In February 2013, cloud-storage guru and founder of the now defunct MegaUpload Kim Dotcom began dropping hints that his new venture, Mega, was destined to be much more than a successor to MegaUpload. He said that in the coming years, the new company would expand to include, among other things, video, chat and calling services.
After Megaupload was shutdown as a result of the United States reporting Dotcom’s alleged copyright infringement to other countries, he decided to strategically locate his new venture in New Zealand. The relocation, Dotcom believes, is an affirmation of the company’s commitment to privacy. He felt that user data would be better protected in New Zealand which was important because, as Dotcom hinted, future Mega applications would require encryption. In fact, he criticized the popular video chat Skype for not having sufficient encryption to protect their users’ privacy. Mega received funding from BitCoin, a nearly untraceable payment platform that fit well with Mega’s theme of privacy and protection from the government.
Dotcom is currently battling to avoid extradition. His New Zealand mansion was raided in 2012, and he was subsequently arrested after being charged with criminal United States copyright violations. Dotcom countered by saying that the warrants used in the search were not legal and was able to get them invalidated in a June 2012 hearing. This bought him some time, however, the ruling was overturned, and he is now facing the possibility of extradition.
In late December 2014 ,nearly two years after that he had plans to go head-to-head with Skype by launching a fully encrypted video call service, Dotcom announced that he had done just that. MegaChat is a fully encrypted, in-browser video chat service in which registered users can enjoy end-to-end video and audio communication for free.
According to Dotcom, over half a million Mega users made encrypted video calls using MegaChat in the first hour following its launch on January 21, 2015. Dotcom also said he will roll out MegaChat beta one feature at a time. He stated via Twitter that text and video conferencing are on the way. MegaChat is expected to have over 100 million users by the end of 2015.
Since the Snowden debacle in which in was suggested that NSA has had access to users’ Skype chats since 2011, the future of the platform has been on shaky ground. With the proliferation of other web-based video and voice chat mediums such as Firefox Hello, a Firefox plug-in that allows ad-hoc anonymous, Skype-style chats and now the heavily encrypted MegaChat, Skype will have to reevaluate its models if it wants to say on top. Currently, they are working on a Web RTC-based plug-in for in-browser chat.
Pundits believe that since MegaChat’s end-to-end encryption gives it a clear advantage over Skype, it could very well turn out to be the “Skypekiller” that it claims to be. So far, its usability has proved fine, but only the coming months will tell whether or not MegaChat will live up to its lofty security claims. If it does, users might just find themselves hanging up on Skype forever and opting to use MegaChat instead.
With few exceptions, successful PR campaigns aren’t the result of dumb luck. A PR effort that achieves its objectives is almost always the result of careful planning and savvy execution. If you take the time to lay the groundwork, the second part of the equation will be far easier. There are at least four major elements that form the foundation of a winning PR campaign.
If you don’t know what you’d like to accomplish with your PR campaign, it’s going to be pretty difficult to hit any specific milestones. Before you do anything, come up with one or more concrete objectives that your campaign should achieve if all goes well. Consider factors like budget and time frame when you’re putting together a list of objectives to guide your strategy.
Knowing whose favor you’re trying to curry is one of the keys to a fruitful PR overture. Campaigns that are too broad tend to fizzle out since they’re trying to reach too many different target demographics. Campaigns that are too narrow in focus often deliver lousy ROI. Do some serious market research and figure out who you’re trying to influence before you begin.
Honesty and Transparency
Whether a PR campaign is meant to promote a business or deflect criticism, establishing trust and credibility should be a top priority. If you’re dishonest with your intended audience, it’s more than likely that they’ll find out about it sooner or later. Playing it fast and loose with the truth is a surefire way to see your campaign go down in flames.
Prudent Channel Selection
Nowadays, there are hundreds of ways to reach an audience thanks to the rise of the Internet. Everything from traditional press releases to social media contests can be used to move a PR campaign forward. Carefully selecting the appropriate message delivery methods for your PR campaign is the final piece of the puzzle. Fortunately, analytics and market research can show you what channels are most effective based on your target audience.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Establishing a solid foundation for a PR campaign before pulling the trigger is essential for several reasons. First off, a campaign without a clear vision is difficult to keep on track. Furthermore, it’s difficult to change horses midstream if you need to switch up your campaign’s focus. Once you have your blueprint worked out, stick to your itinerary and follow through.
These days, more and more business owners are realizing that attaining excellent PR services can help them take their companies to unprecedented levels of success. At the same time, many PR professionals and executives are realizing that they need to maintain a cutting edge perspective to ensure that they are offering their clients the most effective, expedient public relations services available.
As many PR experts know, the upcoming year should bring forth a plethora of new trends as well as established methodologies that public relations professionals will need to implement to stay on top. If you want to ensure that you know exactly where the PR industry is heading in 2015 so you can excel in this sector, consider the following three facts:
Content Is Still King.
Ever since web articles and blog posts became effective internet marketing tools, PR professionals have recognized an important truth: “Content Is King.” This old maxim references the fact that writing creative, compelling content that effectively advertises a brand’s products and services is likely the single most effective digital strategy that a PR firm can employ. And according to recent reports regarding which PR strategies will prove the most effective in 2015, content is still king. In a world where digital advertising has become increasingly competitive, PR professionals who are determined to get their clients’ names out there will have to work exceptionally hard at putting together innovative, identity-building content that stands out amidst a sea of other web articles and blog posts in the public domain.
Public Relations And Social Media Will Marry.
Numerous studies indicate that marketers are waking up to the fact that the worlds of public relations and social media are connected. Insomuch as public relations predicate their work on connecting with the public in meaningful ways, it makes sense that they would make use of engaging platforms such as social media to accomplish this objective. Since this is the case, public relations firms that are interested in making the most effective use of their resources should note that making social media advertising an integral component of the work they perform on behalf of clients is a good idea.
PR Firms That Help Mom Will Win.
Research indicates that mothers are gaining more economic power than ever. In fact, studies indicate that moms are now the primary source of income in almost half of homes with children. To capitalize on this fact, public relations professionals need to recognize that these mothers tend to be quite busy insomuch as they are juggling their work life and the domestic activity that takes place once they enter the home sphere. With that reality in mind, PR professionals should focus their marketing campaigns on providing mothers with goods and services that make their lives easier. Helping moms make the process of shopping, dining, sleeping, and exercising easier will enable PR firms to win their business and brand loyalty.
Summing It All Up
If you’re a PR rep who is serious about advancing your company’s interests in the year 2015, you should note that there are a plethora of new trends that should affect the shape and substance of your strategy for the upcoming year. By carefully considering the direction that the PR industry is heading next year, you can set your company up for a financially successful season. Good luck!
Q3 2014 was not kind to BlackBerry, once again. The company expected a drop in quarter 3, but a larger than projected drop has stock prices falling and management searching for answers. Worse, the missed sales projections included a month in which the BlackBerry Passport, the company’s latest moon shot to regain market control, was released.
Part of the issue comes from an outdated model that doesn’t fly in the current smartphone marketplace. For some time now, BlackBerry has brought in funds by charging fees for things like system access and other services mostly considered “basic.” However, that model simply doesn’t work in the current marketplace. Newer BlackBerry models don’t come with that built-in revenue source, so the company has to make up that lost income somewhere. They’re trying to do that in hardware sales.
And while losing the system fees and other outdated surcharges will help BlackBerry drop the “so yesterday” stigma in the current consumer marketplace, it may be too little too late. In a head to head contest with top smartphone brands, BlackBerry barely registers. iPhone is the clear leader, with Android phones standing strong at number two. Everyone else is an also-ran.
That’s a tough position for BlackBerry, once the undisputed leader of the smartphone revolution. Unfortunately for the brand, it now stands as a modern day object lesson in what happens when your brand fails to keep up with market trends. Not too long ago the BlackBerry was a legitimate status symbol. Now it’s widely seen as an industry dinosaur. Unfair? Probably. The phone still has a tremendous up side. But the company has largely failed to compete. Mainly because it ignored and then misjudged the changing marketplace.
The only way back for BlackBerry is a new form of PR. They need to change in a big way. Clinging to past glory and refusing to try anything new might slow their decline, but they are already living on borrowed time. The brand must do more than rebound. They must re-energize and re-attract consumers in order to make a real play for market relevance.
Ronn Torossian shares several key strategies – to help increase your brands value this Holiday Season.
The holidays are upon us, and everyone is thinking about ANYTHING but work. While those who actually succeed are hard at work trying to balance family, fun, and work, others are unknowingly preparing for a post New Years career slide they never manage to see coming. Don’t let this be you. Avoid the career pitfalls that come from making holiday mistakes. Instead, look to these career tips to advance yourself not in spite of – but because of – the festive season.
Get Stuff Done
Every fourth quarter something falls through the cracks. Then everyone just shrugs and blames Santa Claus. Instead of being one of those guys, look at ways you can be more efficient and creative. There is nothing quite as inspiring as beating your projections AND getting some good holiday fun in. You can be that person if you take the time to plan your work properly and look for ways to shine. Then … deliver.
Know What Suffers and Fix It
If you don’t work retail, chances are your business suffers in Q4. Avoid that end of the year letdown by looking at ways to avoid it. Instead of just accepting the status quo and becoming part of the problem, look for ways to advance a solution. Then bring other people in on the plan. Share the glory but keep the initiative. Your superiors, clients and coworkers will love you and your career will look nothing but up in Q1 of next year.
Take Part and Take Time
No one appreciates workaholics, particularly at the holidays. Some people think it raises their stock to Scrooge it out through December. Don’t be that guy. Instead, be the person who is so on their game they can embrace the holidays like Will Ferrell in Elf and still take the lead in getting things done. Don’t succumb to the largesse, but don’t eschew the frivolity. The keys here are ingenuity and balance. You are going to have to take time to figure this all out, but that investment will pay big dividends next year.
Work it at Parties
Everyone loves gossiping about the lampshade idiots at holiday parties. But everyone also remembers the people who make an awesome impression. Here are several ways to do exactly that. First, if your office does Secret Santa, skip the gift card and get something unique and interesting. Second, learn some jokes and fun, mostly tasteful (and relatively short) stories. You know all those conversation lulls that end up getting filled by some drunk sales guy? Head him off at the pass and steal the show with your oratory and conversation skills.
Sure, these aren’t foolproof steps. Alcohol and frivolity changes all the dynamics across the board, but employ these tips and you increase your chances to remain both gainfully and optimistically employed come January.
Other places you can find Ronn Torossian:
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, the founder of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, author of best selling PR book 'For Immediate Release' and a frequent contribituor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired and more!
Ronn Torossian at the NY Observer
Ronn Torossian at Everything PR
Ronn Torossian at Wired Innovation Insights