I was reading through the copious amounts of resolution and tips lists for the new year. So, I thought I would post some tips from Wood Street. These are things we tell our clients all the time so it only made sense to assemble a list.
Here are 12 to-dos that will help you succeed with your online marketing (in a somewhat particular order)…
We’re always looking to improve ourselves – lose weight, eat healthier, make more money, etc. The best way to achieve these goals is to first identify our bad habits through honest self-examination.
Your site should have goals too – get more traffic, convert more traffic into leads, etc. In order to achieve these goals you will first need to critique your site and identify those “bad habits”.
Make an honest and objective appraisal of the quality of your site’s 3D Design, structure, content, calls to action, etc. You will need to look at your site statistics (Google Analytics) to see what pages are popular and which sections of the site need some love.
Think of this as the equivalent to sending your site to a shrink for some deep analysis. Sometimes you might be too close to make an objective assessment. If so, consider bringing in a consultant.
Or you could ask a handful of clients to critique your site. If you ask clients, make it easy for them. Put together a survey they can fill out online and within a few minutes. And make sure you ask them what would make the site better for them. Either way prepare to be surprised by the results.
Some will argue that this is the first thing you must do before engaging in any sort of online marketing. Be that as it may, it is simply important that you DO have a list.
As you engage in any online marketing activities – blogging, social media marketing, email marketing, white papers, video, eBooks, etc – you will want to have a list of targeted words and phrases that are important to you AND your clients. They are important in the sense that these are the words and phrases your clients use to find you in an online search.
There are a few ways to go about developing this list. You will again want to take a look at your site statistics to see what words visitors to your site are you using to find you. You will also want to do some searches on those words and see what the competition is doing. I am over-simplifying a bit of course.
There are many resources out there to help you with this process. For the purposes of this article, I will leave you with some suggested resources…
Hopefully as you review your site and your site statistics, and you develop a keyword list, you will realize that some of your content has got to go. Maybe it’s a page that gets no traffic because it’s out of date, poorly promoted or just plain wrong. Instead of putting “lipstick on a pig”, try a radical approach… get rid of it.
Bloat used to be OK. For some search engine professionals (who shall remain nameless), it was part of a content strategy. Not anymore.
It is much more effective to think about all content as it relates to the intended user. If it serves them no purpose or worse yet confuses or misinforms them, get rid of it. Pretty simple.
Of course not all of your old content is completely useless. There could be old blog posts, white papers, case studies, etc that still hold some relevance. Instead of eliminating them simply because they’re old, why not try and re-imagine them (h/t to Content Rules).
Take a fresh look at old content. Rewrite it perhaps. Or maybe you leave the original content and add to it. Think about a news story online. Sometimes news sites will leave the original story for context and then offer updates below.
Again, consider the user. What is the best way to rework this old content in a way to better serve a client?
If you haven’t read Content Rules by Ann Handley and CC Chapman, do so, soon. In this book you will find a very easy to follow overview of content marketing. In online marketing, content is king and content marketing is the king’s horse.
On today’s internet the companies that offer valuable information to users where they are seeking it are the clear winners. If you are a sought after resource online, you will get leads, your site will get traffic.
Content marketing is how this is done. You write blog posts that empower the user. You shoot video that educates and entertains. You create presentations and host webinars that inform. And you do these things through your channels – your website, your blog, your social media channels, etc.
But before you do any of this, you want to have a strategy. Once you have looked through your existing site (and ripped it apart) and you’ve identified the needs of your target audience, you’ll be able to better identify what content you need to create and where you should post and promote that content so it gets found.
Some other resources that will help you with your content marketing efforts are these incredibly useful blogs…
Yes, design still matters. If you think design doesn’t matter, you must dress in the same gray clothes, drive the same gray car and all the walls in your house must be a shade of off-white. Let’s face it, we judge things on some level based on their looks.
If your site looks old and tired, you look old and tired. If your site looks out of touch, you look out of touch. And if your site is boring and uninspired… well, you get the picture. Try sprucing things up a bit. Maybe it just needs a little curb appeal. Maybe it needs an extreme makeover.
Either way, I am willing to bet there is always something you can do to improve the look and thereby improve the user experience of the site.
Blogs are no longer just for bloggers. You don’t have to have aspirations of becoming the next Perez Hilton to be effective at blogging. You just need to know the needs of your target audience and write about it.
You are sitting on a mound of expert information that you need to share. Don’t believe me? Read this post about business blogging.
Or, simply look back through your email inbox, notepad, sales materials, presentation materials, etc. You talk to your clients everyday (members and volunteers are clients too if you live in that world).
Be the expert in a blog that you are everyday in the real world. You will benefit from an SEO standpoint because of the useful keyword rich content you’re adding to your site. You will position yourself as an authority in your field. And you will steadily be “out there” talking about what it is that you do.
As you engage in a content marketing strategy you will quickly realize that blogging, video, online presentations and the like NEED social media. You also need social media. Why? This is where your clients are. Yes, they are, trust me. The numbers do not lie.
That said there are going to be some differences from group to group as to where they prefer to spend their time. So, take a little time and look around. They may be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or in lots of different places. For this post let’s use LinkedIn…
Are your clients spending time in LinkedIn discussion groups? Yes? Share with them your blog posts, posts from other experts you think would be of value to them and most importantly, engage them. Talk to them and have meaningful discussions.
Read this very short yet powerful post from Seth Godin to see what I mean here – One option is to struggle to be heard whenever you’re in the room…
Are you overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. These are tasks that can be easily integrated into your marketing and communications work-flow (there really is no other choice). The key to success is to map this all out.
This can be done using what’s called an Editorial Calendar. Here is a post from Jason Keath in Content Marketing Institute that really lays this out nicely… How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for Content Marketing
Mapping out your content marketing efforts in advance will allow you to see the bigger picture. It will also help you to set deadlines. If you commit to content marketing for your organization but make no written outline of the what’s and when’s, you will fail.
If you treat this like a regularly scheduled task that is just as important as say paying the rent, you will see results.
There is so much content out there. Go and find it, devour it and report back. There are books of course. Personally, I love my Kindle and it is loaded with books on marketing, social media, web 3D Design, etc. But, I also subscribe to a bunch of blogs and I check my Google Reader every day.
I guarantee you that there is at least one blog out there that is filled with great information about your industry. Chances are there are more than one. The key is to find them and set some time aside each day or week to read the posts that catch your eye. And then report back to your followers, subscribers, etc on what you’ve read.
Reading is fundamental. Its fundamental to your continued success. It keeps you in the game with a fresh perspective on what it is that you do. Start by setting some Google Alerts using the keywords from your list (see above). This way you are guaranteed delivery of content related to those terms. You will have to sort through some junk but you will eventually find some sources of great reading material and therefore wonderful inspiration.
The usual suspects that show up in your alerts – the blogs and sites you go to time and again – you will want to subscribe to those.
I’m not sure when and why it became acceptable to give all online marketing tasks to your intern or part time summer help. I like interns, I think they serve a great purpose. We even hired one full time.
But, do you think they really should be the ones managing your brand and your online reputation? Because if you task them with managing your social media or your blog or your email newsletter, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Take control. At the very least monitor what the intern is doing. But, you really want to be much more involved than that. This is the front line. This is where the meaningful connections are made. I would not leave this up to the intern.
We’ve been saying this since day one, literally. Our very first article (before we and everyone else had a blog) was titled “Turn Your Website into a Resource”. It’s still true today. As I’ve said already in this list, you are already an expert, be that expert online.
But don’t just be the expert that tells everyone what to do. Be the expert that everyone looks to for guidance, for the best information and for thought leadership. Do that by creating your online expert persona. Being a resource means you share anything that your readers, followers and fans would find useful, regardless of the source.
If you’re even the slightest bit successful right now, chances are you are doing this already. Just time fine tune your efforts to get the maximum return from your online marketing efforts. If you are struggling to find business, maybe it’s because you’re not “out there” enough.
Just in case, I added a 13th tip. It’s actually quite apropos. The Center for Disease Control or CDC has prepared an online communications effort aimed at protecting the population from a possible zombie invasion.
This is a great example of using content marketing, and a sense of humor, to deliver what is actually important information to the general public. This campaign was launched this year and has been an amazing success. Plus, it is quite fun.
I hope you got something from this list. If you are doing any or all of this already, good for you! Keep it up! If not, what are you waiting for??? This is the new norm, it’s time to embrace online marketing, content marketing and social media because its not going anywhere and more importantly, it works!
Anything I missed, let me know in the comments below…
Law firms looking to take their Internet marketing campaign in a new direction in 2012 should first consider having a Web design campaign audit, says law firm Web marketing consultant Tanner Jones of Consultwebs.com, Inc.
According to Jones, comprehensive Web campaign audits such as those offered by Consultwebs.com can help law firms find strengths and weaknesses in their current campaigns and pinpoint ways in which they can increase their Internet-generated inquiries and revenue in the coming year.
“For every audit, we pull from the expertise across our company, including our design, content, search-engine optimization and support teams, and we provide an in-depth and thorough analysis of a law firm’s Web campaign,” says Jones, Marketing Director for Consultwebs.com.
“Because of our education, training and – most of all – our experience in the trenches of law firm Web marketing, we know how to identify what is working and what isn’t, and we can provide solid, professional advice on how to improve your law firm’s Internet campaign as you move forward,” Jones said.
Consultwebs.com has provided Web marketing products and services for law firms across the country since 1999, including firms that focus on the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, family law, business law and estate planning. (The company’s website provides a portfolio of law firm websites it has designed and maintains for clients.)
The company has performed website audits for numerous law firms, including a recent audit for Day Pitney LLP (a firm with offices throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C.), and for leading legal organizations such as the American Bar Association (ABA).
Consultwebs.com offers two levels of Web campaign audits: Basic and Platinum. The audits can be used to assess a law firm’s flagship site, satellite sites or mobile website.
The Basic Audit provides an evaluation and recommendations for:
The Platinum audit offers an additional examination of your law firm’s entire Web network as well as:
According to Lisa Vaughn, an experienced law firm Web marketing professional and President of Consultwebs.com, a Web audit ultimately helps a law firm adjust to the constantly changing dynamics of Internet marketing.
“Through our audits, we can provide access to a network of attorney-specific data and resources and more than a decade’s worth of law firm marketing expertise,” Vaughn said. “An audit may mean the difference between maximizing the return on investment in the coming year and simply spending money.”
About Consultwebs.com, Inc.
Since its founding in 1999, Consultwebs.com, Inc., has built a reputation for being a national leader in law firm Web marketing. Law firms can turn to Consultwebs.com for Web marketing consultation and strategy and a wide array of products and services, including website audits, website design, website hosting, website domains, law firm reputation management, search-engine optimization (SEO) marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) services, Internet systems setup, website editorial and content services (including substantive content, press releases, legal blogs, satellite sites and law firm videos), online chat products, social media marketing (including Facebook, Twitter and Google+), call tracking and legal directories.
Gizmodo, the popular gadget site and pageview king of Gawker Media, debuted a new look last night that they’re calling HD view, and it’s big. Not big in the grand scheme of things — big in the number of pixels it takes up. Whereas most websites top out at around 1000 pixels in width, Gizmodo HD stretches like Plastic Man, with photos and videos stretching wider and wider as the browser window does too. On my 1900-pixel-wide monitor, pages like this one (photo-dominant) and this one (video-dominant) both resize all the way to blowout width. Call it the doublewide approach.
(The screenshot above is obviously less than full size; to see its full, 1920-by-1200-pixel glory, click here.)
This is the flip side of responsive design, the web-flash design idea that BostonGlobe.com’s recent launch brought to the attention of lots of news execs. In the case of the Globe (and in most other responsive efforts), the primary appeal is the ability to get small — to build a website that can look good both on your laptop and on your smartphone without having to build a separate mobile site. (The Globe’s website expands up to 1230 pixels, but not beyond that.) But responsive design works in the other direction too, and Gizmodo’s new look is an attempt to play with that — to give more space to the big photos and big videos that Gawker Media’s been trying to push over the past year.
At this point, HD view is very much a beta (it won’t work in all browsers, for instance, and there’s no place for comments), and seems more like a parlor trick than a feature. But why might a news organization be interested in a doublewide view? What might be the use cases for an HD view?
There’s still a class of user who (a) uses a desktop computer, where monitor sizes once outlandish (24-inch, 27-inch, 30-inch) are becoming more affordable and common, and (b), particularly on Windows, runs browser windows full screen. Those folks are used to seeing a bunch of whitespace to the left and right of their favorite websites, and this could fill them up and build something more immersive. With Gawker Media making bigger investments in video and art, it makes sense to play those as big as the browser will allow.
A theme running throughout Gawker’s controversial redesign last year was that it viewed television as both an important competitor and a production-value bar that Gawker Media felt it was approaching. “[W]e increasingly have the scale and production values of — say — cable television,” Nick Denton told us at the time: “[W]e’ll compete for audiences with cable groups such as NBC Universal.” Well, Gizmodo HD fits perfectly into a world where screens are shifting and the television might move from the-place-where-you-watch-Mad-Men to, simply, the biggest and best content-agnostic screen in the house. To be fair, previous attempts to bring the web to big-screen television haven’t borne much fruit. But with everyone expecting an new TV push from Apple in 2012 — and with companies like The Wall Street Journal moving from web video to TV sets — it makes sense for a big online brand like Gawker Media to prepare for that eventuality.
Advertisers are always looking for new ways to draw attention, having soured at least a bit on the efficacy of the banner ads. Gawker’s long been willing to push the boundaries with things like sponsored posts and site takeovers. Imagine the greater impact that a site takeover could have when there’s twice as much space to take over?
It’ll probably be a while before the doublewide becomes much more than a novelty, but it’s worth thinking about how a news site might look different if, instead of thinking small (that is, mobile), it thought big.
The Nokia Lumia 900, announced at CES yesterday, has already spawned a thousand blog posts and news reports. We’ve trawled the Web to see what early reactions are like from the tech pundits.
On MobileBeat, Devindra Hardawar thinks that the Nokia Lumia 900 could be the phone that changes perceptions of the Windows Phone platform: “With its sleek and unique 3D Design, the Lumia 900 could be Microsoft’s ticket to mainstream phone success this year. So far, sales of Windows Phones have been sluggish, likely because the platform hasn’t had a flagship device yet for Microsoft and consumers to rally around. The Lumia 900 could be that device for Microsoft, if it plays its cards right.”
Dan Lyons at the Daily Beast thinks we’ve excelled ourselves with recent models when it comes to design: “Indeed, when it comes to design the new Nokia flagship devices have arguably leapfrogged past Apple”. However, he cautions that, “It’s hard to predict whether the new Nokia Windows phones will catch on in America.”
Mashable’s Christina Warren loved the Lumia 800 and reckons the Lumia 900 promises to be even better: “The Lumia 800 is easily one of the best looking and best feeling handsets I’ve had a chance to review. If the Lumia 900 can deliver the goods — and on a major network like AT&T — Nokia and Windows Phone might be able to make some inroads in the U.S. market.”
Kyle Wagner on Gizmodo says it’s their “favourite Windows Phone, now bigger and faster”. He notes that, on paper, the specs, “aren’t going to blow the doors off of this generation of smartphones, but Windows Phone doesn’t lean on specs quite as hard as other OSes, as the buttery Lumia 800 shows.”
CNet‘s Declan McCullagh was hoping for more specifics at the press conference, though: “the company’s announcement wasn’t as far-reaching or as detailed as some customers might have hoped: there’s no word yet on on the Lumia 900′s pricing or availability. And there was no news of tablets or the phone’s availability on other carriers.”
All about our biggest, thinnest smartphone.Exclusive to AT&T in the USA
Marin Perez at IntoMobile notes that while Nokia is differentiating its Windows Phone range from others in the ecosystem, it isn’t planning to fragment the platform in the way that has happened on other smartphone operating systems: “With the Lumia line, Nokia is trying to strike a delicate balance of differentiating its lineup but not making the Lumia line so different that it changes the fundamentals of the platform.”
At Forbes, Eric Savitz did a video interview with Nokia’s Karen Lachtanski but while he’s impressed with the phone, he professes “nagging doubts” whether the phone will drive widespread adoption.
TheNextWeb’s Matthew Panzarino is cautiously optimistic. He loves the phone, but notes that Nokia and Microsoft face a tremendous struggle in terms of their current American market share. “To say that the Lumia 900 faces an uphill battle in the US, a huge market for smartphones, is to state it very lightly.”
ZDNet’s Matthew Miller is impressed by the specs and tempted to switch to the AT&T network in order to use the phone. “I can’t wait to get some hands on time with the device,” he notes.
The Guardian’s Charles Arthur was keen to know whether operating on the LTE network would adversely affect battery life, something he’s been warned about by analysts. “Elop said in response that Nokia has worked with Microsoft and the chipmaker Qualcomm, which provides the basic communications chips for the phones. ‘We believe the battery performance will be very superior on LTE networks compared with other devices,’ he said.”
Lastly, Engadget’s Brad Molen was able to film a hands-on video which is well worth a look. He notes that the build quality is great: “The larger phone was still comfortable to hold in our hands, and felt just as solid as ever with its polycarbonate build.”
Any write-ups you thought were particularly interesting?
Thanks to our friends over at Road & Track jumping the embargo gun, we received our first sneak peak of the Lexus LF-LC Concept. Now the rest of the story has been published, with R&T taking a thorough look at how Toyota’s California-based Calty Design Research facility came up with the look of the racy hybrid 2+2 coupe.
“Only a few written attributes were given as criteria: avant-garde beauty, originality, driving joy and unequaled technology,” according to the story, which says Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda himself weighed in with a mandate that the car “have the ‘wow’ factor.”
Lexus has been working on the LF-LC Concept for a year and a half, so the concept is no mere auto show roller. That kind of attention-to-detail shows in the new photos, especially inside the car. A finely detailed interior with wave designs stitched into the leather door panels is a nice touch that reinforces the car’s exterior design language, which R&T says Lexus is calling “tumbling ribbon.” The car also has a multi-layered instrument panel that looks like it could have been inspired by any number of sci-fi video games.
One thing missing from the article is any further information about the hybrid drivetrain system in the car. Curiously, while the press release on Toyota’s Japanese Web design announcing that it would be unveiling the car mentions “Advanced Lexus Hybrid Drive,” that line was omitted from the release on the American site. Apparently we’ll have to wait until the car’s official reveal at the Detroit Auto Show on January 9 to find out what (if anything) is under the hood of the LF-LC.
There’s plenty more to take in, including two new beauty shots from Autocar, so be sure to check out all the photos in the gallery.
In the final days of 2011, GraphicDesign.com welcomed an esteemed set of writers into the fold. The site, which is devoted to the graphic flash design industry and graphic design news, is growing leaps and bounds and is a product of Terran Marketing.
Nicole Spiegel-Gotsch was the final News Correspondent to be added in December. She is the owner of New Jersey-based NSG Design and has over a decade of experience in the mobile app, print advertising, and site design arenas. Perhaps most importantly, her work has spanned a variety of industries, including healthcare, packaged goods, fashion, and publishing.
No graphic design team would be complete without someone from the hair, beauty, and lifestyle industries. On GraphicDesign.com, that distinction belongs to Jo Gifford, who is the founder of Cherry Sorbet Creative. Gifford has 15 years of relevant experience and, according to her bio on GraphicDesign.com, has a very eclectic set of interests: “She is fascinated by consumer trends and is a tech geek with a passion for apps and mindmapping tools for that hyper-creative design thinking.” She’ll be a News Correspondent on GraphicDesign.com.
Good old Rocky Top! Knoxville, Tennessee native James George was also added to the writing team at GraphicDesign.com. He has been designing for print and the web for the last half-dozen years and is proficient in creating logos, printed materials, identities, and websites. He brings a unique background to the GraphicDesign.com family and will share his graphic design insights as a featured contributor specializing in content about various graphic design content and tutorials on their features.
New Yorker Matt Cannon was also added onto GraphicDesign.com’s graphic design News Correspondent team in the final days of December. Cannon’s specialty primarily lies online and his impressive client list includes the likes of Zappos, Bath & Body Works, Soft Scrub, Air National Guard, General Motors, and Staples. To top that off, Cannon is self-taught, which makes his accomplishments even more impressive.
Photographer Nathaniel Coalson will come aboard as a featured contributor. He’s pushing 25 years in the business and splits his time between England and the United States. In addition to his extensive photography experience, Coalson spent 15 years as a print and web designer.
In late November, ERACOM graduate Mirko Humbert hopped onboard the GraphicDesign.com train as a featured contributor. He’s been freelancing for the last seven years and his eclectic background includes stints in the United States, Switzerland, and China.
A few weeks after Humbert, Dave Bricker joined GraphicDesign.com. Dave is a professor of graphic design in Miami, Florida and even enjoys a little guitar. Bricker operates Essential Absurdities Press, under which he has published several books.
GraphicDesign.com is a product of Terran Marketing and a leading source of news and information devoted entirely to the graphic design industry. Graphic design customers, employers, students, and freelancers come to GraphicDesign.com to read and discuss current graphic design news, find graphic design firms and to post or search for graphic design jobs.
A number of incredible new products were launched this year. Apple introduced the iPhone 4S, a phone with voice command. And Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner — a fuel efficient jet built of carbon composite — finally had its first commercial flight. But not all products and services launched this year did well. Some failed miserably. 24/7 Wall St. looked at the biggest product launches of 2011 in order to identify the worst of the lot.
24/7 Wall St.: The best- and worst-run companies in America
Products generally fail because they are either inferior versions of already successful products or they have little-to-no demand. Research In Motion’s PlayBook is the greatest example of the former. There was no room for a poorly 3D Design tablet in a market dominated by the upmarket iPad and its inexpensive cousin Kindle Fire. The Playbook was widely panned. RIM publicly blamed its weak sales on competitive shifts in the market, referring to the release of Kindle Fire.
Many companies also often fail to understand consumer sentiment and, as a result, do not accurately estimate demand for the product. When Netflix announced it would spin off its DVD-by-mail service in the form of a new service called Qwikster, customers were outraged. Nobody wanted the new site and nobody wanted to pay extra money for it. As a result, it failed before it even got off the ground. The Qwikster blunder ended up costing Netflix many customers.
These are the biggest product flops of the year.
24/7 Wall St.: 8 beers Americans no longer drink
1. Ashley Push-Up Triangle
• Company: Abercrombie & Fitch
While no stranger to controversy, Abercrombie & Fitch seemed to have crossed a line this time. In March the retailer unveiled its spring line for Abercrombie Kids, a division targeting children ages 8 to 14. Included in the line was the “Ashley” Push-Up Triangle, a bikini top with padding. The launch prompted a violent response from parent groups. Several child development experts also criticized the top because it sexualized young girls. At first, Abercrombie tried to address the concerns by reclassifying the top as padded and saying it was not intended for very young girls. It stated on Facebook: “We’ve re-categorized the Ashley swimsuit as padded. We agree with those who say it is best ‘suited’ for girls age 12 and older.” But while the bottoms are still available, the bikini top is no longer featured on the company’s website.
• Company: Netflix
In September Netflix announced that it would be separating its online streaming service and its DVD mail service. Streaming was going to continue under the Netflix brand, while DVD-by-mail was going to operate under a new website called Qwikster. The change and the accompanying increase in prices outraged customers, leading the company to kill off Qwikster before it was even launched. CEO Reed Hastings announced this decision in a blog post on the company’s website in which he began, “I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.” The blog post was mobbed with more than 27,000 comments from angry customers. The ordeal cost the company approximately 800,000 customers.
24/7 Wall St.: States where people pay the most (and least) in taxes
• Company: General Motors
GM was originally so excited about the Volt that the company had announced in January it was speeding up its roll-out by six months. But by November the excitement had fizzled out. Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director for vehicle electrification, told Reuters “It’s naive to think that the world is going to switch tomorrow to EVs (electric vehicles).” Indeed, sales for the vehicle have been consistently low. Only 125 models were sold in July 2011. This was after GM spokeswoman Michelle Bunker was quoted as saying that the Volt was “virtually sold out” due to its popularity — a statement later shown to be misguided. Adding insult to injury, Chevy Volts are under investigation for fires involving the cars’ lithium-ion batteries. For concerned Volt owners, GM has offered free loaner cars.
4. HTC Status (Facebook phone)
• Company: AT&T/HTC
In June of this year, AT&T announced the HTC Status. The Status was the first, and likely the last, smartphone with a dedicated Facebook share button. At the time of its launch, AT&T hoped it would be incredibly popular among Facebook users. “We can’t wait to put the HTC Status in the hands of our young customers who will waste no time tapping into Facebook to update their friends,” said AT&T Senior VP of Devices Jeff Bradley in a statement. But sales were significantly lower than the company had originally expected, and rumors that the phone would be discontinued quickly spread. Given the ease with which users can access Facebook on other smartphones, the case for owning the Status was not very strong. Despite its low sales, AT&T has defended its product, stating, “The HTC Status is a great product and our plans for it to be part of our portfolio haven’t changed.”
• Company: Research In Motion
The PlayBook was one of the most anticipated consumer electronic products of 2011 and “one of RIM’s most important roll-outs,” as The Wall Street Journal put it. It was the company’s first attempt at competing with Apple in the tablet space. Leveraging the success of the BlackBerry, many hoped it would be the businessman’s answer to the iPad. Unfortunately, the BlackBerry App World had few well-regarded apps, critical to compete with the iPad and Apple’s App Store. Following poor sales, RIM lowered its sales target for the second quarter of 2011 to one-third of what it had been originally, according to research firm DigiTimes. In a statement, RIM blamed the poor sales on “several factors, including recent shifts in the competitive dynamics of the tablet market,” by which it was referring to the popular Kindle Fire. The company attempted to get its product off the ground with aggressive promotions, which caused it to lose $485 million in discounts on the tablet in the third quarter.
24/7 Wall St.: 10 brands that will disappear in 2012
6. Fiat 500
• Company: Fiat
This year, Fiat released its new 500 — a three-door car that is under 12 feet long. The car was expected to be a big seller, rivaling BMW’s Mini. Even before the car’s launch, however, detractors were predicting failure. Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, stated in Panorama magazine, “I do not see large market in the U.S.A. for a smaller car than the Fiesta. Those that tried failed.” He was right. According to online magazine DailyTech, “Fiat expected to sell 50,000 500s during 2011 in North America. Through the first seven months of 2011, Fiat sold fewer than 12,000.” Sales were so poor that Chrysler Group, which manages the Fiat brand in the United States, ousted U.S. chief Laura Soave this past November.
7. Mars Needs Moms
• Company: Disney
Following the release of “Avatar” in 2009, Hollywood had a new cash cow in the form of 3-D films. This all changed with the release of director Simon Wells’s “Mars Needs Moms” — a flop of epic proportions. Disney, of course, was expecting another hit. The film cost $175 million to make. In its opening weekend it brought in just $6.9 million. According to movie data website The Numbers, “Mars” lost an estimated $130 million in worldwide gross sales, the biggest money loser of all time. Journalist Brooks Barnes wrote in the New York Times, “In the movie business, sometimes a flop is just a flop. Then there are misses so disastrous that they send signals to broad swaths of Hollywood.” “Mars”signaled that the market has become saturated and that digitally animated family films are not the sure thing they once were.
The Participation Trophy is awarded to a game that wasn’t necessarily great, but it was great that we got to play it.
What more can you say about Duke Nukem Forever? The long-in-development game ended up being both a labor of love for 3D Design Realms/Triptych/Gearbox and a challenge to every person that said it would never be completed. And challenging it was. The game feels archaic. Animations are stiff. The environments are full of “stuff,” but at the same time pretty bare. And one of the game’s running gags is that Duke is banging “The Holsom Twins,” two barely legal pop stars named after the Olson twins.
Yet, DNF also feels too modern. For example, why is Duke’s health represented by a regenerating shield? This is doubly out-of-place as his “armor” consists of a tank top and some jeans. Although, it makes a certain kind of Hollywood sense. Duke is an uber-hero, so watching him stand up unfazed after taking two missiles to the face has a certain kind of action movie logic to it.
And that’s why Duke Nukem Forever wins The Participation Trophy, because even though it is objectively a bad game, there’s also a certain kind of magic behind its misogynistic facade.
Below are the three companies in the IT Consulting & Other Services industry with the highest year-over-year expected earnings per share (EPS) growth rates.
hiSoft Technology (NASDAQ:HSFT) is highest with EPS growth of 14,150.0%. hiSoft Technology International Ltd. provides business process Software outsourcing services to customers in the telecommunications, software, financial services, pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors.
In the past 52 weeks, shares of hiSoft Technology have traded between a low of $8.02 and a high of $34.00 and are now at $9.29, which is 16% above that low price. Over the past week, the 200-day moving average (MA) has gone down 2.2% while the 50-day MA has declined 0.6%.
Following is Forrester Research (NASDAQ:FORR) with EPS growth of 88.4%.
Finishing up the top three is Amdocs (NYSE:DOX), with EPS growth of 67.4%.
The new year in IT always begins around now, when the IEEE puts out the advance program for the International Solid State Circuits Conference, which takes place in San Francisco in February. This time around, it runs from February 19 through 23, and while there are not a large number of server-class processors coming out, there are some very interesting system-on-chip and memory technologies that chip makers will be showing off at the upcoming 2012 event.
First out of the gate will be Intel with a preview of the “Ivy Bridge” processors for PCs, which are made in its new 22 nanometer Tri-Gate process and which will cram a multicore CPU and a GPU onto the same sliver of silicon. Intel will also be showing off a new dual-core Atom processor implemented in its current and well-established 32 nanometer processes sporting on-chip Wi-Fi networking. This is presumably the “Cedar Trail” family of Atom processors that were originally expected around September, then November, and now sometime next year, according to the rumor mill. Intel will also be showing off a 32-bit x86 chip that has an operating range of between 280 millivolts to 1.2 volts that is implemented in its 32 nanometer processes.
Oracle will be on hand to talk about the eight-core Sparc T4 processor that was announced back at the end of September and that just started shipping in systems back in November. Oracle might slip a bit and talk about the future Sparc T5 processor, which will be socket-compatible with the Sparc T4 processor and which will ship by late 2012. Then again, Oracle doesn’t want to screw up Sparc T4 system sales, so maybe it won’t say anything. Especially considering that the Sparc T5 will have 16 cores running at around 3GHz or so and scale up to eight sockets in a single system – yielding about 2.5 times the aggregate oomph on thread-happy workloads like databases and middleware.
IBM is not saying anything about its future Power7+ or Power8 processors for its Unix and proprietary systems. But Big Blue will be showing off a prototype 3D Design system-on-chip design that will use through silicon via (TSV) technology that it perfected with Micron Technology for hybrid cube memory. IBM will be demonstrating that the techniques that can be used to stack up DRAM chips and lash them together into a parallel memory cluster (well, that is what HMC memory is, more or less) can be used to link embedded DRAM to processor cores. Such technology will be needed to make more powerful and energy-efficient parallel systems.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and Amkor Technology will be showing off a similar stacked chip called 3D-MAPS, which is a massively parallel processor with stacked memory. In this case, the chip in question has 64 cores running at mere 277MHz and 256KB of SRAM memory mated to it. This is a tiny chip in terms of raw chip performance, but it delivers 64GB/sec of memory bandwidth and only consumes 5 watts of juice, and on memory-intensive workloads with a certain degree of parallelism, 3D-MAPS could scream. The next generation 3D-MAPS chip will have two logic tiers with a total of 128 cores and three DRAM tiers instead of one SRAM tier for memory.
The University of Michigan will be stacking up chips, too, with its Centip3De project, which will put 64 ARM Cortex-M3 embedded processors into a cube. The Wolverines have been talking about (PDF) a seven-layer 3D chip that has 128 Cortex-M3 cores and 256MB of stacked DRAM all glued together, so this appears to be a chip off the old block.
Advanced Micro Devices will be showing off a “resonant clock design” for a 64-bit x86-processor towards the end of the day, and clearly there will be a need for some coffee during that one. Fudan University of China will be showing off a 16-core, 320 milliwatt, 800MHz processor it has cooked up with message passing and shared-memory inter-core communications – all cooked up in an ancient and cheap 65 nanometer process. Cavium will be showing off its latest 32-core MIPS-based processors, which sport network accelerators and which are sold under the Octeon II brand. Fujitsu will be there to show off its current K massively parallel supercomputer, powered by the eight-core Sparc64-VIIfx processor and currently the most powerful super in the world.
Hynix Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics will be showing off their respective 2Gbit and 4Gbit DDR4 SDRAM memory chips, which will eventually make their way into PCs and servers.