The wrong ways to market your business. In his latest blog post, tech entrepreneur Neil Patel explains seven common marketing mistakes made by start-ups that can actually end up doing more harm than good for your business. For example, Patel stresses that while hiring a PR firm to get your business mentioned in the Wall Street Journal may seem like a smart strategy, doing so won't necessarily increase your bottom line. Instead, he suggests putting more time into marketing efforts that have a more direct return on investment. Likewise, he advises against hosting contests and giveaways on your site as a way to drive traffic. As Patel explains, "If you have a good product or service, why should you have to stoop to that level." Among the other things to avoid are certain meta keyword tags, anchor text links at the bottom of every page, and useless splash pages. Patel's best advice, however, is that "there is no reason to rush things, as it will just cost you time and money. Plan things out and if you happen to make mistakes, learn from them and adapt quickly."
Networking site acquired by Salesforce.com. Jigsaw, a controversial start-up that paid people to upload contact information onto its website, has been sold to Salesforce.com for $142 million. Founded in 2004, the start-up initially drew the ire of TechCrunch's Michael Arrington who called it "evil" and declared, "Every Jigsaw employee and investor has dirty hands and they should be ashamed of themselves." Jigsaw subsequently stopped paying for contact information and began allowing users to opt out of its directory. According to TechCrunch, Salesforce plans to integrate Jigsaw into its CRM applications.
Boom times for tech are here again! Serial entrepreneur Seth Goldstein's spidey sense is tingling. Recalling the heady Monday back in January, 2000 when new media announced it was going to be bigger than old media (AOL buying Time Warner), Goldstein has a thoughtful, if not bullish post (via peHUB), about the signs that boom times are here again: Amazon's earnings, rumors of Yahoo and Microsoft acquiring Foursquare, BusinessWeek's piece on Zynga continuing to rake in millions from a virtual farm game, the New Yorker on the iPad and the Kindle , New York mag's cover story Life is Tweet, and Facebook's huge Open Graph news. "It feels like something big is about to pop," says Goldstein. "The wheels of capitalism are back in motion and liquidity is flowing from the top to the bottom of the cap structure. . . Web 1.0 bankers are reuniting to capitalize on the coming Web 2.0 IPO liquidity, and startups with big ideas, hockey stick user growth, but relatively little revenue, are commanding eight figure Series A valuations."
Like Apple, but for the elderly. In 2007, Charles de Vilmorin and Herve Roussel, a marketer and software developer team launched Linked Senior, an audio entertainment system targeted towards the elderly (via CNNMoney). While Apple devices might have elegant simplistic designs, Linked Senior needs to simplify the user interfaces even more and take into account things such as arthritic fingers and users's failing vision. The device consists of a touchscreen kiosk that is made to look more like a TV than a PC to comfort the technophobic, and an iPod-like mp3 player with extra large buttons. The company already has contracts with 30 retirement communities up and down the east coast and they just got started in July. See our past write-up of the Silicon Valley Boomer Business Plan Competition; the deadline for this year's contest is today.
JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey