Thursday, April 14, 2011

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Fewer than 1 percent of website visits come directly from a social media URL according to research just released by customer satisfaction analytics experts ForeSee Results.

The company surveyed 300,000 consumers on more than 180 websites across a dozen private and public sector industries. The referring social media sites covered were not just the usual suspects like Facebook and Twitter, but over 40 sites including Flickr, Foursquare, Scribd, Stumbleupon, Meetup and Youtube.

It’s not all bad news for social media marketeers. 18 percent of site visitors (averaged across surveyed websites) report being influenced by social media to visit a website. However, there was considerable variation in the results for different companies.

The social media budgets of marketers is constantly increasing as the survey data to the right shows. Forsee Results’ research showed that the resources companies put into social media and the results they receive vary wildly. Spending more money does not automatically lead to higher numbers of visits to websites, brand awareness or sales.

Promotional emails are also sometimes neglected in favor of the more glamorous social media, in spite of the fact that such emails influence 32 percent of purchases.

Companies themselves seem a bit confused about their objectives when it comes to social media. Internet Retailer Magazine surveyed 400 U.S. companies (19 percent of them retailers) in December 2009 and January 2010. It found that 74 percent of companies wanted social media to drive traffic to their websites, while only 56 percent wanted it to increase sales. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Next Story: Why mobile app success is more than just download numbers Previous Story: Battle brewing at Microsoft over retail store expansion

Charlie Sheen’s use of technology and web 2.0 has earned him big dollars and a ‘winning’ formula for his own personal brand.

The Two And A Half Men star has greatly benefited from his own ability to embrace the internet, exploring all the marketing tools available to him. From breaking a twitter record, to hosting his own internet show on Ustream, the actor has done what few in Hollywood have ever achieved. Parody videos created by fans and websites dedicated to his one-liners are giving the actor non-stop free promotion and this in turn has created an audience of marketers for Charlie Sheen.

His infamous ABC interview gave birth to many of the viral video spoofs we have seen of his ‘radical’ behavior, which in turn, has fueled his twitter fan growth, and other media interview requests. With so many people discussing and sharing his antics, his own brand of controversy has been implanted onto the web, and has helped him sell tickets for his tour dates.

On top of that, Sheen’s regular updates with his fans on twitter provide a direct relationship and route to market. Sure that sounds a little cold, but he does have a following he can reach out to about his products.

Looking at what he did this week, Sheen took the next step in his own web fueled marketing campaign by making a self-parody video. This clever twist gave yet another viral hit to his name, as bloggers and social media re-posted and discussed how outrageous it was to see him spoof himself.

With many dates left on Charlie Sheen’s tour, the actor has a non-stop ‘Bi-Winning’ 24/7 marketing campaign, and other celebrities in the entertainment industry should learn from his online success.

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Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen is locked out by a high school

Being locked out by the NFL is one thing, but Chicago Bears tight end Greg Olsen had to deal with another rejection recently when he was kicked off a high school field while trying to work out.

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Fox <b>News</b> Reports That GWU Student&#39;s Suicide &#39;Tragically Coincides <b>...</b>

UPDATE: As of 4:30 p.m. EST, Fox has apparently pulled the article in question from their site.

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NBC <b>News</b>, CNBC, MSNBC All Particpating in NBCU&#39;s 2011 &#39;Earth Week <b>...</b>

The networks of NBC Universal, including CNBC, MSNBC and NBC News, are all lining up green-themed programming for the 2011 installment of the company's Green is Universal “Earth Week” April 17-24. On “Today” Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda ...

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Apple has reportedly become more aggressive in securing components from overseas suppliers, making moves such as upfront cash payments to both ensure supply and block out competitors.

Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities said in a note to investors on Thursday that Apple began "aggressively attacking" the component situation in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that struck the country. The iPhone maker reportedly sent executives to suppliers immediately to ensure adequate supply of components, and also began offering upfront cash payments.

Separately, White's contacts in Taiwan also revealed that Apple is allegedly securing component capacity using what is known as a "three cover guarantee," referring to capacity, stock and price. Apple's move is seen as one that could potentially block out competitors and prevent them from building ample supply of devices.

The information comes as a separate report out of the Far East suggested that a one-month delay for Research in Motion's PlayBook tablet was as a result of Apple securing most of the available touch panel production capacity. The delay has forced the PlayBook to go on sale after Apple's in-demand iPad 2.

Last month, it was said that Apple could agree to price hikes in order to secure touch panel supply, particularly in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake. Apple was said to be in talks with component makers about touch panel pricing, and allegedly considered some price increases in negotiations.

In the company's last quarterly earnings call, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook revealed that Apple had invested $3.9 billion of its nearly $60 billion in cash reserves in long-term supply contracts. He declined to reveal what components Apple had put its money toward, citing competitive concerns, but said that it was a strategic move that would position the company well in the future.

Analysts largely believe that the secret investment was related to touch panel displays that are the centerpiece of devices like the iPhone and iPad. One cost breakdown estimated that such an investment could secure Apple 136 million iPhone displays, or 60 million iPad touch panels.

It's a move similar to 2005, when Apple inked a major deal with Samsung to secure longterm supply of flash memory. NAND flash would go on to become a major part of Apple's products, including the iPhone, iPad and new MacBook Air.

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One important thing about cities is their sex appeal — their magnetism. Places flourish when they attract people, resources, opportunities, and ideas, and match them to one another. Cities are much more than the built environment of roads and real estate. Cities are about relationships, and whether people have access to opportunities. Cities are one big dating game.

When cities lose their magnetism, the whole population suffers. The deterioration of Detroit began well before recent auto industry woes; its population plunge was confirmed by the latest Census. Some attribute decline to bad urban redevelopment schemes or corrupt politics that failed to improve schools or reduce crime. "A once-great American city today repels people of talent and ambition," a Wall Street Journal columnist wrote recently. A local leader told him, "It's been class warfare on steroids, and ... so many Detroiters who had the means — black and white — have fled the city."

Cleveland is another shrunken city with significant poverty. In the 1980s, Cleveland Tomorrow, a coalition of major company CEOs, sponsored downtown projects, including a new baseball stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This attracted luxury apartment developments, luring the affluent to the center city and revitalizing it. But inner city ghettoes were barely touched, and the region continued to lose high-wage manufacturing.

There's a tale of two cities within many city borders: one rich, the other very poor. Dubai, a gleaming new city of luxury high rises, is ringed by hidden slums for temporary service workers from the underclass of Asian nations. In New York, the middle class, including young families, cannot afford to live in the city. Baton Rouge has affluent areas with some of Louisiana's best quality-of-life indicators and extreme poverty areas with some of the worst. Other divides include racial and ethnic enclaves that vary in opportunities — for example, minority entrepreneurs with promising business ideas who can't access mainstream sources of capital and support.

Cities should be connectors but can have connection problems. Cities are where all parts of life come together: jobs, health, education, environmental quality. Yet, in most cities, businesses, schools, hospitals, and city services still operate in silos. And the political boundaries of cities don't encompass their true extent or the flow of people, as the Brookings' Metropolitan Policy Center points out. IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge supports efforts to use technology for connected regional solutions.

Interdependence among urban issues makes vicious cycles worse. If there is no action on high youth unemployment or poor educational quality and high school dropout rates, then too many African-American males end up in prison. High crime rates make sections of cities undesirable, and neighborhoods deteriorate. Aging buildings and toxic environments then cause health problems, such as lead poisoning or asthma, which disproportionately affect inner city children. Children in poor health have trouble learning, learning problems are associated with school dropouts, and vicious cycles continue.

Pivotal investments can start virtuous cycles. The transformation of Miami from sleepy southern city to international trade hub and informal capital of Latin America was propelled by investments in a world class airport and a flood of immigrants from Fidel Castro's Cuba. Mayors and civic leaders took advantage of this to attract new businesses and tout Latin connections, as my book World Class describes. But progress stalls if benefits don't reach the grass roots, racial divides persist, and major institutions fail to collaborate. The Miami Foundation's emerging leaders program is designed to deploy diverse younger professionals for major civic projects.

Revitalizing cities requires national urban policy investments and social innovations on the ground. Leadership might come from:

  • Enlightened mayors who build public-private partnerships or join Cities of Service, which align the city and non-profits around high-impact goals.

  • Business leaders, such as former Miami Herald publisher David Lawrence, who rallied Miami-Dade County to vote for a tax increase (Yes to new taxes!) to create the Children's Trust, a fund to improve life for all children.

  • Faith communities, such as Rev. Raymond Jetson's community organizing toward a coalition for "A Better Baton Rouge."

  • Financiers, such as Tim Ferguson and Ron Walker, who co-founded Next Street to invest in inner city businesses.

  • Social entrepreneurs, such as Hubie Jones, who wants to replicate a birth-to-college educational model like the Harlem Children's Zone in Boston.

  • Community foundations with a strategic perspective, seeking integrated solutions across issues such as youth employment, education, health, and green plans.

The best social innovations will connect people and institutions, producing an infrastructure for collaboration. That social infrastructure will increase the sex appeal of cities by going beyond initial attraction to build lasting relationships for lasting improvements.

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Groundwater radiation level at nuke plant rises: TEPCO | Kyodo <b>News</b>

The concentration levels of radioactive iodine and cesium in groundwater near the troubled Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have increased up to several dozen times in one week, suggesting that toxic ...

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How <b>News</b> Corp Got Lost In Myspace | Yinka Adegoke | Voices <b>...</b>

As Rupert Murdoch stepped into the Grand Ballroom of San Francisco's Palace Hotel at the Web 2.0 conference in October 2007, the developers and engineers who packed the room fell into a respectful hush.

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