Sunday, July 31, 2011

U.K. Already Heading for "Double Dip" Recession, Will U.S. Follow?

Some people continue to insist the U.S. economy is not headed into another recession, creating a "double dip" recession. Others say a new recession is coming.

We can't say yet, but there's bad news from the United Kingdom, where the "Retail Health Index" already shows business activity dropping, which if replicated for the entire U.K. economy, would trigger a formal recession condition. UK Retail is now firmly back in recession says Retail Think Tank 

So far, the U.S. economy has not actually fallen for one full quarter, let along two, but it is growing at a historically weak level, compared to past recessions. And some already think the U.S. economy is headed for a double dip.

"Amid all the absurd posturing over raising the debt ceiling comes some real news—and it’s very bad," says the New Yorker. "According to new government figures, the economy has hardly grown at all in 2011."

"The recovery that began in early 2009 is now officially stalled," the New Yorker says. "Some economists will quibble, but I think it is fair to say that the dreaded double-dip recession is at hand," argues John Cassidy.

When healthy, the American economy grows at an annual rate of close to three per cent. The Commerce Department’s latest report on the gross domestic product shows that between April and June 2011, it expanded at an annual rate of 1.3 per cent, and between January and March it grew at an annual rate of just 0.4 per cent.

The first-quarter figure is particularly stunning. Previously, the Commerce Department had estimated growth in the period at 1.9 per cent. Some think there will be a similar downward revision to the second-quarter figures.
Read more here.

it may turn out that we’re already in one, according to a pair of economists at Moody's Capital Markets Research Group. Read more here.

U.K. retail executives expect the trend to continue in the third quarter. The most recent quarterly reports from a number of European telecom providers also could suggest economic softening.

U.S. Steps Up Probe of Nortel Patent Deal

Apparently the U.S. Justice Department thinks there might be anti-competitive implications in the recent sale of Nortel patents to a consortium of firms including Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

A consortium of six companies last month paid $4.5 billion to acquire a portfolio of 6,000 patents auctioned by the bankrupt Canadian telecom equipment maker Nortel Networks Corp. Google had made an initial bid of $900 million.

The Wall Street Journal says some observers were "stunned" at the sales price, which has raised Justice Department concern about what return the bidders expect on the investment.

Recently, some Android handset manufacturers reportedly have agreed to pay Microsoft $5 per device in licensing fees, perhaps raising speculation that Google's rivals think they can impose more costs on Android handset manufacturers.

The Nortel patents cover an extensive array of mobile-related functions, especially related to fourth-generation mobile networks and devices, apparently.

Wired Looks at Who Wins Social Media Wars

How Big a Deal will 4G Wholesale Be?

In 2016, ABI Research forecasts that there will be 103 million 4G wholesale subscribers, served by mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) that buy capacity and services from a facilities-based provider and then retail services under their own brand names.

ABI Research estimates there were about 3.8 million 4G wholesale subscribers in 2010.

Other forecasts suggest lower adoption. Separately, Ovum forecasts that global MVNO connections will reach 85.6 million by 2015, and revenues are expected to be $9.5 billion. In other words, ABI Research believes there will be more 4G MVNO customers than Ovum believes will exist in the entire MVNO market, including the much-larger 3G market.

Over the next five years, new MVNO markets are expected to open up in South and Central America, Asia-Pacific, and in the Middle East. However, there are still regulatory and market challenges to overcome before these markets can offer an environment that can sustain MVNO activity.

Therefore, Ovum expects the bulk of MVNO connections and revenue growth from 2010 to 2015 will come from established MVNO markets in Western Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why You Should Switch to GMail

Application Usage Rules of Thumb

"One fairly common 'law of web and mobile physics' is the ratio of registered users or downloads to monthly actives, daily actives, and max concurrent users (for services that have a real time component to them), says venture capitalist Fred Wilson. "I call this ratio 30/10/10 and so many services that we see exhibit it within a few percentage points here and there."

What Wilson sees is that, for most providers, 30 percent of the registered users or number of downloads (if its a mobile app) will use the service each month. About 10 percent of the registered users or number of downloads (if its a mobile app) will use the service each day.

The maximum number of concurrent users of a real-time service will be 10 percent of the number of daily users.

Mobile Has To Re-Think The "Ad"

Necessity is the mother of invention, and that is likely to be true for mobile advertising as well. Because of constraints on-screen size, display ads will not be the preferred or logical format, many would argue. That might explain why there is so much activity around e-commerce, coupons, promotional messages and other "non-traditional" marketing and advertising formats being tried in the mobile business.

A Brief History of Apple Not Buying Things

For years, Apple has confounded the rest of us by not buying things that it should clearly be buying. Not purchasing other well-known companies is so core to Apple’s strategy that it must have a whole department devoted to non-mergers and un-acquisitions, whimsically argues Harry McCracken, editor of Technologizer

It's just part of Apple's culture, as making and integrating acquisitions is part of Cisco's culture, or how some other companies seem to make acquisitions whose value is destroyed after the acquisitions.

So a recent speculation that Apple might buy Barnes & Noble would likely wind up being the latest rumor not to prove accurage.

Microsoft Spoofs Gmail

 Microsoft is sparring with Google about email privacy.

The purpose of this spoof video, apparently, is position Office 365 as more secure in the email area.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why 'Apps' Will Not be a Major Opportunity for Telcos

To give you some idea of how hard it actually is for a large communications carrier to create a new line of business that has a meaningful impact on revenue, consider an analysis Tristan Louis at recently conducted.

He took a look at valuations and implied average revenue per user for some of the leading Internet companies, including Pandora, LinkedIn, Groupon, LivingSocial and Zynga.

His analysis suggests it is possible to generate between $3.57 and $4.58 per user per year. By the same token, it could be possible that a user is worth between $106.46 and $126.24 over the user’s lifetime to a publicly traded web 2.0 company.

But assuming such deals were contemplated, you can see the problem. Even if a telco could somehow create enough value for any of these services to create a role in the revenue stream, the net result is that the effort is more trouble than it really is worth.

Assume an average of $4.25 annual revenue per user. Assume a telco could create enough value to warrant a revenue share of five percent of gross revenue. That would imply annual incremental revenue of 21 cents a year, or less than two cents a month, per subscriber.

If one assumes a large telco has to see a top-line revenue opportunity of roughly $1 billion to bother chasing the opportunity, one typically has to assume revenue potential in the dollars a month per subscriber range, ranging in many cases from $10 to $20 per user, per month, to be reach that level of significance.

Application-Aware Charging Grows on Mobile Networks

Some 32 percent of mobile operators already are offering application-aware charging models, a new study by Allot Communications suggests. 'Our findings show that operators have responded to this challenge (differential demand imposed by growing video bandwidth consumption) by implementing usage and application-aware charging models and service plans,' Allot says.

Telcos Invest in Cloud, Immediate Return not the Issue

Communication service providers committed almost $8 billion to cloud-related pursuits in the first six months of 2011, but recent acquisitions won’t boost cloud revenues overnight and service differentiation remains poor, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. That finding is not terribly surprising, given the relative newness of the business and the cost of investing in facilities.

Informa estimates that the typical provider generates less than five percent of its enterprise revenues from annuity cloud services. That sounds like a small amount, but can be quite significant for a large provider. Some might point out that text messaging revenue only accounts for about five percent of Verizon Wireless revenue, but it is a quite-important revenue source.

Google Buys IBM Patents to Ward Off Lawsuits

Google has purchased 1,000 technology patents from International Business Machines Corp. as the Web-search giant stocks up on intellectual property to defend itself against lawsuits. The patents involve the "fabrication and architecture of memory and microprocessing chips," computer architecture including servers and routers and online search engines, among other things. Read more here. (subscription required)

Some might argue the litigation-heavy U.S. business climate is stifling innovation. There have been continual patent infringement lawsuits filed recently in the mobile device space, for example. Read more.

Amazon Uses Streaming Video for "Content Marketing" has some advantages as a content marketer. Like other retailers of "content" or "entertainment" products, it can use trailers, book reviews and descriptions as content marketing vehicles. But unusually, even for a content retailer, Amazon has the ability to give away professional content as part of a direct revenue model.

Amazon Prime is a membership service that, for $79 a year, gives Amazon customers free shipping on their purchases as well as no-extra-charge access to the Prime Instant Video streaming library. The Amazon Prime membership is a revenue-generating loyalty device, which provides clear incentives for members to keep buying from Amazon.

Pursuant to that strategy, added a new licensing agreement with NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution that will allow Amazon Prime members to stream select Universal Pictures movies through Prime Instant Video. This deal with Amazon will bring the total number of Prime instant videos to more than 9,000 movies and TV shows in the summer fo 2011.

Sometimes it is harder to see the tie between content marketing and a firm's revenue model. There is no such obscurity in the case of Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Five Lies About Social Media Marketing

Social media has caused businesses to set up, or to feel they have to set up, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts and blogs to connect with as many customers as possible. Waylaid somewhere along the way, however, were the fundamentals of public relations, marketing, corporate communications and sales, giving way to erroneous assumptions about how businesses should manage their social marketing, some would argue.

Among the five biggest misconceptions is the notion that somebody other than you knows "social media," and is qualified to give you advice, argues Mikal E. Belicove is an "Entrepreneur" magazine columnist.

That might seem a "harsh" judgment, but for most smaller and start-up businesses, it is true enough.

The problem is that the art form still is developing. Some people have more experience, it is true, but at this point we all are still experimenting.

Perhaps one analogy is parenting. Some do it very well, almost instinctively, while others have to work at it. But humans wouldn't have been around very long if "parenting" were really so difficult that it had to be "outsourced" or conducted only by specialists. Some amount of common sense is needed, but social media is a tool like any other. Parents learn to be parents by doing it. Social media is like that, as well.

Also among the five top myths is the notion that social media, though "new," also represent "new media." As Belicove argues, all successive generations of media are new for a while. Then they just become "media." The implications are that social media can be approached just as any other medium can be: a tool.

Five Lies About Social Media Marketing

Telcos invested $8 billion in cloud in first half of 2011

Communication service providers committed almost $8 billion to cloud-related pursuits in the first six months of 2011, but recent acquisitions won’t boost cloud revenues overnight and service differentiation remains poor, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. That finding is not terribly surprising, given the relative newness of the business and the cost of investing in facilities.

Informa estimates that the typical provider generates less than five percent of its enterprise revenues from annuity cloud services. That sounds like a small amount, but can be quite significant for a large provider. Some might point out that text messaging revenue only accounts for about five percent of Verizon Wireless revenue, but it is a quite-important revenue source.

Of the 10 acquisitions and 21 investments announced in the first half of 2011, 80 percent involved data centers. Using a five-year return on invested capital rule of thumb, the invested $8 billion implies annual expected revenue of $1.6 billion. Of course, one also expects some amount of over-investment at this stage of business growth, so many would not be surprised if those projections for annualized revenue fall short.

By itself, cloud computing services might not be big enough to justify so much effort. But as part of a wider effort to expose network features to business partners, the provision of cloud facilities and software is seen as important. Few firms the size of AT&T or Verizon will waste time on new revenue initiatives that do not promise at least a $1 billion annual revenue stream. Right now, it isn't so clear that will be the case, for either firm, in the near term, and perhaps not even in the medium term.

But a reasonable argument can be made that revenues from additional products built on top of that platform, plus the cloud hosting services, will amount to new revenue of the threshold magnitude.

U.S. Consumer Interest In Mobile Payments Still Low

Recent surveys by Forrester Research show that U.S. consumer interest in mobile payments is low.

Less than six percent of U.S. online adults have ever used any type of mobile payment.

Over the past three years, Forrester has seen interest in mobile payments continue to grow slowly, though, up from 11 percent of survey respondents in 2008 to 18 percent in 2010.

Sprint Shares Take Tumble; Strategy or Churn the Reason?

Sprint's shares on July 28, 2011 suffered their biggest intraday drop since 2008 as its second quarter results missed analyst forecasts, and an unclear 4G strategy, despite firm news of a deal with LightSquared that at least clarifies part of Sprint's Long Term Evolution approach. It isn't entirely clear whether the drop was caused by investor concerns about ongoing churn, or uncertainty about Sprint's long-term strategy.

The future of its relationship with Clearwire, though, remains unsettled. The deal with LightSquared is tactically helpful, assuming LightSquared can mollify the GPS community about interference issues. That is one major issue, but there are others, including the loss of about half its potential spectrum if LightSquared has to avoid using the "L" band frequencies where GPS interference issues exist.

Longer term, some will have questions about the viability of a wholesale-only strategy, as well as ability to raise the rest of the capital needed to finish the full LightSquared network.

Never wait on hold again with the FastCustomer app

FastCustomer, an iPhone and Android app, claims to have saved its users 220,000 minutes they otherwise would have spent "on hold." FastCustomer will call any company’s call center or any department and wait on hold for you. The app saves you time and eliminates the need to listen to elevator music

On the free iPhone or Android app, just tap a button telling the app which company you need to reach, then go back to living your life.

Does Apple Want to Buy Barnes & Noble?

Are Apple executives weighing a possible bid to buy Barnes & Noble? That's the rumor reported to Boy Genius Report by an as yet "unproven" source.

Apple presumably then would fold the Barnes & Noble digital library of books and publication into Apple’s own iBooks store.

Apple would have no use for the Nook, and that would likely be discontinued in this scenario. Apple could then convert some of the brick and mortar Barnes & Noble stores into Apple stores and close the rest. Apple easily can afford the transaction.

Some of us would lament the loss of the retail bookstores, or the possible demise of the Nook. Along with Amazon's coming Android tablet, the Nook has seemed to some the best chance for a branded Android tablet to create a niche in the tablet market that actually answers the question of "why buy it instead of an iPad?"

How to Search Google+

Google Plus SearchSooner or later, you will want to search Google+, perhaps to find a profile, or conduct a keyword search on a topic. Go ahead, do it. Oh, you say, there's no search box.

For some reason there’s no convenient way to search your Google stream. But you can go directly to and conduct the search there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Study: Execs Aren't Yet Sure What to do About Social Media

More than half of 302 executives surveyed by Harris Interactive on behalf of Capgemini say that social media is a part of their company's customer care operations, but 64 percent of those said that the marketing department is solely responsible for social media marketing. Most (74 percent) executives in the study were simply unsure how many employees are dedicated to customer care using the social Web.

Most (57 percent) see social media as a means for "inviting customer input on product and services, lead generation, responding to complaints, internal reporting, and measuring customer satisfaction."

However, there's still a sizable minority (13 percent) that believe social media is just a fad and is not important to their company's success.

Verizon Wireless to Pay $10 Billion Dividend

Some of us might see an important implication in the Verizon Wireless decision to distribute $10 billion to its two owners, Verizon Communications and Vodafone. And that observation is that Verizon needs the cash to help pay dividends, because Verizon does not any longer generate the cash to pay its own common dividend, said Craig Moffett, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst.

'There simply isn't any cash elsewhere in the business to fund the common dividend,' Bernstein said. A rational person might conclude that, over the longer term, something has to change. Either Verizon lowers its dividend, which most would assume is the last thing Verizon would do, or Verizon Communications has to find some way to boost its revenues and profits to maintain the dividend. There might be other short-term expedients, such as asset sales, but that can only go so far.

The other implication is that observers who believe Verizon easily can afford to invest in its fixed line infrastructure increasingly may find that view hard to support, over the long term. A firm that no longer can generate enough internal cash to pay its historic dividend has a problem. Big new investments will require some reasonable expectation of adequate financial return.

To be sure, Verizon Communications reported encouraging results for its second quarter, especially a near return to wireline segment growth. But keep in mind that Verizon is trying to return to a slightly-positive revenue growth position in its fixed-line business.

PayPal Says it Will Be Agnostic About Payments, Zong Purchase Proves It

PayPal executives have been pretty clear that they are going to be "agnostic" about the ways mobile phones can communicate with payment terminals, and eBay, PayPal owner, has "put its money where its mouth is" by buying Zong, which provides carrier billing, with some 250 carriers globally.

"Death by PowerPoint" and Other Similar Afflictions

"Trying to sound really smart is really, really dumb," argues Marcus Schaller, a content marketing strategist, speaker and author of "The Lead Ladder-Turn Strangers into Clients, One Step at a Time." His basic point is that simple, clear language is important.

"You see it every day; puffed up blog posts, white papers, webinars and website copy full of important sounding jargon," he says. "The less of it you understand, the more important it must be."

Corporate/Marketing Speak is a relic of the days before Google and RSS feeds, a time when information wasn’t at everyone’s fingertips. A white paper in 1998 didn’t have to compete with the same avalanche of information as the white paper of 2011. So be clear, he argues.

There's a similar analogy, less about jargon and more about "parading knowledge," though. Most of us attend conferences and trade shows. That means most of us sit through PowerPoint presentations. If you take a survey of conference attendees, you will almost always find that most people think most presentations are unhelpful to some extent, overly-long in most cases and "not so good" all too often.

At the suggestion of a friend, I read "15 minutes, plus Q&A" earlier this year, written by Joey Asher. Basically, the argument is that the reason so many PowerPoint presentations are less effective than they might be is that we all have a tendency to use such occasions to parade our knowledge, and that typically is not helpful for communicating the couple to several points that really can be made in 15 minutes.

So we wander around, "dumping data" instead of reinforcing the couple of important messages we should be trying to communicate. That, of course, assumes the agenda really is to communicate, rather than genuinely obscure matters. There might well be times when the actual intent is to get through a presentation essentially "saying nothing," for some valid business or political reason.

But clarity, in all content, is only partly a matter of communication skill. It also is the result of discipline; the willingness to exclude extraneous material that might impress, but fails to help get across the few points one really wanted to make in a short time.

There are reasons for some of the "wandering around," of course. For presenters at many meetings, the whole reason a person is allowed to attend is to make a marketing pitch for whatever it is that the company sells. Whatever the conference organizer or the audience might prefer, the speaker's job is to make the pitch. In other cases, demonstrating competency is "the pitch." Lawyers and consultants, as well as anybody else selling an intangible product, has to provide some "proxy" for skill which, by definition, is intangible.

If you wonder why attorneys have nice offices and furniture, it is to provide some "proxy" for skill, which a buyer cannot assess accurately. Educational credentials are proxies; so are awards; frequent speaking engagements and so forth. Still, the temptation to parade knowledge can get in the way of a clear, focused, on target talk, speech or presentation that makes one to several points very well.

"15 minutes, including Q&A" is a useful antidote to "death by PowerPoint."

The growing mobile payment divide

"Mobile payments and the mobile wallet are turning out to be completely different things," says David Schropfer, consultant and author of "The SmartPhone Wallet."

The mobile wallet, which allows a user to store and access a number of accounts and credit cards linked to loyalty programs and offers, all from a mobile device, is developing in the U.S. mainly as a way to attract consumers with plenty of other payment options. "I don't think there will be much market adoption of the mobile wallet without it being attached to other options."

In the developing world, the focus is more directly on enabling people to send money to each other, and other institutions, directly from a mobile phone, because the banking infrastructure is undeveloped.

Mobile payment analyst Bruce Burke argues that a variety of "front ends" will develop, using multiple brand ecosystems, devices and mobile service providers, typically using established transactions networks.

Global mobile revenues will be $1.1 Trillion in 2012

Wireless Intelligence now forecasts that global wireless service provider revenue will hit $1.1 trillion in 2012. Why is that significant? Over the last decade, global fixed-line revenue was about $1 trillion. So the new forecast suggests that mobile service revenue will surpass fixed-line revenue on a global basis by 2012, if not before. Global mobile revenues will be $1.1 Trillion in 2012

It long has been the case that mobile revenues have outstripped fixed-line revenue in developed markets.

What is new is that revenue in developing markets, the new global revenue engine of growth, also will shift to wireless. As recently as 2007, wireline revenues still were more than 50 percent of total industry revenues. 

Verizon Tops Customer Care Rankings in Latest JD Power Survey

Press Release Figure
The latest JD Power survey of customer service performance shows that Verizon Wireless is now at the top of the mobile service provider rankings. Verizon Wireless scored a 770 (out of a total 1,000 points) which was the highest score in “JD Power & Associates 2011 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study – Volume 2″.

Until the announcement of the T-Mobile AT&T merger, the top spot in the Wirelss Customer Care Performance Study was T-Mobile USA. The last survey before the latest survey had Sprint at the top.

Verizon Tops JD Power Rankings for Customer Care

That doesn't necessarily mean mobile or other service providers generally score all that well in broader surveys of customer satisfaction. See

Typically, service providers score in the middle of the pack, across industry verticals. 

Android Now Controls 39% Of The U.S. Smart Phone Market

Nielsen smartphone market share for the U.S. Q2 2011Android now owns 39 percent of the smart phone market in the U.S. up three percent from the previous period measured by Nielsen. Apple controls 28 percent, which is up two percent from the prior quarter.

Research in Motion is at 20 percent, down by three percent. Microsoft's combined mobile OS share is at nine percent, which is down seven percent.

Sprint Nextel and LightSquared Announce Spectrum Hosting and Network Services Agreement | Business Wire

LightSquared, now building a new wholesale-only Long Term Evolution network, has signed a 15-year deal with Sprint that expedites LightSquared's construction timetable by allowing it to co-locate on existing Sprint towers. The deal also will save LightSquared a significant amount of capital investment as well.

Under the agreement, LightSquared will pay Sprint to deploy and operate a nationwide LTE network that hosts L-Band spectrum licensed to or available to LightSquared. Also, for the first 11 years, LightSquared will make payments to Sprint of approximately $9 billion in cash for spectrum hosting and network services, as well as LTE and satellite purchase credits Sprint can use which are currently estimated to be valued at approximately $4.5 billion.

The agreement also provides Sprint the opportunity to purchase up to 50 percent of LightSquared’s expected L-Band 4G capacity. The wholesale purchase credits will provide Sprint the option to obtain lower cost wholesale access to LTE capacity by offsetting Sprint’s purchases of 4G capacity from LightSquared, should Sprint elect to incorporate the L-Band LTE capability as part of its 4G offering. Virtually all observers believe Sprint will do so.

This agreement is expected to lower network capital and operating expenses for LightSquared by more than $13 billion over the next eight years in comparison with the cost of a stand-alone network build. LightSquared expects the deployment of the nationwide 4G-LTE network to be completed more than one year ahead of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate to cover 260 million Americans by 2015.

LightSquared has also entered into a 3G nationwide roaming agreement with Sprint. With access to Sprint’s 3G nationwide network, LightSquared’s wholesale customers will be able to offer combined 4G/3G data services as soon as LightSquared launches its first 4G markets in 2012. That typically is an important capability, as there will be locations where the 4G signal, for any number of reasons, is not available. Though users will default to the 3G network, coverage will be significantly enhanced.

The move does not mean Sprint is abandoning its WiMAX 4G network or services, only that it also is adding LTE capabilities in a significant way. That is expected to be important as it will allow Sprint to take advantage of LTE economies of scale in the handset area. Given the universal switch to LTE by the world's GSM carriers, handset manufacturers will have much more incentive to innovate in the LTE handset area, compared to the more-limited WiMAX space.

BT Says "Very High Speed" Customers Triple

"Our super-fast broadband network has now passed over  five million premises and the customer base has almost trebled in the last six months," says BT CEO Ian Livingston. That network can provide speeds up to 100 Mbps.

But BT didn't say precisely how many subscribers that tripling represented. So far, service providers offering very-high-speed services (50 Mbps or 100 Mbps) have gotten very low penetration, and do not provide actual subscriber figures. BT seems to be in that camp as well.

Jon Stewart on Twitter

Google to Launch Page Speed Service

Google is preparing to launch "Page Speed Service," which promises to speed up any website's page-loading performance by as much as 25 percent to 60 percent. Page Speed Service

To use the service, webmasters need to sign up and point your site’s DNS entry to Google. Page Speed Service fetches content from your servers, rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices, and serves them to end users via Google's servers across the globe. Your users will continue to access your site just as they did before, only with faster load times. Now you don’t have to worry about concatenating CSS, compressing images, caching, gzipping resources or other web performance best practices.

Presumably the service will be offered without charge initially, then as a subscription service. See an example of test results here

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

UK Contactless to Reach a Tipping Point in 2011?

As the European country with the most contactless payment terminals in place, along with high-profile near field communications commercial rollouts either already launched or planned this year, what happens in the United Kingdom offers a sign for how contactless payment might fare in the rest of Europe and beyond, NFC Times believes.

There will be about 25 million contactless cards on issue and roughly 10 percent of the country’s merchants will be equipped to accept them by the end of 2011, predicted James McDonald, who heads contactless payments for Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance, the merchant acquiring arm for Barclays bank and the bank’s Barclaycard credit card unit.

PayPal Readies Retail Payments Push

"Being in the payments business is harder than saying you're in the payments business," says Sam Shrauger, PayPal VP. PayPal clearly is gearing up for an extension of its online payments business to retail and physical settings.

Shrauger says PayPal plans to hold trials with stores by the end of the year, and hopes to be operational at stores run by 20 large retailers by the end of 2012.

Much of the industry is focusing on near field communications, but PayPal seems to prefer a communications-agnostic approach. "Relying on a single technology makes it very difficult for the consumer," Shrauger says.

Read more.

What Netflix and Hulu Users are Watching

netflix-hulu-viewing-typeAccording to a recent Nielsen survey, the majority of Netflix users report watching on a TV screen.

Also, half of all Netflix users connect via a game console (Wii, PS3 or Xbox Live).

Conversely for Hulu, watching directly on a computer is the dominant way consumers connect.

Eighty-nine percent of Hulu users watch directly on a computer, while 42 percent of Netflix users report watching on their computers.

netflix-hulu-viewingOne-fifth of Hulu users and 14 percent of Netflix users also report that they stream by connecting their computer to the TV. Other over-the-top, Internet-enabled devices, such as Roku Box, Google TV and Apple TV, were also cited as means for connecting with Hulu and Netflix. Respondents were able to select more than one viewing method to best reflect their viewing habits.

Facebook Credits for Mobile Apps?

Facebook is in talks to let developers sell virtual goods within mobile Web browsers, part of an effort to generate more revenue from smartphones and tablet computers, Bloomberg reports.

Facebook’s currency, called Credits, would be a feature developers could add to their mobile apps. That means Facebook could get about 30 percent of revenue generated by the sale of virtual goods.

Telcos Face Cloud Obstacles

While telcos are well-placed to take advantage of the burgeoning cloud computing market, they face considerable challenges when it comes to supporting and selling cloud services, according to Ovum.

Telcos can leverage existing assets, such as their communications networks, data centers, OSS and BSS systems and existing customer relationships, to offer cloud services to enterprises.

However, while telcos’ assets do provide them with some key advantages over other cloud providers, there are a number of significant challenges that they face.

“Aside from a perceived lack of brand identity in the supply of IT services, obstacles such as bringing internal network and IT teams together, enabling sales teams, and ensuring that OSS and BSS systems can deliver on cloud’s on-demand nature, must be overcome," says Mark Giles, Ovum analyst.

Amazon Tablet in Third Quarter?

Mobile Marketing Mobile Rumor Mill Teases Fall Launch for Amazon TabletA number of Taiwan-based integrated circuit design houses are expected to see their sales move up vigorously in the third quarter of 2011 due to their shipments of IC parts to the supply chain for Amazon's 7- and 10-inch tablet PCs to be launched in the third quarter, according to DigiTimes.

With Amazon targeting to ship four million tablet PCs in 2011, IC orders from Amazon have become the second largest order from the tablet PC sector, trailing only the iPad, DigiTimes reports.

Square Talks about Mobile Payments

Study shows people want cheap tablets, most waiting for Amazon device

pulse 11July13 2HIREZ Study shows people want cheap tablets, and most are waiting for Amazon to deliver an iPad rivalConsumers would purchase a tablet device running Android if it just had the right price tag. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said they’d get an Android tablet if it had all the features of the iPad, but cost less than $300, according to Retrevo.

The survey of 1,000 people finds demand jumps up to 79 percent if the price falls below $250. Asked which brands consumers would consider purchasing a tablet from, 55 percent said "Amazon."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

VUDU Integrated with

Vudu, Wal-martWalmart has integrated its movie streaming service, VUDU, on Customers can now shop for thousands of digital VUDU titles, including the hottest new releases, and purchase and/or rent them directly on at

As customers shop for movies at, they now have the option to select the digital VUDU title or the physical title (DVD or Blu-ray Disc). Those who select the digital title complete their transaction through’s checkout, and then can easily stream the movie directly from,, or from one of more than 300 VUDU-enabled devices, including select HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players and the PlayStation 3.

Jumio, Think Cameras Should Handle Card Authentication

Though near field communications continues to get legitimate attention as the communications method "of the future" for mobile payments, there are lots of ways to handle the communications.

Jumio thinks "webcams" can do the job. And, in fact, Jumio continues to believe that payments made by plastic cards still will be relevant in the future, especially for growing volumes of online commerce.

Jumio, an online payments start-up created by Jajah founder Daniel Mattes, thinks it makes sense to read online credit card payments made by scanning a card with a webcam.

"Netswipe" is designed to support online retailers, not physical retailers.  the technology allows online retailers to easily process a debit or credit card payment by having a user just hold up their card to their webcam. The video is encrypted and streamed to Jumio’s servers, which extract the card number and information and processes the payment. also thinks visual verification methods using cameras will continue to make sense, while AisleBuyer thinks bar codes are a reasonable approach.

Jumio uses a computer vision approach to authenticate cards. For example, by analyzing the video stream, Jumio can confirm that it’s an actual card and not just a copy of a credit card. It can detect the raised lettering and can determine if it is plastic, or whether it appears to have metal inside.

Jumio aims to make an online payment like a card-present, point-of-sale transaction. Users still need to enter in their credit card security code manually. But because the card information is entered through the camera and the code is typed with an onscreen keypad using a mouse or track pad, malicious key-loggers can’t detect the credit card information, Mattes argues.

Jumio plans to charge small merchants 2.75 percent per transaction or 50 cents a scan if they want to use their own payment processor. Medium-sized merchants can integrate Jumio’s payment modules without becoming PCI compliant, while large merchants can directly integrate into Jumio’s payment platform.

Read more here.

71% of online adults now use video-sharing sites

Video-sharing site usage over time: 2006 - 2011Fully 71 percent of online Americans use video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo, up from 66 percent a year earlier, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The use of video-sharing sites on any given day also jumped five percentage points, from 23 percent of online Americans in May 2010 to 28 percent in May 2011.

“The rise of broadband and better mobile networks and devices has meant that video has become an increasingly popular part of users’ online experiences,” says Kathleen Moore, author of the report. “People use these sites for every imaginable reason."

YouTube Represents More Than Half of All Mobile Streaming Bandwidth

Any way you look at it, YouTube is a big part of mobile application usage, at least as measured by bandwidth consumption and demand. YouTube seems to represent 22 percent of all consumed application bandwidth, according to Allot Communications.

YouTube also represents more than half of all streaming video as well.

Read more here.

Video is the Prime Driver of Bandwidth Consumption

Data published by Allot Communications shows high and growing mobile video bandwidth consumption over the last year, a finding that will surprise nobody.

101% Increase in Mobile VoIP, IM

A new study by Allot Communications suggests use of VoIP and instant messenger applications by mobile users increased 101 percent over the past six months.

"Consumers’ willingness to pay for voice calls has decreased over time," Allot says. It also is becoming more obvious that consumers’ appetite for paid SMS/MMS services also has also diminished, Allot says.

Made-for-mobile, operating system-agnostic IM applications like Viber are becoming increasingly popular, and it isn't simply carrier-provided messaging services that will start to feel increasing competition. Apple’s iMessage and Google Disco also will allow consumers to use messaging clients "over the top."

Twitter also grew by almost 300 percent in six months, providing enriched personal and multi-recipient messaging capabilities, which can easily replace SMS, Allot says. "In the past couple of months, we have also seen operators like KPN openly reporting their revenue loss to OTT applications like Skype," Allot says.

Tablet Usage Similar to Smart Phones, Notebooks are Different

With the caveat that the market is in motion, it nevertheless remains true that notebooks are used in different ways that tablets or smart phones.

According to Akamai, tablet data consumption really is not all that different from the smart phone profile. PC devices are in a different category.

In the context of smart phone data plans, which tend these days to feature 2-Gbyte to 5 Gbyte plans, the plans do provide sufficient "headroom" for most users.

That might not be the case for notebook users, though.

Is the iPad outselling all Android tablets 24 to 1?

Is the iPad is outselling Android tablets at a rate of over 24 to 1? Some think so. Strategy Analytics estimates iPad shipments at 61 percent of the market, with Android tablets garnering 30 percent of shipments. But shipment rates are not the same thing as sales rates, of course. Most observers expect the gap to close, over time. Until recently, there were no tablets to buy, other than Apple's devices.

Still, given the complete dominance Apple has in the MP3 player market, some have to wonder whether Apple can create an "iPad" market where others see a "tablet market."

How Retailers Create Customer Service Issues

The amount of money a firm has to spend on customer service often is directly related to the way it sells, and what it sells. Mobile phones, for example, can be complicated products for consumers to learn how to use. As any mobile retailer will attest, device complexity ("I can't get it to work") is a major cause of device returns in the first several weeks many users have new devices.

One way to reduce the volume of such returns is to design user interfaces so they are more intuitive. The other tactic is to conduct better in-store training for consumers, or to automate set-up processes. For some Android retailers, the processes haven't been optimized, with predictable results.

"Most manufacturers are facing: the return rate on some Android devices is between 30 and 40 percent, in comparison to the iPhone 4′s 1.7 percent return rate as of Antennagate in 2010," says John Biggs of TechCrunch. Returns cost money, because they require time taken away from other revenue-generating activities.

It appears many developers of Android devices, and their retailers, haven't quite gotten the "ease of use" and therefore "ease of sales" issues resolved.

How the Internet Changes Advertising

Meraki Moves Enterprises into the Cloud

Meet Dave, the IT guy. Once upon a time, Dave was at peace with his network. But one day, Dave’s network began to change, his users went mobile, and their apps moved to the cloud. 

They guzzled bandwidth, and from so many different devices Dave couldn’t keep count. But Dave had to serve them with the same old networking technology. It was expensive, complex, and there was no budget to hire more people or go out for more training. 

Meraki's cloud-controlled hardware is the solution, Meraki says..

Monday, July 25, 2011

56% of U.K. Mobile Subscribers Use Text Messaging Daily, 47% Use Voice Daily

The findings won't surprise you but European mobile users now spend more time texting than using voice; and much more time texting, using multimedia messaging, instant messaging and email than they do voice, the Yankee Group says.

Netflx Misses On Revenue And Subscribers

Netflix posted second quarter 2011 earnings that beat expectations, but on light revenue and middling subscriber numbers.

U.S. subscribers came in at 24.6 million, and global numbers were at 25.6 million, about in line with expectations.
Subscribers on hybrid plans -- DVD and streaming -- declined a little bit during the quarter, possibly because Netflix raised prices.

It's Hard to Avoid Becoming an End-to-End Service Provider

It may not always seem like it, but wherever an enterprise information technology staff is responsible for providing applications or communications to end-users, it takes on the mantle of being a service provider.

If, or more normally when, a user calls to report a problem with the app that they use, they’re not calling to report a congested network or server with memory exhaustion or any of the other components that make up the delivery chain, what they are concerned about is the experience they receive at the point of delivery. This makes IT responsible for delivering an end-to-end service, even when there are no agreed service levels.

As more services move to cloud-based mechanisms, it does not take much understanding or imagination to assume similar pressures will arise even for consumer services. It is hard to imagine an application provider or service provider selling a gaming, video or other service and not being called upon to provide some level of service assurance beyond "best effort."
Of course, a strict network neutrality regime that prohibits anything but "best effort" service will be a key problem, in that regard.

The Top 25 "Most Social" U.S. Cities

A map of the countrySome of the cities where social applications are most often used are probably obvious. But lots of communities are not.

U.S. Debt Downgrade Seems Inevitable at This Point

All three major credit-rating firms have threatened to lower their top triple-A rating on U.S. debt if the White House and Congress don't come to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. We now have a total of eight days to get legislation written and passed, and in any case, the rating agencies will require both spending cuts that seem unreachable, as well as some reasonable assurance that actual will to get spending under control exists.

At the moment, neither of those requirements seems to exist. Get ready: U.S. debt is about to get a historic downgrade.

Why Tablet Commerce May Soon Trump Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce and mobile app use now has become a sort of bifurcated phenomenon. Traditionally, "mobile" tended to refer to use of mobile phones to support some category of usage. These days, "mobile" apps and usage refer both to mobile "small screen" devices and "larger screen" tablets, plus notebook and other "large screens" used in an tether-less context.

And there now is some thinking that widespread use of tablet devices could change user behavior in the e-commerce area. Ownership of tablet devices in the U.S. market, for example, is estimated by Forrester Research to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 51 percent from 2010 to 2015. So why might that matter?

Arguably most e-commerce takes place on PC type screens, though more commerce, especially digital content sales, happens on mobile phones and smaller screen devices such as iPods. So the obvious question is how behavior could change as more users have tablet-sized screens with them in a mobile and untethered context. Inside the home or office, it is likely that more e-commerce will start to occur on tablets simply because those are the devices people carry with them.

Outside the home or office, there might be greater e-commerce activity, though one suspects much of that activity will consist of digital goods purchases, ranging from books to music to games to digital products used in the context of gaming.

Forrester expects that as tablet device ownership and usage grows, consumers will also adopt tablet commerce rapidly, as this simple and portable device both expands the opportunities that consumers have to shop and has the potential to make the experience of shopping more engaging.

Furthermore, the most-innovative web retailers will also accelerate the tablet commerce trend by using tablets to supplement existing sales tools (e.g., kiosks, POS devices, even sales associates) in stores.

Google+ "Real Names" and Identities is an Issue for Some

Google has come under some criticism by users for not allowing pseudonyms of various types, such as names using odd characters or fake names. Google VP Vic Gundotra acknowledges the issue, but says the issue is not "use of pseudonyms.

He says, instead, it is about having common names and removing people who spell their names in weird ways, like using upside-down characters, or who are using obviously fake names, like 'god' or worse. That might be a design philosophy aligned with Google+ efforts to connect real people in natural ways. That task arguably is harder, or subject to "gaming," if "non-real" or "non-natural" names are used.

Gundotra says Google has made some mistakes, in that regard, while doing the first pass at Google+ and that they are learning. The issue is different from the "anonymous" poster or anonymous identity considerations that in some cases can be important.

Mobile Banking: Tangible Benefits in Africa

Africa mobile phone boat owning businessman"It may seem unlikely, given its track record in technological development, but Africa is at the center of a mobile revolution," says a report published in the Guardian. The most dramatic example of this is mobile banking.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Google Sites Makes It Easier to Build a Mobile Site

"The Google Sites mobile experience also got an upgrade. We added five new mobile site templates to make it easy to build and launch a site that looks great on the small screen. This video explains how.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

How Coca-Cola Sees All Media Efforts

Coca-Cola may have far more budget and resources than most companies.  

One of the key parts of the Coca-Cola approach to media is the use of three domains: paid (advertising), earned (social media), owned (brand events, sites) that in many cases overlap.

As Wendy Clark, SVP of Integrated Marketing and Communication for Coca-Cola will tell you, media is viewed as paid, earned, owned, and shared. 

This is not at all unique to Coke, but certainly sets the stage for understanding how the company views and segments its overall marketing. Read more here.

In past decades, earned media would primarily have been seen as “stories in newspapers, magazines, on radio or TV.” Notice the change: all the “earned” exposure is earned on social media.

Coca-Cola’s concept of “liquid” means the company’s content is produced in a framework of dynamic storytelling that has a natural affinity to go to the furthest points possible. They are thinking strictly in terms of how the content they produce will be shareable, how it will relevantly flow across networks, cultures, and personal touch points.

Also, part of the thinking is profoundly social, in the sense that brand advocates are among the desired outcomes. Joe Tripodi, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer of Coca-Cola, says that “awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level.”

“I used to think that loyalty was the highest rung on the consumer pyramid until I became the CMO of Allstate Insurance,” he says. “There, I saw clearly that so much business was driven through personal referrals and advocacy by individuals for their agent.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Social Media Bubble

Venture capital king Ben Horowitz, who apparently engineered Skype’s $8.5 billion sale to Microsoft, says there is no Internet investing bubble, for a number of reasons. “With costs 100 times lower, programmer productivity 10 times higher, and the market 50 times larger, it stands to reason that many more Internet businesses will work today than the last time around,” he argues.

Moreover, “software is eating the world,” transforming or obliterating industries like print publishing, music distribution, radio, and direct marketing, he notes. With so much new business right around the corner, he argued that the high stock prices attached to social media “have not become completely divorced from any rational thought."

What happens in bubbles is that people come up with all kinds of reasons why valuations that seem out of whack really are not out of whack.

Why Google is Great for SEO

"Having done some digging with the rest of the team at PR company Punch to find out a bit more about how it works, we found that Google is a great source of links that can be used for SEO benefit," says Alex Smith at Punch Communications. "Google has opted to allow links that pass page rank in contrast to the other major networks such as Facebook and Twitter which only allow links that Google’s spiders can’t follow, and I think it’s likely that this could be part of the Google project strategy to grow as big as the two social media giants."

Bad Tweets Can Cost an Enterprise $4 Million

Symantec's 2011 Social Media Protection Flash Poll shows how expensive leaked information on social media really can be and a bad Tweet can cost a company as much as $4 million.

The typical enterprise experienced nine social media incidents, such as employees posting confidential information publicly over the past year, with 94 percent suffering negative consequences including damage to their reputations, loss of customer trust, data loss and lost revenue.

Social media incidents cost a typical company $4 million over the past 12 months, Symantec estimates. More than 90 percent of respondents who experienced a social media incident also suffered negative consequences as a result, including:
reduced stock price (average cost: $1,038,401 USD), litigation costs (average cost: $650,361 USD), direct financial costs (average cost: $641,993 USD), damaged brand reputation/loss of customer trust (average cost: $638,496 USD) and lost revenue (average cost: $619,360 USD).

The survey found the top three social media incidents:
Employees sharing too much information in public forums (46 percent),
The loss or exposure of confidential information (41%).
Increased exposure to litigation (37%)

The Top Sites for Social Media Marketing Trends

Where do 230 brand managers, executives, and marketing professionals turn for information on social media?

Google+ Isn't Ready for Business Accounts, Google Says, and Means It

Google says its Google+ service still isn't optimized for business accounts, and apparently means it. Google removed pages set up by Sesame Street and Ford Motor Company, Mashable and Search Engine Land. The reason, Google manager Christian Oestlien later explained in a post and a YouTube video, was that the “platform at the moment is not built for the business use case.” He promised that the company would continue to disable such profiles until the network rolled out a business option in the “next few months.”

Google "Doesn't Get Social"?

Is Google Finally a "Social" Company?

One Way to Explain What You Do

Accedian probably gets asked quite a lot what a "NID" is.

9% More Time Spent in Mobile Apps Than Internet

mobile marketing apps usagePeople are spending more time inside mobile application on average than they are on the web, according to Flurry. Playing games and social networking represent 79 percent of people's time, according to Flurry. The rest is news, entertainment, and other apps.

Do Daily Deals Work?

daily deal sitesFor some businesses, use of daily deal sites might help boost sales and increase new customers, while for others, it might not. Restaurants, for example, seem to be a great fit for these daily deal sites, whereas other businesses might not benefit as well.

Google+ Reaches 20 Million Users

Google Plus User Stats resized 600Say what you will about Google+ chances at getting Google into the social networking space in a big way, but it certainly has gotten adoption fast.

Read more here.

Verizon Second Quarter Results: 63% of Revenue is From Wireless

Over the last year, Verizon wireline voice revenue has dropped from 17 percent of total revenue to 14 percent. Wireless revenue grew to 63 percent of total revenue, up from 61 percent a year ago. FiOS services, which includes some voice contribution, contributes 14 percent of total revenue, up from 13 percent a year ago. Read more here.

As was the case for AT&T, fixed line broadband service revenue was up substantially, growing 21 percent, year over year. FiOS-based revenues now represent 57 percent of total fixed-line consumer revenues.

But one might wonder, given the huge investment Verizon has made in FiOS, compared to its huge profile in wireless, how valuable that investment has been. Nobody would question the need to have made the broadband upgrade, though some might still wonder whether another,less expensive design would have been sufficient. The contrary view is that Verizon might have done less well had it chosen not to upgrade to a full fiber-to-home network.

And some will argue the upside lies in the future, as bandwidth demands continue to increase. But cannot escape notice that AT&T gets half its revenue from wireless, while Verizon gets 63 percent from wireless. As policymakers continue to urge service providers to invest more, the question of financial return looms especially large.

Fixed-line network revenue continues to drop as a percentage of total, for both AT&T and Verizon. That is not the environment most conducive to the notion of aggressive investment.

Is It a "Tablet" Market or an "iPad" Market?

Strategy Analytics says last-quarter tablet shipments (quarter ending June 2011) topped 15.1 million units, a material increase over the 3.5 million units from the year-ago period. Apple remained in the number-one slot with 9.25 million iPads sold, representing a 61 percent share of the tablet market overall.

At the same time, Android tablets have gone from 2.9 percent market share in June 2010 to 30.1 percent in June 2011, a 27 percentage point increase based on sales of 4.55 million units. In the year-ago quarter Apple enjoyed a 94 percent share. The issue, over the longer term, is whether the relevant market is "tablets" or "iPads." It isn't a rhetorical question. The "MP3 market" is not nearly as accurate description of the portable music player market as "the iPod market," some would argue.

What every other supplier than Apple has to worry about is some similar development in the tablet market. Things will change, but at the moment some observers would ask why a user should buy an Android device instead of an iPad. "Because it costs less" would be a reasonable answer, but is not generally the case today. Likewise, application richness currently favors iPad, not the Android ecosystem.

iPad Trouncing Android in Enterprise

According to Good Technology, which provides mobile device management services to 49 of the Fortune 100 and 182 of the Fortune 500, 27 percent of the mobile devices activated by its enterprise customers during the second quarter of 2011 were tablets. And most of those were iPads.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

$16 Billion U.S. Small Business Voice Spending in 2015

By many estimates, U.S. businesses with five to 99 employees account for around half the U.S. gross domestic product and more than half the employment. So it is not surprising that In-Stat estimates, by 2015, small business spending on wireline voice services will approach $16 billion, which represents nearly 50 percent of all spending in the category.

“Wireline voice, although not growing in any significant way, is holding steady across all sizes of business,” says Greg Potter. It appears that access services will fare better than international long distance, though. “One service segment we see that could be vulnerable due to alternative technologies like VoIP, is international long distance services. Even though the total dollar spend remains high, we see negative growth over the forecast period.”

In small business, the hospitality and food vertical will spend the most on wireline voice services, reaching $2 billion by 2012. Total toll-free service expenditures will increase by $134 million over the five-year forecast period.

Enterprise spending in the government segment will reach $4.7 billion by 2015. Small offices and small offices also will spend $267 million on other services in 2015, which includes audio-conferencing services, outbound calling services, and pre-paid calling.

Mobile Auto Site Visits Up 465% Last 12 Months, Says Jumptap

While visitors to online auto sites are growing at 30 percent year over year, visitors to mobile auto sites have grown 463 percent, more than 15 times the rate of growth for online visitation, a new study by Jumptap has found.

The research showed that those visiting mobile auto content sites were more likely to own a tablet than the overall mobile population, and also much more likely to own a smart phone. A full 69 percent of visitors accessing mobile auto sites are using smart phones.

Do Mobiles Help Market Researchers, or Not?

Is mobile research, especially smart phone research, going to rescue market research and present us with a panoply of new options, or is it destined to be a niche player? Offering their views in this webinar are:

Michael Alioto, Vice President, Marketing Sciences, Gongos Research
Reg Baker, COO, Market Strategies International
Leonard Murphy, Editor-in-Chief, GreenBook Blog
Ray Poynter, author of the Handbook of Online & Social Media Research

Twitter is all about real-time commerce?

"Twitter wants to be “the world in your pocket,” according to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, but more than anything, it wants to be the engine of mobile and real-time commerce in your pocket. The company sees a future in “removing friction” from e-commerce and allowing companies to target their users directly in real time.

That needs a little "unpacking." When a social network talks about enabling e-commerce, it means use of the Twitter platform as a way of delivering offers to potential customers.

The Twitter CEO said that the company sees a number of opportunities when it comes to enabling — and taking a share of the revenue from — direct e-commerce with users via the service, because “we already see a tremendous amount of commerce taking place on the platform.”

As an example, Costolo talked about how Google tweeted a promotion code that people could use for tickets to its recent IO conference, and about 100 tickets sold in a little over 10 minutes. “That’s $55,000 with one tweet in 13 minutes,” said the Twitter CEO. In another example, the San Diego Chargers tweeted about tickets that were left for a game, and in a little over half an hour they were gone. The upshot of all of that, he said, is that “there’s a commerce opportunity there for us to take advantage of if we want.”

When Better Broadband Might Not Help

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, in detailing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on various sectors of the Wisconsin economy...