Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
A closer look at failing businesses. Call it bad news in a pretty package. The folks at Business Pundit have put together a handy infographic detailing the various aspects of where and why businesses are closing. Nearly 1.5 million businesses shut their doors in 2009 and with the help of maps, charts, and graphs, the feature attempts to explain why. Not surprisingly, big states like California, New York, and Texas lost the most businesses due primarily to such reasons as unaffordable loan payments, bankruptcy, and lack of consumer spending. The infographic also details which industry has been hit the hardest, a state-by-state breakdown of bankruptcy filings, and some notable businesses that are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
The Web is dead. Haven't you heard? Well, that's what Wired magazine is positing, based on our evolving use of Internet connectivity to do lots more than just search and read html-coded text. Apps, video, RSS, streaming, and peer-to-peer interaction are taking over, and creating a new paradigm - and it's no longer a World Wide Web world. Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff explain, with a stunning infographic as evidence.
Rewards for trying on clothes? There's an app for that. One of the biggest complaints with location-based check-in services like Foursquare is that the app's users can game the system by checking in when they are merely near a restaurant or store, and not necessarily in it. In those instances, the user is being "rewarded" for a visit that didn't happen nor help the retailer. A new app called Shopkick aims to close that loophole and reward customers for entering a store, scanning a barcode, and even entering a dressing room, The New York Times reports. An audio transmitter placed in participating stores emits a signal picked up by mobile phone's microphone, The Times writes. With each action, Shopkick users earn points called "kickbucks" that, when accumulated in large numbers, can be redeemed for gift cards, Facebook credits, and music downloads. Macy's, Best Buy, and American Eagle Outfitters are some of the first Shopkick partners. As TechCrunch writes, "This is all about foot-traffic."
If Shopkick doesn't, will Facebook kill Foursquare?Bloggerseverywhere (including our own) arebuzzing about tomorrow's announcement at Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters. Will what's been the biggest open secret in social media news actually happen? Check in tomorrow.
Marketing to women; what would grandma get you? It can be tricky getting inside the mind of any consumer but with slim representation by women among the ranks of retail and finance CEOs, marketers understandably end up misconstruing what women want. AdAge interviews Paco Underhill, the CEO and founder of Envirosell a research and consulting firm that studies retail and a service environments and he spoke about the consumer habits of the fairer sex. Advertisers often focus on the 30-and-under crowd but Underhill points out that the majority of discretionary income in the U.S. belongs to women over the age of 50. "For many women over the age of 50, one of the most important considerations in their lives isn't the things that they are acquiring themselves but the things they are acquiring for other people," he says. If you're looking for more insight into the minds of women, find out why they secretly enjoy business travel.
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