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  • User-generated content: How customers form opinions

    Anyone who regularly shops online knows how influential customer reviews of products have become. This form of user-generated content (UGC) shows up on the e-commerce sites of internet giants such as Amazon as well as up-and-coming web entrepreneurs across the globe. And there's good reason why businesses have encouraged the growth of customer reviews. These little nuggets of opinion do more than company-produced content to help people make up their minds about products. Consider these statistics from a recent MarketingSherpa case study: Customer reviews resulted in a 125% higher conversion rate Visitors who read customer reviews spent 157% longer on the...

  • 3 key factors to bear in mind when developing a social strategy

    Facebook believes in "social by design." In other words, something is not social unless your deigned it to be social. Social needs to be a core part of what you do and not just utilising social websites. Understanding this concept is key to designing social media strategies. A strategy becomes social when it leverages the social aspect of life rather than uses a social network. There are three primary social elements that we should be thinking about when we develop a social strategy. 1. Personalisation A social strategy will look to customise a campaign with a personalised interface for the user that enhances...

  • Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’: a fundamental guide to business

    Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea is a timeless, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, both rich in symbolism and conspicuously relevant in its contemporary application. As a parable for entrepreneurs, it is practically without parallel. A simple tale that sees a man set out to achieve a goal, and tackle the challenges that befall him and his determination to realise his ambition. The Old Man and the Sea's succinct, powerful grit registers as a fundamental guide to business. It’s a book I have read many times, and with each new reading I feel a stronger kinship with the...

  • Are we underestimating Skype’s potential as a social network?

    One thing missing from most social networking sites is the most basic form of communication: talking. Sure, conversations are happening all the time, but generally take on a written form as opposed to a verbal one. Online sharing platforms (that don’t involve actual speech) are increasingly becoming the commonly and socially accepted way to converse. To let people know where we are, we check in. To arrange or RSVP to a party or event, we do so on Facebook, or Google+. To tell our friends about an awesome new product, we tweet it, and to give our boyfriends birthday present...

  • Social wine discovery service Real Time Wine uncorks delicious mobile apps

    The world of wine is about to get super social and dramatically less snooty. Real Time Wine, the 140-character wine blog is now available in the form of beautiful apps for iPhone and Android phones. Real Time Wine makes it easy for those who don't consider themselves intrepid wine connoisseurs to venture out and try something new “Most wine buyers are not wine experts,” says founder Andy Hadfield. “The challenge of discovering new wine at the right price is so great that we tend to stick to the old and familiar. Real Time Wine makes the process of choosing, drinking...

  • Google axes more products, Microsoft employee pins them

    "More wood behind fewer arrows". That's been the operating rationale of Google ever since Larry Page returned as CEO in 2011. Hardly surprising then that the product cull that began with Google Labs is ongoing. As part of what it calls its "spring cleaning" efforts, the internet giant is killing off iGoogle, Google Mini, Google Chat Talkback, Google Video, and the Symbian Search app. Although it wont be officially killed off until November 2013, we've got to admit we're pretty bleak about iGoogle. Now where are we going to get our totally badass Loch Ness Monster Easter egg from. According...

  • CERN finds particle consistent with Higgs Boson

    Scientists at the CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research have found a particle consistent with the illusive Higgs Boson, sometimes referred to as "the God Particle". That's big. Finding the Higgs Boson particle is one of the primary reasons the multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was built in the first place. If you're not sure what the hell a Higgs Boson is, Business Day science editor Sarah Wild has a fairly comprehensive explanation that most people should be able to understand: The Higgs Boson particle is allegedly what gives all matter its mass. According to...

  • Google’s been looking buy Yahoo’s ad tech for a while now

    Google is looking to get its hands on Yahoo's ad technology. In fact, it's been looking for some time now, having made its first offer three months ago. An inside source speaking to Business Insider said that offer, made while Scott Thompson was CEO, didn't make it past corporate development. According to Business Insider, the likes of Accenture and IBM have already looked into buying the embattled internet giant's ad technologies. This is one of those "inside source" stories that sort of makes sense. If Yahoo sells this aspect of its business off, it would effectively mean outsourcing whatever remains...

  • Tencent, Activision Blizzard to take ‘Call of Duty Online’ into China

    This is interesting. One of China's biggest social networking powers Tencent has been granted the exclusive rights to distribute Call of Duty Online in the country. The multiplayer game, which involves missions familiar to anyone who's played the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series, has been in development for the past two years. Free to play, it makes its money through in-game purchases. The game's publisher Activision Blizzard today announced the deal with the Chinese company, in what it sees as a way to leverage the booming Chinese online economy. According to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kottick, the...

  • Lending goes peer-to-peer with RainFin

    Let's be serious for a minute folks. Getting a loan from a bank can be a right royal pain in the arse. Surely you could save a load of admin if you, the willing borrower, could sit down at your computer and find a willing lender? That's exactly the premise behind a RainFin, a social lending company that says it wants to completely change the way people borrow and loan money in South Africa. The company provides a compelling alternative to banks forvar vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • A revolution and a presidential election: Egypt’s social media mania

    Egyptians have won the right, for the first time in 7000 years, to democratically elect their president. From the outset of the revolution Egyptians took to social media to express their opinions, thoughts and concerns. Subsequent to the first round of the recent  presidential elections, two candidates went head to head into the runoff which led to two polar opposites competing: Ahmed Shafik, the last Prime minster for the former regime and Mohamed Morsy a former Muslim Brotherhood member. The first candidate, perceived by some to be a “liberal” (albeit part of a former oppressive regime) and the latter formerly...

  • Are LinkedIn and Twitter becoming unsocial?

    As a practicing B2B social media marketer, I use LinkedIn and Twitter extensively to share thoughts with my Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections. To make it easier to share the same content across both platforms, a link was provided between Twitter and LinkedIn. You could use this in two ways by either replicating all your tweets on LinkedIn or selectively sharing your tweets with your LinkedIn contacts by including a #in hashtag in your tweet. Sadly, this feature is no longer available. This is what was reported on Bloomberg news: "LinkedIn Corp., owner of the world’s biggest professional-networking website, said posts...

  • Why disruptive technology will continue to claim jobs in the media industry

    Fairfax, the second largest Australian newspaper publisher, recently said it would cut 1900 jobs, almost 20% of its staff. I was asked for comment by the Australian Broadcast Service, which was concerned about the effect on independent news from the loss of hundreds of top journalists. I said that it would have an adverse effect because well-financed special interest groups would have a field day promoting their agendas. There's very little that can be done to stem the loss of journalists because we don't yet have a business solution to this problem, which is the direct result of a disruptive technology...

  • US, Japan most likely to ask Twitter for your user info

    A lot has been said about how Twitter users have leveraged the service during recent political protests, but it seems the social media giant itself is quite keen to "hold governments accountable" too. It's decided to go the same route as Google, and have published their first ever transparency report, detailing which countries have asked it to withhold content and supply it with user information. In the same way as Google's report showed that Western-style democracies were the most active when it came to asking for political content to be removed, it seems that Twitter receives...

  • Are Android tablets about to get a big business boost?

    The iPad is winning the tablet wars (with around 61.4% of the market), but Android could be on the verge of a massive surge. The catalyst for that surge, it seems, is likely to be people in business and IT who have yet to embrace the world of tablets. According to new research from IDG Connect, one-third of business people and nearly half of IT professionals who don't already have tablets are considering going Android. According to internet research company eMarketer, "Android devices may be benefitting from a lower price point, which translates to lower replacement costs down the line"....