Marketing Biz: Psychic Search, Facebook Want Button & Smart Pricing


This week in marketing was all about transformation. LivingSocial and RockYou are transforming their business models. Google is trying to transform the way we search. And a slew of companies are trying to transform all the data we collect and turn it into information we can actually use.

LivingSocial moves beyond daily deals, offers peek at future services for merchants

LivingSocial will begin testing this summer a suite of new technology products designed to help merchants run their businesses as the District-based company continues to diversify beyond the daily deals that brought it rapid growth.

It seems pretty clear that daily deals alone is not a viable long-term business model. The question is whether LivingSocial, Groupon or some other rival will capture the very large small business services market.

Cell Internet Use 2012

31% of cell internet users go online mostly using their cell phone, rather than using a computer or some other device

The big headline for this study was that a majority (55%) of adults now go online using their phones. But I think the real story are those who use their cell phones as their primary online device. The addressable online market will soar as it has already done in other countries.

RIM May Be Selling Handset Business To Facebook Or Amazon

The Sunday Times says Facebook and Amazon are two potential buyers for RIM’s handset business. RIM would keep its enterprise services if such a deal went through, according to the report.

The fact that RIM may be selling their handset business isn’t all that surprising. The fact that Facebook or Amazon are potential suitors did cause a raised eyebrow. Both seek additional ‘screens’ to deliver their products. Amazon seems more versed here with a hardware track record. But is RIM really worth rehabilitating?

Google Now Comes Online (Well, Its Homepage Does)

The feature, accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the homescreen has already been referred to as a “Siri killer” by some Android fans because of its ability to not just assist you, but to proactively alert you to new information based on your needs. One example which Google showed off in its demo yesterday was a flight search, which would later pop up a card that appeared with flight alerts and delays as they occurred in real-time. In another example, Google learned what sports teams you liked based on your search history and could then alert you to upcoming games and scores. In another, you could see suggested places to eat or shop as you walked down the street.

The Nexus 7 and Nexus Q grabbed most of the headlines during Google I/O 2012. Yet, Google Now might be the most interesting and innovative product Google debuted.

Google Now is the culmination of years of work around the idea of ‘psychic search’, of anticipating the information needs based on explicit and implicit data.

JumpTime Gets New Patent and $4 Million to Optimize Traffic and Content Monetization

FloPower is big data at its finest, using probabilistics, econometrics, machine learning, and financial engineering to calculate an infinite number of engagement paths a user can travel at any moment in time. The probability that a single piece of content will send traffic to another piece of downstream content then determines its value.

This is another example of a company looking to take data and transform it into information. The past decade has been about accumulating data and the current decade seems poised to unlock and leverage it all.

Need An Intro? Greylock-Backed Cloze Rates Your Connections

Cloze connects with your email address and your social network accounts, then it assigns each of your relationships a score of between 0 and 100. Foody says the score looks at a number of factors in a relationship — the frequency of communication, the length of the messages, the average response time, and the balance, i.e., whether someone always sends you 10-page manifestos and you always respond with nothing more than a yes or a no.

I agree that there’s a need to rate connections to better understand how to leverage your network. But weak ties can often be valuable and I’m not quite sure I see a business here. Maybe I’ll feel different once I give it a try. Unfortunately I didn’t spam my friends and am still on the waiting list.

Facebook testing ‘Want’ button plugin

Developer Tom Waddington from Cut Out + Keep discovered that a Want button has been added to the Facebook Javascript SDK as an XFBML tag – <fb:wants>. The button is not publicly listed among the other social plugins on Facebook’s developer site. Waddington says the button will only work on Open Graph objects marked as “products.”

This is just a no brainer for Facebook and retailers. I can easily see this rolling up into a WishWantlist feature that appears on your timeline. Can Facebook get everything off the ground in time for the holiday season?

On Orbitz, Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels

Orbitz Worldwide Inc. has found that people who use Apple Inc.’s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see.

This piece set off a slew of unnecessary FUD. Remember, all of the options are still available to users. The only thing that changed was the default sort order and presentation. It’s simply changed to reflect the buying patterns.

Former Facebookers’ new startup dives deep into the data of e-commerce

“Selling goods and services online continues to be more art than science,” said founder and serial entrepreneur Sam Odio. “Eighty-two percent of the companies we talk to price their products on a ‘hunch’ because they lack the tools necessary to dive deep into the data. Freshplum solves this problem by providing those tools that eliminate the guesswork behind pricing and other sales decisions.”

Have I mentioned something about how data transformation is going to be the next big thing? Yup, I have.

RockYou taps $6.7 million, downsizes to San Francisco

CEO Lisa Marino confirmed that RockYou had raised new money on top of the $129 million it raised previously after an inquiry about a disclosure document filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

$6.7 million on top of $129 million? RockYou is trying mightily to pivot but you have to wonder if this is just throwing good money after bad.

Wallaby Launches the Cloud Wallet of Today Based on a Smart Universal Payment Card

A single Visa-branded Wallaby card will link to all existing cards and dynamically rout transactions based on preferences for things like rewards, miles, interest rate optimization, and savings. Wallaby does not extend its own lines of credit or even checking or debit accounts. The company simply offers a cloud-based digital wallet tied to a single smart payment card.

This seems like a product with limited shelf-life as mobile payment platforms become more ubiquitous. In addition, the amount of configuration involved to ‘optimize’ your wallet seems too high for most people. Would you use Wallaby?

(Image by Fuyoh!, used under Creative Commons licensing.)

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Marketing Biz


About The Author: is Owner of Blind Five Year Old, a San Francisco Internet Marketing firm specializing in search. An experienced marketing executive with a successful track record spanning 20 years, AJ combines a deep understanding of search marketing with a passion for product strategy and iterative product development, fusing design and user experience with quantitative analysis.


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