Archive for January, 2011

Sales of e-books overtook sales of paperback books on Amazon in the last quarter of 2010, when the online retailer notched up its first $10bn quarter.

Amazon: Kindle sales soar as online retailer records $10bn quarter

Amazon: Kindle sales soar as online retailer records $10bn quarter

For every 100 paperback books sold, Amazon is selling 115 Kindle books, although sales of paperbacks are also increasing.

Profit before tax for the last quarter of 2010 rose to $506m (£319m) from $471m the year before, with full-year profits rising to $1.49bn from £1.16bn in 2009.

Sales at Amazon passed the $10bn mark for the quarter for the first time, rising 36% to $12.95bn (£8.16bn). Full-year sales rose 40% to $34.2bn (£21.55bn).

Jeff Bezos, chief executive of said: “We achieved two big milestones. We had our first $10bn quarter, and, after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on

“Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected – and it’s on top of continued growth in paperback sales.”

Amazon finally bought LoveFilm earlier this month for an undisclosed sum.

In November, Amazon acquired FMCG e-commerce business Quidsi, which owns baby product site, for a reported $540m (£334m).

It also bought online shoe retailer Zappos in 2009 in a deal worth $850m (£531m).

This article was first published on

By Ed Owen,, 28 January 2011, 09:32AM



Posted: January 28, 2011 by FMstereo in General

Recently, I wrote about several things clients say that drive freelancers nuts. Some of these things are annoying, but can be addressed.

There are, however, certain types of prospective clients that freelancers should avoid at all costs.

Without further ado, avoid the client who…

  • Asks you to first work on spec. While amateurs and those who are desperate for work will often agree to take on spec work in the hopes that it will lead to a paying gig, a prospective client who would ask you to perform services without pay is almost certainly not worthy of being your client.
  • Expects a firm price quote before deliverables are finalized. It should go without saying, but it’s kind of hard to agree to perform work at a certain cost when you don’t know what that work is. Yet some clients will expect precisely this. Sometimes freelancers are tempted to go along, especially when dealing with a large project budget, but agreeing to do work on a fixed cost basis before you know what you’re going to have to deliver usually doesn’t end well for the freelancer.
  • Wants you to make all of the decisions. It’s nice to have clients that trust you to make certain decisions, but be very careful about clients who want you to make all of the big, tough decisions. Nine times out of 10, these types of clients will decide after the fact that they really want the opposite of what you decided. As such, it’s best to avoid clients who are too lazy to help you help them.
  • Has a bad reputation. If a potential client has a legitimately bad reputation (eg. is notorious for not paying on time, has acted dishonestly in the past, etc.), run, don’t walk, away. Zebras don’t change their stripes.
  • Is rude. Some clients are difficult. But there’s a difference between a client who is difficult and a client who is downright rude. It all boils down to personal respect. A client can be demanding and business-like to the extreme. That’s fine. Your clients are paying you to deliver the goods, not to be a friend. But when a client is insulting and treats you like trash, it’s my opinion that you will always come out feeling like a loser. Your dignity and happiness doesn’t have a price tag.

Acquiring clients can be hard work, so it’s often difficult to turn a prospective client away. But problem clients end up hurting your bottom line and reducing your ability to deliver for the good ones, so if you want to succeed as a freelancer, focus on building a roster of quality clients and avoiding impostors.

Originally Posted: 23 February 2010 11:19am by Patricio Robles

Bemoaning clients is a popular past time for agencies. The client is stupid, doesn’t know what they want and aren’t willing to pay for it. Sometimes this moaning is warranted, a lot of the time it’s definitely not.

As a client, hiring and then sustaining the relationship with the right supplier is much more difficult than is appreciated.

Following on from five clients you should avoid like the plague, here are five suppliers to look out for…

The Back Bedroom

Spare Bedroom being used as an Office

Back Bedrooms are normally One-Man-Band small operations that try to make themselves look bigger than they are during the tendering process. They operate from a back bedroom in their house, converted into an office. Sometimes you can tell straight from a name (I have a habit of avoiding anyone called Studios or Productions), sometimes by their body of work.

Of course, you would never hire these guys in the first place, but appearances can be deceptive. Remember it’s perfectly fine to ask for turnover, trading history and staff size during the tendering process.

If a previously established name is now running on a skeleton crew, it’s going to affect your deadlines. If the company doesn’t have the resources to invest in continuous training, it’s going to affect the quality of their work. If you’re going to trust your business to this agency, then it’s vital that you know as much about them as possible.

Does this mean there’s no space for small studios within your supplier portfolio? Of course not. The most successful small suppliers I’ve seen are the ones who’ve focussed on producing amazing work within a small niche, quickly becoming the go-to guys, rather than the one-man-bands who say they do everything, in the hope of being hired (something that can apply to larger agencies too!)

The Factory

Factory conditions

An agency will never start off as a Factory, but how quickly they turn into one is what to watch out for. Let me explain:

A client hiring a supplier is an admission. The admission being “I can’t do this myself, I don’t have the knowledge or experience in doing this”.
However, the client will have business goals, and an idea on how they can be achieved. So what does The Factory do? They execute those ideas, without question, in an efficient and timely manner.

How terrible!

I am frequently wrong. I don’t know best and I’m keen to admit it, that’s why I’ve hired an agency with the expertise and know how. If I’ve been smart during the tendering process, the supplier would have done the job for someone else, and will bring that knowledge to my project, tell me (gently!) that I’m wrong, and show me a better way of doing it.

The biggest problem that occurs when your agency turns into a factory is that the magic disappears: that spark of creativity and innovation that begun your relationship wanes.

But fortunately this is a situation you can fix yourself. Any business partnership is a relationship that requires honesty on both sides, so if you feel the magic is going, tell your agency, they might even feel the same and want to fix it.

The Bait & Switch

Supplier Rickrolls

You’ll be in the tendering process, and of course during the pitch, the Bait & Switch supplier wheel out their Superstars. The discussion on creative will be done by the creative director showing work they themselves have done. Technical Lead or Head Consultant on whatever your project is about will be present, speak knowledgeably and fill you with confidence that Yes, These Are The Folks For The Job.

This is the Supplier equivalent of a RickRoll.

This is because, when you start working with the Bait & Switch, you don’t get the Creative Director, Technical Lead or Head Consultant, you get the “B” team. Even worse, sometimes you get the junior or the new guy, who the Bait & Switch are using your account to train on. However, unlike at a Hair Salon, you’re still paying Creative Director prices.

Make sure, during the pitching process, the people you speak with are the people you’ll be working with.

The Emotionally Distant

Unhappy Couple not communicating

The Emotionally Distant don’t spend time understanding your business, and don’t want to. Often the problem of large agencies, there’s a feeling of arrogance when you work with them – that this is not a relationship of equals, you have difficulty connecting. They’re professional, but not warm and sometimes not fun and rewarding to work with. They are certainly not your friends.

It’s the responsibly of your Account Manager and Project Manager, and your responsibility, to make this relationship work. In fact, your Project Manager makes or breaks a relationship, more so than an account manager, since they are responsible for delivering on the reason they were first hired.

During my career, I’ve been fortunate to have been blessed with some amazing Project Managers, including Rob BorleyNikki Parker, and Claire DeVilliers as well as some truly shocking ones (who I won’t name!).

Client/Supplier relationships only work when trust and respect, and a desire for understanding is held on most sides. If you have a sour relationship with your chief point of contact at a Supplier, you won’t be working with them for very long.

The Used Car Salesman

The Used Car Saleman

The Used Car Salesman is big on making money and getting the sale. Not a bad plan for any agency that wants to stay in business, but they way they do it is often at odds with a healthy business relationship.

You can normally tell this supplier from when you initially enquire about their business. Soon you’ll be getting a call a day asking for an update on your decision, sometimes with an incentive to make it. “Hey, I’ve been authorised to give you 10% off the annual fee and Free Dashboards if you sign up today”.

This tells me three things:

  1. Dashboards aren’t worth anything.
  2. I can probably get them to 40% if I try hard.
  3. I can get this discount any time I like.

Finger-in the air pricing models are normally based on what the Used Car Salesman will think you’ll pay. If you have to deal with these people, remember to act poor.

But sometimes, the Used Car Salesman will try a different tactic. Within months of starting the relationship – you get assigned a dreaded Business Development Manager. A permanent sales person, who make you ask yourself, “exactly whose business are they trying to develop?”.

A client/supplier relationship is one built on trust, if that trust is compromised by making the client feel they are perpetually being sold to, the client will leave.

How do you avoid suppliers like these?

The sure fire way: always ask to speak to other clients of theirs. Whilst they’ll obviously bring out the clients who’ll be suitably glowing, it gives you a great feeling of the sorts of clients they work well with, and if theirs a personality fit with you as a client.

Originally Posted on Econsultancy on 21 January 2011 12:48pm by Matthew Curry

1. 50% of online ads will have video in them and be bought on a cost-per-view basis.

2. 50% of all display advertising targeted to a specific audience will rely on real-time bidding.

3. Mobile will become the number one screen for advertising.

4. Five new metrics will emerge to measure the success of ad campaigns: engagement and interaction rates in rich media, video view, impact on web search results, sentiment and measuring foot traffic into the store through geo-based technology.

5. 75% of ads will become socially enabled. In the long term, all ads will become social as the industry moves to an always-on communication.

6. 50% of brand campaigns will run rich media in the ads, up from 6% during the last year.

7. Display advertising will become a $50bn industry.

Source: Mediapost

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, o programa 5 para a meia noite, Nike Football Portugal, Liga Portuguesa Contra o Cancro e Cidade FM são as cinco marcas portuguesas com mais fãs no Facebook. A conclusão é da empresa dJomba, que acaba de lançar um ranking, o FbRank Pt de páginas portuguesas no Facebook onde destaca as marcas, campanhas e pessoas de acordo com o número de fãs das suas páginas na rede social, contando ainda com um ranking global. Dentro de cada categoria é ainda possível analisar por sector de actividade. O site apresenta, para cada entrada, uma ficha individual com informação (posição no ranking global, no ranking de marcas e no ranking do sector de actividade), gráficos com a evolução do número de fãs ao longo do tempo e uma lista com os últimos comentários públicos sobre a marca colocados no Facebook. O top 5 de campanhas conta com Eu Amo Você, Dê Colo à Ajuda de Berço, O Sexo e a Cidade 2, Chef Online e Vodafone Música.

Originally published on: 27 de Janeiro de 2011 às 00:05:21, por Pedro Durães

Becoming a freelance consultant or service provider is easy, but turning a profit can be difficult.

One of the lessons learned through experience: profitability often has a lot more to do with avoiding the wrong clients than it does finding a never-ending stream of new clients.

Fortunately, the wrong clients typically come in several well-defined and easily identifiable shapes and sizes.

Here are the top five clients you should consider avoiding like the plague if you hope to be profitable.

The Fisherman

If you’re a web designer or developer, chances are you’ve met The Fisherman. He often appears to be a serious client, and he may very well be one, but early on in your initial dialog it becomes clear: he’s going to want a lot out of you before he’s ready to officially move forward with paying work.

For instance, if you’re a web developer, The Fisherman may come to you without a project spec, and without a clear idea of the technologies he should use. So he’ll ask you to help him figure out what he needs, gratis, of course, so that he can do you the favor of moving ahead with the project after you’ve given him a four-course meal of your expertise.

Why You Should Avoid The Fisherman: Unless you can get him to pay for your expertise up front, you’ll provide far more value to The Fisherman than you will likely be compensated for — if he actually hires you to implement, which is always a big if.

The Mime Artist

Communication is a crucial part of any client relationship, and it’s a two-way street. Clients should expect that their service providers are capable communicators, but clients should also understand that their ability to communicate is a prerequisite for project success too.

With The Mime Artist, communication is so difficult that you feel like you’re trying to figure out what’s going on sans the spoken or written word. As a result, you’re unable to get a clear understanding of what the client needs and wants.

Why You Should Avoid The Mime Artist: Trying to communicate with a client that is unable to communicate effectively is one of the best ways to damage your head without banging it into a wall repeatedly. It’s also a great way to spend time on a project that is likely to leave everyone disappointed in the end.

The Deluded

Many freelance web developers have seen The Deluded. He’s the client who wants you to build a site that will combine the features of Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Napster and every other popular site ever built since 1998, to create a website design in exchange for equity because he’s going to revolutionize an industry and sell his site for a lot of money within a year, etc.

In other words, The Deluded is usually completely out of touch with reality and wants you to become a part of his impossibility.

Why You Should Avoid The Deluded: Simply put, you can never deliver for The Deluded. Fortunately, this client is easy to spot and most experienced service providers do manage to avoid him.

The Spouse

Clients deserve a certain level of respect and attention, particularly when they’re paying good money. But some — The Spouses — expect a little bit too much. You probably have some experience with these clients: they send emails for the sake of sending emails, like to phone you a few times a day just to see how things are going, and want you to meet frequently on-site because they ‘like‘ interaction.

In some cases, you may even half expect to see them when you arrive at home because they find a way to make themselves a fixture in your life. Hence the name, The Spouse.

Why You Should Avoid The Spouse: There’s a fine line between a client who needs a little bit of hand-holding and a client who isn’t hugged enough. When you encounter the latter, it usually means that you’ll spend an inordinate amount of time not getting work done, which can eventually harm your other client relationships.

The Cheapskate

Everybody loves bargains, and if you’re a service provider, chances are clients and prospective clients will frequently ask you to provide them in some form or another. The Cheapskate takes bargain-hunting to another level, however, as he seeks to maximize how much he gets and minimize how much he pays you.

In many cases, The Cheapskate will try to change the terms of your engagement afterthey’ve been agreed upon. Particularly dangerous is The Cheapskate who has mastered the subtle art of scope creep, and who can sometimes make you feel guilty about not doing extra work for free when he requests it.

Why You Should Avoid The Cheapskate: Working with clients who want a ‘great‘ price rather than a solid value is rarely a profitable exercise.

Originally Posted: 19 January 2011 11:47am by Patricio Robles

Google prepara-se para lançar Google Offers

Google está a preparar o seu próprio serviço de ofertas diárias, que dará pelo nome de Google Offers. O projecto surge depois da tentativa da gigante tecnológica adquirir o site de compras colectivas Groupon por 6 mil milhões de dólares (mais de 4 mil milhões de euros).

«Um novo produto que ajuda os clientes a encontrarem bons negócios na sua região, através de um e-mail diário», é como é explicado o funcionamento do novo serviço, num documento publicado pelo Mashable. A Google confirmou que está num processo de recrutamento de pequenas empresas para participarem no teste de um programa de ofertas, uma iniciativa que demonstra o seu esforço em lançar produtos «que liguem negócios e clientes de novas maneiras», avança o Mashable.

Originalmente publicado na Marketeer na segunda-feira, 24 de Janeiro, 2011

Insight into Steve Jobs' Product-Centric Approach

Posted: January 24, 2011 by FMstereo in Apple, News

Early last week, Steve Jobs announced that he was once again taking a medical leave of absence from Apple. The news has been met with understandable concern about his future at the company, and resulted in many a “look back” at Apple over the years. One particularly insightful article is this Newsweek article interviewing Steve Jobs back in 1985 shortly after his ousting from Apple. It’s interesting to see how his views and attitudes about product design hasn’t changed much in 25 years. 

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 and led the Macintosh team in the early 80s, but in 1985, he was forced out of the company after an internal power struggle with John Sculley, the Apple CEO at the time. This interview was held shortly after he had departed Apple.

On what his plans and strengths are, Jobs described himself as being best and most enthusiastic about building products:“What I’m best at doing is finding a group of talented people and making things with them. I respect the direction that Apple is going in. But for me personally, you know, I want to make things. And if there’s no place for me to make things there, then I’ll do what I did twice before. I’ll make my own place. You know, I did it in the garage when Apple started, and I did it in the metaphorical garage when Mac started.”

He rejected offers to be a professor at the time and said he wasn’t ready to be an industry pundit. Jobs went on to found NeXT computer company which was later purchased by Apple in 1996 and its operating system used as the basis for Mac OS X. He also acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm which became Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar, of course, was ultimately acquired by Disney after years of commercial success. After Jobs’ return to Apple in 1996, he’s widely credited for returning Apple to profitability and the launch of many notable products including Mac OS X, the iMac, iPod, iPhone and most recently, the iPad.

Jobs finally describes his philosophy in running a company and the role of customer feedback:“My philosophy is that everything starts with a great product. So, you know, I obviously believed in listening to customers, but customers can’t tell you about the next breakthrough that’s going to happen next year that’s going to change the whole industry. So you have to listen very carefully. But then you have to go and sort of stow away — you have to go hide away with people that really understand the technology, but also really care about the customers, and dream up this next breakthrough. And that’s my perspective, that everything starts with a great product.”

Jobs has echoed this sentiment in recent years including citing a quote from Henry Ford which was “If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.'”

In his letter to Apple employees, Jobs hopes to be back at Apple as soon as he can.

Originally published on Sunday January 23, 2011 01:08 AM EST, written by Arnold Kim

Posted 21 January 2011 15:07pm by Patricio Robles

Television programming has always been a popular subject for water cooler conversations at work, so it doesn’t take too much imagination to think that social media and television are a match made in heaven.

But according to a survey conducted by online television hub SideReel, expectations about social media and television may be a little bit too high.

The company polled 1,800 of its users, nearly 80% of whom reported that they watch more than five hours of television online each week. Only 25% of them indicated that they were interested in seeing what their friends are watching on television. Even fewer (10%) are interested in sharing what they’re watching.

SideReel called the results “unexpected.” And for good reason: the 25% figure cited above dropped 50% from the previous year. Such a large drop in a single year can mean one of two things: something is funky with SideReel’s numbers or survey methodology, or consumers are losing interest in watching television while socializing.

If we assume that the latter is true to some extent, it may have a lot to do with the user experience. As ReadWriteWeb has noted, hit U.S. television show Glee has seen built a unique engagement model that seems to be resonating with fans, particularly those on Twitter. In the face of SideReel’s survey, Glee’s success with social would seems to be an indication that television producers hoping to spark buzz on social communities like Twitter and Facebook are going to have to meet consumers half way by creating social experiences in their shows themselves.

In other words, social media television, like social media marketing, is not a passive undertaking. If you want results, you have to work hard to stand out.