Monday, June 20, 2011

The Groupon IPO, Look For The Moat

The Groupon IPO, Look For The Moat

For every moat there is a castle, at least that’s what Warren Buffet thinks.  Buffet, says that any business worthinvesting in must have a moat, a huge competition barrier that completely separates that business from any other in the same sector.

Think about what he is saying, where there is a moat you will have a castle. However, for every castle there may not be a moat.  Not all things are as they seem.  Look for the moat, the sure bet.  Other than the moat and the castle, everything else in the kingdom is irrelevant as an investor.

Let’s jump right into it:

  1. They flat out rejected a $6 billion cash offer from Google. This is kind of like rejecting an offer from Vito Corleon, not a good idea in the long run.
  2. They have seen growth in 5 straight quarters.  Yet they did an original IPO valuation at $15 billion based on a $713 million dollar year.  Remember what P/E stands for, Price vs EARNINGS.
  3. Then they came out and re-valuated at $25 billion. What? Red Flag for me.
  4. They have a great idea, a huge data base and they are the biggest current influencer in the space.

But do they have a moat?  I don’t think so, but I know that this is not a normal “technology” play, this is a database and marketing and market share play. With $25 billion to blow on marketing in a space of startups, they would own the space for life.  If you had to define a moat, this would be it for Groupon, but here are some problems:

Too Many Copycats

Groupon copycats are only outnumbered by those that have tried to become “The Next Facebook”. Since they have no real protection for their software, the world has figured out how to create deal of the day offers too. This always means 2 things for the industry in which it occurs.

First, the prices of goods and services will always get cheaper, good for us.  Then, the margins will fall as dealmakers toss around discounts to acquire new business or retain a client, good for local merchants. Nowhere in this pattern do you see that this is good for Groupon.  Social Media and the internet are all about value. It’s about how much value you provide to your end users. Unfortunately, Groupon doesn’t offer a lot of it moving forward.  In my opinion, they have already offered all the value they ever will.

They were a great idea in a bad economy, that’s it.  The coming plague of margin decay will put a toll on everyone in the space, it is only natural.  They did their job and stimulated the local restaurants and massage parlors, but it is a new day.  If the economy truly turns, will they be relevant?

Lack of Organic Traffic

Last year Groupon did $713 million in revenue, but they had to spend $243 million in marketing to make that happen.  This is not what you want to look for when thinking of buying a stock in the social media market.  As a matter of fact, you want the exact opposite.  Organic traffic is all that matters in this space, period.  Anything else can be duplicated, because there is no moat.

Ask yourself these questions and form your own opinion.

  • How much time have you ever spent on Groupon.com?
  • How much value do they bring your life?
  • How long have you been registered with Groupon?

Gray Area

Basically Groupon is a 2 year old business.  They have crushed traffic and grown like weeds. So why is there so much gray area with them?  They are one of the best marketing companies, ever, but they are not as sticky as LinkedIn orZynga and certainly not “social” like the LinkedIn.  The questions about organic traffic moving forward have been popping up.

They have gone on air and said that their average user stays with them for 4.5 years.  4.5 years……..they have only been live for 2 years, that one is stuck in my head.  Don’t let the BS cloud your thoughts. Look them up online, do your own homework on this, I hate conspiracy theories.  Just note, there is some gray area in the air.

Sum It Up

Basically, Groupon is a cool system and one of the best stories in US business history, but they are nowhere near the best deal this year yet to come.  They are duplicatable (in operation, not success), they were the first to the space, they have been promoting the hell out of there valuation and they will make traders some money.  I am not saying stay away from Groupon at all.  I am saying be prepared for what is to come should you become an investor.  I personally would be more excited to see Yelp go public, but time will tell.

-Eric Rice


Lone Wolf Inc



Twitter Marketing, Some Fresh Air

Twitter Marketing, Some Fresh Air

To some, Twitter is a fantastic tool for helping them to stay in touch with family and friends, and to make new friends.  For others, Twitter represents a low-to-no-cost, wide reaching advertising venue.  It’s no wonder that everybody from the average Joe and Jane to mega-corporations like Starbucks and Google are utilizing this micro-blogging platform for brand and revenue enhancement.

While you probably do not have the reach, or the visibility, of the likes of Google and Starbucks, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to glean a pretty penny or two by investing in your own Twitter account.


Requisites – tools and resources you need

Really, it’s not difficult to turn your social capital into cash, and here are the three things you need in order to make money using Twitter:

  • A working knowledge of how to market via social networking channels.  Experience is preferred but you have to start somewhere
  • A free twitter account
  • A way to monetize Twitter

The last two are simple — you probably already have these items in place.  However, it’s point one that can make the difference between success and failure when you’re looking to turn your social networking stock into real, spendable cash.

Step 1: Knowing how not to market yourself on Twitter

Probably the easiest way to learn the right way to approach marketing through Twitter is to identify the wrong way of going about promoting your products and services.  Quite simply — you need to understand that your Twitter account is not to be used as a digital billboard.  Sure, some individuals may get away with it — they post tweet after tweet of links to products and services, or they’re just a non-stop self-promoter.  However, for every blatant advertiser making money on Twitter, there are hundreds, if not thousands, who aren’t making one thin dime.

Social networking is not the same as traditional “in-your-face” marketing tactics — networking is about relationships.  If you want to earn money with your Twitter account — don’t turn your tweets into a billboard for your favorite program — to be successful, you should use it as a platform to leverage your social relationships to turn them into profit.

Step 2: Representing a product or service that your followers need

One of the major pitfalls of marketing is choosing to promote a product or service that your audience doesn’t really need, or isn’t, as a whole, willing to pay for.  This marketing tidbit is as true when you’re marketing with Twitter as when you’re promoting a product or service from your own website or blog.


Established internet marketers tend to know this already, but when you’re looking to monetize your website, your blog, or your Twitter account — whatever it is that you’re promoting needs to fulfill a need for your audience.  Taking this even further, needs are different amongst different groups, even within the same market.

As a real-world example, let’s say that your Twitter account, and its focus, favors online business owners.  Online business owners need SEO (search engine optimization) and marketing — at least the large majority does.  However, within this group of online business owners who need SEO and marketing, there are three main sub-groups:

  • Business owners who want to outsource their SEO and marketing and can afford to
  • Business owners who would rather outsource their SEO and marketing, but can’t really afford to
  • Business owners who want to learn SEO and marketing themselves — either because they cannot afford to outsource, or because these are skills that they want to pick up

Now, there are likely more groups along these lines, but the point is this — if your Twitter followers are predominantly large business owners, you’re probably not going to fare well promoting a do-it-yourself SEO guide.  Likewise, if your followers are predominantly comprised of ‘newbie’ online business owners, you’re probably not going to land many sales by promoting high-end SEO and marketing services.

Bottom line — pick a product or service that matches your followers, and one that fulfills a need that is pertinent to them.

Step 3: Choose quality over quantity

It’s not difficult to obtain thousands of followers on Twitter — if you have some time on your hands, or you use a script — you could probably gain a few hundred to a few thousand Twitter followers in a single afternoon.  Furthermore, if you add your Twitter account’s URL to any of the popular ‘follow me and I’ll follow you’ type websites — you can increase your follower count substantially.  However, with social networking — it’s not about the numbers — it’s about your relationship with your network.

Today’s internet users are quite familiar with online advertising, and quite frankly, many people go out of their way to minimize the number of ads that they are forced to view on a daily basis.  Internet users install pop-up blockers, use software such as AdBlock Plus to prevent ads from displaying, they filter their emails, and they ignore the Tweets of those who choose to use their Twitter account as a billboard for their favorite product or service.   In other words, just because you have thousands of followers on Twitter, this does not mean that you can turn those followers into buyers, or even website visitors for that matter.

Instead of working to boost your follower count, work on interacting with your current followers.  If they have questions, answer them; if they ask for help, offer it in a non-promotional way.  Relationships are key in social networking — numbers won’t help you make sales, but relationships will.

Step 4:  Highlight your products or services

In direct marketing, it’s common knowledge that you need to ask for the sale if you want to get paid.  However, when you are looking to use Twitter to market your products or services, you probably shouldn’t go out and ask for a sale — at least directly. Instead, you should take a more subtle approach whereby you leverage your ‘klout’, so to speak, with your followers.

First, it’s probably a good idea to utilize the ‘more info URL’ setting on your account settings page.   This link is displayed above your bio on the right-hand side of your dedicated Twitter page.   Plenty of people have made sales just because they included a link to their website from their Twitter account, and you can, too.

Second, when you want to promote something via Twitter — don’t try and make a ‘hard sell’ pitch in 140-characters or less.  Some people get away with it whereas others do not.  Based on personal experience, just mentioning a product or service, with a benefit-driven or helpful slant, works better than pushing hype.

Keeping to our example of online business owners and SEO services, here is an example of a good tweet vs. a bad tweet:

  • Good tweet: Found a cool service worth checking out if you’re looking for SEO help – exampleURL
  • Bad tweet: Get a ton of FREE search engine traffic to your website! – exampleURL

If you want to experience more success when marketing via Twitter, highlighting products or services tends to work much better than trying to sell products and services.

The key to success with Twitter marketing:  be a real person

Successfully marketing products and services using Twitter is not difficult — at all. However, if you want to experience some of the moneymaking benefits that are available through Twitter marketing, you need to understand what Twitter truly is — a social network, and not a digital billboard to promote your products and services.

-Eric Rice

Lone Wolf Inc



The Groupon IPO, Look For The Moat

The Groupon IPO, Look For The Moat
The Groupon IPO is on its way. But, do they offer anything unique to the world anymore? Do they have a moat? I don’t think so, but I know that this is not a normal “technology” play, this is a database and marketing and market share play. With $25 billion to blow on marketing in a space of startups, they would own the space for life. If you had to define a mote, this would be it for Groupon, but here are some problems

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who Wants Football Back in Los Angeles?

Who Wants Football Back in Los Angeles?

Lets get right to the point, Los Angeles needs a football team more than anything. Not only for its financial benefits, but for the appeal and joy it will bring to the city. There has not been football in Los Angeles since 1995, when the Rams left town to St. Louis. Everyone in Los Angeles has been dying to see an NFL team. No matter how many different developers have tried to bring a team to LA, their plans have constantly been shut down or abandoned because it was too difficult of a task to bring a team to Los Angeles.

But, I believe that this time is going to be different because of the company that is trying to bring a team to Los Angeles. You might be wondering whom that company might be, its Anschutz Entertainment Group better known as AEG. They are well known for the many projects that they have done in Los Angeles, such as the Staples Center, Home Depot Center, and L.A. Live. All these ventures have all turned out to be quite successful.

By having such an impressive track record I really do believe that AEG and the success of Tim Leiweke, CEO of AEG really do have the power and the capability of bringing football back to Los Angeles.

AEG is currently in the in-between phase where they have spoken to five football teams (Raiders, Chargers, Jaguars, Vikings, and Rams) who have expressed interest in moving to Los Angeles. These teams are just waiting approval from the NFL.

AEG currently has to deal with the Los Angeles City Council who has been known to be very shy to accept any sort of deal. AEG also must finish an environmental study to prove to the city council that this project will be very beneficial.

Many critics of this project have said that this stadium will cause a madness of traffic, and could do more damage than good. One of the most intriguing parts of this project is that AEG has expressed numerous times that this project will be funded privately, and that there will be no need for any money to be contributed by the taxpayers. AEG believes that it is unfair to make the taxpayers contribute any money towards this project, when the entire state is bleeding financially out of their pockets.

AEG being the smooth and suave company that they are have already been able to convince Farmer’s insurance to pay $650 million of the billion-dollar stadium to be known as Farmer’s field.  AEG plans on tearing down the West Hall of the convention center and making it able to connect the stadium to the current convention center. With this project it will help the appeal of the convention center, moving it from fifteenth currently all the way up to fifth for convention centers.

This proposed stadium deal would potentially add 18,000 jobs and create a whole new economy in the downtown area by making Los Angeles a much more appealing and attractive city to travel to. The NFL is a 9.2 billion dollar moneymaking machine that brings in too much revenue for an idea like this to be shot down.

Not only as a sports fan, but as a native of Los Angeles I know that the people would want nothing more than to be able to attend an NFL game and know that professional football is back, and here to stay. Los Angeles is the second biggest market in the country, and has too much potential for it not to be given a chance to be rewarded with a NFL team.

Top 500 Basketball Players of All-Time

Top 500 Basketball Players of All-Time

Slam Magazine recently released a new top 500 list of NBA players and frankly the only two people pleased with this list must be Michael Jordan and Pervis Ellison. Yes, obviously Michael was first, and for those of you who haven’t heard of Pervis before, he made the list at a respectable position, #500.
Now anyone who makes a list of 500 players of all time in any sport will receive more than a lot of criticism. Take that amount of hatred and multiply it by 100 because that is how bad this top 500 NBA list that Slam magazine came out with is. To start, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is somewhat high being at #7; especially when Shaquille O’Neal is #4. Then you continue down the list and see that Tim Duncan is 8th while Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, and Hakeem Olajuwon are 10-13 respectively. For all those Lebron James fans out there, he was placed at #31 behind Rick Barry, George Mikan, and John Havlicek; just to name a few.
I could go on for days about how wrong almost every player on this list is, but instead I will try to explain why and how Slam made these mistakes. The players on this list are only ranked by their statistics. Every basketball fan understands that a lot more goes into a star than just their numbers. Furthermore, the players that were going at it back in the day got screwed. Any ABA stats that some of the old greats had, such as Artis Gilmore, were not counted thus dropping them between 50-150 places on the list. Also, Steve Kerr, a 5-time NBA champion had his name excluded as well because he most likely didn’t have a stat or two that Pervis did. I mean who cares about championships anyway, right?


The next problem is the list only includes what the individuals have done as PLAYERS, and the NBA is composed of so much more. For example, Phil Jackson (the all-time winningest man in NBA history), Pat Riley and John Wooden were all left off the list. What about historical personnel to the NBA? Don’t they mean anything? What about the first African-American players to participate in the league…To me they mean more to the game today then 450 players on that list. Charles Cooper and Earl Lloyd were the Jackie Robinson of the NBA (to a lesser extent that is).
To be considered for the list in the first place, you must have played on an NBA roster for at least 5 seasons. That’s too bad because I thought Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose were pretty solid players. I must be confused because I was always under the impression that the NBA Scoring Title and the MVP awards were somewhat significant.
I have tried not to look too much into the rankings and just get the overall feel of who is in and who is out, but I cannot help myself anymore…I was unaware that there are 85 NBA players that are better than Dwight Howard and even more that are better than Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Oh yeah and I can easily name 143 players that have more impact on games than Amar’e Stoudemire. I mean come on Slam, Ron Artest is better than Manu Ginobili and Amar’e? Yao Ming, “Mr. Injured,” gets to play a season or two and since he is a giant he gets #154.
All in all, most of the top 500 players of all-time are in this list, just most of them are in very wrong places. Check out the list yourself and let me know what you think!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Congratulations to the 2011 NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks!

Congratulations to the 2011 NBA Champions Dallas Mavericks!

June 13, 2011 By admin 16 Comments


An amazing NBA Finals series was capped off by the Dallas Mavericks taking a Texas style ass whoooppin’ down to South Florida beating the Miami Heat to win the Championship. After a series filled with some close games, Dirk and company closed hard in games 5 and 6 to take the title. I viewed this series as heart vs. talent. It was not that I felt Dirk, JT, and company were not great players, but more the Heat’s “Dream Team” of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosch were thought of as invincible. The Heat might have been selling, but the Mavericks weren’t buying it.

…and others were not buying either. Over on Twitter I found a couple of the funniest comments by John Layfield; “Silly Lebron Rings are for Kobe!” and “Give LeBron James a dollar and he’ll give you 75 cents back-cause HE DOESN’T GIVE ANYONE THE FOURTH QUARTER!!!” 


Lebron James, or @KingJames as he is so named on Twitter, made on tweet after the game; “The Greater Man upstairs know when it’s my time. Right now isn’t the time.” My only quesiton is if God really care about rings?

On the other side of the court the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, tweeted out late last night “This may sound weird. I’m laying in bed with the trophy next to me.” Now that’s passion in it’s greatest hour folks!

Team LockerSmash congratulates the Dallas Mavericks and thanks you so much for making NBA basketball exciting again! We also congratulate the city of Cleveland, as I know you folks are smiling ear to ear today!


Harrison Painter

StockTwits Launches Online Investor Relations Dashboard

StockTwits Launches Online Investor Relations Dashboard

Investing and investor relations have both had a tough time merging with social media for quite some time, but the day is coming when this will no longer be an issue.  Wall Street is one of the last sectors to embrace social media in any way.  However, with Morgan Stanley beta testing social media marketing with their top brokers it is becoming more apparent that Wall Street wants to be art of the online social networks more and more.  On Wednesday June 8, 2011, StockTwits, the social network-style online investment community, launched the StockTwits IR Suite, which aims to assist public companies in monitoring and measuring company news across the social media sphere. IR Suite is the first social media solution of its kind aimed at investor relations departments.

StockTwits offers verified business accounts



The launch comes on the heels of a beta period for the product in which 50 companies signed up and began using the StockTwits IR Suite to manage their presence on StockTwits and across other social networks. Fortune 500 companies such as Dell and Ford are among the companies that have already added social media to theirinvestor relations workflow through the new StockTwits solution. This is a step in the right direction, finally.


According to the StockTwits Blog, “The StockTwits IR Suite allows companies to claim their tickers and take control of their social presence on the leading investor focused social network through listening to, engaging and reaching the broadest possible social audience.”  This is a revolation in the financial industry for many reasons, which I will explain later in the post.


The StockTwits IR Suite consists of three main components: Verified Ticker Pages, Social Distribution, and the Social Dashboard. Verified Ticker Pages allow companies to claim their ticker page on StockTwits.com, and customize special panels to display a company blog, YouTube channel, and SlideShare presentation links. The Social Distribution component makes it simple for companies to disseminate information posted to StockTwits across a handful of social networks and sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo! Finance, Investopia, CNN Money, and Reuters. Finally, the Social Dashboard brings the IR Suite together via a central command center designed to aide in analytics, communications, and compliance.  This will allow companies the ability to connect with both happy and unhappy current and potential investors and make changes that the public requires.  After all these are PUBLIC companies and serving their public should be their main goal.


StockTwits Dashboard

The StockTwits IR Suite is available to companies free of charge, but premium add-ons will be rolled out over the next 12 months. The first available add-on is the Social Compliance upgrade, which addresses legal issues and appends disclaimers to information shared via StockTwits. Social Compliance can be added to the IR Suite for $99 per month. This small fee is one that every company will be willing to part with, but the question will be whether or not the legal teams will endorse the fee. SEC law is a very specialized practice and requires in depth understanding of not only the current law, but the trends that are occurring. In this environment, few things are more concerning than compliance and regulation.



As we discussed in my recent piece regarding investor relations and social media, IR departments have been wary to embrace the social media phenomenon for a number of reasons, loss of control, fear of regulation backlash and even fear of truly knowing what the public actually thinks about these companies.  StockTwits hopes to make the transition easier with their new product, and I think they will to an extent.  According to StockTwits CEO, Howard Lindzon, compliance concerns as well as an overall lack of social media understanding have made the jump difficult for companies. Most PR and IR teams have no clue what social media is and how it works, which is the real problem at the root of it all.  Lindzon believes the StockTwits IR Suite will help IR professionals ease their way into the social space; “This is like training wheels,” he says.


StockTwits has been rapidly gaining popularity since its founding three years ago, and today the site has approximately 100,000 active users, which is truly not a large number considering the numbers of other niche social networks.  The investment community aims to become the ‘Facebook’ of investing and finance.  This is really a good intention and a bad marketing phrase, as I have stated in past posts.  The StockTwits IR Suite is yet another step in the right direction for the company and I support the movement.


Next week I will be writing a piece on the importance of social engagement from public companies from both the company and investor side. If you would like to get a real time reminder please click here or simply sign up for the RSS feed.   To learn more about the StockTwits IR Suite, please visit http://stocktwits.com/IR

by Eric Rice

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New Jersey Court Rules Against Journalistic Protection for Bloggers

New Jersey Court Rules Against Journalistic Protection for Bloggers

Judge says shield laws don’t apply on message boards

New Jersey Supreme Court

New Jersey’s state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that legal protections allowing journalists to keep sources confidential do not apply to individuals posting to online message boards. This decision is the latest development in an ongoing debate over the blurring lines between mainstream journalists and the growing number of bloggers who are sharing their opinions and reporting news via the Internet.

The court’s decision is online at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/supreme/A710TooMuchMediavHale.pdf

“To ensure that the privilege does not apply to every self-appointed newsperson, the legislature requires that other means of disseminating news be ‘similar’ to traditional news sources to qualify for the law’s coverage,” Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote for the court. “We do not find that online message boards are similar to the types of news entities listed in the statute.”

Chief Justice Staurt Rabner

Chief Justice Staurt Rabner

In this case, blogger Shellee Hale posted comments about pornography software company, Too Much Media, in a message board on her website, Pornafia.com. In the comments, Hale accused TMM of threatening her sources and failing to report a security breach because they were profiting from stolen email addresses. TMM responded to the online allegations with a defamation lawsuit, and Hale in turn sought protection from the shield law. She maintains the comments were made in preparation for a story she was composing about the infiltration of pornography on the web. TMM claimed that Hale was not actually a journalist, and had misrepresented the purpose of Pornafia to gain the shield law protection.

Shellee Hale

Shellee Hale


In 2009, a Superior Court judge ruled that the protection did not apply to Hale, and also set a strict set of guidelines to be used to define who is – and isn’t – a journalist. This decision was not popular amongst many bloggers and media outlets, especially with respect to the proposed criteria for journalists to qualify for shield law protection. The Supreme Court upheld the decision that Hale did not qualify for protection, but overturned the criteria outlined by the Superior Court. According to the Supreme Court, the test should require a connection to news media if the purpose of the report is to gather or disseminate news and if the information was obtained during professional newsgathering activities.


Although many bloggers are concerned with the decision, a closer look at the facts should give online pundits some relief. First, Shellee Hale never even had a news section on her site. Despite her claims that the comments were in preparation for a story she was set to run, no newsworthy story was ever published by her online. More importantly, Hale’s defamatory statements were delivered exclusively over a message board, which certainly has no connection to news media whatsoever.

The rise of the blogger and the numerous examples of news reports originating from personal sites and social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook have sparked discussions about who journalists really are in the technologically advanced world we live in today. It’s difficult to argue that bloggers don’t deserve protections similar to traditional journalists, but the trick is fairly determining which online voices actually have some journalistic merit. Many bloggers have expressed outrage regarding Tuesday’s decision in New Jersey, but the Supreme Court made the right call – a call that actually benefits bloggers that truly report with credibility.

Every individual who spouts off over the Internet should NOT benefit from protections that were originally created to protect journalists. However, those writers who report professionally over the web SHOULD. Tuesday’s decision denied protection to a woman who popped off with defamatory remarks on a porn site’s message board.Had Shellee Hale taken the time to research and write a newsworthy story, and published it in a professional and newsworthy manner, this decision might be completely different. The fact is, Shellee Hale didn’t deserve the protection that has been reserved for journalists because her behavior was absolutely not journalistic.

What does this decision mean for bloggers in New Jersey? It’s difficult to say, but clearly care must be taken. For one, nobody should expect to be protected by a shield law if they are commenting in a chat room or on a message board; the New Jersey courts have made it clear that people can be sued for such remarks. Moving across state lines won’t do much either; the Internet doesn’t have state lines. Hale’s comments were made from Washington; she ended up dealing with New Jersey courts because Too Much Media is based in the Garden State.

hear no evil see no evil speak no evil

The lesson here is this: if you want protection designed for journalists, you had better do your best to act like a journalist. If you’re reporting the news, follow journalistic protocol even if you’re only posting to your personal blog. And lastly, be prepared for a battle like the one Shellee Hale is fighting. Until more cases like this appear in courts across the country, the issue will remain muddy. Credible bloggers across the web DO deserve protection, and will likely get it – at least someday.

What are your thoughts on this hot topic?


Harrison Painter

The 21st Century Entrepreneur: Using the Internet as a Money-Making Tool

The 21st Century Entrepreneur: Using the Internet as a Money-Making Tool

For most people these days, the Internet has become an integral part of daily life. We are using social networks to exchange news with friends and relatives who live in other states or countries, instant messaging to communicate within the office; playing games over the Internet for entertainment; and banking, paying bills, and shopping online, among others.


When you do most of your marketing, advertising, and selling online, you can efficiently manage your business from home. Consequently, you can spend a lot more time with your family as you earn a decent income.


With the kind of economy we’re now experiencing, CRAP, the average household income is rarely enough if only one spouse is employed. However, if there are young children in the family, someone will have to stay at home to take care of them, so it isn’t practical for both parents to work in an office. I know this all too well.


The solution? Take your profession and do it from home, preferably online. Starting or transferring an online business from home has very few requirements and is so easy a third grader could do it. All you need is a computer and decent internet access. You also need to have a feasible business idea and possess certain characteristics that can help make you a successful online entrepreneur, of course.


Affiliate marketing is one of the most common paths first-time online entrepreneurs like to take. This type of online business requires minimal business skills and a very small starting capital. Though none of us can stand affiliate marketers, we have to respect it because of the massive amounts of money that can be made.


As an affiliate marketer, what you do is find existing online businesses offering affiliate programs. Register with them as an affiliate, create a website, and start marketing their services or products. You make money (commission) for every customer who buys from your affiliate link. The more customers you bring in, the more money you make. It’s all very straightforward but you’ll soon realize the process of getting traffic to your site and converting them into sales isn’t always as easy as you think.


You can also earn money online by marketing your own products or services. This is particularly useful for people who have already established a small business in their neighborhood. If you love what you do and you’re interested in reaching a wider target market, why not take snapshots of your work, post them on a blog or website, and advertise them to the world? But before you do this, make sure you have the resources to produce product at a high level.


Most people don’t know that they can also take their newly acquired Facebook and Twitter skills to the bank from home.  Plenty of PR, IR, Marketing and Advertising firms are hiring for this field right now and I am no different. If you have those types of skills and more importantly numbers, I would love to speak to you. I am not alone in this trend, though I may be one of the first to do it.


Social Media is a game that few people can really play, but one thing is for sure, no one can do it alone. If you are hurting for money and need a second income, use your down time to build your presence and understand the marketplace, this can really help you out in a pinch.


Becoming a successful online entrepreneur takes some time and effort but it isn’t impossible. Look at the thousands of ordinary people who have made it big in the past few years. As long as you have the determination to succeed, you will do just fine.

Lone Wolf Inc



Facebook’s “Like” is no Longer the Only Button on the Block

Facebook’s “Like” is no Longer the Only Button on the Block

Twitter launches “Follow” button, Google launches “+1” button

Facebook’s “Like” button is all over the web these days. We all know what it is, and most of us use it from time to time. It is the gold standard for social buttons, but now there are a couple of new kids on the block trying to shake things up.


On Tuesday, Twitter, the popular micro-blogging and social networking site, launched the “Follow” button. It didn’t take long for search engine powerhouse, Google, to follow suit. On Wednesday, Google’s “+1” button was unveiled.


Twitter’s new “Follow” button allows users to indicate that they would like to follow a particular Twitter feed without actually being on the Twitter website at the time. Previously, one was required to visit the actual Twitter profile of the entity to be followed, and subscribe to the feed from there, making it impossible for a Twitter user to follow a feed with one click from a third party website. The “Follow” button makes following much simpler, and a link next to the button allows a user to preview the target’s profile and browse their most recent Tweets.


When Twitter initially announced the launch, they cited more than 50 websites that were on board to use the tool, however that number has undoubtedly soared since the button went live. Big name celebrities like Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez were among the first to adopt the button, but the button is available for anyone with a Twitter account.


The “Follow” button is an excellent tool for individuals and small businesses that are working to build a stronger online presence. Rather than posting a link directing visitors to a Twitter feed, businesses and personalities can simply install the new button on their websites to give their fans a one-click way to follow. To install the button, one must visit http://twitter.com/about/resources/followbutton, enter the Twitter username, choose a background color, and decide whether or not to display a follower count. Once that’s done, simply copy the code snippet generated by Twitter, and paste it on your site wherever you want it to appear.


According to Twitter’s Blog, “For publishers and brands, adding the Follow Button to your Website and using Twitter to stay connected with your audience is a powerful combination. People who follow your account are much more likely to retweet and engage with your Tweets, and to repeatedly visit your website.”


Google’s response to Twitter’s new button came less than 24 hours later, when Google launched “+1” on Wednesday. The “+1” button isn’t technically new, as Google has been testing it on their own services for the last couple of months. The “+1” is similar to a “thumbs up” for a site, and by clicking the “+1,” a user can begin to create more personalized and useful results – at least that’s what Google hopes.


The real potential for the “+1” button seems to lie in marketing and advertising, where Google can improve their already robust ad platform by further tailoring results to individual activity and browsing histories.


Although the Twitter “Follow” button and Google “+1” button don’t really share much common ground, both could have quite an impact if users adopt them at a high percentage. Twitter’s “Follow” button is likely to be extremely popular among users for practical reasons, while the Google “+1” button is poised to make a more indirect impact from an advertising standpoint. Regardless, both will have quite an uphill battle ahead of them to dethrone the reigning king of Internet buttons, Facebook’s “Like.”

Lone Wolf Inc