pacman google 

There has been a lot of coverage regarding successful companies like Google and Apple who have climbed the ladder of success using business models contrary to the traditionally proven models. Now that these companies are becoming more successful, other companies are beginning to emulate them, or are in the process of investigating how to become like them. A main component of this recent recognition stage is the documentation of these companies. Wired published an article on how Apple made it’s way to the top by breaking every rule. Siva Vaidhyanathan , media scholar at the Univeristy of Virginia, is in the process of writing a book called The Googlization of Everything. Also, Jeff Jarvis has recently been contracted to write a book about Google’s business strategy relating it to other businesses and industries, aptly named: WWGD – What Would Google Do? It is expected to be published next spring.

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Sorry Mitch, I guess I’m going to be talking about the same thing as you. I had it half written when I noticed yours went up and I really don’t feel like choosing another topic and researching that one too. I guess if we have to write on the biggest news of the week there will be some overlapping anyway.

So the big news I’ve been hearing about is AOL’s purchase of the social networking website, Bebo. The price? $850,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros. Especially when AOL is slowly dying a painful and horrible *potential* death. I’ll go into a little more depth on both companies.

AOL (formerly America Online) was once mainly in the Internet Service Provider industry, with 30 million subscribers (down to 10.1 million as of Nov. 2007). Due to the dramatic decrease in dial-up (resulting in a decrease in their subscribers) the company has been trying to change their image to an Internet Content Provider rather than a service provider. As of February 2008, there was an announcement that AOL would split into two different sections: internet access and advertising. This is where the acquisition of Bebo comes in.

Bebo (Blog early, blog often) is a social media network (much like MySpace, Hi5, and Facebook) that has a substantial claim on the market. Although they aren’t quite as big as Facebook or MySpace in North America, it is extremely competitive in other countries, such as Britain and Ireland. It is actually the 66th most popular English-language website (MySpace = 5th, Facebook = 6th, Hi5 = 8th) according to Alexa Internet. *Sidenote: There are a few porn sites in the top 100, as well as Google having a bunch there too).

What makes this such a dangerous merger for other social networks is that AOL has the software that Bebo needs to grab top market share. AOL has the 10 million subscribers that could extremely benefit Bebo’s population, as well as the advertising software that Facebook has been struggling so much to make effective. With AOL’s AIM and ICQ potentially growing Bebo, and with Bebo a great site for mass advertising, this could be a great way for AOL to rebound and become one of the star online advertising companies.

A problem with this merger is that Yahoo runs the display advertising for Bebo in the UK and Ireland. If Microsoft is successful in the bid for Yahoo, what will be the outcome? Microsoft has put heavy support behind Facebook with their 1.6% purchase, so how can they justify a part of their company (if Yahoo is purchased) supporting the rival of their Facebook? Can Microsoft support two social networks?

Also, with Yahoo running the advertising display for Bebo, Google running the advertising of MySpace, and Microsoft running the advertising for Facebook, it makes the market pretty competitive. If Microsoft purchases Yahoo, then it gives Microsoft a great deal more advertising power, controlling both Facebook’s and Bebo’s advertising. Will this finally make Microsoft competitive with Google’s advertising power? I guess we will see in the coming months.

*UPDATE* Facebook has just announced that it will be having an instant message service built right into Facebook.  This is announced right after AOL has been talking about combining their AIM service to Bebo. *

Cheers,

David McKenna

I was just reading Mano-a-mano with Steve Ballmer by Guy Kawasaki that had a video from the MIX08 conference held in Las Vegas from March 5th -7th. It is a conference for developers, designers and business professionals, or so the website says. The video was of the Keynote speaking with Guy Kawasaki as host, interviewing Steve Ballmer. Incredible. It was over an hour long, and I watched all of it. I think anyone who has the slightest interest in Microsoft vs. the world, then you should watch this.

One of the things that made this keynote so good, and why I watched most of it, is because of the bantering going back and forth from Kawasaki and Ballmer. Steve Ballmer is now the CEO of Microsoft and was one of the original Microsoft guys (starting in 1980), whereas Guy Kawasaki was one of the original Apple guys which leads to much playful banter. In some cases, it is absolutely hilarious, one of which Ballmer threw Kawasaki`s Mac AIR on the ground (timing in video is given later). I laughed nearly the whole time.

Here are some of the topics (and the times they played) that was discussed:

Yahoo potential merger @ 2:30

Google competitor @ 4:30

Microsoft is an underdog @ 7:18

Anti-trust @ 7:35

Apple (Ballmer gives Cudos) @ 7:48

Facebook @ 9:28

Microsofts millions @ 10:40

Receiving mass email (or not) @ about 15:00

Bill Gates leaving microsoft @ 16:45

Hiring at microsoft @ 18:40

Silverlight @ 24:35

Vista (dodges topic by throwing Kawasaki`s Mac AIR on the ground) @ 26:45

Microsoft losing focus @ 28.30

Firefox vs IE @ 32:40

I think anyone who is interested even slightly in Microsoft, or even if you hate Microsoft and want to see their views on Google and Apple, you should watch this video. It is long, but well worth it.

After watching over an hour worth of video, I could write for forever on this topic, but I guess I can only put so much. Maybe I`ll make another 10 posts all dealing with this video. Thats all for now.

Cheers,

David McKenna

onePlace

In class, we have briefly discussed topics concerning how to organize your web content through the use of bookmark sites (Del.icio.us) and RSS feeders. Competitors Yahoo! and Microsoft have taken content management to a new level by answering the need for management of mobile content. Yahoo! announced today its mobile-content management solution, onePlace. The tool’s objective is to create a better system to organize web information, similarly to RSS and bookmarks tools.

onePlace’s main objective is to strive for simplicity; the tool operates using a system similar to tagging and grouping, which allows users to create a category folder and link all relating information to that folder. The example Yahoo! is promoting is for traveling. Say you were traveling to Europe, you begin by creating a Euro-Trip folder. Then you can link to all the travel sites (ie recommended places to visit), related music, video clips, photos, search queries, etc. It’s like having your Del.ici.ous account only with more features, all available on your mobile phone. onePlace facilitates content portability even more, because now if you want to add useful information to your trip folder, and a computer is not close, you can just use your cellphone tool to add to the folder. Being that the phone is connected to the internet, onePlace also keeps information updated. So if your flight time was altered, onePlace would make an automatic update. Here’s a link to the press release, it includes all of onePlace’s anticipated features. Below is an idea of what the screen will look like.

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I was reading Jeff Jarvis blog and came across with this article “lover your customer”. Customers are the livelihood of every business. Every business must have to spend a significant amount of time and effort maintaining customer satisfaction. Surveys suggest that service-driven companies are able to charge up to 9% more for the goods and services they offer and grow twice as fast as the average. These are powerful incentives for becoming the best customer-service company in any industry.

A customer doesn’t care about you they just want to get best product and services because of they are paying for it. The only thing that customers know is that when you walk through their door, they want to be taken care of. So if you don’t take care of that customer, even though he/she isn’t buying anything from you, he/she will never get to the point of being a major customer. You have to treat everyone equally. So your objective must be to provide the highest standard of Customer Care possible for both good and worst customer.

Jeff Jarvis had a column in Business Week’s customer-service issue arguing that customers who complain about you are doing you a great favor.

Here’s some free advice: Go to Google, enter any of your company’s brands followed by the word “sucks,” and you will see the true consumers’ reports. Brace yourself, for it won’t be pretty. Wal-Mart’s unofficial Google Sucks Index turns up 165,000 results; Disney 530,000; Google 767,000. What’s yours?

There are many reason customer can leave you such as:

  • They felt your pricing was too high or unfair.
  • They had an unresolved complaint.
  • They took a competitors offer.
  • Most importantly they left because they felt you didn’t care.

So, the bottom line is that one of the key components in marketing and business growth is to spend the majority of your time and effort development customer relationships, so that you can increase your business from existing customers. This is a strategy that will move you forward in increasing your sales and business.

–Romiz

 

I was interested in learning more about TrueKnowledg buzz of “Semantic Web” these days . Somehow, I find that search engines like Google are dumb. I know they do a pretty good job of returning accurate results to keyword searches. But because google does not actually understand natural language, you cannot ask Google a straight forward(Yes or No) question and expect an answer. Google will provide with only search results!!

For the most part, Google does a pretty good job of giving you what you’re looking for. TrueKnowledge has its sights set on Google, Yahoo, and the other big names in search.

The True Knowledge search engine is currently in private Beta, so you cannot really use it. True Knowledge can still only answer questions about J. Lo appropriately, but does not know the difference between Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Beals.

That said, True Knowledge does look pretty interesting. I like the way that the web application does more than query out a bunch of relevant web pages, but rather gives you an answer and then shows its work. TrueKnowledge will give Google a run for its money as top internet search provider.

TrueKnowledge’s API information Architecture Diagrams

Must-see video to know the differences between Google and TrueKnowledge:

Z

Does anyone get annoyed when a new social network is created on the web and then you have to begin the process of adding contacts to this new network from previous social networks? Well some of the A-list bloggers do.

So, yet again, Google has come to our rescue by introducing a new web application which will allow users to integrate their various contacts from other social networks into one application, Social Graph API. (this social graph is partially inspired by FOAF and XFN) The contact importer is definitely an idea with possibilities, and what with the newly announced Microhoo monster, at least Google is still focusing on future potential needs and generating innovative applications. An example at Plaxo gives an idea of what the social graph would show on each user; basically listing what social networks the user is taking part in, ie Facebook, , Twitter, WordPress, MySpace, Flickr…the list goes on. The Social Graph API is a useful application to prevent social networks from overlapping.

Also Google will be making this information available to third party companies who can use the data as they wish, whether tracking how users know each other or what social networking services are being used more often. This way users will be able to make their network connections available during a search or hidden/limited to the viewers.

I believe this new application will prove useful in the future, especially for some social networks which seem to come and go as fads. This will enable users to bring their friends along to all their other social networks, or cut down on separation which may occur when changing social networks.

Tasia