Friday, June 26, 2009

Ryanair to take low cost to a new Level

I was searching for flight ticket yesterday and accidentally I found an article on Ryanair...honestly I could not believe what I was reading and in fact diverted my research from one on flights to one specifically on Ryanair. Read through the following article and let me know what you think....

In a drive to cut down costs, Ryanair is hoping to axe 90% of its baggage handlers and instead allow passengers to carry their own luggage to the plane.

The move has been met with dismay by the airport industry amid concerns that it will make the already tedious security check in process even longer. There is also concern that travellers with bulky luggage to carry are unlikely to splash so much cash in Duty Free. This will enable Ryanair to cut down about £44 million in luggage handling fees.

Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary, commented: ‘What it means is no more waiting at the carousel, no more losing your bags, no more wasting your life in over-priced airport terminals.'

Budget airline Ryanair will be taking no-frills to new levels as it also has plans to to introduce a charge of £1 for the use of toilets onboard. As reported by the Telegraph, Michael O'Leary justified this charge by hinting that lead to fewer people needed to use the toilets and so Ryanair could provide fewer cubicles and put in more seats, therefore cutting prices for all.

Courtesy of:

Additionally during an interview on Sky television while discussing the airline's cost-cutting measures, Mr Randall (the interviewer) asked Michael O'Leary if he would charge for sick bags. Mr O'Leary replied: "Yes."Although it is unclear if the airline boss was teasing his host, this would once more lead to a new low cost level....what could be next?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Company Launches Mobile Phone for Kids

Firefly is a brand of Mobile Phones that has sought to detach itself from the main stream mobile user and has sought to develop mobile phones specifically for children. The company has already made available two handsets in the US and is now seeking to grow and expand into Europe.

These phones have the ability to take pictures, record videos, listen to MP3 files and play games, which nearly all other mobile phone have however it has the added feature that enables parents put controls on the phone. Parents can restrict who can be called from the phone, who can call the phone as well as controlling how much is spent.

Although figures show that more than half of children in the UK aged from five to nine years old already have mobiles, the launch of Firefly has spurred criticism from those worried about the erosion of childhood, as well as the health implications. Children are being introduced to the adult world faster and this could be affecting their future quality of life.

The phone will be debuting on the European Scene in the UK where they will be distributed by by Kevin and Frances Crean. The couple say on their website,, that they were inspired to find a handset suitable for their children after a health scare involving their daughter when she was away at camp. They have also opened a discussion board on their website to welcome any comments.

Although as stated earlier the mobile phone owning age is decreasing, governments such as that of the UK still advise parents to avoid giving phones to under 16s.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Microsoft Files lawsuit against individuals for fraudulent clicks

Last night I was reading some articles relating to the Internet and search engine clickthrough rates and came across an article that attracted my attention. It was the first time I came across a search engine owner that files a lawsuit again those that try to manipulate search results by creative clicking

The rivalry for search engine rankings can sometimes lead to "creative clicking"...where competing companies click on adwords, or paid for search results so as to deplete the advertising budget of rival companies so that Fraudster research results gain ranking and can then attract normal customer clicks.

The company in question in this case is Microsoft who is seeking at least $750,000 (£456,000) in damages from the defendants, claiming the three set up a number of false companies in March of last year and targeted ads for car insurance firms and the computer game 'World of Warcraft

In March 2008, Microsoft received complaints from car insurance advertisers who said traffic to their ads was spiking in a suspicious manner.

Microsoft investigated the claims and found an unusual number of searches for "auto insurance quotes" and a high click-through rate for the top paid search ads.

A similar scheme was being carried out with the keywords "World of Warcraft", Microsoft found.

Microsoft estimates the alleged fraud cost the advertisers in the region of $1.5m.

The company tracked down the source of the clicks and found the lion's share came from two Canadian-based proxy servers.

Microsoft claims that the three defendants set up fraudulent auto-insurance companies or worked with legitimate firms and bombarded the top-ranked ads with clicks, depleting the companies of their ad budgets and sinking their ad placements.

The defendants then placed their own ads on Microsoft's adCenter, which quickly rose in results rankings and were clicked on by actual customers. The group then sold the personal data of legitimate customers to low-level advertisers, Microsoft claims.

The lawsuit is a rare instance of a search engine going after individual advertisers and not the other way around.

Google was one of the first companies to do so in 2004 when it sued advertisers who were clicking on their own AdSense ads to make money.

Microsoft General Counsel said that this is a significant case. It shows that more companies are becoming active in the fight again online fraud which does not only entail credit card fraud. In this case, people where trying to change the economies of the game, by making it more expensive for companies who buy adwords."

According to Click Forensics, which measures global click fraud rates with its quarterly Click Fraud Index, about one in every seven clicks (13.8%) is fraudulent.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Who are the new Entrepreneurs?

I was reading an interesting study about entrepreneurs and found various articles that relate to it...I have summed up what I found and thought of sharing this with you. While reading it remember that any research displays averages...any results are not set in stone and you are the one in control of your future.
The Research Findings:-
When you think of the word 'entrepreneur', who do you visualise? You might be inclined to think of a student who is in his early 20's who dropped out of college to follow his or her dream.

But according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, it's not young people who are driving entrepreneurial activity in the United States. It's actually the Baby Boomers.

The study found that over the past decade, the highest level of entrepreneurial activity was seen amongst the 55-64 age group. What about the wonder kinds we see featured on most renowned magazine covers? Their entrepreneurial prowess is largely an illusion. It was actually found that the 20 - 34 age bracket who are thought of risk taker youths (think of Google, Yahoo, Facebook) has the lowest rate of entrepreneurs.Perhaps most surprising, this disparity occurred during the eleven years surrounding the dot-com boom—when the young entrepreneurial upstart became a cultural icon.

In a related study that looked at 5,000 companies started in 2004, the Kauffman Foundation discovered that two-thirds were started by founders in the 35-54 age bracket. When it came to technology companies specifically, the average age of a founder was 39.

When you think about it, this really isn't all that surprising. Although stories like that of Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, make for great stories, they're great stories precisely because they're so unusual. When it comes to the reality of entrepreneurship, it makes sense that older people would be more apt to start businesses. After all, an older founder is more likely to have significant experience, greater knowledge, better networks and the financial resources required to start a new venture. The hunger and ambition typically associated with youth can only take you so far.

In looking at what the future holds, the Kauffman Foundation notes that the ongoing recession could increase the incidence of entrepreneurship amongst those under 30 but also points out that other trends, such as the diminishing notion of the 'lifetime' job and longer lifespans, likely supports a healthy crop of old entrepreneurs.

So what's the key conclusion? As much as the tech startup community values youth, it's a bad idea to ignore those who are more experienced and more knowledgeable. Given that the billion and trillion dollar markets of tomorrow aren't going to be found in the consumer internet, for instance, wisdom is more important than ever. So the next time you're networking, don't forget to talk to the guy who looks like he could be your dad. He may not be starting the next Facebook but he could be the founder of the next Cisco.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Qualities that an innovative product should have

I always like to surf the net for in search of something innovative...that stands out of the crowd and something from which each and everyone can learn. I can across a very interesting article reviewing a likely innovative and interesting product.

It is well known that now a days the market for promotional products is over saturated and companies tend to sell the same promotional stuff. However brand owners hunting down promotional products are now a days looking to satisfy two main criteria:- the product must stand out from the crowd and must have plenty of use. Well Brightbutton's Willie Wetsuit is certainly going to cover all of these requirements.The following section describes the product in terms of it's use and it's innovativeness.

Use: As far as promotional products got he Willie Wetsuit is primarily a keyring....a keyring with a difference as is designed to hold a condom. Hence it meets the first criteria of being a useful product. The Wetsuit can hold from one to three units.

Branding: The suits come in a choice of seven colours and there is 60mmx30mm of space on the back to place branding. The promotional message can also be printed in four colours so there is plenty of flexibility.

Well the product is certainly different, but will it get the same exposure as pens and mouse mats? Brightbutton market the Wetsuit as a fun way of promoting safe sex. However from a poll that was done another company it was found that many females wouldn't be impressed with a potential mate especially if they saw what the keyring contained and thought the best place for a condom was in a wallet.
Overall the product is bound to be picked up as well as remembered and hence it serves all the requirements for a successful product.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Very Innovative Stealth Marketing must read!

I was sitting at home in front of my laptop and I was searching for innovative marketing campaigns when I came across the new advert series by Procter & Gamble...It is a very unusual campaign for Procter & Gamble and in fact from what I could find it was only launched of a blog....maybe to test people's reaction to it.

I found a blog featuring a series of short short films about a schoolboy who one day wakes up with "girl parts" instead of "boy parts". The videos show you the problems this guy faces in adapting to the menstruation cycle and finally when the D-Day arrives how this guy deals with the issue. I was quite amazed at this viral campaign and continued to search for the marketer behind this stealth campaign when I found it was none other than Procter & Gamble's Tampax.

Since April Procter & Gamble has been quietly promoting Tampax tampons through the blog, which features a series of regularly updated short films, starring Zack Johnson.

As of this week, the most viewed of nine online videos produced had been seen fewer than 6,000 times on YouTube, though it's had a few thousand additional views on such sites as The fictitious Mr. Johnson also has a Twitter account, @ZackJohnson16, with 949 followers.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Koogle a new search engine

I was surfing the net and for new stuff on the net and came across this really interesting article and I said why not share it with all of you...

A web portal called Koogle has launched with the aim of giving orthodox Jews the ability to search the net without breaking any Torah commandments. 'Koogle' is a pun on search engine Google and the traditional Jewish dish 'kugel'. The Hebrew language-site is split in to sections including news, a market place for people to sell second-hand goods and a business directory for everything from Kosher restaurants to bridal wear.

The website is very targeted however there are already some concerns about whether the real market exists. The guide of the website says that it will also filter out items that ultra-orthodox followers are not allowed to have in their homes, such as televisions. However in this case, would ultra-orthodox who are not allowed to have TV be allowed to connect to the Internet and more so, own a PC?

The site is designed to meet guidelines set down by orthodox rabbis, ensuring that no sexually explicit material is shown.

The site will also not allow transactions on the Sabbath, when it is forbidden to work or undertake business.
Let's wait and see whether this will actually be the new trend for search engines and whether the new niche marketing strategy will take off...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Examples of how Failing to use Social Networking may lead to PR Blunders

I was reading a number of articles and came across this really interesting article written by Mr. Graham Charlton on the 8th of June 2009 and that shows how companies can misuse Social Networking.

A number of brands have fallen foul of social media over the last few years, either due to lack of understanding of how information spreads online, or by attempting to manipulate the system and getting caught out.

The listed ten examples show the reaction of companies who have suffered PR nightmares online, in most cases the bad publicity has come via social media sites...


After a blogger criticised a flaw in the airline's online booking process, staff from the airline left several childish and insulting comments in response to the post. To make matters worse, after the episode was publicised around the web, the company issued a statement saying that 'it is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again.'


The video showing Domino's employees doing all sort of disgusting stuff to the food they were preparing went viral on YouTube (mentioned in an earlier post on this blog), and was a PR nightmare for the company. The company did what it could by posting a video response on YouTube, though some found the delivery by President Patrick Doyle less than perfect (the video did not have the same viral effect as the initial one posted on YouTube).


A Belkin employee was caught red handed offering to pay other Amazon Mechanical Turk users to write positive reviews of one of its products on the site. These reviews were especially unconvincing given the fact that the router in question had several bad reviews already, making the positives stick out like a sore thumb. The paid reviews have since been removed.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey left a bunch of anonymous postings about rival company Wild Oats before being rumbled, causing a great deal of embarrassment for him and his company. The same CEO apologised to shareholders afterwards, but the damage was done.


The company was outed in 2006 after a blog chronicling a duo's travels across America while camping in Wal-Mart car parks turned out to have been the work of PR firm Edelman.


After removing books with adult content, including Brokeback Mountain and Lady Chatterly's Lover, from its bestseller lists, Amazon was subjected to a torrent of bad publicity on Twitter and elsewhere. The company blamed a glitch but didn't directly respond on Twitter.


Kodak recently decided to charge an annual fee for storing photos in its online Gallery, and though it claimed to have emailed everyone concerned, some were clearly surprised when their photos started to vanish. Obviously the company received lots of bad publicity for the company on Twitter.


US retailer Target got itself some bad publicity in the New York Times last year after dismissing a complaint from a blogger about one of its ads with the phrase: 'we are unable to respond to your inquiry because Target does not participate with nontraditional media outlets'.

Just months before, the company was outed for encouraging Facebook users, who were receiving various freebies, to praise the company on the site. Was this a nontraditional media outlet?

Neal's Yard

The retailer of organic products pulled out of an online debate as part of The Guardian's 'You ask, they answer' feature. It seems the company didn't like the question concerning the withdrawal of one of its products last year; a homeopathic remedy for malaria.

As pointed out here, this refusal to engage is not the way to deal with criticism online, and represents a PR failure for the firm. In this way to leave users to draw up their own conclusions.


An example of why companies should own their social media profiles, and monitor sites like Twitter comes from ExxonMobil. Someone calling herself Janet set up an account on the site in the company's name and managed to fool plenty of people before the account was taken down.

All these examples are just a snippet of all examples that one might find about Companies failing to use social media effectively to correct or respond to blunders. In this way they let users draw up their own conclusions and possibly offer a the possibility to competitors to have their say too!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Apple plans price cut to boost demand

I was planning to upgrade my mobile phone and was looking at what's available on the market before venturing to any brick and mortar store. While browsing for news about the Apple iPhone I came across a very interesting news which, if confirmed, will probably have me waiting a little bit more before upgrading.

Apple is planning to expand it market share in the smart phone market as it is thought that next Monday it will be announcing the launch of its new iPhones which will be priced at around $50 or $100 less than the current US iPhone price of $199.

Apple currently accounts to about about 11 per cent of the world’s smart phones market, trailing behind Nokia’s 41 per cent volume and Research in Motion’s 20 per cent, according to Gartner figures from the first quarter.

The news, of the new cheaper iPhone is expected to be divulged by apple during the developer conference, a conference which Apple usually uses to introduce most of their products. However till today, Apple has declined to comment the news which has been widely reported in all international media. The much awaited conference, begins on Monday with a keynote speech by senior vice-president and marketing chief Phil Schiller. Reports are also spreading that during the conference it will also be announced that founder Steve Jobs is planning to return to work after a period of medical leave.

Coming back to the new iPhone, with the price reduction of $100 Apple is expected to increase demand by 100%. The production of the new iPhone is expected to start in July. While iPhone and Apple enthusiasts will be longing to see the latest product from Apple, competitors such as Palm (which was famous for its PDAs in the 90s and is aiming to revive its fortunes and take market share from Apple) will not be very happy to hear this news.

I believe that the latest price cut could lead the mobile market to grow again as users start switching from less functional mobile phone sets to the latest and now cheaper Smart Phones.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Facebook to introduce Payment Gateway

I was searching for news about Facebook as we as I had read that it had sold about 1.5% to a Russian Company (Digital Sky Technologies) for $200m so as to raise more finances. I came across an article that is very interesting. Facebook has begun tapping a new revenue stream as it seeks to introduce an internal payment system. This will enable it to reduce it's reliance on advertising and to start earning commissions on payments. This has been long awaited and it will enable Facebook users to be able to buy credits that can then be used to buy virtual goods from third party applications running on Facebook.

This revenue structure mimics that of Second Life where developers can start developing virtual items that can then be bought by users to customise their Facebook experience. Second Life was a success as hardcore users where buying property and furnishings to create a virtual life. An example of the potential of Facebook is Zynga, the largest applications developer on Facebook, with 42m users using their games. It is believed that they make nearing $100m in annual sales. Together, developers working on Facebook’s platform are expected to make more than $500m this year perhaps even more than Facebook itself.

Facebook hopes that by offering a site-wide currency it will encourage more commerce on the website. By serving as the payment provider, it will capture a percentage of every transaction. The payment portal will serve the same purpose as PayPal is for Ebay Inc. The percentage profit is small but over time, this will be very significant.

Social Networking sites and now even the mini blog site, Twitter, are suffering from a real problem...they have a huge following but they cannot find a proper revenue generation method. This will give them more possibility as a specialised payment gateway exists to help them monetise on their services.

Could this be the end of an all free service? Social Networking sites need to be really careful with this as they depend on a large userbase and if these sites become too focused on revenue generation they may alienate their user. The right balance needs to be struck.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vive México a new campaign to promote tourism

Mexico has been hardly hit by the Swine flu crisis as tourism figures have been falling dramatically. In fact I have been looking at tourism resorts in the country and the prices are really reasonable...I was really attracted to the place and was even considering a bargain holiday in South America but I'm still somewhat doubtful...possibly I have been influenced by the swine flu phobia.

This decline in tourism has led the government to take immediate action. President Felipe Calderón launched the Vive México promotion and communication campaign that will have unprecedented Federal Government investment of 1.2 billion pesos.

In a truly motivational speech, President Calderón described the Vive México campaign as a “true national movement" that requires the participation of all Mexicans, particularly the most outstanding ones who have shown the most talent." He invited every Mexican to let tourist know that going to Mexico is a great experience as Mexico has a lot to offer in term of culture and natural beauty.

Apart from this, resorts are being urged to offer discounted prices to locals so as to try to stimulate internal demand for the tourism sector. This could partly diminish the effect of the fall of international demand. At the same time, figures from the artistic, sports and cultural world will promote Mexico's tourist resorts both within the country and in the rest of the world while the media will disseminate Vive México.

Will the locals support this campaign and help Mexico revive itself and attract more tourists? We'll wait and see and in the meantime I will continue to look for bargain holidays...if anyone has any suggestions please let me know

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Motorola and Beckham...their marriage may not be a perfect one afterall

This week has been a very hectic one as my PC was infect from a deadly worm! I am still without my laptop so I had to revert back to my PC...While searching for ways how to destroy the worm I came across this very interesting article....

As you know PR is an essential part of a company's marketing campaign and having a very famous brand personality is a big plus. A few months ago Motorola signed up David Beckham to launch their new £1,400 Motorola Phone...a big name for a high ticket item.

Unfortunately for both Becks and Motorola something has gone wrong! Becks is in hot water after pictures showing the former England captain tapping away on an iPhone hit the web. Italian paparazzi who are famous for their undercover techniques managed to find the scoop of the month.

The paparazzi caught Becks red handed while eating out alone in a restaurant in Milan. He was actively playing with his toy...surprise, was an Iphone! As soon as he noticed the paparazzi he sheepishly hiding it under the table, but it was too late!

Englands captain has been the face of Motorola since 2006, and has signing a multi-million pound agreement including his latest Terminator campaign for the new Motorola.

After this gaffe, it is still unclear whether Motorola will take any actions against it's brand personality for using competing products...who knows, Becks might be considered a normal person and as such is attracted by Apple's gadgets