iTunes Ping Has No Zing

Apple says that more than one million users joined their new music-focused social network Ping in the 48 hours following its launch. I find that hard to believe. I do believe that people will flock like seagulls on a chip bag to a hot new social media site even though they can’t keep up with the ones they’re already on. I do believe that people will jump at the idea of a music-based network (take that Myspace!) especially one brought to you buy the maker of the iPod.

What I have trouble with is the fact that when I sign on to Ping, I can’t find more than twenty people using the site. Those that I did find were all in the music biz. What gives?

Mobile and Online Deals Expected to Drive Holiday Sales Dollars

In a recent survey about holiday shopping, 64% of the people said they’ll be spending less on everyone this holiday season, so that means marketers will have to work a little harder to make sure it’s their company that gets the cash and not their competitor. The trick is paying attention to how and why people are spending and customizing your marketing efforts to match.

eMarketer has a nifty new report called, “Online Holiday Shopping Preview: What Retailers Need to Know,” that can help, but here are a few of the basics. 42.7% of the people surveyed said they would only buy gifts that were on sale and 36% said they’d be doing more comparison shopping before forking over the cash.

Watchdog Group Takes Google to Task in Times Square

Consumer Watchdog’s has something to say about Google’s disrespect for people’s privacy and they’re saying it at one of the busiest intersections in the world.

The group has purchased advertising space on a 540 sq ft Jumbotron in Times Square and they’re using it to blast Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt. The animated feature is called “Don’t be Evil?” and shows cartoon Schmidt spying on children from the innocent trappings of an ice cream truck.

In a press release, Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog said;

“We’re satirizing Schmidt in the most highly trafficked public square in the nation to make the public aware of how out of touch Schmidt and Google are when it comes to our privacy rights.”

Is There Any Room in Retail for the Small Business?

At least once a week, my husband laments the loss of a mom & pop record store we had near our home. They carried mostly used albums and rock and roll memorabilia and a visit there was like hunting for treasure on the beach. If we go to eBay, we can find all those same albums and more but it simply isn’t the same as flipping through stacks of worn cardboard and finding a gem you didn’t even know existed.

It’s a sad fact that the small business is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. comScore is reporting that small business is down 5.6% over last year with those dollars going to the big box retailers we drive by every day. Usually we blame it on the economy, but the big boys are seeing a rise in profits, so why aren’t the mom and pop stores seeing it, too?

Yes, Virginia, There Are Men Using Facebook

Texting may be the most popular mode of communication between men, but for men under forty, Facebook beats out phone, Twitter and even email.

The result comes from “The Great Male Survey,” a study conducted by Ipsos OTX for eMarketer boiled the responses down into a nice chart that shows Facebook gaining on texting as you move from young teens up to the 20 somethings. By thirty, Facebook becomes just as important as texting and incredibly, that old fashioned thing called the telephone becomes an even more important tool for communication. Imagine that.

Even though most of the men in the survey didn’t choose Facebook as their main means of communication, an average of 69% of all the men who responded said they do log on to the site regularly. The 20-24 age range comes in on top with 78% of men using Facebook and as you can imagine, it drops off dramatically after 50.

Google Maps Launches Brand Logo Test in US

If you search Google Maps right now, you’ll see little gray generic icons beside the names of businesses to denote their field. Dollar signs for banks, fork and spoon for an eatery, a tiny shopping bag for stores and something that looks like a snail shell for art galleries. (??)

In the quest to make every single pixel count, Google is going to change some of those generic icons to tiny logos for popular brands. According to a report by Brandweek, Google has been testing the idea in Australia and now it’s opening it up to US users. Bank of America, HSBC, Target and Public Storage are the first icons you’ll see on your maps. Right now, Google says they are only offering the option to large brand names with multiple locations and they aren’t sure if it’s a feature that will stick.

Facebook Fans and Brands: Not a Two-Way Street

”70% of consumers who “FANNED” a brand on Facebook didn’t feel they’d given this company permission to market to them.”

This comes from a 2009 ExactTarget study that was revisited in their latest installment of Subscribers, Fans & Followers. The study says that most users saw “Liking” (as it’s now called) a brand on Facebook as a way to express their personal endorsement. An almost equal number of respondents (40%) said they “like” a brand in order to get discounts and promotions. 36% said they were looking for freebies.