Saturday, December 24, 2011

B2B Marketers Using Social Media More and More http://shar.es/WfUpm
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Friday, December 23, 2011

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Exclusive: Amazon weighed buying RIM but interest cooled

By Nadia Damouni

NEW YORK | Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:43pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd has turned down takeover overtures from Amazon.com Inc and other potential buyers because the BlackBerry maker prefers to fix its problems on its own, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Amazon hired an investment bank this summer to review a potential merger with RIM, but it did not make a formal offer, said one of the sources. It is not clear whether informal discussions between Amazon and RIM ever led to specific price talk, or who else had approached RIM about a takeover.

RIM's board wants co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to focus on trying to turn around the business through the launch of new phones, better use of assets such as BlackBerry Messaging and restructuring, two sources said. They did not want to be identified as the discussions are private. RIM and Amazon declined to comment.

While RIM could strike technology licensing deals and other kinds of commercial partnerships to boost revenue, an outright sale or joint venture is not on the cards for now, they said.

"They have had approaches from folks who have wanted to have discussions," said one head of technology investment banking at a Wall Street bank. "The issue is it is hard to find a value that makes sense with a falling knife."

RIM's market value has plunged 77 percent in the last 12 months to about $6.8 billion following a series of disappointing quarterly reports, delayed phone launches, weak sales of the PlayBook tablet and other missteps. The shares tumbled last week on weaker-than-expected quarterly results and the announcement of a delay in the launch of the new BlackBerry 10 phones.

Activist shareholder Jaguar Financial Corp has called for a sale of RIM - as a whole or in separate parts, such as the handset business or the patent portfolio.

But RIM's management has told interested parties they do not want to sell or break up the company at this juncture, the sources told Reuters. After last week's news, the board instructed the co-CEOs to set aside any options for a sale, one person briefed on the situation said.

"Selling the company or an economic joint venture is probably not in the cards right now," said the source. "Until you stabilize the platform, people are going to be very nervous about spending $10 billion or more."

Some potential corporate and private equity suitors are holding out for RIM's valuation to fall further, people familiar with the matter said.

AMAZON, RIM STILL IN DISCUSSIONS

Amazon and RIM are still discussing ways to expand their commercial ties, which currently include a service launched last year to make Amazon's music catalog available to some BlackBerry users, according to the sources.

Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet in November, which, along with the content the company can package with it, is seen as a potentially formidable contender to Apple Inc's iPad and iTunes store. Amazon does not make smartphones.

As for RIM, it feels it could better "leverage" its assets, such as the BBM instant messaging and the network operation centers that allow for messages to be processed, the sources said.

RIM could also look at licensing out its QNX operating system after the late 2012 launch of BlackBerry 10, which will be the first smartphones using that software, to give handset makers an alternative to Google's Android operating system.

DISTRACTION

RIM's co-CEOs have spent months listening to ideas from a investment bankers, strategic parties and private equity firms. These discussions are now viewed as distracting for management, sources briefed on the situation said.

One of them said the board has backed both Lazaridis and Balsillie, but is of the view RIM needs to develop a "deeper bench" of executives.

Spurred by RIM's share drop and Google Inc's $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc in August, Wall Street bankers have tried to pitch RIM to other mobile phone makers, including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and HTC Corp, in recent months.

But HTC and Samsung already have licensing agreements with Google's Android and did not see the value in tying up with BlackBerry, people familiar with the companies said. Samsung and HTC declined to comment.
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

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Must read Book recommendation: Social Media Analytics: Effective Tools for Building, Interpreting, and Using Metrics



Publication Date: July 19, 2011
Align Strategy With Metrics Using Social Monitoring Best Practices

“Two or three years from now, every public relations firm that wants to be taken seriously in the C-suite and/or a lead marketing role will have someone like Marshall in its senior leadership ranks, a chief analytics officer responsible for ensuring that account leaders think more deeply about analytics and that thfirm works with the best available outside suppliers to integrate analytics appropriately.”
—Paul Holmes, The Holmes Report

“Marshall has provided much-needed discipline to our newest marketing frontier—a territory full of outlaws, medicine men, dot com tumbleweeds, and snake oil.”
—Ryan Rasmussen, VP Research, Z√≥calo Group

“Marshall Sponder stands apart from the crowd with this work. His case study approach, borne of real-world experience, provides the expert and the amateur alike with bibliography, tools, links, and examples to shortcut the path to bedrock successes. This is a reference work for anyone who wants to explore the potential of social networks.”
—W. Reid Cornwell, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, The Center for Internet Research

“Marshall is a solutions design genius of unparalleled knowledge and acumen, and when he applies himself to the business of social media, the result is a timely and important commentary on the state of research capabilities for social media.”
—Barry Fleming, Director, Analytics & Insights, WCG, and Principal, DharmaBuilt.com


About the Book

Practically overnight, social media has become a critical tool for every marketing objective—from outreach and customer relations to branding and crisis management. For the most part, however, the data collected through social media is just that: data. It usually seems to hold little or no meaning on which to base business decisions. But the meaning is there . . . if you’re applying the right systems and know how to use them.

With Social Media Analytics, you’ll learn how to get supremely valuable information from this revolutionary new marketing tool. One of the most respected leaders in his field and a pioneer in Web analytics, Marshall Sponder shows how to:

Choose the best social media platforms for your needs
Set up the right processes to achieve your goals
Extract the hidden meaning from all the data you collect
Quantify your results and determine ROI
Filled with in-depth case studies from a range of industries, along with detailed reviews of several social-monitoring platforms, Social Media Analytics takes you beyond “up-to-date” and leads you well into the future—and far ahead of your competition. You will learn how to use the most sophisticated methods yet known to find customers, create relevant content (and track it), mash up data from disparate sources, and much more. Sponder concludes with an insightful look at where the field will likely be going during the next few years.

Whether your social media marketing efforts are directed at B2B, B2C, C2C, nonprofit, corporate, or public sector aims, take them to the next step with the techniques, strategies, and methods in Social Media Analytics—the most in-depth, forward-looking book on the subject.

Product Details
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (July 19, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0071768297
ISBN-13: 978-0071768290
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gainesville Tightens Up on Commercial Recycling

By Chris Eversole
December 13, 2011


Civil Citations Now Possible for Businesses That Don’t Comply.

Gainesville and Alachua County require commercial recycling by law, but the requirements have had few teeth in the past. That’s changing somewhat, and more and more businesses and organizations are recycling, officials say.

The city updated its commercial recycling ordinance in June, empowering inspectors to issue civil citations to businesses that don’t comply with the law, says Steven Joplin, the City of Gainesville’s solid waste manager.

The new city requirements start with a warning. The first offense carries a penalty of $125, and the second offense $250. A third offense results in taking the case to court.

“The commission agreed with our position that it was time to start getting better results,” Joplin says. “We still take the attitude that we’re there to help people understand what they need to do and find ways to do it. We’re not trying to be the Gestapo.”

By December, the city had issued “warnings” to nine businesses, four of which came into compliance after the warnings, Joplin says.

Commercial recycling is crucial, with an estimated 60 percent of all waste coming from businesses, nonprofit organizations government, apartments and condominium communities, says Patrick Irby, the county’s recycling coordinator.

When you look at the county’s current overall recycling effort, you can see the glass as either half full or half empty.

From the half-full perspective, the county ranks second in the state, with 44 percent of the waste stream recycled, Irby says.

Getting complete data is impossible, as reporting of most commercial recycling is voluntary, Irby notes. Because of the voluntary reporting, commercial recycling probably is more extensive than is documented, according to Irby.

Large retailers routinely recycle cardboard and paper used in shipping, but they don’t report all of their recycling to the county, which compiles recycling reports, Irby says.

Joplin agrees. “Companies like Publix, Wal-Mart and Home Depot recycle a lot of cardboard that they bale and send to a regional recycling center and we never know about it,” he says. “If it doesn’t get recorded, it didn’t happen, as far as the state is concerned.”

Looking at the glass as half empty, the county is a long way from a state goal of recycling 75 percent of the waste stream by 2020.

Recycling from Soup to Nuts

Lay people think of recycling as reusing paper, metal and glass. However in the industry, recycled materials take many forms. For example, Wal-Mart has started composting its discarded produce, as do some other grocers, Joplin says.

And the state estimates that 37 percent of the county’s total recycling comes from yard waste and construction and demolition debris. Local company Bearded Brothers salvages various items from building deconstruction for reuse, Joplin notes.

But while separating your empty bottles at home has become habit, getting businesses and office-workers to similarly recycle hasn’t quite caught on. The county estimates that 70 percent of people living in single-family homes participate in recycling.

City and county governments can require all residents in urban areas to use WCA Waste Corp., the contracted hauler both governments use to pick up garbage and recyclables. “We justify it under our power to protect public health and safety,” Joplin says.

But unlike residential recycling, commercial recycling is tough to control, Irby says. Apartment and condominium communities pose some of the toughest recycling challenges, Joplin says.

“Nobody has them figured out,” he says. “There’s no way to force people in multi-family units to comply with recycling requirements.”

People living in relatively expensive apartments tend to get more involved in recycling than do people living in less expensive ones, Irby says.

Making recycling convenient at apartments and condos is important, Irby says. With that in mind, the county is providing recycling reusable plastic bags to apartment complexes. “It like having orange and blue bins,” he says. “We want to make it convenient.”

Some Businesses Embrace Recycling

Some apartment management companies go out of their way to recycle. Among them is Contemporary Management Concepts, which manages 18 properties with 2,500 apartments.

“We’re committed to improving our environment,” says President Sonia Fox. “When everyone works together, we can make the best use of our planet’s natural resources.”

The company spends about $27,000 annually on recycling—or little more than $10 per apartment, Fox says. “We reduce our garbage disposal cost, which, in turn, benefits us as well as our residents.”

The company provides separate recycling bins on each property for glass, newspapers, water bottles and aluminum cans. It recently added dumpsters for cardboard.

“Putting recycling containers on site makes it convenient for our residents to get involved, even those who may not have thought about it before,” Fox says.

Contemporary Management Concepts recycles Christmas trees, as well as carpet and padding that it replaces, Fox says. “We give life to items that used to be thrown away, saving energy and helping lower greenhouse gas emissions in the process.”

Parisleaf Printing and Design also has a strong environmental commitment.

The company generates virtually no waste, says co-owner Chad Paris. On the rare occasion that a printing job needs to be redone, the company gives the flawed prints to the customer for free. The company buys paper made of 45 percent recycled material and avoids paper that has a UV coating that prevents it from breaking down in landfills. Much of Parisleaf’s printing is done by a Montana company that generates all of its power with its own wind turbines.

For its efforts, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce honored Parisleaf with this year’s Commitment to the Environment Award. This commitment only makes sense, Paris says.

“We love the outdoors, and we want to do everything we can to protect it,” he says.

Making a Business of Recycling

Rod Ingram has a simple business: Recycling Services of America. He collects recyclables (mostly paper and cardboard) from businesses, binds it in bundles and sells the paper and cardboard to paper companies. He sells the few bottles, cans and plastic containers he collects to other local recyclers.

Increased teeth in city and county recycling laws hasn’t had any effect on his business, Ingram says. Still, he expects the state requirement of recycling 75 percent of the state’s waste by 2020 to bring about some increased business.

The company’s charges are straightforward. They’re based on the cost of picking up the recyclables, starting at $20 a month for a 33-gallon container. The money he collects for the paper and cardboard offsets the cost of processing the material, Ingram says.

People can drop off office paper at the company’s site, 2874 NE First Terrace, behind BMW of Gainesville, for free.

Helen Warren, a real estate agent with Prudential Trend Realty, does that regularly. “I’m glad to drop off the paper from the office,” she says. “You’ve got to make recycling easy for people.”

It’s not only paper and cardboard, as a business might encounter scrap metals in its trash stream. CMC Recycling (no relation to CMC Apartments) buys all types of metal at its location at 1508 NW 55th Place, says Florida Regional Director Stan Young. “If it’s metal, we’ll take it,” he says. Items it handles includes old signs, car doors and fenders, doors, windows, siding and pipe, Young says.

Cost Varies from Product to Product

Almost always, the cost of recycling exceeds the payment for the recycled material. “It’s the cost of collection that kills you,” Irby says.

The market for recyclables varies from one part of the country to another. “We have a relatively good market for paper here because there are paper mills nearby,” Irby says. “Our market for glass is poor, but there’s a high demand for glass in Silicon Valley because it can be used in computers.”

Still, there are some uses for recycled glass here, such as for granules on shingles and sandpaper, Joplin says.

Businesses can offset some or most of the cost of recycling by reducing the size of their garbage containers because they’re not throwing out as much, Irby says. “That’s a point I’m constantly making to businesses,” he says.

Joplin looks at recycling holistically, noting that providing outdated items to food banks and selling used furniture and clothing are all forms of recycling. “During World War II, the country recycled rags and many other things because of shortages of raw materials,” he says.

“We’re not a bunch of tree-huggers,” Joplin says. “The city enacted the ordinance, and we’re enforcing it.”