2013
2012
2011
2010
2009 & Older

Blog Posts


2013

This post was a response to a blog post by Peter Fleischer, Google's Global Privacy Counsel, in which he ridiculed the European Commission and anyone in Europe who desired privacy. He likened the desire to protect the privacy of your citizens as a Quixotic quest, and one that would result in economic disaster for Europe. Google frequently cloaks privacy violations and the misuse of the intellectual property of other companies as attacks on innovation. Pious or hypocritical, Fleischer's blog referenced the wrong version of Don Quixote, and should have quoted the Man of La Mancha, particularly the song, "I'm Only Thinking of Him." Published in the Huffington Post, February 28, 2013.

This post was a response to Google's claim that it was not their fault when their online app store shared customers' private information with merchants. Their privacy policy explicitly stated that the app store would only share the information essential to the completion of a sale. Apparently, unlike Apple app store, Google designed their app store so that it would be necessary to share private information, and then argued "the design made me do it!" Not exactly. Other designs were possible. Published in the Huffington Post, February 27, 2013.

The tenth in my series in China Long March To Quality <<中国质量万里行>>. China has numerous opportunities to create new industries aimed at cleaning up the environment. These would be of significant value for China, of course. Additionally, these industries would also enjoy a significant export market around the world. Taking a leadership position in green technology would also improve the image of Chinese manufactured products globally, and would produce significant additional benefits for other Chinese products. Published February 26, 2013.

It is popular to argue that privacy is dead. It is convenient to believe that the worst that can occur through the invasion of online privacy is harmless, perhaps resulting in no more than better-targeted spam. Online tracking can hurt you. Online tracking involves integrating your email, your texting, your search history, your GPS data, your map searches, and whatever else is available, to create an accurate profile of you as a consumer. Knowing what you want may lead to better ads. Knowing more about you can also lead to more accurate pricing. There is a reason why companies want to know more about you, and it is not always to give you a better deal. Online privacy violations do not preserve your anonymity, and online privacy violations can be very expensive. Published in the Huffington Post, February 20, 2013.

2012

The ninth in my series in China Long March To Quality. Chinese consumers still behave markedly differently from their American counterparts. A significant portion of Chinese consumption is public and symbolic, aimed at showing status and confirming their ability to keep up with Zhous and the Zhangs, much as American consumption was aimed at confirming American consumers' ability to keep up with the Joneses. Will Chinese consumers go through the same evolution that American consumers experienced, adopting products more for private delight than for public consumption? Will Chinese consumers begin to trust their own luxury products, just as Americans have come to value American wines, American craft beers, and American haute couture designers? Published December 14, 2012.

The fourth in a four part series on search, Google, and abuse of power. This post addresses the importance of protecting online privacy, and the importance of harmonizing protection internationally. Published in the Huffington Post, December 5, 2012.

The third in a four part series on search, Google, and abuse of power. We provide further detail on mechanism to deal with deception and abuse of monopoly power. Published in the Huffington Post, November 30, 2012,.

The second in a four part series on search, Google, and abuse of power. We document forms of abuse, including deceptive practices that damage competitors, damage consumers by increasing prices, or damage consumers by exposing them to lower quality goods and services, monopoly pricing, and invasions of privacy. We recommend some extreme forms of regulation, since nothing else appears to have work, or appears to have the possibility of working. Published in the Huffington Post, November 28, 2012.

The first in a four part series on search, Google, and abuse of power. Search is perhaps the most essential utility on the net, and is essential to guiding virtually all other activities on the net. Larry and Sergey noted, even before starting Google, that "Since it is very difficult even for experts to evaluate search engines, search engine bias is particularly insidious." This piece documents some of Google's insidious behavior, domestically and abroad. Published in the Huffington Post, November 27, 2012.

The eighth column in my series in China Long March to Quality <<中国质量万里行>>.  In this column, I address how online reviews and crowd sourcing ratings are changing the profession of marketing.  As importantly, these reviews take control of a company’s image out of the hands of its image managers and place control in the hands of consumers. Since the firm cannot directly control what consumers write, it is forced to manage what consumers want to write. Operational failures of any kind will almost surely become part of the firm’s permanent public image.  It is no longer sufficient to manage operations to achieve adequate average quality. It is now necessary to achieve the highest possible qualit, to acquire brand advocates, and to avoid operational failures, to avoid brand assassins. This requires a new image manager, or Corporate Perception Officer, to coordinate all of the firm’s operations and direct them towards achieving favorable public opinion. Published October 29, 2012.

The seventh column in my series in China Long March to Quality <<中国质量万里行>>.  This column compares the range of information available to consumers online, and the ways in which this information can be used before making purchases. It describes sites that allow comparison of consumer products within a single manufacturer, within a single retailer, or across the full spectrum of a product category. It describes the advantages of professional content for some kinds of purchases, and the advantages of consumer crowd-sourced content for other purchases.  It concludes by addressing the impact of such content on Chinese firms and on Chinese brand management. Published October 10, 2012.

The First Amendment establishes the critical importance of freedom of information and a fully informed electorate to the proper functioning of the American democracy. The FCC established rules to ensure fair access to media during political campaigns. However, it appears that Google, as the gatekeeper to the media, has significant power to influence what we see and what we read. Experiments confirm that it is possible to influence public opinion by mechanisms as simple as altering the order of what is included in search results. Google historically refuses to make its ranking algorithms public, but clearly something this important requires some regulatory oversight. Published in the Huffington Post, October 9, 2012.

The sixth column in my series in China Long March to Quality <<中国质量万里行>>. To ensure continued domestic harmony, China needs to ensure continued economic growth. This does not merely entail full employment, but it requires full employment in profitable industries, where Chinese companies can earn higher margins and pay higher salaries.  We identify the characteristics of industries that are vulnerable to attack from Chinese firms, and where Chinese firms can compete globally. Published September 7, 2012.

The fifth column in my series in China Long March to Quality < <中国质量万里行> >. In this column, I address the phenomenon of resonance marketing, in which consumers move from purchasing mass market products that are adequate for all (like mass market beer, cookies, snack foods, and other staples) to resonance products that are perfect for them (such as a specific black imperial IPA, a power bar designed for weight loss, or a gourmet sticky black rice). Not all consumers have resonance products, and not all consumers have resonance products in all categories, but almost all product categories can include resonance offerings for some consumers. This can be seen as a move away from consumers purchasing products that are focused in a few fat spots towards behavior in which consumers increasingly find offerings in a larger number of highly desirable sweet spots. We discuss the role of online information systems and online reviews in enabling the changes in consumer behavior. We conclude with discussion of the implications for enhanced profitability for Chinese firms if they are able to develop popular brands that resonate with consumer preferences. Published August 6, 2012.

The European Commission seems set to hit Google with, well, just about nothing. The EC's four concerns involve the most blatantly unfair or illegal of Google's actions. But there is no mention of Google's monopoly power over search, or of its actions to strengthen and to extend this monopoly. There is no mention of Google's demonstrably criminal behavior in facilitating circumvention of laws designed to protect consumers against defective products, and no mention of Google's repeated violation of privacy, and of privacy laws, in the European Union and around the world. That's it, EC? That's all you got? Published July 18, 2012.

I never expected this to turn into a series, but this is the third in a sequence of "Say it ain't so" surprises from a company that was supposed to be above evil. It now appears that Google violated a 20-year consent decree on privacy with the FTC almost immediately after signing it. What can we expect from the remaining 19½ years? Almost certainly, we can expect more of the same. They violated the consent decree, and they consistently abuse the public trust, because they calculated that it is profitable to do so. As long as the profits from misbehaving exceed the penalties we can expect to see a continued string of truly evil activities. Perhaps we need some penalties large enough to focus the attention of Google executives or their outside Board members? Huffington Post, July 13, 2012.

The fourth column in my series in China Long March to Quality <<中国质量万里行>>. In this column, my coauthors Professor SHAO Jungchun, JIN Fujie, and Josh Wilson note that standards benefit consumers and facilitate trade, and have become part of the strategic planning processes of small companies, large multinationals, and even countries. We focus on the benefits for Chinese companies of well-designed standards in food production and export and suggest some policies that could be encouraged by the Chinese government. We believe that these standards can improve confidence in Chinese branded products. This would increase the sale of high margin Chinese consumer goods, yielding greater economic value. Published July 5, 2012.

Facebook has just announced its intention to introduce a new Facebook smartphone. Does anyone need it? Not if it's just another way to access Facebook, just another smartphone Facebook app. But this could be valuable to Facebook if it is valuable to users, and it could be valuable to users if it is part of a new Facebook strategy. One such strategy would be for Facebook to offer safe and private online services. Another strategy would be for Facebook to redefine the nature of online social networks. Huffington Post, June 1, 2012.

A review of a legacy of bad behavior at Google. This column focuses on privacy abuses, but suggests that the absolute power of Google, and in particular the nearly unfettered power of Sergei Brin, Larry Page, and Erich Schmidt, are likely to produce a continuing sequence of abuses, large and small. Google's governance system is broken, and neither outside directors nor voting shareholders have the power to limit future abuses. It is becoming clear that some form of external oversight is needed to protect the general public, in the US and abroad. Huffington Post, May 16, 2012.

The third column in my series in China Long March to Quality <<中国质量万里行>>. In this column my coauthors Mark Hutchinson and Fengming LIU and I address the ways that strengthened IP protection in China will encourage innovation in Chinese firms, allowing them to compete by offering the most advanced or the most desirable products, and not merely by offering the cheapest products. Successful innovation results in a race to the top among industrial nations; this will replace the current competitive race to the bottom, which keeps the cost of Chinese manufactured products and Chinese wages as low as possible.

The second column in my series in China Long March to Quality < <中国质量万里行> >. In this column my coauthors Mark Hutchinson and Fengming LIU and I address the need for China to improve the profitability of its product offerings by moving away from the sale of commodities and moving away from basic manufacturing and final assembly of other companies' products. Instead, China will need to move towards having more locally owned brands and better trusted locally owned brands, and will need to position them for sale both domestically and internationally. If these brands are going to be truly profitable they will have to offer customers something truly unique, which requires that the companies that produce them be willing to innovate and to invest. This in turn will require stable, predictable legal and competitive environments.

The first column in my series in China Long March to Quality <<中国质量万里行>>. In this column I address the need for China to improve product reputation, in order to improve the value of Chinese brands and the profitability of Chinese products.  As a first concrete action, the use of illegal toxic additives such as Melamine and Clenbuterol must stop immediately. In this column, Professor Shao (Professor of Law, PKU Law School, and Chairman, International Economic Law Institute and Director, WTO Law Study Center) suggest that one step that could be taken immediately would be to change the way food tampering is viewed in China.  It should not be viewed merely as theft, or as fraud; the crime of economic treason should be re-introduced. In late 18th Century France and England, the exportation of weaving technology was viewed as a crime against the economic interests of the State, and hence as economic treason. In modern China, anything that destroys the value of Chinese brands and the profitability of Chinese industry likewise is a crime against the economic interests of the State, and hence may reasonably be viewed as economic treason. Appeared in China Long March to Quality, March 15, 2012.

Introduction to my monthly column in China Long March to Quality <<中国质量万里行>>. In this introduction I describe my objectives for the column, to work with Chinese colleagues to help ensure economic growth and stability in the worlds largest nation and second largest economy. A growing China, a stable and hopeful China, will be a welcome member of the world economic and geopolitical communities. A stagnating China will experience unrest and will perhaps be destabilizing not only in Asia but throughout the world. China is too big to do anything small; we should all work together to ensure that whatever it does, it does well. Monthly columns will be written with distinguished colleagues, Chinese and American. Appeared in China Long March to Quality, March 15, 2012.

Piracy is a complicated issue. Often Piracy is theft, and SOPA is intended to reduce this theft. Defending the bill rationally, or even discussing the bill rationally, has become complicated as a result of its opponents trying to block it by labeling actions intended to limit theft as censorship, as if freedom of speech requited theft of intellectual property. And yet, the bill is seriously flawed. The current copyright system no longer provides balanced protection for the interests of society, and the penalties allowable under the bill are incompletely specified. February 21, 2012.

When valuing a new business, one often starts the analyses through "mark to like," a procedure that begins by finding the most similar companies and their valuations, and then adjusts these numbers to reflect whatever isunique about the new business. We conclude that regardless of one's choices of "like" companies, it is difficult to justify a value of $100 billion for Facebook other than as an option on future strategies to monetize 800 million Facebook users. February 14, 2012.

2011

Is it most important that could computing standards be royalty-free? Or is it most important that they be open and widely adopted, leading to the greatest possible interoperability and freedom to change vendors in the future? Cloud-sourcing is an extreme form of outsourcing, and clients choosing a Cloud vendor should have the same concerns with freedom of choice and the absence of future lock-in or future vendor hold-up. European Review of Business, September 22, 2011.

Does Google engage in deceptive practices? Does its placement of search results, whether paid or organic, always represent the best service to its users? Does its move from 10 Blue Links to a form of recommender service represent a real benefit to consumers, a potential source of competitive advantage for Google's own businesses that harms no one, or a potential threat both to consumers and businesses with which Google wants to compete? September 19, 2011.

Google has argued that it is just another advertising company, with about 3% of the U.S. market. It can also be viewed as an online advertising company, with about 32% of the U.S. market, or as a search company, with over 70% of the U.S. market. Understanding what businesses Google is in is the first crucial step towards understanding their power, and a determination of what to use as the relevant market will be the first step in any antitrust litigation. The first step, therefore, is deciding whether search is a substitute for advertising. We offer a few short suggestions for how to determine what the appropriate choice of relevant market would be. Huffington Post, September 12, 2011.

Google has continued its moves into vertical integration into content and sale of goods and services with its acquisition of Zagat. The immediate tanking of OpenTable’s shares reflects Google’s market power and the difficulty of any firm competing directly with it. No good can come of this, for Google’s competitors, for restaurants, or for consumers. BusinessInsider, September 9, 2011.

Goggle’s CEO Eric Schmidt will be giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition, and Consumer Rights. Consumers seem to be have remarkably little understanding of what businesses Google is in, whether or not Google has significant market power, and how that power could be used or abused. This post, part 2 of a two-part sequence, reviews a number of issues that should be explored when Mr. Schmidt testifies and explains the legal issues behind each. Huffington Post, Sept. 7, 2011.

Goggle’s CEO Eric Schmidt will be giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition, and Consumer Rights. Consumers seem to be have remarkably little understanding of what businesses Google is in, whether or not Google has significant market power, and how that power could be used or abused. This post, part 1 of a two-part sequence, explains why a hearing is necessary. Huffington Post, Sept. 6, 2011.

Google has complained that patents, royalties, and copyrights are stifling its ability to innovate. How accurate is this? Which innovations at Google have been stifled by its inability to get permission to use patented or copyright protected materials? Which have been stifled by its inability to afford to pay the royalties for use of patented or copyright-protected materials? Huffington Post, August 28, 2011.

Google has been caught supporting illegal importation of drugs, in clear violation of federal law, and has signed a non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice. Google appears to have gotten off pretty lightly - it has forfeited its profits from illegal activities and admitted its guilt, in exchange for freedom from federal prosecution. This is a great deal, of course - most companies that admit to a felony do not get off solely with being forced to return the money. But what do these admissions tell us about Google? Huffington Post, August 25, 2011.

Google’s David Drummond launched a blistering attack on the patent system and the ways in which it is blocking innovation at Google. What does the record show? Has Google been a developer of intellectual property or a user of the property of others? Has Google been an innovator? Has innovation been blocked by patents, or has Google ignored the patents and copyrights of others in pursuit of business opportunity? Business Insider, August 16, 2011.

Google’s first line of defense against both Sherman Section 2 (anticompetitive and monopolistic behavior) and FTC Act Section 5 violations is the claim that consumers are only one click away from other search engines.  How true is this? As importantly, if consumers do not click away, is this because Google is superior, or has taken actions to limit choice? Huffington Post, August 16, 2011.

The political and economic problems facing America today are too complex for simple answers and yet our political debate seems to have degenerated to a series of soundbites and tweets, and seems to have abandoned all reliance upon experts and expertise. Huffington Post, August 4, 2011.

Again, there is no presumption of guilt and no presumption of abuse by Google. However, Google’s power, and its clear willingness to use this power, suggests areas where investigation is justified. Google’s power requires investigating potential abuse of consumers, abuse of other search engine providers, abuse of corporations that do or might compete with Google in any area into which Google might expand, and abuse of companies that are effectively forced to participate in keyword auctions even for their own trademarks. Huffington Post, July 21, 2011.

Numerous impassioned blog posts have railed against the recent FTC announcement that it intends to investigate Google. The posts raise arguments that are incorrect or irrelevant, such as “Google is free to consumers and therefore cannot harm them,” or “the complaints come from losers and whiners with no legal standing and no right to complain”, or “it will be an unnecessary expense for Google,” or even “Google is not Microsoft and anyone who disagrees is an idiot.” These arguments are refuted. There is no presumption of guilt, but the arguments against the investigation do not provide compelling reason to halt the investigation. Huffington Post, July 20, 2011.

The power of the Global Distribution Systems over travel agents and online travel agencies appears to be limiting consumers’ choice in air travel, increasing consumers’ prices, and harming airlines. Why is this true? How could this be true in an online market? And what can be done about it?  Huffington Post, 1 July 2011

We had thought that the universal access of the internet had eliminated the need for any regulation of the airline industry’s Global Distribution Systems (GDS) for ticket sales. For a variety of reasons the structure and pricing within the GDS industry has not evolved as expected. Huffington Post, 29 June 2011.

Cloud computing is generally misunderstood. The cloud is not about providing universal online access or enabling eGovernment; that is what the internet provides. It is an extreme form of outsourcing, used to obtain economies of scale. It’s not clear that all organizations need the cloud to obtain scale, and it is not clear that all organizations should be willing to accept the risks associated with this form of outsourcing. Standards may help eventually, but for now organizations need to think more seriously about their risk reward tradeoffs before moving to the cloud and before choosing a cloud vendor. Huffington Post, May 13, 2011.

The real danger from Google’s acquisition of ITA is the almost inevitable harm to competition, to travel industry service providers, and to consumers. This form of vertical integration should be prohibited and the Consent Decree should not be approved by the Court. (This is the third of three posts on the Consent Decree, the issues involved, the potential harm from Google’s acquisition of ITA, and the appropriate remedies.) Huffington Post, April 19, 2011.

  • The Real and Inevitable Harm From Vertical Integration of Search Engine Providers Into Sales and Distribution

    The vertical integration of search engine providers into sales and distribution involves many of the same issues that were settled in the case of American and United Airlines’ integration into support of computerized travel agent reservations systems CRSs). The courts found that the Sabre and Apollo CRSs represented essential facilities and Sabre and Apollo both had and abused their resulting power. Similar problems will inevitably emerge if search engine providers are allowed to extend their offerings into sales and distribution today, and the resulting harm will almost inevitably affect consumers, not only travel service providers. (This is the second of three posts on the Consent Decree, the issues involved, the potential harm from Google’s acquisition of ITA, and the appropriate remedies.) Huffington Post, April 20, 2011.

The Consent Decree between the Department of Justice and Google focuses on the wrong issues in Google’s acquisition of ITA. The DoJ’s real concerns should not be whether Google continues to invest in ITA, or whether it shares ITA software with ITA’s current customers. The DoJ should be more worried about whether or not ITA’s customers will still have access to their own customers, once Google has become a competitor in the travel distribution industry. (This is the first of three posts on the Consent Decree, the issues involved, the potential harm from Google’s acquisition of ITA, and the appropriate remedies.) Huffington Post, April 19, 2011.

In a delightfully ironic move Microsoft filing a complaint in the EU about alleged anticompetitive practices by Google. And yet much of what has been written about the complaint seems to confuse consumer happiness with the absence of antitrust abuses. Huffington Post, April 11, 2011.

It has long been understood that the stability of a regime is in the end determined by the loyalty of its security forces, and the role of social networks in mobilizing public opinion has been understood at least since the Green Movement erupted in Iran in 2009. We were not entirely caught off guard by events in Egypt, but American options remain limited.  Huffington Post, February 10, 2011.

2010

A diversity of sources — traditional television, cable television, radio, internet radio, main stream print media, and a wide range of traditional and less traditional online journals and blogs — ensures that the widest range of opinions are available, protecting Americans’ First Amendment rights to free speech. However, when a diversity of sources is accessed through a single search engine that search engine may have the ability to influence what is actually found, abridging First Amendment rights to hear and to be heard. Huffington Post, December 22, 2010.

Slight changes to Google queries my produce wildly different and indeed inexplicably different results. Google responds, but makes no attempt to clarify, other than saying this is not important to us, so deal with it. Business Insider, October 21, 2010.

In a number of industries, intermediaries have constructed business models in which party-1 uses party-2 to find party-3. Think of hotels.com in the discount online hotel space, Google in search, or the old computerized travel agent reservations systems of the 1980s. If enough of party-1 uses party-2, then party-2 can change party-3 almost anything … either to help party-1 find them, or to not block party-1 from finding them. In some cases, regulation has proved necessary. What does, or does not, need to be done to regulate Google is still being sorted out. Business Insider, October 14, 2010.

Groupon is merely the best-known new example of third party search mechanisms, which initially provide benefits for their users, but ultimately provide only extremely high new operating expenses for corporations. These expenses, like most operating expenses, eventually increase consumer prices. Business Insider, October 4, 2010.

Many, including attorneys at the Department of Justice, argue that current antitrust law is adequate for dealing with search engine providers, or that there is no potential harm from any firm dominating search, or that no firm can or does not dominate search, or some combination of the four. We disagree. Huffington Post, September 21, 2010.

Although much of the web’s content is provided through crowd-sourcing and independent small blogs, there is an essential role for professional content. Traditional investigative journalism and foreign correspondents will not soon be replaced by bloggers, and yet traditional journalism is rapidly vanishing. Some modest legal protections are warranted. Business Insider, August 18, 2010.

An analytical decision maker might consider the probability of an environmental disaster, the cost to him or to his firm that the disaster would cost, and the benefits of cutting corners and adopting risky procedures. If the probability of disaster is low enough, and enough of the costs will not be borne by the decision maker, the decision maker might proceed with the riskier alternative. Punitive damages encourage the firm to act in society’s interests by in essence making the firm pay the costs that cannot be identified and directly assigned to the firm. Huffington Post, May 27, 2010.

Long tail marketing strategies, more properly implemented as resonance marketing, can be daunting, introducing complexities into all aspects of operations, from designing a portfolio of goods and services to offer, through production marketing and sales, to after sales support. We show how this complexity can be managed. The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2010.

2009

  • How to Make U.S. Financial Regulation Work Again

  • Probably the most important thing that financial regulation needs to accomplish is to return the financial services industry to its true function, facilitating economic growth for society and investors, rather than creating wealth principally for financial services sector employees. I suggest refocusing the industry on economic growth, providing more appropriate risk reward tradeoffs including greater penalties for financial abuse, greater transparency, and more complex capital adequacy assessment of non-banking institutions in an increasingly wired world.
    BusinessWeek.com, April 6, 2009.

  • Google Loses a Round in Sponsored Search Litigation

  • The 2nd circuit appellate court upheld an appeal ... sort of ... and remanded a pro-Google decision back to the lower court for reconsideration. The case involved Rescuecom's suit against Google, arising from the fact that Google searches return competitors' URLs even when Rescuecom's name is an explicit search term. I am not surprised. Issues in sponsored search, including misdirection of consumers to inappropriate websites and abuse of trademarks on the one hand, and freedom of speech and consumer choice on the other, continue to be debated and continue to be assessed in the courts, and questions about Google's sponsored search are far from resolved.
    TechCrunch, April 5, 2009.

  • Finance: Cleaning Up After the ‘Perfect Storm'

  • Numerous factors led to the 2008-2009 global market meltdown. Some had to do with regulatory policy on both sides of the aisle that encouraged home ownership even when it required irresponsible levels of individual debt. Some had to do with a failure of regulatory policy and an ideological belief that markets were always self-correcting and self-regulating. Some were a result of a nearly universal social acceptance of paper profits as creating real value. Perhaps most fundamental was the fact that many, on Wall Street and off, forgot the true role of financial services and of capital markets, which is to fund growth and create economic wealth for society, not profits for individuals in the financial services sector.
    BusinessWeek.com, April 2, 2009.

  • Steel Cage Debate On the Future of Online Advertising: Danny Sullivan Vs. Eric Clemons

  • I engage in a polite debate with Danny Sullivan, a strident defender of and ardent believer in the primacy of online advertising as a revenue source. Ultimately, Danny refuses to accept a wager that online advertising will provide less than 20% of revenues from all online applications, excluding revenues from direct sale of physical goods.
    TechCrunch, March 28, 2009.

  • Why Advertising is Failing On The Internet

  • Advertising cannot be expected to provide the bulk of the revenues for internet websites. It will be necessary to find ways to charge for content or for other forms of value creation. I review numerous alternative business models that corporations can use to generate online revenues, describe recent experience with them, and make predictions going forward.
    TechCrunch, March 22, 2009.

  • What an Anti-Trust Case Against Google Might Look Like

  • It is possible to enjoy monopoly power without actually having a monopoly, as the experience of computerized travel agent reservations systems in the 1980s showed. Google may indeed enjoy monopoly power over online sponsored search, it may indeed be exploiting that monopoly power, and the Department of Justice may indeed choose to provide judicial relief. I describe a plausible outline for the argument that the DoJ may choose to use.
    TechCrunch.com, March 1, 2009.

  • Chinese Students Want to Know: How Do I get Rich

  • Strikingly, many young, talented, educated, and gifted Chinese students still want financial services careers in the United States. Yes, the opportunities to fund corporate growth and to greatly increase social wealth through the creation of a massive Chinese middle class are boundless in China, but the opportunities to amass personal wealth as US financial services personnel appear far greater to these students. Increasing their own individual wealth rather than increasing economic growth has become more attractive to these students, even if it requires leaving their homeland. Capitalism is, truly, returning to China.
    Forbes.com, February 27, 2009.

  • Another Point of View: The Internet is Neither Friend nor Foe of Participatory Democracy

  • The election of President Obama may not indicate that the net will elevate the standard of political debate. It is attractive to argue that the internet provides individuals unlimited access to information, which they can carefully evaluate, assess, and compare with information from other sources, eliminating all effects of reportorial bias. It is attractive for liberals to argue that President Obama won the 2008 presidential election solely because his arguments were stronger than those of the opposition. It appears equally likely that (1) the Obama campaign mastered online fundraising first, but the Republican Party will catch up quickly and (2) candidate Obama's sound bites ("Yes We Can" and "Change We Can Believe In") were more effective than those of the opposition ("Mavericks" and "It's not our fault; remember you're not running against Bush"). The impact of the internet will be understood in future campaigns, and this may not automatically yield a return to the Golden Age of Athenian Democracy. Lincoln-Douglas debate has remained the standard for political debate for a century and a half; no one expects anything similar from the Palin-Biden debate!
    HuffingtonPost.com, February 13, 2009.

  • What I learned at Davos: How Networking and Feedback Loops Can Make a Better World

  • Critics often complain that the World Economic Forum in Davos is little more than an opportunity for world leaders to network and for the rest of us to stargaze. Having squeaked into Davos with a last-minute invitation to participate in several panels, I learned that networking can be very valuable (what a surprise!), and that network-induced feedback loops are the best way to create highly effective social systems out of less-than-perfect individuals.
    TechCrunch.com, February 8, 2009.

  • Delighting the Newly Empowered Customer

  • Modern technology allows firms to offer an ever-increasing variety of goods and services, but until recently consumer information came largely from advertising, advertising rewarded scale, and consumers' choice remained limited. With vast amounts of detailed and reliable information available from online reviews and consumer-generated content, consumer informedness has enabled resonance marketing. This allows consumers to trade out in pursuit of products that offer perfect fit with their individual preferences and allows firms to focus on high margin sweet spots in place of low margin mass-market fat spots. Most firms need guidance on how to alter their marketing strategies and how to augment their portfolio of offerings.
    Forbes.com, December 12, 2007.

  • Web Selling, What's smart, What's dumb

  • Forbes provides an online slideshow of products that reflect resonance marketing ideas.
    Forbes.com, December 12, 2007.

  • Harnessing Social Networks

  • Online social networks and community content websites, from Facebook and YouTube to LinkedIn, are praised as having the potential to transform the interactions among individuals in social settings and in corporations. More careful analysis suggests that directly monetizing social networks as instruments of brand management will be quite complex and that many forms of advertising will not readily move to social networks. You would no more try to sell insurance during a best man's speech at your friends' wedding than you would try to sell products during online social interactions. Social networks have considerable value, but the uses currently attempted may be inappropriate and recent acquisition prices may prove unrealistic.
    Forbes.com, August 22, 2007.

  • Resonance Blog
  • Resonance Marketing in the Age of the Truly Informed Consumer:
    Creating Profit through Differentiation and Delight

  • Uncertainty Blog
  • Taking the Uncertainty out of Uncertainty: The Power of
    Pattern Recognition and Learning from History

  • Green Blog
  • The Environmental Prinsoners' Dilemma - Or - We're All in
    this Together: Can I Trust You to Figure it Out?

  • Online Social Networking Blog
  • The Future of Advertising and the Value of Social Networks

 

 


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