Archive for the ‘today’ tag
Today we have a guest post for Search Meme Monday. Andrew Agnello sent us five memes he liked and we want to share them with you. Check out SEJ’s past search and social memes. Thanks Andrew!
Connecting with customers in meaningful and relevant ways is the backbone of successful marketing. It has never been more important to use data to cleverly to support cross-channel marketing activities that can better drive sales.
The data people share on social media can be quite valuable to businesses, since it helps them personalize their email and mobile optimized offers.
Some companies even specialize in collecting and selling consumer information on social network sites, but this information should be treated with care: Not everyone is comfortable with the storage of their personal information, and some consumers may seek legal retribution if a marketer uses this without their consent.
Conditions for accessing social profile data
At present, the onus is on the web user (whether on desktop, mobile, or tablets) to setup their profile permissions to ensure that their information is either private or public, depending on their own preferences.
At the same time, no advertiser or business is allowed to collect social data of its user without asking them to volunteer this information up front.
Methods of accessing social profile data
Social media sites usually know more about your clients than you do — and some digital services offer tools to access that knowledge legitimately.
Social subscription, for example, is one way to allow visitors to subscribe to email newsletters via a social network login as an alternative to filling in the traditional email address, name and other require fields manually.
Why enable email subscription via social login?
- Every social account can have lots of additional data about a user to help you refine your segmentation; from gender to location to interests
- Social data helps you send more targeted promotions and adjust your campaigns to users’ change of preferences or location
- Accoding to a Blue Inc. study this year, if you personalize the experience between you and your subscribers, they are 50 percent more likely to return to your site, and 40 percent more likely to recommend you to others
- Also as per Blue Inc. 2012, consumers often provide faulty information when subscribing via a form, with the majority admitting that they have given incomplete or incorrect information
- The average social media user has 195 connections: Imagine the exposure and other marketing possibilities if you could tap into those connections
In summary, social subscription integrated into newsletter subscription forms helps marketers grow their contact lists and learn more about their audience. It simplifies and increases the accuracy of the subscription process, helping drive increased conversions.
There are, of course, other methods of gathering social profile data (such as the Rapleaf service I noted in an earlier article) however, with new and more advanced tools like social subscribe being developed, marketers today have an unprecedented ability to get and leverage social profile data.
The site will be Huffington Post’s answer to news networks like CNN — but with a major twist. Unlike the major news networks, HuffPost Live was created around viewer engagement. This is clear from the site’s design, which prominently features options for users to submit comments, tweets, and video.
HuffPost Live will also prominently feature viewers in its programming, offering them the ability to talk back to hosts and guest in real-time.
In short, it’s network news made created with the Internet generation in mind.
HuffPost Live will initially stream content 12 hours a day, five days a week, though Huffington promises that the site will offer 16 hours of daily content as soon as next year. Eventually, the operation hopes to broadcast twenty-four hours a day — though that day is probably a long way off.
But while the site hopes to herald the next generation of video news, its backend struggled to keep up. Video streaming was spotty during the site’s introductory broadcast, oftentimes dropping out multiple times per minute. Hopefully, these sorts of performance issues get ironed out as time goes on.
Filed under: media
“The stock market today is a war zone, where algobots fight each other over pennies, millions of times a second…inevitably, at some point in the future, significant losses will end up being borne by investors with no direct connection to the HFT world, which is so complex that its potential systemic repercussions are literally unknowable.” Felix Salmon
I’ve written about algorithms before. I think it’s inevitable that the trading of media space will become ever more automated. Price customisation software will play an ever bigger role in the optimisation of pricing. And I think algorithms are fundamental to the future of content. But what about when they go wrong?
A fortnight ago, a computerised trading programme belonging to leading US stock broker Knight Capital Group ‘ran amok’, with staffers at Knight unable to stop it trading for more than half an hour. The result was a near fatal $440 million loss, the company kept alive only by emergency financing, and now in a position where it is likely to have to sell off parts of its business to keep going.
On May 6th 2010 in the so-called Flash Crash, algorithmic trading contributed to the second largest point swing and the biggest one-day point decline in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as it lost about 9% of its value, only to recover those losses within a matter of minutes. A joint report by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission identified how an unusually large sell-off of E-Mini S&P 500 contracts by a large mutual fund firm had initially exhausted available buyers, but then off the back of that how high-frequency algorithmic traders had then started aggressively selling, accelerating the effect of the mutual fund’s selling. The report portrayed “a market so fragmented and fragile that a single large trade could send stocks into a sudden spiral.”
Such algorithmic trading is more common than you might think. As of 2009, High Frequency Trading (HFT) firms accounted for 73% of all US equity trading volume. HFT uses algorithms to make highly complex decisions at lightening speed before human traders are capable of processing the same information. Automated trades are used on the buy side (by pension funds and mutual funds for example) to sub-divide large trades to minimise market impact and risk (and in some sense hide what they’re doing), and on the sell side (by so-called market makers and hedge funds) to provide liquidity to the market. Many however, have questioned the value of that liquidity saying that it “has a rather ghostly quality and tends to vanish when needed most”.
The animated GIF above shows the amount of high-frequency trading in the stock market from January 2007 to January 2012. It shows not only the rise in HFT over that time but a world that, as Felix Salmon of Reuters noted, “in aggregate seemingly has a mind of its own when it comes to trading patterns”. The stock market, says Salmon, is clearly more dangerous than it was in 2007 incorporating a much greater tail risk and yet in return for facing that danger, “society as a whole has received precious little utility”.
Automation and algorithms are changing the structure of our markets. That much is perhaps inevitable. But is it right that in the quest for speed and frequency we are building the kind of systemic risk whose scale may be unknown but which could well impact far outside the domain of the financial markets?Personally, I think not.
HT to @BBHLabs for the Felix Salmon link
Outside Lands may be the only major outdoors music festival in the world where you’ll receive push notifications about your favorite acts from your iPhone, mingle with executives from trendy tech startups, and be offered gigabytes of storage instead of free beer.
It’s San Francisco, so I’d expect that tech companies would dominate the proceedings this year. If you’re headed out to catch the evening shows or you’re simply curious, here are some of the winning music-meets-tech moments of Outside Lands 2012:
In the Bay Area, you’re never quite free of the advertising push for cloud-based computing. SugarSync, a competitor to Google Drive, Sky Drive and others, gets my vote for the best showing at Outside Lands for its handy recharging station near the main stage, and offer to passers-by of 10 gigabytes of free storage.
But most of all, for convincing one its senior-level executives to don a unicorn mask and SugarSync t-shirt (see below). Now that’s dedication.
Outside Lands Mobile Apps
Outside Lands launched its own mobile apps, which are designed to make it easier for festival-goers to get around. If you’re headed to the festival this afternoon, make sure you download either the free iPhone or Android app. The app includes maps, and a list of options for food, beer, and wine. The in-built GroupMe messaging made it far easier for me to connect with friends, and avoid an annoying string of Facebook messages.
If you’re lucky enough to be attending the festival today, I recommend making a list of your favorite acts via the app. You’ll receive a push notification when these artists take the stage.
The online ticketing service, where a large portion of the festival-goers purchased their passes, set up an air conditioned tent (not that we needed it, given the icelandic temperatures this year) with live DJs, beer and wine, and a sports bar. The tent was strewn with large-screen TVs, which streamed live sports, including major league baseball.
It was never jam-packed, so proved to be the perfect chill-out spot.
PayPal’s tent was absolutely rammed this year. The online payments company set up a tent on the Polo Field for festival-goers to recharge devices and sip Jamba Juice. The juices and smoothies were available to buy via credit card on Here (A PayPal-owned competitor to Square).
There is still plenty of time to listen in to the live show for free, courtesy of TuneIn. If you’re not familiar with them, TuneIn is a popular radio app for iPhone and Android and is based in Silicon Valley.
Tune in today via the app, and you’ll still be able to catch some headline acts, including Jack White, Stevie Wonder and Bloc Party. Check out the full line-up here.
Filed under: VentureBeat
Well, Barnes and Noble seems to be in a giving mood today. The company revealed earlier this morning that eager customers can nab themselves a 16GB Nook Tablet for $199 — $50 off its original price. Meanwhile, the 8GB Nook Tablet now goes for $179 (down from $199), and aging Nook Color can how be had for the relatively low price of $149.
As for why Barnes and Noble has suddenly decided to slash prices — well, there are a few reasons why the move makes plenty of sense.
We’re already knee-deep in August for one, which means the back-to-school buying frenzy is starting to heat up considerably. Students (with parents in tow, naturally) will be trawling their local big box stores and online retailers for gadgets to accompany them to school, and a little price break makes the Nook lineup just a bit more palatable.
Perhaps more important here is the issue of competition. B&N’s line of e-readers are right up there with Kindle series, but its Nook Tablets have plenty of strong rivals to contend with and a lower price tag couldn’t hurt. After a bit of a rough start, Google’s impressive little Nexus 7 is endearing itself to those watching the low-cost tablet space, and it shouldn’t be long before Amazon releases something new to stymie its rival. In fact, recent rumblings indicate that Amazon may make its move sooner rather than later.
Barnes and Noble isn’t the only e-reader peddler that has recently futzed with product pricing — Amazon slashed the price of its aging (and hefty) Kindle DX earlier this week, and astute observers were quick to point out that models like the Kindle Touch 3G were curiously unavailable from the online retailer.
Gizmodo took the news as potential proof that Amazon was trying to burn through existing inventory ahead of a long-rumored Kindle announcement they believe will take place next week. While multiple sources have pointed to a new Kindle unveiling in the third quarter, I’m not quite convinced the timing is right just yet — each previous crop of Kindles were on the market for over a year before its successors were revealed. Amazon’s most recent Kindle announcement was also preceded by an invitation that went out to the press a week prior to the event, and so far as I know nothing like that has hit anyone’s inbox yet.
That’s not to say Amazon won’t make a move next week, but I’m not quite onboard with the notion yet. Then again, I wouldn’t mind being wrong this time — my 2nd generation Kindle is getting a bit long in the tooth.
Today Google has their final logo for the Olympics, the London 2012 closing ceremony logo (aka Doodle). It is a nice basic Doodle but I wanted to share all the past logos from Google over the past couple weeks…
Editor’s note: Guest author David Cho is CEO and co-founder of Sidebark, the private photo and video sharing service. Prior to founding Sidebark, he was a leader in Bain & Company’s digital media practice.
How much more valuable do you think Facebook is than Yahoo? Let’s say I gave you 1% of Facebook’s stock. How much of Yahoo would I have to give you to part with that share? 5%? 10%? More? (Or would you just move to Singapore and renounce your U.S. citizenship?)
What about Google stock? Would you make a 1% for 1% trade? What about 0.5% of Google for your 1% Facebook stake?
Well here’s what the stock market thinks: Based on market cap, Facebook is closer in value to Yahoo than it is to Google. After sliding under $20 per share, just two and a half months after going public at $38, Facebook’s market cap hit $45B, closer to Yahoo’s $20B than Google’s $210B.
The two companies represent two possible future states for Facebook. Google: Thriving, a colossus in digital advertising with a stranglehold on search, the kind of company that creates billion dollar businesses out of secondary products. Yahoo: Shrinking, trying to find its identity with a revolving door of CEOs, while seeking ways to improve monetization of its still massive user base.
These two companies pretty much represent heaven (Google) and hell (Yahoo) for Facebook. Or to steal from Dante’s Divine Comedy (no, not this one, this one), Paradiso and Inferno.
Right now, according to Wall Street, Facebook is edging perilously close to Inferno. So what gives? Is Wall Street right, and more importantly, can Facebook find salvation?
By virtually any measure, Facebook runs a fabulous business. With a billion (!) engaged users, Facebook recorded $1.2B in revenue and $300M in profit in its most recent quarter and has $10B in cash to invest in the business.
But the stock market does not reward current performance. Stock prices reflect investors’ expectations about a company’s future performance, and particularly for stocks like Facebook, growth.
This is partly why Facebook’s stock price took a beating after its most recent earnings announcement, even though it met the earnings guidance that it had set for itself. The problem was that many analysts believed that Facebook was “sandbagging” its numbers. The stock price reflected that expectation, and when Facebook merely met its earnings guidance, the stock took a tumble.
So what should we expect for Facebook’s growth? Facebook will almost certainly start to create separation from Yahoo ($1.3B revenue in Q2 2012). But do we think it can eventually grow to Google’s size ($11.0B), nearly 10x bigger than Facebook today?
To get a sense of Facebook’s growth prospects, we can start by breaking down Facebook’s revenue into its component parts: number of users; mix of those users; and average revenue per user (ARPU). Let’s look at each piece individually.
Number of Users: This is all about product, and Facebook has obviously crushed it here. They have added 250M users in each of the past three years, and these users are becoming ever more engaged on the site. But how much growth is really left? In the US, its most mature market, Facebook grew its user base just 5% in April vs. the same time last year. In many other markets, Facebook appears to be hitting saturation as well. While some headroom still remains, Facebook is rapidly approaching a point where hyper-growth – driven by growth in users – will plateau.
Mix of Users: What do I mean by mix? Not all users are created equally. A U.S. user is more valuable than an international user, and a web user is more valuable (today) than a mobile user. As has been well-covered, however, engagement is rapidly shifting to mobile, and most of Facebook’s user growth is coming in developing markets. Both factors will serve to mute the impact on revenue that arises from continued growth in users. In other words, even if you believe that Facebook can grow its user base by, say, another billion users, revenue will not necessarily double.
Average revenue per user (ARPU): This one is all about business model, and it is here that Facebook will need to generate consistent growth to find Paradiso. This in turn will come down to two factors: How well it leverages its competitive advantages of scale and data to attract large-scale brand advertising, and how successfully it grows new monetization models like payments.
On the first, Facebook has done well in attracting small and medium businesses and other so-called “performance advertisers” to the platform, but the game will be won or lost based on attracting the billions of dollars that brand advertisers like GM, Proctor & Gamble or AT&T still spend offline. While online advertising has grown to nearly $40B per year, offline advertising (TV, print, radio, etc.) is still a ~$140B market. Facebook’s scale will help in attracting these dollars, but they have hit bumps along the road in doing so.
To help land these brand advertisers, Facebook will also need to continue to be aggressive in how it uses user data to deliver strong ROI. We’ve already seen Facebook experiment here with sponsored stories, using your friends’ likes to insert ads into your mobile feed. I expect we’ll see many more experiments in the future as Facebook uses what it knows about us to improve ROI. In fact, Sidebark, the company I co-founded with Nick Stanev, was founded in part in anticipation that privacy concerns will get worse, not better, on Facebook.
The second factor of finding secondary sources to monetize the user base is a wild card. Facebook has been successful building payments as a meaningful revenue source, and many pundits have offered other adjacent businesses that Facebook should enter (Facebook phone, anybody?) But I think it’s hard to rely on the discovery of new business models to project Facebook’s growth.
So where does that leave us? Decelerating growth in users, unfavorable change in user mix, and a question mark in ARPU. In the short term, Facebook is certain to grow, but the question of Inferno vs. Paradiso will take quite some time to sort out. In order to catch up to Google and find Paradiso, Facebook must be aggressive in driving strong ROI for its customers, the advertiser. But to avoid Inferno, they must not kill the golden goose – their amazingly engaging product – through overly aggressive use of user data or otherwise sullying the user experience. It’s a fine balance, so for now, I’ll hedge my bets and say that Facebook is in Purgatorio and take my 1% to Singapore.
What do you think?
Researchers at security firms Kaspersky Lab and Crysys Lab released tools today to detect if your computer is infected by the Gauss virus, a piece of malware that focuses on stealing bank account login credentials.
Gauss was discovered yesterday by Kaspersky Lab, and its function is to steal access credentials to Lebanese banks. These include the Bank of Beirut, BlomBank, EBLF, ByblosBank, Credit Libanais, and FransaBank. It also steals information for Citibank and PayPal. On top of that, the malware grabs browser history, cookies, passwords, system configurations, and more. Researchers have not been able to get much information about the builders themselves, as the command and control servers were shut down, leaving the malware in limbo.
Gauss is related to a number of high-profile viruses including Stuxnet, which became famous after attacking nuclear plants in Iran in 2010, and its sister malware, Duqu. It is also related to the recently infamous Flame, which has been referred to as a major advancement in cyberespionage.
Gauss and Flame are closer together in relation. Kaspersky says the two share nearly identical features and were built off of the same code base. The firm says Stuxnet’s creators probably worked closely with those of Gauss and may have even shared source code.
Filed under: security