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As we've been reminded recently, there are few guarantees in life. Except the end of the week and The Web Week in Review. So here we go (again).
Just when you thought the internet's drama queen, Yahoo, was done with the drama, it finds a way to capture the spotlight yet again.
This time, the news was the announcement that Yahoo co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang had stepped down as Yahoo CEO. Yang will remain on Yahoo's board of directors.
Yang had been harshly criticized for his handling of Microsoft's acquisition offer, which increasingly looks like it was perhaps one of the biggest lost opportunities in technology industry history - especially since its planned search advertising deal with Google was shot down
Its stock price closed Thursday at $8.95. Microsoft had offered as much as $33 per share to buy the company just months ago.
If only Yang had been a reader of the E-consultancy.com blog, he would have known to take the money and run.
In any case, Yang spun his resignation, stating:
"Having set Yahoo on a new, more open path, the time is right for me to transition the CEO role and our global talent to a new leader."
Who will that leader be? I offered some tongue-in-cheek suggestions. One thing is for sure - the next CEO of Yahoo has quite a challenge.
Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has reiterated once again that he has no interest in buying Yahoo, even though a deal is certainly there to be had at a much lower price.
Instead, he sees an "interesting opportunity" for a search deal, which now looks like Yahoo's only and best bet if it wants to make a deal with someone.
Before it does anything, however, I would suggest that its new CEO needs to get the company's affairs in order.
Can The BlackBerry Storm Live Up To The Hype?
It looks like the iPhone may have some competition. The Blackberry Storm, Research in Motion's first real foray into the consumer market, seems like it just might have what it takes to hold its own against Apple's potent iPhone.
While reviews are naturally mixed, there are some problems being reported and it's unlikely that the Storm will inspire the same sort of lines that the Apple inspires when it releases a new iPhone, all appearances are that RIM has done enough to create a product that can compete on paper.
If one looks at speed between the Storm browser and the iPhone browser, for instance, reviewers are noting that the two are fairly equally matched.
The real question, of course, is - will the Storm fly off the shelves?
According to Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao, "We might end up having a problem with giving enough Storms to as many customers who want it. It's going very well, we might be short of them, to be honest."
Of course, I'd argue that there's room in the market for more than one consumer-oriented smartphone and initial indications are that Apple and RIM may not, for the time being, be competing as much against each other as they are both competing to grow the smartphone market.
The good news: online advertising revenues grew 11% in Q3 to $5.9bn.
The bad news: growth is slowing and revenues only rose 2% quarter-over-quarter.
Which figure is worth paying the most attention to? While there is a real threat of significant cuts to advertising budgets and it's likely that these will rear their ugly heads in 2009 as revenue figures are lagging indicators, online advertising has thus far held up better than I personally expected, although one should point out that the Q3 figures likely reflect spend that was already committed before the global economy really turned sour.
In any case, the relatively strong online ad revenue figures hopefully mean that ad-supported online businesses have been given a bit more time to prepare themselves for any future decline and to stash away some cash.
It will certainly be interesting to watch for the Q4 2008 and Q1 2009 figures.
Mercedes-Benz is taking an interesting approach to online community.
Earlier this year, it launched a closed, password-protect online community targeted at 19 to 32 year-olds. In the community, members can answer questionnaires, take pools and provide feedback on everything Mercedes-Benz.
While the community only has 800 members who Mercedes-Benz personally invited, the company claims that it's receiving a tangible benefit. According to Adweek's Andrew McMains:
"Nearly half [of the members] have visited in the past 60 days, and of those, a few hundred are 'very regular users.'"
Interestingly, only a third of the members own a Mercedes-Benz. The rest could obviously become customers in the future if they don't spend too much time on social networks, including the Mercedes-Benz community they're a part of.
While I do have some questions, I'm intrigued by the Mercedes-Benz initiative. Instead of pursuing metrics such as "registered users" and "pageviews," it seems that the carmaker is taking a wiser approach - build an online focus group using a community structure and make sure it doesn't become too large so as to become unmanageable.
One of my biggest criticisms of other communities that are purported to be designed as feedback aggregators is that there are far too many users and not enough structure to produce data that is likely to be actionable. Mercedes-Benz seems to be taking a focused approach that prevents that from happening.
Hopefully more details about the Mercedes-Benz community and the impact it has on the company, if any, will be revealed at some point.
Right now, Mercedes-Benz is preparing to launch a community for baby boomers in 2009.