Foremski’s Take: All that work to get people to “like” a brands’ Facebook page has been neatly integrated into Facebook’s business model.
Social media was never free but in the early years it seemed that way when companies could get huge distribution of their messaging for seemingly little work. Then as the number of media channels fragmented, it became less free because of the extra management required but the distribution was free. Now the distribution is being locked away and will cost money.
All in all, overall marketing costs are going to go up, way up, as other media channels start to monetize their traffic. Google, for example, is killing search engine optimization services because it wants to sell distribution instead of giving it away through SEO influenced organic search.
The pressing question these numbers raise is whether consumers are shifting their spending and debts from credit cards to auto loans. The New York Fed’s latest household debt and credit report shows that while housing debt has fallen since 2008, non-housing debt, which includes credit cards and car loans, is actually back at pre-crisis highs. If consumers are piling up on auto loans, the economy may have moved on to its next bubble.
Housing markets are booming again in parts of the U.S. and Britain and they haven’t stopped doing so in Canada for the better part of a generation.
What is most striking about the latest round, at least when you listen to those who ought to know, is how nothing much except the price has changed.
We were told a stern lesson in the months and years after the financial crisis, borne out of an over-inflated, over-leveraged U.S. housing market securitised up to the scalp by Wall Street and leaping ever higher up a steeper incline on a blind instinct never to look back.
But as most school teachers know, sometimes a lesson has to be repeated in order to be properly learned. And some students will still fail.
Scanning through the results of the latest Reuters surveys of property market analysts and economists would leave any reader with a memory stretching back before 2008 with a sense of déjà vu.
After all, interest rates are even lower, stock markets are soaring to record highs, and a rapid expansion in household debt in all three countries is driving the property market higher, leading what one economist in Britain, lamenting poor trade performance, has called the “estate agent-led” recovery.
In the U.S., David Crowe, economist at the National Association of Housebuilders argues that the biggest threat to a stomping housing market recovery there is not an eventual end to purchases of Mortgage-Backed Securities by the Federal Reserve. Until recently at least, those purchases, along with zero rate policy, have kept mortgage rates firmly pinned down. Nor is it the threat of an economic slowdown or poor job growth.
The workshop, called “Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content,” focused on whether publishers and advertisers are doing enough to keep consumers from mistaking native ads — which are meant to closely resemble non-sponsored content — from the content itself.
”As consumers, we started seeing, when we went online, things we that weren’t sure what they were,” said Mary Engle, the FTC’s associate director for advertising practices, in reference to native ads’ resemblance to editorial content. Concerns about deception, she said, sparked the FTC’s interest.
Trying to make money
Fearful the federal government would meddle with the hottest new form of advertising, leaders from across the spectrum came together in its defense. Executives from Procter & Gamble, Hearst, Mashable,The Huffington Post, Outbrain, Sharethrough and more participated in the standing-room only workshop that ran all day. Over the course of it, every imaginable defense of the medium surfaced, from the standard “native advertising is transparent enough” argument to a claim that consumers want more native ads.
Digital marketers, weary of online scams, will start placing more ads on Facebook rather than run the risk that their ads will be shown to robots instead of actual people.
That was one conclusion of an ad industry breakfast in Manhattan, titled Bagels and Bots, where executives last week explored the pervasiveness of botnets — networks of corrupted computers that provide an easy way for criminals and hackers to defraud big brands out of billions of dollars. Here are some new numbers, and the implications for advertisers.
NEW YORK – It is widely agreed that a series of collapsing housing-market bubbles triggered the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, along with the severe recession that followed. While the United States is the best-known case, a combination of lax regulation and supervision of banks and low policy interest rates fueled similar bubbles in the United Kingdom, Spain, Ireland, Iceland, and Dubai.
Now, five years later, signs of frothiness, if not outright bubbles, are reappearing in housing markets in Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and, back for an encore, the UK (well, London). In emerging markets, bubbles are appearing in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and Israel, and in major urban centers in Turkey, India, Indonesia and Brazil.
Signs that home prices are entering bubble territory in these economies include fast-rising home prices, high and rising price-to-income ratios, and high levels of mortgage debt as a share of household debt. In most advanced economies, bubbles are being inflated by very low short- and long-term interest rates. Given anemic GDP growth, high unemployment, and low inflation, the wall of liquidity generated by conventional and unconventional monetary easing is driving up asset prices, starting with home prices.
The situation is more varied in emerging-market economies. Some that have high per capita income – for example, Israel, Hong Kong, and Singapore – have low inflation and want to maintain low policy interest rates to prevent exchange-rate appreciation against major currencies. Others are characterized by high inflation (even above the central-bank target, as in Turkey, India, Indonesia, and Brazil). In China and India, savings are going into home purchases, because financial repression leaves households with few other assets that provide a good hedge against inflation. Rapid urbanization in many emerging markets has also driven up home prices, as demand outstrips supply.
Gartner’s four phases of “cognizant computing”
“sync me”: this is the most obvious phase, the one which most of the Computing giants have achieved; it is composed of storage and the syncing of personal data,
the “see me” phase: this is all about our digital footprint. “This phase is still not very intelligent, and not many companies are taking advantage of this” the Gartner analysts said,
the “know me” phase: this is about understanding who the user is, what he likes and what he does through the data he stored; so that he can be presented with offers and messages which are relevant to him,
“be me” phase: this is where services are acting on the user’s behalf based on learned or explicit data.
Yet, looking at how many companies do this show that there is still room for improvement:
The interaction model for the desktop internet was pretty much settled 15 years ago. It turned out that the answer was a web browser. Stand-alone apps such as Pointcast were a mostly blind alley, and while apps persisted for email and IM, and for very specific things like music, the words ‘web’ and ‘internet’ became effectively synonymous to anyone non-technical. Over time we added Ajax and better search and better social, but everything really happened inside the browser.
In mobile this is quite different: nothing is settled. We have the web and apps and of course apps, and then we have many complications – voice, in-app payments, web apps, hybrid apps, widgets, push notifications, social messaging apps, Google Now and Siri. Then there’s the hardware layer – images, barcodes, NFC, bluetooth, location, motion sensors etc. Innovative and disruptive new interaction models can very often find a route to market, far more easily than they could on the desktop internet. Sometimes, they scale to a hundred million users in a year to two. And we have more and more waves of innovation coming, with things like local wireless from Apple and deep linking to within apps from Android, and a very fast-evolving social messaging space, and more things in 2014 and beyond.
So, we can actually have a pretty limited idea of what the dominant interaction models will be in 5 years.
Anyone in the US doing their holiday shopping from the product showcases that appear at the top of Google’s search results is almost certain to pay substantially more than if they delved deeper in the search engine.
Five out of every six items in the panels shown on a Google search made in America are more expensive than the same items from other merchants hidden deeper in the index, with an average premium of 34 per cent, according to a Financial Times analysis.
The scale of the apparent premium pricing drew complaints from some Google critics, who said it echoed issues that are at the heart of an antitrust case in Brussels in which the company has already reached a tentative settlement with European regulators.
By showing its chosen product listings prominently while relegating other services, Google could make more money from merchants who paid to have their products featured, said Gary Reback, a Silicon Valley lawyer who represents a number of the search engine’s rivals.
Google countered that the price paid by consumers was only one consideration in how it selected items to appear in the panels. “Just as people consider multiple factors when they shop, like free shipping or whether they prefer a particular retailer, there are a variety of factors” at work, it said.
Critics claim that many consumers do not realise the product listings are advertising rather than Google’s selection of the best products to buy. Unlike other panes that show advertising on the search engine, the panels are not tinted a different colour and are labelled “sponsored” rather than “ads”.
A plan to squeeze most residents of the San Francisco Bay Area into multifamily housing offers a test case of whether land-use bureaucracies nationwide, encouraged by the Obama administration, should be allowed to transform American lifestyles under the pretext of combating climate change.
Currently, 56 percent of households in the nine-county Bay Area live in single-family homes. That number would drop to 48 percent by 2030, under a high-density development blueprint called Plan Bay Area, recently enacted by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the region’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
Plan Bay Area has already drawn several legal challenges, and the debate could spread nationwide if, as may happen, it becomes a model for regulators in other parts of the country.
Owning a single-family home has long been part of the American dream, but Plan Bay Area embraces a dramatically different vision of the ideal community: crowded rows of high-rises and mass-transit platforms.