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Entries in marketing (5)

Tuesday
Nov292011

Virtual Sunglasses, Real Shopping

I ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses from Eyefly.com through a great deal on Living Social. ($49 for a complete pair of glasses, shipped.)

That was pretty cool, but this is even cooler:

While browsing for glasses on Eyefly, you can take a photo of yourself with a webcam. The site uses software that will automagically place a 3D rendering of the glasses on your face so you can see how they might look.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov132011

It's not Me. It's You. (updated)

There's a bug in one of the blogging platforms I use which has been consistently appearing during regular use. (Not this one, BTW.)

It's a minor bug, but it's appearance has become annoying and tedious. I continually remind myself that the service is free, and that I shouldn't complain.

Yesterday however, I figured I should take a moment to notify them about it as it could be helpful for them to know.

The response (from offshore) is below:

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep172009

Event: Using Social Media to Promote Your Blog or Web Site, September 22

I've been invited to participate in an upcoming event produced by Professionals in Media. If you can join us in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey please come! Information is below.

If you're unable to attend, fear not - I'll be streaming the event live. You'll be able to listen at the URL below beginning at (or around) 7 PM:

http://go.gadgetboy.org/kicn

Here's the official announcement from PIM:

You are planning on building a web site or blog. Maybe, you already have one. Either way, drawing traffic equals good business. Tuesday, September 22, at 7 p.m., Professionals In Media (PIM) presents a seminar Using Social Media to Promote Your Blog or Web Site. This event will be held at Summit Medical Group, 1 Diamond Hill Road, Berkeley Heights, Room C-100 in the Education Center of Lawrence Pavilion.

Allan Hoffman, Michael Shapiro, and John Federico are the panelists for an informative evening on using social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to promote your blog or web site.

Allan Hoffman is the CEO and founder of Web100.com. Hoffman is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Newsday, P.O.V., Rutgers Magazine, The MotherHood, Wired News, Worth, Yahoo Internet Life, and many other newspapers, magazines, and literary publications. He is the personal technology columnist for the Star-Ledger. Hoffman has been interviewed about technology topics on various television and radio programs, including NBC’s "Early Today," C-SPAN’s "Washington Journal," CNNfn, and NPR’s "All Things Considered."

Michael M. Shapiro, chief executive officer and editor of TheAlternativePress.com, the State of New Jersey’s all-online hyperlocal daily newspaper, is an attorney with degrees from Stanford Law School and Rutgers College, Rutgers University. He first made headlines as one of the youngest people to run for public office in New Jersey when at age 21, he ran for Mayor of New Brunswick.

John Federico is an accomplished marketing, communications and business development executive and founder of the web site newrules.com. He offers 15 years of experience in marketing communications and business development with passionate expertise in digital media.

Admission is a $10 donation per person. Light refreshments will be served. Seating is limited; reservations are strongly suggested. Contact Jacqueline Herships at 973-763-7555 or Jacqueline@jacquelineherships.com or Michele C. Hollow at michelechollow@pipeline.com. For directions, please visit www.summitmedicalgroup.com.

Monday
Aug032009

Does Amazon want to be in the Hardware Business?

I found this post at iReaderReview about the need for the next generation of the Kindle (what the author calls the "Kindle 3") to have "Killer Features" in order to compete with the new threats to the Kindle's market success.

While it's an interesting analysis, there are some key points that the author fails to address - and others that probably don't need addressing at all.

Some of the "Killer Features" cited in the post include things like a Touchscreen, support for the ePub standard and better support for PDF's. Some of the more outlandish features include Speech-to-Text Transcription for note-taking, GPS and Google Maps and Social Networking.

Whoa! Slow down, cowboy!

The Kindle is an eBook Reader - it's not a computer, an iPod, an "iTablet" or transcription device. It does its job well - better than any other device that's been brought to market before.

Sure, social networking features might be a valuable benefit for readers (and Amazon, as it reduces friction in recommending books) but these services only add to the complexity of the device and the user experience.

That said, the reason for Kindle's groundbreaking success is not specifically about the hardware. The Kindle is a success thanks to: 

  • Great hardware at a reasonable price point with all the promised benefits of an eBook reader (lots of portable content, etc.)
  • Demand fulfillment from anywhere there's a Sprint wireless connection (Sprint powers Whispernet)
  • The backing of major publishers, small publishers and even self-publishers

With all that said, why does Amazon necessarily have to or want to be in the hardware business?

Let's look at Audible.com (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon) as an analog to the Kindle eBook business.

When Audible launched, to consumers it promised a large selection of audiobooks and lower prices thanks to digital delivery. To publishers it promised to grow the market for audiobooks and protect the publishers' intellectual property using Audible's proprietary file format (".aa") and DRM .

Customers were supposed to purchase the audiobooks, download the files, then listen to them on their computer or burn them to a CD for portable use. Neither of these consumption options was very practical. Listening on your computer require that you remain in close proximity to your computer and even with a laptop, wasn't practical for the car where most audiobooks are consumed.

Burning CD's in the late 90's still took an inordinate amount of time due to write speeds of most CD-R drives and the general speed of computers.

To improve on this relatively poor consumption experience, Audible produced a great (for its time) little MP3 player called the Otis that played both MP3 and Audible's proprietary file format. (I still have mine, somewhere. It still works.)

The debut of this device coincided with the AudibleListener subscription program. In exchange for committing to a year of the program, you received a free Otis player.

Over time, Audible licensed its software to other device manufacturers so that they could enable playback of .aa files on their portable media devices. The first was the Diamond Rio. Hundreds of others followed, including the big Kahuna, Apple, whose iPods and iPhones all play the .aa format.

Where's the Otis today? In the Smithsonian. (Literally. They have one as a part of their collection.) That's to say that Audible no longer makes the Otis.

Once portable media players took off as a product category, Audible no longer needed to expend its resources on producing its own - that was one part of the ecosystem that the market assumed on its own.

Let's return to the Kindle and Amazon's eBook business.

What's to stop Amazon from giving you a free Kindle in exchange for your commitment to a one or two year subscription plan? That would be a game changer even before Barnes & Noble/Plastic Logic got a toehold in the market.

For that matter, if you're Amazon, why manufacturer the Kindle at all? Amazon wants any manufacturer to play in their eBook ecosystem. The release of the Kindle source code and the Kindle App for the iPhone both support this theory completely.

As the market for eBooks gets bigger, Amazon benefits whether or not they continue to produce a reader. I hope they continue as I love my Kindle and expect the company to innovate for years to come, but when Amazon is satisfied that another manufacturer can produce an experience as good or better than they can themselves, I could envision them divesting themselves of their hardware business altogether and focus on content and services.

Wednesday
Apr152009

Free Shipping

Just in case you didn't realize that The Apple Store wasn't going to charge you for the download...