Daily Roundup for 2008-04-16

  • It’s a question marketers are still grappling with years after the first waves of corporate blogging flooded the web. But for better or worse, it seems corporate blogging — and the title of chief blogger — is beginning to hit its stride. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Marriott and Kodak all have recently recruited chief bloggers, with or without the actual title, to tell their stories and engage consumers.
  • These days, online consumers and companies are collaborating on a range of activities, including R&D, marketing and after-sales support.  Here are a few examples of how brands and consumers are working together online.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-04-14

  • Yahoo’s resistance to a takeover by Microsoft looks foolhardy to some investors and Wall Street analysts. But the push-back may prove effective in the end—at least by forcing the suitor to cough up a few more bucks a share.  Executives from Yahoo (YHOO) on Apr. 7 reiterated the reasons for their opposition. The $31-a-share offer, made public Feb. 1, "substantially undervalues" Yahoo, and its stock component is even less attractive in light of Microsoft’s (MSFT) slumping share price. "We have continued to launch new products and to take actions which leverage our scale, technology, people, and platforms as we execute on the strategy we publicly articulated," Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang and Chairman Roy Bostock wrote.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) just dropped the bomb on Yahoo (YHOO). Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Apr. 5 sent a letter giving Yahoo’s board three weeks before it initiates a proxy fight, including nomination of a new slate of directors likely to approve the deal.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-04-10

  • Even as some marketers rein in spending to hedge against further economic problems, search engine marketing (SEM) is in great shape—at least for the moment.  Search engine advertisers and agencies surveyed for the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO)-sponsored "2007 State of the Market" survey listed multiple reasons for the SEM spending growth, including advertiser demand, rising keyword and pay-per-click campaign costs, small-to-midsized business SEM use and increased behavioral and demographic targeting.  The study was conducted by Radar Research online using an IntelliSurvey panel.
  • Many job seekers are blithely unaware that their former employers all too often say things that can damage or halt their career prospects. Most of this is due to the erroneous belief that it’s somehow illegal to ask about things other than title and dates of employment during a reference check.  This is simply not true.  Today’s courts have literally invented a whole new body of law called "Employment Law." Bundled in this tangle of law is employment pre-screening, otherwise known as reference checking.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-21

  • The Washington and Baltimore region was the nation’s fifth fastest-growing area for venture capital funding in the last decade, according to a report released Tuesday. In 2007, 180 Washington and Baltimore companies received nearly $1.3 billion in venture capital backing, the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association said. That number is up 130 percent from $558.24 million put into 105 companies in 1997.  The report lists Timonium, Md.-based Grotech Capital Group and Chevy Chase-based New Enterprise Associates as the most active investors in the region. The top industries for investments around the region were software, life sciences and telecommunications.
  • The rate of affluent US Internet user participation in online social networks increased dramatically to 60% in January 2008, from 27% in January 2007, according to The Luxury Institute’s latest WealthSurvey "The Wealthy and Web 2.0."  "While some in the luxury industry are still debating e-commerce, search and banner ads, the majority of their customers have leaped into the online dialogue," said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. "Luxury needs to catch up quickly."

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-13

  • US direct marketers may reduce their media budgets this year, judging by Target Marketing’s "Media Usage Forecast" report. Nearly one-quarter of respondents surveyed in January 2008 said they would reduce their media budgets compared with last year. The n
  • Yahoo Inc, still fending off a $41 billion takeover bid by Microsoft Corp, unveiled a cell phone tool on Tuesday that lets users keep up with their favorite topics using dynamic bookmarks. OnePlace, to be launched in the second quarter, allows users to ma

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-06

  • The other day, a friend who runs a small business lamented that his Web site wasn’t worth the trickle of business it brought in. Something told me he’s not alone. In fact, some estimates have found the majority of small-business Web sites fail to generate revenue.  Which is too bad, because I think that entrepreneurs like my friend make a mistake by blaming the site itself, or even the medium of the Web. The problem, in my view, is not the site—it’s the lack of trust in the company behind the site. Trust is an elusive concept, of course; the sort of term bandied about freely in Marketing 101 but rarely defined adequately since any of us found ourselves in that class. Building trust is important. Building trust via your Web site is essential. Now here comes the biggie: How?
  • I am a professional board member. I’ve been sitting on boards for almost 20 years and I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen some of the best board members in action and have tried to copy them. I’ve seen some of the worst board members in action and have tried hard to forget them.  Here are some thoughts on choosing board members. This advice is for everyone, but it’s of particular use when you are a bigger company, maybe public, and need to fill your board with good people.

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Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo! for $44.6 billion in cash, stock

Microsoft has decided to step it up!  Today, Microsoft offered to acquire Yahoo! for $44.6 billion.  This is a 62% premium over yesterday’s closing price.

Many industry experts, including Scot Wingo, have long rumored that both Microsoft and Yahoo! were both considering acquiring eBay whose battered stock price has increasingly made it an attractive acquisition target.  As recently as three weeks ago, Yahoo! was rumored to be in discussions to buy eBay.

With Yahoo!’s recent challenges, Yahoo!’s stock has continued to slide, and therefore, it has become a more attractive target as well.  Microsoft’s bid is very bold, but to be quite honest, it was inevitable.  Microsoft and Yahoo! have both fallen woefully behind Google in the search game, and they both need to find a way to shake it up.  Today, Microsoft took a leadership position in that effort.

I will do a more in depth analysis in a subsequent post.