Bing Attacks Google Shopping With ‘Scroogled’ Campaign

Microsoft’s Bing search engine recently launched an ad campaign against Google called “Don’t Get Scroogled.”

The campaign calls into question Google’s ‘pay-to-rank’ search results on Google Shopping.

Formerly known as Google Product Search, Google Shopping initially used to list merchants for free. The company announced the switch to paid-only listings in May and started making the transition on October 17, according to Search Engine Land.

Microsoft has launched a website in which it tells users that they are getting dishonest search results when they use Google Shopping.

“In the beginning, Google preached, ‘Don’t be evil’ — but that changed on May 31, 2012,” reads the Scroogled website. “That’s when Google Shopping announced a new initiative. Simply put, all of their shopping results are now paid ads […] When you limit choices and rank them by payment, consumers get Scroogled. For an honest search result, try Bing.”

In a video posted on site, Bing warns, “Sure, they say your search is sorted by relevance, but the truth is Google sells their shopping results. They Scroogle you by defining relevance as how much they’re getting paid. Don’t get scroogled, you may be missing out on the best prices and highest quality products.”

The site encourages users to share horror stories of bad Google searches and tells people to “warn your friends now” via Facebook and Twitter. There are also buttons to “Try Bing” and “Make Bing your homepage.”

In response, Google has released the following statement:

“Google Shopping makes it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for, compare different products and connect with merchants to make a purchase. With new 360-degree, interactive product images, social shopping lists and a fast growing inventory of more than a billion products worldwide, Google is a great resource for shoppers to find what they need, at great prices for their loved ones this holiday season.”

But is Bing as honest as it claims to be?

According to the Associated Press, Bing has not accepted payments that affect the order of search results since it re-branded in 2009. However, the search engine’s shopping section includes listings from Shopping.com, a service based on referral fees that does in fact accept payments for inclusion.

Our Opinion

Yes, Bing does seem a little less ‘evil’ compared to Google… but Microsoft is no angel. It would be a different story if Bing were being completely honest in its claims, but at this point the search engine does not state which results are paid for and which are not.

As it turns out, both the attackers and the attacked are not as pure as they would like users to believe.

Google is by far the leading search engine with Bing running a distant second, which makes it easy to understand Bing’s desperation to drive traffic to it’s site.

AIM Asian Forum On Corporate Social Responsibility

25-26 October 2012
Bangkok Shangrila Hotel, Thailand

The annual AIM Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (AFCSR) is organized by the Asian Institute of Management – Ramon V. del Rosario Sr. Center for Corporate Responsibility (AIM-RVR Center).

The AFCSR is known to be the most significant conference on corporate social responsibility in Asia. The event is attended by various professionals—senior business executives, academicians, civil society as well as government organizations.

This year’s conference offers productive and informative sessions and topics stemming from the theme, Innovative Approaches To Creating Value for Business and Society, and will be supported by a framework that showcases the creation of innovative CSR programs while generating stakeholder engagement. Plenary and breakout discussions will revolve around five core topics, namely: assessment of the firm’s culture; development of the program; prototyping and evaluating; systematizing and implementation; and finally, embedding and encouraging CSR.

Capping off the two-day event is the Asian CSR Awards and the Intel-AIM Corporate Responsibility Award ceremonies and gala dinner, which seeks to recognize companies in Asia for their projects and programs on CSR.  The Asian CSR Awards will be given in four categories, namely: Environment and Value-Chain Management, Governance and Society, Labor and Employee Engagement, and Product Responsibility and Consumer Rights while the IACRA will go to an organization that has fully embedded CSR throughout the aforementioned focus areas.

http://www.asianforumcsr.com

Digital Marketing Masterclass By Michael Leander

27-28 May, 2013 – Sheraton Hotel, Karachi

29 May, 2013 – Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore

Pakistan Advertisers Society (PAS) is organizing a Digital Marketing Masterclass by Michael Leander, an award winning speaker and  international trainer from Denmark. PAS will first hold a 2-day workshop in Karachi, followed by a 1-day workshop in Lahore.

Highly praised at PAS Digital Marketing conference ‘DIG-IT 2012’, PAS has taken the initiative to conduct hands-on workshops with Leander where he will share his expertise and experience through especially designed workshop for the Pakistani industry.

The masterclass is aimed at marketers who wish to advance their brands, improve their digital marketing ecosystems and attract traffic to their web presence while establishing a winning presence that works in social media.

For registration and details contact Tanvir Hussain, Marketing Manager – tanvir.hussain@pas.org.pk
Mobile: 0321-2322486, Office: 021-35836072

World Marketing Summit Malaysia 2013

September 28-30, 2013
Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

The World Marketing Summit (WMS) is an initiative to shape the future of marketing and create new development approaches through marketing.

It is a legacy of the world’s most influential marketing guru, Professor Philip Kotler, and is designed to be an inclusive platform of developing and developed countries to solve the world’s critical challenges through the effective and efficient lens of marketing.

WMS will play a vital role in guiding the future of marketing in embracing the human mind, heart and spirit with the objective of “Creating a Better World through Marketing”.

Professor Kotler and World Marketing Summit 2013 have picked Khalid Alvi Marketing Next as their official representatives for Pakistan.

www.worldmarketingsummit.org

Atifa Asghar Is Director Communications And PR At Telenor Pakistan

According to ProPakistani, Telenor Pakistan has appointed Atifa Asghar as Director Communications and Public Relations, a long vacant position that was spared earlier this year when Anjum Rahman resigned from the company.

Asghar will be joining the company from October 15th, 2012. A Telenor Pakistan spokesperson confirmed ProPakistani of the appointment.

Asghar brings with her vast experience in media relations, corporate communication and marketing. Prior to her appointment at Telenor, she looked after media relations for Nokia Siemens Network in the Middle East and Africa.

She also remained marketing manager for the same company earlier. Prior to the merger of Nokia and Siemens, Asghar had served Nokia Pakistan and Iran as communications manager.

Atifa Asghar has joined Telenor’s communication department at a time when Pakistan’s telecom industry is undergoing tough working conditions. She will be tested with growing challenges that tend to take on telecom companies, such as the issue of un-registered SIMs, tax evasion and suspension of services.

She will be the fourth director of Telenor’s communication department in the last three years.

Faheem Mujahid Joins Interflow As Senior Account Manager

Faheem Mujahid will be joining Interflow Communications next month as a senior account manager.

Mujahid was previously manager sales and marketing at Terrabiz, which he joined in March, 2012. The Marketing Association of Pakistan’s annual conference, MARCON 2012, was his first assignment at Terrabiz.

Prior to his stint at Terrabiz, Mujahid was a freelance event manager who led part of the organizing team of two events: the launch of Shahid Afridi’s clothing line,  Widyaan The Fashion Valley, as well as an exhibition by the Memon Federation of Pakistan titled ‘Vision of Prosperity’.

At Interflow Communications, Mujahid will be reporting to Ali Rizvi, the company’s chief operating officer. His responsibilities will include client services, business development and account management.

Suggestions For Elections 2018: Use Technology!

To win the trust of the public, the first move of the PML-N should be to introduce advanced technological systems for casting votes. It’s the digital age and we should invest in utilizing smart processes in the future. I suggest the people make waves in having the ECP acquire a thumb scanner along with eye scanners. We already have the data available for all thumb scans and eye scans with NADRA.

So how does it work? You enter your ID card number to shorten the time of scan matches hence helping the machine to verify your thumb and eye scans and then digitally allowing you to vote. Just like an ATM transaction, a hard copy of your vote should be printed as a receipt to be polled in ballot boxes.

A second (optional) voter copy should be provided, optional because it may not be safe in areas where parties victimize opposition voters. The last time I checked, we have some 70,000 polling stations and around 4 such machines on each station is more than sufficient.

Pros: This will remove any type of fake vote, provided the police or army are present at each station to ensure people aren’t being forced to vote for a particular candidate. It will save time by teaching the method on display screens in the waiting lines and avoid the mess of inked thumbs. We don’t know how harmful the ink’s chemicals are for people with diabetes or sensitive skin.

Cons: Anonymity of the voter would end since the votes can be traced. The ECP will also have to get a hold of impartial neutral software security firms to ensure the system is hack and tamper proof as well as ensure that no fake votes are polled. It’s important that the firm overseeing it has no gain or stake with the outcome of Pakistan’s elections, though truthfully speaking, any election in any major part of the world has an effect on all nations in one way or the other.

If you have any suggestions, do mention them below.

About the author: Zohaib is former CEO of Nadia Textiles and currently a franchisee for Pearl Continental Catering in Lahore and investor-founder of several B-corporations, notably Uth Oye.

Are Air Conditioners A Luxury That Needs To Be Taxed?

If someone asked this question a few decades ago, the answer could be somewhat in affirmation. However, today’s scenario is quite different. Air conditioners that were once considered a luxury accessory to be afforded by the elite class only and were made available only by a handful of companies in Pakistan have now arguably earned the status of a necessity.

With the increase in competition, air conditioner prices have slashed down considerably, making them more affordable for a wider range of income brackets. That is the prime reason why today we see air-conditioners installed in almost every office building from government to private as well as in the majority of households. Also, technological advancement has allowed manufacturers to introduce more energy efficient air conditioners at lower prices.

Today people from a vast majority of income segments own an air conditioner and it has also become a necessary investment in fundamental institutions like private and government offices, schools, hospitals and even super markets.

From an economic perspective, air conditioning is important for productivity enhancement of employees, better efficiency at manufacturing facilities and is integral to the maintenance of business support systems such as computers and other machinery. Before air conditioning, cotton threads broke, cigarette machines jammed, bread grew mold, film attracted dust, pasta lost its shape, and chocolate turned gray when temperatures and humidity fluctuated. By filtering air and stabilizing temperature and humidity, mechanical systems improved the environment for products as well as workers. Today many consumer products such as computer chips and CDs must be manufactured in ‘clean rooms’, which provide a pristine dust-free environment. It can be safely asserted that air conditioning plays a major role in running efficiently the wheel of the economy.

With the challenges that await Pakistan’s economy, the increasing affordability of air conditioners is certainly a blessing for the masses and corporate sector. The double digit inflation that the Pakistani economy has undergone recently has made a large variety of products more expensive for the citizens. It seems like a few items that had not been highly impacted by the inflation earlier are now likely to suffer the ill-fate of becoming more expensive as the authorities plan to categorize air conditioners as luxury and levy 10% excise tax on them. If implemented, the result of this decision is likely to be more denting to the entire economy rather than beneficial. Since air conditioners have become a considerably critical tool for greater productivity, the demand for air conditioners is not likely to reduce as the authorities expect. Instead people will increasingly rely on the grey market to fulfill their air conditioning needs. And if this trend takes up, it will work as a double-edged sword for the government, because on one hand it will promote the illegal channel and on the other hand the government will not attain the tax revenue target that it aims to generate because grey markets evade taxes.

If, on the other hand, the government’s objective is to curtail the energy crisis rampant in our country, the  focus should be on providing technological solutions rather than imposing duties and aiming to reduce the demand of air conditioners. If that is the case and air conditioners are such a luxury as stated by authorities, then the authorities should ensure that the air conditioning facility is first taken away from the government offices. But obviously that is not on the cards because that is not the real solution to either curtailing the ongoing energy crisis or improving tax revenue. To achieve energy efficiency, it would be far more beneficial if the government encourages the use of inverter air conditioning. Inverter air conditioners continuously regulate temperature and are at least 30% – 50% cheaper to run as they consume less electricity. These air conditioning systems vary the speed of their compressor by delivering precise cooling and heating power as required.

As mentioned earlier, imposing tax on air conditioners will not affect the demand of air conditioners because consumers will easily find cheaper alternatives from the grey market. Both consumers and the government suffers from this situation. On one hand, consumers have no choice but to purchase a product with no warranty and reliability and on the other hand, the government is deprived of import duties. Moreover, there is a situation of trade deficit that must be controlled as local manufacturers are forcefully shut down, hampering the country’s export base. Taking the air conditioning facility away will only make the manufacturing environment more hostile.

The citizens of Pakistan, the corporate sector and invariably the manufacturers of air conditioners will only benefit if the government supports genuine local manufacturers and exempts them from unnecessary duties. A more appropriate way to generate tax revenue and save energy for the government is to levy duty on products that are actually luxury items and are being consumed by the elite income group and on the other hand create awareness among the masses regarding the ways and benefits of power saving in everyday lives. Air conditioners must remain tax free to create a win-win situation for all concerned stakeholders.

The Top 5 Sports Movies

Sporting events attract huge crowds and rate highly on television. Sports usually wrap viewers in the agony of losing or thrill of winning and in effect, provide many people with an ideal way to unwind after a hard day at work. Not surprisingly, a lot of movies are made from the drama of sports. Usually, movies that are based on sports preach that victory is not the achievement, but fair play, team work and perseverance.

The following is my personal list of the top 5 sports-themed movies.

1) Brian’s Song
Billy Dee Williams plays Gale Sayer’s role in this movie. He is a running back who becomes a member of the Chicago Bears. He meets James Caan, who plays the role of Brian Piccolo. The teammates become very good friends after starting as rivals. This emotional movie is about a powerful true story about how Piccolo gets help from Sayers in order to go through his difficult situation after developing terminal cancer.

2) Miracle
This is a true story about the greatest upset that the history of sports has ever encountered. Kurt Russell plays Herb Brook’s role. All the ingredients that were necessary for making an inspiring and uplifting movie were in the 4-3 victory by the United States in the medal round during the Winter Olympics that took place in 1980.

3) Rocky
United Artists preferred James Caan, Burt Reynolds, or Robert Redford to play the role of Rocky Balboa, who was a club fighter who qualified for the championship for world heavyweights, because they were big names in the box office. Sylvester Stallone wanted to sell the story only if he was given the title role even though he was responsible for writing the script. This movie was awarded three Academy Awards that included Best Director and Best Picture. Sylvester Stallone became a major star because of it. The famous scene that shows Rocky going up the stairs at the Philadelphia Art Museum is nowadays a favorite tourist spot and a cultural icon.

4) Raging Bull
This picture that Martin Scorsese directed is among the greatest movies that have ever been made. It is about Jake LaMotta, who was a middleweight boxer with a troubled life. Robert De Niro portrayed LaMotta, who was a paranoid and jealous prizefighter who messed up his life when he was not in the ring. Robert De Niro was awarded for being the best actor in this movie by representing the character before his boxing career. He gained sixty pounds to do so.

5) Field of Dreams
This was about a man who wanted to use baseball to reconnect with his father who had died after he heard a mysterious voice whisper to him that he will come if he builds it. Kevin Costner plays the role of the Iowa farmer who plows his crops in order to build a field that the ghosts of disgraced players can play on after he heard and saw a baseball diamond.

Movies based on sports inspire individuals or teams to achieve greatness by overcoming all the odds. If you wish to be inspired as well, ensure that you watch the best sports and movie channels. Check your local directory for the sky contact number today!

New BIC Pen ‘For Her’ Gets Scathing Reviews

Pen manufacturer Bic has recently introduced a new range of pens especially for women. The ‘Bic Cristal for Her’ is a ball point pen available in pastel colours, and is slimmer than usual in order to fit a woman’s hand.

One retailer describes the pens as follows:

Cristal For Her ballpoint pens are reserved for women and feature a diamond-engraved barrel for an elegant, unique feminine style. The tinted, hexagonal barrel is thinner for better handling for women and still keeps the ink supply visible.

The Bic website notes that the pens are available in Europe, but Amazon makes the pens available in the United States.

CONSUMER RESPONSE
Far from appealing to the women they were targetting, the company has received scathing product reviews and sarcastic comments onAmazon.

E. Bradley “LuckyLady1978″ from New York wrote: “The delicate shape and pretty pastel colours make it perfect for writing recipe cards and checks to my psychologist (I’m seeing him for a case of the hysterics), and tracking my monthly cycle. Obviously, I don’t use it for vulgar endeavors like math or filling out a voter application, but BIC Cristal for Her is a lovely little writing utensil all the same. Ask your husband for some extra pocket money so you can buy one today!”

Another reviewer by name name of bicGirl states: “I don’t understand all the 5 star reviews- this is the WORST eyeliner I have ever used! I can’t get it off for the life of me.”

Men have also been commenting on the pastel-hued pens.

Reviewer Dan Kaufman wrote, “Men, don’t stand for this. Aren’t there enough products specific to women already? First it was tampons, now these pens? What other products will I have to suffer the indignity of being unable to purchase just because I’m a male person?”

The internet is abuzz with snarky blog posts, views and criticism for the product. Feminist website Jezebel has also featured this topic.

BIC’S DEFENSE
Bic hasn’t apologized for the pens and the company has no intention of pulling them from the market or changing their branding.

Bic’s spokeswoman Linda Kwong said that the company always appreciates to hear customer feed back.

Kwong responded to a request for comment with the following statement: “We appreciate hearing honest feedback from all of our consumers, whether it is regarding a promotion, advertising campaign, or product. As a global consumer products company, BIC wants to hear these important comments.”

OUR OPINION
Pens are pretty gender nuetral, so it doesn’t make much sense to market them to women only. The ‘ladies only’ distinction ensures that for every woman drawn to the product, there’ll be a man who is driven away by the ‘for her’ label. Business-wise, it’s a silly move.

Yes, of course Bic’s branding is unneccessarily sexist and plays heavily into gender biased stereotypes, but wait… why is this any cause for surprise? From food to toiletries to razors to cleaning supplies, certain product lines have always been targetted to women. You can see it in packaging, marketing and advertising and this goes well beyond the ‘make it pink’ phenomenon. I don’t ever remember seeing a washing detergent or cooking oil ‘for him’.

That doesn’t make it okay, but I just don’t understand the shock and rage at these pens specifically. Gender stereotyping is a larger issue that needs to be addressed but attacking one product isn’t going to do it. On the other hand, the Amazon reviews section makes from some fantastic crowdsourced comic relief from the seriousness of the issue at hand.