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Uber Makeover Draws Derision
February 4, 2016
Uber on Tuesday unveiled a new logo, the culmination of a two-year effort to develop a rebranding strategy. The new logo will be depicted in the Uber app in colors localized to each of the 65 countries where the company has a presence. For example, it's pink in Mexico, red in India, gold in China and oak in Ireland. The colors and patterns are meant to bring out Uber's human side.
Alphabet Leapfrogs Apple to Top of the Heap
February 3, 2016
Google's new parent, Alphabet, sent a tingle up the spine of investors on Monday after reporting fourth quarter earnings that exceeded expectations. The good news sent its share price skyward, resulting in a market valuation that surpassed Apple, which for years has been the most-favored technology firm on Wall Street. Alphabet reported adjusted earnings of $8.67 per share.
Samsung Answers Android Ad-Blocking Call
February 2, 2016
Samsung on Sunday released a version of its mobile browser that supports applications that block advertising on Web pages. The browser upgrade can be applied to devices running Android Lollipop and higher. Apple released similar support for the Safari mobile browser last year, but this is the first time a major maker of Android hardware has supported ad blocking.
How Analytics Could Upset the Presidential Frontrunners
February 1, 2016
Given all the campaign drama, there was little else on my mind when I started to write my column at the end of last week. The also-rans really didn't understand how suicidal Trump's comments were about fans supporting him even if he shot someone in New York. Also, Clinton's use of a nonauthorized BlackBerry revealed what she really thought of the Obama administration.
AOL Buys AlephD to Boost Publisher Support
January 26, 2016
AOL on Monday announced that it has agreed to purchase AlephD as it ramps up efforts to boost its key assets: its global content brands, millennial-focused over-the-top content, original video content, and programmatic advertising platforms. AlephD's algorithms focus on publisher analytics and price floor optimization. They let publishers control and optimize inventory pricing and packaging.
The Gears of E-Commerce
January 26, 2016
As the U.S. retail industry puts another long holiday shopping season behind it, a few changes appear to be taking place. For one thing, it appears there's a new recipe for success. Growing a business requires more than setting up a fancy website, placing inventory into a warehouse, and engaging a service to make speedy deliveries. That's in part because customer expectations have changed.
Execs Exit as Dorsey Works to Reshape Twitter
January 25, 2016
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Sunday announced that four executives have exited the company. Alex Roetter and Kevin Weil, who managed the engineering teams responsible for generating ads; Katie Stanton, who helped guide the international offices; and Skip Schipper, who oversaw HR and recruiting, all have departed. Roetter, Weil and Stanton each had been with Twitter for more than five years.
How Trump Wins: Master Manipulator, Meet Analytics
January 25, 2016
Given President Obama's success in the last two elections, I was convinced that we would see a major emphasis on the use of analytics in this election season. It seemed that Clinton, in particular, would have been drawn to it after Obama used it to defeat her in the 2008 primaries. Although some of the PACs have embraced analytics, I haven't seen a similar effort on the part of any candidate.
Brave Browser Promises to Defend Users' Privacy
January 21, 2016
Brave Software, helmed by Brendan Eich, who cofounded Mozilla and created the JavaScript programming language, on Tuesday released the 0.7 developer version of its Brave browser. Brave is an open source project that promises to block Internet greed and ugliness, while improving speed and protecting privacy. Basically, it blocks ads containing tracking pixels and cookies.
Digital Ad Fraud Could Top $7 Billion in 2016
January 20, 2016
Bot fraud will cost digital advertisers $7.2 billion worldwide this year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Association of National Advertisers. For the "2015 Bot Baseline" report, 49 ANA members deployed detection tags from White Ops on their digital ads to measure bot fraud over 61 days. Bot fraud impacted up to 37 percent of ads, compared to up to 22 percent in a study in 2014.
FTC Issues Regulatory Warning on Big Data Use
January 20, 2016
The Federal Trade Commission is extending its regulatory reach to the e-commerce impact of big data. For years, the FTC has asserted vigorously its authority to apply existing consumer protection laws to emerging developments in the IT realm. Now it is signaling that it will apply that same vigor to big data under the regulatory authority it possesses through the FTC Act and other laws.
Demandware Teams With eBay on Omnichannel E-Commerce Solution
January 19, 2016
Demandware and eBay Enterprise on Monday announced an alliance to develop a fully enabled omnichannel commerce solution that will provide integrated access to Demandware's Commerce Cloud platform and eBay Enterprise's suite of back-end and fulfillment technologies and services. The solution will let clients significantly reduce the complexity of managing their front- and back-end systems.
Netflix Cracks Down on Overseas Proxy Access
January 19, 2016
Netflix last week announced it will crack down on members using proxies or unblockers to access titles from overseas. That follows the company's announcement at CES 2016 earlier this month of a global rollout that has it offering streaming content in 190 countries. The problem is that not all of Netflix's content is available globally, said Netflix's David Fullagar.
In the Shadow of the Amazon Prime Juggernaut
January 19, 2016
When Amazon launched Prime Day six months ago, skeptics came out in force to criticize what they considered Jeff Bezos' desperate ploy to add members to a club that appeared to be peaking in a saturated domestic market. Gimmick or not, Prime Day worked. Amazon sold more than 34.4 million items across eight countries where Prime was offered, and its Q3 profits defied just about all prior estimates.
What the PC Industry Could Learn From the NRA
January 18, 2016
One of the fascinating things about the NRA is that buyers of guns think the organization represents them, when in fact its mission is to represent gun sellers -- not gun buyers -- and certainly never gun buyers against gun sellers. Guns for consumers largely have been banned in most of the world, with the exception of the U.S., which uniquely has the NRA.
iAd Shakeup May Be in the Works
January 15, 2016
Apple is phasing out its iAd sales team and moving toward an automated system, according to news reports this week. Then-CEO Steve Jobs launched iAd six years ago to provide an alternative to existing mobile advertising platforms, but it never caught fire. Under the new iAd platform, publishers reportedly will be more easily able to sell directly through the platform.
The Top 20 CRM Blogs of 2015: Part 1
January 15, 2016
What makes a great CRM blog? Generally, the same things that make a great CRM implementation: good planning, thoughtful responses to a changing market, consistent posting (the "adoption" part of blogging), the right technology, and people with the right personality. It's the classic "people, processes and technology" trilogy, really. The blogs that made our annual list of the best blogs and bloggers are one in a million.
Apple Loses Track of News App Traffic
January 13, 2016
Apple this week revealed that technical difficulties with its News app have led the company to underestimate usage figures for the more than 100 publications offering content through the software. The company discovered an error in the app that's resulted in underestimating the number of readers using the software, according to Apple's Eddy Cue, who said the company is fixing the problem.
Vendor of the Future
January 13, 2016
I spent part of last week listening to presentations about the customer of the future, and of course it made me think. As usual, I didn't think in a straight line. As you've heard from me before, customers are still the human beings that walked out of the ice age 10,000 years ago or even the Cro-Magnons of 35,000 years ago. It takes geologic time to observe changes in a species.
Taxpayer Advocate Blasts IRS' Planned Customer Service Revamp
January 8, 2016
The Taxpayer Advocate Service has released its annual report to Congress. Among other things, it warns that a five-year plan to revamp IRS operations may result in a substantial reduction in telephone and face-to-face interactions with taxpayers. "TAS has been left with the distinct impression that the IRS's ultimate goal is to get out of the business of talking with taxpayers," the report states.
Investor Calls for Leadership Changes at Yahoo
January 7, 2016
Activist investor Starboard Value, which has dogged Yahoo over the years, on Wednesday sent a letter to the company demanding it make changes or face a proxy fight. Yahoo "made the right decision" by suspending the Alibaba spinoff, but "the continued downward spiral of Yahoo's core Search and Display advertising businesses" has been "frustrating for us, and likely for you," the letter states.
Amazon UK Lets Customers Pay in Installments
January 5, 2016
Amazon UK recently introduced a monthly payment plan -- Pay Monthly -- for customers who purchase products it directly sells and ships. The offer doesn't extend to third-party retailers' products on its site. Customers whose order, including shipping and taxes, totals Pounds 400 are eligible for the program. Hitachi Personal Finance will provide and administer the credit and payments.
Facebook Takes On Yelp, Angie's List
January 2, 2016
Facebook recently launched a service for members that provides recommendations and ratings on shops and service providers, a move that puts it in direct competition with Yelp. The tool provides star ratings on local service providers, including doctors, veterinarians and event planners. Users can leave references that detail their experiences with merchants or service providers.
Zuckerberg Defends Downsized Internet for Developing World
December 29, 2015
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday defended his company's downsized version of the Internet, called "Free Basics," which is offered in developing nations around the world. "In every society, there are certain basic services that are so important for people's wellbeing that we expect everyone to be able to access them freely," he said, citing public libraries, hospitals and schools as examples.
Amazon Burns Through Previous Holiday Records
December 28, 2015
Amazon on Monday reported a record competition-shattering performance during the Christmas holiday, adding more than 3 million Amazon Prime members last week alone. Holiday sales of Prime devices more than doubled last year's record number, the company said. The Prime Now program, which offers free two-hour delivery in 20-cities across the country, broke records on Christmas Eve.
Move Over, FedEx - Here Comes Amazon
December 26, 2015
Amazon has been negotiating a lease for 20 Boeing 767 jets as it executes on plans to start its own air cargo business, according to recent reports. It launched a pilot of the service in Wilmington, Ohio, where Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, has been managing airfreight on Amazon's behalf. ATSG reportedly moved into the Wilmington Air Park under contract with an unnamed company.
Retailers Will Keep the Lights Burning on Christmas Eve
December 23, 2015
Target, Walmart and other large U.S. retailers have extended their hours on Christmas Eve in an effort to snag last-minute holiday shoppers. It's a wider net for consumers during a season in which about 17 percent of shoppers last week said they hadn't starting buying gifts, in a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Walmart will stay open until 8 p.m., and Target's staff will await gift givers until 11 p.m.
CRM Predictions: Spotting the Critical Connections
December 22, 2015
At this time of the year, there's a clamoring among the business publishing class for predictions. That is partly because prediction stories are considered easy to write, and once they're done the staff can go celebrate the holidays while their publication continues to deliver content. However, having written a lot of prediction stories in the past, I can tell you that they are not easy to write.
10 Things on an Apple Fan's 2016 Wish List
December 22, 2015
When your favorite consumer tech company is also the best consumer tech company in the world, and said tech company is generally a magnet for hyperbole and blind customer loyalty -- while also producing more products at higher levels of quality than ever before -- what's left to really wish for? Plenty, it turns out. I'm not talking about a new Apple car or even any special new product category.
Surprise Success: What to Do When Sales Go Through the Roof
December 22, 2015
Success is a good thing. Sometimes, however, surges in orders and sales cause headaches for e-commerce companies. The key is to expect the unexpected. Planning ahead can help ensure that sales spikes are handled as smoothly as possible. "It's never too early to start planning for growth," said Marg Hyland, founder of Pegeen. "You need to be prepared."
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