truth

The Reason Larry Page Doesn’t Want Googlers Thinking About The Competition Is Pretty Inspiring (GOOG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-reason-larry-page-doesnt-want-googlers-thinking-about-the-competition-is-pretty-inspiring-2012-12

larry page

During an interview with Fortune’s Miguel Helft, Google CEO Larry Page is transparently reluctant to talk about who he thinks is Google’s competition.

Helft asks him: “Is it Siri? Is it Amazon or commercial queries?”

Page tries to dodge the question, saying: “I don’t really think about it that way.”

Helf presses: “Because you don’t think about competition?”

And then Page drops this doozy, which is pretty inspirational for people in the tech industry:

“Obviously we think about competition to some extent.”

“But I feel my job is mostly getting people not to think about our competition. In general I think there’s a tendency for people to think about the things that exist. Our job is to think of the thing you haven’t thought of yet that you really need. And by definition, if our competitors knew that thing, they wouldn’t tell it to us or anybody else. I think just our strengths, our weaknesses, our opportunities are different than any other company.”

(Of course the truth is that lots of Googlers do think about the competition, and when they do, it’s mostly about Amazon lately. The reason: Google makes its money from commercial web searches, and increasingly people are just going straight to Amazon.com for that.)

SEE ALSO: 12 Quotes That Reveal How Larry Page Built Google Into The World’s Most Important Internet Company

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Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 news No Comments

3 Myths About Facebook The Company Wishes Would Go Away (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/myths-about-facebook-2012-12

carolyn everson facebook

Ever since Facebook went public earlier this year — and was finally liberated from the SEC-required “quiet period” that all companies must go through when offering stock — Facebook has been trying to chase down several untrue rumors about how its business works.

As the old saying goes, a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.

We sat down recently with Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vp/global marketing solutions, and asked her what the most common misconceptions were among advertisers about the way Facebook works.

She told us that these are the three of the biggest:

1. “Facebook ads don’t work.”

Everson says: “I see it in the press sometimes. I will hear a marketer say, ‘Prove it to me, show me how Facebook marketing works.’ To me that’s code for ‘I haven’t believed it yet, or I haven’t seen enough data.’ And my team now is equipped globally with literally hundreds of examples and proof points of how Facebook advertising works [for] everything from Samsung launching a product down to your small/medium business trying to drive people into their stores.”

2. “Mobile is bad for Facebook.”

To be fair, this myth was started by Facebook itself, when it warned in its IPO papers that had not yet properly monetized mobile. It warned again in Q2that mobile may “negatively affect” revenue. Since then, however, mobile has turned out to be huge for Facebook.

Ev erson says: “Mobile is fantastic for monetization. Fourteen percent of our revenue from the third quarter was from mobile. The CPMs are higher in mobile across the board. The performance in the news feed on mobile are 8 to 10X. Let me give you some interesting stats. Rosetta Stone, language provider, did an offers product. They got 560,000 claims, 98 percent of them via mobile. Lawson’s is a Japanese convenient store, kind of like 7-11, they got 598,000 claims, 93 percent from mobile. It is a very powerful way for our marketers to reach our users and I will tell you that when I sit with the client council members, Keith Weed at Unilever or Marc Pritchard at P&G, any of the top CMOs, they are entirely focused on how Facebook can help them in emerging markets … Clearly more people are joining Facebook on mobile, so mobile’s been very positive from a user growth standpoint.”

3. “Facebook only works for brand awareness.”

Everson says too many advertisers think Facebook is only good at generating vague brand image impressions, and it’s not for driving direct sales. But she believes Facebook has uses throughout marketing’s customer “funnel”:

“The third myth, Facebook only works for top-of-the-funnel objectives, for brand awareness, for people having conversations or earned media. What we have now demonstrated consistently is we deliver throughout the entire funnel. ”

Disclosure: The author owns Facebook stock.

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Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 news No Comments

Donald Trump Is Attacking Brian Williams In Another Twitter Meltdown (CMCSA)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-attacking-brian-williams-on-twitter-2012-11

Donald Trump wasn’t satisfied with just making a clown of himself last night on Twitter.

He’s continuing today, attacking NBC’s star newsman Brian Williams.

Last night Williams talked about Trump’s tweets on air and said he had “driven well past the last exit to relevance and veered into something closer to irresponsible.”

This morning, Trump is firing back as only he can, saying, “Brian–Thanks dummy–I picked up 70,000 twitter followers yesterday alone.” And, “Brian Williams was never a smart guy but always passes himself off as such. People will learn the truth!”

Here’s the full tweet-rant, read from the bottom up.

Trumptweets

And here’s the Williams video:

 
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Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 news No Comments

Donald Trump Is Attacking Brian Williams In Another Twitter Meltdown (CMCSA)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-attacking-brian-williams-on-twitter-2012-11

Donald Trump wasn’t satisfied with just making a clown of himself last night on Twitter.

He’s continuing today, attacking NBC’s star newsman Brian Williams.

Last night Williams talked about Trump’s tweets on air and said he had “driven well past the last exit to relevance and veered into something closer to irresponsible.”

This morning, Trump is firing back as only he can, saying, “Brian–Thanks dummy–I picked up 70,000 twitter followers yesterday alone.” And, “Brian Williams was never a smart guy but always passes himself off as such. People will learn the truth!”

Here’s the full tweet-rant, read from the bottom up.

Trumptweets

And here’s the Williams video:

 
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Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 news No Comments

This New California Mobile Privacy Deal Is Absolutely BRILLIANT (GOOG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-new-california-mobile-privacy-deal-is-absolutely-brilliant-2012-2


California Attorney General Kamala Harris

If you live in California, you’re soon going to have a chance to read a privacy policy for every single app you download onto your mobile phone.

That’s thanks to a “Global Agreement” signed by California Attorney General Kamala Harris and six big companies in the mobile space: Google, Apple, RIM, Microsoft, Palm, and Amazon.

Just one question.

Who reads privacy policies?

You probably don’t. Just like you don’t read the terms and conditions when you download and install software, or sign up for an online email account, or rip the tag off a new mattress.

But!

The 1% of you who do read privacy policies are probably the exact same 1% who are losing sleep because information from your iPhone address book was secretly being uploaded to the servers of Path and some other app makers.

So the Attorney General and the six companies win for looking aware and concerned about online privacy, and the privacy zealots get to rest a little easier before going off on their next crusade. (Probably against Google.)

Plus, apps makers now all have to hire lawyers to write up these privacy policies and interns to put the policies online and build links to them in their apps. Which increases employment!

Wins all around. Well done.

See also: THE TRUTH ABOUT ONLINE PRIVACY: Who Cares?

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Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

Um, Google’s “Search, Plus Your World” Sucks So Far

Google’s “Search, Plus Your World” launched with some fanfare and with jilted partner, Twitter, crying foul.  But the real proof is in the “pudding” and so far, from my own taste testing, the “puddin’s not all that good.” In fact, it’s downright spoiled.

In theory, returning results based on my own activities, photos, shares, etc. plus the social sharing activities of my circles of friends seems to make sense. After all, my friends should share similar interests, etc. However, in reality, this appears to be far from the truth.

Either my friends all suck at what they are sharing OR what I search for has very little to do with (or very little overlap with) what I and my friends are sharing. And I think the latter is more likely the case, because my friends are all awesome and I usually find what they share to be super informative and I always learn something new from them and the insightful curation they do.

So what is wrong with Google’s new personalized search, flavored with +1? And will it ever get better with time and more usage?

My current hypothesis is NO .. it won’t get better with time.  Here are a few reasons why I think so:

– what I search for (what I need at this moment) is not necessarily what I share (what I think my followers would be interested in)

– news items and other cool information that is shared are things I “discover” through the curation of my circles of friends and I like to browse these things to learn; this contrasts with things that I search for at any moment in time, which could include things that I need now, gifts for other people, research for clients in other industries that I am not in. What this means is that those search terms and the sites that I visit don’t necessarily have any bearing on any future searches and what I am interested in.

– finally, among all my friends, I would probably only ask 1 or 2 of them for restaurant recommendations (in New York) because they live here and are known for their expertise in food; I would ask different friends for advice on digital cameras (@designerguy), keyword research platforms (@glenngabe), ad networks (@jonathanmendez), etc. you get the idea. So canvassing my entire social graph for keyword based ways to personalize search results is actually making the results worse (see examples below).

Search ( photos )

[Redacted] – I don’t need to see my own photos from my own Picasa, which I already know is there.

Search  ( italian restaurants in New York  – no quotes )

 

 

Search ( spend polarization – no quotes )

spend polarization search results

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 SEM, SEO, social networks No Comments

Consumers Willing to Share Shopping Data with Brands Online

Source: http://www.marketingcharts.com/uncategorized/consumers-willing-to-share-shopping-data-with-brands-online-19735/

About seven in 10 (71%) of global consumers are willing to share their personal shopping data with brands online, according to new research from McCann Worldgroup released in October 2011. Data from “The Truth About Privacy” indicates that 5 times as many consumers will share their shopping data than will share their financial data online […]


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Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 news No Comments

Reed Hastings’ Netflix spinoff isn’t about DVD success, it’s about hedging the stream

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/19/editorial-reed-hastings-netflix-spinoff-isnt-about-dvd-succes/

If you’ve just casually glanced over the mass reactions to Reed Hastings’ decision to split the DVD-by-mail business of Netflix into its own brand and company, you’ve probably been duped into thinking that it’s the second questionable move that the world’s most famed movie delivery service has made this year. But is it? Is a man who turned a red envelope into a symbol of near-immediate gratification really a moron? Did he really just bury the company he worked tirelessly to create? I highly, highly doubt it. Knee-jerk reactions are always fun to watch, but they’re rarely on-point. As with most things in life, the truth usually resides somewhere in betwixt the extremes. And in the case of Qwikster — the DVD-by-mail service that precisely no one asked for — the truth is hiding in exactly the place that Reed said it’d be: the future.

Continue reading Editorial: Reed Hastings’ Netflix spinoff isn’t about DVD success, it’s about hedging the stream

Editorial: Reed Hastings’ Netflix spinoff isn’t about DVD success, it’s about hedging the stream originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 19 Sep 2011 02:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, September 19th, 2011 news No Comments

How Major Labels Cook the Books with Digital Downloads [Digital Downloads]

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/jl5xTTh-ZxM/my-6247-royalty-statement-how-major-labels-cook-the-books-with-digital-downloads

Tim Quirk was the singer of punk-pop outfit Too Much Joy, signed by Warner Bros. in 1990. Now he’s an executive at an online music service, giving him insight on digital sales data and just how labels fudge their numbers.

I got something in the mail last week I’d been wanting for years: a Too Much Joy royalty statement from Warner Brothers that finally included our digital earnings. Though our catalog has been out of print physically since the late-1990s, the three albums we released on Giant/WB have been available digitally for about five years. Yet the royalty statements I received every six months kept insisting we had zero income, and our unrecouped balance ($395,277.18!)* stubbornly remained the same.

Now, I don’t ever expect that unrecouped balance to turn into a positive number, but since the band had been seeing thousands of dollars in digital royalties each year from IODA for the four indie albums we control ourselves, I figured five years’ worth of digital income from our far more popular major label albums would at least make a small dent in the figure. Our IODA royalties during that time had totaled about $12,000 – not a princely sum, but enough to suggest that the total haul over the same period from our major label material should be at least that much, if not two to five times more. Even with the band receiving only a percentage of the major label take, getting our unrecouped balance below $375,000 seemed reasonable, and knocking it closer to -$350,000 wasn’t out of the question.

So I was naively excited when I opened the envelope. And my answer was right there on the first page. In five years, our three albums earned us a grand total of… $62.47.

What the fuck?

I mean, w! e all kn ow that major labels are supposed to be venal masters of hiding money from artists, but they’re also supposed to be good at it, right? This figure wasn’t insulting because it was so small, it was insulting because it was so stupid.

Why It Was So Stupid

Here’s the thing: I work at Rhapsody. I know what we pay Warner Bros. for every stream and download, and I can look up exactly how many plays and downloads we’ve paid them for each TMJ tune that Warner controls. Moreover, Warner Bros. knows this, as my gig at Rhapsody is the only reason I was able to get them to add my digital royalties to my statement in the first place. For years I’d been pestering the label, but I hadn’t gotten anywhere till I was on a panel with a reasonably big wig in Warner Music Group’s business affairs team about a year ago

The panel took place at a legal conference, and focused on digital music and the crisis facing the record industry**. As you do at these things, the other panelists and I gathered for breakfast a couple hours before our session began, to discuss what topics we should address. Peter Jenner, who manages Billy Bragg and has been a needed gadfly for many years at events like these, wanted to discuss the little-understood fact that digital music services frequently pay labels advances in the tens of millions of dollars for access to their catalogs, and it’s unclear how (or if) that money is ever shared with artists.

I agreed that was a big issue, but said I had more immediate and mundane concerns, such as the fact that Warner wouldn’t even report my band’s iTunes sales to me.

The business affairs guy (who I am calling “the business affairs guy” rather than naming because he did me a favor by finally getting the digital royalties added to my statement, and I am grateful for that and don’t want this to sound like I’m attacking him personally, even though it’s abo! ut to se em like I am) said that it was complicated connecting Warner’s digital royalty payments to their existing accounting mechanisms, and that since my band was unrecouped they had “to take care of R.E.M. and the Red Hot Chili Peppers first.”

That kind of pissed me off. On the one hand, yeah, my band’s unrecouped and is unlikely ever to reach the point where Warner actually has to cut us a royalty check. On the other hand, though, they are contractually obligated to report what revenue they receive in our name, and, having helped build a database that tracks how much Rhapsody owes whom for what music gets played, I’m well aware of what is and isn’t complicated about doing so. It’s not something you have to build over and over again for each artist. It’s something you build once. It takes a while, and it can be expensive, and sometimes you make honest mistakes, but it’s not rocket science. Hell, it’s not even algebra! It’s just simple math.

I knew that each online service was reporting every download, and every play, for every track, to thousands of labels (more labels, I’m guessing, than Warner has artists to report to). And I also knew that IODA was able to tell me exactly how much money my band earned the previous month from Amazon ($11.05), Verizon (74 cents), Nokia (11 cents), MySpace (4 sad cents) and many more. I didn’t understand why Warner wasn’t reporting similar information back to my band – and if they weren’t doing it for Too Much Joy, I assumed they weren’t doing it for other artists.

To his credit, the business affairs guy told me he understood my point, and promised he’d pursue the matter internally on my behalf – which he did. It just took 13 months to get the results, which were (predictably, perhaps) ridiculous.

The sad thing is I don’t even think Warner is deliberately trying to screw TMJ and the hundreds of other also-rans and almost-weres they’ve signed over the years. The reality is more boring, but also more depressing. Like I said, they don’t actually ow! e us any money. But that’s what’s so weird about this, to me: they have the ability to tell the truth, and doing so won’t cost them anything.

They just can’t be bothered. They don’t care, because they don’t have to.

“$10,000 Is Nothing”

An interlude, here. Back in 1992, when TMJ was still a going concern and even the label thought maybe we’d join the hallowed company of recouped bands one day, Warner made a $10,000 accounting error on our statement (in their favor, naturally). When I caught this mistake, and brought it to the attention of someone with the power to correct it, he wasn’t just befuddled by my anger – he laughed at it. “$10,000 is nothing!” he chuckled.

If you’re like most people – especially people in unrecouped bands – “nothing” is not a word you ever use in conjunction with a figure like “$10,000,” but he seemed oblivious to that. “It’s a rounding error. It happens all the time. Why are you so worked up?”

These days I work for a reasonably large corporation myself, and, sadly, I understand exactly what the guy meant. When your revenues (and your expenses) are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, $10,000 mistakes are common, if undesirable.

I still think he was a jackass, though, and that sentence continues to haunt me. Because $10,000 might have been nothing to him, but it was clearly something to me. And his inability to take it seriously – to put himself in my place, just for the length of our phone call – suggested that people who care about $10,000 mistakes, and the principles of things, like, say, honoring contracts even when you don’t have to, are the real idiots.

As you may have divined by this point, I am conflicted about whether I am actually being a petty jerk by pursuing this, or whether labels just thrive on making fools like me feel like petty jerks. People in the record industry are very good at making bands believe they deserve the hundreds of thousands (or sometimes millions) of dollars labels advance th! e musici ans when they’re first signed, and even better at convincing those same musicians it’s the bands’ fault when those advances aren’t recouped (the last thing $10,000-Is-Nothing-Man yelled at me before he hung up was, “Too Much Joy never earned us shit!”*** as though that fact somehow negated their obligation to account honestly).

I don’t want to live in $10,000-Is-Nothing-Man’s world. But I do. We all do. We have no choice.

The Boring Reality

Back to my ridiculous Warner Bros. statement. As I flipped through its ten pages (seriously, it took ten pages to detail the $62.47 of income), I realized that Warner wasn’t being evil, just careless and unconcerned – an impression I confirmed a few days later when I spoke to a guy in their Royalties and Licensing department I am going to call Danny.****

I asked Danny why there were no royalties at all listed from iTunes, and he said, “Huh. There are no domestic downloads on here at all. Only streams. And it has international downloads, but no international streams. I have no idea why.” I asked Danny why the statement only seemed to list tracks from two of the three albums Warner had released – an entire album was missing. He said they could only report back what the digital services had provided to them, and the services must not have reported any activity for those other songs. When I suggested that seemed unlikely – that having every track from two albums listed by over a dozen different services, but zero tracks from a third album listed by any seemed more like an error on Warner’s side, he said he’d look into it. As I asked more questions (Why do we get paid 50% of the income from all the tracks on one album, but only 35.7143% of the income from all the tracks on another? Why did 29 plays of a track on the late, lamented MusicMatch earn a total of 63 cents when 1,016 plays of the exact same track on MySpace earned only 23 cents?) he eventually got to the heart of the matter: “We don’t normally do this for unrecouped bands,” he ! said. “B ut, I was told you’d asked.”

It’s possible I’m projecting my own insecurities onto calm, patient Danny, but I’m pretty sure the subtext of that comment was the same thing I’d heard from $10,000-Is-Nothing-Man: all these figures were pointless, and I was kind of being a jerk by wasting their time asking about them. After all, they have the Red Hot Chili Peppers to deal with, and the label actually owes those guys money.

Danny may even be right. But there’s another possibility – one I don’t necessarily subscribe to, but one that could be avoided entirely by humoring pests like me. There’s a theory that labels and publishers deliberately avoid creating the transparent accounting systems today’s technology enables. Because accurately accounting to my silly little band would mean accurately accounting to the less silly bands that are recouped, and paying them more money as a result.

If that’s true (and I emphasize the if, because it’s equally possible that people everywhere, including major label accounting departments, are just dumb and lazy)*****, then there’s more than my pride and principles on the line when I ask Danny in Royalties and Licensing to answer my many questions. I don’t feel a burning need to make the Red Hot Chili Peppers any more money, but I wouldn’t mind doing my small part to get us all out of the sad world $10,000-Is-Nothing-Man inhabits.

So I will keep asking, even though I sometimes feel like a petty jerk for doing so.


* A word here about that unrecouped balance, for those uninitiated in the complex mechanics of major label accounting. While our royalty statement shows Too Much Joy in the red with Warner Bros. (now by only $395,214.71 after that $62.47 digital windfall), this doesn’t mean Warner “lost” nearly $400,000 on the band. That’s how much they spent on us, and we don’t see any royalty checks until it’s paid back, but it doesn’t get paid back out of the full price of every album sold. It gets paid back out of the band’s share of every albu! m sold, which is roughly 10% of the retail price. So, using round numbers to make the math as easy as possible to understand, let’s say Warner Bros. spent something like $450,000 total on TMJ. If Warner sold 15,000 copies of each of the three TMJ records they released at a wholesale price of $10 each, they would have earned back the $450,000. But if those records were retailing for $15, TMJ would have only paid back $67,500, and our statement would show an unrecouped balance of $382,500.

I do not share this information out of a Steve Albini-esque desire to rail against the major label system (he already wrote the definitive rant, which you can find here if you want even more figures, and enjoy having those figures bracketed with cursing and insults). I’m simply explaining why I’m not embarrassed that I “owe” Warner Bros. almost $400,000. They didn’t make a lot of money off of Too Much Joy. But they didn’t lose any, either. So whenever you hear some label flak claiming 98% of the bands they sign lose money for the company, substitute the phrase “just don’t earn enough” for the word “lose.”

** The whole conference took place at a semi-swank hotel on the island of St. Thomas, which is a funny place to gather to talk about how to save the music business, but that would be a whole different diatribe.

*** This same dynamic works in reverse – I interviewed the Butthole Surfers for Raygun magazine back in the 1990s, and Gibby Haynes described the odd feeling of visiting Capitol records’ offices and hearing, “a bunch of people go, ‘Hey, man, be cool to these guys, they’re a recouped band.’ I heard that a bunch of times.”

**** Again, I am avoiding using his real name because he returned my call promptly, and patiently answered my many questions, which is behavior I want to encourage, so I have no desire to lambaste him publicly.

***** Of course, these two possibilities are not mutually exclusive – it is also possible that labels are ! evil and avaricious AND dumb and lazy, at the same time.

Reprinted with permission from Too Much Joy.


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Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009 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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