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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

Nexus 4 boasts SlimPort support for tethered display sharing

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/30/nexus-4-boasts-slimport-support/

Nexus 4 boasts SlimPort support for tethered display sharing

A lot of the hubbub yesterday was around the Nexus 4’s support of Miracast, courtesy of Android 4.2. If you don’t want to spring for a dedicated TV box or invest in a whole new set of gadgets to supersize your mobile experience, then you may be excited to hear that the handset also supports SlimPort. We haven’t heard much from the DisplayPort-based standard since January, but we’re happy to report it finally appears to be ready for primetime. Analogix, the company behind the tech, already has its first adapter up for sale on Amazon (at the more coverage link), which takes the Nexus 4’s micro-USB port and allows you to connect an HDMI cable to it — so long as that proposition is worth $30 to you. Eventually DVI, VGA and DisplayPort will also be added to list of output options, potentially making the this handset’s charging port the most versatile micro-USB jack in the smartphone market. For more, check out the PR after the break.

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Nexus 4 boasts SlimPort support for tethered display sharing originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 30 Oct 2012 18:42:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 news No Comments

When Insurance Agencies Almost Killed Jessica Scorpio’s Startup, She Got Her State Government To Change The Law

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/insurance-agencies-blocked-getaround-wrote-a-law-2012-7

Jessica Scorpio of Getaround

Getaround was a hit when it launched last summer at TechCrunch Disrupt; it went on to raise a few million in financing.

It’s a peer-to-peer car rental service; when one person isn’t using their vehicle, they can rent it to a neighbor and give them a virtual set of keys.

But insurance companies almost killed Getaround before it could take off.

“We knew insurance would be our main problem,” Scorpio tells Inc.’s Christine Lagorio. Agencies wanted to know who would cover a car renter’s accident, the owner or the insurance company. Scorpio says she received a lot of notices that read, “We regret to inform you that we will not provide insurance coverage for this operation.”

Most people would have admitted defeated, but Scorpio found an impossible-sounding solution.

She helped write a new law.

“We started to plant the seeds in Sacramento. Democrats really like it because it’s green; Republicans really like it because it’s small business,” Scorpio tells Lagorio of her law proposal.

“The California law is AB 1871. It says that when participating in a personal-vehicle-sharing program, the car owner’s insurance is never going to be affected. An owner can make up to the value of the car—say, $10,000 a year for a normal vehicle—from renting it, but the car-sharing organization has to provide the insurance during the car-share period,” she says.

Three states have adopted a similar laws and now Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to insure GetAround.

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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

Pixelated Crayons are Retroriffic

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5900371/pixelated-crayons-are-retroriffic-in-every-way

Pixelated Crayons Are Retroriffic In Every WayToday’s high-resolution displays mean we don’t see pixelated images that often anymore. And let’s face it, once the colored pencil enters your life, you rarely pick up a crayon ever again. Except for nostalgia’s sake, which these pixelated crayons have in spades.

For $15 you get a set of six multi-colored crayons which can be used for drawing technicolor rainbows when dragged across a page. Or, if you happen to have a shred of artistic talent, these colored cacophonies can also be used to quickly add shading and depth to an image bound for the fridge door. Just move that important grocery list out of the way, your spose won’t mind.

Pixelated Crayons Are Retroriffic In Every Way

[AssistOn via The Fancy]

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Monday, April 9th, 2012 news No Comments

Android leads US market share, iOS may have stopped growing, RIM is still falling

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/14/shocker-android-grew-us-market-share-after-q2-ios-was-static/

NPD just published its latest plotting of the great American smartphone OS rivalry, and although the report covers annual rather than quarterly trends, it’s perhaps more interesting to hold it up against the previous set of figures we saw — those for Q2 2011. Back then, Google’s OS had a 52 percent share, but these new figures suggest a marginally better performance of 53 percent between January and October. Meanwhile, iOS’s 29 percent share is identical to what we saw in Q2, hinting that its growth has slowed right down or even stopped. RIM’s share of the pie is 10 percent, compared to 11 percent in Q2, showing that the Summer flurry of new BB7 handsets like the Bold 9930 and Torch 9810 had little immediate impact. WP7 obstinately refuses to overtake Windows Mobile, although these figures are pre-Titan, while the doomed Symbian and webOS are barely clinging to life. Aside from all that, perhaps the only stats that are genuinely still shocking are those at the top of the column for 2006. Click below for further detail’s in NPD’s press release.

Continue reading Android leads US market share, iOS may have stopped growing, RIM is still falling

Android leads US market share, iOS may have stopped growing, RIM is still falling originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Dec 2011 08:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 news No Comments

Treehouse Is an Elegant, Focused Online Learning Resource for Aspiring Designers and Developers [Teach Yourself]

Source: http://lifehacker.com/5857764/treehouse-teaches-you-development-and-design-elegantly-and-for-free

Treehouse Is an Elegant, Focused Online Learning Resource for Aspiring Designers and DevelopersIf you’re looking to learn some new development or design skills, Treehouse can teach your the core knowledge you need. The site offers a focused look at the basics of object oriented programming, the principals of good design, and how to make an iPhone app.

The lessons take you through your topic of choice in video form, explain everything in clear and precise terms, and award you badges as you make your way through. If you’re willing to pay extra, you’ll also get access to project videos which will take you through the process of creating real-world projects from start to finish. I’ve been meaning to improve my pathetic Objective C skills and learn to develop for iOS but had yet to come across a set of lessons I really liked. After watching a few at Treehouse I was pretty hooked. If you’ve been looking to pick up one of these valuable skills as well, their lessons are definitely worth checking out.

Note: I made an error and initially thought Treehouse was free. First, sorry for the misleading information! Second, we still think it’s pretty nice. Pricing is $25/month for basic access and $49/month for premium. (More information here.) That’s about on par with our other favorite, Lynda. Lynda offers you far more topics but Treehouse has a nice focus (and, at the moment, a more up-to-date iOS course). Sorry again that I completely missed the cost of the service, but it’s still pretty cool and worth a look if it’s within your budget.

Treehouse


You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.  Twitter’s the best way to contact him, too.


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Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 news No Comments

Here’s What Groupon Insiders REALLY Think Of LivingSocial (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-groupon-insiders-really-think-of-livingsocial-2011-11


LivingSocial is a very close competitor to Groupon.

Unaiz Kabani, the data whiz at Daily deals aggregator Yipit, tells us that Groupon’s market share dropped to 54% in September, down from 57% in August. Meanwhile LivingSocial was up to 22% from 19% in August.

Despite this heated race, Groupon barely mentioned LivingSocial in its IPO roadshow. Can you even spot it on this slide from the presentation?

GRPN IPO

Ridiculous, right?

But what do Groupon execs really think of LivingSocial? While we were talking to sources for our story INSIDE GROUPON, we got a pretty clear picture.

Highlights:

  • “LivingSocial was discussed in every management meeting.  It always seemed liked Groupon was winning in the markets that mattered, except in D.C., which is LivingSocial’s home base.”
  • “I would say LivingSocial was the main driver behind the huge marketing expenses because the idea was always, lets have more subscribers and thus more sales, then them.”
  • “Internally, the company rhetoric to employees was we’re way better, way cooler. [It was] a pep rally approach – they’re the rival the team can beat. At the management level, I would say they were taken seriously.”
  • “LivingSocial had the biggest influence when they would do something before Groupon.  They launched their instant deals before Groupon Now got launched and that was kind of a blow.  They did their escapes before we had a travel channel and that was a blow also. “
  • “The perception was that they launched an inferior product so ours was better. Just as a consumer, their mobile platform is far inferior.”
  • “Having that first mover advantage was huge.  It just always seemed like Groupon maybe had deeper pockets and could take advantage of the scale they thought they needed, then LivingSocial could.”
  • “They think they’re a lot smarter than LivingSocial.  Andrew thinks about LivingSocial all night and all day.  He totally obsesses about them.”
  • The Whole Foods thing drove him crazy. Groupon was bidding on that too, and basically LivingSocial went in and fully subsidized the deal and said “we’ll pay the whole thing, we just want Whole Foods on our roster.’ And you saw the number, the LivingSocial thing really worked for them, it really lifted their top line.”
  • “They’re a great company, a great fast follower. I don’t know what they’re worth – maybe $3 billion to $6 billion dollars – which is amazing [since it] didn’t exist 3 years ago.”
  • “There’s scale advantage that they don’t have; they don’t have a global presence. “
  • “I think they get gobbled up by one of the big four – Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Or maybe they even get acquired by Groupon.”
  • “[If] Groupon is worth $15 billion or $16 billion then maybe LivingSocial is worth 4 or 5.”

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Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 news No Comments

How Google Crunches All That Data

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5495097/how-google-crunches-all-that-data

If data centers are the brains of an information company, then Google is one of the brainiest there is. Though always evolving, it is, fundamentally, in the business of knowing everything. Here are some of the ways it stays sharp.

For tackling massive amounts of data, the main weapon in Google’s arsenal is MapReduce, a system developed by the company itself. Whereas other frameworks require a thoroughly tagged and rigorously organized database, MapReduce breaks the process down into simple steps, allowing it to deal with any type of data, which it distributes across a legion of machines.

Looking at MapReduce in 2008, Wired imagined the task of determining word frequency in Google Books. As its name would suggest, the MapReduce magic comes from two main steps: mapping and reducing.

The first of these, the mapping, is where MapReduce is unique. A master computer evaluates the request and then divvies it up into smaller, more manageable “sub-problems,” which are assigned to other computers. These sub-problems, in turn, may be divided up even further, depending on the complexity of the data set. In our example, the entirety of Google Books would be split, say, by author (but more likely by the order in which they were scanned, or something like that) and distributed to the worker computers.

Then the data is saved. To maximize efficiency, it remains on the worker computers’ local hard drives, as opposed to being sent, the whole petabyte-scale mess of it, back to some central location. Then comes the second central step: reduction. Other worker machines are assigned specifically to the task of grabbing the data from the computers that crunched it and paring it down to a format suitable for solving the problem at hand. In the Google Books example, this second set of machines would reduce and compile the processed data into lists of individual words and the frequency with which they appeared across Google’s digital library.

The finished product of the MapReduce system is, as Wired says, a “data set about your data,” one that has been crafted specifically to answer the initial question. In this case, the new data set would let you query any word and see how often it appeared in Google Books.

MapReduce is one way in which Google manipulates its massive amounts of data, sorting and resorting it into different sets that reveal new meanings and have unique uses. But another Herculean task Google faces is dealing with data that’s not already on its machines. It’s one of the most daunting data sets of all: the internet.

Last month, Wired got a rare look at the “algorithm that rules the web,” and the gist of it is that there is no single, set algorithm. Rather, Google rules the internet by constantly refining its search technologies, charting new territories like social media and refining the ones in which users tread most often with personalized searches.

But of course it’s not just about matching the terms people search for to the web sites that contain them. Amit Singhal, a Google Search guru, explains, “you are not matching words; you are actually trying to match meaning.”

Words are a finite data set. And you don’t need an entire data center to store them—a dictionary does just fine. But meaning is perhaps the most profound data set humanity has ever produced, and it’s one we’re charged with managing every day. Our own mental MapReduce probes for intent and scans for context, informing how we respond to the world around us.

In a sense, Google’s memory may be better than any one individual’s, and complex frameworks like MapReduce ensure that it will only continue to outpace us in that respect. But in terms of the capacity to process meaning, in all of its nuance, any one person could outperform all the machines in the Googleplex. For now, anyway. [Wired, Wikipedia, and Wired]

Image credit CNET

Memory [Forever] is our week-long consideration of what it really means when our memories, encoded in bits, flow in a million directions, and might truly live forever.

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Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 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.

GENERAL SITES

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).

NYTimes.com

nytimes

LinkedIn.com

linkedin

Weather.com

weather

CATEGORY SPECIFIC SITES

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).

JCrew.com – clothing

jcrew

Apple.com – computers, consumer electronics, iPod, music

apple

Godiva.com – chocolate

godiva

AnnTaylor.com – clothing, women’s

anntaylor

SINGLE NICHE SITES

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

sutent

Nucynta (J0hnson & Johnson) – pain drug

nucynta

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 )

spiriva

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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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