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12 tips for creating the Bezos “Two-Pizza rule” team

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

By Rich Karlgaard

2pizzasBlow up your bureaucracy and replace it with teams of 8 to 12 people. This is not as radical as it sounds. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos calls it the “Two-Pizza Rule”—a team should be no larger than can be fed by two pizzas. In today’s fast-evolving business climate, two-pizza teams can be your organization’s best strategy for success. But how do you go about selecting and nurturing team members for maximum efficiency?

Here are 12 tips:

Work your way to the smallest number, then subtract one. This advice has been borne out by numerous business leaders. The “minus one” philosophy forces the remaining team members to be creative. That’s where you start. Lean and hungry. Fewer than a dozen if you can manage. You can always add later.

Go with your gut—even when someone isn’t the “obvious” choice. In 1989, FedEx knew that it needed to update its old, slow technology. Its unconventional strategy was to ask Judy Estrin, a young Silicon Valley technologist, to join its board. At 36, with no experience as a CEO or on a large company board, Estrin wasn’t an obvious choice. But she was, as FedEx CEO Fred Smith noted, “blindingly bright.” The point? Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb if you believe an “unconventional” choice would be best for your team. Who is your Judy Estrin?
Choose people who are passionate. These are the ones who will spend extra hours on a project, who will think about that problem or product on the weekends, in the shower, wherever they go. Without passion, your team is likely to be a gaggle of clock-punching automatons.
You can generally recognize passionate people by what they do, not what they say. Consider the approach taken by Mike Sinyard, founder of Specialized Bicycles. Sinyard hires only employees who love biking and watches to see who does lunchtime group rides to separate the “talkers” from the “riders.” Is this fair? Why not? It’s a bike company.

Look for grit

Look for grit, too. Grit is the ability to overcome adversity. Look for individuals who have proven they can do so—those who don’t shy away from a challenge. Avoid those whose first move is to look around for someone to help them when they’re in a jam. Remember, a big part of what makes two-pizza teams tick is an intrepid, entrepreneurial spirit that isn’t daunted when the going gets rough.
Avoid needy prima donnas and self-aggrandizing MVPs. Yes, “team players” has become a business buzzword, but there’s a good reason for that. You really do want to staff your team with individuals who are willing to share, serve, and give credit where credit is due.
You can also borrow the strategy of Eric Edgecumbe, COO at Specialized Bicycles, who asks, “Did you play any team sports in high school or college? Tell me what you liked about being on a team and what you didn’t like about being on a team.” Individuals’ answers can tell you a lot.
Aim for cognitive diversity. In other words, go beyond “shallow, legalistic” definitions of diversity. Cognitive diversity encompasses a broad range of variables—generational differences, educational and skill variation, and social and cultural elements, including, of course, race and gender. Cognitively diverse teams will come up with ideas and tackle problems in a variety of ways. Some members will trust their guts; others will crunch numbers. Some are analytical and logical; others are creative and intuitive.

They will all think, feel, and see the world in unique ways, leading to the broadest range of ideas and solutions.
However, don’t emphasize your team’s differences. This can result in unhelpful pigeonholing. Instead, focus on finding common ground and providing what the group needs to move forward. For instance, all employees want a chance to be respected, to be challenged, and to grow.

We all need credible leaders: people who encourage us and listen to us. We all want to learn more and receive training that helps us do a better job and get to the next level.

Give the gift of high expectations.


Jeff Bezos

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos came up with the two-pizza rule for team-building.

Encourage tough conversations. Easily won consensus isn’t always the hallmark of effective two-pizza teams. Sometimes, arguments need to happen. Tension needs to be addressed. It may be messy, and there will very likely be misunderstandings. But stay the course and urge people to speak up and have difficult conversations. In the end, their differing opinions and interests will sharpen the company and result in better products and services.

Give the gift of high expectations. Don’t be afraid to drive people, cajole them, and push them to find that last 1 percent of team performance. This motivates them far more than vague or easily met goals. When a team leader has high expectations, he or she is paying the team members a compliment. And when those expectations are met, the feeling of success not only becomes normative, it begins to grow and multiply. A virtuous cycle begins, and you institute a natural deterrent against the inertia that dooms so many companies and careers to mediocrity.
Be very clear about goals and boundaries. Don’t leave room for doubt. Don’t be passive-aggressive. When team leaders are as clear as possible in setting boundaries, people actually feel freer to express thoughts or make mistakes than when boundaries are vague.
Lead with real-world optimism. Great team leaders simultaneously drive and reassure people. Base this reassurance on the genuine belief that good things come from working hard and following a system. This kind of real-world optimism is more than hope—it’s the ability to approach your task as an opportunity. Let your team know that if they stay positive but alert and a touch paranoid—just a touch!—they’ll have a shot at achieving something bigger and better.
Keep a loose grip on the reins. Valuable team members will want some control over their own environments. If they have to run every detail by you, they’ll lose initiative. Provide support and mandate accountability, but leave the lion’s share of the decision-making with the people who will be eating those two pizzas. Don’t sacrifice productivity for the sake of bureaucracy.
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About the Author:
Rich Karlgaard is author of The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success (Jossey-Bass/A Wiley Imprint, 2014, ISBN: 978-1-118-82942-4, $28.00, He is also the publisher of Forbes magazine, where he writes a column, Innovation Rules, known for its witty assessment of business and leadership issues.

For more tips on business best practices, digital marketing, and the most effective ways to use technology, consider attending the upcoming Digital Summit Atlanta May 20-21, where you’ll not have the chance to hear and network with top brand thought-leaders from Google, Bing, Huffington Post and many others, but also get to see Apple co-founder and tech icon Steve Wozniak.

Heartbleed: is it really that bad? Does this have to keep happening?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

By Allan Maurer

UPDATsecurityED!  ATLANTA – If you haven’t heard about the nasty Internet bug dubbed “Heartbleed” by now, you should immediately find out about it because you probably need to take action. So do IT administrators, likely in a time-consuming job that has to be done by hand, says , Adam Allred of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) in Atlanta.

In brief, a major security flaw in the way many web sites – including Gmail, Yahoo, Tumblr, and many others means hackers potentially had or have access to users personal information – which may include credit card numbers, log-in passwords, and more.

It also means you’ll probably have to change some passwords to be safe. Experts say change Yahoo right away, as well as gmail, although both have since patched the problem.

Amazon, Evernote, Microsoft, and others were not affected. Mashable published this “Heartbleed Hit List” of which sites were affected and which passwords you may need to change.

Reports this morning (Friday, 4/11/2014) say the bug is also in Cisco and Juniper Network routers, firewalls and networking equipment used by many businesses. The necessary fixes could be long and one source says, “A trip to the trash can and Best Buy.”

Allred says the question he’s been asked most today as a computer security expert is “How important is it really? Is it really that bad?” What makes it so important?

We’ve gotten used to these security breaches cropping up almost daily, but this one really is different, Allred tells the TechJournal. Why?

“Because,” he says, “It’s logistically difficult. People have to do more work by hand to get the problem solved, patching alone is not enough.”

Also, and probably the scary part, is that the flaw in the Open SSL security allows the theft of private keys, Allred says. They can be exposed anonymously with the user none the wiser until consequences show up. They can do this via just this one ezploit, which makes it worse, he adds.

“On many servers that used Open SSL today, if you can obtain the private key, you can use it to decrypt any information every encrypted on that server.” Yikes!

Does this have to keep going on? These terrible security breaches affecting not just millions of people but in this case, almost anyone using the Internet. There is security process that would prevent this particular sort of problem.

That’s “Perfect Forward Secrecy.” It uses a temporary set of keys for each user session. A hacker might conceivably obtain one key, but it wouldn’t work on every thing ever encrypted and would only affect one person, not everyone who came along in the past.

“It’s already found in many modern browsers. Firefox, Chrome and Explorer all have the capability. It’s relatively new in encryption and requires changes on the server side. But there are already concepts and ideas that would help. We just have to turn it on everywhere.”

In general, though, coming up with a “forever solution, and whoever is able to write that solution will be a very popular and rich person.”

Forbes had this to say on Heartbleed. “Avoiding Heartbleed Hype.”

If you want to avoid hype and hear the real deal from digital thought-leaders from brands including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Huffington Post, but also tech icons such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, check out the Digital Summit Atlanta, May 20-21.

Most web-only retailer sites load slowly, don’t follow Google best practices

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

searchagencyThe average web-only retailer site of the top 100 takes nearly two seconds longer to load  than Google recommends and only 9 of the 100 use Google’s recommended Responsive Web Design (RWD) for mobile sites. So says the latest Mobile Experience Scorecard:Web-Only Retailers from The Search Agency.

For the report, The Search Agency’s team of mobile experts determined which of top the 100 web-only retailers were most closely aligned with established mobile marketing best practices — including those set by Google – in addition to analyzing other functionality around search, shopping cart button, social media buttons or links, and the retailers’ mobile experiences.

“Our previous mobile experience report uncovered some surprising results among some of the world’s biggest brands, and given that web-only retailers have no brick-and-mortar stores, we expected these organizations to be leading the pack when adopting mobile best practices,” said Delia Perez, SVP account delivery and strategy at The Search Agency.

“With Google predicting that mobile traffic will catch up with desktop searches this year, mobile retailers should ensure they’re poised to take advantage of this revenue opportunity. ”

The Mobile Experience Scorecard: Web-Only Retailers report leveraged Internet Retailer’s Top 500 list of e-commerce sites and exclusively selected the top 100 web-only sites, excluding companies with subscription-based business models.

Notable study results include:

  • GoogleAlthough Google recommends that mobile sites load in under one second, the top 100 web-only retailer sites took an average of 2.99 seconds to load.

o   Google also recommends sites use RWD, but only nine out of the 100 sites feature RWD; 59 offer dedicated mobile sites and the remaining 32 offer the desktop version of their sites to mobile users.

  • The majority – 88 of the 100 sites – displayed intent-based shopping features, such as a shopping cart (90), account sign in (82), social media buttons or links (55) and an app download (29).
  • Female-oriented sites seem to be doing it right. Sites that were better optimized for mobile tended to skew more toward a female audience. Results included:

o   75 percent of the 20 highest scoring sites on the scorecard skewed more toward females, while 75 percent of the 20 lowest scoring sites skewed toward males.

o   78% of the sites that used responsive web design skewed female, and 66 percent of the sites that used dedicated mobile skewed female.

o   65% of the sites that used desktop site skewed male.

  • The average score of the 100 web-only retailers was 2.808 out of a possible five.

The winners of the scorecard were:

  • Nasty Gal, eBags and Zazzle ranked one, two and three on the Scorecard.
  • Nasty Gal’s high score of 4.68 was almost four points higher than #100 on the list,, with a score of 0.805.
  • The three industries that scored the highest were jewelry, health/beauty, and apparel.


Where can you find insight into best practices in design and digital marketing and what thought-leaders from top digital brands are saying? Any of TechMedia’s Digital Summits. The next is Digital Summit Atlanta, May 20-21. Guests include tech icon Steve Wozniak, Yahoo’s Bonnie Burke Pan, and The Huffington Post’s Roy Sekoff, among dozens of other Internet gurus, marketing mavens, and brand evangelists.


IBM nudges Microsoft from top spot, SAP advances, Amazon debuts on top 50 IT firm ranking

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

MicrosoftThings are changing in the digital world as tech companies jostle each other for top position. IBM has bumped Microsoft out of the top spot in the Booz & Co. second annual ranking of the world’s top 50 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies that provide the building blocks to increasingly digital businesses.

Oracle held fast at #2, while IBM leapfrogged from #3 to claim the top spot, fuelled by its strong product and service portfolio and global presence.

“This volatility is not surprising given the vast changes sweeping this sector.

These companies are being forced to rapidly transform their business models, product portfolios, service offerings and global footprints in order to stay one step ahead of their clients’ needs in the evolving digital world.. Add to this financial pressures in an uncertain economy, and the fact that boundaries are gone and more players are competing for overlapping, converged markets, and it’s no wonder new winners are emerging,” says Richard Bhanap, partner at Booz & Company.

Key Findings:

  • Software and Internet companies and hardware and infrastructure providers are dominating the ICT industry, claiming the majority of spots in the top 20
  • Integrated solution models are continuing to gain ground over IT services, especially those IT service providers with more traditional outsourcing and managed services businesses
  • AmazonSeveral software and Internet businesses are making big advances, including SAP, which jumped three spots, to #4, Google, which moved up to #8, and Amazon, which debuted in the top 50 for the first time at #13, driven by its rapidly growing cloud services business
  • Dell and HCL took the biggest falls, each dropping five spots, to #20 and #18, respectively

Market going through dynamic change

“This market is going through dynamic changes; primarily because so many companies are expanding and reshaping their portfolios and pushing for global scale and reach at the same time. As a result, many smaller IT service providers are under pressure, being acquired or disappearing completely. On the other hand, ‘digital first’ players like Amazon are coming in with integrated solutions or compelling cloud offerings. We will see even more convergence in the future, and the winners will be those who can build integrated solution ecosystems around an innovative software or hardware core,” says Richard  Bhanap.

  • This year’s Global ICT 50 companies took in total revenues of US$2.07 trillion, a 3 percent increase over the prior year’sUS$2.01 trillion, and a slight slowdown in growth compared to the previous year. Average margins remained steady at 15 percent. Software and Internet companies (e.g., Adobe, Google, Microsoft, SAP) and offshore IT service companies (e.g., TCS, Infosys, HCL, Cognizant) were the only two groups to achieve double-digit revenue growth for the fifth straight year
  • The same two groups saw stagnating to declining EBIT margins, albeit on a very healthy >20% level, which suggests early signs of business model maturity and increasing competition
  • Hardware and infrastructure companies claimed the middle ground in financial performance, achieving continuous margin improvement and stable growth over the past five years
  • Global IT service providers and telecom companies were the weakest performers and the only groups whose growth and profitability remained almost flat in 2013, although they did manage to stabilise their margins

Google ranks number one among MBA students asked to name ideal employers.

In addition to assessing financial performance, portfolio strength, go-to-market footprint, and innovation and branding for company rankings, the study also identifies six business models to create value in the ICT industry. This analysis reveals that players that base their value creation approach on innovation (like Apple and Google), global sourcing (such as Infosys), and digitisation models (including SAP) are the most successful financially, followed by large market consolidators such as Oracle.

Read the full study here.

Online, mobile M&A deals up, values down

Friday, July 12th, 2013

YahooOnline and mobile mergers and acquisition deals increased by 7 percent in the first half of 2013, but value decreased 29 percent, from $32.54 billion in the second half of 2012 to $23.16 billion.

The median revenue moved from 2.3x to 2.1x, while the median EBITDA multiple increased from 10.0x to 16.0x, according to the  Berkery Noyes mid-market investment bank, for the first half 2013 mergers and acquisitions trend report

Yahoo!, with 13 transactions, was the industry’s most active acquirer in first half 2013. Aside from its $1.10 billion acquisition of Tumblr, Yahoo! has mainly focused on small, mobile-based transactions this year.

Tumblr was Yahoo!’s largest deal in the Online & Mobile Industry since 2003, when it acquired search and internet advertising company Overture Services for $1.63 billion.

SaaS & Cloud was the most active market segment and underwent a 15 percent increase in volume, totaling 291 transactions year-to-date. M&A activity in the Communications segment improved 22 percent since second half 2012, making it the sector with the largest half-to-half year increase. One notable Communications transaction in first half 2013 was Dropbox’s acquisition of mobile email application Mailbox.

Mobile a strong driver

mobile devicesIn addition, acquirers are looking to add mobile solutions that aggregate relevant content in relation to individual users, as news is shared in real-time.

There were several deals over the past six months that focused on news summary and content sharing, such as LinkedIn’s acquisition of Pulse for $90 million, Google’s acquisition of Wavii for $30 million, and Yahoo!’s acquisition of Summly for $30 million.

“Mobile continues to be a strong driver of M&A activity in the information marketplace,” stated Mary Jo Zandy, Managing Director at Berkery Noyes. “Content delivery methods are evolving, and acquirers in general are showing more interest in semantic technologies that improve the end-user experience.”

Atlanta Technology Angels expanding reach beyond Georgia

Monday, June 24th, 2013

The Atlanta Technology Angels has invested in a company outside of Georgia for the first time. The move signals that the Angel investor group is opening up to investing with other angel groups and venture capitalists in firms across the Southeast.Atlanta Technology Angels

“We’d like to get the word out that the ATA is looking at investment opportunties outside of Atlanta,” Jenn Pratt, who handles PR for the group with Carabiner Communications, said.

The ATA joined Cowtown Angel Network and Central Texas Angel Network and Golden Seeds in a $3 million investment in Austin-based Wisegate,an innovative IT research service founded in 2011.

Here at the TechJournal, we’ve noticed that a number of Angel groups are forming syndicates with other angel groups and early-stage venture capital firms to do somewhat larger than usual deals.

Using a crowdsourcing model

Through its service qualified senior technology professionals share information without the bias of analysts, vendors, media or advertisers.

Using a crowdsourcing model and advanced algorithms, Wisegate gives technology professionals trusted, timely, relevant and affordable access to the   collective knowledge and experience of their peers.

Wisegate membership is available to senior IT professionals working for companies that do not sell IT products or services, and all applicants are screened to ensure they meet strict membership guidelines.


Most online Americans have smartphones, nearly half have tablets

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

tablet computersTablet ownership as of May 2013 is closing in on a majority of Americans who are online, 8 to 64, across the United States, with 44% of the population owning a tablet in their household – up from 30% in 2012 which is a 47% growth rate in one year.  Already a majority of online Americans (54%) ages 18 to 34 own a tablet.

Smartphone ownership has now broken the majority barrier and reached 61% of online Americans as of May 2013.  Over 79% of all online Americans 18 to 34 now own a smartphone.

The rapid growth of tablet use suggests that many of us want bigger screens than most smartphones have for many of our mobile device activities. We wouldn’t be surprised to see hybrid devices with screens 5 inches to 7 inches becoming increasingly popular.

America is now a mobile connected country

Mike Vorhaus, President of Magid Advisors, a unit of Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. says, “America is not just a connected country now, but a mobile-connected country.”

Magid has just concluded their 2013 Magid Media Futures study including a section dedicated to tablets and smartphones.  The study covers a nationally representative population of 2400 respondents who are 8 to 64 years old and have access to the Internet.

Over half (53%) of all tablet owners in the U.S. have Apple’s full-sized iPad, steady since last year. When you also include the ownership of iPad minis, 59% of tablet owners have any iPad.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire has risen to 31% of tablet owners vs. 28% in 2012. Personally, here at the TechJournal, we love our Kindle Fire, but it does have distinct lacks compared to both the Google Nexus 7 (with a new model allegedly coming in July) and the Apple iPad Mini. It lacks a microphone and dictation software – which we believe is the future of mobile device interfaces. So we’re considering the upcoming new Nexus model as our next tablet purchase.

The Samsung tablets now account for 19% of tablet owners vs. 13% in 2012 – the highest growth rate among tablets this last year.  A third (32%) of tablet owners have multiple brands of tablet devices in their household. We were not crazy about the 10-inch Samsung model we tested, but they have made advances.

Android now a majority in the US

Android logoAndroid smartphones now account for a majority of smartphone owners in the U.S. at 53% vs. iPhones at 41%.  Samsung captures the largest group of Android owners at 50% (26% of all smartphones).

Just under 1 in 10 (8%) of smartphone owners own multiple brands of smartphone devices.  See charts attached for owner adoption and market share data.

App spending was up huge in both the tablet and smartphone markets over the last 12 months.

Tablet app spending growth

Tablet spending on apps grew 42% year-to-year, while smartphone spending on apps grew 44% year-to-year.  Tablet spending on apps in the last 12 months was $2.3 billion among American tablet owners. For smartphone owners the app spend in the last 12 months was $1.7 billion.

“The smartphone has become a mini-TV for many consumers,” Vorhaus said, with 38% of smartphone owners regularly watching video on their smartphones and almost 40% of those consumers are watching full-length movies and TV shows on their smartphones (16% of all smartphone owners).

Tablet users are also big fans of watching video on their tablets with 63% of tablet owners saying they regularly watch video on their tablets.  Much of this tablet viewing is full-length movies and TV shows with 69% of all tablet video viewers regularly watching long-form video, which is 42% of all tablet owners.

In the year ahead Magid anticipates major growth in smartphone and tablet penetration in the U.S.  By this time next year Magid estimates that 67% of online Americans, ages 8 to 64, will have a smartphone and 54% of online Americans will have a tablet.  That represents a 10% YOY predicted growth rate for smartphones in the U.S. and 20% growth for tablets.

Industries and companies MBA students see as ideal employers

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Google ranks number one among MBA students asked to name ideal employers.

MBA students no longer see the financial industry as the golden path to riches, apparently. It has seen a steady decline in the ranking of ideal employers by Universum Global since 2009.

The 2013 rankings saw just one bank, Goldman Sachs; hang on to its coveted Top 10 spot – no other bank made the Top 10.  Of the students who still consider banking a top industry, one of the top three employer attributes attracting them is prestige.

Technology is still an attractive industry, if the MBA student rankings of their ideal employers is a guide. Among the top ten are Google, Apple, and Amazon.


The most preferred industry for MBA students, Management and Strategy Consulting, sees prestige as the 10th most important attribute, behind others such as leadership opportunities, a creative and dynamic work environment, and challenging work.

Consulting secures the top industry title

Management and Strategy Consulting is the top industry of choice for MBA students and elite strategy consulting firms McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company and The Boston Consulting Group have all retained their Top 10 positions this year, but broader professional services firms are gaining ground.

Deloitte“What is interesting as you look at the data is that the elite strategy consulting firms have stayed stable or decreased in the rankings; however, other professional services and consulting firms (Deloitte, IBM, PWC, Accenture) have all risen in the rankings,” saidMelissa Murray Bailey, Universum President of the Americas.

“As leadership opportunities are one of the key attributes attracting MBA students to this industry, this trend could be a result of the larger firms’ concerted focus on offering a greater variety of career paths than before.”

Strong consumer brands make an impact

AppleApple’s MBA ranking stayed steady at #3 this year and Amazon was right behind after having jumped two ranks from #6 to #4. Nike, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, LVMH, and Unilever also featured within the 2013 Top 30. Similar to Management and Strategy Consulting, the attributes attracting MBA students to Consumer Goods (the second most preferred industry) are leaders who support development, leadership opportunities and a creative and dynamic work environment.

While all of the Top 30 consumer goods organizations obviously have strong consumer brands, this doesn’t always correlate with a strong employer brand.

“A strong consumer brand is a blessing and a challenge when it comes to managing an employer brand,” advised Bailey. “I would go as far as to say that when a company has a strong consumer brand, it needs to work even harder to make its employer brand known to potential candidates.

“Otherwise, there is the risk of disappointment and high turnover when students have jumped to the wrong conclusions based on what they know about an employer brand. The two can and should complement each other, but the messaging needs to be focused and deliberate to ensure success.”

Top 10 Ideal Employers for MBA students:

1. Google, 2. McKinsey & Company, 3. Apple, 4. Amazon, 5. The Boston Consulting Group, 6. Bain and Company, 7. Nike, 8. Walt Disney, 9. Deloitte, 10. Goldman Sachs. Please visit CNN Money for full list:

Free tool lets you see how Penguin/Panda affects your site

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

PenguinSEO agency, Barracuda Digital, has added new features and functionality to its free-to-use ‘Panguin Tool’ for webmasters and marketers to check if their website has been hit by any of Google’s major algorithm changes.

The revamped ‘Panguin Tool’, a portmanteau of Google’s Panda and Penguin famous updates, now allows webmasters to see exactly which landing pages and keywords may have been affected by Google’s algorithm changes.

Panguin 2.0 has been released in time for Google’s latest spam fighting algorithm Penguin 2.0 – rolled out earlier this week (22nd May). It is estimated that roughly 2.3% of English queries will be noticeably impacted by this update.

More functions added to tool

The first version of Panguin Tool was originally created to help marketers and website owners to diagnose whether drops in their website traffic could be attributable to Google algorithmic devaluation.

The agency have now added more functionality to the tool for webmasters to better understand exactly which keywords or landing pages have suffered (or benefited) during an identified drop (or increase) in visits from Google’s search results.

Head of SEO at Barracuda Digital, Luis Navarrete said, “We created Panguin 1.0 because there wasn’t a tool available that clearly showed which one of Google’s algorithm updates was responsible for drops in traffic levels. The next logical step was to allow webmasters to see which keywords and URLs had experienced the biggest drops in visits during the identified time period.

We hope that the Panguin 2.0 will help businesses to focus on what really matters in order to improve organic visits to their website.”

The Panguin Tool pulls in organic traffic data from Google Analytics and overlays it with information about each of Google’s algorithm updates, allowing webmasters to see if their drops in organic visit levels from Google correspond to algorithm release dates.

The new features mean that you can now apply date filters (and many other filters) to periods of interest to see the keywords and landing pages that are no longer generating organic visits from Google searches.

Commenting on the new functionality of Panguin 2.0, Anthony Tuite, Senior SEO consultant at Barracuda Digital said, “When you’ve seen a fluctuation in traffic you need to be able to quickly examine specific keyword and URL organic visit data. By knowing which algorithm updates were released around the time of the fluctuation, and knowing what they were designed to target, you can more effectively diagnose problems and subsequently take affirmative action to rectify the situation.”

There has been significant interest in the revamped tool and the site has already seen a significant uplift in visits during the three days since release.

Check if your website has been hit by Google’s spam fighting algorithms:

For more information please visit

About The Panguin Tool

  • was launched in September 2012 and is owned by Barracuda Digital.
  • The tool was built using the Google Analytics API and requires the user’s permission to access their Google Analytics Data.
  • The tool uses standard OAuth 2.0 to handle data authentication safely.
  • Use of the Panguin Tool is completely free and Barracuda Digital does not see, store or use any of the Google Analytics data.
  • It was created to provide correlative data as to which algorithm updates have had an effect on the user’s website.
  • Barracuda Digital makes every effort to update the algorithm data presented in the Panguin Tool in a timely manner. However, due to time restrictions this is not always immediately possible.
  • All information provided by the tool is for reference only and Barracuda Digital cannot be held accountable for any subsequent actions taken after use of the Panguin Tool.

More than 100 digital thought-leaders headed to Atlanta

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Digital SummitMore than 100 leading digital thought leaders are set to present the latest digital strategies and trends at the Digital Summit, Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, May 14th – 15th, 2013.

Speakers will share the latest best practices and strategies in topics such as social media, email marketing, search, mobile, e-commerce, usability, analytics & measurement, online video, social TV and digital advertising/branding among many others.

A capacity crowd of 1,500 digital marketers, Internet executives, web strategists, entrepreneurs and other digital professionals will connect in Atlanta for two full days of content and networking.

social televisionSpeakers represent leading brands such as Google, Twitter, reddit, Mashable, Porsche, Turner, TMZ, Coca-Cola, HootSuite, NASCAR, The Weather Channel, Aereo, Dell, Rovi, HGTV, Forrester, StumbleUpon, Salesforce and Adobe to name a few.

The Digital Summit conference features a keynote from the co-founder of reddit, Alexis Ohanian, and over 80 strategy presentations and discussions, musical acts, the Startup Showcase, preconference workshops, leading digital vendors and hours of attendee networking.

Here at the TechJournal we’ve interviewed a handful of the digital gurus who will participate, with more to come.

Among those you’ll hear are:

Brian DAmato, SVP of Analytics at Moxie discusses How to get ROI from digital channels.

NASCAR_Chevrolet_ImpalaTim Clark, director of optimization for NASCAR, talks about how NASCAR listens to its fans to increase digital channel engagement.

Erik Muendel, CEO and creative director of Alexandria, VA-based Brightline Interactive offers three tips for grabbing attention via digital channels and keeping it.

Social media and marketing consultant Jeff Sheehan explains how Linkedin offers a billboard to 200 million users.

SEO expert Josh McCoy says you should use competitive analysis and enticing content to fire up your SEO.

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny, SVP, Expion, is participating in the upcoming Atlanta Digital Summit.

Erica McClenny, vice president of client services withExpion, urges you to break down walls to pop the social media bubble.

Michael Marshall, CEO of Internet Marketing Analysts tells you how to do those backlinks right.

Brian Wong

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, is participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, one of the top four online ad companies according to Forbes, offers insight into the mobile ad secret sauce – capturing moments of achievement.

SourcingLine names top Google apps consultants

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

GoogleWho are the top Google apps consulting firms?

The Google Apps Consultants Leaders Matrix  from SourcingLine highlights firms that assist at all stages in a typical Google Apps migration including strategic planning, data migration, change management, employee training, custom development, and ongoing support.

The proprietary Leaders Matrix methodology assesses each firm’s focus on productivity and collaboration consulting in general and their specialization in the Google Apps suite. The second dimension of the Leaders Matrix then maps the firms’ abilities to consistently deliver on client expectations.

The top consultants are able to combine their knowledge of the Google Apps with a deep understanding of their client’s businesses to create meaningful improvements in organizational efficiency.

Top ten firms

Out of hundreds of registered Google Apps Partners, only 10 firms were included in the Leaders Matrix. The firms included are: Cloud Sherpas, Maven Wave Partners, Promevo, Dito, Baker Security & Networks, Soluciones Orion, Aeegle, Umzuzu, Agosto, and 11th Hour.

“When deployed correctly, Google Apps is a powerful cloud platform to drive productivity without unnecessary overhead,” statedSam Pettee , Manager Mid-market Research at SourcingLine. “The consultants included in our Google Apps Leaders Matrix have a proven track record of applying their knowledge and experience to exceed client expectations.”

SourcingLine’s effort to identify the Google Apps consultants will be ongoing and they encourage firms with a proven record to apply to participate in updates to the research. Upcoming publications seek to highlight developers for other cloud platforms such as Office 365, Google App Engine, and

SourcingLine is a Washington, D.C.-based research firm focused on IT services.

Break down walls and pop the social media bubble

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Erica McClenny

Erica McClenny, SVP, Expion, is participating in the upcoming Atlanta Digital Summit.

What’s the biggest change in digital marketing since the beginning of the year? “Social media has gone far beyond just being a marketing source,” says Erica McClenny, vice president of client services with Expion.

“That’s a huge shift since the beginning of the year,” McClenny says. “A lot of companies are breaking down walls to integrate and overlay what social is doing on the whole picture rather than looking at it on its own as a social bubble.”

What companies want now, she says, is to know what its social media users are saying on a real time basis. They say, “Give me something I can do something about and take action on.”

social mediaExpion is a social software company. Its centralized platform empowers global brands, agencies, and retailers to localize and manage their social marketing efforts to listen, content plan, publish, moderate, analyze, govern and share content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and other social channels across thousands of users.

It has 20,000 pages managed by its software, including those of many high profile brands that have mounted hugely successful digital marketing campaigns via the platform (Expion does not do the creative end, it’s platform executes the campaigns).

The system produces real-time community intelligence giving brands and retailers the power to optimize consumer engagement, service, and ad performance. Its Marketing Insights Technology allows companies to integrate multiple social activity streams in real-time creating highly visual analytics to discover patterns, breakouts and trends.

Participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit

McClenny’s input into the development of a simple local interface for the local user has been a crucial piece to Expion’s success. She is a firm believer in collaboration between the agency of record, corporate marketing teams, and the integration local employees to gain valuable insight and best practices for a successful local expansion.

McClenny is one of dozens of digital thought-leaders, top brand executives from Google, Twitter, AOL, AT&T, The Wall Street Journal, Adobe, Apple, MailOnline and others participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

Oreo Mars cookie

Oreo created this Mars Rover cookie, complete with Rover tracks, for one of its digital marketing campaigns that inspired much social media sharing.

McClenny says another major shift she sees this year is a greater emphasis on “contextual listening.” One of Expion’s clients is Oreo, which has had enviable success with several social media and digital marketing campaigns. So, a brand such as Oreo might start listening not just for mention of its own cookie, but for conversations about cookies.

Smart companies do this

“Smart companies are becoming category aware, not just brand aware,” McClenny says. They listen for words associated with their product. “Then they can jump into the conversation in a matter of seconds when it makes sense, not days later when it’s irrelevant.”

She notes that more social channels are rising to the top with Vine the current “hot one.” But she also sees a “huge advantage” possible in using Google+. “Google dominates search and Google+ is a way to make search richer,” she points out. “It can show you everything you and your friends touch. I think it will be amazing. The business part needs some backend tools but it will be a huge powerhouse.”

She likes a new feature called Google Ripples that allows you to track the sharing and impact of a link you post on the Google+ site. “You can drill all the way down to how many plus 1s – it’s really rich,” she says.

Pinterest needs an API

PinterestPinterest, on the other hand, still has limitations. “It’s too broad. It doesn’t have any geographic capabilities and brands using software to help with all their data don’t want to go to a native channel for one thing when they’re aggregating everything else. I think Pinterest will have a lot more legs in the business world when they have an API. (the interface that lets programmers create applications to make it more useful).

As something of a rule of thumb for social media marketing, McClenny says to focus on what you want to happen, avoiding fluffy terms such as “engagement.” “Be focused,” she says. “We want X number of things to happen: drive people to my website, increase the number of shares. You don’t just want lots of activity. You need to know what kind of activity you want and what result you want from that.”

Don’t overthink the process

It’s not just sales that produces ROI. You might instead increase product awareness by 25 percent over a quarter. “You can’t focus just on the bottom line first or you’ll never get there,” she says.

She warns, as many experts in social media marketing do, that brands can’t be overly promotional, using a “radio voice” with no interaction or reason for it.

She also suggests that some companies “overthink” the whole process, taking days to approve a social media post. Also, every post does not have to be professionally slick with high resolution images.

“Sometimes a behind the scenes, outtake type of thing can have more reach than a commercial you spend a lot of money on,” she suggests.


How to do those back links right

Friday, April 19th, 2013
Michael Marshall

SEO expert Michael Marshall is among the digital thought-leaders participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-14.

By Allan Maurer

Back before Google launched it SEO-changing Penguin algorithm, certain “spamtastic” backlink building methods worked for quite a while, which is why they became so prevalent.

When that Penguin algorithm hit, even many legitimate sites were adversely affected. “They were lured into spamtastics because they worked for so long,” says Michael Marshall, CEO of Internet Marketing Analysts, who helped craft advanced SEO strategies for many top Internet brands, including AOL, 1800Flowers, and Alcatel-Lucent among others.

Marshall, who writes about SEO for many media outlets, from Forbes, Investor’s Business daily, PRWeek, SearchNewz and, is among the plethora of digital thought-leaders, tech gurus, and execs from top brands participating in the Digital Summit in Atlanta May 14-15.

In two separate sessions, Marshall, who is also a lead instructor at Search Engine Academy, will discuss understanding Google’s search algorithm and link-building.

Fixing bad backlinks

Marshall says that if past practices hurt your site when Google’s Penguin hit, there are two ways to fix the problem.

First, he says, “Make the structure of your backlinks look more natural. Search engines have a specific way of determining that.”

He suggests using Google Web Master tools or Majestic SEO to monitor your backlinks.

Then, Marshall says, “You have to get rid of backlinks and/or add more good ones to such a degree that it minimizes the effect of the bad ones. “It’s a percentage game, although no one know the exact percentages,” he adds.

If you can’t remove some backlinks for any of a variety of reasons, you can use the Google and Bing disavowal tools so they don’t harm your rank. But before doing that, Marshall warns, “Get your ducks in a row, because they won’t just look at the backlinks, they’ll look at everything.”

Adding good links

How do you go about getting good links to outweigh the bad?

“Get links from organizations in your industry,” Marshall says. “Your partners, vendors, suppliers. Those are the types of sites you want links from.”

If you’re a local company, he suggests, “Anything like the Chamber of Commerce or industry guilds – organizations that have a good reputation in your space locally.”

Another standard approach is to identify your top competitors going after the same traffic you do. “Look at your top five competitors. What 20 backlinks do they have in common? They’re a good place to start.”

Don’t buy links for SEO

What about buying links?

That’s a no-no in today’s SEO world – although you can buy them if you don’t use them for SEO purposes. “Google says it knows that buying links are a regular part of doing business, but it doesn’t want you to use them for SEO,” notes Marshall.

Google plans a new major Penguin release Marshall says he expects may shake things up as much as the original one did.

He recommends that the way to stay on top of the SEO world is to “find reliable sources online.”

Those include Google’s own blog,,, and the blog.



Facebook, Youtube, Twitter dominate social media brand ranking

Friday, April 19th, 2013

social mediaThe four most valuable social media brands in 2012 were able to defend their leading positions and increase their brand values, with Google+ rising fast.

The rankings are from the Department of Social Media Management of HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich, in cooperation with BV4 Certified Brand Valuation Experts.

Facebook takes the top of the current ranking with an estimated brand value of $ 34.320 billion, followed by YouTube with a brand value of $ 26.824 billion, and Twitter with $ 23.656 billion.

Less well known in the Western world is the Chinese network Qzone which, with a brand value of $ 16.336 billionn, is in fourth position.

Google PlusTop winner of this year’s ranking is Google+, which gained 14 ranks ($ 5.878 billionn).

Together, the thirty most valuable brands have a monetary value of nearly $ 200 bn

Trends positively influenced brand value growth

Actual social media trends had a positive influence on the strength and value development of the analyzed brands, fueling a growth of 59% compared to the top 30 brands in 2012: on one hand, the most successful social media brands such as Facebook and Twitter were able to further develop their dominance with regard to their financial brand values.

On the other hand, Chinese social media brands expanded their strength and value thanks to the impressive Chinese Internet usage statistics that are characterized by a rapidly increasing number of Internet users and an intensive daily use of social media networks.

Furthermore, the new brand arrivals Instagram ($ 2.101 bn, position 22) and Pinterest ($ 1.987 bn, position 24) clearly benefitted from users’ augmenting need to share pictures among their digital peers.

Finally, the trend of increasingly using mobile devices rather than PCs to access social media platforms is an additional factor that positively influenced the strength and value development of the most valuable social media brands in 2013.

The growing importance of social media brands

Brands are important intangible value drivers for consumer goods and service companies. Compared to corporate values, intangible values like brands are continually increasing.

This is also true for social network brands, which have spread rapidly throughout the world and were able to continue on this path to success. Some of the important value drivers of social media brands are global awareness, growing user numbers, omnipresence in the day-to-day life of consumers, as well as facilitation of simple and efficient communication.

The detailed report “The Most Valuable Social Media Brands 2013″ can be obtained free of charge at . Follow the hashtag #socialbrands13

Press photographers group sues Google over book search

Monday, April 15th, 2013

GoogleThe National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) announced today that it is joining 15 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Google. The Federal suit alleges the “Google Book Search” program violates the copyrights of numerous photographers and other visual artists.

The lead plaintiffs include: The American Society of Media Photographers, Graphic Artists Guild, Picture Archive Council of America, North American Nature Photography Association, Professional Photographers of America, American Photographic Artists, Leif Skoogfors, Al Satterwhite, Morton Beebe, Ed Kashi, John Schmelzer, Simms Taback and Gail Kuenstler Taback Living Trust, Leland Bobbe, John Francis, Ficara, and David W. Moser.

Plaintiffs claim that Google engaged in “widespread, well-publicized, and uncompensated infringement of exclusive rights in images in the history of book and periodical publishing,” in violation of the Copyright Act.

These allegations of infringement stem from Google’s creation and operation of its Google Book Search program. The lawsuit seeks monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief.

The complaint states, “Google’s acts have caused, and unless restrained, will continue to cause irreparable injuries to Lead Plaintiffs and the Class members through: continued copyright infringement and/or the effectuation of new and further infringements of the Visual Works contained in Books and Periodicals; diminution of the value and ability to license and sell their Visual Works; lost profits and/or opportunities; and damage to their goodwill and reputation.”

“The NPPA takes the issue of copyright violation very seriously,” said NPPA Executive Director Mindy Hutchison.

Photos displayed without permission

The NPPA has been a vocal critic of Google, particularly of the company’s continued efforts to digitize entire libraries and make that content available over the Internet.

The 49-page complaint, submitted by attorneys Mishcon de Reya, New York LLP, and Ronny L. Kurzman, Esq., was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. It contains exhibits showing specific photographs and illustrations which, despite having been registered with the United States Copyright Office, were scanned and displayed, without permission, into Google Book Search, by Google, in violation of those copyrights.

“As a visual journalist myself, I know the importance of owning my own work and controlling how, when, and why those images are used,” added Mike Borland, NPPA President. “I feel it is the NPPA’s responsibility to protect that principle of ownership, and not allow companies like Google to infringe upon our rights uncontested.”

Kickstarter campaign to fund Google Glass documentary

Friday, April 12th, 2013

techtrekChris Shaw, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Kansas City-based startup accelerator and business incubator Think Big Partners has been selected by Google to be a beta tester of its exclusive Glass hardware.

Google selected 8,000 people worldwide to be part of its Glass Explorers program, an initiative to test the limits of the Glass wearable computer hardware.

Connects to mobile phone

Google Glass is a head-mounted display unit that connects with the user’s mobile phone to allow for seamless communication over the web. Glass also has a video camera that allows for pictures and video to be streamed over the web.

Chris Shaw, a serial entrepreneur who founded LexSpot and has advised over a dozen technology startups, said he wanted to use Glass to give back to the community that enabled his success.

Google glass“Glass is a truly innovative way to tell stories and share experiences,” says Shaw. “While our primary use for Glass will be for developing mobile applications in spaces like healthcare and enterprise, we wanted to test the media capabilities of Glass in a unique way.”

Tech Trek documentary

As a result of this thought, Herb Sih, Founder and Managing Partner of Think Big Partners encouraged Chris to create Tech Trek, a Glass-enabled documentary that explores the different startup hubs, technologies and innovations throughout the country.

“When Chris said he wanted to give folks a birds-eye view into what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, we were enthusiastic to support Tech Trek,” says Sih. “Think Big has started dozens of companies either directly or indirectly and we feel like we have an obligation to give back to the community.”

Tech Trek is using Kickstarter to raise funds for the ambitious project to tell the story of technology entrepreneurship in the tech hubs of Silicon Valley, Ca., Los Angeles, Ca., Las Vegas, Nv., Boulder, Co., and Kansas City, Mo.

Funds will sponsor entrepreneurs

In addition, Shaw explains that some of the funds from the Kickstarter campaign will be used to sponsor entrepreneurs to attend Tech Trek who cannot afford to visit the cities and companies that Tech Trek will feature at incubators like Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Science and TechStars.

“Our goal with Tech Trek is to show people what we do and how technology and entrepreneurship are building the future of our world,” says Shaw.

Spencer Walsh is an independent film producer and director who will be filming and producing Tech Trek.

“Google Glass provides a very unique opportunity for documentary work. I’m already excited to capture the effect this new technology has on the people interacting with it physically and virtually,” explains Walsh.

“Also, most of my productions are for startups so I know how creative entrepreneurs are. In my opinion, the possibilities of Glass will really begin to reveal themselves as Chris interacts with these established and growing communities. This might be selfish, but I feel like I’ll be getting a glimpse into the near future.”

To learn more about Tech Trek, please visit To become a part of the Tech Trek Kickstarter campaign, please visit

Tablet sales to hit $64B, tide turning to Android

Friday, April 12th, 2013

tabletsThe convenience and mobility benefits afforded by tablet computers are showing no signs of slowing interest after record unit shipments and revenues were reported by device vendors in 2012.

In 2013, approximately 150 million tablets (up 38% year-over-year) are forecasted to ship globally worth an estimated $64 billion (up 28% from 2012) in potential end-user revenues, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research.

Apple shipped 60 percent of total

So far, Apple has reigned since the introduction of its iPad in 2010, though Samsung and others continue to erode its early success.

About 60% of last year’s tablet shipments used Apple’s iOS operating system software while 37% were based on Google’s Android OS (or development forks of Android, such as found on Amazon’s Kindle Fire slates).

The remaining 3% OS share consisted of Windows (Windows 7, 8, or RT), BlackBerry Tablet OS, and unidentified OS implementations.

Tide turning toward Android

Android logo“The tide is definitely turning toward Android-based tablets, though Apple will not slouch as it feels the competition approaching,” says mobile devices senior practice director Jeff Orr.

“The iPad mini was a timely introduction in 2012, though ABI Research remains cautious about the bottom line impact this is having for Apple.

Here at the TechJournal, we think the late Steve Jobs was wrong when he said tablets needed those 10-inch screens. The 7-inch models are much handier and with the exception of all those regular sized iPad sales, we think they’ll dominate the market.

Personally, while we enjoy our Kindle Fire, we are waiting to see what Google offers in its upcoming new Nexus 7 tablet release expected in July. We suspect Apple will release an updated iPad mini in the not too distant future as well.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: what will make tablets even more useful, salable and dominant is better voice control – something Apple’s Siri and the dictation features on the Nexus are approaching. Better accuracy and true dictation ability are crucial to easy control of these devices without a keyboard.

The first quarter of 2013 should be the first time where production was able to meet market demand and a better sense of how much 9.7” iPad volume has switched to the smaller, lower-cost mini will be understood.”

Samsung could challenge Apple


iPad 4

The next opportunity is for a vendor challenger to break away from the pack and move closer to Apple. Most would consider Samsung the likely pursuer, though the company was mired in legal proceedings during much of 2012.

The success Samsung has seen during the past year with smartphones, Android OS, and the Galaxy Note II is expected to migrate across to tablets in 2013.

“A well-executed Samsung tablet strategy could double the company’s market share this year,” adds Orr.

Unfortunately, there are few “fast followers” capable of emulating the ownership of technology that Samsung has, suggesting that more innovation is necessary within the Android OS that pulls tablet OEMs closer to Apple.

These “Media Tablets and eReaders” Market Data findings are part of ABI Research’s Media Tablets, Ultrabooks and eReaders Research Service (

Deal volume up, values down in online and mobile M&A

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Berkery NoyesYou can see what’s hot and what’s not looking at the merger and acquisition picture in any industry, and in online and mobile, analytics, SaaS, mobile payments and food service and content firms are like spice to the big dish Internet companies these days.

Deal volume increased three percent relative to the prior quarter in online and mobile industry mergers and acquisitions in the first quarter of 2013, according to mid-market investment bank Berkery Noyes in its mergers and acquisitions trend report, but transaction value decreased 50 percent, from $15.8 billion in Q4 2012 to $7.9 billion in Q1 2013.

The SaaS/ASP segment experienced the largest quarterly rise in volume, improving 16 percent. Meanwhile, transaction volume in the E-Commerce segment increased six percent between Q4 2012 and Q1 2013.

Highest value deal

The segment’s highest value deal in Q1 2013 was Google’s announced acquisition of Channel Intelligence for $125 million.

In addition, major financial technology players completed several large Online and Mobile payments acquisitions during Q1 2013. For instance, ACI Worldwide acquired Online Resources Corporation for $203 million and FIS acquired mFoundry for $120 million.

M&A involving transactions with a large mobile component increased 33 percent over the past three months. Along these lines, there were several acquisitions in the food service information and content space.

Yahoo, OpenTable buys

YahooThis included Yahoo!’s acquisition of Alike, which enables users to make recommendations about their favorite food establishments; and OpenTable’s acquisition of Foodspotting, an application that helps users share information about particular dishes.

With four transactions, Yahoo! was the most active Online and Mobile Industry acquirer during the quarter. Several of Yahoo!’s recent acquisitions demonstrate its renewed focus on mobile under CEO Marissa Mayer .

Yahoo! has already completed three mobile transactions thus far in 2013, acquiring social news application Summly, as well as applications Alike and Jybe. In contrast, Yahoo! only made two mobile transactions last year, both of which occurred in Q4 2012.

E-marketing and Search segments

As for the E-Marketing & Search segment, M&A activity increased nine percent in Q1 2013. \

“The ability to better profile and target consumers has necessitated the development and growth of companies that can analyze shoppers’ behavior and develop appropriate offerings to the consumer,” said Evan Klein , Managing Director at Berkery Noyes.

“This shift has led to the growth of data analytics businesses and, with the need to develop deeper relationships with consumers, the growth in loyalty marketing companies.”

Twitter bird

Just call me Larry.

Regarding the segment’s social media marketing subset, one notable acquisition in Q1 2013 was Twitter’s acquisition of BlueFin Labs.

A key goal of acquiring the social television analytics company is for Twitter to gain additional advertising revenue by leveraging viewer data. TiVo and The Nielsen Company completed E-Marketing acquisitions in 2012, both of which focused on improving the ability to measure digital audiences.

A copy of the ONLINE AND MOBILE INDUSTRY M&A REPORT FOR FIRST QUARTER 2013 is available at the Berkery Noyes website.

Major new media brands coming to Atlanta Digital Summit

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

GoogleWhat do these brands have in common: Twitter, Google, Mashable, Bing, reddit, YouTube, StumbleUpon, TMZ, Dell, Home Depot, HGTV, Salesforce, CNN, AOL, Forester, Urban Daddy and The Weather Channel?

They’re all represented at the upcoming Digital Summit 2013 May 14-15 in Atlanta, the region’s largest digital marketing and web innovation strategies conference.

The event draws a sell-out crowd of 1,500 or more digital marketers, web strategists, senior Internet executives, thought-leaders, and entrepreneurs to Atlanta.

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, is participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip, is participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.

We’ll be interviewing some of the featured speakers and panel participants as we head toward the event (TechJournal is a TechMedia division). We spoke to Kiip CEO and founder Brian Wong this week. Wong, the youngest person who ever received venture funding, describes how connecting mobile ads to “moments of achievement and delight” can make those ads welcome rather than an annoyance. See: Mobile ad secret sauce.

Register now to reserve your seat. TechMedia’s last event in Charlotte, NC, had to close registration a week ahead of the event and had a long waiting list, so do it early.


Number one use of mobile: local business search (infographic)

Friday, March 29th, 2013

mobile devicesNever mind talking: For more than half of all mobile device users, the number one function via their internet browser is search.

In the past nine months, the total number of visitors to search navigation sites conducted via mobile devices has jumped by more than 25%, with local searches playing a particularly important role – nearly 86 million people now seek local business information on their mobile phones in the United States alone.

More than half of those who conduct local business searches said they use mobile phones for searching because they are on the move. In fact, 56% of those who use local search sites primarily for local business information use these sites on a weekly basis across all devices.

Tip of the iceberg

That is just the tip of the iceberg uncovered in the Neustar Localeze and 15miles Sixth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study, which analyzes a target sample of more than 3,000 users of local business Internet search.

“What we can clearly see is that the local search market is maturing – what we previously described as a Social, Local and Mobile (SoLoMo) revolution is now embedded in consumer behavior,” said Jeff Beard, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Neustar Localeze.

“Tablet adoption is growing at a blistering pace: It took smartphones nearly a decade to reach 40 million users, while that number was crossed only two years after the iPad arrived. This market is set to keep growing, and businesses need to fundamentally rethink the way local customers are going to find them.”

Mobile and Tablet Searchers Continue to Sky-rocket:

mobile devicesThe study demonstrates that the total number of U.S. searchers on mobile phones grew steadily last year – from 90.1 million mobile phone visitors to search/navigation sites or apps in March 2012 to 113.1 million in December 2012.

Tablets also grew as a source for online searches, with 19% growth between April 2012 and December 2012. Both mobile phone and tablet searchers find accuracy of information to be more important than depth of content.

However, tablet searchers are placing more importance on depth of content over time, while mobile phone searchers are placing less importance on this measure. Additionally, mobile phone searchers are more likely to cite maps, driving directions and distance as key information, while tablet searchers are more likely to find consumer reviews and online promotions most helpful.

Successful local business searches conducted via mobile phones are most likely to result in an in-store visit when compared to the outcomes of searches conducted on other devices.

Online mobile phone and tablet searchers, however, are more likely to continue searching and conduct multiple searches than PC/laptop users. Even more significantly, local business searchers using a mobile phone or tablet have a 78% and 77% likelihood, respectively, to make a purchase as a result of their last search, with tablet searchers skewing toward more expensive purchases.

Search via Apps is on the Rise – Facebook and Google Maps Dominate:

GoogleThe study also offers a telling glimpse into other current trends, from application usage to social media. Application-based local search nearly doubled in just the past two years, significantly outpacing the SMS and browser markets.

More specifically, of the mobile phone searchers who said they use applications to search for local businesses, 35% use Google Maps. Finally, turning to social media, 92% of those who searched for local business information on social networking sites from all devices used Facebook for that purpose in 2012.

Here’s an infographic detailing some of the study findings:

What are Consumers Searching for?

There are also clear patterns in the choice of local search categories. The healthcare industry in particular needs to take note: pharmacies lead the pack with 86% of consumers looking for a specific pharmacy, while doctors and hospitals rank second with 75%. Banking and finance are not far behind (69%), followed by restaurants (65%). In fact, 23% of those surveyed said the last local business they searched was a restaurant.

“The greatest impact of the Internet is to offer access to information on a global scale, yet it’s equally important in driving business at the neighborhood level,” said Gregg Stewart, President, 15miles. “Consumers now expect accurate, easy-to-absorb information on local businesses on a variety of computing platforms, and those companies that can adapt to this new world have the most to gain.”

For more information on the survey, click here.