The Coupon Network: Everything You Need To Know About The Web’s Hottest Business Model

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Due to the proliferation of deals sites like Groupon and Livingsocial, couponing is currently the hottest thing on the Internet. At yesterday’s Social Currency CrunchUp, TechCrunch CEO and resident coupon expert Heather Harde sat down with News America Marketing VP Ginny Byrnes to dispense couponing advice to startups, which tend to approach the problem from a technical perspective.

As we enter the next generation of couponing, this list of tried and true lessons is a must-read for those vying for the top of the heap.

10. There are two types of shoppers: Planners and impulse buyers

Planners take time, make a list, look at the circulars, check coupon sites and clip coupons at home. The impulse purchaser prefers to make buying decisions on impulse while they’re in the store.

These two types need a two-prong approach to in order to best be reached when buying decisions are made: Home (planners) vs. Point of purchase (impulse buyers). For example, an impulse buyer needs an advertisement or promotion that calls out and draws attention to the product – i.e. “tell me how this will make my life easier.”

9. Brand tactics are different for each consumer: Loyals, Switchers, Non-Category User

Loyal: Encourage  a loyal customer to continue purchasing in high volume, perhaps offering “buy two get one free” types of offers.

Switcher: Switchers are price sensitive, so a discount of a few cents over your leading competitor can hook them and bring them into the category.

Non-Category User: Oftentimes offering a trial of your product can give people incentive to continue using it.

8. Premium brands need to pretend they don’t discount

Because high price points equal higher quality in the minds of consumers, premium brands need to be more delicate with their discounting, using promotions that are more targeted to an elite niche market. Luxury brands succeed by providing a higher quality free sample, as well as cultivating a higher end look and feel.

7. Create promotional patterns to match purchase cycles

Each product has its own shelf life so businesses need to take into account when and what is the best way to reach their target consumer. Luckily this is getting easier with technology’s ever expanding capabilities to profile and target consumers.

6. Consumer targeting: Know when to use a hammer and when to use a scalpel

Targeting is a double-edged sword — You don’t want to be too targeted because you don’t want to miss out on growing your market. Still some products, such as septic tank cleaner, are better served using a direct approach.

Don’t be too narrow minded with your targeting; If you don’t see toilet paper on a customer’s Safeway loyalty card data, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not buying toilet paper, they might be paper pantry loading at CostCo and not Safeway.

5. Redemption rates, highs lows, & truth

While coupon redemption rates are relatively low (.5% to 1% according to CMS) when you launch a coupon campaign you are generating awareness. Customers recall seeing a coupon promotion, so even though they might not be redeeming the offer, they are still purchasing your product.

4. All promotions need a little pain

You want to make sure that the customer works a little, giving someone a coupon for a latte while they’re in line at Starbucks feels like cheating. “If the consumer gets the discount without any work, then the brand doesn’t feel like they got credit for the discount or helped to really change consumer behavior,” Heather Harde points out.

3. 360 degree marketing works

With currently available technology (like QR or shortcodes) it’s now more than ever possible to interact with your customer at multiple touch points. Touching the consumer no matter whether they are outside, at the store, in home or at point of purchase is crucial for brand absorption.

2. Build for your currency: Virtual vs. real money

While with virtual currency you can always change your plan, if you’re using monetary coupons you first need the correct infrastructure and security to complete what amounts to financial transactions.

1. Don’t slow down the checkout

You want to make it as easy as possible for consumers and retailers to buy your product. You don’t want a consumer to give up on a purchase because the process is so slow, or because there are issues or concerns or point of purchase.

Frictionless options such as integrating customer coupons into loyalty cards, with all coupons preloaded for redemption at point of purchase, are currently at the bleeding edge of coupon marketing innovation.

For classic video game nostalgia fans, Halo debuts on the Atari 2600

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Everybody knows Halo as the blockbuster video game franchise that debuted on the original Xbox in 2001. It has gone on to sell more than 30 million copies. But now Halo is coming to — of all platforms — the Atari 2600. It debuted this weekend at the Classic Game Expo in Las Vegas.

The game is called Halo 2600. Yes, that’s the pioneering video game console that debuted in 1977 and kicked off the home video game revolution. There’s actually a thriving hobbyist industry of classic video game fans who travel around to shows and play nothing but the old games from the beginning of the industry.

The new Halo game was created by Ed Fries, the former head of Microsoft Game Studios who left the company back in 2004. He has since consulted with a number of video game companies and is chief executive of Figure Prints, which makes World of Warcraft figurines based on characters created by fans.

Fries told me he took on the project as something he wanted to do for fun. Fries got his start in video games by creating a Frogger clone game (under the name Eddy Fries) for the Atari 800 may years ago. He went on to join Microsoft, worked on Excel, and rose through the ranks in the Office group. Then he became head of Microsoft Game Studios and built the division. By the time he left in 2004, his teams had created 18 games that sold more than 1 million units. One of those games was Halo.

This game is a “re-imagining” of what Halo would have looked like if it were released on the Atari 2600. You play Master Chief, the hero of the series, and battle your way through 64 screens. You locate weapons and find power-ups to help you beat increasingly tough enemies.

Fries got the idea to work on an Atari game after he spoke at a video game conference in Philadelphia. Someone suggested he read “Racing the Beam,” about programming the Atari 2600. Fries hadn’t written anything in 6502 assembly code in 30 years. But he picked it up quickly and created a Master Chief character, and then an Elite alien for the Spartan warrior to shoot at. The characters were crude because the machine only had 128 bytes of RAM.

It was something of an art to make a game with so little resources. Fries decided to work on a full game but forced himself to do it within 4,000 bytes of memory for all of the screens and objects. He tried to make a level with a Warthog, a vehicle from Halo, but it wasn’t fun and it took more than 1,000 bytes so he trashed it. He tweaked the game a lot and had a number of game industry friends playtest it. He added a “legendary” mode for players to replay the game after they beat the final boss, only in a much tougher setting.

The code is available at AtariAge’s web site and the game’s Facebook page is here. It is available for free in an emulator, which reproduces the screen of the Atari 2600 on a modern computer. The label was created by Mike Mika. A limited number of cartridges are being given out at the Classic Gaming Expo. With more than 30 million Halo fans worldwide, and many of them classic game fans, it will be interesting to see how much this retro game gets played.


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Live demos show how the Nintendo DS and the Wii can be hacked to spread malware (videos)

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Two hackers showed how they can hack Nintendo’s handheld and console game devices to spread malware to whatever networks they are connected to.

At the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas, Ki-Chan Ahn (below) and Dong-Joo Ha (right) showed off a number of demos of how they could crack the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii and use them to upload malware. They said users don’t expect malware to be loaded on game console devices, so they could be taken advantage of more easily. (See our roundup of all Black Hat and Defcon stories.)

The researchers said they could spread malware in a number of ways. They could, for instance, inject a virus into a pirate version of a Nintendo game and upload it to torrent networks, where users download pirated games. They showed how they could play a game in a compromised Wii system.

They also found that many companies install Nintendo Wii devices in their work places, even though they don’t let you walk into the company with smartphones or laptops. (Factories and other sensitive work locations don’t allow any devices with cameras). By poisoning the Wii, they could spread a virus over the corporate network. People have a false sense of security about the safety of these game devices, but they can log into computer networks like most other computer devices now.

In the demos, the researchers showed they could take compromised code and inject it into the main game file that runs on either a DS or a game console. They could take over the network and pretty much spread malware across it and thereby compromise an entire corporation. The researchers said they can do this with just about any embedded device, from iPhones to internet TVs. All that is needed is an embedded computer, networking, and input-output systems. A few of the demos failed because wireless networks weren’t functional.

Ahn is a student at Hanyang University in South Korea, majoring in electronics. Ha is a researcher at AhnLab, a security firm. Check out the video excerpts below:

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Raising Money – The July Roundup

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roll_july10.jpgJust as the month of June closed with a flurry of discussion around investment creeds and crashes, the end of July has seen the debate and discussion continue, with a number of blog posts that continue to explore the state of the investment, both angel and VC funding.

The most recent discussions were prompted, in part, by Y Combinator‘s AngelConf, held on Thursday. Billed as a “how-to” for prospective angels, the event featured a number of prominent investors as speakers, including Paul Graham, Ron Conway, and Mike Arrington. You can watch the archives at


Conway’s assertion that any “entrepreneur who has the guts to start a company should be funded” was an optimistic opening salvo for the day. But Arrington might have walked away with the “most quotable” award for the day, with his contention that VCs fear angel investors are training a generation of entrepreneurs who are “building dipshit companies” to sell to Google for $25 million.

But one good expletive deserves another, and on Friday, Dave McClure laid out his investment thesis: “MoneyBall for Startups: Invest BEFORE Product/Market Fit, Double-Down AFTER.”

Tech Investment: A Thesis

McClure analyzes the changing landscape for tech startups, arguing that it’s much cheaper to start a company, develop a product and win customers. “Invest BEFORE product/market fit, measure/test to see if the team is finding it, and if so, then exercise your pro-rata follow-on investment opportunity AFTER they have achieved product/market fit. It’s sort of like counting cards at the blackjack table while betting low, then when you’re more than halfway thru the deck and you see it’s loaded with face cards & ten, then you start increasing your betting & doubling-down.”

McClure believes that the VC investment model hasn’t been responsive to this shift nor can it be responsive to the innovation and agility of tech startups, in part because they simply do not understand the market. “Hurry up & die already, u friggin’ pathetic dinosaurs,” says McClure (in multicolored caps-locks). McClure’s investment thesis serves as an accompaniment to his investment fund 500 Startups, whose website launched yesterday.

Tech Investment: History & Analysis

While the Y Combinator event and McClure’s announcement has sparked some good discussion about investment opportunities and practices, we’ve seen a number of solid analyses throughout the entire month. Weighing in earlier this month, for example, were Mark Suster with his post, “What’s Really Going on in the VC Industry? What Does It Mean for Startups?” and Steve Blank with his post, titled “Welcome to the Lost Decade (for Entrepreneurs, IPOs, and VCs).

If you want to get a handle on what some of the thought-leaders in the investment community are saying, all these posts are well-worth reading in their entirety.

Photo credits: Flickr user zzzack


Yelp’s CEO On Google: We Were Suprised…I Don’t Think It’s A Permanent Situation

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Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman deserves credit for trying to play nice with Google, even appearing onstage at the Social Currency CrunchUp with John Hanke, a Google VP of Product Management. As expected the tension was palpable, as Hanke and Stoppelman discussed Google Places and the goliath’s heavy reliance on Yelp’s content.

As an increasingly robust aggregator of local reviews, Google Places is turning into a formidable opponent. Several years ago, Google paid Yelp for access to their huge database of reviews; however, eventually Yelp terminated the deal. All was well until Google started crawling Yelp’s pages for unlicensed content to populate Google Places. Adding insult to injury, Google often pushes Yelp’s data to the bottom of its review areas, favoring instead licensed partners like Zagat. Oh, what a tangled web of reviews we weave.

Beyond the professional veneer, there’s no question that Stoppelman feels burned.

The recent developments, he says, were unexpected:

“Well I think we were surprised because we hadn’t participated in Place Pages over the years. Like we were in sort of the precursor to Place Pages back in something like 2006 and then we left because we weren’t really happy in the direction it was going and we thought OK we’ll just show up in organic results and everybody is still happy. And then yeah, we found our content was showing up there and it is ranked dead last right now. I don’t think that’s sort of a permanent situation from what we gather from talking to Google, they are sort of  headed in a new direction that which hopefully will be more positive.”

Yelp, of course, is not always the victim. The site has been criticized for ripping Foursquare’s techniques, with this year’s introduction of check-ins, leader boards, badges and the not-so-subtle “dukedom” honor. Now, Yelp is tiptoeing near Groupon’s turf, as it tests limited deals in cities like Sacramento. During our post-panel video interview, we got a chance to talk to Stoppelman about Google Places and Yelp’s budding rivalries with Foursquare and Groupon. See full video above— below are a couple key highlights:

On Check-Ins
-Android has been a particularly strong platform— the number of Yelp downloads grew 40% week over week for about a month. Now, its growing 15% week over week.

On Limited Sales
-Yelp will eventually roll out a product that will capitalize on its strength as a destination for time sensitive searches. “We have all this traffic, we have 35 million monthly visiting the site and so what could we do for people that are actually looking for a massage right now versus you know alerting them hey there’s this deal is available. So are there some interesting twists on just the Groupon model that we can apply because we’re Yelp.”

Rival Smartphone Attenuation Videos Vanish From Apple’s Website

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Well this is interesting. One of the key points at Apple’s recent press conference to discuss the iPhone 4′s antenna, was that the problem (called “attenuation”) is not unique to the iPhone 4. To highlight this, Apple showed videos of the problem on smartphones by rival companies. Those videos were then posted to a special antenna page on Apple’s website. Those videos are now gone.

As you can see on this page, the videos are nowhere to be found. Instead, the page now only shows the overview of the antenna design and test labs. A search of Apple’s website brings up a few of the landing pages where the videos used to be — here’s the Droid X one, for example — but now those just redirect to the antenna design page as well. Odd.

Here’s what else is interesting: the original page with these videos still does reside on the Canadian version of Apple’s website. Here’s you’ll find the videos for the BlackBerry Bold 9700, the HTC Droid Eris, the Motorola Droid X, the Nokia N97 Mini, the Samsung Omnia II, the iPhone 3GS, and the iPhone 4. However, the Asian version of Apple’s site has the videos removed as well.

The videos are still up on Apple’s official YouTube channel, but they are no longer featured, and are a little bit trickier to find.

We’ve reached out to Apple for an official response as to why they removed them from the website. Obviously, they caused quite a bit of controversy – with some rivals, like RIM (makers of the BlackBerry), even responding. Has the threat of lawsuits from rivals forced Apple to take them down? Or did they take them down due to some of the negative backlash they were receiving? Or perhaps Apple is simply trying to move on from the situation — but again, the antenna design and test lab page is still there (though it doesn’t call out rivals specifically).

At the top of this post, find what the /antenna site currently looks like in the U.S. Below, find what it used to look like — and still does for the Canadian version of the site.

[thanks Noah]

Photographic Evidence Of Stealth Startup Tello Raising $100k

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Let’s call this a single source rumor. But the source is Paul Carr’s camera, so we feel pretty good about it. The picture was taken last night at the TechCrunch summer party at August Capital.

Tello, says our source (the camera), has raised $100,000 from angel investor Dave McClure, whose checks appear to have an imprint of the Twitter fail whale in the background. This is one of his first investments from his shiny new 500 Startups fund.

What’s Tello? We don’t actually know. Founder and CEO Joe Beninato was previously the CEO of Presto. We had a lot of fun with that one. Cofounder and CTO John Cwikla has experience at GameLayers, Doostang, Xoom and other startups.

The total size of this round is around $1 million, we hear.

Does a picture say a thousand words? I dunno. Someone please count them. More details as they come in.

Week in review: An Android app that takes your data, a new Russian angel fund

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Here’s our roundup of the week’s tech business news. First, the most popular stories published in the last seven days:

Android wallpaper app that takes your data was downloaded by millions — A questionable Android wallpaper app that collects your personal data and sends it to a mysterious site in China has been downloaded millions of times, according to data unearthed by mobile security firm Lookout. The firm described its findings at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, which is where this week’s flood of security-related posts came from.

Researcher shows how to hack ATMs with “Dillinger” tool — Using tools dubbed Dillinger and Scrooge, a security researcher showed how to hack an automated teller machine in front of a crowd of hackers and security professionals.

Why the Facebook-Amazon integration is bigger than you think — Facebook and partnered Tuesday in what could be one of the social network’s most important integrations yet.

Augen brings its $150 Gentouch78 Android tablet to Kmart — Little-known device manufacturer Augen unveiled its 7-inch Gentouch78 Android tablet in the unlikeliest of places last weekend: Kmart’s Sunday flyer.

12 years after original game, Blizzard’s Starcraft II goes on sale –Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty went on sale this week, some 12 years after the original game debuted. The game is likely to be one of the biggest sellers of the year and the first shot in the arm for the PC gaming market (aside from Facebook, of course) in a long time.

And here are five more articles we think are important, thought-provoking, or fun:

In Russia, startups need angels, not bodyguards — and now they may get them — Several proven Russian entrepreneurs have formed what looks to be the first promising seed-stage venture capital firm in Russia, called Runa Capital.

PeerIndex, Klout aim to find the Web’s real authorities — On the Internet, nobody knows you’re an expert. PeerIndex hopes to change that.

Apple unveils new, consumer-friendly battery charger — Apple has launched its own plug-in charger for AA batteries, extending its wireless device and energy efficiency strategies.

Y Combinator’s Paul Graham: Say goodbye to traditional venture rounds — Speaking at the AngelConf angel investing event, Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham argued that the traditionally structured venture round is becoming irrelevant.

Just kidding: Google says China hasn’t walled off search — On Thursday, a Google status page which publicly tracks access to its services in China reported that there was full blockage, or that search was unavailable between 67 and 100 percent of the time. But now Google says access to its search properties is normal and hasn’t been blocked.

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What Startups Can Learn from Apple’s Antennagate

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Engineers aren’t perfect. Flaws in software and hardware design are only natural in the tech industry. But what is not commonplace is knowing how to effectively deal with the fallout when engineering flaws become known.

Apple’s “Antennagate” is the most recent high-profile product flaw at a tech company, and one that, so far, has left Apple (mostly) unscathed. Their example offers startups a prime example on how to adroitly handle a product-flaw crisis.

Eric Dezenhall, a highly regarded Washington, D.C.-based crisis management expert, begins his analyses by reviewing three questions the public asks when high-profile mistakes are made:

  • Was the sin episodic or chronic?
  • Has there been sufficient repentance?
  • Do we like you?

The public will weigh the responses to the above questions and then render a judgment as to whether the mistake is forgivable. When it comes to Antennagate, it’s instructive to analyze how Apple was able to frame their response around these questions. The result offers three lessons for smaller tech startups that don’t have the resources Apple does to address a product flaw.

Lesson No. 1: Tell people that the problem is bigger than just you (it’s chronic!). Tech companies pride themselves on being data driven. So, when confronting a flaw, ask yourself: Is there data to back up the problem to indicate that it is chronic or episodic? Preferably, you’re aiming to find a chronic problem not specific to your company. Apple’s response team effectively said, “it’s not just us.” They proceeded to note how the antenna-reception issue is industry-wide by showing actual demonstrations on the Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile phones. This demonstration helped Apple CEO Steve Jobs reinforce his message that “the heart of the problem is smartphones have weaknesses…This is life in the smartphone world…Phones aren’t perfect…we haven’t figured out the laws of physics yet.”

Jobs was also quick to note that there are no standards when it comes to antenna signal strength. In a wild-west world without standards, mistakes are bound to happen, and they can be devastating and demoralizing to your fanboys and employees. And as Jonathan Mann ( ) noted in his Antennagate lyrics, “the media loves a failure in a string of successes.”

An extension of the “episodic or chronic” question, then, is also being able to accurately answer, “how much hype surrounds the issue?” Apple addressed this by indicating the low number of complaints filed with AppleCare, (.55%) and a return rate lower than the industry average (1.7%).

Lesson No. 2: Tell people what you are doing to solve the problem (we’re repenting!). This means indicating that you are doing everything possible to find a solution for future customers, while mitigating pain for existing customers.

A geeky problem requires a geeky answer, which is why Jobs demonstrated the complexity of the problem by talking about the money Apple spent on R&D, the 18 Ph.D. scientists it has on staff and the 17 advanced testing rooms it has to help diagnose the problem. It even allowed reporters to tour the testing rooms for the first time ever.

Apple is also mitigating the users suffering by releasing iOS 4.0.1 and offering a coupon to anyone who wants or has bought a case, which they claim helps solve the problem. And, if you don’t know where to get a case, they are going to make it easy for you to order it online. And if that STILL doesn’t solve the problem, Apple says, just return it. Imagine if Microsoft said that about Windows Vista?

Lesson No. 3: Demonstrate likability (you still love us, right? ‘cause we love you!). Jobs was emphatic about noting that they take this issue personally; they do love their customers because “at the end of the day, all we know how to do is make you happy.” While it PAINS Apple that this happened in light of the Consumer reports review, they did emphasize that people still like them.

Over 3 million iPhone 4’s have been sold and they have received validation from the people that matter, including 5,000 emails from customers personally to Jobs, validation from trade publications like Wired, PC World, etc. Another key to likability during crisis time is having a swift response. Apple noted that they didn’t say more earlier is because it didn’t know enough and it has ONLY been 22 days since the problem first surfaced. Heck, it took Nixon a year and five months to say that he wasn’t a crook.

So, tech product flaws are inevitable. Just don’t get caught covering them up, be transparent about it and leave the solution to engineers, not PR flacks. Startups should study the 33-minute Apple press conference for years to come as a best practice. I have yet to meet a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur who hasn’t failed. But a key lesson for startups is that Silicon Valley tries harder, and that’s why it remains the innovation capital of the world.

David W. Kralik is Chief Marketing Officer for

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No Surprise – SaaS Causing Real Effects on the Supply Chain

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ChristmasTruckAccording to the ARC Advisory Group, the supply chain management market grew 7% in the last five years. That growth would have been more if it had not been for the recession.

In comparison, the SaaS market grew at a compound annual growth rate of 20% during those same five years.

According to ARC, the overall SCM market includes “execution, production, warehouse, and transportation management — as well as Supply Chain Planning — strategic, manufacturing, and inventory planning.”


This seems hardly a surprise if you look at the landscape for what really is working out there. Hint: It’s not Excel spreadsheets. What is emerging is a social supply chain that can leverage the best technology available.

Outsourcing Supply Chain Management says many companies run Excel or QuickBooks which require manual updating. Others run sophisticated businesses through legacy systems that are difficult to update, much less move data around.

ARC says SaaS services have enjoyed a presence in the transportation markets but only in recent years has that really become apparent. On-premise software, as in most sectors, has traditionally dominated this part of the market.

Why? The existing supply chain is really a post-war phenomena. It grew out of the shift in demographics that happened after World War II. Highways, bridges and big trucks all have a significant place in our economy and our culture. They are directly related to the distribution centers, those hubs like Swan Island here in North Portland which fills up with trucks every night before heading back out on I-5 to destinations all over the United States.

As the supply chain evolved, advancements in IT provided efficiencies that allowed for management of huge amounts of goods being delivered to increasingly sophisticated retail establishments.

The trucks themselves have become pretty sophisticated. They can be tracked by satellite. But the costs to run software that tracks these trucks is as expensive as any enterprise technology in any sector of the market.

SaaS allows for affordable transportation systems.

From the XCD Logistics blog:

“Not only can customer orders be converted instantly into optimized shipments, but the system stores and retrieves costs for all modes and types of movements, performing carrier selection, best rate, and most efficient routing based on shipment size and destination.”


The companies in the SaaS space for supply chain management face the hurdles that any SaaS provider does across any sector of the market.

Jim Burleigh is the CEO of SmartTurn. He is a a former executive.

His company provides on-demand inventory and warehouse management services. The biggest problem he faces is the skepticism from companies across the supply chain who believe the costs will be prohibitive. These are people who are conditioned to paying $50,000 or more for enterprise systems.

From Outsourcing Supply Chain Management:

” ‘A good warehouse management system (WMS) is prohibitive for these businesses. It would cost $40,000-$50,000 in license fees and another $40,000 for implementation and infrastructure. “So they have locked in their mind that the entry-level price to solve their problem is $50,000-$150,000,” Burleigh says. “They don’t know that they can solve their problems for $500 a month. ‘ “


Hacker shows how he can intercept cell phone calls with $1,500 device (video)

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A security researcher showed in a live demo today how he can intercept cell phone calls on 80 percent of the world’s phones with just about $1,500 worth of equipment.

Chris Paget, who also showed yesterday how he can hack into radio frequency identification tags (RFID) from a distance, created a fake cell phone tower, or Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) base station. GSM is the protocol for 80 percent of the world’s phones and is used by T-Mobile and AT&T in the U.S. The demo was not, Paget said, a malicious attack in any way.

Military and intelligence agencies can intercept cell phone calls with their wiretapping technology. But Paget simply wanted to show how vulnerable the cell phone network is and how hackers could intercept calls for a small amount of money. He used a couple of large antennae (pictured with Paget) and a laptop with some other equipment.

“There’s a good chance you won’t even know about it when it happens,” Paget said during a talk at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas. (See our roundup of all Black Hat and Defcon stories).

Paget’s system disables the encryption in the system, and the GSM network complies and never sends a warning message. Paget’s talk got some attention in advance because Federal Communications Commission authorities contacted him about his planned demonstration. They asked whether he would be violating wiretapping laws.

Paget consulted his legal help from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and decided to go forward with the live demo of cell phone call interception. He posted notices at the event saying he would be intercepting calls on the GSM network in the area during the talk. That gave him some legal protection.

In the demo, he turned on his interceptor and immediately had 15 people on his network. The interceptor he created could intercept phones in a small area covered by one cell site. Dozens more phones were intercepted in the course of the talk. He inserted a warning message saying that he was intercepting calls, and some phones displayed that they were on the Defcon 18 cell phone network during the interception. He could take over a give area by broadcasting a stronger signal that was available from AT&T or T-Mobile in that given area.

“It’s not particularly difficult to do,” he said.

Paget said that he could easily create a noise generator that could disrupt all calls in a given area. He chose not to do that demo, as it would have knocked out all cell phone coverage for most of Las Vegas, he said.

“I am not turning this on,” he said. “The thing about band jamming is there is no way to defend against it.”

Check out the video excerpt of Paget’s presentation:




Google, China and the Demands of Real-Time News

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The reason time exists, Albert Einstein once said, is to prevent everything from happening all at once. In an age of Twitter and blogs and instant publishing of all kinds, it often feels like everything is happening all at once — events occur and are described and interpreted and then the information is distributed to the far corners of the globe instantaneously. In some cases those descriptions and interpretations are very true, but in some cases they are just plain wrong. Take what happened last Thursday night, for example, when reports emerged from Google that its services in China were being blocked. Almost instantly, blogs and other news outlets started writing and publishing the story. The only problem was that it turned out not to be true. Was this a failure of real-time journalism? No.

Less than 30 minutes after the first report, news started filtering out through Twitter that seemed to show Chinese citizens and observers in that country were accessing Google services without any difficulty. Rebecca MacKinnon, co-founder of Global Voices Online, a fellow at Princeton University and a former CNN reporter in China, started re-posting messages from contacts there who said they were having no trouble at all with Google’s website. Meanwhile, more and more news services and blogs were reporting that Google was blocked in China — including blogs like VentureBeat as well as news outlets such as the Reuters wire service and Bloomberg, and publications such as the New York Times.

One of the first outlets to question the reports was The Next Web, thanks in large part to sources on Twitter (including Rebecca MacKinnon) who said that there was no blockage. TechCrunch also had skeptical take, thanks to its use of Webpulse to check and see whether was blocked or not. Finally, after several hours, Google confirmed that the reports of its website being blocked were likely an over-reaction to a “small block” somewhere in China that had since been rectified. Posts at various blogs were updated, Reuters issued an updated story, and the news gradually faded from view.

So was this a failure of real-time journalism, or an example of it in action? You can find opinions on both sides of that question. Some commenters on Twitter and various blogs and news sites questioned why anyone would report that Google was blocked without checking with people actually in China to confirm it. Others said — at least initially — that it was enough to take Google’s word on the subject, since it is a credible source, and that being blocked in China was a big enough news story (given the recent back-and-forth between the company and the Chinese authorities) that it justified being published right away and then updated.

From my standpoint, this story unfolded in a completely natural way — if by natural you mean in tune with the way the web and social media function. It may not have been pretty, or nicely packaged, or even coherent at times, but it made perfect sense in era of real-time reporting and what Craig Silverman (in a great post about WikiLeaks at the Columbia Journalism Review) calls “distributed verification.” News breaks, it gets reported, others update that information either in comments on news stories or on Twitter or on their own blogs, that gets distributed, more corrections appear and additional information is added, then posts and news stories are updated, and so on. At any moment, there may be errors, but they are corrected (hopefully) just as quickly as they appear.

This is journalism as a process rather than a packaged product. It may not be pretty, but it is functional — and it arguably does readers more of a service than the assembly-line production system of mainstream media, which often ignores updates and corrections if they are inconveniently timed. Yes, it is often messy and confusing, and that is what journalism in this new era consists of: making sense of that process and bringing meaning to it, both during and after the fact. In a stirring post at Politics Daily, Walter Shapiro argues for a “slow news” movement instead of the rush to publish, but he might as well be arguing for a return to the days of horse-and-buggy transportation. The reality is that we need both speed and thoughtfulness in equal measure.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): What We Can Learn From the Guardian’s Open Platform

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Robbert van der Steeg

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ReadWriteWeb Events Guide, 31 July 2010

This post is by editor from ReadWriteWeb

Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

We’re always on the lookout for upcoming Web tech events from around world. Know of something taking place that should appear here? Let us know in the comments below or contact us.

You can import individual events in the Events Guide into Google Calendar using the link beside each entry, or download the entire thing as an iCal file (which is importable into Google Calendar, Outlook, Windows Live Calendar, etc.) or even view it as a world map.


31 July 2010: San Francisco

Tomorrow’s Web San Francisco

Tomorrow's Web San Francisco.pngTomorrow’s Web aims to bring young people together to learn from each other and provide unique real life networking opportunities. Each conference has a strong lineup of keynote speakers, as well as expert panels and workshops.

Tomorrow’s Web San Francisco is being held at Kicklabs, 250 Brannan Street, San Francisco. Kicklabs is San Francisco’s home to the best and the brightest startups in the business; a perfect venue to hold the first US Tomorrow’s Web Conference. Key speakers at Tomorrow’s Web 2010 San Francisco include Abby Laporte (Abby’s Road), Daniel Brusilovsky (Teens in Tech), Brian Wong (Follow Formation) and Chris Leydon (TinyGrab).

Tickets for attendance for both Tomorrow’s Web 2010 San Francisco and London, are now available for purchase and booking.

7 August 2010: London

Tomorrow’s Web London

Tomorrow's Web London.pngTomorrow’s Web aims to bring young people together to learn from each other and provide unique real life networking opportunities. Each conference has a strong lineup of keynote speakers, as well as expert panels and workshops.

Tomorrow’s Web London will take place on August 7th 2010 and is being held at the Park Crescent Conference Centre, 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN. Park Crescent Conference Centre is located right in the heart of London’s buzzing tech scene, overlooking the magnificent Regents Park; an easily accessible venue. Key speakers at Tomorrow’s Web 2010 London include Christian Owens (Branchr), James Gill (GoSquared), Josh Buckley (MiniMonsters) and Jonathan Grubin (MiniG Media Ltd).

Tickets for attendance for both Tomorrow’s Web 2010 San Francisco and London, are now available for purchase and booking.

24 August 2010: New York City

FundingPost Summer Venture and Angel Event

FundingPost has hosted 165-plus sold-out venture events in 19 cities over the past 9 years. At our next NY event, the panel of investors will focus on Early-Stage Venture Investing: How to meet investors, pitch them, and what it really takes to get them to write you a check!

We will be discussing trends in Early-Stage Investing, hot sectors, sectors that these Angels and VCs look at, things that are most important to them when they are considering an Investment, the best and worst things an entrepreneur can do to get their attention, additional advice for entrepreneurs, and, of course, the best ways to reach these and other Investors. There will be plenty of time for networking with the Investor panelists, both before the panel & after the panel at the Cocktail Party! Register here.

31 August 2010: Sydney, Australia

Real World Mobile

logo_aimia.gifAIMIA and VentureOne are delighted to announce the Real World Mobile event to be held in Sydney on Tuesday 31st August. And on Day Two, we present a series of case studies – extended in length and coverage. Key topics will be covered with the emphasis on how mobile transforms:
location and commerce; social networking; TV/video and games; customer experience – real world voice of the consumer; advertising and marketing including search & measurement; apps and augmented reality

Included in the program is a live panel of consumers, facilitated by Oliver Weidlich, Mobile Experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to question them: What is their experience of their mobile/s – how do they interact with content, apps, advertising and brands on mobile? What do they like and dislike? What are the real issues they have? What will they respond to in the future? Register here.

13 – 14 September 2010: Sydney, Australia

Open Source Software Pacific-Asia Conference

events_OSSPACOSSPAC is focused on helping enterprises of all sizes – businesses and government – learn how open source software can be used to reduce costs and increase efficiency in a scalable, reliable, and cost-effective way. Even though it provides plenty of technical sessions, the main audience for OSSPAC is IT managers, project leads, and executive management who are looking at leveraging open source in their organizations. We’re offering over 30 sessions on
topics ranging from Cloud Computing to the Economics of Open Source. For more information, please visit

16 – 17 September 2010: Boston

Security Forum Forum 2010

Forrester200x65.gifAs the global economy recovers in 2010, Security & Risk professionals must continue to balance tactical and technical responsibilities with the long-term strategic objectives of the business. To achieve this goal, you must aspire to transform your security organization from a reactive silo of technical security expertise to a proactive information risk management team. You must also adopt the same objectives and measures of success as the business.
This year’s Security Forum Forum 2010 will focus on: 1) evaluating the maturity and effectiveness of the security organization; 2) laying out a road map for architectural optimization and innovation; and 3) ensuring that the right skills, incentives, and metrics are in place for the long-term success of the security program.
Key questions that this forum will answer:

  • How do you measure the maturity and the effectiveness of the security and risk management practice and build a road map for the future?
  • How do you build a data security architecture to protect information no matter who has it and where it rests?
  • How can you apply enterprise risk management disciplines to information security?
  • How do you embed security throughout the network, not just on the perimeter?

Register here.

22 – 23 September 2010: Singapore

Social Media World Forum Asia

illus-banner-240.jpgSocial Media World Forum Asia is back for 2010. The event will be taking place at the larger venue – The Suntec Conference Centre – before the F1 Singapore night race. Two days of interactive and engaging conference featuring leading key figure keynotes, brand case studies, topical Q&A and debates, exhibition hall, workshops and networking. Speakers include:

  • Blake Chandlee, VP & Commercial Director, EMEA, Facebook
  • Nicki Kenyon, Vice President, Digital Marketing APMEA, MasterCard
  • Reynold D’Silva, Global Brand Marketing Manager, Unilever
  • Pooja Arora, Brand Manager, P&G
  • Thomas Crampton, Asia-Pacific Director, 360 Digital Influence, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
  • Lito S. German, Marketing Director, BMW Group Asia
  • Ranjeet-Shandu Singh, Digital Project Manager, Ogilvy One Singapore
  • Derek Yeo, Head of Marketing, Tiger Airways

  • 23 September, 2010: San Francisco, California

    Think Mobile

    1007_thinkmobile_250x250.gifThink Mobile, produced by Mediabistro, SocialTimes, and AllFacebook, is a one-day conference that explores the broadening mobile ecosystem, marketing opportunities, and the innovation that drives the industry. Mobile business leaders will discuss monetizing content, apps, advertising, and more, as well as best practices for developing and monetizing location services, targeted content, and augmented reality. Speakers include Starbucks CIO Stephen GIllett, Heart Magazines Digital Media Executive Director Kimberly Lau, Microsoft Sr. Product Manager Anand Iyer, Evernote CEO Phil Libin, Nielsen Global SVP of Mobile Media & Marketing Kanishka Agarwal, and more. Save 15% with discount code TMRWW.

    24 September, 2010: San Francisco

    Smartphone Games Summit

    1007_smartphone_250x250.gifThe Smartphone Games Summit is a single day conference produced by Charles Hudson and, focused on the emerging smartphone games space. As new developments emerge such as the iPhone Game Center, is it game over for a number of gaming companies, or does it open an even larger opportunity? How do newer technologies like the iPad change the game? The conference will bring together leading developers, investors, and executives from around the globe to share their collective wisdom on what’s working today and where this exciting industry is heading. The Smartphone Games Summit will touch on a number of key trends, including international trends in smartphone games, engaging smartphone game design, lessons from leaders, mobile social games, keys to successful monetization, and building and executing a successful distribution strategy. Save 15% with discount code SPRWW.

    29 – 30 September 2010: New York City

    Location-Based Marketing Summit

    Location-Based Marketing Summit.jpgLocation-Based Marketing Summit is the leading event for Fortune 1000 companies seeking to maximize marketing, commerce and business strategies using location-based services. Attendees receive focused, practical and valuable industry insight that can be immediately utilized in developing a location-based strategy.
    We give you an inside look at the location based marketing activities of major brands. Hear from companies who’ve made the journey and learn from their experiments and activities. Location-Based Marketing Summit helps you cut through the hype and separate buzz from success. Speakers include VaynerMedia, New Jersey Nets, Tasti D-lite, Deep Focus, Adweek,, Yelp, SimpleGeo, Geodelic, and more.
    Use our special ReadWriteWeb promo code RWWVIP to save an extra $100 off registration.

    5 October 2010: New York City


    events_finfall_1010.jpgFinovateFall will return to Manhattan on Tuesday, October 5 to showcase dozens of the biggest and most innovative new ideas in financial and banking technology from established leaders and hot young companies. The Fall event is the original and largest Finovate and features a single day packed with our special blend of short, fast-paced onstage demos (no slides are allowed) and intimate networking time with top executives from the innovative demoing companies.

    FinovateFall is a unique chance to see the future of finance and banking before your competition and find the edge you need in today’s market. Early bird registration rates are available.

    7 – 8 October 2010: Washington, D.C.

    Business Process And Application Delivery Forum 2010

    Forrester200x65.gifAs an Application Development & Delivery or Business Process professional, your efforts not only serve the business but also empower your business to succeed despite rapid change. But every day brings faster-changing business dynamics. Business Process And Application Delivery Forum 2010 will arm you with the knowledge, insight, and practices you need to meet demanding expectations from your CEOs, COOs, CxOs, agency heads, and directors and deliver the kind of breakthrough and sustainable business value you know your organization must achieve.
    Application Development & Delivery professionals will learn to:

    • Transform delivery organizations. See how organizations apply Lean and Agile to rethink how they align with and deliver against current and anticipated business strategies and demands.
    • Drive innovation. Learn how to improve delivery flow and drive software innovation to bring greater business differentiation and higher customer and constituent satisfaction.
    • Thrive in a dynamic business and technology world. Identify new practices and technologies that organizations use to design, deliver, and measure breakthrough and sustainable business value.

    Business Process professionals will learn to:

    • Drive business process management into the organization. See how organizations embrace business process management (BPM) to deliver sustainable business value.
    • Empower employees to make change. Learn what skills, disciplines, and technologies organizations utilize to accelerate innovation and change.
    • Differentiate customer and constituent service experiences. Discover how organizations put the customer first to design and deliver breakthrough customer service and support processes.

    Register here.

    7 – 8 October 2010: Washington, D.C.

    Content & Collaboration Forum 2010

    Forrester200x65.gifToday, the people in your organization have unprecedented expectations for driving better, faster business outcomes using content and collaboration technologies. Harnessing the trends that underlie those expectations in order to drive real business outcomes — like revenue growth, reduced operating expense, and improved return on assets — requires IT to assume a new leadership position. On top of building engaging Web experiences to drive revenue and reduce service costs, Content & Collaboration (CC) Professionals must optimize portal, search, collaboration, and eDiscovery strategies that enhance employee productivity while mitigating risks. CC professionals require a new set of skills to address the culture, process, and technology changes amid this groundswell of business technology expectations.
    To capitalize on these changes, CC professionals at the Content & Collaboration Forum 2010 will learn to:

    • Engage customers across emerging channels. Learn how empowered employees can better serve customers using social, cloud, mobile, and video technologies.
    • Innovate by harnessing the power of collaboration. See how leading organizations are using organizational models, tool sets, and new skills to accelerate innovation with collaboration platforms and tools like social networks.
    • Accelerate your strategy while balancing risk and return. Learn to optimize processes and tools like enterprise content management, eDiscovery, search, and intranet portals to mitigate risks and maximize information discovery, use, and re-use.

    Register here.

    18 October 2010: Washington D.C.

    Digital East 2010

    Digital east logo.jpgDE10 will feature over 50 leading industry speakers addressing best practices on topics including Social Media, Online Advertising, E-commerce, Cloud Computing, Web Analytics, Search, Email and more. When registering, use the code RWW50m for 20% off.

    25 – 27 October 2010: Beijing

    The China Mega-Forum for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

    CE LOGO.jpgChina Entrepreneurs presents The China Mega-Forum for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Gathering more than 1000 professionals over the course of three days, this forum will place attendees at the heart of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in China. Joined by more than 400 elite high growth ventures, 200 prominent investment firms, and 60 premier-level speakers, attendees will be immersed into a full schedule of high-level content and unparalleled networking. Highlights include:

    • High-level Panel Sessions on important topics encompassing China’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
    • The Morning Market, giving firms the opportunity to showcase their businesses
    • Over 20 unique entrepreneurship workshops
    • Gala Dinner and Award Ceremony for the CE Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Awards
    • Over 45 investor presentations and one-on-one meetings with VC’s, PE’s and Angel Investors

    For further information, visit

    28 – 29 October 2010: Chicago

    Consumer Forum 2010

    Forrester200x65.gifMore than 10 years ago, just a few industries scrambled to cope with new Web-based, consumer-empowering tools like comparison shopping engines and direct banks. Now it’s Twitter, YouTube, and foursquare. These tools have put more power in the hands of individuals than ever before.
    Whether you are running an online-only firm or one business unit of a global firm, Forrester’s Consumer Forum 2010 will provide specific answers to the critical issues of consumer change and empowerment that are confronting all consumer-facing companies today. The time to unleash your employees and transform your company is now, and this event will showcase ideas, best practices, and case studies to help you do it. As an exciting addition to this year’s Consumer Forum, we’ll be featuring content and ideas from Forrester’s new book, Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business, by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, slated for release just weeks before the event.
    Key questions this forum will answer:

    • How has the rise of empowered consumers changed customer relationships with B2C firms?
    • What kinds of leaders do you need at your firm that can help unleash employees to solve customer problems?
    • Which firms have best tapped into the creativity of employees to serve empowered consumers?
    • How are consumers using their mobile devices for product research and decisions?
    • What is the role of social media in engaging customers across channels?
    • What impact will pervasive video and connectivity have on customers?
    • What new opportunities exist for firms to connect with empowered consumers?
    • How do firms create metrics and incentives that measure and promote employee empowerment?
    • What new organizational models best empower employees to serve customers?

    Register here.

    2 November: London

    Mobile Cloud Computing World Forum

    Mobile Cloud Computing World Forum.jpgMobile Cloud Computing World Forum will provide a full perspective of mobile cloud computing and SaaS from business value through integration and implementation and to the emergent trends in the industry. Get the scoop on the latest products, meet with clients and drum up new business with valuable leads. Meet some of the best known mobile cloud computing and SaaS professionals in person and exchange your experiences.

    Show Highlights include:

    • 1 day conference and exhibition on Enterprise Mobile Cloud Computing and Enterprise Apps
    • Hear from leading case studies on how they have integrated mobile into their working practices
    • Learn from the key players offering Mobile products and services
    • Benefit from our pre-show online meeting planner
    • Network in our combined exhibition and catering area
    • Evening networking party for all attendees

    To book now or for more information visit

    9 – 10 November, 2010: Chicago

    Forrester’s Sourcing & Vendor Management Forum

    Forrester200x65.gifUnprecedented changes are under way in how business identifies, sources, and manages the technologies that drive innovation, growth, and competitive advantage. SVM pros must embrace a new set of skills and commit to getting ahead of technology and market innovations to ensure that their organizations achieve business value from these changes. This Forum will arm you with the knowledge, insight, and practices that you need to:

    • Empower the business. Learn how to empower employees and embrace self-provisioned technologies like SaaS and social media.
    • Drive innovation. Explore how to take your firm to the next level of innovation through next-generation vendor governance models like multisourcing.
    • Sustain competitive advantage. See how leading organizations continue to drive increased value from their suppliers through new service delivery models.

    For additional details please see:

    17-18 November 2010: Lausanne & Geneva, Switzerland

    Cloud and ICT 2.0 Summit

    TT_CLOUD_135x101.jpgThe European Tech Tour Association is launching its newest vertical event with its inaugural Cloud & ICT 2.0 Summit, the Catalyst of the Cloud Computing Industry in Europe. Its focus is on celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe and on raising global awareness for the top 25+ European start-up companies in the cloud computing field that are making their mark in the industry.

    The Cloud ICT & 2.0 Summit is interested in European Cloud Computing companies with the potential to become global leaders in their market. The deadline for company applications is September 3, 2010. Register here now.

    29 – 30 March 2011: London

    Social Media World Forum Europe

    london-media-200.jpgSocial Media World Forum Europe: Two days of interactive & engaging conference featuring leading key figure keynotes, brand case studies, topical Q&A and debates, exhibition hall, workshops and networking.

    Social Media World Forum Europe is continuing to evolve and deliver an event which is second to none, ensuring our audience receive the maximum potential from attending our shows. New for 2011 we have introduced interactive panel discussions, live streamed debate sessions, collaborative learning, break-out group discussions, open Q&A portions in every session, open workshops, with group discussions and interactive zones within the exhibition hall. We have introduced the Online Marketing Toolbox Workshops, educating in all elements of the online marketing mix, such as SEO, Paid Search, Affiliate, Mobile & Apps. The perfect toolbox to complete your online marketing strategy.

    Download this entire events calendar in iCal format.


    Reports Of The Mouse’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    This post is by from TechCrunch

    Click here to view on the original site: Original Post

    The Magic Trackpad (if I must call it that) has generated some controversy on the TC network. MG thinks it signals the end of the mouse era. I think it’s a great tool but is being lauded by a group of people unfamiliar with decent mice (read: Mac users). I happen to love both Apple’s trackpads and great mice at the same time, but it seems to me that we’re overlooking the real conflict here. And as it turns out, mice and trackpads (magic or otherwise) are on the same side.

    The next generation of input is already here; chances are you have it in your pocket. Yet, advanced as it is, there are fundamental shortcomings that will prevent it from completely supplanting the interfaces we’ve grown up with.

    Continue reading…