Welcome to the next installment of the Startacus Technology News Round-up. Here you will find all the latest technology stories for UK businesses rolled into one easy-to-swallow digest courtesy of marketing and tech blogger Justin Firth.
Ebay Questions The Value Of Search Advertising
Many businesses big and small buy search engine advertising - making it a billion pound earner for companies like Google. Yet a recent experiment by Ebay concluded that for their website at least, most paid for adverts on search results had very little effect on actual sales.
Ebay let researches choose when and how they purchased search advertising. They found that when Ebay had listings in both natural results and paid results, the paid results didn’t increase overall visitors to the site - they just diverted some people from clicking on the free natural listing. Even on searches where Ebay didn’t feature in natural results, paid search offered "a very small and statistically insignificant effect on sales” for a well known brand like Ebay.
The damning conclusion of Ebay’s research report is that paid search may have gone "beyond the peak of its efficacy."
Kickstarter Relaxes Crowd Funding Rules
When businesses can’t get traditional financing many turn to crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and UK based GoGetFunding to find financial support. Yet while smaller sites Indiegogo and GoGetFunding have always had an open door policy to funding projects, Kickstarter had strict rules on the projects allowed on the website - at least until now.
A loosening of KickStarter’s terms has effectively ended the ban on projects featuring cosmetics, eyewear, electronic surveillance equipment and all health, medical and safety products.
If you are seeking a demonstration on how effective crowdfunding can be for small businesses, look no further than last week’s Solar Roadways project on IndieGoGo. Supported by a cheaply made promotional video, this project to replace tarmac roads with hardened solar panels doubled its funding target of $1million in just a few days.
Apple Warms To Virtual Currencies
Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin have always struggled with legitimacy. A fact not helped by Apple banning any apps accepting virtual currency from its App store. Yet less than 6 months on and Apple could be warming to the concept of virtual currencies with an announcement that apps using ‘approved virtual currencies’ will now be permitted.
Facebook May Target Users Under 13
A patent filed by Facebook reveals that it may have plans to include younger members on the network. Currently individuals must be 13 years or older to have a Facebook account. Any younger and Facebook falls foul of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which insists that sites catering to 12 years or younger must obtain verifiable parental consent.
Facebook’s patent request reveals a plan to use a parent’s account to verify the relationship with a child and provide access to their child’s profile and privacy settings. With membership on Facebook threatening to plateau, accounts for children under 12 could open up a whole market for Facebook, as well as for the advertisers which support it.
Get Ready For Social Media Shopping
Forward thinking brands are on a mission to monetise their social media following and the latest innovation comes from Vogue magazine. Using an app called LIKEtoKnow:IT, Vogue is letting followers purchase goods straight from its Instagram feed. Once they have the LIKEtoKnow:IT app, Instagram followers need only ‘heart’ a photo to receive an email with direct links to purchase the goods shown.
LIKEtoKnow:IT is not the only app powered idea which could change the face of retail. A french fashion house called Comptoir des Cotonniers recently opened 10,000 new ‘boutiques’ in a day using an app called PowaTag. PowaTag lets users buy items instantly by scanning a tag. This tag could be featured next to an item in a shop or shop window, but can just as easily be featured on a flyer, bus-stop or even magazine advert.
As proved by Comptoir des Cotonniers 10,000 new ‘boutiques’ which converted posters, coffee tables and tote bags across France into shopping spots, PowaTag has the potential to let retailers sell any item from any location.
iBeacons Hit Regent Street
Karl Lagerfeld, Armani and Hamleys have become the latest brands to embrace iBeacon technology. Using an iPhone app developed specifically for Regent Street, the iBeacon will automatically notify the store when you are walking nearby. This allows them to contact your phone with information and offers tailored to your specific profile.
It appears that Big Brother is not only watching you, he really wants you to go shopping.