If you're not too mesmerized by how Britney Spears looks in her new music video, "Hold It Against Me," you'll notice a number of product placements. In efforts to generate revenue, the music industry has seen brands popping up in music videos and even in song lyrics. Do you think Britney went a little too far in this video or do you think it's savvy marketing?
It's official: Borders has filed for bankruptcy today. This downfall has come about due to its inability to keep up with the times and transition toward the online space like its competitor Barnes and Nobles.
The company is planning on closing 200 stores and cutting a lot of its staff. We've given yousavvy tips to prep for Borders going out of business, but it's always hard to digest when the final nail in the coffin is hammered in. I just hope there will be at least one near me that will be spared. Are you surprised to hear news of Borders going bankrupt?
In a recent exposé by the New York Times, JC Penney was found to have been sneakily juicing up Google search results. For months during the holiday season, the retail giant has been first for keyword searches “skinny jeans,” “home decor,” “comforter sets,” “furniture,” “tablecloths,” and more. From the basic to the highly specific keywords, the retail chain had almost a monopoly on a large amount of Google search results, which translates into a greater number of online sales.
One of the main contributing factors to come up high in searches is to have web pages link to your website. There were apparently many spam pages that linked back to JC Penney, some of which didn't have anything else up on their sites other than the links. This is a big no-no in the Google books, and the tech firm has subsequently manually reduced JC Penney's rankings. This means that the retailer will no longer be coming up as high as they used to, which may mean a smaller market share of the ecommerce industry.
Lesson to be learned: don't try to be sneaky with Google or you'll be banished to the back pages of no return.
In one fell swoop, Myspace decides to cut 47 percent of its staff to try to save the struggling company. Five-hundred people are being cut from a workforce of more than 1,000 people. Although the number is definitely huge, I must say that the news isn't shocking as Myspace has been on a gradual decline and unable to keep up with the competitive Facebook. I used to have a Myspace account but kind of forgot about it once Facebook came along. The great thing about Facebook is that everyone is on it, and it continually changes to keep up with the times. Myspace, on the other hand, seems pretty static.
It's not surprising that the recently laid-off employees of Myspace are having a really tough time. TechCrunch has an email from someone claiming to be one of the casualties of the staff cuts. He or she says, "The people who were in charge and responsible for the continued failure will still be in charge, with new titles and raises, clearly intent on taking as much personal value as they can from the company before it dies completely at their hands. And the hard working, loyal employees that worked their butts off, took time away from their families to *actually* try to turn the company around by building and launching the new Myspace, will be looking for jobs."
The writer's bitterness is clearly obvious, but I'm wondering, are you surprised by the news or was it something you expected?
While other preteens were exchanging Pokemon cards, Emerson Spartz started MuggleNet.com at the mere age of 12 in 1999. He wasn't just a kid fooling around on the Internet — the website grew to be the go-to Harry Potter fansite, which at its peak drew in nine million monthly visitors. Now he's 23, and already a veteran in the field of new media with seven websites under his belt . . . and counting. Read all about his magical journey in this latest installment of my dream job series: In His or Her Shoes.
SavvySugar: How did this all start?
Emerson Spartz: My story starts back in 1999 about one month after I started homeschooling. I suddenly found myself with more free time than I knew what to do with. So I found one of those free webpage makers, and I started playing around with it. Then I decided to make a Harry Potter website because I just read the third book, and I was totally obsessed. So in the beginning, it was really just messing around with the different features of the webpage editor, but I very quickly decided that I wanted to build the biggest and best Harry Potter website on the Internet and I started putting in a lot of hours producing it. So that's where it started and I built MuggleNet over the years — the number one most visited Harry Potter website. At its peak it was doing about nine million unique monthly visitors, and it was one of the top one thousand websites on the Internet.
I've mentioned before that social networking and bosses don't mesh well, but if you're the type who loves to vent on social media networks, there is an entity that may back you up if you ever get fired because of a post. The National Labor Relations Board accused an ambulance service, American Medical Response of Connecticut, of an unlawful firing of one of its employees, Dawnmarie Souza, based on her Facebook updates about her boss, reports the New York Times. Frustrated with her supervisor, Dawnmarie posted, "love how the company allows a 17 to become a supervisor" on her Facebook page. "17" is apparently the firm's code word for psychiatric patient.
In Dawnmarie's defense, the board's general counsel, Lafe Solomon, said, "This is a fairly straightforward case under the National Labor Relations Act — whether it takes place on Facebook or at the water cooler, it was employees talking jointly about working conditions, in this case about their supervisor, and they have a right to do that."
Do you think employees who publish negative statements about the people they work with should be protected?
Have you ever wanted to be the next Oprah Winfrey and start a business empire of your own? I attended an event thrown by Women 2.0, a nonprofit geared towards women entrepreneurs last Thursday, and it was a pretty inspiring session of women go-getters talking about their experiences of founding their companies and others pitching their new startup ideas. There was Carol Realini, the founder of Obopay who had raised $200 million in funding for her companies, and Lynn Jurich who's an advocate for cleantech and who started SunRun, a home solar company.
These women are paving the way for the rest of us and adding value to our economy with job creation. What about you — are you itching to branch out on your own and start your own company?
Do you think it's OK for the government to ban a company product, particularly McDonald's Happy Meals? San Francisco is the first city to rule that restaurants can't serve free toys with meals that contain more than 600 calories, and a certain amount of sugar and fat, reports the Los Angeles Times. Further, the city's board of supervisors ordained that fruit and vegetables should be served with meals that come with toys.
This move against serving kids junk food with free toys is brought about by the nationwide child obesity epidemic that Supervisor Eric Mar says "is making our kids sick, particularly kids from low income neighborhoods, at an alarming rate. It's a survival issue and a day-to-day issue." Mar adds that the money that will be spent to fight diseases triggered by obesity will cost up to billions of dollars. I'm asking, is this Happy Meal ban a savvy move?
My Sunday relaxation plans include a trip to Borders, one of my favorite places in the world. However, horror struck me yesterday when the discount signs plastered all over the store's windows finally registered in my mind — my local Borders is closing! It was heartbreaking to see the "Everything Must Go!" signs all over the bookstore and the depressingly empty bookshelves. It was also very sad to read the goodbye messages that patrons and workers scribbled all over the bathroom walls.
Borders has been losing money and closing stores because of the battle against the online book industry. I love my Kindle and am a big supporter of ebooks, but there is nothing like sitting in a Borders cafe, drinking a latte, and flipping through some glossy magazines on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
R.I.P. Borders, I will miss you. Has the recession closed any of your favorite stores?