Thursday, June 30, 2011

ZTE builds VAS platform for Vodafone Essar in India

Mobile VAS

ZTE has built and deployed an advanced VAS platform for mobile operator Vodafone Essar in India.

With the completion of the platform, Vodafone customers can avail the Vodafone Newswrap, a Mobile Newspaper service offering news from around the world, on their mobile phones. The introduction of the service will play a role in enhancing VAS revenues for Vodafone Essar.

As a part of the project, ZTE India has created the MNS and MMSC platforms, under a revenue-sharing model.

Data by InsightVAS

Yahoo's Apps Search for Mobiles

Realizing that mobile searches are increasingly taking over PC searches, Yahoo has introduced two new search tools to make mobile app searches a less tiring task.

Yahoo! App Search for the PC and the Yahoo! AppSpot for iPhone/Android will make it easier for users to browse through the thousands of mobile apps available on the iPhone Store and Google’s Android Market.

The Yahoo! AppSpot is a free mobile applet that allows users to locate and view a comprehensive description, snapshot, price and star rating of the apps.

The highlights of this tool are:

  • Personalized Recommendations: A daily personalized recommendation regarding the apps you have recently searched
  • Precise Results: Shows you the most relevant apps by matching the titles and keywords you type in during your search
  • Related Apps: While searching for an appropriate app, you can now look forward to receive a list of several related apps within the “more apps you’ll love” section that best match your requirements
  • At-a-Glance Shopping: You can see comprehensive information including price, overall star ratings, screenshots, and description on one screen instead of continual navigation through the screen
  • Fast & Easy Downloads: Direct links to the specific apps on the Apple App Store or Android Marketplace will be provided to allow for a quick and easy download

The Yahoo! App Search is a computer-based version of AppSpot which can be found on the top panel navigation panel on the Yahoo! Site. This feature allows users to conveniently search and download apps to their mobile devices directly from a desktop. Users can search for an app by category, operating system (OS) or by simply typing the keywords into the search box.

It’s apparent that Yahoo! is trying to reclaim its dwindling existence in the search market and at the same time is adapting to the steadily evolving trend of mobile searches.

Have you tried either of these tools yet? If so, feel free to share your thoughts below.

Article by SearchNews

Yahoo Apps Search

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google’s “Me on the Web” Aims to Help Manage Your Online Reputation

Google's Me on the Web

Keeping personal information off the web is quite difficult these days. With most of us active on social networks, blogging or even tweeting, maintaining privacy can sometimes seem an impossible task especially when our details appear on search engines.

Taking this issue into consideration Google has introduced a new tool “Me on the Web” that allows users to manage and control their personal details appearing in search results.

The “Me on the Web” tab has been placed in every user’s Google dashboard just below the ‘Account Details’ and contains various help documents that can be referred to for controlling and managing your personal identity and information on the web. This tool shows you all the websites (containing your name and contact information) that are synced to your Google profile so that you can moderate them accordingly.

If you’re familiar with Google Alerts, then you’re probably quite proficient with reputation management and the notifications it provides for any mention of your name, email address and other personal information being used across the web. For those who dont use Google Alerts, “Me on the Web” makes it easier to set up notifications by automatically suggesting some common search terms that you might want to monitor.

Perhaps the best feature of this new tool is the suggestions from Google on how to control third parties posting personal information about you. By using the links to resources under the “Me on the Web” tab, Google inlcudes suggestions like contacting the webmaster of any site and asking your personal information to be removed from their site. You can also report to Google directly asking for legal action, where ever applicable, via an online tool available under the “Me on the Web” tab.

Though Google is not the first company to address and take action on the online privacy concerns of users, with a centralized tool like “Me on the Web” Google is certainly helping the cause.

Article by Searchnews

Review : I have a Dream from Rashmi Bansal

Finally done with the book. Please read about the book at my older post "I have a Dream from Rashmi Bansal".

Personal Rating: 8/10

The book was great and in Bansal's usual pattern. I liked the first two editions more than this one. And the theme of social entrepreneurship was really catchy and needed for the youth.

Some of the stories went in too much details which got boring after few pages. Same with the projects. 3-4 projects were less interesting (in my view) and was less inspiring. I knew quite a few of organization who are doing much better and bigger things.

But well the stories are inspiring and engaging. People who enjoyed R.Bansal's pervious edtions will also enjoy this one. In a nutshell, It's a really good book and worth a read for every entrepreneur.

I enjoyed it and would recommend to get a copy at earliest. Motivating and Inspiring for anyone who is/wants to be a social entrepreneur or working in the similar field.

Nokia launches Mobile Money Client on its all major dev

Nokia Mobile Money

Nokia has facilitated its vast range of mobile devices with mobile money client to in India. The mobile money service provided by Nokia offers the unbanked and under-banked groups to access financial servies through their mobile phones.

Nokia has made Mobile Money Client services to a major range of Nokia devices including high end Symbian smartphone devices, Nokia´s Series 40 feature phones, as well as the Series 30 entry level devices and support both keyboard, touch and combined devices.

Nokia has already providing its mobile financial services initiative by partnering with Union Bank of India (UBI), Yes Bank, Obopay and a wide range of merchants, retailers and business correspondents. The services, called Union Bank Money and Mobile Money Services by Yes Bank, are already available in several regions and are being rolled out across India in the forthcoming quarters.

Consumers will have the option of choosing and subscribing to either Union Bank Money or YES Bank Mobile Money Services from their Nokia devices. The app can be activated at Nokia retail and other outlets, which are also, authorized banking correspondents of Yes Bank and/or Union Bank of India.

Mobile Money services eliminate dependence on the physical presence of a branch or availability of internet banking services.

Data by InsightVAS.

Unwanted Calls may soon become history

Department of Telecom India

The end of unwanted texts and calls from marketing executives might be near. Last year, TRAI had announced that calling phone numbers registered in the Do-Not-Call Registry (over a 100 million mobile phone users) would invoke a first fine of Rs and up to Rs 2.5 lakh for the sixth offense, after which any failure to comply would lead to a 2 year blacklist.

Previously, penalties stood at Rs 500 and Rs 1000. This powerful measure had not been legislated, even after 4 (missed) deadlines. Now, according to an official's statement to the Economic Times, this measure might be formally passed by end June.

The new rules will let you screen out all telemarketing calls, while opting to receive SMSs, which can also be filtered by your area of choice, ranging from banking and financial products to real estate, education, health, consumer goods, automobiles, communication, entertainment, tourism and leisure.

Further, you won't be receiving this text messages at odd hours - the 9PM to 9 AM telemarketing text window will be closed. This will also be applicable to unregistered customers.

The TRAI recently sent a new communication to the Indian Department of Telecom, asking for completion of registering telemarketers with the '140' number series, an easy way to spot unsolicited commercial calls.

However, BSNL is asking for more time (till the end of the calendar year)to upgrade to the new ten-digit numbers starting with 140.

'The delay is due to BSNL - most of their switching infrastructure is old and it will be challenge for them to get it ready to handle the new numbering series on landlines. On the mobile side, the infrastructure is largely in place across all operators," explained Rajan Mathews, who heads the Cellular Operators Association of India, the industry lobby representing all GSM players.

There have also been reports of more powers in curbing erring telemarketers. Action on spam SMS and telemarketing scenario was held up due to the legal issues between regulators and the Department of Telecom.

Data from InsightVAS

Monday, June 27, 2011

Facebbook Virtual Currency credit comes to India

Facebook Credits, a virtual currency that enables users of the social networking sites to buy virtual goods and services in Facebook games and apps and watch movies on the site, is now available in India. This is a good news for the developers who can now use the credits to charge for the apps and games they develop on Facebook. Not only developers, even Indian e-commerce businesses will benefit from these Facebook credits.

In the blog yesterday, Facebook said that it has added new international payment methods and improved payout workflows for developers using Facebook Credits. Now the credits can be purchased by the users using credit card and PayPal account. You can find details of the payment methods supported in your region, in this list.

Each Facebook Credit can be bought at 10 cents ($ 0.10). Facebook developers can redeem their Facebook Credits by connecting their Paypal account to their Facebook account.

Facebook introduced the concept of Credits two years ago in the US. Since then it has become a rage on the social networking site. Earlier this year, when Warner Brothers decided to screen “ Batman: The Dark Knight” movie on the site, one could watch the movie for over 48 hours, with unlimited number of pauses, by paying 30 Facebook Credits. Facebook users in India missed out on the opportunity, however as they could not use Facebook Credits that time.

Article by Swati Ramnath

Are you scored as influencer on twitter?

Imagine a world in which we are assigned a number that indicates how influential we are. This number would help determine whether you receive a job, a hotel-room upgrade or free samples at the supermarket.
If your influence score is low, you don't get the promotion, the suite or the complimentary cookies. This is not science fiction. It's happening to millions of social network users.

If you have a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account, you are already being judged -or will be soon.
Companies with names like Klout, PeerIndex and Twitter Grader are in the process of scoring millions, eventually billions, of people on their level of influence -or in the lingo, rating “influencers.“ Yet the companies are not simply looking at the number of followers or friends you've amassed.
Rather, they are beginning to measure influence in more nuanced ways, and posting their judgements -in the form of a score -online.

Influence scores typically range from 1 to 100. On Klout, the dominant player in this space, the average score is in the high teens. A score in the 40s suggests a strong, but niche, following.
A 100, on the other hand, means you're Justin Bieber.
On PeerIndex, the median score is 19. A perfect 100, the company says, is “god-like.“

How does one become an influencer?

After analysing 22 million tweets last year, researchers at Hewlett-Packard found that it's not enough to attract Twitter followers -you must inspire those followers to take action. That could mean persuading them to try Bikram yoga, donate to the Sierra Club or share a recipe for apple pie.
In other words, influence is about engagement and motivation, not just racking up legions of followers.

Article by Stephanie Rosenbloom in NYT

Google Extends Ad Targeting Based on Browsing History. Good or Bad?

The way Google’s Interest-based advertising works is that sites that join the Google Display Network (which includes Google’s Display partners, YouTube, and specific Google properties that display Adwords ads), and serve ads to users based on browsing history. Google’s Display Network and Search Network are separate, and combine to make up the entire Google Network, but advertisers have the option of running their ads on the Google Network.

On the Inside AdWords blog, Google Display Network Product Manager Jon Krafcik writes:

We’ve been slowly expanding the availability of this feature, and as of today, interest categories are now available to all AdWords advertisers. It works like this: our system looks at the types of pages a user visits, taking into account how recently and frequently those pages have been visited, and then associates their browser with relevant interest categories. Using these categories, you can show ads to the people most likely to purchase your products or services, and you can reach them across all types of sites in the Google Display Network in addition to contextually relevant sites.

With over 1,000 interest categories from ecotourism to mobile phones, we’re confident you’ll find a category that fits your business. And with over 500 million users interested in these categories who visit the Display Network every day, you’ll be able to reach a huge number of potential customers. You pay only for clicks or impressions at auction prices, as always. Our beta advertisers have used interest categories to successfully meet all kinds of goals, from an advertiser increasing brand lift by 40% to a shoe retailer driving 400% more conversions at a lower advertising cost per sale.

Google claims that the Display Network reaches 70% of unique Internet users around the world. “The Display Network has the advantage of reaching potential customers at different points of the buying cycle,” Google says. “Not every potential customer is focused on conducting a search. Not every visitor is ready to buy at a given moment. The advertiser’s challenge is to capture their attention at the right time. For example, a user might begin a search for digital cameras with just an interest in reading reviews. While reading a review, though, that user might note the ads of online retailers or click on the ads themselves. With search-only advertising, this customer would have been missed.”

The addition of interest-based advertising should theoretically help the advertiser in reaching the customer at the right time.


Here’s a video Google put out about privacy as it relates to interest-based advertising, back in ’09:

Google users can edit the categories of ads they wish to be shown. I’m not sure the average user will know to do this or even think about it, but Google has a page where you can go and adjust this, or even opt-out entirely. Right now, Google has me set up to view ads from the following categories: celebrities and entertainment news, online video, advertising and marketing, Internet software, Mac OS, search engines, SEO and marketing, business news, politics, and social networks.

While these categories, I would imagine are relevant enough to me, I would hardly say they’re representative of my interests at large or even my web use at large. Google will let us add (or remove) categories, as we like, however. You can add sub-categories from Arts & Entertainment, Autos & Vehicles, Beauty & Fitness, Books & Literature, Business & Industrial, Computers & Electronics, Finance, Food & Drink, Games, Hobbies & Leisure, Home & Garden, Internet & Telecom, Jobs & Education, Law & Government, News, Online Communities, People & Society, Pets & Animals, Real Estate, Reference, Science, Shopping, Sports, Travel, World Localities, and Demographics.

The interests are associated with the advertising cookie that’s stored in your web browser. When you opt out, Google disables your cookie and no longer associates interest and demographic categories with your browser. Your ads are likely to be less relevant as a result. Here’s another privacy video from Google talking specifically about cookies:

On the Ads Preferences page, Google says, “Google is a participating member of the Network Advertising Initiative and follows the industry privacy standards for online advertising. You can opt out of this cookie, as well as other companies’ cookies used for interest-based ads, by visiting the choices page. If you want to persist your opt-out of interest-based ads from all NAI member companies, you can install the Keep My Opt-Outs plugin.”

The “Keep my opt-outs” plugin is essentially a “Do Not Track” mechanism that lets users opt out from receiving personalized ads as they browse the web.


As Facebook becomes an increasingly attractive alternative for online ad spending, Google is smart to ramp up its targeting abilities, although I’m not sure they match the targeting power of Facebook’s. Google’s is much more about timing, which can certainly be effective, but in reality can be hit or miss. Facebook has the advantage of all its users “likes” which can really be far more representative of their “interests” than simply listing somewhat broad categories in their Google settings.

For example, with Facebook Ads, I can create an ad that targets 21-year-old males who live in Lexington, KY, and Like the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the band “My Morning Jacket,” and drink “Pabst Blue Ribbon”. That can be pretty powerful. There’s a reason these ads are gaining popularity, particularly among local businesses. I report from MerchantCircle this month found that 22% of local merchants have used Facebook Ads, and that two-thirds of them would use them again.

Facebook and Google are becoming competitors in more ways than one, but advertising is obviously a key area, as it’s the real money maker for both companies. This also comes at a time as Google’s future in advertising is uncertain. The company is facing multiple antitrust ordeals, including a potentially lengthy investigation from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and questioning from the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice is looking into the company’s proposed acquisition of ad optimization firm AdMeld.

The FTC is said to be sending out requests for information from companies that deal with Google, and it will be very interesting to see which companies these include. Google will argue things like “the competition is a click away,” and probably that it’s main competitor Bing (using Microsoft AdCenter, which is also powering Yahoo search advertising) continues to gain market share from month to month. In online advertising alone, Google may also point to an increasingly popular Facebook advertising platform, as Facebook is clearly a force to be reckoned with on the web with its nearly 700 million registered users (yes, the number is disputed, but there’s not denying that Facebook is an enormous force).

Article by Chris Crum

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Top 10 Tips for Lead Management

Lead management is the ability to:

• Capture leads when they’re searching

• Nurture leads that aren’t yet ready

• Score leads so you know who’s ready for sales

• Give leads to sales at the right time

• Evaluate leads to close the loop on lead quality

Done right, lead management creates more educated buyers, helps you better understand their needs, and ultimately means more revenue.

So how do you do it right?

1. Nurture leads before sending them to sales

2. Use thought leadership to influence buying criteria

3. Work with sales to define when a lead is “salesready”

4. Score leads using implicit behavioral data

5. Give sales detailed information to ensure a seamless hand-off

6. Track sales follow-up; evaluate leads with sales’ input

7. Track every marketing activity, not just lead source

8. Progressively understand the prospect’s needs

9. Track anonymous visitors and tie their data to new leads

10. Develop & enforce data quality

Read in details by downloading there Top 10 Tips for Best Practice Lead Management from Marketo.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

1.3 bn users to adopt Mobile Instant Messaging by 2016; poses no threat to SMS

mobile media

Juniper Research, the England based leading analyst firms in the wireless sector, in its new report has predicted that over 1.3 billion mobile phone users will switch to the advance ‘Instant Messaging’ facility by the year 2016.

The research says, the foray of new services such as Apple’s iMessage, AOL’S AIM, Blackberry Messenger, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Nokia’s Pushmail and Microsoft’s Windows Live will drive subscribers’ interest towards this new version of messaging, which was earlier restricted to one-on-one and one-to-many messaging through SMSes.

Within the SMS market, revenue from Application-to-Person (A2P) SMS will exceed $70bn by 2016, overtaking Person-to-Person (P2P) during that year. A2P messaging - defined as those messages which are sent to or from an application - has a wide variety of use-cases, including financial services, ticketing, and any other service involving sending or receiving a large number of messages.

In addition, despite SMS charges coming down significantly over years, the charges for an outgoing national SMS remains at about INR 1.0 per local message on prepaid and INR 0.50 on postpaid. There are SMS packs for heavy users of SMS, however, the adoption of these packs remains relatively limited. Given that a majority of the student and youth population is on prepaid plans, the availability of a free (or in other words, included in majority of data plans) messaging alternative, especially for casual, instant communication makes a lot of sense for this section of users. Other feature-phone providers are also embedding IM aggregation clients in their devices which work on the data channel to allow free chat, but have not become as visible as BBM. The affordability benefit is much clearer for international messaging on-the-go, providing an alternative to paying INR 5.0 per SMS for international texting, and is a significant use case for urban Indians with an international network of friends and relatives.

But, at the same time no threat to the existing SMS service has been observed with the popularity of Instant Messaging. The main reasons behind this are certain limitations in terms of usage of IM. One of the most prominent one is the restriction of having smartphones or high end handsets, the sales of which are undoubtedly increasing at a fast pace but still there is a large number of mobile users who own a basic mobile device. Secondly, the IM service restricts the communication to a specific brand (Only two persons having Blackberry devices can use Blackberry messenger), whereas, SMS has no such obligation and they can be sent to any of the network provider or handset brand.

The launch of these free Mobile IM services has been facilitated by the increasing number of smartphones in use, low-cost data packages and the development of high speed mobile networks. While some IM services are ad-funded, most are viewed by the operators as customer retention tools, with the only cost to the user being the data usage charged.

Adding to the popularity of Instant Messaging, these services offer the real-time communication and apparent absence of cost. But, the market is fragmented by different services which cannot communicate with each other. The Instant Messaging clearly demonstrates its endeavor in an internet-centric mobile ecosystem. IM is helping significantly enhance the value proposition of the mobile gadget and potentially helps developing a social network which can be monetized in the future through services and software revenue.

Article by Gaurav Maurya

Friday, June 24, 2011


What separates a good blog from the best blog. I've found that most of the best bloggers share very similar characteristics. Here are 7 keys that all of the best blogs have in common.

1. Consistency

A lot of people, when they start blogging, worry too much about frequency. How many posts per week do I need to write to get the best results? Posting frequently enough that your readers don't think you've fallen off the face of the earth is important. But, it's more important to post consistently.

When I was little, I used to look forward to every Sunday because I knew that I had an entire sections worth of colorful comic strips to enjoy at the breakfast table. If, all of a sudden, a Sunday rolled around without the comic section, I would have been devastated. This is the way you want your readers to feel. But, if you post to your blog sporadically, whenever an idea happens to pop into your head, you aren't going to achieve this. Post consistently and you will develop a loyal following who make reading your blog part of their routine.

2. Relevancy

Frequently, if someone has been blogging for a while, they will run out of things to say. This often causes writers to go off on tangents that have little if anything to do with the topic of the blog. This can be distracting and confusing to your audience, which in turn might cause them to stop following your blog. If you ever feel like you're going off on too much of a tangent ask yourself if/how this piece of content adds value to the overall theme of your blog.

3. Tenacity

Staying consistent and relevant is no easy task. In order to be successful you must be tenacious and strive to do whatever it takes to deliver high quality content to your audience. I'm not telling you to over-commit and try to write a blog post a day. Start small with something like a blog post a week, and increase your volume as you get into a rhythm.

4. Curiosity

Curiosity is going to be the quality that helps you continue to come up with interesting and insightful pieces of content. If you are constantly reading blog posts and saying to yourself "yea, I agree with that" then you aren't going to be a very successful blogger. You should be constantly questioning things that you read online, constantly asking yourself why the author has a certain perspective, and then working hard to come up with your own.

5. Personality

People enjoy reading unique perspectives. Your personality cannot be replicated by anyone, and this is the reason that you shouldn't be afraid to let it show in your writing. It's great to look to successful content creators for tips on style, but, in the end, your blog posts should be a representation of who you are. Trying to write in order to please your audience will only make your writing dull and boring.

6. Passion

I don't even really feel like I need to explain why passion is so important. If you don't love what you're writing about then it's going to show. Regardless of whether or not people agree with your opinion, they will be able to tell if you are truly passionate about what you are talking about. To me, the first few episodes of American Idol are the only ones worth watching. These are the episodes in which contestants with vocal capabilities equivalent to a parrot are told the sad news that they aren't going to be the next American Idol. It's not the headache inducing singing that is enjoyable to me. It's the passion and belief in themselves that these people bring to their performance.

7. Commitment

Blogging should not be undertaken for it's short term gains. It takes a long time to establish a readership, a voice, and the skills required to really thrive. If you don't think that maintaining a blog takes a significant amount of time and effort than you are lying to yourself. I'm not saying this to discourage you, but rather to let you know that you must really commit to every one of these keys. If you do you will be able to produce a blog that's better than 99% of the blogs out there.

Did I miss any keys that you think are critical for producing a successful blog? Let me know in the comments below.

Article by Eric Vreeland

Free Holiday Picture Slide Show


Tripadvisor have started a free service of slideshow with music from your holiday pictures. They have beautiful themes to go with your holiday settings like Beach, Family, Romantic, Outdoors, etc.

Also one can upload the pictures from their Facebook, Picasa, Flickr accounts or even MyComputer etc.

Moreover - the slideshow can be downloaded on the computer or DVD.

Overall, a good bet for your vacation photos. Try it out.

Monsoon in Lonavala Slideshow: Vivek’s trip from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India to Lonavla was created by TripAdvisor. See another Lonavla slideshow. Create your own stunning slideshow with our free photo slideshow maker.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Filters by the Websites on the internet

Very interesting session from Eli Pariser at TED Conference at Long Beach, CA in Feb.2011. He talks about the privacy and filters that are pulled upon us by the biggies like Facebook, Google, Netflix etc. Our clicking/surfing patterns are always interpreted by some complex algorithms and gives us a refined/altered/filtered data. Watch the video...its of good quality and short (9.05min).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Airport city on the cards in Navi Mumbai

The Maharashtra government plans to set up high-end townships around the new international airport at Panvel, Mumbai and promote them as special business, hospitality and amusement clusters along with residential complexes, according to a report by Ketaki Ghoge in Hindustan Times. The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) - the planning authority for the area - will prepare a master plan of 50 sq km for development around the demarcated airport site. The idea of setting up the Navi Mumbai airport as an aerotropolis (airport city), has been inspired by international airports like Washington and New York. A team of officials visited airports in the US last week to study their management of multiple airports. Louis and Berger, consultants for the Navi Mumbai international airport, sponsored the week-long trip. Officials said that in the past, townships surrounding the airports were associated with a certain degree of negativity because of the constant noise and pollution.

However, in recent times, townships around airports have become chic neighbourhoods. Officials estimate that once the Navi Mumbai airport is operational by 2012, there will be a huge demand for land exploitation to set up hotels, retail outlets and shopping malls. The state’s Urban Development Department (UDD) plans to modify development control regulations so CIDCO can offer developers additional vertical development rights in this area in exchange for a premium. “CIDCO can earn substantial revenue from this development. The townships will have mixed land use with residential, business, hospitality and retail centres being developed here,” said a senior UDD official. CIDCO will have to ensure that there is minimal noise pollution. A buffer of mangroves and trees will surround and cordon off the main airport site from these townships.

The planning agency has designated 370 acres as a No Development Zone around the airport following directives from Ministry of Environment and Forests, and this will help in minimising noise pollution. CIDCO will also build large parking lots at and near the airport because this has been seen as a major revenue generation source for international airports.

Article by Hospitality Biz India Staff

Marriot International, Inc launches Facebook game as recruiting tool

Marriott International, Inc is launching a game on Facebook called ‘My Marriott’ which is to be used as a recruiting tool for approximately 50,000 positions this year, particularly in India and China. According to the company release, at My Marriott Hotel on Facebook, gamers will first manage a 'virtual' hotel restaurant-cum-kitchen before moving on to other areas of hotel operations. The game will be available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Mandarin. My Marriott Hotel is similar in concept to the Farmville and Cityville games.

“As Marriott expands in growth markets outside the United States, and as we seek to attract more Millennials – those between the ages 18 and 27 – to our workforce, we must find new ways to interest them in hospitality careers. This game allows us to showcase the world of opportunities and the growth potential attainable in hospitality careers, especially in cultures where the service industry might be less established or prestigious,” said David Rodriguez, Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources, Marriott International.

Launched just a month ago, Marriott’s Jobs & Careers page on Facebook has more than 12,000 active users and more than 270,000 page views. The most active users are from the United States, Egypt and India.

Article by Hospitality Biz India Staff

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Google Adds New Product Ads for Mobile

Google has launched two styles of product ads for mobile that have previously been available for the desktop: product extension ads and product local ads.

“Product Extension Ads enable you to easily display relevant product images and details directly in your mobile search ads,” explains Google Mobile Product ads Surojit Chatterjee. “Since many mobile users are searching for product information while they are in a store or on the go, including this type of information in your ads can help you stand out by highlighting the products you carry and help drive mobile conversions for specific products on your site. Product Extension Ads are enabled by linking your Google Merchant Center account to your AdWords campaign. When your mobile search ad appears, and your Google Merchant Center account contains products that are relevant to the searcher’s query, Product Extensions show the product images, titles, and prices of your products in a plusbox under your ad.”

“An enhancement to Product Extension Ads, Product Local Ads show the actual availability of products in local stores along with the product image and price all within the mobile ad,” added Chatterjee. “This ad format takes advantage of one of the things that makes mobile uniquely powerful, the phone’s greater location aware capabilities. That’s why we’re especially excited to bring Product Local Ads to mobile where location is even more relevant to user’s searches. Now advertisers can better show what they have in-stock to users who are nearby and ready to buy their products. With the same Smartphone User Study showing that 54% of smartphone shoppers use their phones to locate a retailer and 34% search for a store’s product inventory, Product Local Ads help mobile shoppers complete their goals and can drive more in-store purchases.”

product ads for mobile

The Product Local ads can be shown based on location signals, which include local search queries and device location (when users have opted into share it). They require the advertiser to submit their local product inventory through the Google Merchant Center.

According to Google, 79% of smartphone users use their phones to help with shopping activities, such as finding more product info, comparing prices or locating a retailer.

Article by Chris Crum. Twitter: @CCrum237

Victoria’s Secret: Branding in Detail on Social Media

This post focuses on a most intimate apparel, Victoria’s Secret (VS). Victoria’s Secret has a colossal Facebook following with more than 13.7 million “Likes.” The page’s wall is the default tab and the first thing I noticed is how well the page translates the VS brand. It provides a sexy, feminine appeal effortlessly and with promotions, contests, behind-the-scenes video, makeup style guides and much more, fans find themselves coming back to the page often for the value proposition and wide variety of content.

Spotlight Tab

The spotlight tab does a great job of showcasing its newest social offerings like apps, mobile alerts, and its other social channels (Twitter and YouTube). This tab serves well as a showcase for other efforts but I can’t help but to think there has to be a better way of showcasing these efforts without sending fans away from the fan page.

Bombshell Summer Tour Tab

The Bombshell Summer Tour Tab is currently my favorite VS Facebook tab. Here you can scout out the locations for the Victoria’s Secret summer tour where you’ll have a chance to meet your favorite angels and get a first look at their Bombshell Summer Collection. The tab offers great behind-the-scenes footage, fun polls and more. They also offer followers the chance to earn their Victoria’s Secret Foursquare badge (I wonder if they’ll include special discounts for those that earn their badge).

The only thing I would recommend is that VS set this tab as their default tab during the tour so the content isn’t lost.

In addition to the Bombshell Summer Tour Tab, Victoria’s Secret stuck with the bombshell theme to further promote their new line by hosting a contest on the page for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree. The contest was simple. Fans needed only to use content and imagery provided to them by VS to show off their personal style and share with their friends to get likes – fun and simple, my favorite kind of contest.

Supplementary Tabs: Wallpaper and Gift Cards

Victoria’s Secret encourages fans to “Glam Up Your Desktop” with a tab offering 6 wallpaper choices. All of the selections in some way relate to the brand’s angel theme, thus the options feature one of the signature Victoria’s Secret Angels, an Angel product or the Angel brand logo. Each individual wallpaper post permits individual likes and shares via either a fan’s wall post or a message. The one that has netted the most individual likes is the wallpaper bearing the words “What Kind of Angel Are You?” featuring the word angel written with the brand’s moniker font.

The Gift Card Tab does something different by presenting consumers with the opportunity to personalize, purchase and send a gift card via Facebook without having to exit Facebook at any point. Victoria’s Secret is one of a few women’s lifestyle brands that are testing the waters on Facebook with ecommerce offerings. While it’s only gift cards, I’m sure actual product offering on Facebook in the form of a storefront is a natural next step for the brand considering the number of fans they have and continue to gain by the minute. As a matter of fact, the page was up a couple thousand fans just in the time I’ve spent analyzing the page.

Victoria Secret Facebook Content Strategy

Content is plentiful and diverse on the Victoria’s Secret Facebook wall. If it’s video you want, they have. If it’s photos of new collections you want to ogle, they have it. If it’s makeup pointers for a new look you seek, they have that too. Any fan of Victoria’s Secret can easily feel like they are in the know with everything Victoria’s Secret related that the company posts to keep fans engaged and aware whether it’s promotions, industry honors, special events, or even Victoria’s Secret Angels’ birthdays.

Though there are no distinct trends in relation to the posts that are receiving above average engagement rates, on the whole fan engagement questions and video posts appear to be getting the best feedback rating. Posts that are receiving the least amount of fan engagement are store promotional posts and announcements which is typical of any brand.

Engagement Rate Comparison: Victoria’s Secret VS Converse

For reference, I compared Converse and Victoria’s Secret. While slightly different, I find its relevant because it’s another specialized fashion retailer with comparable fans. Converse’s engagement rate average is not as high as the VS fan page and the reason is apparent. Converse hasn’t yet posted updates that are engaging for the fan. Video and music related content accounts for half of the posts and are receiving less than average fan engagement rates. To me, it seems that the music’s connection to the brand is not translating well with fans. Converse did post in the last month that they love to hear from their fans and has more in store so perhaps a new content strategy is in their near future.

Time sensitive, brand relevant variety when it comes to content is the lesson that can be learned for the Victoria’s Secret Facebook fan page, which is currently trumping Converse in fan engagement despite their nearly equivalent fan count. As a matter of fact, I think variety is key for most brand pages. So are there things I believe VS could do to better engage their fans? Of course, everyone could improve upon their current strategy but I’d say they definitely have the right idea.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you managed the Victoria’s Secret fan page?

See more examples in 26 Social Media Fan Page Examples in Detail.

Originally published at Ignite Social Media

Article by Christian Sullivan

To Brand yourself on Social Media and other online medium: Please contact the experts -

What will we be using facebook for in Five Years?

Facebook is estimated to have somewhere around 700 million users art this point. It was only 500 million when the marketing campaign for The Social Network launched last year.

How long until it reaches a billion?

Facebook is seeing a great deal of growth in countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, India, Columbia, Egypt, Turkey, and the UK. Facebook has become the top place for communication, photos, games, charity, and news for a lot of people already, and we’ve not even come closer to seeing the limit of what will be done using the social network. One of the interesting things about Facebook’s growth is that the more things people are able to do with Facebook, the more it is likely to grow still. And the company hasn’t even had an IPO yet.

We’ve seen plenty of glimpses into the future of Facebook – things that are being done on a modest scale, which will likely blow up in time (e-commerce, payments, videos, travel, etc.) As Facebook’s growth continues, more businesses are going to feel comfortable using it as a platform of operation, or at least as a major component of it.


We’ve already seen e-commerce on Facebook increase over the last year or so, with more businesses setting up storefronts on Facebook itself, but I expect this to grow much more significantly over the coming years. It will be like selling merchandise through websites used to be. At first, many businesses didn’t offer their actual products through their sites, but now, most do. This will likely be the case on Facebook too, and it might not even take as long.

Most businesses have already recognized the benefits of at least having a Facebook Page, and given the ease of setting one up, compared to creating (and maintaining) a website, it’s not hard to see why wider adoption came so quickly.

We recently ran an article by Krishna De, who discussed nine tips to increase your social commerce success:

1. Have an attractive image for your store
2. Make use of your profile photo
3. Add a customized tab on your Facebook page
4. Incentivize your Facebook fans
5. Mention your Facebook Store in a status update
6. Test the Facebook Store out yourself
7. Consider using Facebook Ads to build awareness
8. Mention the launch on your site
9. Encourage people who purchase to leave a recommendation


Identity is the key to everything Facebook does, and is a major component in every business, app, and website that associates itself with Facebook. It’s all about personalization, and last year when Facebook launched its Instant Personalization features and social plugins for websites, it truly took over the web. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a credible website that doesn’t have some kind of Facebook integration, even if it’s as small as simply the use of a “like” button.

Despite privacy concerns from many users, they still continue to use Facebook, and using Facebook they can log into and interact with other sites and apps, without having to create a separate account. It ups the convenience factor significantly, and reduces friction. This will continue to be key for future endeavors, and every facet of Facebook usage, whether that be paying for goods online or off, playing games and keeping your records, getting personalized news, keeping personalized music playlists, or whatever else.

Facebook faces competition from companies like Google and Twitter (more so now with Twitter’s integration into Apple’s iOS 5) in the area of identity, but Facebook has a huge lead here, particularly in how it relates to personalization and actual friend-related data.

Of course, you still need an email address to have a Facebook account.


It is the identity aspect of Facebook that lends it to payments. With Facebook Credits, the social network has its own currency, which one can easily envision becoming a widely adopted and acceptable form of payment given the rise of innovation in the mobile payments space for the physical world, the fact that so many sites are integrated with Facebook in the online world, and the fact that every business already wants you to “like us on Facebook”.

Imagine going to McDonald’s or Sears, and tapping your phone on a device at the register to pay with your Facebook Credits.

By the way, Facebook Credits will reportedly work with iTunes apps too.


There are 107 apps currently on Facebook listed under “Travel,” and that’s just internal Facebook apps – apps you access while on Facebook itself. That doesn’t include the Facebook integration Travel sites all over the web are employing. Look at what Delta Airlines is doing, for example. Its Ticket Counter app lets users check in online and access their boarding pass on Facebook within 24 hours of their departure. It also lets you check flight status, view trip details, and view skymiles.

Travel is just one aspect of life where the ubiquitousness of Facebook comes in handy, as those catering to that aspect (like Delta) are able to take advantage of your Facebook ID to provide you with a helpful service.


Given Microsoft and Facebook’s relationship, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more Facebook and Bing Travel integrations over time either.


Speaking of Bing, and its partnership with Facebook, don’t be surprised to see Facebook become a much bigger part of the search market picture. Facebook has data that search engines crave already. Personalization is the name of the game, and nothing on the web can come close to delivering the kind of personalized experience Facebook can to those that use it.

We’ve talked at length about Facebook’s potential in search in the past, so I’m not going to go on and on about it here. I’ll simply give you a link or two. But suffice it to say, Facebook is very relevant to search, and search is very relevant to Facebook. It will be even more so, as more businesses and people flock to the social network.


Businesses are already recognizing how powerful Facebook ads can be. I expect Facebook Ads to continue to grow as a more popular place for companies to advertise. The targeting based on all of the data Facebook has about users is simply too great.

Facebook Ads

Just this week, MerchantCircle put out results of a survey finding that 22% of local merchants have used Facebook ads, and two-thirds of them intend to do so again. That’s as they stand now. You have to consider that Facebook is going to continue to make new features available over time, and find ways to make ads even more attractive to advertisers. It’s highly unlikely that they think their work is done, and that they’re not going to improve.

That goes for Facebook as a whole, by the way. There’s no telling what Facebook and its pool of top engineering talent will come up with in time, that nobody’s even considered yet. Look at everything Google’s done in the last decade. Who knows what Facebook will have its hands in another ten years. By the way, much of that top talent has come from Google.


Obviously games are already an enormous part of Facebook use for a lot of people. One can’t help but wonder if it has even played a part in the cancellation of certain soap operas. Movies and music may be poised to make up an even greater part of the puzzle as well.

As you may know, Warner Bros. has already been testing Facebook movie rentals. You go to a fan page for a movie, and then, you can rent the movie from right there. It’s not at all hard to imagine this becoming commonplace in the industry.

Facebook has also been talking with various music services, according to reports. The product of these talks is rumored to be a tab/widget that would display a user’s most-played songs and provide an easy way for friends to hear them. People are already sharing music on Facebook all the time, whether that be through a YouTube video, a SoundCloud file, or other formats, and bands are already connecting with fans through their Pages.

Musicians are even charging Facebook credits for on-demand concert streams.


People are already getting a lot of their news from Facebook, and Facebook has been placing more emphasis on this side of things itself. If you’re doing all of these other things with your Facebook account, it only makes sense that you would get at least some of your news through this venue as well, by “liking” publications’ Pages, which share links and notes about stories, and through posts that Friends find worth passing on (including through Facebook’s social plugins – like the “like” button or the newer “send” button).

A couple months ago, Facebook announced the launch of new journalist resources and a series of events for journalists to come together and find new ways to better harness the social network for their craft. Of course Facebook has played a significant role in creating the news as well (see recent revolutions).

Journalists on Facebook Facebook Page


Looking at Facebook’s list of recent acquisitions can give us hints as to what the company might be up to, though as they are often geared toward talent rather than product, we can only speculate until we see results. Recent acquisitions from Facebook include:

- (file hosting and sharing)
- Rel8tion (mobile advertising)
- Beluga (group messaging)
- Snaptu (mobile app development)
- DayTurn (infographics)
- Sofa (mac apps)

What Will We be Using Facebook For in Five Years?

This is where I’d like to call upon feedback from our readers. I’m sure I’ve barely scraped the surface of what the future truly holds for this increasingly powerful company. I want to hear some ideas from you about what you think we’re in for. So, I ask you: what will people be using Facebook for five years from now, that they aren’t already using it for? What would you like to see Facebook do in the future that it doesn’t already do? What would you like to see it stop doing?

Article by Chris Crum. Twitter: @CCrum237

Visit for your social media marketing needs.

New Marketing Wave: Mobile Barcodes

Mobile barcodes let marketers reach consumers anywhere, anytime. This emerging technology transforms traditional media into marketing that is both interactive and measurable, even on print ads, billboards, product packaging, hang tags, and more.

When consumers scan these barcodes with their mobile devices, they are immediately connected to the web, where they can view movie trailers, music videos, book excerpts, and other marketing offers. They can even launch options such as click to call or initiate a texting session.
What's more, all of these actions are measurable.

With Mobile Barcodes, Marketers Enjoy These Benefits:
* Extended reach from existing media channels, including print and TV
* Highly targeted marketing, including location-based
* Measurable results and competitive
* ROI Rich mobile marketing experiences: videos, demos, special offers
and more
* Opportunity to create 1-to-1 interactions with your customers
* Higher sales-conversion rates
* Ability to grow your customer database: pre-ordering movies, CDs,
games and more
* Fewer out-of-stock situations, thanks to rain-check coupons and
online inventory
* Greater control, thanks to near real-time changes

Try out mobile barcodes, use your mobile device to download a FREE app at

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blogger vs. Comparison Chart - 2011

Well back to the same old story. Is Blogger better or Wordpress. I have Blogs on both the sites. I am running a general personal blog on blogger - and my this site - is made and developed in Wordpress.

Thus I was looking for a comparison between both of them and here I found a wonderful article at by kPulsed. Check

My personal conclusion: Blogger is good if you have a non-commercial blog/website. But if you having a domain name and hosting and want to host your blog and site then Wordpress has the upper hand. Thus check it out and decide you self as what fit for you.

- Vivek Bhalavat

Blogger VS Wordpress

In the following chart features at Blogger ( and are compared. These are the two main contenders for free blog hosting. Features which are clearly better at either BlogSpot or Wordpress have been highlighted. Widgets are listed in another summary table after the features list. If you have your own website with PHP/MySQL support, you can download and use WordPress with no restrictions (get it here).

Updated June 2011.
Themes and customization Blogger has introduced a collection of easy-to-customize templates with Google Web Fonts. Earlier templates can still be edited, but don't have all the features. New: Mobile Templates. No template editing. Style sheet editing is only available as a paid upgrade. Many of the 100+ themes let you upload a header image. Some have additional customization options.
Visitor stats Built-in dashboard stats (more info). You can also include third party tracker scripts — or any type of script. No scripts allowed. The admin dashboard shows 2 days of stats and daily, weekly and monthly charts.
Import Only from another BlogSpot blog. Import from Blogger, Yahoo! 360, Type·Pad, MovabIe·Type, Blogli, Israblog, Posterous,, Live·JournaI or another WordPress blog.
Image storage 1 Gigabyte. There is no interface to browse through the images unless you sign up for Picasa Web Albums. 3 Gigabytes. Paid upgrades are available to add more space.
You can also upload .ppt, .doc, .odt and .pdf files (more file types with an upgrade).
Galleries You can use Picasa Web Albums. Simply add the tag to any post or page (more info).
Static pages Blogger allows up to 10 static pages to be created (more info). Create posts or 'pages'. Static pages are listed in separate menus.
Categories 'Labels'. 'Categories'.
Post excerpts Expandable post excerpts (more info). Post excerpts with a "more" tag.
Post by email Submit your posts by email. You can receive new posts by email too (helpful for team blogs). Submit your posts by email. Images can be attached (more info).
Contact forms Not available. You could add a third-party contact form, however. Simply add the tag
to any post or page or use advanced features.
Domain names Free domain name mapping (more info). A paid upgrade is required to map a custom domain.
Private blogs You can restrict access to invited Google account holders. You can restrict access to 35 invited Wordpress account holders (unlimited with a paid upgrade).
Alternatively, individual posts can be password protected or Private.
Team blogs Administrators and non-administrators only. Administrator, Editors, Authors & Contributors. Option to receive post changes by email.
Comments Visual confirmation, spam filtering and moderation options, but no editing of comments. Moderation, comment editing and Akismet spam protection.
Widgets See the next table.

Blogger comments:

Visitors can preview comments. They can also choose to receive follow-up comments by email. However, the embedded Comment Form option is entirely dependent on JavaScript. Spam filtering is now available as an alternative to moderating every comment.

Wordpress comments:

In 2009 added follow-ups by email and comment threading options. Wordpress has more comment options than Blogger, but there have been problems with Akismet spam protection. See this post on the WP user forum...

Widgets compared:

BlogSpot WidgetsDescription
Add a Gadget Software applications that do cool things. There's an extensive menu in the sidebar.
Popular Posts Displays a list of popular posts on your blog.
Blog stats Displays your blog's visitor count.
Pages Displays a list of stand-alone pages on your blog. You can create up to 10 pages.
Followers Displays a list of users who follow your blog.
Search Box Search over your blog, your blogroll and everything you've linked to.
HTML/JavaScript Add third-party functionality or other code to your blog. [ i.e., any third-party widget]
Text Add some words to your blog - like a welcome message - with our rich text editor.
AdSense Earn revenue by displaying relevant ads on your blog.
[for the sidebar]
Add a picture from your computer or from somewhere else on the web.
Slideshow Add a slideshow of your photos to your blog.
Video Bar Clips from YouTube and Google Video for readers to watch without leaving the page.
Poll Survey your visitors by adding a poll.
Blog List Show off what you read with a blogroll of your favourite blogs.
Link List Add a collection of your favourite sites, blogs or web pages.
List Add a list of your favourite books, films or anything you like.
Feed Add content from an RSS or Atom feed to your blog.
Newsreel Automatically add current headlines from Google News to your blog. (see an example)
Labels [categories] Show all the labels of posts in your blog.
Subscription Links Let your readers easily subscribe to your blog with popular feed readers.
Logo Choose from a variety of Blogger logos to add to your page.
Profile Display information about yourself.
[Wordpress blogs have an "About" page]
Blog Archive Display links to older posts.
Page Header Display your blog's title and description. Widgets
Akismet | Archives | Authors | Author Grid | Blog Stats | Blog Subscriptions | file sharing | Calendar | Categories | Category cloud | | Flickr | Gravatar | Image | Links | Meebo | Meta | Pages | Recent Comments | Recent Posts | RSS | RSS Links| Search | SocialVibe | Tag Cloud | Text | Top Clicks | Top Posts | Top Rated | Twitter | Vod:Pod Videos

In addition, WordPress shortcodes are widgets for individual posts.

Theme choices

Blogger has introduced new, easy-to-customize templates. Earlier templates can be modified, or you can install a third party theme. Make sure that third party themes have the latest layout tags.

Although the collection of 100+ themes sounds like a lot, finding features you might want is a challenge. Customization options are limited unless you pay for an upgrade that allows stylesheet editing. uses a scheme called Typekit for changing fonts, while Blogger offers a straightforward method to choose between standard fonts (in addition to standard fonts there are Google Web Fonts). Both systems have Mobile Templates.

WordPress theme browser:

Ongoing improvements

The WordPress team frequently add new features and themes, and since the new BlogSpot publishing system was rolled out in 2006, the Blogger software team have added new features too. Visit the developer blogs to find out what's new:


In 2007, I wanted to find out what was on offer in terms of free blog hosting. Before that, Blogger was looking stale, and didn't have nearly as many themes or features as it does now. I chose Blogger, and this was my first post. If allowed stylesheet editing without having to pay, and visitor stats comparable to the tracker scripts you can obtain for free, my choice would have been for sure.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Online Reputation Management Handbook

My Review:
Its a good coffee table collection book for media and online marketing people. It talks about Online Reputation Management (ORM) in much simpler manner. But it doen't have details. Its talks about the topic without going into any insights, challenges, tools or resources. This book can be for beginners or anyone who want to understand ORM or Media Marketing. Buy it as its available at very affordable price of Rs.99 (list price and if you search through web then can get is a much lower price. I bought it from Crossword at the list price) . It also has some Indian case studies in the end which came come handy for the industry professionals.
I liked it's previous edition "Social Media by Dentsu" which is more insightful then this book.
In conclusion - Good buy for Media/Social/Online Marketing Professionals.

Summary of the Book:
What is Online Reputation Management or ORM? What is the widespread reach of the internet today, it becomes crucial for the companies to project their brand and reputation on the world wide web. There are numerous social media on which consumers can post their views about a company or corporate entity. These include not only blogs, groups and discussion boards, but social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and You tube.
The book follows on the best-selling Social Media handbook and gives you step by step guidance on how best to build your reputation on the internet and how to defuse negative feedback from consumers and news media.
The Handbook is a must-have for any corporate that wants to utilize the potential and reach of the internet to build its brand image in the best possible way.
The book is produced by Dentsu Digital which is the acknowledged expert on the subject.

The Winning Way

My View:
Just finish reading the The Winning Way: Learning From Sport For Managers.
Its a good read for all the entrepreneur, and Manager. I am a sports person and thus it makes more sense and interesting read. Harsha Bhogle knows India and have vast experience with the MNC w.r.t Branding, Marketing and Training. Thus its worth a buy. I would recommend this book to all the Managers and Entrepreneur who likes sports (and not just cricket but sports in general).

Rating: 7/10

I bought this book from @ Rs. 120 - including shipping ( list price = Rs.200).

About The Book :
The Winning Way deals with what sporting champions do and what constitutes a winning team. Two renowned IIMA alumni, one a sports commentator and writer and the other an advertising and communication consultant dig into examples from the world of sports to see how they can help promote managerial skills. The Winning Way gives a clear picture of winning teams, good leadership and why some teams continue to perform well while others decline with time.

Anita and Harsha Bhogle reiterate the importance of perseverance and the right attitude to attain success. If an individual combines ability with the right attitude, he is bound to excel and become the best he can be. The writing is contrary to the popular belief that ability is the major distinguishing factor for success. This principle is particularly important as the levels of competition increases. For the distinguished authors, this book marks the completion of 300 successful corporate workshops of The Winning Way that they run.