Posted by Laura Fitch on January 13, 2010 09:45 AM
Google shocked the world this morning with its threat to pull out of China after an investigation revealed that malicious cyber attacks originating from the country were targeting Chinese human-rights activists' Gmail accounts.
According to official releases and Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond’s blog post, the move was made because the attacks violate the company’s “do no evil” motto—an example of Google’s altruistic brand trumping corporate greed.
And yet, while the decision certainly aligns with Google’s brand message, its decision to pull out of China isn’t as simple as it first appears. It is in fact, a brilliant spin on a tough decision that would have taken place at some point in the future anyway.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on January 12, 2010 05:50 PM
Through its short but illustrious history, Google has largely avoided the kind of bad PR that seems to inevitably plague a brand of such power and scale. The brouhaha over the brand's decision to cooperate with Chinese authorities despite a pledge to "Do no evil" was quickly forgotten. The only real PR "disaster" on Google's record is over an offensive Michelle Obama image in its top results. All that may soon change if Google cannot manage the growing problem over its customer support for the brand's Nexus One "superphone."
Unlike the smart phones before it, the Nexus One is being sold directly from Google, bypassing the conventional carrier model where consumers purchase phones from the companies that supply the service plans. The Nexus One does have a service-contract purchase option (T-Mobile) but it is not required. So having never sold hardware before, it is possible Google did not fully appreciate just how much customer support a first-generation device requires. Evidence? Google's Nexus One service and customer support is all online. Continue reading...
Posted by Jim Thompson on January 8, 2010 07:22 PM
In an ideal world, information would be free. All one would need is a machine that could easily access humanity’s abyss of knowledge. Oh. Wait. That’s our world.
Without brands such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN, we wouldn’t be remotely as smart as we are when given 90 seconds and a search engine.
Then why is France’s President Sarkozy so angry, and what’s with this “Google Tax” idea? Put simply, in order to inspire people to create something, you need to pay them. Sarkozy purports that Google unfairly benefits from profits generated from advertising that accompanies information the brand provides but doesn’t necessarily pay for. And he suggests that, somewhere in this argument, French culture hangs in the balance. So Sarkozy wants to tax the situation into being fair.
Every day people pay for eye exams, coffee, shoelaces, and car tires without complaining. But the world wants knowledge -- which can’t be poked, poured, boxed, or unscrewed -- for free. Ask them to pay for it, and watch adults start floundering on the kitchen floor like an eight-year-old without an Xbox.
At brandchannel, we know this all too well. Continue reading...
Posted by Sara Zucker on January 5, 2010 11:41 AM
This week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will highlight the latest contender in the battle for e-reader market share: Hearst Corporation's new Skiff Reader.
"The Skiff Reader's big screen will showcase print media in compelling new ways," said Gilbert Fuchsberg, president of Skiff, LLC. "This is consistent with Skiff's focus on delivering enhanced reading experiences that engage consumers, publishers and advertisers."
The Skiff Reader, however, is joining a very competitive and crowded category, as brands of all denominations seek a foothold in what many believe will be the next great evolutionary step in the relationship between people and information.Continue reading...
Posted by Sara Zucker on January 4, 2010 09:54 AM
Billions of search queries are typed into YouTube each month -- but users don't always find what they are looking for. That, according to the brand, is about to change.
Market research firm comScore, reports that about 20 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube each minute. With such a staggering amount of video available, organizing and prioritizing YouTube's video library is a daunting task.
Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube, has compiled a team of engineers, designers, and project managers to streamline the brand's search function and encourage viewers to spend more time on the site. The key is providing viewers with additional content related to their original queries.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on December 16, 2009 02:40 PM
MySpace is negotiating to acquire film-centered social media network Flixster. The deal, which comes after Myspace's recent acquisition of music service sites Imeem and iLike, represents a major expansion for the brand. In addition to tens of millions of users, Flixster is also a top-rated iPhone app, so the value of the site itself is not in question. But the intent behind the purchase raises some questions.
Myspace's parent, News Corp., already owns the film rating site Rotten Tomatoes, though Rotten Tomatoes isn't as focused on social networking as Flixster. Apparently, Myspace aims to combine, in one form or another, Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes. Yet the melding of two different film service and information sites could end up ostracizing both sites' audiences.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on December 15, 2009 04:27 PM
After years of branding itself as the safest, most friendly social network, Facebook appears to have turned suicidal. Worst of all, in its race to undo all it has achieved, Facebook is taking down some other iconic brands in the process.
Facebook buried Myspace and Friendster and the other upstart social networks by maximizing user expectations. Facebook was your group of friends and you were in control of the network. Not anymore. In a now ironic letter, Facebook's CEO informed users of changes to the brand's privacy structure, supposedly implemented so users could have "even more control of their information."
These measures, however, immediately erased most of the privacy protections Facebook had in place, more or less exposing every Facebook user's information -- including photos, friends, and fan pages -- to anyone on the Web, including employers. Users can protect themselves by setting their accounts to fully private; but this fix needs to be done manually and is hardly, in the CEO's words, "simpler."Continue reading...
Posted by Sara Zucker on December 14, 2009 09:48 AM
Mark, the trendy little sister of cosmetics giant Avon, is a brand extension designed for young women in high school and college.
Mark relies on this spirited demographic to sell its products to their friends and schoolmates as a source of income. Yet the sales and distribution strategy for Mark isn't anything like the door-to-door model Avon has used for decades. Today's digital-savvy generation isn't going to canvass neighborhoods with brochures. Sales and socializing have gone digital.Continue reading...