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Last week, in a deal that sounded too-good-to-be true, group-buying website Groupola was offering the new iPhone 4 for a mere £99, sim-free. Users had to simply register interest on the Groupola website, where they would then be emailed a link to buy the new must-have iPhone on Friday.
With such a tempting deal on offer, on Friday morning, the Groupola website faced major meltdown, and that's essentially what happened.
A Groupola spokesman said 5m unique users tried to access the site between 9am and 9.30am. That number seems incredibly far-fetched to us but obviously the website fell apart as a result of the demand.
With thousands (if not millions) of users unable to access the site, it's unsurprising that a wave of angry consumers took to social media channels to voice their outrage on Twitter and Facebook.
The process was mismanaged from start to finish, resulting in a PR fiasco for the company. So what could Groupola have done to avoid such an unmitigated disaster?
How often do you Google your own name? And how often do you Google the names of potential employees before opting to hire them? In these data-driven times, it is important to recognise that personal information is becoming much more accessible and can impact you both postively and negatively.
In his new book, iCrossing's Antony Mayfield addresses how to manage personal online reputation effectively. We recently caught up with Antony at the launch of Me and My Web Shadow to find out more.
More than ever, it's crucially important for brands to be timely, relevant and engaging. In the first truly digital UK general election, we've already seen that the main political parties could do a lot more to improve their websites and online campaigns. But what about companies?
Here are some examples of brands who have jumped on the election bandwagon, by launching topically-themed marketing campaigns and products.
Paperchase is the latest recipient of a growing internet fire-storm, facing criticism over claims that the stationery giant allegedly plagiarised the artwork of a British, independent artist, decorating notebooks, tote bags and albums, and making them available for sale around the UK.
It's clear that the world has changed. There is simply nowhere for companies to hide: do something wrong or embarrassing, and internet users will respond rapidly to expose the corporate scandal in a matter of minutes.
With businesses still struggling under the weight of the difficult economic environment, the importance of understanding the drivers of profitability has never been greater. More than ever, it's crucial for companies to get the most from their web properties and digital marketing investment, and to measure effectively.
This is where investing in a good web analytics solution can help, and as Econsultancy's new edition of its Web Analytics Buyer's Guide shows, it's encouraging to see that the sector continues to grow, in spite of continued pressure on budgets.
Lesley Eccles is Co-founder and Marketing Director of Hubdub.com, an online news prediction contest that allows users to win virtual dollars by correctly forecasting the outcome of real news stories. Recently, Hubdub Ltd expanded their web properties by launching FanDuel.com, a site where participants can make real money by playing and winning at fantasy sports games.
At bigmouthmedia's recent Social Media Summit, Lesley talked about some of the challenges associated with marketing through social media, as well as the potential opportunities for start-ups operating in this space.
As Econsultancy's recently published Social Media and Online PR Report (produced in association with bigmouthmedia) shows, smaller companies are more likely to get involved in social media, as they face fewer barriers to experimenting with new channels and are inherently more flexible.
As a start-up, social media plays a pivotal role in Hubdub's marketing efforts. I caught up with Lesley post-event to find out more about Hubdub Ltd, and the challenges facing SMEs and start-ups in this difficult economic climate.
Many companies are enthusiastic about social media but are struggling to get real value, according to Econsultancy research published this week.
The good news for companies is that investment in time and resources can pay dividends ... provided that the strategies and tactics employed are closely aligned with business objectives.
Marks & Spencer's online strategy has gone through a variety of changes in recent months. As well as revamping their main website, the British retail giant has embraced social media by incorporating ratings and reviews into their website, and using Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation and better engage with customers.
It is encouraging to see a major brand like M&S experimenting with new online channels. By incorporating social media into their strategy, Marks & Spencer has enhanced its ability to respond to customers. Additionally, the brand is better placed to manage their online reputation more effectively.
At a recent iCrossing social media briefing, I asked Business Development Manager, Sienne Veit about the changes that Marks & Spencer has implemented and the impact of social media on the brand.
Team Econsultancy are taking part in this year's Movember, an international campaign that challenges participants to change the face of men's health.
Throughout November, the male members of our team (or our "Mo Bros) will be sporting their best 'tache to raise money for charity. Mo Bros are required to be clean-shaven on the 1st of November and then have the rest of the month to grow and groom their moustaches.
In effect, the Econsultancy team will become a walking billboard for men's health.
Social media growth continued to accelerate this year, with more brands integrating social channels into their marketing campaigns. There are some amazing examples of truly innovative, forward-thinking brands that have effectively used social media to connect with their customers, build engagement and create buzz.
However, with just as many companies jumping on the proverbial bandwagon (in an arguably over-hyped space), it’s clear that some brands still “just do not get it".
Here we look back at some of the best (and worst) examples of social media in 2009.
Will 2010 be the year of mobile? It's the perennial question and it's certainly getting closer. Improving handset technology and increased demand for the mobile internet are propelling the industry forward. Econsultancy's new Mobile Marketing Buyer's Guide explores the various developments that are removing the barriers to growth.
Econsultancy's CMS Survey Report (just published in association with Squiz) highlights that firms are typically focusing their budgets on implementing CMS rather than licensing, with 45% of organisations planning to spend more on CMS implementation over the next year compared to 26% who will spend more on licences.