Orbitz

Three game mechanics you should borrow from Candy Crush

Game mechanics are the building blocks of a successful gamification strategy.

These elements make the experience engaging and fun for the consumer. Points, badges and leaderboards are the go-to mechanics marketers often use to make their programs more engaging, but the mechanics marketers can tap go beyond PBLs (as they’re called among game designers). 

Candy Crush, the social game that is more popular than every other game on Facebook, uses a long list of mechanics to create motivating and addictive experience for the user.

And there are a number of lessons marketers can learn from the torrid success of Candy Crush.

Google’s travel ambitions take flight with ITA purchase

Vertical search is already a big focus in the search
market, and Google has its sights set on the skies. And we’re not talking about the infamous Google party plane.

Yesterday, Google announced that it is buying flight information
software company ITA Software for $700m in cash. ITA Software’s technology is widely used by airlines and online travel
destinations, and “effortlessly searches – at a billion combinations
per query – fares, schedules, and availability.” That’s why Google was
willing to pay big bucks for ITA’s technology, which it hopes will
enable it to help passengers, airlines and online travel agencies find
flights and fares more efficiently.

Retailers involved with marketing scam tell consumers: shop with us at your own risk

When there’s a lot of money to gain, many brands have trouble giving up questionable practices. And in the case of the online marketing case now in the Senate, many retailers came out this week with statements that indicate they’re putting profits ahead of their customers.

Last week the Senate held a hearing investigating the practices of online marketing companies that work with many retailers online to unwittingly enroll customers in loyalty programs that end up costing a lot of money.

Multiple retailers have severed ties with the companies in the following week. But not all. Many companies, from Priceline to Classmates.com, FTD, Shutterfly and Orbitz, think they’ve done nothing wrong and it’s up to customers to read the fine print.

But by enrolling people in these programs without asking for additional credit card information, the retailers breached the trust of their customers. For some retailers — especially those known for questionable deals at absurd prices — that might work. But for most, earning revenue from confusing customers is bad business.

Congress subpoenas web loyalty firm

How much disclosure is enough online? Congress has issued a subpoena to online marketer Vertrue for making unauthorized credit card charges online, and regardless of how it turns out, the increased exposure should prove bad for the business of blind credit card transactions.

The request by the Senate marks the Commerce Committee’s first major subpeona to get documents from a private company since the 2002 Enron scandal.

Committee Chairman John
Rockefeller wrote in a July 28 letter to Vertrue Chief Executive
Gary Johnson that consumers are struggling to get by during the recession, and “allegations that your company is making this situation
worse by charging consumers for services they do not want or
use are extremely troubling.”

Vertrue maintains that it has not done anything unlawful. And said that it requested the subpoena because the Senate was
asking for information that could “include personally identifiable
information about the consumer.” Meanwhile, Vertrue has failed to disclose email, financial documents and other internal communications and has been accused of “slow walking” the investigation.