Amazon to Offer Ad-Supported Kindle at Discounted Price

There are ads on my TV, my mobile phone and on the screen at the movies. Now Amazon wants to take over my e-reading experience as well. They swear the ads won’t actually butt in just as I reach a cliffhanger moment. And I do have to agree to it. Actually, I have to buy in to it, as the ad-sponsored Kindle is a product all its own.

Amazon calls it Kindle with Special Offers, a name which was obviously crafted to make the reader feel like they’re getting something good out of the deal. Instead of showing the usual Kindle book-themed screensaver, the new edition will show a full-page ad. Black and white, only. Remember, Kindle doesn’t do color. What’s even sillier is the Kindle Ad-Mash up which asks users to vote on their preferred ads and only “screensavers with the most preferred votes qualify to become sponsored screensavers.”

Kiip Offers Real Rewards for Virtual Success

According to Kiip, there are like, a bajillion people playing games on their phones right now, as you read this, a bajillion people launching bird attacks and chasing zombies and missing their bus stop and ignoring everything that’s being said on the company conference call. They’re playing because gaming is an addiction. Our brains are hardwired to get excited over the prospect of conquering a level, climbing to the top of the score chart and receiving a virtual prize.

Well, Kiip (www.kiip.me) (pronounced “keep”) thinks we all deserve better than that. For all the time and dedication we all put in to game play, they think we should get something real, something tangible and that’s what they’re company is all about. The Kiip Rewards Network gives advertisers the ability to offer real prizes when players succeed at virtual games. Lower level prizes include discounts or coupons for free snacks, while higher levels might equal a t-shirt, a DVD or even a vacation.

Bing Announces New Business Portal Beta

Bing is looking to make some waves in the local pool that has been dominated by the problem riddled Google Place Page effort. All I can say is that it’s about time that someone gives Google a run for their money so that all ships can truly rise with the rising Internet tide.

If my discussions with Bing’s Director of Search, Stefan Weitz and Andy Chu, Director of Product Management, Bing for Mobile are any indication, Bing is looking to take a serious shot at it with it’s brand new Bing Business Portal which will replace the existing Local Listing Center.

Facebook and Baidu Reported in Social Networking Deal

Like all social networking sites, Facebook is banned (others say it is blocked which I guess is the PC way to talk about censorship) in China. No surprise there. What is a surprise, however, is that a visit in December of last year by Mark Zuckerberg to the Chinese search giant Baidu may have turned into a bit of a coup for Facebook.

According to SAI

Facebook has struck a deal with Baidu, the biggest Chinese search engine, to open a jointly-owned social network in China, according to reports in the Chinese press, citing inside sources.

Cup of Joe: Haters Gonna Hate, Are You Going To Listen?

Haters
If you have spent any good amount of time online you have probably heard the now infamous saying, “Haters gonna hate”. No one is really sure where it came from, but it’s clear to see that it struck a nerve with internet users in a big way.

[...] a popular catchphrase used to indicate one’s complete disregard for an individual or a group’s hostile remarks addressed towards the speaker. [via]

Haters are all over the internet. They are in our comments, in our twitter feeds, and sometimes even in our email. If you are an online entrepreneur then you can multiply your hater count by 100! Because the truth is that haters are attracted to successful people. And at the same time, they hate successful people because they realize that success is hard work, and they aren’t cut out for it.

Hotpot Brand Given No Stars

Google is changing before our very eyes about as quickly as any big company can. Apparently Larry Page has had enough of Google’s multiple swings and misses (a tech nod to the start of the baseball season) and is cleaning house with people and product changes galore.

One thing he thankfully has done is already killed the pathetically named Hotpot which was supposed to be Google’s answer to local business review sites like Yelp. The product still exists but the name is gone. Thanks, Larry.

From the Google blog

Forrester Says Facebook and eCommerce Don’t Mix

Forrester Research just released a new report called “Will Facebook Ever Drive eCommerce?” and the folks at the Wall Street Journal have given us a sneak peek.

The report basically states that right now Facebook is not at all effective for driving eCommerce sales.

The study found that the average Facebook metrics are a 1% click-through rate and a 2% conversion rate. E-mail marketing, by comparison, has an 11% click-through rate and a 4% average conversion rate.

The reason for this is obvious. People don’t go to Facebook to shop. They primarily go to catch up with friends or play games. Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru acknowledges that people will go to a Facebook brand page and “like” it in order to get a coupon, but that’s a fleeting interest that may have no impact on future sales (except, I suppose the sale connected to the one-time coupon use.)