that's entertainment

BitTorrent Vies for Credibility with Thom Yorke Experiment

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 3, 2014 02:32 PM

Brit alternative rocker Thom Yorke has never been afraid to experiment when it comes to getting music into fans’ hands. The lead singer of Radiohead pioneered a new distribution model with In Rainbows, the band’s first album after its record contract with EMI ended, which was released online with a pay-what-you-wish model. It ended up being a huge critical and financial success.

Yorke took his chances again last week when he released his sophomore solo collection, the eight-song Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, via BitTorrent. Costing only $6 via PayPal or credit card, the album (or "Bundle," in BitTorrent-speak, including an extra track plus video) was downloaded more than a million times in the first six days, according to Consequence of Sound. After the digital release, Yorke also put the album out on vinyl as well.

Once again, Yorke has succeeded in his original goal to find “an effective way of handing some control of Internet commerce back to the people who are creating the work.” As Mashable reports, BitTorrent is only taking 10% of the sales with Yorke getting the rest, which is a better deal than artists have when they sign on with a traditional music label.Continue reading...

web watch

Brands Do Double-Time to Repair Cyber Attack Damage

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 20, 2013 05:53 PM

More than 40 companies including Apple, Facebook and Twitter have been targeted in malware attacks linked to an Eastern European gang of hackers using an iPhone-developer website, iPhoneDevSDK. 

The hackers are mining for proprietary research and intellectual property they can re-sell underground, with their assault being called a “sophisticated attack” by Facebook and “extremely sophisticated” by Twitter.

RSA Security Inc. has called their tactics a “waterhole” attack, as victims are attracted to the source of the infection. This technique attacks a centralized website with many visitors and secretly infects vulnerable machines using an un-patched exploit. It differs from a targeted attack like emailing a malware-laden attachment to a specific user.

Apple said Tuesday in a statement, "We identified a small number of systems within Apple that were infected and isolated them from our network. There is no evidence that any data left Apple." Apple countered with release of a Java patch for OS X users and a tool that will sweep Mac computers for any Java malware and remove the offending software, which millions of Mac users must now install.Continue reading...


Watch Out, Bargain Hunters: One in Five Duped Into Buying Fake Goods Online

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 21, 2012 05:02 PM

"Buyer beware" applies now, more than ever, as holiday shoppers take to the web and mobile to snap up bargains. According to the latest MarkMonitor Shopping Report, one in five bargain hunters in the U.S. and Europe mistakenly shopped on e-commerce sites selling counterfeit goods while searching for deals online.

“Consumers are being waylaid by rogue e-commerce sites, causing brands to lose business. The findings from our Shopping Report underscore the importance of developing proactive brand protection strategies in the digital age,” said Fredrick Felman, chief marketing officer of MarkMonitor, Thomson Reuters' enterprise brand protection business.

Working with Nielsen “to analyze anonymized data from Nielsen’s permissioned online panelists in six countries over a nine-month period, nearly five million shopping sessions were surveyed…focusing on the search terms the shoppers employed, such as 'fake,’ 'replica,’ 'cheap' or ‘discount,’ to determine their motivation.”

The MarkMonitor Shopping Report examined multiple demographics including age, income, education levels, and household size, and found that there are only minimal differences between online consumers seeking counterfeit goods and bargain hunters looking for a good deal on legitimate goods.

“These findings really challenge the common assumption that consumers who purchase counterfeit goods are distinctly different than those consumers buying genuine goods,” said Eric Solomon, SVP, global digital audience measurement, Nielsen.

“Deal seekers outnumbered consumers seeking fakes at the rate of 20 to 1,” notes the release from MarkMonitor, but deceptive pricing on counterfeit goods, often priced comparably to legitimate goods on sale, discounted at 25–50% off list prices, suggest ‘blowout’ or year-ender sales and lure unsuspecting shoppers.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

UGG Keeps on Chugging with New Tom Brady Campaign

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 19, 2012 11:18 AM

A few years ago, UGG was stomping all over its competitors, but these days, the Australian company is just dancing as fast it can to keep consumers buying.

Yes, there are still queues at the UGG store in New York's Soho district, but that's mostly among tourists, which is why the brand is opening in the trendier Meatpacking district, joining Patagonia and Lululemon in cozying up to crowds at the Standard Hotel and upmarket retailers such as Jeffrey in a bid to woo higher-end shoppers.

The brand sparked a sheepskin boot craze more than a decade ago, and while it's trying to shore up its US business with a new commercial featuring brand ambassador Tom Brady ("Pink Slip," above) and a new store aimed at men, its popularity persists in markets such as the UK, where this month, the company is opening its seventh concept store and working hard to woo kids of all ages.Continue reading...

sporting brands

Batter Up, Batten Down: World Series Brings Out Counterfeiters

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 24, 2012 02:14 PM

Members of the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers are spending today readying themselves for the World Series that kicks off tomorrow in California. Players are studying their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. Coaches are figuring their strategies. Umpires are readying themselves for extra loads of bile and hatred to be thrown their way. Mayors of the two cities will surely make some kind of jovial bet.

But another team that is also prepping for the big event is Major League Baseball Properties’ licensing group. Yep, the gang that sticks MLB team logos on everything from a “temperature gnome” for your garden and a steering wheel cover to carpet tiles and desk lamps is ready to take the streets and make sure their much-beloved brands aren’t being misused.

Before the first pitch is thrown, the team will be in the streets of San Francisco trying to find counterfeit items on sale to the large number of brand new fans of the team who tend to snap up gear at World Series time in order to prove they’ve loved the team all along.Continue reading...

web watch

Thomson Reuters Shores Up Against Brandjacking

Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 1, 2012 09:53 AM

Thomson Reuters’ acquisition of MarkMonitor underscores the increasing threat to brands from digital piracy. With Internet commerce accounting for more than 20% of GDP growth in mature countries, piracy and counterfeiting are costing companies more than $600 billion per year.

The San Francisco-based MarkMonitor uses a SaaS delivery model, providing technology and expertise to protect revenue and reputation for more than half of Fortune 100 businesses.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Red Shoe Diaries: Christian Louboutin Set Back as Zara Cleared to Use Red Soles

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 12, 2012 04:13 PM

Executives at Christian Louboutin are likely seeing red after losing a court battle against Zara over a pair of $70 red-soled shoes.

Louboutin took Zara to court in 2008 and won when the shoes hit the market saying that it alone had the rights to produce and sell red-soled shoes, but an appeals court in France has ruled in favor of Zara and is telling Louboutin it also has to fork over £2,500, or about $3,600, according to New York magazine. 

That isn’t a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, of course, but it’s an extra little face-rub in the mud for Louboutin, which has been on the warpath against counterfeiters of its signature red-soled shoes.

The ruling also doesn’t bode well for a bigger Louboutin appeal, against Yves Saint Laurent, in a case that the brand lost last summer in New York.Continue reading...

Apple Brand is Now Chinese to the Core

Posted by Abe Sauer on April 30, 2012 11:01 AM

"If you don't have one, you're a loser."

So reads the English-language copy at the bottom of a poster in the window of an Apple "authorized reseller" on Hongmei Road in Shanghai. To Americans, it's another funny bit of long-in-translation Chinglish. But, increasingly, it's a bit of dead serious marketplace analysis in China. When the brand's history is written, the week that it announced sales numbers in China that Apple's CEO called "mind-boggling" may be remembered as the moment Apple's future moved from the West to the East. 

Indeed, a Bloomberg report found that everyone in China from "teachers to furniture makers" were snapping up iPhones because, as a Beijing teacher put it, "A lot of people in my office use it and said I should get one, so I did." But it's beyond the gainfully employed. Even low-earning migrant workers in Shanghai want an iPhone, and demand it by brand name.

In a (legitimate) massage shop not far from the Hongmei Apple "authorized reseller" where an hour-long foot massage can be had for 46 yuan (about $7.60), a masseuse quizzes me about my iPhone. He says he would love to have one. He arrived in Shanghai three years ago from Shaolin (the city famous for kung fu), and has no plans to go back because, he says, "The jobs pay nothing and are all hard."Continue reading...

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