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Are Microsoft and Minecraft a Good Fit?

17 Sep

Mojang, the maker of the highly popular Minecraft video game, has reached an agreement to be acquired by Microsoft. The purchase price is $2.5 billion. The deal is important to both Mojang and Microsoft, the maker of Xbox.

As Mojang posted at its Web site:

“Yes, we’re being bought by Microsoft. Yes, the deal is real. Mojang is being bought by Microsoft. It was reassuring to see how many of your opinions mirrored those of the Mojangstas when we heard the news. Change is scary, and this is a big change for all of us. It’s going to be good though. Everything is going to be OK. Please remember that the future of Minecraft and you – the community – are extremely important to everyone involved. If you take one thing away from this post, let it be that. We can only share so much information right now, but we’ve decided that being as honest as possible is the best approach. We’re still working a lot of this stuff out. Mega-deals are serious business.”

And in this YouTube video, head of Xbox Phil Spencer discusses Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft and Microsoft’s respect and admiration for the Minecraft community.
 

 
But, when the acquisition  is completed, the hard part starts — blending the Mojang culture with that of Microsoft. As Evelyn M. Rusli and Shira Ovide write for the Wall Street Journal: 

News that Microsoft is acquir[ing] Swedish company Mojang AB up a clash of cultures between the corporate giant and Minecraft loyalists — spanning from middle-school children to video-game diehards. To many of its fans, Mojang’s antiestablishment swagger has always been part of Minecraft’s mystique. Mojang, which has only about 40 employees, is run by programmer Markus Persson, who has gained a cult following by publicly blasting big tech companies, including Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Facebook.  Microsoft, pushing 40 and worth about $387 billion, is seen as the software industry’s Goliath.”

“Already, there are signs that a Minecraft game under Microsoft will be different. According to people with knowledge of the matter, Mr. Persson is expected to leave Mojang if Microsoft completes a deal. The company’s game-development office in Stockholm isn’t expected to move or close, a person familiar with the deal negotiations said. On online forums such as Reddit and Twitter, many players questioned whether a sale would destroy the game’s indie spirits. ‘Why pay $2.5 billion for something just to alienate all the fans?’ wrote a Reddit user who goes by the handle Joebovi.”

 
 What do YOU think?
 

Welcome Back, One World Trade Center

11 Sep

Evans on Marketing:

It’s been thirteen years. Let’s never forget.

Originally posted on Evans on Marketing:

It has been about twelve-and-a-half years since one of the worst days in American history — a tragedy that many of us will remember forever. Now, One World Trade Center is ready to reclaim its unofficial title as “The Top of America.” And in the turbulent times we face, it is gratifying to see an important symbol back in the sky, although we will still miss the “Twin Towers.”

In recognition of the rebirth of 1 WTC, Time magazine has produced a great multimedia tribute.Click here to access it.As Richard Licayo writes:

“For years after the 9/11 attacks, nearly all the activity at Ground Zero was downward—digging through the piles of debris, excavating a vast pit to restore the ruined transit lines, preparing the foundations for the new buildings that would emerge there. Even the memorial that opened in 2011 was an exercise in the poetics of…

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B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks

10 Sep

Starfleet Media recently conducted a study on content marketing – The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation:

“While there was already good research out there on B2B content marketing (kudos to the Content Marketing Institute, in particular, for their outstanding work over the past 5 years), we found that there remained a number of unexplored areas that warranted further investigation. We believed that capturing the right data – from hundreds of marketers with first-hand experience – and gaining actionable insights into these areas, could benefit not only our company, given our purview, but countless others, as well.”

What exactly does content marketing entail? According to the Content Marketing Institute:

“Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”

Key findings from the Starfleet Media report have been summarized by MarketProfs. Click the image to see the summary.
 

 

In What Country Are People the Happiest? (Hint: It’s Not the U.S.)

7 Sep

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) currently comprises 34 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

The OECD regularly conducts surveys in its member countries to determine the Life Satisfaction there:

“Life satisfaction measures how people evaluate their life as a whole rather than their current feelings. It captures a reflective assessment of which life circumstances and conditions are important for subjective well-being. When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, people across the OECD gave it a 6.6 grade. Life satisfaction is not evenly shared across the OECD, however. Some countries – Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, and Turkey – have a relatively low level of overall life satisfaction, with average scores of less than 5.5. At the other end of the scale, scores were higher than 7.5 in Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Switzerland. There is little difference in life satisfaction levels between men (6.6) and women (6.7) across OECD countries. Education levels do, however, strongly influence subjective well-being. Whereas people who have only completed primary education across OECD countries have a life satisfaction level of 6.2, this score reaches 7.2 for people with tertiary education.”

According to the OECD’s most recent survey, the United States rates 17th in Life Satisfaction among the 34 countries: “In general, Americans are less satisfied with their lives than the OECD average, with 75% of people saying they have more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc.) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc.). This figure is lower than the OECD average of 76%. The top five countries in Life Satisfaction are Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and Iceland.

Click this link, then click the “Countries” tab, and choose a country to learn more about “How’s Life” in each of the 34 countries in the OECD survey.

And for a fun interactive Web site on the “Better Life Index,” click the chart below, look at the responses in the individual countries, and enter your own answers. [Note: Click "Create your index"]

 
Better Life Index
 

New Ways to Optimize SEO

4 Sep

Search engine optimism remains a big challenge for many firms and individuals.

With this in mind, consider these observations by Drew Hendricks, writing for Scoop.it!:

“SEO has become a cornerstone in content marketing campaigns as businesses look to establish a presence on the Internet. However, SEO is about more than just making sure you have the appropriate keywords placed in landing pages and blog posts. Search engines are getting smarter – specifically Google – which is constantly trying to keep the playing field leveled with every new update. Google’s goal is to ensure that Web surfers are getting quality results each time they submit a search query, and you need to keep these guidelines in mind to make sure your company site actually reaches your target audience. That being said, it helps to know how to optimize your SEO strategy to make sure that you’re always tapping into the potential of the Web.”

Here are Huff’s 8 tools to help optimize sites for higher search engine listings:

  1. Free Keyword Tool from Wordstream
  2. Moz Pro
  3. SEObin.org
  4. Majestic SEO
  5. FeedTheBot.com
  6. Google’s Keyword Planner
  7. Snippet Optimizer
  8. Pingdom

Click the image to read more from Huff.

Trends in Online Shopping

24 Aug

As we have reported before (click here, for example), online retailing remains strong both in the United States and around the world.

Here is an infographic from SnapParcel, an Ireland-based courier service, that looks at the evolution of E-commerce in the United States and around the world. As Multichannel Merchant reports, global online retail sales have increased by 17% annually since 2007.
 

 

Amazon Versus Hachette, Amazon Versus Disney, Etc.

18 Aug

As the world’s largest book seller and online retailer, Amazon is never afraid to flex its muscles with regard to suppliers. So, these questions come into play: Is Amazon acting as an advocate for lower consumer prices (as the retailer claims)? OR is Amazon an unrestrained bully trying to increase its margins at the expense of its content providers (as critics claim)? WHAT IS YOUR CONCLUSION?

For several months, Amazon has been  battling with publisher Hachette. Consider this observation in Catey Hill’s report for MarketWatch:

“Amazon and book behemoth Hachette — along with some publishers’ groups and writers — are at one another’s throats, in a fight that’s escalated just within the past week. Amazon, which accounts for about 60% of the digital-book market, wants to use its market power to get Hachette to lower E-book prices, while Hachette says that this is ‘punitive,’ hurts authors and bookstores, and doesn’t take into account the costs — like royalties, marketing and expenses — that go into creating books. Hachette also notes that 80% of its books are already selling online for $9.99 or less, which is the price at which Amazon hopes to sell many of its E-books. For its part, Amazon has used its leverage against Hachette by delaying shipping and stopping pre-orders on some Hachette books.”

Now, Amazon has also decided to do battle with the Walt Disney Co., another behemoth content provider. Consider this observation in Greg Bensinger’s report for the Wall Street Journal:

“When Amazon.com Inc. wants to fight, it turns to a familiar playbook. The latest to feel the Seattle retailer’s sting is Walt Disney Co. Amazon isn’t accepting pre-orders of forthcoming Disney DVD and Blu-ray titles including Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Maleficent. As Amazon continues its well-publicized battle with Hachette over E-book costs, it has now engaged in a battle with Disney. It is the same tactic Amazon has employed in a bitter four-month spat with Hachette Book Group over E-book pricing. To press its point, Amazon suspended pre-orders for physical copies of many Hachette titles and lengthened shipping times or pared discounts for others. The tactics underscore Amazon’s unusual sway in E-commerce, where it is by far the dominant player, particularly for books and media.”

Click the image to see a Wall Street Journal video on this battle.

Photo by Associated Press

 

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