Feedback co-founder Dean Browell is featured in an article on UTalkMarketing.com, UK’s leading marketing website dedicated to client-side marketers. Dean shares his thoughts on what it really takes to be a social business. Read More
There’s been a bit of buzz among the techies this week regarding Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, formerly the telecom stalwart’s Mobile Devices division.
The move signals the search giant’s desire to supercharge its Android mobile operating system, but there’s more at play here. Since the announcement – coinciding with significant turbulence in the markets – Google’s value has dropped considerably, indicating that the finance community is not impressed with the acquisition or the price paid (there was a significant premium for the Motorola shares).
So if the move wasn’t made for the bottom line, what other factors were behind this decision?
If you don’t follow the business side of the mobile computing industry, well, I’ve probably lost you already. But for those who stuck around (related: thank you!) and don’t know, there’s a major legal battle brewing over patents filed for smartphone features that we all take for granted. This is stuff like capacitive touchscreens, software (as opposed to physical) buttons for navigation, and the different functions of ‘swiping’ your fingers across the screen. All these features are in dispute, and Apple (and its mountain o’ cash) is leading the litigious charge.
In defending the single best selling smartphone out there, the iPhone, Apple claims that its desire is not to be anti-competitive, but rather to push peers to come up with their own innovations. Well played, Apple. Well played.
To that end, they’ve sued everyone responsible for the Android food chain (Google, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and more) for copying parts or features of the iPhone. They even teamed up with former nemesis Microsoft to buy up the intellectual property of former telecom and networking giant Nortel, to the tune of $2.6 billion for some 6,000 patents. Clearly, the game is afoot and it is played with a lot of zeros. Taiwanese smartphone and tablet maker HTC, for their part, snatched up 265 patents for $300 million by buying S3 Graphics, a company that has had recent success against Apple in copycat court.
Which brings us back to Google: what are they getting for their $12.5 billion investment in Motorola, besides bringing a major Android licensee in-house?
A: 17,000 patents with another 7,000 pending.
That’s some serious firepower.
What does this all mean for the consumer? Probably nothing. There’s a lot of money changing hands and a lot of lawyers involved here, but at the end of the day, neither side seems to have a distinct advantage. Patents seem to be either super-specific or overly broad and litigation tends to lead more to deal-making than product-breaking. Apple tends to be particularly tough to work with in this regard, but if they had a really strong case, chances are they would have never let Android smartphones achieve their current level of success, leading as a platform, if not a singular device. The only potential downside I see is that instead of improving their devices and pushing the envelope and technology forward, they’re spending their capital on expensive pieces of paper and international bickering.
But, as anyone who’s ever had to replace a smartphone knows, if the cost of these devices is any measure, there’s plenty of money to go around.
The social space online changes rapidly. Feedback stays on top of emerging media news so you don’t have to. Here are the must-read social media articles of the week of August 14, 2011. Read More »
Seven weeks have passed since Google announced its innovation in the way that Internet users interact with one another. So how is Google+ doing? Ten million sign-ups in two weeks and 25 million accepted invitations after four weeks might be easily taken as a signal that when the service opens up (as it’s still in beta), it could be a force to be reckoned with.
I’m not so sure.
Let’s be clear: the design and the implementation of the service is a sight for sore eyes. It reminds me of how Facebook’s simplicity used to be king, mixed in with a bit of what Twitter would probably like to see in regards to media (photos, links, video) integration.
You have to admit, though, that the initial wave of buzz (puns intended) around Google+ has dropped off significantly, and more criticisms have taken a siege position on the service. Some of the attacks on Google’s handling of its real name policy (you can’t use a name that isn’t your legal name) might be well-founded, but other attacks such as the lack of brand or company support are petty enough that there’s a negative spotlight put onto this aspiring network.
While Google has yet to release an acceptable way for businesses to get onto the network, “social media experts” have moved straight to trashing the company for its short-sightedness while forgetting why social networks such as Facebook and Twitter originally did so well: they were ad-free networks of real people.
Twitter might not have had the cleanest of records when it came to spammers a few years back, but I’ve always thought of Facebook as a network of real people. Quora, the upcoming question-and-answer network, is one of the most recent networks that seems to be requiring a real name in order to participate, yet there’s no backlash there.
Google+’s addition of games to its social network is another cause for concern for people that were planning on using it as a pseudo-professional network. Sure, the privacy controls allow you to tweak how posts appear to other users, but if your profile is completely empty, how open are you with your profile? Isn’t the point of Google+ to be honest about yourself for the sake of search results?
Did I just give something away?
Google+ is an experience in the openness of a social network for Google’s search results’ sake. It is, fundamentally, all about search. G+ is an experience that’s still in testing and one that is still evolving, and yet for all the negative press that Google+ is getting, rarely have I seen the product referred to as in its testing phase.
Perhaps we should be revisiting Google+ in about 20 weeks or so to see if the critics have calmed down and started accepting what Google is doing. There’s still more to see here, so let’s give it some time.
Most all media plans include reporter outreach, be it newspapers, magazines, TV stations or trade publications. But increasingly, many also include outreach to bloggers and other online personas.
Sending pitches to reporters has been standard for a long time, so why include bloggers? It’s simple: Bloggers and tweeters and the like write because they want to, not because they have to. This means they are passionate about the subject they’re writing on, and they want to cover topics related to it as comprehensively as possible.
As opposed to some reporters, many of these bloggers also have a very loyal readership. Such audiences are more likely to trust their favorite blogger and try a product or service that they reviewed or discussed. Pitching to a blogger has fewer barriers to cross than pitching to mainstream press, too. They are easier to track down. Many appreciate the thought you’ve given to reaching out to them. Heck, you’re helping them fill the hungry beast that is a blog.
But approaching to a blogger is much different than pitching to a print journalist. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you start wildly calling around.
Do your research. Bloggers are not created equal. This means that no matter how cool your pitch is, your favorite mommy blogger probably doesn’t want to get your announcement about a new tech gadget. Start your research by building a list of the right content creators – not only bloggers, but video-bloggers, tweeters, and anyone out there that is creating applicable content related to your needs. Find out which ones are the most influential, and which are the most well-read. Find out who they follow, and who they read. In the end, simple things will go a long way. Oh, and make sure you get the blogger’s name and publication right.
Build relationships. After researching the right group of blogs, get to know the bloggers and their content. Some are bombarded with pitch after pitch, so getting yourself familiarized with their content can make your news more personal. Most people don’t like receiving auto-generated, generic emails, and bloggers are no different. This also includes press releases; most bloggers will prefer something tailored to their blog that their readers will enjoy.
Make it easy. Many bloggers are only blogging for one reason: a creative outlet. If your pitch isn’t easy and straight-forward, your email will most likely find its way into the trash bin. Making it easy includes sending links for reference, sending any video embedding or widget codes if applicable, and most of all, making it short and sweet. You are asking the blogger to do something for you, so the more simple the ask is, the better. These folks also have jobs, so blogging is likely just a hobby that they have relatively little time for.
Be polite. Don’t demand to be featured. At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard the phrase “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” This is true of pitching a blogger. You’re asking for a favor, and being polite will go a long way.
Give credit for the coverage. After a blogger picks up your pitch, thank them. Providing feedback and following up will show you appreciate the coverage. Instead of promoting just yourself, promote the blogger. They will appreciate you driving traffic to their site.
If you’ve been pitching bloggers on behalf of your clients, what are some tricks you use? Leave ‘em in the comments below.
In a move that should’ve come long ago, location-based app leader Foursquare has opened the floodgates for brands to create their own pages on the service. Using, shall we say, an office admin account, it was easy to set up our page by linking it to our Twitter account.
From there, to meet the requirements for inclusion on Foursquare’s Page Gallery, I added a banner, wrote a few tips and it was set up in no time.
As of this posting, we’ve yet to show up on the gallery page. However, a lot of brands are there and more are certainly being added by the minute. But, why? Will Foursquare pages become a new go-to for major brands?
The answer, I think, is maybe. There’s certainly value here, as demonstrated by some of the brands that have piloted this program over the past year or so, such as The New York Times, Tiffany & Co., Starbucks and Bravo. MTV has used theirs as a brand tie-in for the Jersey Shore, complete with its own badge.
But there’s also tremendous opportunity for spam. If you use Foursquare, you’ve already seen brands signing up as people, even brick-and-mortars, which I don’t understand. From a “checking-in” standpoint, it is absolutely ridiculous to think that the sandwich shop around the corner or the major research university nearby is “following” you or stopping in at the local watering hole.
What makes a lot of sense, however, is for organizations that travel from event to event, like our local SPCA, or businesses that frequently operate in multiple locations (hello, food trucks) to use this new offering to share with their peregrinations with interested parties, without violating the terms of service or common sense.
What is likely even more important about this change is that Foursquare is looking for more content providers. They want more people to make notes and give tips for the locations that they index, so they can pitch their value to potential advertisers and partners. Requiring brands to make five recommendations in order to be listed in their gallery will lead to an explosion of content.
All in all, I think this is a welcome change and opportunity. But like everything else, it has to be done right. Rush out and sign up your brand today, but make sure you have a plan on how you want to use it. As always, that’s the only way to truly and effectively get the most out of your social media tools.
A friend of mine once said, "I don’t work hard. I work smart." Why did the quote stick with me (as mused by Steve Kimball, entrepreneurial advisor and CEO of Inc. Magazine’s Navigator)? Because I'm lazy, of course.
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In 1962, the Department of Defense mandated that its main computers be interconnected, a move that set into motion a series of developments that would lead to what today constitutes as the Internet. Read More »