Report: TV Watching with a Second screen is bad for Brands


Brand, advertisers and content marketers beware of  that second screen!

In this new digital era, it is very common for audiences to be on a second device or screen while watching a television or cable show.

A new report by the firm Accenture found that 87 percent of consumers use a second screen while watching TV.

Many shows now include a hashtag in the bottom corner of the screen while being broadcast, in awareness that there will be people “twatching” – tweeting while watching or updating their Facebook profile statuses with their own commentary or humorous inputs as the scenes play before viewers eyes on the TV screen.

In fact, many television productions market out a hashtag campaign specifically for an upcoming episode or plot line that regular and loyal readers of a particular TV show will likely understand, recognize and use when sending out tweets.

For example, some of the hashtags fans attached to tweets on certain episodes of the popular ABC  drama Scandal  include, #FitzLives, #FreeHuck and #WhoShotFitz.

“Two screen” use has become pervasive, but Ohio State University researchers warn it may spell bad news for advertisers because many viewers are unable to recall brand messaging.

The first-of-its-kind study shows that viewers have trouble recalling brands they see (or hear) on TV if they’re using tablets or smartphones while watching TV.

“Viewers don’t even remember that your brand was there on TV because they were busy posting on Facebook or Twitter or reading email,” said Jonathan Jensen, who led the study as a doctoral student in sport management in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. ”This should provide a measure of pause to brand marketers who are spending a lot of money to get their products integrated into live sporting events and other TV shows.”


The report concludes that the recall difficulty spells trouble for  “brand integration,” or the promotion of products during the actual broadcast, achieved via sponsorship of events.

Brand integration was a tool marketers thought would circumvent the problem caused by DVRs and the fact people don’t watch commercials anymore. They believed a logo featured on nets or on basketball courts, or announced by the sportscasters during a game ”would be a foolproof way to reach consumers,” Jensen said, adding “but now with so many people using second screens, even brand integration is not foolproof.”

The study involved two related experiments on close to 100 young people between the ages of 18-24 asked to recall the brand showed while watching two real college football games broadcast on ESPN that promoted three brands – Allstate, Capital One and Russell Athletic. From the press release on the study:

“The participants were exposed to the college football broadcast in one of three ways. Some had a traditional viewing experience, in which they experienced both the audio and the visual of the broadcast. The visual-only group had no audio, such as a fan might experience watching on a computer at the office or on a public television in a loud bar. The audio-only group didn’t see the visual, approximating a distracted viewing experience, such as listening to the broadcast while reading or writing on another device.

When asked after the six-minute broadcast whether they could recognize and recall any of the brands present in the clip, those who had the full audiovisual experience did best. The audio-only and visual-only groups did significantly worse, remembering fewer than two brands.

Consistent with a cognitive theory called “dual coding,” these results confirmed that people process and remember information better if they receive it both through audio and visual channels, Jensen said. This is a key when people may be using two different screens at one time.

“If consumers aren’t taking in information using both the audio and visual subsystems at the same time, they’re not going to process and retain the information as effectively,” he said.

This is a key when people may be using two different screens at one time.

“If consumers aren’t taking in information using both the audio and visual subsystems at the same time, they’re not going to process and retain the information as effectively,” he said.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing.

Interesting stuff!

h/t Eureka Alert (

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7 Must-Know Content Marketing Benefits

twitter-trends Content Flow Chart Blackboard

These days traditional marketing just doesn’t cut it anymore. Long gone are the days when people actually had to sit and watch commercials in between their favorite shows. Now they set their DVR and skip all the television advertising. Magazine advertising…

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New Content Delivery Experiments: Facebook’s Instant News & Verizon’s New TV Bundles

television bundles

This week, we learned that Facebook has inked a deal with 10 popular news sites that will deliver content on Facebook’s new program called “Instant News.”  This may be cool for fans of the popular social media site who get most of their news from stories in their feed anyway. It’s also great for the initial 10 Launch partners : The New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild.


They get a massive almost guaranteed audience base and a new opportunity to recoup ad revenue.

“The New York Times already has a significant and growing audience on Facebook,” Mark Thompson, President and CEO, The New York Times Company said. “We’re participating in Instant Articles to explore ways of growing the number of Times users on Facebook, improving their experience of our journalism and deepening their engagement. We have a long tradition of meeting readers where they are and that means being available not just on our own sites, but on the social platforms frequented by many current and potential Times users.”

Others see it as a test on reader engagement.

“It is great to see Facebook trialing new ways for quality journalism to flourish on mobile,” said Tony Danker, International Director, Guardian News & Media. “The Guardian is keen to test how the new platform can provide an even more engaging experience for our readers.”

New Video Options

Video content through cable and other multichannel video programming platforms are also offering innovative new ways for audiences to get the content they want.

Perhaps motivated by the growing competition from on demand  video streaming services like NetFlix, HULU,  and Sling TV, Verizon FiOS, for example, now offers tiers of specialty channels on an bundled package basis. No longer do customers have to pay for an entire lineup of hundreds of channels they never watch.


Pop Culture, Kids, Sports fanatics can order the bundles that include the few channels they watch anyway.

It’s a step closer to a la carte television.

The Future is Now

These new and inventive experiments with content delivery tell us that today and in the future, creativity will be rewarded as will those service providers meeting the needs of consumers and to meet them where they are, on their mobile devices.  These ventures and partnerships also display how competition is driving service options, investment and customer service.

Artificial controls and choke holds that some government forces ( like the FCC  applying Title 2 to the internet in the highly contentious Open Internet proceedings) impose aim to reign in potential future problems that do not currently exist…just in case.  They makes no sense, are wholly unnecessary and could actually hurt innovation and investment.

The robust digital marketplace we see in bundles and packages of offerings coming from the industry are exciting. They also work to expand broadband adoption among those hesitant before, partially by cost in some cases.  Once non-adopters see more value in services to their lives, they will more likely be willing to invest in the service. Creative offerings get them there.

There is no need to tie down the wings of a fluttering butterfly  when all it wants to do is soar.

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REPORT: Small Business Confidence is at all time high since the Recession

capitol one spark

A new report revealed that small business confidence is at an all time high since the recession, but at the same time business owners still struggle to attract and retain customers.

These findings are in the Capital One Spark Business Confidence report released yesterday  at a gathering of local small business owners in Washington DC’s swanky event venue The Loft at 600.  The event had some celebrity flavor.  Shark Tank TV personality Daymond John  joined  author and Washington Post columnist Gene Marks  for a live interactive interview. 

Before that, attendees learned more about the outcome of the analysis of data from Capital One’s Spark Business Barometer.  Since 2009, on a quarterly basis, it surveys small business owners to gauge their attitudes and perceptions of national and local economic conditions, current and future business prospects, and other factors impacting business growth.

The report concluded that small business sentiment has increased 33 percent since the Recession.

“We’ve seen real improvement in business owners’ confidence about the stability and sustainability of their operations — indicating many entrepreneurs are focusing less on recovery and looking ahead toward new prospects and growth. This is a terrific sign for our local and national economies given the tremendous impact small businesses have on job creation and innovation,” said Keri Gohman, Head of Small Business Banking at Capital One. “But competing and growing in today’s increasingly competitive and complex digital landscape can be tough –particularly for small businesses with limited funds, resources and time. Our goal is to make some of those resources more accessible, so small businesses can grow and succeed.”

During the formal part of the networking event, Marks interviewed John who is also known for being the founder of the now-defunct urban apparel brand FUBU. John offered salient advice based on his experience in business and in funding various ventures during his career as a venture capitalist. He also answered questions from those tweeting questions online and in the room. 

John suggested that small businesses embrace social media as a way to reach new customers and expand their reach.

Marketing is one of the hardest thing small businesses struggle to do well. The survey of 505 small business owners conducted online by Harris Poll in April also found that 76 percent say they have marketing challenges, yet only 39 percent have actually implemented a marketing strategy.

Lack of funds may have something to do with this outcome.

About 70 percent  say they would designate extra funds toward marketing efforts – yet only eight percent of small business owners have a mentor who can lend the necessary insight or strategic direction to do so.

“For small business owners, working with the right business advisor has a huge impact in achieving sustainable business growth,” said Allison Kelly, Managing Director of Small BusinessAdvising and Lending at Pacific Community Ventures. “And when small businesses thrive,communities thrive. With support from Capital One, can match skilled volunteer advisors with small business owners, fueling revenue growth and creating new quality jobs across the nation.”

This new partnership is the start and part of a $150 million commitment ”designed to help individuals and entrepreneurs succeed in a digitally-driven economy,” a press release from the bank stated.

Entrepreneurs in California, where Pacific Community is located, will get additional help. Capital One will be investing an additional $500,000 in low-interest loans to help expand lending efforts to microbusinesses in that state.

It is in banking institution’s best interest to have a robust economy where its small businesses succeed so efforts like Captial One Spark’s is but one way to help nurture their success.

Capital One Spark Business is the sector of Capital One that focuses and offers a menu or specialized services to small businesses and commercial clients.

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Vets, Urban Unemployed, Returning Workers targeted for solar panel installation industry job training

solar panel

In 2013, I wrote an eBook summarizing the Obama administration’s foreign policy treatment towards sub-Saharan African nations. In it, I hypothesized that US support for those nations’ usage and exploitation of alternative renewable energy sources to power homes would have dual purposes.

One, it would enable rural townships, cities, and villages to get much needed electricity to power homes, and businesses in regions where it would be cost-prohibitive to build out terrestrial and traditional electricity power grids. A second goal would be to establish a standard for success that the administration could use to show how renewable energy skeptics that alternative sources of fuel and energy is the future.

We see some of these predictions coming true.

Where I live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, my local power company has seen a 115% increase in customers using solar power windows.  Nationwide,  since President Obama took office, installed solar power has increased 13-fold, topping nearly 16 gigawatts today – enough to power the equivalent of 3.2 million average American homes. As solar energy continues to grow, it is becoming a major source of high-paying American jobs – employing nearly 143,000 full-time professionals  in 2012.

And earlier this month,  the President visited an Air Force base outside Salt Lake City to announce a relatively new program called “Solar Ready Vets” that trains veterans to size and install solar panels on their military compounds, in the hopes of imparting skills applicable to a rapidly growing sector of the economy.

The program will train vets at 10 military bases across the country.  Hill Air Force Base in Utah already has onsite installed solar panel training.  The next three bases to join the program will be California’s Camp Pendleton, Colorado’s Fort Carson and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia.

“That’s how we’re going our keep our economy growing, and how we’re going to create new jobs,” the President said at the Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

The administration’s goal is to get 75,000 Americans trained in solar panel industry by 2020.

At no cost to the participants, they took a 4-6 week training course where they learned to size and install solar panels, connect electricity to the grid and make sure they meet industry standards.  The programs are supported by area community colleges that surround the bases. 

The equipment is the kind used in today’s marketplace donated by the private sector.  G.I. Bill funding will also be made available to support solar workforce training for veterans.

All 20 Marines who finished the training program on February 13 received at least one job offer from the five major U.S. solar firms who are conducting recruiting as part of the program, Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall said during the call with reporters.

It’s proof that it is a growth sector needing qualified and trained workers. Also, consider the backlog for installation in many communities nationwide.

On a call before the president’s speech,  I asked about high unemployment areas and whether they will be included in the program . Sherwood-Randall confirmed  that the military is not the only target demographic to benefit from the training program.

Exiting military vets are but one of three communities targeted for training:   other communities struggling with high unemployment such as those in urban and inner cities; and  older and more seasoned workers returning to the workplace may also benefit and are included in the target goals.

That’s double good news! The next challenge will be getting those in these communities to learn about the opportunity and take advantage of getting training for the next 21st century growth industry!

The entire effort is also tied to reducing emissions.  This solar push should lead more Americans to use less fossil fuels that create byproducts. The administration is looking to slash total emissions by 28% in the coming decade.

Good stuff!

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6 Ways Social Media Sites may be stealing from Users, Bloggers & Advertisers

Guest Post

social media

A recent study on The Statistics Portal have shown that the average American spends 11 hours per day on digital devices with over three hours spent on social media sites. In most cases, consumers are not being paid for their time.

 Facebook has set a worldwide record making $2.24 billion in revenue per user in Q2/2014, and in the US and Canada, that number nearly tripled to $6.44 (Facebook). With nearly 1.3 billion users worldwide (Users), how much has Facebook paid back their users? How much has each of their users made for their time spent in giving Facebook their wealth?

 Jenny Q. Ta, Founder and CEO of, the first-ever Social Networthing® site designed to allow users to monetize their daily social media activities in unprecedented ways, gives six ways social media giants like Facebook, are robbing consumers blind every day:

1)   Where there is smoke, there is fire. While Google may not be considered a social media network, Google+ is and is packaged under the Google brand. With pending cases like Hagens Berman filed against Google and other claims that Google is taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from AdSense accounts, how can consumers not be thinking twice about what Google actually pays their users? Since Google doesn’t disclose the number of AdSense or AdWords users they have, consumers are not able to tell how much Google has taken from them. Google’s net worth stands at approximately $350 billion dollars, you would think with that kind of money they could at least give consumers a legitimate way to monitor their use in comparison to what they’re being paid (if any at all).

2)   Don’t let history repeat itself. It is obvious that time is money. As social sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are growing by the billions, their users are lagging behind. Television stars are making residuals for reruns consumers are seeing on television. Musicians are getting paid when their music is played on the radio. Why shouldn’t consumers get paid for spending their time on social media sites while in turn giving such a brand it’s worth? It makes absolutely no sense for companies like Facebook and Google to be raking in billions and not giving anything back to their users when it’s the users who are the television stars and the musicians here.

3)   Sites aren’t spreading the wealth. It is humorous to think users who spend their time and money to take some of the most beautiful photos in the world share them for free on social media sites. Imagine where Instagram would be if there were no photos to be shared? Celebrities like Justin Beiber benefit from sharing their photos because consumers share them and unwittingly make him more money. How about a regular John Doe with that viral photo, story, or video? How much do they get paid? Sure, they might get their 15 minutes of fame, but does it pay for their internet connection, that iPhone they may have used to take that photo, or that camcorder that was used to record that video? Imagine a world where consumers are being paid for every “like” they click, every photo they’re sharing, and every story that goes viral. It would be a whole new world of wealth for the consumers worldwide.

4)   Pay-For-Play. If we take a closer look at today’s social media growth statistics, users are growing by the second. For every like, click, link, search, post, tweet, etc. that consumers are doing, their data is being tracked for free, their privacy is taken, and such information is sold to third parties where someone else is making money from it. That is no different than allowing a burglar to go into your home and start taking your valuables and selling them. Where would social media be if there were no users, no clicks, no likes, no links, no searches, no postings, no tweets? It wouldn’t exist. Therefore, users and consumers are a valuable commodity that should be compensated for the things they do online to offset the expenses they’re paying (time, mobile devices, internet connections, etc.). It’s a simple formula and consumers/users should be educated to take what is owed to them.

5)   Unclear Advertising Model - Companies from Facebook and Twitter, to Google tout their advertising models, but none really offers detailed information on how such models are effective to the advertisers. An advertiser can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on social media platforms and they wouldn’t know how effective each campaign has been in driving additional businesses to their website (or whatever they’re trying to advertise).

6)   Unclear PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Campaigns - Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter offer advertisers different forms of PPC, however, one wouldn’t know which users (real or fake) would click on your campaign. Facebook claims to have 1.5 billion users, however, of those users, 5.5% to 11.2% are fake accounts (fake), which means 82.5 million to 168,000,000 million users are fake. If these fake users are the ones doing the “PPC” on your campaigns, then it would have been better to shred those advertising dollars. As of this article dated April 4, 2014 Twitter has about 4% of fake accounts (twitterfake).

About Jenny Q. Ta:

Jenny Q. Ta is the founder and CEO of Sqeeqee, the first-of-its-kind Social Networthing™ site.  Launched in 2015, the site gives individuals, businesses, celebrities, politicians, and non-profit organizations the ability to monetize their profiles in unprecedented ways. Ms. Ta is a seasoned entrepreneur with two successful ventures to her credit.  She was the Founder and CEO of Titan Securities, a full service investment firm that was acquired in 2005.  Prior to founding Titan Securities she was the driving force behind Vantage Investments, a full-service broker-dealer start-up she founded in 1999 at the age of 27 and grew to a quarter of a billion dollars in assets. Overall, she has more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in sales, marketing and finance.

Jenny earned a Master of Business Administration degree in Financial Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from California State University,

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PEW Report: Smartphone-Dependent people can’t live without their phones, literally

hand-nokia-outside-4957 (2)

Smartphones make their owners feel “productive” and “happy.” That was one of the takeaways from PEW Research Center‘s annual Smartphone usage report. While many reported positive experiences with their smartphone, it isn’t all rosy.  Of those surveyed, 57% of smartphone say their smartphones make them feel  “distracted,” and 36% expressed feeling “frustrated” by their smartphone encounter.

What’s the Demo of the Smartphone-dependent?

The report analyzes the sector of the American public who rely on smartphones as their only means of regularly accessing the Internet. These “smartphone dependent Americans” tend to be young from lower incomes and education and also non-whites.

Additionally, smartphone-dependent users are less likely to have a bank account and to have health insurance. They also are more likely to rent rather than own a home.

They also know the pain of getting cut off.  Researchers found that close to half of smartphone-dependent users had to cancel their cell phone service for a period of time because of financial hardship.

As can be expected this group of smartphone-dependent people also max out on their data plans. The survey found that 30% of smartphone-dependent Americans reach the maximum data amount allowed on their plans.

Almost 2/3 of Americans or 64%  today own smartphones,, an increase from 35% in 2011.  However, for some, it is a lifeline as well. The report found that 10% of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home. It also noted that 15% of Americans own a smartphone;  but have limited number of online-options besides their cell phone.

People still call?

The report showed how integral mobile devices are to Americans’ daily lives, especially for young adults. Interestingly, while texting is a prevalent feature for young adults, they still use their smartphones for basic calling, the report noted.

The report found that close to 100% of smartphone owners use text messaging, by far the most predominant feature of the device.

However, email remains a prominent activity in the smartphone era. Some 88% of smartphone owners used email.

What else are people using their phones for?

Another interesting fact from the report is that lower-income smartphone owners use their phone during a job search the most frequently. Households that earn less than $30,000 annually are nearly twice as likely to use their phones for this purpose as households that earn $75,000 or more annually.

But the smartphone-dependent are using their devices for a lot of life planning and daily functions too:

  • The report found that 62% of smartphone owners use their phone to access information about a health condition;
  • 57% of smartphone owners use their phone to do online banking;
  • 44% use their phone to look up real estate listings; and
  • Notably, three-quarters of younger owners rely upon their phone to access information about a health condition.
  • A majority of owners use their phone to track breaking news, provide driving directions, and assist with public transit.  These behaviors span diverse age groups. 40% of smartphone owners ages 65 and older use their phone to keep up with the news.

Smartphones help their owners get to their destinations: 67% use their phone for “turn-by-turn navigation,” and 25% use their phone to gather public transit information. There is a racial divide there too.  The report also noted that African Americans and Latinos access public transit information at higher rates than Whites.

The depth of information show the importance of increasing broadband in the home. It also draws attention to the need for flexibility in pricing plans and options to empower the smartphone dependent to be able to stay connected to the device that provides so much utility and resource to them.



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50+ SEO Resources & Tools for Content Marketers


Wading into SEO for the first time can feel terribly overwhelming. Who do you listen to? Where should you go for insight and information? Certainly not those who claim SEO is dead or irrelevant. To make your transition into SEO easy and to give you the…

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How Social Media Embeds disrupted the Paparazzi business


[BACKGROUND: Ever so often, I am inspired to blog about a topic, but don’t have time to research, write and offer a more comprehensive treatment to a complex topic. So,  I will just do a quick voice note – kind of like a podcast and share it on my social media pages. This time, my quick note about how the relatively new social media embed function has disrupted the paparazzi business model triggered a request for a transcription so here it is. The voice note, followed by the words uttered within it. Feel free to comment or share your perspective of viewpoint below.]

TRANSCRIPTION:  I thought by now someone would have done a quick blog post, or article or vlog about how the embed technology or embed option in a lot of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and Instagram has essentially disrupted the paparazzi business and the business of professional photographers that take candid unauthorized portraiture of celebrities as they walk about and go about their daily day.

But I did a quick search because I wanted to include such an article in a piece that I was working on and discovered that I couldn’t find one so I I’ll just speak to it quickly in this little voice note and maybe do the research myself but in a nutshell the thesis is that before paparazzi websites like IMF and Getty and Splash News and the other ones would charge news outlets that are online like US Weekly and PEOPLE Celebrity Babies and PopSugar and all the various different sites like E!Online that do a lot of celebrity coverage and would charge a pretty penny, not that much, but it could add up to use their pictures on their website. And those who did not, they came after them with a vengeance and would threaten to sue them and tried to get various different monetary recovery from these bloggers and gossip bloggers, which at this point, I think number the millions, possibly.

But what happened though is we see an evolution where a company like Getty, for example, realized it was no longer economically feasible or economically efficient to spend money hiring lawyers to chase down millions of gossip bloggers for using their images and knowing good and well that a lot of those bloggers weren’t making money, didn’t have money and even if they sued and got a recovery, they weren’t going to get money so essentially it was just for the principle.

 So what Getty did, I think last year, was decided to make the embed option where you could use the picture so long as you use the embed function and that way Getty would get the credit and at least get the value of that link back from all these different bloggers using their images and linking back to the Getty site and they would perhaps put ads on their site and get money that way.


 I’m not sure how that is working out for them, but what that did do is open up the market,  acknowledgment and awareness even among the larger sites that they no longer needed to spend a large part of their budget buying paparazzi images and all they needed to do was follow all of the celebrities that they cover, generally, on Twitter and Instagram  and pick it up from there.

Because Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and all those other popular social media sites have terms of service agreements which say essentially that when you put your image on our site you are giving us permission to allow the functionality that would enable people to share it and share it through embed. So when they do an embed, it’s not necessarily a violation of copyright if they just embed it on their sites using our service.

So you have all these sites now foregoing the costs and foregoing the expenditures of paying for celebrity images and just using the images the celebrities update themselves. And it’s symbiotic because celebs need those images, even though they say paparazzi are annoying, and they are lots, for the most part, but if they didn’t care about you, if you weren’t relevant or if you weren’t in the news or you weren’t worthy, they wouldn’t follow you. So…by them taking the picture and then celeb rags putting it in the magazine, essentially, it keeps people interested and people saying if they’re following you, they must be following you for a reason because people are always interested in what’s hot and what’s new and what everyone else is interested in so just in that cycle of things, it makes sense for you to want your images in these things.

 So now rather than having to forego your privacy, you, as the celebrity, can take control by putting the images you want to see in the magazines online in social media and it would get picked up that way.

And you see a lot of it, and it’s going on actively, and now lesser known blogs, and gossip blogs doing it as a hobby and who don’t necessarily have the money to pay for pictures also now can benefit from continuing their celebrity coverage  and just using the embed option and embedding images on their sites versus just stealing a picture from a major site and taking the risk that the photographer or the company that the photographer takes pictures for won’t come after them with a copyright suit.

So anyway, there you have it. And I’m sure if someone does  the research and looks into it, they’d notice or take note or actualize that there has been a drop in revenue for paparazzi and some of them because of what Getty decided to do may also have to follow suit and be creative in getting their money because a lot of bloggers are just using Getty images because they know Getty’s not coming after them so once you know that they may feel more free to go with their service and use their embed option and post Getty pictures versus others.



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How incumbent BIG Internet companies control the Digital Economy


Even though the internet as we know it is not even 25 years old yet, it’s been a robust industry long enough for there to be major incumbents with market and monopoly-like influence and power.

The new digital economy is set up so that there are more opportunities for everyone and anyone who has the drive and interest to set up shop, grow customers and audiences and succeed. It is a traditional pyramid however, where BIG Internet edge provider companies who are the gatekeepers hold the power and are essential for a rising digital company to excel. The big Industry players at the top can single-handedly pull a plug and disrupt rising digital entrepreneurs and startups.

In digital publishing industry, for example, it only takes a terms of service violation, some third party filing a copyright or defamation complaint against your site for it to get pulled off of a platform like Tumblr or Blogger. A hosting company can use a delayed payment to yank your business offline, thereby destroying your reputation and causing lost sales.

Last October 2014, Google took down the blog of the most popular Nigerian blogger, Linda Ikeji, after someone complained she used his public tweets about Boko Haram without permission. It was restored about a day later but not after the outage contributed to tons of damage to her reputation and she suffered lost page views.

If a website violates one of Google’s unpublished principles of authenticity or value, it could be dropped in rank which strips the site of any good will it has built and buries it on page 5 or higher in search.

And even if you follow the rules, if your company turns out to be competing with a big industry gatekeeper like Twitter, you could become victim to anti-competitive activity.

Consider the case of video streaming social media app Meerkat. It just launched at South by Soutwest four weeks ago but just got kicked off of Twitter’s social graph. Why? Because Twitter invested in a competing service Periscope that does essentially the same thing as Meerkat.

Now, Periscope has the edge because of its favorable relationship with Twitter. It’s easier to find friends with Periscope because of this move and now the 4-week old Meerkat has to start from scratch and do the same thing.

And so while normally, whomever builds the platform first wins all the loyalty of early adopters (see Vine v. Instagram Video) being able to access friends who are not on the platform matters even more. (see Facebook v. Google Plus and every other attempt to usurp Facebook’s social media reach)

Therefore, of the two services, the one which has that integrated relationship will more likely be more favored by users. People don’t want to have to rebuild circles. followings and friends lists that took them years to curate. Incumbents know that and know that’s what gives them the edge over newcomers.

It is quite ironic because in the Net Neutrality debate, its proponents had decided that traditional Broadband and Media companies were too big to be trusted and in sum, seemed to have used the FCC to impose strict regulations on that industry to make sure they don’t discriminate against non-affiliated companies.

All the while….ignoring the fact that BIG Internet is  running our digital economy without any government restrictions or controls interfering with their ability to flex market dominance  or make it harder for a competitor to succeed. Perplexing!

Active members in this robust Internet ecosystem who are on the lower rungs of the hierarchy are well aware and wary that their biggest fear isn’t from an ISP slowing down content but from other Big internet player with much more relevant muscle power that can yank their content and services from relevancy altogether.

The free market economy is disrupted when there are preemptive controls put in place before evidence of market failure. 

Perhaps, users will keep Meerkat but we must wait and see. 
It’s  uncool to have winners and losers picked depending on which industry is deemed hipper from PR branding perspective 
The Uber and Airbnbs of the world are indeed disrupting traditional models but there is room in the market for both and the rabid demonization of the old players in unnecessary. For true fair competition and the market to work, there should be parity on all fronts.
In the net economy, it’s still too soon to stifle it. 


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