Matter Labs: New Software Brings 3D Printing to E-Commerce

While large brands often generate business by enabling consumers to customize products online, smaller companies do not always have the resources to do the same, something that will likely change with 3D printing technology and services. Massachusetts-based startup Matter Labs has developed a plug-and-play API called Matter Remix and software called Matter.io to help e-commerce merchants leverage 3D printing and add product customization features to online stores. Continue reading Matter Labs: New Software Brings 3D Printing to E-Commerce

AT&T Service Enables Companies to Pay for Consumer Data

AT&T’s new service, Sponsored Data, allows developers and brands to deliver content — at their cost — to the mobile devices of their customers without eating into individual data plans. UnitedHealth Group, Aquto and Kony were the first three companies to sign up for the service at launch early last week. The telco’s intention is to allow companies to reach their target audience without costing consumers money in cell phone bills, but some say Sponsored Data is bad for the economy. Continue reading AT&T Service Enables Companies to Pay for Consumer Data

Warner Bros. Launches Home Video Experiment with Reelhouse

Warner Bros. has launched a three-month electronic sell-through experiment via Reelhouse, which the studio invested in earlier this year through the Turner/Warner Bros. MediaCamp startup accelerator program. Targeting fans who want more than just a digital copy of movies, the Reelhouse website offers titles for rental or purchase along with enhanced content such as blog posts, photos, interactive games, various extras, and digital as well as physical merchandise. Continue reading Warner Bros. Launches Home Video Experiment with Reelhouse

Google Deal Extension with Publicis Threatens TV Ad Sales

In an extension of the deal in which advertising holding company Publicis Groupe agreed to buy up tens of millions of dollars of YouTube’s advertising, the company’s agencies DigitasLBi and Razorfish will also buy $100 million of Google advertising across several of its platforms, including YouTube, Google+ and Hangouts. Publicis is getting a sizeable discount, and Google is positioning itself to compete more fiercely with TV advertising. Continue reading Google Deal Extension with Publicis Threatens TV Ad Sales

Facebook Plans to Compete with Twitter for TV Ad Business

At the Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York this week, Facebook revealed more of its plans to develop social TV advertising products. Justin Osofsky, Facebook vice president of media partnerships, discussed deals with broadcast networks, which were initially announced along with hashtags and verified accounts back in September. The social platform is trying to prove it is just as valuable as Twitter in real-time TV discussions, if not more so. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Compete with Twitter for TV Ad Business

New Wireless Model: Earn Data Over Time with Aquto App

Boston-based startup Aquto launched this week with an interesting business model, one that allows wireless customers to pay for data by watching ads, taking surveys, downloading apps, or devoting time to a brand. For example, if a consumer views a 30-second ad via the Aquto app, that individual could earn 5 or 10 megabytes, about enough to download some images or check an inbox. Aquto is limited to Vodafone customers in Portugal, but plans to roll out in the U.S. next month with a “very large carrier.” Continue reading New Wireless Model: Earn Data Over Time with Aquto App

Startup gazeMetrix Tracks Brand Images on Social Sites

Startup gazeMetrix uses computer vision and machine learning to recognize brand logos in photos posted on Instagram and other social media sites. Co-founder and CEO Deobrat Singh leads his company as it tries to analyze images for marketing and advertising purposes. The end goal is making it easier for companies to track and promote brands online and targeted ads. Continue reading Startup gazeMetrix Tracks Brand Images on Social Sites

Are Popular Online Brands Leading to the Rise of Digital Monopolies?

  • France recently banned TV and radio show hosts from naming Facebook, Twitter, or other specific sites unless directly referencing a news story involving the companies. The regulation was created to reduce bias for the popular social networks over other striving, lesser known sites.
  • Apple’s iTunes has benefitted from the phrase “Now available on iTunes” commonly tacked onto advertisements where it was previously customary to simply say “Now available in all good music stores” — which could today be updated to say “online music stores” in order to include other music providers.
  • Additionally, the phrase “Now available on Amazon.com” has become standard for book promotions, which basically provides free advertisement for the site while ignoring other providers.
  • Similarly, “Follow us on Twitter” and “Like us on Facebook” have dominated commerce. “Social networks only work when people use the same ones. In other words, they naturally lend themselves to being monopolized,” suggests The Next Web.
  • Some brand names have now become part of everyday language. Google, for example, has grown so popular that it is commonly used as a verb when describing the act of searching online. TiVo is also regularly used as verb, and sometimes replaces “DVR” in conversation.
  • The article casts doubt on the actual effects regulation would have on social media monopolies: “…users will typically go where all the action is taking place.”
  • “The Internet isn’t a monopoly though. It’s an oligopoly consisting of multiple monopolies from different digital industries, and the reason this is happening really isn’t all that complicated,” adds The Next Web. “Success breeds success, something which underpins most monopolies, whether we’re talking about dominant languages, biological species or, indeed, Internet technology companies. Hegemony stems from success, and it’s certainly not unique to the Internet age.”

Twitter: Do People Follow People or Follow Brands?

  • Exactly who owns a media company-branded social media account is coming into question as individuals change jobs between companies and take their followers with them.
  • Lost Remote provides the Twitter account @BBCLauraK as an example. Former BBC chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg recently took a job at rival ITV, and changed her account name to @ITVLauraK, effectively shifting 60,000 Twitter followers from BBC to ITV.
  • The account name change raises interesting issues. “If she built the account on the backs of BBC — under its brand — does she have the legal right to shift it to ITV?” asks Lost Remote. “Conversely, if she doesn’t convert the name, the account becomes useless unless the BBC can convert it to someone else. But are people following the person — or the content the person represents?”
  • Possible solutions may include creating Twitter accounts in a person’s name, without including the brand — or creating co-branded accounts for content verticals — or even creating two separate accounts. However, co-branded accounts may be problematic if people follow people first, and brands second.
  • We should expect this to be become a bigger issue as media companies continue their interaction with social networks. ETCentric staffer David Wertheimer asks, “Who owns your followers?”

Social Media Becoming a Popular Mechanism for Brand Feedback

  • According to two separate studies by ROI Research and MarketTools, consumers are increasingly embracing social networks as a tool to communicate directly with brands.
  • In addition to comparing prices and discussing sales and specials with friends online, 53 percent say they have provided feedback to the companies they support.
  • Additionally, 47 percent say they have used the channels to register complaints.
  • The studies suggest there is room for growth in regards to brands responding to feedback via social networks. “Listening and responding to complaints on social media also offers brands a chance to connect with customers in an additional channel, and to potentially increase customer satisfaction.”

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