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Best practices, training and innovations in Digital Strategy.

Weekly Blueliner Newsminer

February 11, 2011 – 9:29 am
Abdul Fattah Ismail

Good morning, everyone.  We are back with the Weekly Newsminer.  Today, I’ll be stopping at a couple workshops for Social Media Week here in New York.  I’ll leave my thoughts later on this afternoon.  Meanwhile, let us begin.

1.  The Quarter of Groupon

Last year, Facebook was making headlines on a daily basis.  These last couple months, Groupon is kicking tail and taking names.  Super Bowl XLV brought the deals site unfavorable rows over their commercial spots.  CEO Andrew Mason released a defensive statement, claiming that the company does significant charitable work for the spotlighted causes. As we all know, however, any coverage is good.  Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz has joined the board, meaning that iced frappuccinos will be fifty percent off all day moving forward. Right?!

2.  AOL Purchases Huffington Post

America’s favorite liberal politics website is now part of America’s once-formidable network service provider.  AOL, since their split from the Time Warner conglomerate, is focusing on developing a portfolio of content sites.  Huffington Post has been a model for the microblogging industry with excellent advertising revenue generated from bold headlines optimized for search engines.  They also generate strong traffic from many demographics.  Yet the Huffington Post writers were unpaid, believing in the maverick ethos of adored CEO Ariana Huffington. AOL, hardly a cash cow at this moment, must be ecstatic.  The future could paint a different picture if those writers refuse to type for free.

3.  Yahoo Delivers A Digital Newstand

Yahoo released an application named Livestand, which plays into the strategy of spreading content across tablet devices and smartphones.  The application allows for detailed user personalization of content updated in real-time.  Like other publishing applications, Yahoo is looking to provide an opportunity for content publishers to expand their presentation palette with interactive graphics, video, and so forth.  Livestand nevertheless, has some work to do in a burgeoning market that is spearheaded by Google and Apple. Both those firms have partnerships with several producers of electronic hardware which allow pre-installation of their software.  Livestand, on the other hand, has no strong partnerships as of yet.  Their partnership with Bing should strengthen their advertising reach with link and PPC once relationships with mobile hardware are cemented.

4. R.I.P. Guitar Hero

Activision has announced that the Guitar Hero’s creative division will be shuttered, effective immediately.  The headline article from Mashable chalks it up to oversaturation of games.  In a world where many games are being played online for free, consumers may have found it difficult to constantly purchase new hard and software each season.  Those consumers were most likely adults, and with the economic downturn, free is king.  Secondly, as the article mentions, the advertising power was almost too strong.  As those teenagers develop and acquire music taste with greater depth, a real guitar looks like a better long-term investment.  Anybody can be a Guitar Hero of their digital community, but there’s only a handful of guys like Hendrix and Page.

5.  Twitter Values Itself Highly

Twitter tweeted out this week that they have a self-valuation of $80 billion, yet they lost money over the last year hiring new staff and upgrading data centers.  The site still has issues with capacity overload at times, meaning that the upgrade of data centers is critical.  In another swoop, Twitter’s collection of personal data is driving the valuation.  Investors have yet to gage the value of social media data on a tangible scale.  Tech titans Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are drooling to purchase Twitter, but CEO Biz Stone remains uninterested at this time.  The microblogger also needs to find a dependable business model to sustain itself.  Link and text advertising has surfaced on the website, and web analytics are emerging.  As with most social media, time is needed to see what the real value is for venture capitalists.

That’s the Blue News this week.  Stay warm!


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