Google Going Places With Local SMB Marketing Swag

Last week we spoke of the marketing efforts that Google is putting behind their Places offering in six test markets including Portland, Austin, Las Vegas, Madison (WI), Charlotte and San Diego. That post got quite a bit of attention simply because of the subject matter which is Google reaching out to, gulp, market their services.

One part of that offering that was not discussed was the mysterious box that showed up on the steps of most small businesses in those markets. Google sent along one of the kits that was sent to 41,000 businesses in Charlotte to us here at Marketing Pilgrim. We thought the rest of the world might like to see what Google is up to. Once our own Places promo box arrived at the Marketing Pilgrim world headquarters (embellishment alert!) we thought we’d open it up for you too.

Why Google’s Music Cloud Service Will Be Dead on Arrival

Depending on how you look at this, I’m either stating the obvious or going out on a limb, when I say that Google’s rumored new Google Music cloud service will be a dead man walking.

Why?

Here’s the reason:

Google is preparing to show off a new music service at tomorrow’s I/O conference. And like Amazon’s launch earlier this year, the company is doing it without the approval of the major music labels and publishers.

So, you have the weight of Google thrown behind this, but you have two things working against this being a success.

First, history teaches us that when Google launches a media platform without the approval of the actual content providers, it dies pretty quickly. What happened when Google TV launched and didn’t play nicely with the other kids in the TV playground?

Microsoft Buys Skype for $8.5 Billion in Cash

Just last week our own Cynthia Boris posted “Facebook to Buy Skype? Say It Ain’t So!” Well, Cynthia, it ain’t so but since the real buyer is Microsoft we’ll have to see how you feel about that one.

Microsoft has officially announced their purchase of Skype after the rumor mill had all but confirmed it late yesterday. The price was a rather substantial $8.5 billion in cash.

As with most purchases of this magnitude (especially by Microsoft who has been out of the major M & A picture for quite some time now) opinions about the general goodness or sheer awfulness of the move abounds. For the record, my thoughts are if Microsoft simply owns it, leaves it alone and just is most interested in keeping it out of the hands of the Zuckerberg’s and Page’s of the world that’s fine by me. If they, however, give it the Microsoft treatment (in other words, eff it up because it’s one of those Internet thingys) well then that would suck.

Quora Greenlights Self-Promotion

Marketers, start your engines! As of right now, Q&A site Quora has not only lifted their ban on self-promotion, they’re actually encouraging it.

The old policy said that content that was “primarily self-promotional” was prohibited. Here’s why they changed the rule.

Quora’s key principle regarding content is that users should make the site a great resource for people who want to learn. The quality of the answer is what we care about. Evaluating the intention of an answer does not support this policy.

We want to encourage users to provide answers based on personal experience, and this often involves — or even requires – discussing subject(s) in which the writer has personal experience. Personal experience is an asset, not a liability, and is a key element of many of the best answers on Quora. In other words, we want users to write about what they know and care about – companies, organizations, causes, people, products, etc.

Should Digital Magazine Ads Cost Less Than the Print Equivalent?

Hearst, Time, Inc and now Conde Nast are all jumping on the digital train, with deals that allow subscribers to buy their most popular magazines on the iPad. Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, O, the Oprah Magazine — it’s a wide reach, but are readers ready to pass on tearing out articles in favor of a digital bookmark? Magazine publishers hope so, but magazine advertisers aren’t so sure.

Right now, this whole digital subscription idea is rather speculative. We may find that business people love having all that information at their fingertips, while casual readers prefer having pages to turn. The trouble is, ads have to be priced and paid for now, before the data is in.

There are three options:

  • Digital ads cost more than print ads in the same magazine (not likely).

Google Top News Site Traffic Influencer

Here at Marketing Pilgrim we like Pew studies. They are among the few that seem to be less about promotion and more about finding out the truth.

The latest study, Navigating News Online, shows that Google is still the top influencer for news sites. What is interesting to note though is that while it is still far behind, Facebook is making its move on Google’s domain.

Now a look at Facebook.

Right now the numbers don’t cry out real competition but it’s hard not to recognize that Facebook has momentum on its side. As a result, Google is probably more than a little nervous.

GrouponLive Ticket Deals Announced

Imagine you can get a discounted ticket for the hottest show in town. Now pinch yourself and wake up from the dream you are having.

The top concert promoter LiveNation and Groupon are teaming up to offer GrouponLive to offer deals on tickets for sports, concerts and other events. By reading the press reports it’s easy to imagine that tickets will be discounted for anything but I seriously doubt it.

Reuters reports

Top online group buying site Groupon tied up with Live Nation Inc to launch a new online ticketing deals web site that will allow customers buy tickets to concerts, theatres and other live events at discounted prices.