Mobile subscriber growth in the U.S. slows to a standstill

The mobile industry saw its slowest quarter of overall subscriber growth since the dawn of the cellular age. Without new customers to connect, carriers are stealing them from one another and looking toward M2M for future growth.

Want to be a gamification expert? Get certified

Gamification, that buzz word panned as hype by some, has increasingly won over companies, investors and even research firms like Gartner, which now predicts half of all companies will use gamification by 2015. So what’s next? How about gamification certification?

What Local Social Commerce Needs to Really Take Off

Last week, a handful of local e-commerce and interactive marketing announcements from Groupon, eBay, and others hinted at future accelerators for the already-hot social commerce space. For social commerce to really take off, suppliers must tap national marketing budgets, fine-tune personalized offers and expand beyond customer acquisition into retention.

How Online Startups Can Build Audiences on the Cheap

Facebook and search engine optimization are still useful marketing tools for online startups wanting to build audiences. Let’s examine how a startup making consumer apps or online services can get that much-coveted first million or two users as cheaply as possible.

How Online Startups can Build Audiences on the Cheap

Last week, two prominent investors declared in blog posts that key marketing tactics favored by consumer startups were no longer viable. There’s no more free lunch, they said, you can’t build an audience off of search engine optimization or Facebook anymore. The truth is, there never was any free lunch, and no single marketing tactic – by itself – is ever enough.

Today in Social

Remember when dotcom Super Bowl ads heralded The End? Not to be a doomsayer or anything, but social commerce startups are in the game, or nearby. AllThingsD wonders if Groupon’s spot – added at the last minute when somebody backed out, likely for $3 million – will flop or pay off. Groupon’s using edgy agency CP+B for its creative, and the Super Bowl should be about branding rather than making a big, server-crashing offer. But we’ll see. Groupon was already in the pregame show, where it will be joined by number two daily deal site LivingSocial. LivingSocial seems to have done well by a massive offer that may or may not have been funded by Amazon, that’s got a big stake in the company. It says 40% of the 1.2 million takers came from viral passalong, but does that mean they were new customers?

The Business That Powers Local Social Media

“Local” and “social” go together like bread and butter. Add “mobile” and you’ve a trio of hot technologies that’s attracting capital from investors and big companies alike. For consumers, there are obvious synergistic experiences: mobility is local by definition, as are many social activities like physical-world shopping and going out for entertainment. But what’s the business that is driving this trio right now?

Cost of Customer Acquisition – What Is It?

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Editor’s Note: Contributor and serial founder Aruni Gunasegaram has written recently about her experiences fundraising for her current startup, BabbleSoft, in My Funding Toolkit and A Founder’s Tale: Angels vs. VCs. Today Aruni shares with us her insights on another major founder’s challenge: the cost of acquiring customers.

One of the interesting things about fundraising is the different perspectives you get from potential investors. If they spend enough time to really understand what you are trying to do, they offer great feedback, suggestions, and advice. They also sometimes ask a tough question or two.

I officially started the fundraising process a couple of weeks ago and have had a couple of meetings and a few more set up in the coming weeks. Since many of these angel investors are really busy, getting on their calendar can take weeks!

One question I was asked had to do with the cost of customer acquisition. It’s so hard to tell what that might be, given the uncertainty and newness of many business concepts out there (including mine) today. I searched and searched and oddly only found very dated ancient info (i.e., 1999 – 2001) figures for sites like Amazon.com. At a high-level, the cost of customer acquisition is how much it costs to get a customer/visitor to your site. Read More about Cost of Customer Acquisition – What Is It?