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Rich Tehrani
| Communications and Technology Blog - Latest news in IP communications, telecom, VoIP, call center & CRM space


Search Marketing: Where it Pays to be Young

July 5, 2011

There is a crisis of unemployment in the US and those aged 16 to 19 are being hit with unemployment rates of 24% or almost three times the rate of adults. Worse yet, minority teens are seeing rates of unemployment as high as 41%.

There are a number of factors at play here - burst bubbles in credit and housing as well as margin compression due to price discovery on the Internet. The trend has gotten even worse as price discovery is now taking place via bar codes read by cellphones allowing consumers to buy from Amazon instead of the brick and mortar shop where they happen to be shopping and doing product comparisons.

Even worse, the Internet allows jobs to be outsourced with a mouse click and IP communications allows call center agents and other BPO jobs to be anywhere in the world. And these jobs are flowing to where there is less regulation and lower costs.

The good news is where the Internet takes away it also gives back.

China Repeals Trade Rule Favoring Local Companies

June 30, 2011

In order to get into Chinese markets companies have to partner with a Chinese firm which in effect means partnering with the Chinese government. In many cases this means signing over your technology as well. But companies look at the Chinese market with over a billion consumers with rising incomes and say the risk is worth it as the market is so vast.

The challenge is many companies have seen Chinese sales far smaller than their expectations. This is in part because it isn't easy to market in the country and also because the Chinese have had trade rules in place favoring local suppliers.

Thankfully, China repealed its technology trade rule favoring local companies meaning there should be more opportunity for outside companies selling into the country.

Sprint Tries Desperately to Block AT&T, T-Mobile USA Merger

June 28, 2011

At a time when wireless broadband is becoming so important to US consumers and businesses, how can it make sense to have less choice in the market? Moreover, as carriers shift from all-you-can-eat pricing to a tiered system, isn't it obvious that wireless charges for consumers are going to skyrocket?

These are some of the arguments opponents to the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA are making but AT&T spends so much on lobbying and is so well-connected, they seem to be close to getting their deal done.

The situation for Sprint is so dire, the company's CEO Dan Hesse is doing virtually anything he can to prove the deal is bad for consumers. This includes an 18-state push and tripling of the time he spends in front of Congress and regulatory bodies.

Generally any action has positives and negatives associated with it and Hesse has to prove that on balance, AT&T will either provide inferior service or higher prices as a result of this merger.

Certainly the momentum is on the side of AT&T and not Sprint but the government does need to sign off on this deal and if he can find enough sympathetic listeners he may be able to kill this deal or at least make AT&T have to give up some very painful items to get it done.

More from Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Avaya's Support Strategy Emulates Successful Cancer Diagnostic Systems

June 23, 2011

It is an unusual occurrence for me to receive a call from any company to discuss their support. Generally the media gets all warm and fuzzy about tangible things like new product launches – scoops and items you can put in the category of breaking news. Ironically though if you ask most companies what differentiates them from the pack, service and support is typically the most common answer. Yet, I can’t remember other companies asking me to meet their new head of global services.

Cablevision Allows E-Mail Sign-ups in TV Ads

June 21, 2011

Yes Virginia, cable companies are innovating

Just yesterday I discussed in an article about Cisco Quad that it is very hard it is to determine who the leaders in tech will be in the future. And today when I learned that Cablevision added e-mail opt-in for its television advertisers, I got to thinking about how this will change the world for companies like Groupon, Yahoo! and Google.

The way the system works is a Cablevision IO TV customer could decide they want to join an e-mail list of an advertiser to receive selected coupons and offers. A screen overlay is presented on the program they are viewing until the transaction is complete.

Spreadable Shuts Down - Why?

June 10, 2011

While reading a blog post from telecom and channel partner thought leader Peter Radizeski, on how small businesses are responsible for much of the nation's hiring I learned about the fact that Grasshopper is shutting down its Spreadable company - an organization focused on word-of-mouth spreading of customer referrals.

I haven't talked with the people at Grasshooper in years - certainly not since they changed their name to Grasshopper - but I have often had conversations with others in the market about how their marketing campaigns seem to be the most untargeted in the space since much of it is being placed on satellite radio. According to the company's competitors, their marketing is as shotgun as it gets because - they seem to be purposefully utilizing mediums which are difficult to measure and they are relatively nonexistent online.

And as more decisions are being made on the web - this is quite a surprising and counter-intuitive strategy.

But when I started to read the first post from the company related to why they shut down Spreadable I could see they understand digital marketing quite well - its just surprising that you rarely see them online. Kind of a paradox I got to thinking. It is worth mentioning Spreadable too relied on Satellite radio among perhaps other mediums for its sales.

Another thought I had while reading is what company shuts down a business and then celebrates its failure in public via a four-part series?

HTML5 Shines on New FT App

June 10, 2011

According to Ed Silverstein on TMCnet's sister site TechZone360, The Financial Times recently released a web app at based on HTML5 and in doing so has shown the Splinternet may be reversing course. As you may recall, I coined the term Splinternet in 2008 to describe the splintering of app environments on the web. Programmers currently utilize so much overhead to program for various environments that they take precious resources from differentiating their apps. The scenario is reminiscent of the hundreds or thousands of printer drivers developers had to provide with their software before Windows became popular and handled this task for the development community.

Poor CRM = Go Directly to Jail

May 16, 2011

Remember a few months back when I wrote that providing poor CRM could dent your SEO? The story revolved around website - and its owner Vitaly Borker who was generally rude and insulting to customers. He went so far as to send pictures of their homes to intimidate them. Not only did Google reduce his SEO as a result of an article in the New York Times, he is now going to prison.

eBay Buys for Hyper-Local Deal Offers

April 20, 2011

In the race to become a leader in the local deal market – companies seem to be tripping over one another. This includes Google who is working organically while making an unsuccessful bid for Groupon. Twitter and Facebook play in this market as well and eBay just acquired, a Boston-based local-deals and location-based services company for $135M.

PayPal’s Amanda Pires explains they plan to integrate PayPal into the WHERE mobile app to make it even easier for customers to take advantage of the local deals.

Amazon Ad-Supported Kindle

April 12, 2011

The new Kindle with Special Offers costs $114 and shows ads as screen savers and so far has some high-profile customers - Buick, Olay, Visa, and Reward Visa Card (Chase Bank). Some of the offers are quite good, giving back an additional $70 if you get an Amazon Rewards Visa, a $10 credit on an Amazon gift card and more. The details are below:

  • $10 for $20 Gift Card
  • $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
  • $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
  • $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop
  • Free $100 Gift Card when you get an Amazon Rewards Visa Card (normally $30)
  • Buy one of 30 Kindle bestsellers with your Visa card and get $10 credit
  • 50% off Roku Streaming Player (normally $99)
The question worth asking is why did it take so long for a mainstream player to come out with an ad-supported mobile device and will Google be far behind? How about Microsoft?

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