Yahoo CEO Steps Down

In recent new, Jerry Yang, CEO of Yahoo,has just announced that he is stepping down. Yang said he would continue his duties until the board announced his successor. He also agreed to assist in the process for finding his replaceent. Finally, Yang said he would continue to work for Yahoo and return to his previous job as “chief Yahoo,” a corporate strategy role in addition to remaining on the board. Yang was in control of Yahoo for about a year and a half.

The decision is said to have been mutual between Yang and the board. Although the board was grateful to Jerry’s contributions over the past year and half, they are looking for someone to take the company to the next level.

Ross Sandler, analyst at RBS Capital Markets, saw this change as a positive decision from what he calls a “shareholders perspective.” He said Yang did little to restore confidence in any of Yahoo’s shareholders, employees or customers after botching the Microsoft deal. In February, Yang refused to accept Microsoft‘s bid of $31 a share. He attempted to show some willingness to sell the company but at a much higher price Microsoft was not willing to pay. Due to this, Microsoft rescinded its offer in May.

Yang attempted to develop a plan to help Yahoo compete against Google. He made several cuts in the staff and planned to lay off at least 10% of its 15,000 employees. During the time that this was stated, Yahoo’s net income fell 64% and lowered its revenue projections for the year. Yang made an advertising deal with its rival Google. The deal was supposed to bring Yahoo $250-$450 million in additional cash flow for the first year. Under pressure from regulators over antitrust concersn Google backed out of the deal. Since this deal fell through, many analysts have stated that yahoo might be forced to consider a deal with Microsoft or a merger with AOL. Who know’s what is in store for Yahoo in the near future.

Althouh Jerry Yang seemed very dedicated to the Yahoo corporation, his ability to take Yahoo to the next level did not go as expected. Although he dissapointed the board, he is at least sticking to his company and continuing to support it despite his job situation. As Yang most recently stated, “i have always, and will always bleed purple(in reference to Yahoo’s corporate color).”

Eco-Friendly or just good marketing?

Is Apple the most Eco-Friendly company? At least, and according to a survey from Enviromental Leader, Apple is considered the most Eco-Friendly company for most consumers, closely followed by HP and Microsoft. But is this perception based on real facts, or is only due to Apple marketing strategy?

According to Greenpeace’s last “Guide to Greener Electronics”, in a 1 to 10 scale Apple’s score is only 4.1, ranking 13th on the list, far behind from the highest score company, the Finnish company Nokia.

Apple was just an example and it is a company that is currently improving in being more eco-friendly. Actually the last Ipod Nano is the most eco-friendly mp3 player that Apple had ever produced, reducing some of its more contaminant components like the batteries.

So how much of ecofriendlyness is real and how much is just pure marketing? Nowadays many products and companies claim to be “green”, but many times that is only a way of attracting the consumer and means nothing. In fact, about two thirds (66%) of the US citizens that participated in the Environmental Leader survey were willing to pay a certain premium (up to 5%) for a green product.

It is proven that in todays world eco-friendly and green products sell. However, if you care about this matter, do some research before buying a new laptop or a new cellphone. Maybe you will change your mind.

New Ad Format: Facebook’s Attempt to Appeal to Marketers

The popular social networking site Facebook Inc. is trying out new tactics to churn out steady revenue from its advertisers.  New ads called “engagement ads” appear on the main screen when a person first logs into Facebook. Then the user is prompted to do something with the ad i.e. commenting on a movie trailer or RSVP for the finale of a TV show, etc. If the person goes through with the action, Facebook then sends a notice about what the person has done with the ad to their friends.

Facebook has been testing this new ad format since August and just this month has started making it available to advertisers. According to Facebook, 70 of the U.S.’s 100 largest advertisers have advertised on its site since 2007. Despite Facbook’s attempted efforts, competitor MySpace.com is still the market leader with 15.9% of display-ad spending.

 

It has been said that buying ads on Facebook and MySpace usually cost less than buying ads on sites such as Yahoo or AOL.  Facebook has hired top ad sales executives from top companies and has also sent teams into agencies to pitch products and generate awareness about its research tools.

The only problem Facebook may have is people getting frustrated with a ton of new ads popping up. Something that used to make Facebook unique from MySpace was that it was not flooded with a bunch of different ads.  Within the next few months, we will see how users react to the new and more prevalent ad usage on Facebook. Since most of Facebook’s targeted users are college students and young adults it could be seen as a downside; however, for marketers it could be seen as a great aspect.

Bold is Beautiful

As of yesterday, Research in Motion, creators of the BlackBerry released a new device that goes above and beyond your typical BlackBerry. The BlackBerry Bold is the newest BlackBerry model that runs on AT&T’s 3G network. The Bold is not a touch screen; however, it is the upgraded version of the BlackBerry 8800 series. These models are popular with companies because they are said to be easier to function. Blackberry’s are known for being a bit on the larger side in order to be more functional vs. being more stylish. Although BlackBerry’s are known for their functionality, the new BlackBerry Bold has a leather backing to it. For the creator’s of the BlackBerry, this is one step in the direction toward attempting to get the new BlackBerry noticed for its functionality and stylishness.

The BlackBerry Bold’s 2.66-inch screen is the largest yet on a BlackBerry.  Personally, I happened to be one of the few who saw this device right when it came out and before it was sold out of the East Lansing AT&T store. I must admit that although the screen was big, it was extremely bright and clear and the keyboard was very comfortable and easy to use. A full charge on this phone is said to last for four and half hours of talk time and about 13.5 days of standby. The Bold also has the fastest network of any BlackBerry out there. This allows you to access network capabilities faster than you would have on previous models. The keyboard is designed to make e-mailing, texting and web searching extremely easy. Research in Motion stated that each key has a subtle high point on it that is said to make typing more comfortable.  

Overall, the BlackBerry Bold is the newest and fastest selling BlackBerry out there. Due to the fact that it has just emerged into the market, it is a bit pricey. You can purchase the Bold for about $300 with a two year signing contract with AT&T. In comparison to the Iphone, however, that isn’t such a fabulous deal. The BlackBerry Bold gives you one gigabyte of memory, in comparison to the Iphone which gives you at least eight gigabytes of memory for $199. Basically it all depends on how you plan to use your phone and what your preferences are. If you have your heart set on a BlackBerry, the Bold is definitely the best one to go with.

Getting business through social networking

A couple days ago I found an interesting discussion in Flickr. In the wedding photographers group some of the members were discussing about how to get business through social networks. The idea is simple, but effective: Post the pictures you take for a senior portraits session, engagement or a wedding on your Facebook and tag your customers. If your privacy options are set up so everyone can see those pictures, allow comments, and you will be the guy who took those cool senior portraits or those cute engagement shots, and that will surely bring you business.

The same idea applies to many different businesses. If you do a good job in whatever you do, you can probably ask that customer to left a recommendation for you on any of the social networking sites, or ask him to refer your site to other potential customers.

If you are writing a blog, write about what you have done for that customer and put pictures of up it if possible. Then let your customer know and he will surely show your blog entry to colleagues and friends, spreading the word about whatever service or product you do and how well you do it.

Word of mouth is proven to work well, and social networking is a powerful tool for keep spreading the word about your business.

Environmental Tips on Improving Your Fuel Efficiency

I’m sure most of you have been fighting gas prices throughout the year. Despite the fact that most of us are trying to be more eco-friendly the constant increase in the price of oil has made it extremely tough. In recent weeks however, gas stations have surprised us all and have actually lowered their prices. We’ll see how long that actually lasts though. Hopefully it won’t be short-lived. In the mean time, here are some tips to help make your automobile more fuel efficient:

 

  • Slow down your acceleration time (accelerate 0 to 60 mph in about 15 seconds). The average improvement in fuel economy is about 31%
  • For all you speed racers out there, try driving the speed limit. You’ll save on average 12%.
  • Try using your cruise control more frequently, it can save you an average of 7%
  • If you end up being stuck in traffic or idle for more than one minute turn off your car, it will save you an average of 14%
  • Refuel your vehicle during the evening hours to cut down on the amount of pollution created
  • Try combining your daily errands and activities to the shortest route possible. The heaviest car emissions occur during the first two miles that your car is being driven since the engine is still warming up
  • Keep your tires inflated at the maximum recommended pressure and get your car alignment checked about every 5,000 miles
  • Keep up on your car maintenance, especially ignition timing, spark plugs and wiring, and idle speed settings
  • Purchas long-lasting, fuel-efficient radial tires
  • Avoid quick starts and stops
  • Use anti-freeze that doesn’t contain ethylene glycol
  • Avoid idling your car for more than 30 seconds
  • Keep the air and fuel filters clean

 

In addition to these check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Vehicle Guide. All you have to do is fill in your car make, model, year and state and it will show you your cars fuel efficiency, air pollution score, greenhouse gas score and more. You can also look up and compare what the “greenest” vehicles are.

 

 

Driving is an essential part of most of our daily lives. Although it is hard to cut back on our daily activities, we must come to realize that when there is an opportunity for us to take public transportation or ride a bike we should use it. Although we rely on cars to fulfill a majority of our needs, we also rely on the environment to survive. Without the environment, we are non-existent thus making cars un-important.

Which are your keywords?

Last Wednesday the interns and Derek dedicated the day to analyze Google Adwords possibilities. Setting a Google Adwords account is really easy but getting the most out of it may not be so easy. The following recommendations will help you with setting up your account.

The first steps after signing up for your Google Adwords account is setting a monthly budget (of at least $50, anything under that does not really show at all) and determining where your ads are going to appear. If you are starting and your business is mostly local, it will probably be a good idea for you to keep your adwords campaign also local. Another option is to set the maximum cost per click (CPC). If your keywords are very competitive, you may want to set up a high maximum CPC. Otherwise Google can set your bids in order to optimize the results.

Make sure that you get the most of the 95 characters available per ad (25 for the title and 35 for each line). While writing your ad there are some considerations to keep in mind. The first one is how accurate is your ad. If a potential customer clicks in your ad, which reads “professional photographic equipment”, and you are only selling disposable cameras that person not only is not going to buy from you, but is also going to cost you money since he/she is clicking in your ad. It is very important that your ad include the benefits of your product and/or service and some of your keywords. You can find the keywords that relate to your site by using the Google Adwords tool. Once you do this, you can see the relevance and how competitive are these words, and choose according to your site content and budget. The best idea is to combine some competitive keywords with some other more specific to your site. Being specific will attract potential customers to your site. If you are local and you only offer your product/service locally you will most likely improve your results by including your location in your Adwords ad. Also do not forget to push your customer, including phrases like order now or limited supplies will make your ad more successful.

These are some very basic guidelines for starting your Adwords campaign. If you want to learn more about Adwords and how to use it in your business you should rely on experienced professionals and contact Ingenex Digital Marketing, I’m sure they will find the most suitable digital marketing solution for your business.

Nature and Technology: Forever at Odds?

Our Human brains tend to operate in dichotomies: good and bad, man and woman, Obama and McCain and… nature and technology?! Humanity, or more specifically our advances in technology, have largely been responsible for the degradation of ecosystems, exhaustion of resources and extinction of species. Technology is therefore intrinsically in opposition to nature… or is it?

Ok, so our societal advancements have not always treaded lightly on our Mother Earth. It cannot be denied that we have done some irreversible damage. That being said, we are still a part of these integral ecosystems and what is done has been done. It is then, perhaps the most beneficial to utilize our technological advancements to help preserve, conserve and reduce what damage has been done (when possible). Yes, this is a rather large task, and one may ask simply how can you even begin to approach this? Well…

With the advent and ubiquity (literally) of the internet, solutions may be as simple as running a Google search. I recently stumbled upon a website boasting the ‘30 Best Eco Sites.’ As is turns out I hit the green goldmine of eco-sites! This site features a list of some of the best green internet resources. These top 30 sites include everything from environmental blogging, eco-clothing and products and day-to-day living tips. Each and every site serves as an excellent educational green resource, and I highly recommend that you check it out.

On site on this list that caught my eye in particular was EcoGeek. EcoGeek focuses on the connection between nature and technology and aims to prove that green gadgets can be good. Ah ha! Just what I was looking for- people are actually synthesizing these two concepts that until recently (and I mean recently) were definitively at odds. Maybe, just maybe, we can use this internet thing as a platform for a universal green movement…? Sure, technology has been bad for our planet. But it’s time to realize that technology may also have the power to begin to heal the environment. Shunning or ignoring the omnipresence of modern day technology will do nothing to save the planet. We must accept the reality of this situation and begin to use the tools we have at hand to begin to work towards a more sustainable future.

Mobile Marketing: Ralph Lauren Takes Window Shopping to the Next Level

As we press forward into the future, mobile marketing is increasingly evolving. Billions of people all around the world own and use a cell phone on a daily basis. Among the evolution of mobile marketing, QR codes have recently come about. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with what these are let me explain. QR stands for “quick response” code where the code allows its contents to be decoded at high speed.  QR codes were created by the Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. Since then, they have emerged into the Japanese market and have become extremely popular. QR codes are still working their way into the U.S. market and are said to become more prevalent in the future.

Recently, popular designer and fashion icon Ralph Lauren has introduced QR codes into their print ads, mailers and store windows. When scanned with a mobile phone, the code directs the phone’s browser to a website where you can shop for RL products.  For those of you that are impulse buyers this could be heaven on earth. You now have the opportunity to see an item of clothing in a store window, scan the QR code with your phone and purchase the item on the spot without even stepping into the store.  Ralph Lauren hopes that QR codes will become mainstream sometime in the near future.

Rugby Ralph Lauren QR

 

While researching this topic, I found that most people are extremely skeptical about purchasing items using QR codes. Although it has become extremely popular in Asia, Americans are much more hesitant to put stock in QR codes. Many people felt that since the amount of information they had heard about QR codes was minimal, they questioned the safety of it. Also, others were hesitant about impulse buying and having to potentially whip out their credit cards on a street corner to buy a sweater.

For those of you interested in testing out QR codes here is how you would go about doing that. First, download QR reader software on your phone. (All phones aren’t supported yet so visit m.ralphlauren.com to check if your phone is compatible to download the reader).  Once you’ve downloaded the reader on your phone you can use it to scan any QR codes you see, i.e. the Rugby Ralph Lauren Store in Manhattan, New York.  Your phone will then be directed to that item’s website and you can buy it right there on the spot.

Innovative, yet skeptical this technological advancement is definitely something to be excited about. Keep a lookout for QR codes as they work their way into the U.S. market.  This breakthrough has taken the future of mobile phones to the new level. Ponder the thought, sometime in the near future, if this isn’t already the case, almost all of our personal and business transactions will have the capability to be taken care of over our mobile phones, thus, almost making it like a mini-computer. Oh the possibilities!

Plastic Bag Bans Raise Environmental Awareness

In the past several years, the hideous truth about plastic bags has been gaining more and more media attention. People are beginning to realize what these bags are made from (petroleum) and how long it takes them to disintegrate in landfills (a long time, should they make it there). 

I began to realize this anti-plastic bag mass movement has trickled down to a variety of large chain stores in the local Ann Arbor area. Although perhaps this is an attempt to tap into the ‘green niche’ rather than operating out of eco-consciousness, I feel optimistic none-the-less that environmental stewardship is beginning to be addressed on a larger scale level.

Last night I was shopping for various toiletries at my local Rite-Aid. I noticed that even they carried cloth bags emblazoned with their logo! I was a initially a little shocked, and proceeded to the cash register where I told the clerk that I didn’t need a plastic bag. He seemed amazed at my ability to carry my three items by hand out to my car. He proceeded to let me know that some of his regular patrons will ask to double bag unnecessary items (such as a gallon of milk).

Wasteful behavior such as this makes me feel fortunate that many stores are beginning to add additional taxes when you use plastic bags. Additionally, many cities and states are beginning to propose an all-together ban on plastic bags. Both measures have proven to be very successful. In fact, China’s ban on plastic bags will save an estimated 37 million barrels of oil! This ban extends to the free bags distributed to customers. 

Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to ban plastic bags or even to tax them. The city of Dallas’s local council recently stated that banning plastic bags and food containers would have a “negative impact on the local environment, the economy and the school system.” They went on to say they believe in educating people about what is responsible behavior and simply “not to litter…” a preventative measure that works oh so well…

All in all I am totally in favor of bans or taxes on plastic bags. I think that this is absolutely a step in the right direction; if people are more aware of their conspicuous consumption, then they are forced to take a step back and reevaluate their behavior. This increase in environmental awareness in recent years has spurred many programs that adress the urgent need for stewardship and sustainability. 

Recently, Ingenex has begun to research Michigan State University’s Be Spartan Green program. As discussed in my recent blog post, we hope to bring our eco-friendly internship program to help bring digital and environmental education to East Lansing. It is through awareness and education made possible largely due to digital technologies that we can work and strive towards a more sustainable future.