Bad Branding Strategies

April 1, 2008

I figured I would write one last post on Seth as his blog really makes good points that relate to Business. His blog on dumb branding strategies really made a lot of sense when reading it. There are many companies that have bad branding strategies such as Computer World, and Party Land. Names such as those do not make me feel like I am missing out on anything if I don’t stop into those stores. For example Computer World really seems like a plain store name. This name does not make me feel like like is a great store to stop into.

The picture below is of many successful brand names.

I know personally when I hear bad brand names I do not want to enter the store. Names with that extra catchy word or phrase really can make you want to enter the store. Future Shop might have a simple brand name, but it makes me think that everything in the store is up to date, and new ideas of the future. Or Captain Sub makes me think they are the best at making subs. I came across an article on Google dealing with the image that a good brand name does in the mind of the consumer. In this article it says that a lot of companies are fighting for mind share. A good brand name sets confidence in the mind of the consumer. If you are use to buying General Electric products and and have always had success with them. Than you are more than likely to continue buying GE products in the futurue. It sets a standard of expectations as well. An example of this would be when I buy Sony products I always think I am getting the best of the best. As well good branding makes you spend more money. I would rather spend the extra $50 dollars and get a really good pair of jeans. It gives me the confidence that those jeans will last longer, and be strong. Recognition is key in being competitive with the competition. Recognition can either be positive or negative. When I go traveling I have come to expect that when I go to Subway, I will get a good quality sub at every Subway location. Loyalty is a key factor in any business throughout the world. I am loyal to Honda, as most of the vehicles that they create are gas friendly, and most importantly reliable.

A few examples of other catchy brand names that have created strong recognition are:

  1. Starbucks
  2. Tim Hortons
  3. Best Buy

I think it is necessary to have a good brand name in order to gain more customers, and get loyalty.

Mitchell Watts

Goodbye TorrentSpy

March 30, 2008

TorrentSpy 

TorrentSpy has been shut down permanently by it’s own owner. A note on the home page of TorrentSpy’s Web site said it is shutting down “not due to any court order or agreement,” but because of a team decision.

TorrentSpy has spent the past two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars “defending the rights of our users and ourselves” in a legal climate that was “hostile” to torrent files, according to the note, which is attributed to the TorrentSpy team.

In 2006, the largest Hollywood film studios accused TorrentSpy in a lawsuit of encouraging movie piracy. A federal judge ordered the company last June to provide the studios with user information found in its computer RAM.

TorrentSpy was a search engine that helped visitors find torrent files on the Web. Torrent files are often music or movie files stored in an easily shared file format. The search engine came under legal fire from the entertainment industry, which in general does not want licensed content to be distributed free.

In December, the judge in the case found that TorrentSpy operators intentionally destroyed evidence in the case, making it impossible for the Motion Picture Association of America to get a fair trial. They had earlier been fined $30,000 for violations of discovery orders and were warned of severe sanctions if they continued to ignore the orders. The site lost its case because the court ruled it had tampered with evidence.

Goodbye TorrentSpy!!

MacBook Air hacked!!

March 30, 2008

MacBook Air

A team of security researchers has won $10,000 for hacking a MacBook Air in two minutes using an undisclosed Safari vulnerability.

IDG News Service is camped out at CanSecWest in lovely Vancouver, Canada, and has chronicled the exploits  of Charlie Miller, Jake Honoroff, and Mark Daniel of Independent Security Evaluators during the Pwn to Own contest sponsored by TippingPoint. The contest includes three laptops, running the most up to date and patched installations of MacOS X Leopard, Windows Vista, and Ubuntu Linux:

  • VAIO VGN-TZ37CN running Ubuntu 7.10
  • Fujitsu U810 running Vista Ultimate SP1
  • MacBook Air running OSX 10.5.2

The main purpose of this contest is to responsibly unearth new vulnerabilities within these systems so that the affected vendor(s) can address them.The team was able to gain control of a MacBook Air on the second day of the hacking competition, which pitted the Air against Windows Vista and Ubuntu machines.

No one was able to execute code on any of the systems on Wednesday, the first day of the contest, when hacks were limited to over-the-network techniques on the operating systems themselves. But on the second day, the rules changed to allow attacks delivered by tricking someone to visit a maliciously crafted Web site, or open an e-mail. Hackers were also allowed to target “default installed client-side applications,” such as browsers.

The team had attack code already set up on a Web site, and was able to gain access to the MacBook Air and retrieve a file after judges were “tricked” into visiting the site. According to the TippingPoint DVLabs blog, a newly discovered vulnerability in Safari was used to gain control of the Air.

The contest rules stipulated that winners immediately sign a nondisclosure agreement relating to their technique, so that the vulnerability could be disclosed to the vendor, and TippingPoint said Apple has been informed of the vulnerability.

Last year’s contest was won by exploiting a QuickTime vulnerability, which was patched by Apple in less than two weeks. As of the time I posted this, no one had gained control of the Vista or Ubuntu machines, but I’ll update later as the results come in over the rest of the afternoon.

In the past week I have noticed there were a few newspaper articles and blog posts on Wikipedia.

 

wikipedia-logo.png 

Wikipedia is a free multilingual, open content encyclopedia project operated by the non-profit, Wikimedia Foundation. The site has been established since 2001, and is the fastest growing and most popular general reference work available on the internet.  It ranks number 7 on the top sites in Canada. 

Wikipedia has over 10 million articles posted in 253 different languages.  Just the other day, in a post by Mike ArringtonWikipedia had reached its 10 millionth article.

All of the articles posted on Wikipedia have been written interactively by volunteers from all around the world. The site can be edited by anyone, with an exception of a few pages, and that poses a problem.  

Dave Winer wrote a post on how random people think they have authority to write on Wikipedia, this is a problem because it creates invalid information and readers become wrongly informed. Just imagine how many people do it considering, we did it once as a class demonstration.

 

It has about 10-15 people who are actually paid employees of the company and they edit and monitor recently added content. Wikipedia wished to expand their staff to about 25 people by 2010. 

In an article found on the Globe and Mail website it stated that some people who contribute monetary donations to wikipedia thought that the organization is being reckless with the donations it receives, while others thought they should be spending more of the funds. Wikipedia needs the funds to keep their site up and running. This is why they seek out people who would like to donate to the site. Wikipedia is a site that needs to think of the long run because, according to most it is here to stay. Looking for donations is crucial for the sites operations. The donations keep the site in working order and pay the few employees on the payroll.  Alfred P. Sloan is donating three, 1 million dollar installments over the next 3 years. With his donation, he hopes that Wikipedia can become more financially stable in the years to come.

The sad thing is though, if wikipedia didn’t focus on donations they would have to go to the alternative of advertising on the wikipedia site. I don’t know about anybody else but I do not want to see any ads on the site. Ads just create clutter and confusion in my opinion. Hopefully Wikipedia will continue to look to its contributers for financial support, or we will soon be seeing ads on the wikipedia page.

 

Jen 

Countdown to iPhone 2.0

March 30, 2008

Apple is planing on having an increase  in sales for the iPhone 2.0.  Analyists are suggesting that sales of 8 million units for the iPhone are overestimated.  “Every additional million beyond their projection translates to about $400 million in added sales and 12 cents per share – or 2% – more in profit.” It will be interesting to see what the total sales of the iPhone 2.0 are.  Hopefully the price will be a little more affordable to the consumer.  I know I wouldn’t want to pay a few hundred dollars for a cell phone.

 Mitchell Watts

Michael Arrington made a post talking about the wonderful idea from the music industry to create a music “tax”.

Yes. That’s right. Imagine paying for music by being charged 5 dollars more on your internet bill. Music labels had such a strangle hold on the music industry before more and more people starting downloading (mostly) free music. Because they failed to plan for this advancement in technology, they were hit with a huge dilemma.

With the large decrease in CD sales channels
and the rising number of downloads of songs, the large music labels were 5 steps behind the rest of the world trying their best to gain back lost revenue by suing their own customers.
Terrible idea. And yet they don’t learn from their terrible ideas.

Putting a “music tax” on people’s internet bills is an extremely unethical way to try to regain control. What if the user doesn’t download music? and doesn’t plan on downloading music in the future? Too bad for them I guess.

I’ve said this since I first started downloading music.
Music artists should have to WORK for their money. By having more concerts, etc…. and not rely on having a one hit wonder to bring them any success.

I don’t know if the major music labels have explored all of their options, but there could be several ways they could survive.
1) Change the way they do business.
Instead of focusing on the “Label” aspect of music, and producing CDs, look more to having more control on concerts.

2) Offer the product via their websites
They currently DO offer downloadable music via their websites however it is equal with the price of a song with iTunes. Not that competitive in price, and must rely on high levels of traffic through their websites (which iTunes has much of)

3) Offer packages
The music labels could vary well offer subscription packages monthy/or annually and allow the user to download a certain amount (or unlimited) of music in that time frame.

I came across an EXCELLENT post by Gerd Leonhard called Gerd Leonhard’s Open Letter To The Independent Music Industry. In his post he terms the new way of consuming music “Music 2.0″, and continues to talk about how much different ways of consuming music are effecting us. The music industry must realize this new force, and act upon it. If they don’t they will be their own worst enemy and suffer greatly.

–Jerry

In recent years, Apple has shunned PDAs, but with the rise of the iPod and the iTunes Music Store (iTMS), the company has been positioning itself to become a player in the mobile phone market. Motorola has been planning to release a mobile phone capable of playing songs purchased through the iTMS, but ever since Motorola canceled the phone’s unveiling at the recent CeBit show in Germany there have been questions about when the iTunes phone will come to fruition. Some say that cellular carriers are reluctant to sell the phone because it could cut into ringtone sales. Motorola claims that the delay was because Apple prefers not to announce a product until its available for purchase.

Apple does not want to sit still and wait for the dust to settle between Motorola and the carriers, so it is currently undergoing negotiations to buy PalmOne as an alternate strategy according to a source who calls himself “Juan Abril”. The company will sell Apple smartphones at its retail stores and other channels until carriers get on board. While negotiations with PalmOne are still in the early stages, Apple hopes to be able to announce the purchase at its upcoming developer’s conference in June.

With recent executive shuffling at PalmOne, Apple sees the company as distracted and ripe for the picking. According to sources from within Apple, the hardware portfolio is there, but PalmOne just does not “get it.” A smartphone with the Apple Touch—more intuitive controls, better integration for included applications, etc— could do as well as the cultural icon that is the iPod. Apple would also be more successful in getting PalmSource to move the Palm OS fully into the new age of handheld devices. For most consumers, the PDA is dead—long live the smartphone—and Apple wants to take advantage of that.

The company already is developing a successor to the Treo dubbed “Apollo Fir.” Jonathan Ives, designer of the award-winning iMac, is hard at work on the device. Expected features include the ability to play iTMS songs and buy them directly to the phone so a computer is not needed. Apple will role out iTunes 5 at the same time, enabling ringtone purchases. The company is also undergoing talks with the mobile carriers to allow iTMS purchases to be billed to customers’ mobile phone service.

Based on information from sources inside Apple and PalmOne, TreoCentral has created a conceptual drawing of what the device will look like. Although the device will not be released until late this year, it won’t disappoint.

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