Will Amazon Local destroy Groupon?
I never asked for them, but I’m now getting regular emails from Amazon regarding local deals. With their massive customer base, Amazon figured out they could go head to head with Groupon with the flip of a switch. Of course they had to start working sales in each market, but they had a built in customer base right away.
Groupon on the other hand has been flailing, and now the company has the might Amazon gunning for its business. How long can Groupon survive like this? I suspect at some point the company will need to be sold off in a fire sale. It won’t be the first Internet company to make the mistake of turning down a massive acquisition offer only to regret it later, but it will probably be on the short list of egregious example for a long time.
View from the Internet in 1981
Here’s some interesting perspective with this 1981 news report about newspapers starting to experiment putting news stories on the Internet. We’ve come a long way . . .
The Net Neutrality Nightmare
With the recent court decision throwing out the FCC net neutrality rules, there’s a legitimate fear out there that the Internet as we know it could be destroyed by greedy telecom companies that creat a pay-to-play system that benefits large web companies and screws everyone else. The prospects for destroying innovation on the web seem real, and articles like this detail the potential threat.
On the other hand, some who have studied the decision see some positives as well.
The real issue will be whether in the future there will be viable Internet access options that permit the free-wheeling web we’ve known for years. These huge telecom companies have these rights under rules permitted by the government. It seems to me that there’s a huge opportunity for politicans to push for net neutrality and the notion of non-discrimination on the Internet. There’s also an opportunity for ISPs who will market neutral online packages.
Let’s see how this plays out.
Will brands ditch Facebook in 2014?
Facebook is playing games with your timeline. This has always been the case, as timelines don’t work like Twitter feeds where you see every Tweet in real time from the people you follow. But anyone who has created a Page on Facebook and built a follower base is now realizing that most followers no longer see their Page updates. Facebook is manipulating its algorithm so that only a small percentage of page updates are seen by followers. Then of course, they prompt you to pay Facebook so that more of your followers will see the update.
Facebook wants revenues, and in many ways that has resulted in Facebook finally jumping the shark for brands, bloggers and publishers. If you’ve spent time and money building your Facebook following, you have to be upset by this. What’s the point of taking the time to update a Facebook page if only a handful of followers will see it?
This article explains the dilemma for Facebook and cites this post from a blogger and author about her frustrations with Facebook.
We’ve experienced the same thing with our sites. We’ve methodically built a Facebook following the right way, doing it organically. But posts that were seen by 500 people are now only seen by less than 100 people. The bottom line is that Facebook will not be a source of online or mobile traffic unless you pay Facebook. Sorry, but as Mark Cuban explained, Facebook will no longer be the top social media priority for brands when there are other options out there that don’t limit which followers can see posts.
Facebook will still be important simply from a branding point of view. Brands have to have a Facebook presence these days due to the size of the network, as consumers will seek out a brand’s Facebook page sometimes in lieu of a brand’s website. So having a presence with excellent content and regular updates will still be important. But now it probably makes more sense to update a brand’s Facebook page only once or twice a week with excellent content that conveys the brand message as opposed to daily updates. Think of it as an organic billboard for the brand. But unless you’re willing to spend big dollars, you’re better off moving away from Facebook for specific promotions or as a way to drive consumers to your page. Brands can cuts costs by shifting away from Facebook and building Facebook followers towards services like Twitter where the efforts to drive engagement are rewarded.
These developments present an ominous problem for Facebook. We’ve clearly moved well beyond Mark Zuckerberg’s original vision of creating something “cool” that people will want to use. And that’s understandable as Facebook is now a public company and needs to drive revenues. Of course selling out was inevitable. But have they gone too far? The tradeoff between the user experience and the blatant push to get brands, publishers and bloggers to pay up so that users who “Liked” their pages can actually see updates has become obvious to everyone using the system, and the Facebook brand will suffer. When I post something to our accounts, and then see only a handful of our followers will see the post unless we pay up, I begin to resent the brand. Facebook becomes a typical, blood-sucking corporation as opposed to a cool service that lets users see updates from Pages they decided to follow. It’s now a racket.
In the short term, this strategy is working. Facebook’s revenues are booming as they have gamed the system they have created. But we’ve seen before that things can change quickly in today’s world as new technologies disrupt the status quo. Young people have already abondoned Facebook because that’s where their parents can monitor them. Sure, they’ll probably come back when they go off to college and want to keep in touch with friends. But Facebook is now alienating the entire blogosphere. Bloggers and publishers are already being squeezed by decling advertising revenues. They don’t have the budget to pay for visits, so they’ll move away from Facebook if there’s no benefit to building a follower base. Brands that do have budget will also see diminishing returns for building a follower base, so at some point they will shift their social media budgets.
It’s difficult to bet against Facebook, and this column has nothing to do with Facebook’s stock. It has to do with the company’s product, and the obvious fact that Facebook is manipulating its service to drive revenues as opposed to improving the user experience. At some point, this will probably catch up to them.
Posted in: Content Marketing, New Media, Social Media
Tags: brands vs Facebook, Facebook, Facebook blood-suckers, Facebook jumps the shark, Facebook milks revenues, Facebook screws brands, Facebook sucks, Facebook vs brands, Mark Zuckerberg, twitter
Hot Mobile Gaming Apps
Mobile gambling could well be the future of online gambling, whether you’re playing on an iPhone, Android, or other tablet or phone. Play anywhere, at any time, in a safe and secure environment at your convenience with great graphics and fluid games – no wonder millions of players are gambling via their smartphone.
We checked out a couple of hot mobile gaming apps for you:
Betway is fast becoming the casino of choice for many online gambling fans, largely due to a top-notch sportsbook. It’s available on mobiles, including of course Android and iPhone as well as Blackberry and other systems, meaning you can now play on the go.
Aesthetics and playability
The Microgaming-powered software looks great and is very slick in terms of usability and navigation on both Android and iPhone systems. The software is fully optimised for various operating systems to give users the best possible experience regardless of platform.
Should you run into problems, the customer support team are available via phone, live chat, and email – all just a button away when using your mobile or tablet.
Joining the games
The registration process is quick and easy if you’re not already a member. The minimum deposit is €20 and mobile users can get a 100% bonus up to €25 or £25 at the sportsbook, or a whopping €1,000/£1,000 at the casino when they join up. Debit/credit cards, Neteller, Skrill, Paysafecard, and various other safe transaction methods are supported to give you peace of mind with regards to security.
Betway offers the usual wide selection of casino games – poker, blackjack, roulette, etc. – as well as Microgaming’s award-winning variety of slots games. The sportsbook offers a myriad of bets on a multitude of sports that’s sure to satisfy even the most hardcore fan with over 25 games supported and dozens of bets available.
Royal Vegas is available for Android, Blackberry, Nokia, and Apple devices and offers more than 20 casino games and slots. While it has less variety than Betway and lacks a sportsbook, it’s a great-looking and smooth playing experience on both platforms.
Aesthetics and playability
Great graphics and Microgaming-powered software means you won’t be let down by the look and feel of this mobile casino. The games are smooth and fun, though the lack of variety is a negative point. However, what games there are all ensure a high-quality experience and all your casino favourites are there.
Joining the games
Simple to join and use, the software is more of an add-on to the online casino service. Mobile users do get an exclusive bonus of £30 when depositing £20 or more but this is less than the bonus available to users signing up through the casino. Like Betway, the Microgaming-powered software supports several secure deposit methods including Ukash and Click2Pay as well as debit/credit card deposits.
The weak point in this app is the lack of selection, though 21 of your favourite casino games including slots and baccarat are available.
With the number of mobile gambling apps continuing to increase, gamers are only going to see more and more great opportunities come their way.
Twitter has successful IPO
Twitter’s IPO went very smoothly, unlike the rocky debut experienced by Facebook shares. The stock closed at $44.90 per share, up considerably from the $26 IPO price. Twitter founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams also made out nicely, as they agreed to lockup agreements in lieu of selling shares through the IPO. Both are billionaires on paper.
Now we’ll see if Twitter can now live up to this IPO hype. It’s an incredible services, but its revenue and profit numbers are much smaller than those of Google and Facebook when those companies went public. We’ll see what kinds of revenue-generating projects they are willing to consider, and whether users will have a problem with any of them.
NFL Network huge media success
Some are questioning the future of cable TV, but nobody questions the importance of valuable content which can be distributed through various means. The success of the NFL Network is another example of the value of great content. The popularity of the NFL continues to explode and their investment in the NFL Network ten years ago appears to be another stroke of genius.
Sports, news and new TV shows are some of the items that will help cable TV stay relevant in the face of new trends where appointment TV is giving way to streaming TV that can be watched at any time. Many people are giving up the notion of regular TV and are watching shows when it’s convenient for them as they now have multiple devices like iPads that they can use to watch their shows.
With the NFL Network, that isn’t much of a worry, as sports-obsessed fans can’t get enough of NFL programming. They’re into their favorite teams, their fantasy football teams or their weekly picks against the spread. They’ll be absorbing as much NFL content as they can as they plan for their 2014 Super Bowl betting picks. On Thursday nights they’ll watch even the most lame matchups on the NFL Network and then complain about the game endlessly on Twitter, which brings up the social media angle. Sports is one of those things people love to talk about and argue about on social media. It fuels a ton of activity, making a simple NFL game a global conversation as opposed to a lonely evening alone on the couch.
The NFL could have screwed this up, but they quality of the programming has been excellent. They brought over Rich Eisen from ESPN to be one of the lead anchors and then signed a bunch of former NFL players. Of course they also have a stable of hotties showing off their legs like Nicole Zaloumis, Molly Qerim, Amber Theoharis and Lindsay Rhodes. They leveraged years of NFL Films content and put together tons of those silly lists people love to argue about. Reports indicate that ESPN almost invested in the NFL Network several years ago. I’m guessing the NFL execs are happy that didn’t happen as the network has grown into an incredibly valuable media property.
Proliferation of daily fantasy sports games
Did you capitalize on Brian Hoyer starting for the Cleveland Browns once Brandon Weeden got hurt? Or have you been riding Peyton Manning’s incredible performances so far this season. You might think I’m referring to typical conversations for fantasy football, but with the explosion of daily fantasy sports games, millions of dollars are legally changing hands as websites and now even apps try to capitalize on these games of skill. This has completely changed the landscape of sports betting as players now have the option of risking cash on daily fantasy games as opposed to the traditional method of picking games against the spread. Now with SideDraft being added to the Apple app store we might see the games become even more popular.
The key revolves around the notion that picking lineups in a fantasy game makes these games “skill” games that are not prohibited by various state and federal laws. With the popularity of fantasy football and other sports, these new sites just add the cash element and suddenly we have a new niche exploding around the web. The key difference from a game point of view is that you pick different players each week, so you’re not stuck with a crappy like regular fantasy football if you have a bad draft or have key injuries on your roster.
Most of these games have salary cap of course, so you’ll pay a price for using Manning or someone like Adrian Peterson. The key is finding cheap bargains who can have big games, like Hoyer of course. Even veterans like Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers can help you win, as he’s having a huge year but wasn’t in great demand in typical fantasy leagues.
These games can be just as addicting as regular gambling or regular fantasy football, so the popularity isn’t surprising. I am surprised however that some lawmakers have tried to stop everyone from having so much fun.
Gaming on the iPad
One popular use of computers by computer owners has always been Online casinos. However through advancements in technology it is now easier than ever for users to obtain an internet signal on other smaller devices, as a result the manner in which people game has changed. Out of these smaller devices the most popular for gaming is the tablet. Of all the tablets on the market today, the most popular is of course the iPad.
The iPad is run with an operating system just like a personal computer. In this case, it is the iOS designed by Apple. Apple has made some changes in recent years making their operating system incompatible with some browser plug-ins that have been necessary for gaming. One of these is Adobe Flash. Therefore online casino firms have had to create casino games that are compatible with the iOS. HTML5 was what developers came up with that made it easier for the iPad to access casino games in lieu of a special app. This makes it must faster to start playing. As a result, today’s online casino gamers on the iPad have an optimal gaming experience that is quite realistic.
Certain casino games such as those offered by online casino australia can now be enjoyed on the iPad. For instance games such as roulette, poker, blackjack and slots are now just a click away. These games really show off the great features of the iPad including its speed, graphic display and audio technology. The large screen really helps with the graphic display. The iPad version of roulette is particularly popular due to the touch screen playing.
Twitter keeps screwing with my email notification settings
I hate it when awesome social media services like Twitter get so big that they become desperate to drive more growth. It’s one thing to keep improving the user experience, but it’s quite another to manipulate settings in a lame attempt to drive more engagement.
Twitter keeps messing with my email notifications across my various business accounts. I don’t want my email inbox flooded with useless email notifications from Twitter, so I shut them all off. But the folks at Twitter keep adding more reasons to send you an email, like “Someone shares a Tweet with me” and “Someone from my address book joins Twitter.” Naturally, their default option is to have the box checked, so even if you wipe all the email options clean in your settings, Twitter keeps adding new reasons and then checking them so you get more emails.
Enough. Please stop. This is just ridiculous. Please add an option at the top that let’s me tell you I never want to receive any emails from Twitter.