Local Business Listing: A Marketing Opportunity and a Security Challenge

For those unable to attend our recent Mobile Monday Michigan meeting, but still very interested in the featured topic, below is an article and video provided by our featured speaker that provides an excellent overview of the topic discussed at the meeting.

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by Melih Oztalay, CEO, SmartFinds Internet Marketing and featured presenter at our 8/16 MoMoMi meeting.

Local business listings began with a basic business directory more than a decade ago. Chances are, your business has a local listing wherever you have a physical address location. Check it out — go to Google, type in your company name. You’ll probably see a map locating your business and an address. Of course all you may find other information too.   Local business listings are treated passively by many businesses.  But that could be a mistake. You’ve probably read that prospects have something specific in mind when they are shopping. So try this test. Go back to Google, type in the name of a product or service your business provides plus your hometown. Did your business show up? If it did: congratulations. If it did not: you’re missing a major marketing opportunity.

Times have changed.

From a marketing standpoint, the use of local business listings has exploded with the increase of social media and mobile devices. Consumers not only use these interactive yellow pages to locate a business, product or service in their area; they are also posting reviews of those products and services.  Today, there are over 60 local business listing websites on the Internet in five different categories.  They include the search engines, social communities, 411 websites (aka yellow page type websites), GPS websites and that age-old business directory.

You can no longer be passive.

To make your interactive yellow pages listing a stronger marketing tool, you must first “claim” the listing with all the search engines, social communities, websites and organizations that lead people to it. Once you prove the listing is really yours you can update it with your business marketing material. Businesses are realizing the importance of this claiming process.  Once you have claimed your local listing you can update information with text, keywords, business descriptions, products, services, photos, videos, coupons, and more.  Some websites, such as Google, allow you to use all these options while others charge a fee for enhanced listings making this information present for local consumers through web or mobile searches

So what’s the “security challenge”?

The claiming process is crucial to security because if the wrong person gets access to your business local listing they can direct customers to a different location by phone or website address.  Additional damage can include incorrect information on photos, videos, coupons, and more.  Because consumers are using local business listings to locate a business, product or service in their immediate area, the security around local business listings must have a high priority for any local listing website.

Remember phishing?

Phishing was described in 1987 before the Internet was a commercial boom.  The first recorded use of phishing was in 1996.  The question is whether the business industry is going to wait for something similar to occur using Local Business Listings. The security holes are quite evident with Local Business Listings and I don’t think it takes a genius see what could happen if businesses do not “claim” their listings – the first step in closing those “holes.”

When hackers capture a Local Listing it’s called “high-jacking.”

It is absolutely important that businesses not passively wait for local listing websites to put the appropriate security in place before you claim your listing. Installing security starts with the obvious claiming process, but many sites allow data to be inserted from other databases on the Internet and I am not sure there’s good security around this later process.  If someone wanted to hijack a local business listing, they could easily insert the wrong information through a low level business directory that sells its data upstream or inserts its data directly into a higher level local listing website.

While the top search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo have “some” front-end security; their API’s (Application Programming Interface) makes them vulnerable through the back door.  Data is provided to their local listings from 3rd party sources including “get listed” services.  Additionally, if someone cannot claim a listing easily, the process within these local listing websites allows for additional listings with the same address to be submitted by anyone. 

Certainly your time resources are limited and Local Business Listing Management Services are provided by SmartFinds Internet Marketing. You will find this to be of great benefit to your time resources and the low cost service may eliminate your yellow page ad costs. Let the experts of over 15 years Internet marketing experience help you use this local business marketing tool properly and prevent brand security issues from occurring.

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Location-based Services and Local Targeted Marketing Using Mobile Technology is Topic of 8/16 Mobile Monday Michigan Meeting

The event will be held on Monday, August 16th from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Ann Arbor SPARK located at 330 E. Liberty Street in Ann Arbor. Attendance at this event is Free, and those interested in attending may register at http://MobileMondayMichigan.org. Featured speaker for the event will be Melih Oztalay, CEO of Birmingham-based SmartFinds Internet Marketing, who will be speaking on the topic of “Why Geo-Marketing is Becoming Increasingly Important for Marketing Your Business, and How Mobile Helps You Achieve It”. Other speakers for the event will be Megan Crosbie, Marketing & Membership Coordinator at the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce who will be speaking about the Chamber’s mobile app, A2YChamber, and Linda Daichendt, CEO of Strategic Growth Concepts, who will discuss recent studies regarding consumer cell phone usage and cell phone operating system market penetration rates.

Learn more by reading the complete News Release.

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Revised Topic and Speaker for August Meeting of Mobile Monday Michigan

Mobile Monday – MI     Networking Meeting

Date:                 Monday, August 16, 2010
Time:                6:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Networking
      7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Program Presentation
      8:00 p.m. – ? – Networking
Location:        Connor O’Neills, 318 S. Main Street, Ann Arbor
      
To Register:      http://MobileMondayMichigan.org
                          
Featured Speaker:  Mehli Oztalay, CEO, SmartFinds Marketing
  

DUE TO SCHEDULING ISSUES, THIS IS A REVISED TOPIC AND SPEAKER FOR THE AUGUST MEETING.

The focus of the August meeting of Mobile Monday Michigan will be Location-based Services and Local Targeted Marketing Using Mobile Technology.

The featured speaker will be Melih Oztalay, CEO of SmartFinds Marketing who will be presenting “Why Geo-Marketing is Becoming Increasingly Important for Marketing Your Business, and How Mobile Helps You Achieve It”

SmartFinds Marketing, located in Birmingham, MI, was recognized as one of the 2009 “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch”.  CEO Oztalay has been an expert presenter to Detroit’s Automation Alley, the Certified Public Accountants Mega Conference, and the 2010 Microsoft Dynamics Conference and Expo.

Additional information presented at the meeting will include consumer studies detailing the ways consumers are engaging with their mobile devices, and which operating systems, by percentage, they are using to do so.

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New Government Rules Allow Unapproved iPhone Apps

Joelle Tessler, Associated Press

Owners of the iPhone will now be able to break electronic locks on their devices in order to download applications that have not been approved by Apple.  The government is making that legal under new rules announced Monday.

The decision to allow the practice known as “jailbreaking” is one of a handful of new exemptions from a federal law that prohibits the circumvention of technical measures that control access to copyrighted works.  Every three years, the Library of Congress authorizes such exemptions to ensure that existing law does not prevent non-infringing use of copyrighted material.

Another exemption will allow owners of used cell phones to break access controls on their phones in order to switch wireless carriers.

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App for Artificial Wireless Vision

Watch a fascinating demonstration, provided by the CTIA, of an application designed for smartphones that uses recognition technology to identify objects for visually impaired or blind wireless users, and then “tells” the user what the object is. It can even transmit images, such as a street intersection, to another wireless user, who can in turn provide information about a user’s location! Click here to watch WOW now!

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Droid is having a big effect on Motorola, Verizon Wireless’ bandwidth

By ROLFE WINKLER, Wall Street Journal

R2-D2 got Luke Skywalker out of plenty of scrapes. To get its stock back to 2007 levels, Motorola needs its Droid to ride to the rescue. While the line of smartphones—named after George Lucas’s robots—has breathed new life into the company’s handset business, the key is whether the phones generate sustainable profits. 

Investors currently ascribe little value to the loss-making handset business. The value of Motorola’s other businesses—selling set-top boxes, wireless enterprise solutions and public-safety communications, among other things—add up to about $4.80 a share, says Ehud Gelblum of Morgan Stanley. Add $2 of net cash and 80 cents for the networks business that Motorola is selling to Nokia Siemens Networks, and you get $7.60, just below Friday’s closing stock price of $7.75. 

There are risks to those numbers. For example, the attractive public-safety business could be squeezed by state and local government budget cuts. Even so, investors seem to be getting the handset business almost for free. They will soon have to give it a stand-alone value when it is spun out along with set-top boxes early next year. 

Not that long ago, Motorola minted money from phones. In 2005 and 2006, with the RAZR slicing up rivals, Motorola’s handset business generated more than $2 billion of operating profit a year, with a roughly 10% margin. But it has lost money on handsets ever since, squeezed by BlackBerries and, recently, iPhones. 

The Droid offers new hope. Motorola’s handset shipments likely bottomed in the second quarter. With more sales coming from smartphones, average selling prices are up. Analyst Ittai Kidron of Oppenheimer & Co. estimates Motorola’s average handset price will top $200 this year, up from $130 last year. Co-CEO Sanjay Jha says handsets will make money in the fourth quarter. 

On that score, he could be helped by rivals’ troubles. The iPhone 4 has antenna problems, while Taiwan-based HTC is struggling with supply-chain snafus. The recent release of the Droid X was greeted with long lines and sellouts. 

The benefits, however, mightn’t last. Motorola isn’t the only handset maker using Google‘s Android operating system. And the Droid brand actually belongs to Verizon Communications, which also markets a Droid by HTC. That could make it tough for Motorola to differentiate its smartphones from Android rivals, which also include Samsung Electronics and LG

Despite recent problems, the iPhone will likely remain a juggernaut, and there is talk that Verizon—currently pushing the Droid X—could offer it next year, potentially undermining Motorola sales. 

Investors should be patient. If Verizon snags the iPhone, Motorola shares will likely suffer. That should provide a better entry point for those ready to take a flier on handsets.

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Mobility is a blessing and curse for Ann Arbor’s mobile movement

Mobility is simultaneously the most exciting and disquieting trait of the mobile software movement.

As the Ann Arbor region’s budding mobile software industry takes root, a key challenge is immediately obvious: These are companies that Ann Arbor can carefully nurture only to see them leave in an instant, departing for competing metropolitan regions.

That explains why groups like Ann Arbor’s new Mobile Monday group are so important to creating a vibrant community of mobile app developers and startup companies that feel connected and invested in our region.

Former Boston app developer Keith Bourne joined with Linda Daichendt and Dave Koziol to form the Mobile Monday group, which held its first official meeting July 19 as part of a national organization.

(Since the meeting, which drew about 25 people, was held at the same time as the annual Townie Street Party for longtime Ann Arborites, we’ll call it an alternative townie party for future Ann Arborites.)

The vision for the monthly meetings is to hasten the growth of the local mobile software industry by providing networking opportunities and creating awareness about the issues confronting app developers.

“I thought something like this would help keep it going,” said Bourne, an independent app developer, of the local industry. “You’ve got the beginnings of something really great here. It’s an area that I have a lot of interest in, and so I wanted to make sure that while I have some spare time, I’m helping to get this whole thing together so it supports the field.”

Among Bourne’s first goals for the group is creating an online resource for local mobile software companies to find talented employees.

Software experts familiar with app development for Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Google’s Android operating system and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry have a distinct advantage in landing jobs.

Companies like Ann Arbor-based travel app firm Mobiata, which topped $1 million in revenue in 2009, are aggressively seeking mobile software talent. Founder Ben Kazez is spending a huge chunk of his time on recruiting and expects to have 18 employees by the end of the year.

“They’re looking for people to hire, so we want to create an environment to help them do that,” Bourne said. “There’s a lot of companies right now looking to hire, not just startups like Mobiata, but established companies that are looking for mobile developers.”

Mobiata’s mobility has boosted Ann Arbor. But that could also hurt us, too.

The company moved from Minnesota to Ann Arbor in early 2009 specifically because of the quality of life and talent in Ann Arbor. But Kazez recently told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal that he would consider moving the company back to Minnesota at some point.

Some of Mobiata’s employees are working from outside of Michigan – including University of Michigan graduate Jason Bornhorst, who’s currently based in Austin, Texas.

Mobile software companies can do business from anywhere. One of the only reasons they move to a specific location is because of the quality of life and the ability to hire talented local employees.

Groups like Mobile Monday could help companies like Mobiata find the employees they need, thereby increasing the chances that we’ll keep them here.

“For this type of group to have people gathered based on a common goal, we all benefit from it,” said Angela Kujava, a cofounder of the networking group YP Underground and marketing director for Ann Arbor-based software consultancy Logic Solutions.

“And I believe Michigan’s economy as a whole is going to benefit from this collaboration and this willingness to embrace new technology, which in two years won’t be new technology.”

Contact AnnArbor.com’s Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or nathanbomey@annarbor.com. You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com’s newsletters.

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UM Students Create iPhone App For Campus Info

When will the bus be here? What’s for dinner at East Quad? Where is Stamps Auditorium? Through a new University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus iPhone app, you can now have answers to these kinds of questions right in your pocket or purse.

The app, called University of Michigan in the iTunes store, is available free. It allows users to track buses in real time through the popular Magic Bus web application, check dining hall menus and search for buildings, among other features.

“Mobile applications are resulting in a fundamental shift in how people experience computing,” said Laura Patterson, UM associate vice president and chief information officer. “The low cost and fast adoption of smart phones makes it essential to have our university services accessible on mobile devices. The Michigan iPhone app is the first step.”

The app also enables users to:

  • Read university, student and alumni publications including the University Record, the Michigan Daily and Michigan Today
  • See the day’s events
  • Connect to iTunes U
  • Hear the fight song by clicking on the app title

Conceived of by Computer Science and Engineering students Kevin Chan and Mark Yang as “iWolverine,” the initial app was a project for Elliot Soloway’s Mobile and Web App Programming course in winter 2009. Soloway is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the School of Information, and the School of Education.

The students, now graduates with jobs at Qualcomm in San Diego, turned to their pet peeves for some of the features. They found themselves wondering what was being served at various dining halls while they were out and about. So they included the menus.

What is now the building search on the Michigan app started out as an abbreviation directory in iWolverine.

“Everyone struggled with figuring out the abbreviations and the locations for buildings at the beginning of the new semester,” Yang said.

Information and Technology Services purchased iWolverine in March.

“Mark and Kevin had an excellent start on a general U-M app with iWolverine. Their app allowed us to jump start our development,” said Cassandra Carson, mobile applications product manager.

ITS is exploring the development of an Android version of the Michigan app. It is also developing other apps for the Michigan community. Officials expect three called Mfile, Mprint and SSO to be available later this summer. Mfile will allow users to download files from their U-M Institutional File Service home directory to an iPhone. Users can print to a campus printer from Mprint. SSO is a Cosign Single Sign-On authentication app for developers.

More at www.mobileapps.its.umich.edu, www.its.umd.umich.edu

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CTIA Conference for Application Developers

About The Show

CTIA (The Wireless Association) has re-branded its Fall show to CTIA Enterprise & Applications™ to reflect the evolution of the industry and growing use of mobile technology in business. Building on the success of the show’s legacy, the event will demonstrate the increasing benefits of wireless data in enterprise and the expanding market for applications and content.

CTIA launched its fall show fifteen years ago to drive wireless data deployment within the enterprise and consumer markets. Today, the mobile business evolution is well underway. Discover how the exhibit floor, educational sessions and partner events will equip you to learn, network and compete in this increasingly mobile marketplace.

Pre-conference seminars:  October 5, 2010

Conference & Expo:  October 6 – 8, 2010

Moscone Center West, San Francisco, CA

Click here for conference details and registration information.

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Why Mobile Offers a Good Chance to Connect with Hispanics

June 25, 2010

Young mobile population eager to communicate and connect

Like many Americans, Hispanics love their mobile phones and take them everywhere, more than non-Hispanic whites and, in many cases, more than blacks.

“Hispanics cannot imagine daily life without their mobile phones and credit the technology with strengthening relationships and keeping them connected to their social world, not just friends and family,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Hispanic Mobile Users and Usage.” “Marketers who are just turning to mobile will find a market well ahead of them.”

Hispanic mobile phone users are younger than the Hispanic Internet population, according to eMarketer estimates and comScore: 50.7% of mobile phone users are between 18 and 34 years of age compared with 35.6% in the same age group among Hispanic Internet users. The Hispanic mobile phone population skews even more male than the general population: 55.6% of mobile phone users are male, compared with 51% of males in the Hispanic population.

Hispanics lead all other groups in wireless-only households. And while Hispanics lag behind other ethnicities in having broadband Internet access at home, a full 78% of Hispanic mobile Internet users have some form of Internet access at home.

“In-store mobile marketing is the next big thing,” said Ms. Phillips. “Hispanics are not big online buyers, but they are using their mobile phones to check out products and deals while standing in the store aisles.”

Like most other consumers, Hispanic shoppers are looking for good deals. They use mobile devices to check on prices, product information and inventory while shopping in a store, according to a Sterling Commerce survey.

Retailers take note: Hispanics who are shopping in-store want to buy the product then and there. If they do not find it, 29% said they would use their mobile phone to locate an out-of-stock item at a competing retailer.


The full report, “Hispanic Mobile Users and Usage,” also answers these key questions:

  • What does the Hispanic mobile market look like?
  • Which mobile devices do Hispanics use to go online?
  • Are Hispanics amenable to viewing mobile advertising?
  • How can marketers reach this mobile audience?

To purchase the report, click here.

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