travel

Here’s The Spaceship That Will Fly Rich People From NYC To Tokyo In 90 Minutes

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/xcor-reveals-full-scale-model-of-lynx-2012-10

xcor aerorspace lynx

Since the last flight of the Concorde in 2003, supersonic travel has been the province of jet fighter pilots and Felix Baumgartner.

XCOR Aerospace wants to change that. Out of a group of outfits looking to bring back travel faster than the speed of sound, it has an especially intriguing idea: flying from one airport to another, via outer space.

It’s no pipe dream: XCOR is busy building the Lynx, its suborbital commercial spacecraft, which will take off and land like a conventional plane, but offer a cruising speed of Mach 3.5, 62 miles above the ground.

As it moves toward its first test flights in early 2013, XCOR has built a full-scale mockup of the Lynx, which it brought to last week’s International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, in New Mexico.

The design is not final yet, COO Andrew Nelson says. But it’s the best look yet at the craft that could make point to point travel in space a reality, and send passengers from New York to Tokyo in an hour and a half.

This is the rendering XCOR created of the Lynx.

XCOR is already booking ‘up and down’ flights, for $95,000 a pop.

Last week, it successfully fired the Lynx’s engine.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Monday, October 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

Here’s How NY Times’ Frugal Traveler Finds Hotels When Websites Don’t Cut It

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-ny-times-frugal-traveler-seth-kugel-books-a-hotel-2012-8

kugel

When New York Times columnist Seth Kugel sits down to plot his next ‘Frugal Travel’ adventure, he’s not the only one to weigh in. 

“It’s not like some gold mine, like I have a stash of gold coins in my office and I can go anywhere I want and then write about it,” said Kugel, whose most recent travels took him to Norway and Denmark. “There’s where I want to go and where my editors want me to go. But by the way, I never say no. There’s pretty much no where I don’t want to go.”

Once a destination is locked in, each step is plotted by Kugel himself, from which airline to choose––discount carriers aren’t his favorite––to where he’ll lay his head at night (“Anything over 100 a night is pretty much unacceptable.”).

“I have a lot of colleagues who’ve been traveling for 20 years,” he told Business Insider. “There’s a little bit of a learning curve for me.”

Lodging is of particular concern, since it’s likely to take up the biggest chunk of any traveler’s budget, including Kugel’s. There are countless sites dedicated to giving consumers the cheapest hotel rates in a specific area, but when he was ready to book a stay at Martha’s Vineyard for an upcoming column, he found an even better way to search:

“I went to every hotel site I could think of, Hotels.com, the chamber of commerce website, and every site had a slightly different list of hotels. I thought this is ridiculous,” he said. “I went to Google Maps, zoomed in on a specific area and search! ed for ‘ hotels.’ Eighty-seven [options] popped up and I just went through every single one.”

It’s the simple, most organic way to search, he said.

“Anything else is somehow biased. Some of these sites, the hotel has to agree to be a part of them and they pay a fee. Other places are based on critics. This works much better in places where there aren’t 4,000 hotels though. I wouldn’t try this in NYC.” 

DON’T MISS: This couple retired on an Argentina vineyard >

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Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

Boutique Fashion Brokers Make Virtual Trade Show Platform

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5923780/boutique-fashion-brokers-pioneers-the-virtual-trade+show-platform

 

In the age of e-commerce and business meetings held over Skype, the travel and lodging expenses of attending a trade show are increasingly difficult to justify. And If you’re an emerging independent designer or the owner of a fashion boutique anywhere other than LA or NYC, scouting for new items and securing the right connections to get your product seen by the right people can be cost prohibitive.

Kassondra Dyebo, CEO and managing director of Boutique Fashion Brokers, believes there’s a better way.

BFB is a “B2B membership-only community, created for up-and-coming fashion brands and boutiques to discover and do business with one another through their own private virtual showrooms.”

Dyebo first conceived of the idea for BFB while working as a buyer in Montreal and attending trade shows herself. They’re huge, tiring, overwhelming conventions that require much schlepping and stamina. And BFB, which launched in February of this year, is the trade show’s efficient opposite.

With a low-fee membership, boutique buyers are able to browse BFB’s online inventory, which is navigable by all manner of categories and sub-categories, and can be added to a multi-branded line-sheet, from which to request samples. While designers can use the platform to host their own virtual showroom, where they can showcase their collection(s), look-book(s), and press.

Two things that Dyebo believes make BFB a valuable resource are the premium placed on member privacy (buyers have no way of knowing with whom they are in direct competition, and designers only know who browses their wares once an item has been placed on a “Watch” list or a sample has been requested), and the user-friendly features in place to meet all their members’ needs (BFB’s system allows them to keep track of sales, orders, and shipments, as well as all pending and completed transactions).

Dyebo doesn’t believe the day of the old-school trade show is over, only that—at least in some industries—there is an opportunity online to improve the entire experience. “What inspired me,” she says, “was the fact that I couldn’t travel to all the tradeshows and scout out all the talent around the world.” Problem, solved.

Thanks, Kassondra!

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Friday, July 6th, 2012 digital No Comments

Hot Travel Startup Hipmunk Goes After Company Demanding Patent Payout

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/hipmunk-i2z-technology-patent-license-2012-7

Troll 400x300

Startup Hipmunk is taking legal action against i2z Technology over a patent dispute.

The patent in question, No. 5,345,551, is one that allows for content to be displayed on numerous windows.

Hipmunk is suing the company after i2z initially stated Hipmunk was infringing on its patent and demanded a licensing agreement.

The other company, i2z Technology, is a shell business located in Texas and run by a lawyer based out of California, according to GigaOm.

The company doesn’t appear to provide any service or product but instead gathers patents in order to make money through licensing or litigation—what’s known in the business as a “non-practicing entity,” or, less politely, a “patent troll.”

This request came right after Hipmunk secured $15 million in funding.

The travel startup, which allows users to search for flights and hotels, didn’t take the bait. It says that i2z Technology has tried to pull this stunt with other companies, including Yelp, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and many others.

In its lawsuit, Hipmunk states, “the products and services on its travel search site do not infringe, contribute to the infringement of, or induce others to infringe any valid and enforceable claim of the ’551 patent, either directly or indirectly, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents.”

Hipmunk’s lawsuit shouldn’t come as a surprise to people familiar with the startup. One of the advisors, Alexis Ohanian, is an outspoken advocate for internet freedom and in the past has protested against SOPA. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him take on patent reform.

Check out the lawsuit in its entirety:

Hipmunk Versus i2z Technology

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Thursday, July 5th, 2012 news No Comments

American Airlines Strips Man Of Unlimited Flight Pass After Racking Up 36 Million Miles

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/american-airlines-strips-man-of-unlimited-flight-pass-after-racking-up-36-million-miles-2012-5

American Airlines airplane

Now bankrupt American Airlines used to offer an incredible — and pricey — perk. Until 2004, $500,000 could buy a lifetime first class travel ticket for any route.

But, according to The Daily Mail, one man is having it revoked after amassing 36 million miles and costing American nearly $1 million a year.

Jack Vroom (yes, that is his real, hilarious name), bought the pass in 1989 and has taken advantage ever since.

He has flown far and wide, sometimes for just a few hours. He took a trip to Milan just to grab a motorcycle exhaust and has gone to London for a quick shopping trip.

One of Mr. Vroom’s more frequent trips was to take a sheet of silver to Gudalajara, Mexico to have belt buckles made. And while his son was in college, he’d fly 2,000 miles every weekend to watch him play football.

But he also helped people. The pass came with a companion seat, so one thing he did with it was fly home AIDS victims so they could stay with their families.

American has deemed that Mr. Vroom’s use of the pass has violated the terms they set forth, which means they can revoke it.

Even with the current financial issues, American expects to continue honoring the passes held by other customers. Mr. Vroom says he believes there are 40 in the world.

 Now check out a fast private plane >

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Thursday, May 10th, 2012 news No Comments

American Airlines Strips Man Of Unlimited Flight Pass After Racking Up 36 Million Miles

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/american-airlines-strips-man-of-unlimited-flight-pass-after-racking-up-36-million-miles-2012-5

American Airlines airplane

Now bankrupt American Airlines used to offer an incredible — and pricey — perk. Until 2004, $500,000 could buy a lifetime first class travel ticket for any route.

But, according to The Daily Mail, one man is having it revoked after amassing 36 million miles and costing American nearly $1 million a year.

Jack Vroom (yes, that is his real, hilarious name), bought the pass in 1989 and has taken advantage ever since.

He has flown far and wide, sometimes for just a few hours. He took a trip to Milan just to grab a motorcycle exhaust and has gone to London for a quick shopping trip.

One of Mr. Vroom’s more frequent trips was to take a sheet of silver to Gudalajara, Mexico to have belt buckles made. And while his son was in college, he’d fly 2,000 miles every weekend to watch him play football.

But he also helped people. The pass came with a companion seat, so one thing he did with it was fly home AIDS victims so they could stay with their families.

American has deemed that Mr. Vroom’s use of the pass has violated the terms they set forth, which means they can revoke it.

Even with the current financial issues, American expects to continue honoring the passes held by other customers. Mr. Vroom says he believes there are 40 in the world.

 Now check out a fast private plane >

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Thursday, May 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5887838/please-stop-making-more-pinterests

Please Stop Making More PinterestsPinterest! It is the hottest social media whatever the hell it is out there. Is there a Pinterest button on this site yet? (No? Jeremy, please get on that!) Because Pinterest should be everywhere, and everything should be Pinterest.

Pinterest! Pinterest! Pinterest!

Journalists! If you are writing a story about something, and you do not mention Pinterest, what are you thinking, really? I don’t care what your story is about, you still need to mention Pinterest. Steve Jobs? Mention Pinterest! Mitt Romney? Mention Pinterest! Genocide? Mention Pinterest! What do you mean that’s in poor taste? Mention it, Goddamn you! Mention Pinterest!

Similarly, if you are starting a company and it is not a Pinterest clone, I feel bad for you son. All the big baller VCs in the valley need a Pinterest hook right now if you expect them to relate to you. If your turd factory isn’t a Pinterest spin-off you might as well not even share your poop with me. Because I won’t care! Each and every elevator pitch is now required to begin with “It’s like Pinterest for _____

You don’t believe me? To fucking wit:

Chill: Pinterest for Video
Gentlemint: Pinterest for men
Linterest: Pinterest for Jeremy Lin!
Urbantag: Pinterest for places!
Sinterest: Pinterest for porn!
Grooblin: Pinterest for social events!
Stylesays: Pinterest for fashion!
Polyvore: Pinterest for fashion!!
Usabila: Pinterest for designers!
Shopalong: Pinterest for Shopping!
Pinspire: Pinterest for Pinterest!
Currently Obsessed: Pinterest for Stalkers!
Etc: Etc Etc

But clearly, there are some market holes. So, hang on, I’m going to start like 20 businesses for you real quick. Please immediately launch Pinterests for: Magazines, blogs, dead people, cats, the gays, sexual positions, fires, trees, the homeless, gingers, medical professionals, Latvians, figs, horses, websites about Barack Obama, air travel, banana slugs, butt plugs, anger, fear, hate, sadness, crying alone in the park, other emotions, cars, guys who like to have sex with cars, Mitt Romney’s old man balls, javascript libraries, the Taliban, pure uncut molly experiences, Skrillex, butterscotch, and of course women. That there isn’t a Pinterest for women yet just fucking amazes me. It’s obvious. Billion dollar idea.

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Friday, February 24th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

A Retailer

Source: http://blog.compete.com/2012/01/03/pinterest-a-retailers-best-friend/

Pinterest Women's Clothing

Last May, we wrote about the new kid on the block, Pinterest. A self-proclaimed “virtual pinboard,” Pinterest allows users to collect images, quotes, recipes, etc. from across the web and organize them onto their own “pinboards” which can be shared with other Pinterest users. Examples of common pinboard inspirations are Wedding boards, Food & Drink boards, Travel & Places boards, & Home decor boards.

Although Pinterest had shown promise back in May, there would have been no way to predict the type of success they have seen since. Having grown 84% in Unique Visitors since we last wrote about them and 50% from October to November alone, it seems that Pinterest has piqued the interest of more than a few.

uvs to pinterest

Having recently joined Pinterest myself, I was curious to see how Pinterest might play into the role of marketing. I noticed that a lot of my friends were posted clothing & material items they liked in almost a “wishlist” sort of way, so I was curious to see if this could double as a sort of targeted social advertising.

I decided to look at incoming and outgoing traffic to and from Pinterest.com to see how virtual pin boards might affect consumers.

incoming traffic to pinterest

While most of the Top 10 Referrals to Pinterest.com are among the top sites on the Internet, the more interesting data starts at #11. Etsy.com, Amazon.com, Craigslist.com and Ebay.com all bring at least .39% of all traffic to Pinterest.com – not to mention their growth in referrals this past November. Etsy.com increased its referrals to Pinterest.com by 7%, Ebay by 23%, and Amazon by 50%!

Looking further into the data, we see that Walmart, Toys R’ Us, Target, Zulily, Baby Center, Kohls, Houzz, JC Penney, Best Buy, and Zazzle are all within the Top 100 Referrals to Pinterest.com. What could this all mean? In the context of Pinterest, it would seem that users are inspired and excited by the products they see on these websites and want to add them to their visual collections and share them with friends. But once users leave retailers for Pinterest, are the retailers benefiting?

Well, one could argue that the impressions made on Pinterest users who view the shared item are enough value in themselves. Viewing a cute dress for a little girl on Zulily.com might inspire a Pinterest user to visit Zulily in the future or even make a purchase at a later date. But could there be any retail sales that start directly at Pinterest.com? I checked out outgoing traffic from Pinterest.com to get the scoop.

outgoing traffic from pinterest

As you can see, Etsy.com is the #6 destination from Pinterest.com, swiping 1.5% of all outgoing traffic. Amazon, Ebay, Craigslist, & Houzz are all in the Top 30 destinations users immediately visit after Pinterest.com. Target, Walmart, & Anthropologie are also among the Top 100 destinations from Pinterest.com. Interestingly enough, Anthropologie wasn’t among the Top 100 incoming destinations which means that the content from Anthropologie shared must be expectionally engaging with Pinterest users.

Are you on Pinterest? Have you ever been inspired to buy something after looking at a friend’s virtual pin board? If you are a retailer, or online marketer, what do you think the future holds for Pinterest in this context?

Leave your comments below!


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Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Why Google Is The Grinch Who Stole Your Business

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-grinch-who-stole-your-business-2011-12


Google Sign

It’s that time of year when we all reflect on the past, search our souls and determine what we want for the next year. I’ve been reflecting on what it means to work with a company that controls so much of the market, provides such a broad set of capabilities and delivers such a large percentage of monthly revenues to publishers. Of course, I’m thinking of Google and what their dominance in the ad market means for a publisher’s future and its ability to remain relevant to marketers.

What do we know about Google? They are this great company that gives consumers some of the best digital products available on the Web: search, email, maps, Android, apps and more. This has catapulted Google to the rank of second most valuable brand, behind only Apple, according to Millward Brown. This seems to be great for consumers, but what about the businesses who are now reliant on Google for search and display revenue, advertising technology and various business applications like Google docs, Android OS, Chrome, etc.?

Many of the businesses I meet with hold Google in high regard because of the products they represent and the amount of revenue they provide. However, these businesses are equally concerned about Google’s consumer stranglehold, their influence over the ad ecosystem and their focus on automation, all of which lessens the publishers’ worth in the value chain as a whole. Google’s market dominance stretches well beyond search, which in itself is obviously enormous. This expansive dominance should be alarming for every marketing-related business, including publishers, advertisers and agency and marketing services technologies.  Here are a few stats on Google by category that will likely frighten even the largest of these businesses:

  • 65.38% Share of Search, Oct-11 Hitwise
  • 44.1% Share of Ad revenue, Oct-11 PCMag
  • 43.8% Share for Video, Oct-11 Comsccore
  • 30.03% Share for Travel, Oct-11 Comscore
  • 22.38% Share for Automotive, Oct-11 Comscore
  • 18.69% Share for Shopping, Oct-11 Comscore
  • 16.29% Share for Health, Oct-11 Comscore

If these stats weren’t enough to dampen your holiday spirit, Google now is even prioritizing their own products above the paid search listings on their search engine. This creates a major conflict for the advertisers that have made Google what it is today and may force those clients to pay even more if their advertising is to remain competitive in this new bidding landscape. Google clearly is leveraging its position of power with consumers to launch new products and ensure their own success. The latest example of this is the promotion of their Chrome browser on the Google homepage. As you can see from the chart below, Chrome is rocketing to the position of #1 browser, a rank it is projected to achieve by June 2012.

Google is now a major threat to every business in the publishing and advertising marketplace. In the short term, while they may appear to be a superior partner that provides revenue and marketing innovation, I believe that over the long term they are eroding the value of each and every business in the media sales and publishing value chain. And, worst of all, they are charging heavily for the privilege. I’d estimate that for every dollar spent by an advertiser in the media buying process, Google captures upwards of 25% in tolls (via their various ad services, DFA, Invite, DFP, AdX, Motif, Admeld, etc.), thereby minimizing revenue and profits for publishers and other vendors along the way

So as you reflect on 2011 and consider whom you want to partner with in 2012, give some thought to the short versus the long term. What is your value proposition to clients? And who do you ultimately want to run your business … the Grinch or You?

Have a great holiday and Happy New Year!

The views expressed here reflect the views of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of 24/7 Real Media, its affiliates, subsidiaries or its parent company, WPP plc

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Tuesday, December 27th, 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

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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