of the spam problem could be eliminated. There is simply not enough active or return participation by current fans.

what do you think?Edit7:04 am

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Friday, April 2nd, 2010 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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