How Snapchat snapped with its misleading claims

SnapchatLogoSnapchat, the service teens were using like crazy months ago and was almost bought by Google and Facebook, is now struggling to recover from a FTC settlement regarding its misleading communications with its users. They claimed that the pictures, videos & texts disappear immediately after the timer has expired, yet failed to provide sufficient safety mechanism to prevent print screens or screen captures by third party applications. For this reason, the FTC has imposed that they would have to run a security screening (paywall) program for the next 20 years. This is particularly funny because few analysts give Snapchat any chance of survival in the long run after this massive mess created by this FTC intervention.

Given that they already faced backlash due to a Contacts bug, exposing 4.6 million usernames & phone numbers, I don’t see them making much in the next 6 months, unless they radically change. Seems their CEO should have accepted Facebook’s 3 billion back in 2013.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Why Romania is a better base for tech and social media projects

KA-SAT_spot_beams_coverageRecently, Bloomberg did an extensive piece on how Romania is now a place where IT salaries have risen five fold since 2006. While this is good for the people working there and is in line with the fact that Romania has acceded into the EU, if the trend continues, wages will become a deterrent for new ventures, conversions or expansions of IT services.

Reporters at Bloomberg said that 12,000 Romanians work for the biggest 25 technology companies in the country and Oracle is the largest employer, according to Finance Ministry data. The number is still small, if you compare it to the UK market, where just over 1 million people work in information technology related jobs.

From my point of view, it’s not the salaries that the companies should look at when switching base from, for example, UK to Romania, but at something more key to the job itself – internet connection and infrastructure costs.

A decent broadband connection in Romania can start from just under 50 Eur, while one in the UK will start giving you headaches when the bill rolls in every month. What’s more, for every pound paid you’ll get less speed than for the euro paid in Romania and there will be times where you wish your pages would just load so you can post that reply or upload that module to the SaaS your business relies on.

Event if you might run into administrative delays or issues with the state representatives, the amount of work that an internet dependent company (shouldn’t they all be dependent now?) can do within the 8 hours/day traditional time frame is significantly higher.

It’s all a matter of infrastructure, from where I see it, because a happy web programmer and a happy social media person share the same trait – their internet is fast.

p.s. the longest wait when I wrote this was when I had to upload the Wikipedia image

Barrick and Newmont merger: What does that mean for Europe?

goldThere’s a lot of discussion in the financial world about the potential merger between the Barrick and Newmont, top two gold giants. FT said their combined output would place them in a position three times higher than AngloGold Ashanti, the third largest gold producer in the world.

It’s a stake of $0.5-1 bln synergy, a trial to reclaim shareholder value, to bounce back from the 60% drop they have seen in their stock charts. The drop is mainly due to the fact that gold prices have dropped below cash costs ever since early 2013 and have failed to rise in a consistent way even with the Ukrainian instability. But there’s something more to the merger than I’ve read in all articles.

The executives at both companies are quoted by journalists and analysts as being extremely Americas, Africa & Australasia focused. None of them have even mentioned the two companies’ investments in Europe, which is not a surprise, given the fact that they have no major direct stake in any of Europe’s largest exploration or operating vehicles. I only know of Barrick’s investment in Carpathian Gold (later acquired by Eldorado Gold) and Newmont’s in Gabriel Resources.

Other European operations are run by Agnico Eagle (Finland), Ortac Resources (Slovakia), Boliden (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Ireland), Dalradian Resources (Northern Ireland), EMED Mining (Slovakia), Orvana (Spain), Nordic Mines (Sweden), Eldorado (Turkey, Greece, Romania).

Will we see more movement in Europe after the giant merger? Or will they decide to divest and refocus on their traditional grounds?

Image source

Brands should whisper more

Last week, I stumbled upon a very interesting and rising anonymous, geo-location, text & picture based social network called Whisper. At first you might think it’s just a place for teenage rants, weirdos, shameful confessions, but it’s not.

whisper

A brand with the wit and the courage could go to Whisper and test products, test copy, get feedback, launch a new service or just brag a little. Here are strategies that could work.

Fashion brand for teens – cool and hip statements, true or not and confession games, quotes

Tech brands – post your latest gadget whispers

Industrials – whisper about the little things that make life work, like gas for your car, metals for your computer, watch, dishes, a “did you know that” campaign.

Want more? Drop me a line.