The Death of McDonald’s! Not really, but very close.

Free McDonalds Gift CardLast quarter McDonald’s reported a 21% slump. In January the CEO steps down and the new one is slowing down on building new branches.

It happens all the time, and companies slump and come back. This is how business is. This is how the whole life is.

In case of McDonald’s though there’s something different.

When McDonald’s is mentioned you can not help it but visualize a burger, can you?

The problem is, burger itself is the reason, in my personal opinion, that McDonald’s is sinking the way it is doing right now.

Half a century ago people didn’t know any of what young school kids now know about saturated fat and cholesterol. This is when the burger fast food business had the suitable environment to flourish. Busy people, working moms with little time to spend in the kitchen, and cheap fast food they can pick on the way to work … what else could McDonald’s wish for?

Now things are different. The public is aware of the consequences of consuming unhealthy fast food. More and more people are pulling away towards healthier choices, which are also available in fast foods restaurants.

This last fact might in part explain the decision of Burger King to fuse with Tim Hortons. At Tim Hortons there are soups and other healthier alternatives to the once popular burger industry.

In my personal opinion, if the new leadership of McDonald’s wants to make through these tough times and stay around longer they have to focus on the “healthy food” line and advertise it like crazy.

The current emotional “about you” thing might not work long term if it does any good short term at all. The problem is not another burger competitor. The problem is the competition between burger and unhealthy fast foods at one side vs. the healthy alternatives that are growing and expanding to push the burger empire off the top it once dominated.

 

Smart Phone Apps – Billion Dollar Industry in it’s Enfancy

Smart phone and tablet apps is a crazy market, yet with only a few names competing on bigger shares. Just to give you an idea of how big this is, did you know that the company that made that angry birds game is now worth $2.25 Billion? Can you believe that? I wouldn’t pay a penny to buy something that doesn’t even exist! Yet this thing that doesn’t exist is worth $2.25 Billion for some.

Also did you hear the news of that photo sharing app that facebook paid $1 Billion to acquire it, although the guy who made it couldn’t generate a single penny out of it?

Now that everyone is moving from laptop to tablets those apps are now getting an exponentially growing base of customers. Mobility now means a smart phone or a tablet. Laptops are now something from the past, unless you’re a grad student in some science discepline studying the tertiary structure of some protein molecule using some software that needs a huge storage space and a PC that runs ol’ windows.

This is a huge opportunity we’re talking about here. But is it only for nerds? Do you have to be some 4-eyed egghead mathematician to profit from this insanity?

Absolutely not. As an app business person all what you need to do is to have the idea for the app. Then either hire someone to code it for you and invest around $20 grand to get it super done, or get that software that Amish Shah is offer for under 1 grand and make as many apps as you want until you find that super winner.

If I were you I would go for Amish Shah’s program, especially that it comes with some super training and a marketing network of apps to promote yours once you make them. So .. make them first then … you know what I mean maaaan.

Anyways … here’s a free webinar about this huge opportunity and how to tap into it:

===> Click here to watch the recorded webinar

 

 

Trade-mark Infringement: A Crime, not a Marketing Technique

Among the numerous black hat marketing techniques is to register a domain name that includes a trade-mark and build a website about a related product that pays you commission per lead or sale. This is one of the black hat ways to get organic search engine traffic.

It’s easy to do, cheap to start, and can make you a lot of money, but on the back end it’s very costly. This high cost comes from the companies you infringed their trade-marks when they file a lawsuit against you, and they usually win such lawsuits.

I always believed in that and never accepted this advice from the gurus who promote this technique, but only today that I learned about one of those being sued not only for trade mark infringement, but also for teaching this technique to his customers who purchased his high ticket product.

I had never been in his position before, but from what I hear from those who’ve been sued by the same company before I really feel bad for him because even if he had his business incorporated and structured correctly so that he doesn’t lose everything for a lawsuit like this one, still there will be a lot of losses, usually in the 7 figure zone or higher, that could mean the end of many business out there with similar size.

The moral from this story is that black, and even gray, hat marketing techniques might work for a while then get you in a lot of trouble. They are not the best way to go if you want to build a business you can sustain for the rest of your life and pass to your family, or sell.

Play by the rules, and stay away from black hat stuff that could only get you in trouble, eventually if not soon.

Branding Advertising, Google’s Slap, and You!

My last post about bringing value to the Internet and making money while doing so has raised some questions, especially from those who are used to direct marketing and measuring results with targeted keywords etc. The fact is that there are changes that are happening around us and a new trend is building, and my last post was an adaptation to these changes.

In the past few months tens of thousands of affiliate marketers got their Adwords accounts permanently suspended and they were banned for life from using the program. Those affiliates are used to the targeted keywords and direct marketing results measured by direct ROI. And those marketers claim that they made Google when they switched from Overture (Yahoo’s PPC back in the early 2000s) and spent millions of dollars every month with Google to make millions in revenue for themselves and their families.

It’s also said on many blogs and seminars is that Google did that to cut the way on floggers, but it’s also in favor of large corporations. And this is the change in the trend of advertising on Google.

The current advertisers on Google’s Adwords, which includes search and content network (Adsense) has two new criteria that are different from affiliates:

1. They have the advertising budget that they must spend, and the return is not a direct matter for them because:

2. They are also interested in branding their companies names, perhaps more than in direct sales.

When you are after branding the keywords are not going to make a huge difference for you. All what you need from your advertising to be effective is to easily leave your name printed in the minds of the readers. With that in mind, it makes more sense to bid on cheap keywords that get a lot of traffic than on targeted keywords that get tons of competition and is consequently very expensive.

If you check any adense block on different websites from one location you’ll find that there are certain ads that are repeatedly appearing to you regardless of the content of the website. Those are after branding.

So if  you are providing content about the latest in the news, guided with Google trends, and with a some free press releases and articles submitted to article directories you can get a flood of traffic to your blog, and those branding type of ads will keep showing to your readers according to their location not according to the content.

I hope this article explains my last one a little bit and makes it make sense to you.

Who Needs Web Hosting?

Quite frankly everybody needs web hosting. Hosting companies know that and they are expanding in their infrastructure of servers, software, trained candidate, and marketing arsenal because they know they’re into something that’s getting more valuable than gold was in 1800s.

Web hosting is not only for businesses and celebrities anymore. The need to have a good, reliable, and secure web hosting is expanding at the same, or even higher rate than web hosting services themselves.

All businesses need web sites to expand their customer base to the cyberspace. A small business needs web hosting just as much as a large incorporation does. A website not only helps with local brand recognition, but also can be responsible for direct sales whether through a shopping cart or simply a phone number.

A simple family album can be hosted on a server instead of your personal computer. Instead of having to send your photos to your family and friends attached to an email you can upload them to your online photo album and share the link. Free services like Google’s Picasa can do the trick, although free is not reliable and involves a lot of work to backup your albums in case the moody giant decides to shut you down.

Professionals in the entertainment industry and sports need web hosting for their news and their fans to show their support and love. This is what fuels the pros to give more, and through the interactive platforms like blogs and forums this is just getting better than ever. This  interactive platform needs to be hosted on a server somewhere.

But celebrities are not the only people who need presence on the Internet. Professionals in all fields need Internet presence to make it easier for their businesses to reach out to more customers. It replaces the old fashion portfolio, CV, and resume.

And since we mentioned CVs and resumes, a link to a website that talks about yourself and your achievements could be more convenient that attaching large files to your online job application.

Even a student needs a web hosting for storing notes, projects, papers, study material … etc. Most institutes provide this hosting for free and some students are now aware of it and are using it.

Everybody needs a web hosting. So, the whole world is the market. You only need to tailor your message to fit with smaller groups of prospects in order to get more sales for your hosting business.

Brand Names Are Taking Over

During the first quarter of 2010 it was obvious that the biggest names in affiliate networks are flirting with brand names. And although these networks are criticizing the Google slap and it’s impact on the affiliate marketing industry, they are doing the same.

Small affiliate marketers are now having their accounts terminated or suspended for low volume. This means that small affiliates are now facing the challenge of either growing into big boys or losing their business. This challenge is time sensitive. And affiliate marketers who are just starting and those who lost their Adword accounts are supposed to find an efficient way to grow their business according to a plan.

The picture is not different on the other side of the coin. Small advertisers are now facing the challenge of being crashed by the big brand names. Some networks,  like hydra, is now moving on this new trend: brand names. If you don’t have a well known brand name your offers are facing the threat of elimination.

Which brings us to the point of this article. Branding is the key to succeed in 2010. And it works for both advertisers and affiliates.

What I expect to see during the rest of 2010 is as follows:

1. Advertisers will be spending more on branding their names. This will open the door for new positions in those small companies that will focus only on media placement and getting their name in front of as many people as they can, for as long as they can. Fly-by-night businesses will be having hard time getting their offers accepted to rotate on big affiliate networks, and as a result scams artists will be very busy finding a way around the new situation.

2. Affiliate marketers will also try to brand their names, or turn their small home “commission-based-sales” businesses into registered marketing companies with their own trademarks. This will put the marketers in a position that they will have to be picky on what to promote in order to maintain a good reputation for their trademarks.

3. The very limited liability of affilaite marketers will be a history due to the new FTC regulations, and the branding trend they have to take in order to succeed.

4. The small affiliate networks that deal with small advertisers will have a lot of work to do due to the increasing demand from the small advertisers who can not, or are not willing to, brand themselves, and due to the termination/suspension of low-volume affiliate marketers by the big networks. It’s pretty obvious that the quality of offers on these networks will be questionable and this will push their affiliates to work hard on protecting their anonymity.

As have been seen before in the offline world, small business will shrink, or be forced to the back alley, while big brands will be expanding. Good for the consumer, good for the super affiliates, good for the affiliate networks either way, and bad for the scam artists. New and low-volume affiliate marketers have to take it seriously from now on.