Unlock the potential of incentives with Kiip

Kiip RewardsPeople love free stuff. Giveaways, samples, kitschy mugs and t-shirts, you name it.

But free is easily abused and quickly forgotten.

When customers get something for free, they often fail to appreciate the value they are getting. So, how can businesses get more for their marketing dollars?

Make customers ‘earn it.’

Kiip allows mobile app developers and brands to reward users for accomplishments they make. The company’s tagline, “every achievement deserves a reward,” underscores its approach.

“For us, it’s all about the timing. Kiip allows your brand to reach users during achievements — these moments of elation, either with real, tangible rewards or gifts of virtual currency.”

What’s better than completing level 25 after two hours of frustration? Getting a nice reward for doing so.

Users no longer take your offers for granted and feel more brand loyalty because they earned it. Big brands such as McDonald’s, Amazon, Pepsi, 7-Eleven, and Sony Music use the platform to offer promotions.

And it’s not just for brands and games. Kiip’s rewards platform has been used by the productivity app Any.Do and for the fitness app SoFit as well as others.

Demonstrating impact on mobile marketing

Kiip is designed to support marketers’ efforts in creating an emotional connection with brands and increase customer engagement. The company claims in a press release that businesses joining the network have initial engagement rates of 15 percent, compared to the industry average 0.4 percent click-through rate.

While the company is still in its infancy, it has already garnered its share of plaudits. Business Insider has gone as far as saying “[Kiip's CEO] may have cracked the future of mobile advertising.”

Learn more about Kiip for businesses here.

 

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‘Venmo’ App at the Core of the “Future of the Wallet”

Welcome to Mozy’s App Profile, where we introduce new programs seeking to improve the way we live and socialize. This week, Mozy takes a look at Venmo, an app that enables users to quickly and seamlessly exchange money with each other.

Vennmo Mobile PaymentsThere have been a lot of exciting advances in mobile payment options, especially in the retail and commerce industries.

For instance, Square Wallet enables users to setup house accounts with their favorite stores. Then, using its GPS technology, users don’t even have to take out their phone to make a purchase (they just have to tell the cashier their name).

With a similar pre-setup account, Uber, a GPS tracking taxi service, removes the payment process entirely from the experience, instead focusing on locating a taxi and then (optional) rating the driver.

There are many other prime examples of advancing this credit card-free atmosphere—except for a person-to-person exchange. And that’s where Venmo comes into play. While PayPal is more tailored for interacting with people you do not know or trust (i.e. eBay sellers), Venmo enables users to quickly and seamlessly exchange money with each other.

But what is also unique about Venmo is that it makes payment social.

“Every payment includes a personal note explaining the social context behind the payment,” said Venmo co-founder Andrew Kortina. “People can share these payment notes with their friends, creating a news feed of all the things your friends are doing together when they happen to pay each other back: going to lunch with colleagues, splitting dinner or drinks, attending concerts, taking trips, or just sending friends money for their birthdays.”

The Venmo iPhone and Android apps also connect your phone with your bank, debit or credit card, and you can instantly send money to anyone for free. When you receive money, you can withdraw it to your bank account overnight.

Even though Venmo is more or less the first of its kind, that hasn’t stopped Kortina from thinking even further down the line.

“We’re continuing to improve [the person-to-person] experience, but now also expanding to other types of payments,” said Kortina. “For example, Venmo Touch allows you to pay with one touch inside different apps on your mobile device, so you don’t have to constantly re-type your credit card details.”

While Venmo replaces a lot of transactions that might previously have used cash, it also may enable new spending behaviors. For example, next time you want to send a friend who’s home sick $5 for chicken soup, your smartphone makes possible what wasn’t possible with cash.

 

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Technically Speaking: Links of the Week – Sept 16

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a high-tech camera lens that attaches to smartphones, the release date of Microsoft’s new Xbox console, and the launch of this year’s iTunes Music Festival. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

New Xbox One Hits Shelves in November

Microsoft Xbox One

The long-awaited arrival of Microsoft’s new Xbox console is finally here. It’s been eight years since the company releases the Xbox 360, and now the software giant is rolling out the Xbox One, which is “all-in-one system to align games, TV and entertainment,” according to Samantha Murphy Kelly of Mashable.

The new console, which is set to go on sale on Nov. 22, allows users to stream movies, watch television and (of course) play games. An upgraded version of Microsoft’s Kinect sensor is included, so gamers can use gestures to control what happens on screen. Many gamers will line up to by the $499 console, while others will grab the comparable Playstation 4 from Sony, which will also be released next month for $399.

Apple’s iTunes Festival Features Original Concerts from Big-Name Artists

The beginning of September marked the start of Apple’s iTunes Festival, held London. The event features a live performance from a different artist every night of the month. Kevin Bostic of Apple Insider reports that “in total, more than 60 artists will perform in the festival, including Justin Timberlake, Ellie Goulding, Dizzee Rascal, and Robin Thicke.”

Apple has also updated its iTunes Festival app for iOS, and it allows all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users to stream video from the concert.

Sony Creates Camera that Attaches to Your Smartphone

Sony’s new QX Smart Lens series of smartphone accessories combine the quality of top-notch camera lenses with the convenience of smartphones. According to Vlad Savov of The Verge, the Sony product includes a zoom lens, image sensor and processing chips, a battery, and stereo microphones. The lens connects to smartphones via Wi-Fi, takes photos, and allows users to share them from their phones right away.

Kindle’s MatchBook to Offer E-Books to Owners of Printed Books at a Discount

Are you the type of reader who has resisted switching to e-books because you feel a certain nostalgia for printed novels? Well, you’re not alone. Amazon is giving you the best of both worlds with the creation of its new Kindle MatchBook program, says Jeff Bercovici of Forbes.

The new program, which starts in October, will allow consumers to to purchase cheap e-copies of books they’ve already bought in hardcover or paperback. They can also buy both the printed edition and e-book edition of a specific title for a discounted price.

Mozy Pet Contest Winners

It’s raining cats and dogs here at Mozy! We had a bunch of very cuddly entries in our pet picture contest from our August newsletter. Each entry wins a Mozy Saved My Bacon frisbee. See all of the amazing entries here:

 

In the end it was an extremely tough choice but we were able to narrow the field down to our five favorite furry friends. The five winners below win $25 Amazon.com gift cards.

We’ll be reaching out to the winners via email to help them claim their prizes. Here’s a picture of the great Mozy Saved My Bacon frisbee:

Mozy Saved My Bacon Frisbee

Get action-oriented with analytics from Spinnakr

For years, digital marketers have told businesses why they need web analytics.

Many listened and eagerly installed a few lines of code onto their website to track visitors with programs like Google Analytics — because that was easy. They regularly checked their account taking in a broad overview of traffic numbers. That was also easy. But they did nothing more.

Why did they stop there?

That’s because it takes a dedicated data analyst to sort through the numbers, which can be costly and time consuming. But who has the money or time for that?

From insight, to recommendation, to action in real-time

Spinnakr, a web analytics platform that came out of beta last month and raised almost $1 million in funding from investors including 500 Startups and Andreessen Horowitz, provides a new and easier alternative for website owners who need more from their analytics tools than just hard numbers.

Spinnakr Analytics Screenshot

Spinnakr provides real-time analytics to help you discover important insights and trends related to your web traffic that, once targeted, can almost instantaneously impact your bottom line. According to the company’s profile on Angel List, Spinnakr “does all of the work for you — from insight, to recommendation, to action in real-time.”

First, the software identifies unusual trends in traffic and instead of spitting out numbers that take careful deciphering, it tells you in plain words what happened.

“You have a traffic spike from WSJ.com.”

J. J. Colao of Forbes reports, “With a snippet of code inserted into a client’s webpage, Spinnakr analyzes web traffic for a week, taking note of traffic sources, volume and user behavior. When the company detects an unusual traffic event–say a spike in volume or an out-sized source of referrals–it automatically notifies the website owner with a summary of the event.”

Next, Spinnakr recommends what to do with the new information and enables you to act on the recommendation without hassling your tech team.

Jordan Novet of GigaOM spoke with Spinnakr co-founder Adam Bonnifield who said, “If there are traffic spikes that happen in real time, you just let the user know about that, and you give them the power to just type out a message, which gets automatically deployed to the website.”

In the above example, it’s a rapid-response system for traffic spikes.

Optimize for visitor segments

Spinnakr also allows you to tailor your website for different visitor segments, such as speakers of foreign languages, potential recruits or Facebook users.

Bonnifield told Hamish McKenzie of PandoDaily, “The app will benefit sites that get a lot of organic traffic, and businesses that get different value from different kinds of customers.”

Think of it as a simple, customizable real-time landing page. No coding skills necessary.

With Spinnakr, you can optimize your conversion rate without bothering IT, and even receive recommendations for HOW to optimize your site. No more excuses, just more leads and sales.

Spinnakr provides tiered pricing based on the number of sites you want to track, the number of recommendations you want to receive, and the amount of incoming traffic your sites get. Spinnakr’s “small” plan costs $18 per month for use on 1 site with up to 1,000 unique visitors, and comes with 10 actionable recommendations. Custom plans start at $500 per month. For the risk-averse, there’s also a free plan that is “enough to get started and all you need for smaller sites.”

Sign up for Spinnakr at its website.

 

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Vizify, a new way to recruit and visualize candidates

VizifyIf you are a small business that is hiring, you may notice plenty of candidates look pretty good on paper.

An M.B.A. here. A perfect G.P.A. there. Experience leading a multi-national team.

All those things are added bonuses, for sure. But don’t forget that the perfect candidate must be compatible with your company’s culture. Unfortunately, that’s not something you can extract from a resume. An enthusiastic cover letter may help, but it does not paint the full picture of who the candidate is as a person, and if you and your team would enjoy bringing her or him in as part of the family.

How else can you evaluate job applicants before bringing them in for an interview?

Visualizing a cultural fit

Todd Silverstein founded Vizify after he identified an opportunity to help individuals “Make a great online impression today.”

Silverstein spoke with more than 200 individuals involved in Human Resources and discovered that their biggest pain point when hiring is finding candidates that fit the firm’s culture.

Vizify allows users to create customizable interactive graphical bios (personal infographics) that extract insights about you from your social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Foursquare). Of course, users must first grant permission to link accounts.

Vizify bios highlight essential information about an individual — location, education and work experience — which viewers can drill down on. Recruiters, in just a glance, can easily digest top-level information about a candidate, faster than skimming a resume.

Also, a graphical bio, unlike a resume, tells the story about who the individual is as a person. In addition to demonstrating impressive qualifications, job seekers can demonstrate agreeable character.

Businesses can take full advantage of the platform to recruit better talent. Bios give recruiters a visual representation of who the candidate is personally and professionally to help HR decide if a particular candidate is a proper fit for the firm, and thus, worthy of a callback or interview.

The company is focused on helping users show off their personal brand. According to Silverstein, “we define our mission as helping to make you look awesome online.” He also disclosed that 1/3 of users use their Vizify bios in their job search, adding a link to their bio on their resume and LinkedIn profile.

“We’re a complement to the hiring process…. People deserve just as rich an online presence, identity… as they have offline. When you meet someone at a cocktail party, you don’t go through a dry list of ‘Oh, here’s what I did resume-wise.’ There’s color to it. You talk about places you’ve been, you talk about that holistically.”

Vizify in action

Silverstein uses his graphical bio as a personal website, which features bite sized infographics about the man himself.

What do these say about Silverstein?

His favorite author is Herman Melville, he likes his coffee 8 times a day, and if he could meet one person that has made history, that would be Genghis Khan.

Whether you’re a colleague, investor, Vizify user, or a complete stranger, Silverstein’s bio helps to paint a picture of who he is, and whether or not you two might get along. Mentioning Moby-Dick will surely win you points.

Former Director of Marketing Arwa Jumkawala thinks of her bio as “the place I’d like people to go to if [people] want to hear more, learn more about me because I’ve curated it to tell the exact story that I would like people to see about me.”

Winning with Vizify

Jumkawala’s bio has been particularly useful now that she is a freelance marketing and PR consultant who has to sell her personal brand in addition to her accomplishments, experiences and diverse skill set.

Another advantage of Vizify bios is its SEO-optimized pages. Differentiated names, like Jumkawala’s are certain to rank well in the search results (a Google search for her name puts her bio near the top). In many cases, Silverstein’s included, users may find that their Vizify bios show up above their personal LinkedIn profile and Twitter account. The latest post on the Vizify blog shares tips on how to improve your bio’s rank in Google’s search results.

Although Vizify doesn’t want to be seen as purely a recruiting resource, businesses can always ask job applicants to create a Vizify profile to help identify a proper cultural fit. Recruiters may also Google the applicant’s name and hope the applicant was proactive enough to create a Vizify bio that shows how (s)he would be perfect for the job.

When asked about how Vizify uses bios in its recruiting process, Jumkawala says, “We recently just hired someone to come in to do customer service and they were asked specifically to include their Vizify. We were a little surprised by the number of candidates who still applied without it.”

Absent-minded applicants aside, employers and job seekers have yet to fully adopt Vizify bios as part of the recruiting process. But they would be wise to.

 

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What Businesses Want: Collaboration and Group Work Tops New Survey Responses

Ideas and CollaborationYou might call it an idea generation.

A new survey suggests that collaboration is the driving factor behind business’s evolution in the global economy. We may well be among a new breed of increasingly online teams — teams who are defining an era, one group-project innovation at a time.

Conducted by Prezi, the findings in the report show a community that prizes creativity and the kind of bringing together of ideas that fuels growth. That’s a key message. Turning to the numbers, and the participants, we consider what it means for the thinkers and doers that are moving their companies forward.

Idea Economy, Idea Generation

The workplace is changing under the influence of the digital space.

From open-source developers to the advent of the freelance staff and remote-location interactivity, old-school structures are being replaced by something else.

“Our team brainstorms and exchanges ideas everyday,” said Mike Butera, CEO and founder of Artiphon, a Nashville-based company with employees all over the globe that has recently launched a musical instrument that combines iOS and hardwood. “We depend on real-time collaboration tools … to help us demonstrate our instrument to musicians and pitch to investors regardless of everyone’s location.”

Prezi’s survey shows what may well be evidence of the shift that’s manifest in that kind of work environment — a redefinition of what’s essential to how a project unfolds.

  • 97% of the survey takers said the best ideas are team-driven concepts.
  • With team-driven concepts are happening in real time, version control is imperative. 27% of those polled said losing that control is the number one impediment to success.
  • It’s the results that matter. Reputation isn’t a result. In fact, 42% of the respondents to the survey said creativity was more important than experience to a business team, and 37% said that efficiency took a back seat to creativity.

The numbers suggest a kind of proof is in the pudding mentality. Rock stars can be replaced by the next bright young players.

Further still, more than a quarter of the survey participants said that over the past five years their companies have dramatically increased their budget for design. In the realm of the idea economy, businesses want to see new concepts made real, and they’re willing to take the time to foster them. And they’re spending money to do so. Creativity, collaboration, and the ability to work as a group toward a new idea — these are the skill sets of the idea generation.

 

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My name is Ben and I work for Mozy

Welcome back to another edition of “My name is…” blog series. This month we’d like you to meet Ben Nettesheim, our Senior Manager of eCommerce. Ben is the glue that ensures that all the different online tentacles that Mozy has out there are positioned for our benefit. Do our SEO words leverage online marketing campaigns? Do all of our website(s) convey the right message, the way they should? Do our online efforts make us even more stellar? Simply put, Ben is our eCommerce Yoda.

My name is Ben and I work for Mozy

I define my workspace as …
The website!

A device I can’t live without …
My Google Nexus phone, Hydro 5 Razor, and Old Spice Pure Sport deodorant.

When I arrive at work, I typically start off by …
Logging into my web dashboards. Who came to the website? Who purchased? Who left comments?

My work routine is …
Analyze, ask questions, and adjust the experience. Rinse and repeat.

I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …
I do! A Pandora quick mix is where I typically live. A variety of all sorts of music keep me going.

The best advice I can give a recent college graduate looking to do what I do is …
Get involved. Start your own blog or website. Implement some tracking for free like Google Analytics. Try making some cash off it for fun.

Outside of work, I am passionate about …
Wisconsin sports, Real Salt Lake, and the US National and Brazilian National Soccer teams. I also love being crazy w/ my young kids, camping in the beautiful Utah National Parks, and geeking out to tech news.
Author’s note: I wonder if Ben left off “Walking Dead” from his list intentionally?? Most of the Marketing team are die hard fans and other than sports talk – “Walking Dead” is high on the list!

My eating habits are …
I’m in charge of Sunday dinner in our family, so I have a lot of fun w/ that. Some of the fan favorites have been dubbed “Bensagna, Benoganoff, and “Man Roast.”

If I could be someone for a day – I would be …
Easy Peazy. Captain America. Give me an Adamantium shield and super human speed and strength, and I’m good to go!
Author’s note: Captain America…yeah…duh ☺ What Ben left out is that his family also dresses up for movie premières – I believe he was Snake Eyes for the G.I. Joe premiere. Ben can be counted on for dressing up for Halloween.

The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …
My wife and five kids. Yeah… a lotta sauce.

8 Upcoming Movie Remakes We Aren’t Sure We Need

As they’ve done time and time again, Hollywood is turning to the past to find the movies of the future.

Some people argue that with a quality initial film, you don’t need something new – that the original is something to be honored for it’s excellence. Likewise, if your original work is backed up and protected, you don’t need to recreate something you’ve already put a lot of time and effort into (unless you want to – or you think millions of people will pay to come and see it). Others say that if the original movie wasn’t that great (or, even if it is), that a fresh look could be the ticket to a film and a story that everyone enjoys.

Here are eight remakes you’ll be seeing in theaters over the next couple of years, with their original trailers and Rotten Tomato scores for reference. What do you think – are you looking forward to the remakes, or are you a tried and true “original” fan?

1. Robocop – (88%)


Remake Info Source

2. Jumanji – (50%)

Remake Info Source

3. The Jungle Book – (86%)

Remake Info Source

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – (44%)

Remake Info Source

5. Dirty Dancing – (72%)

Remake Info Source

6. The Mummy – (55%)

Remake Info Source

7. Overboard – (50%)

Remake Info Source

8. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – (75%)

Remake Info Source

‘Tinder’ presents: An app to discover those around you

'Tinder' presents: An app to discover those around youWhile it’s great to make new friends, meeting people can be awkward and uncomfortable. What will you talk about? Do you share similar interests?

Now there’s an app seeking to bridge the gap between “complete stranger” and “BFF”.

Mobile app Tinder displays short profiles (which include picture, name, age, and shared friends and interests) of people near you and allows you to express interest in making a connection or not. In the app, you can set your “preferences” to be matched with males and/or females, within 2 to 100 miles of your current location (location services enabled), between the ages of 18 and 50+.

If there is mutual interest in the parties getting to know each other, then the app allows both parties to connect, while still maintaining much valued user-privacy. Tinder doesn’t reveal your last name, email, or exact location. In fact, the app doesn’t have access to any more information than your current location and what’s available on your Facebook, and it is incredibly selective about the information it pulls from your account so stalkers and trolls won’t find you.

Once both parties agree to connect, Tinder’s chat feature allows users to send messages (text-only) back-and-forth until they are ready to take the relationship offline. Users can also abandon the conversation altogether and “block” people they don’t want as new friends.

But what about fraud?

Other matchmaking programs are littered with fake accounts of Jessica Alba and Joseph Gordon-Levitt lookalikes. Tinder solves that problem by linking to your Facebook account. In a way, this legitimizes the accounts created, presuming users are using their personal Facebook account. Your name and age are taken straight from Facebook, and you choose images for your Tinder profile from your Facebook albums.

In an interview with Issie Lapowsky at Inc. magazine, Tinder’s CEO, Sean Rad, shares how the app gained initial traction and grew, “We had been picking up on college campuses, then everyone went home and told their cousins and older brothers and friends about it, and all of a sudden Tinder started growing like a virus.” 

Although Tinder is used almost exclusively as a dating tool, J.J. Colao at Forbes reports Tinder’s intention to expand into business networking. This is ambitious given Tinder’s stigma as a dating app and, of course, users’ superficial nature. But anything is possible.

Let’s hope the app’s evolution brings new possibilities to mobile users who want to meet someone new, and not just for romantic purposes.

Download Tinder for free in the iTunes Store.

 

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