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 2008-04-04

  • Can fewer clicks on its search ads lead to more revenue for Google? That is the question investors, analysts, and the company itself are trying to answer. The debate was launched after a Mar. 26 report from researcher comScore (SCOR) showed a decline in the number of clicks from the prior month on Google’s search-related ads. According to the research firm, clicks on ads declined 3% in February from the prior month and were up just 3% compared to last year. Some analysts cautioned investors against buying additional Google (GOOG) shares; Google’s stock declined 3% on Mar. 27, to $444.
  • Mashups–online applications that combine data and tools from different websites–are becoming increasingly useful. Although they started out as simple consumer programs, such as a tool that placed housing listings from Craigslist onto Google Maps, mashups have grown in complexity and are becoming popular with corporations, too. As a growing number of tools are released to help people easily build mashups, experts are also taking a look at how to head off the security risks.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-19

  • A woman who claims the recording industry’s anti-music piracy campaign threatens and intimidates innocent people has filed a new complaint accusing record companies of racketeering, fraud and illegal spying.
  • One of the great things about the Internet is the way people post reviews on just about anything you are considering trying, whether it is a movie, a new restaurant or the local florist.  This also introduces one of the worst things about the Internet: trying to figure out which reviews to trust. Was that effusive praise written surreptitiously by the merchant? Was that anonymous online slam posted by a devious competitor?  The dilemma might be unavoidable in this age of abundant user-generated content, when we have to be smarter about separating signals from noise. But a startup called RatePoint Inc. begs to differ. It wants to play referee, giving consumers more clarity into a business’ reputation and protecting the business from unwarranted blights on its credibility.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-10

  • The Internet bubble of the late 1990s ended with a painful pop. When today’s young entrepreneurs get together, the only bubbles they see are in their mimosas.  Even as the rest of the business world frets about the gloomy economy, Silicon Valley is living the high-tech high life. Nowhere is that more evident than at Founders Brunch, a private, invitation-only gathering where new-boom kids and industry veterans pick up whispers of the next big trends, invest in one another’s ideas and push one another to think big.  Every three months, these elites of the Web crowd pull themselves out of their beds or cubicles and pile into a different upscale home for a Sunday spread of community and conversation.
  • At the age of 40, King Gillette was a frustrated inventor, a bitter anticapitalist, and a salesman of cork-lined bottle caps. It was 1895, and despite ideas, energy, and wealthy parents, he had little to show for his work. He blamed the evils of market competition. Indeed, the previous year he had published a book, The Human Drift, which argued that all industry should be taken over by a single corporation owned by the public and that millions of Americans should live in a giant city called Metropolis powered by Niagara Falls. His boss at the bottle cap company, meanwhile, had just one piece of advice: Invent something people use and throw away.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-03

  • By giving an audience widgets that provide a service and make their lives more interesting or convenient your brand will be on its way to far more free real estate than you ever expected.  In helping brands develop widget presences, I can say that for brand managers and agencies alike, the first time through can be an emotional roller coaster. Early in the process, brainstorming sessions are filled with far-flung, fantastic ways to bring enterprise information into the everyday lives of the audience.
  • Comparison shopping engines are an important part of the e-commerce channel marketing mix, Scot Wingo, CEO of e-commerce channel management services vendor ChannelAdvisor Corp., tells Internet Retailer. But they’re a better spend for some categories than for others, he adds.  Wingo says, for example, that comparison shopping engines are strong in categories such as consumer electronics, less so with products such as apparel and jewelry. That disparity is partially a function of how matching on the engines works. Consumer electronics products have a multitude of hard attributes that lend themselves to point-to-point comparison, for example, while jewelry and apparel selection relies more on a shopper’s subjective opinion.  That said, ChannelAdvisor customers spend anywhere from 15% to as much as 40% of their online marketing dollars on comparison shopping engines

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Daily Roundup for 2008-02-29

  • The relationship between the venture capitalists of Sand Hill Road and the securities firms and power investors of Wall Street has long been a cozy one. VCs hoping for a return on their investments will need banks eventually, while Wall Street needs VCs to nurture the most promising startups until they’re ready to go public.  Or do they?  Lately, some of New York’s biggest players have been cherry-picking the best pre-IPO investments for themselves.
  • Although the tiny, family-run Joy’s Spa and Nail Salon in Adams Morgan may never get a critique in a newspaper, it’s received 42 reviews on Yelp.com.  Reggie Tull, the owner’s son and a massage therapist, said he noticed an increase in traffic with every new review posted on the recommendation site. He’s also surprised by the time writers invest in each posting.

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The eMarket for Lemons at The Wharton School

I had the opportunity to speak at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania last week about an article that Dr. Eric Clemons recently authored for the Journal of Management Information Systems, "An Empirical Investigation of Third-Party Seller Rating Systems in E-Commerce: The Case of buySAFE".  My presentation was focused on marketplace economics and specifically about information asymmetry, signaling, the "Market for Lemons" concept, and buySAFE.  In addition, I was able to share a few thoughts about my entrepreneurial experience with buySAFE.

As always, I had a great time as the guest of Dr. Eric Clemons, and I enjoyed hearing the passionate questions, insights and feedback from the students.  One of the students posted an article about my visit on his blog, The Un-Wharton

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