Friday, July 24, 2009

Business Drying Up for Luxury Phone Makers


Got a few grand to spare for a $3,000 phone? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Nobody does — and that’s a problem for the makers of luxury phones, such as Motorola, Bang & Olufsen, LG and Vertu.

After years of chasing the ultra-wealthy with exclusive devices that carry designer logos and promise craftsmanship from materials such as sapphire and stainless steel, luxury phone makers are now pulling back.

“The culture has shifted away from conspicuous consumption, so if you are going to have a super expensive product this may not be the time for it,” says Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis.

Motorola has already gotten the memo. Earlier this week, the company reportedly canceled the Ivory E18, a device tentatively priced around $3,000. The phone had met with lack of interest from telecom carriers. Motorola declined to comment.

If that sounds like an obvious outcome, perhaps it shouldn’t. In the last few years, luxury phones had turned into an attractive new business, as designer houses rushed to get a foothold in the tech sector. Prada collaborated with LG to launch two LG Prada phones in Europe and Asia. Last September, Samsung launched the M75500 Night Effect phone, which carried the Emporio Armani insignia. A month later, Motorola offered a $2,000 phone, called the Aura, which was fashioned out of stainless steel and sported a 62-carat sapphire crystal lens. And then there’s Vertu, a company that makes true luxury phones, the cheapest of which costs about $6,000.

The recession put a spoke in those plans. And it’s not just the 401Ks of middle-class Americans that have been in peril. In Russia, many newly-minted billionaires saw their fortunes slip away with falling oil prices. By the first quarter this year, the U.S. economy had shrunk 5.5 percent. Even 50 Cent has complained about losing more than a few Benjamins on the stock market.

And just like that, the crystal dominoes started to fall. Last October, Bang & Olufsen, whose phones retailed in Europe for more than $1500, shuttered its cellphone business as it decided to trim its costs and get out of non-profitable ventures. Motorola is the latest to pull back its luxury line.

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Luxury phones have never been a big phenomenon in North America, says Greengart. Their manufacturers have had better luck in emerging markets. But now even in those countries, where once 8 percent GDP growth seemed conservative, wealthy consumers are feeling the pinch.

“Super expensive, bling bling phones are big in markets where conspicuous consumption is a way to tell your countrymen you have arrived,” says Greengart. “But now, it’s a very different economy for everyone.”

Many of the troubles that the uber-expensive phones face are because they are created by companies whose main expertise is in targeting a mass market, says Frank Nuovo, former chief of design for Nokia and current head of Vertu.

“I didn’t start this business to soak the phones in diamonds and jewels,” says Nuovo. “The concept is same as a fine watch or a fabulous car. To be a true luxury product, you have to look at making something that doesn’t have an 18-month shelf life.”

True luxury, as Nuovo defines it, doesn’t apply to a mere $2,000 phone: A Vertu device, soaked in platinum, can run up to $70,000. The company’s one-off phones, designed in collaboration with luxury jewels house Boucheron, cost even more.

Nuovo may have inadvertently hit on the real problem with luxury phones: Phones are still a very feature-driven products. They are products where the rapid advances in technology can rend older models obsolete very quickly.

“Phones aren’t like a handbag where the fundamental utility remains the same and the design changes all the time,” says Greengart.

But Nuovo isn’t convinced. “Take watches and cars,” he says. “They all run the same but everyone has a unique way of delivering them stylistically. We can do the same with phones.”

Despite the bumps on the road now, Nuovo says the luxury phones will bounce back and find an audience. “It is no different than a fine watch or a car,” he says. “If you take people who value something that is made extraordinarily well there will always be a group interested in it.”

Vertu is determined to prove that. It will launch its latest handset the Carbon Fibre Ascent Ti in August. The phone is made of high-gloss carbon fiber and has a sandblasted titanium surface. The price tag? $9,800.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Do you remember a while back, I posted about stats, and specifically mentioned Sitemeter and StatCounter? And I said I didn’t think those two were very accurate when compared to server side stats? Well, I am blogging tonight to let you know that these tools might work better if you insure that the code is on every page. This is particularly worth noting if you use different sidebars/footers depending on what page is loading. Like I do on Cass Knits. Just sayin’

PS: I’ll let you know next week if I have anything else to add/subtract from my thoughts on these services. *cough*
Blogging Tools 1 Comment »
Everybody Loves Coupons
Posted by Loretta on October 12th, 2007

I found this blog earlier this week while I was looking for coupon codes, thus the title Everybody Loves Coupons. This blog is actually part of a main website, Ultimate Coupons where you’ll find loads of coupon codes and discounts and great savings info. I love to see this in a website! Whenever I go somewhere I admit that I do look for a blog, and if there’s a blog I generally go check out and leave a comment and add it to my feed reader if I like what I see, which in this case I did ;)

ultimate coupons everybody loves coupons blog

Adding a blog to an existing site is a great way to add interactivity and connect with your readers, clients, customers, whoever is visiting your website! There are a few options you can use to do this. Ultimate Coupons took the folder route, as you can see their web address for the blog is - the slash blog means that it’s a folder they created within their upper level directory. Another option would be to create a subdomain, for example Either option is good, you just need to choose what’s right for you and your website.

Back to Everybody Loves Coupons. I found lots of awesome stuff on the blog, like the current contest to win a Nintendo Wii! Which of course I entered because my kids would love it … I would encourage you to enter too but that would just be more competition for me! LOL no really do enter, I love getting into blogging contests. Another great feature to add to your blog or website - a contest! It creates even more interactivity, builds links, and keeps readers interested and coming back to see what happens next.

Halloween is just around the corner so there’s a special Halloween Coupons page all set up to help you prepare to do your best spooking! I love the use of the pages to draw attention to the holiday themed coupons, it’s fresh and current and great use of a page and the top nav bar.

So go meet Andrew, and check out all the great deals while you there. You might even win a Wii! :) Happy Blogging!

win a wii, andrew, contest, coupons, coupon blog, ultimate coupons, coupon codes, great blogs
Great Blogs 1 Comment »
Finding Your Voice
Posted by Deb on October 10th, 2007

Hi ya’ll. *Cass slinks in, head hanging down, glancing around nervously* How ya doin’? Me, I’m alright. Been busy a little. Blogging, you know. About stuff. Different stuff, some here, some there, and now I am going to blog some more. About blogging. You know, it takes some hard-core-ness to blog about blogging. I specifically want to touch on niche blogging tonight, and I want to bring out one positive and one negative. I just want to get my toes wet over here again, as it were. So!

The bad thing about niche blogging is that it can be a lot of work to set up and maintain a true niche blog. It’s a constant battle to keep things focused. The temptation to veer off course is ever present, and while your readers will allow you some latitude, they are also likely to protest if you get too far of course. Unfortunately, the protest is liable to be silent. And by that, I mean they will just leave.

The good thing, is that after you get your niche blogs set up, no matter what you think of to say, there’s someplace to say it, and you can often find a way to get paid for saying it. It’s a situation you could very easily come to love.
Niche Blogging 2 Comments »
Blogging Frequency
Posted by Deb on October 3rd, 2007

I have multiple blogs, and one of the things I had to look at was the frequency of my posting. I decided to create niche topics, along with keeping general blogs. In the beginning, I thought it would be a good idea to post to each blog daily. My reality was that life got in the way, and that wasn’t happening. What I decided worked for me, was blogging a couple times a week to each blog.

Here’s the thing, it’s your blog and you get to decide! If you don’t have time to blog daily, then blog a couple times a week, or maybe once a week. Don’t feel that because you can’t commit daily, you shouldn’t have a blog. There is no hard, fast rule about what your blog has to be.

Your blog is a reflection of you, and if you are comfortable writing to it a couple times a week, that’s okay. When your readers are familiar with your pattern, they’ll know what to expect.

Many different “top notch” blogs tell you how often you should blog, or how many times you must blog. Some even insist you blog multiple times each day. Remember, it’s your blog, and you get to make those decisions. Trying to fit into somebody else’s pattern isn’t going to bring you the joy of blogging. Finding your groove is what will feel good!

While many people want to blog and earn, remember blogging should be enjoyable too! Put the fun back in blogging, and blog when YOU want to.

Happy Blogging! Deb

If you are an avid blogger, you probably are always looking for ways to be more productive.  Doing the mundane tasks of moderating comments, managing post entries, etc.  While wordpress works just fine on it’s own, there are several plugins that can help you get more done in less time.  I will start with 5 today.

    WP-Chunk - This nifty plugin will take all those long url’s that your readers love to post in their comments, and gracefully shorten them
    Subscribe to Comments - A plugin that allows commenters on your blog to check a box before commenting and get e-mail notification of further comments. This is especially useful when readers wish to be notified of any answers to questions they’ve posed within your blog’s comments.
    Create N Place - With this plugin, you can write new blog posts right on the front page of your blog — there is no need to log into the admin system to write a new post.
    Edit N Place - A free Ajax powered plugin for WordPress, that lets you edit your post right on the front page of your blog. The plugin now includes quicktag buttons like bold, italics, link, img, and more.
    Better Comments Manager- A plugin which allows you to reply to comment from within the admin panel. It uses Ajax to respond to comments so you do not have to leave the comments page while commenting. This will prove useful to bloggers who simply can’t keep up with the number of comments they face. Luckily, this plugin is also compatible with Brian’s Threaded Comments.

Feel free to add your favorite productivity plugins in the comments, my next post will be based on reader submissions and will include a link to your site as well as to the plugin you recommend.
Plugins No Comments »
9 Things You Must Do When Changing WordPress Themes
Posted by Eve on December 11th, 2007


Out of the thousands of themes available for Wordpress you are bound to find one you love. While my next article will help you learn how to change a theme if you have never done so and want to, this article will focus on what to remember once you do pick and apply a new theme for your blog.

Once you pick a new theme, there are a few very important steps to take to make a seamless transition. Many of us overlook an item or two and end up missing a few days of stats and advertising dollars.

    The sidebar is gone. Most of us add things to our sidebar, be it advertising, widgets, text, links, etc. Once you get a new theme, the old sidebar you customized will be replaced. Unless you are using pure widgets for your sidebar you will have to manually edit your new sidebar file. This is usually a great time to do some blog clean up and get rid of unneeded items and clutter.
    Your Stats and Feed Flares. If you use Google Analytics, feedburner, etc. Any website stats sites or programs there is usually a piece of code you had to add to your files, usually in the header or footer. When you pick a new theme these files are not used so you will have to transfer your codes to the new theme files in order for your stats program to continue tracking your visitors. This also applies to Google Webmasters Tools. If you are a user of this you will need to reapply the tracking code or uploading the file to your new theme to make sure the site stays verified.
    Plugins Cleanup. Now is the time to check your plugins, add in the code to the new theme to make some work, and also go through and see if you still need or use the plugin. Some you will not need because of features of the new theme, and most you will have to transfer the code- for instance- any comment plugins that you need to add lines to the comments.php file of the new theme to make the plugin work.
    Advertising Update. If you are running ads, be it single ads or google adsense you will need to not only apply them to the new theme, but manage the colors and layout to fit the new design. This is also a good time to re-evaluate if the ads are working on your site and try new ad placements.
    RSS Feeds and Subscription. Once you have the new design up you will want to check the rss subscriptions, try subscribing to your site and make sure you replace the rss links with feedburner links if you use them. Also, if you use feedburner, make sure to update the rss addresses in the header.php file to be your feedburner address.
    Test, test, test! When you get your new theme up and running you will want to test the actions, like searching, see if the results come up the way you want them, click on a category and test the formatting, try out commenting and other plugins to be sure they blend and display the way you want them to.
    Browser Check. Check in both Firefox and Internet Explorer, ask friends to check using other browsers and operating systems. Do your best to get it to look uniform on all browsers. This could make or break a new theme you like.
    Take your time. Test, test, test, before you spend 3 hours changing plugins and options, change a little and test, then change a little more, nothings worse than spending hours on a theme that refuses to work in most browsers or that does not take changes well. This is your blog, make sure the new theme works for you and your topic.
    Tell People. Once the theme is up and running, post about the change, listing new features and asking for feedback and bug reports. Your readers are the best source of information and their opinion and advice can help your readership if you listen and reply.

Themes 4 Comments »
Posted by Loretta on December 10th, 2007

They say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. And I disagree. It can be done, and done well. SugarRae is a perfect example of it being done well.

sugarrae blog

This is the blog of Rae Hoffman, affectionately known in the blogging and SEO world as SugarRae. Or maybe you know her better as the queen of SEO. She has proven herself in a mostly male industry and she kicked all their a$$es at what she does.

I first met Rae way back in 2001 when I started working from home. Yes, we met at ~ crazy, right? We used to hang out in the chat room with a few other work at home regulars and we would all bounce ideas off of each other every Wednesday night. I miss those Wednesday night chats, but we’ve all come so far since then and I think we all manage to stay pretty busy. Rae has definitely gone far, and learned a lot and most of it self taught. She’s my internet hero!

So, what are you going to find at SugarRae? Well you’ll hear tidbits about SEO and on the very same blog you’ll hear endless rants about things like the online poker ban and Rae’s extreme dislike, okay hatred, for Bob Saget.

And that’s just the tip of the blog-berg. (Coined a new blogosphere phrase there maybe? -lol-) Anyhow, if you’re interested in what goes on inside a serious SEO expert’s mind then check out SugarRae. I am convinced she is one of the few sane SEO experts out there, and I know she is not going to try to sell you a ton of useless crap. I’d trust her with my very tiny marketing budget any day.
Great Blogs 1 Comment »
Photos In Blog Posts Boost Traffic
Posted by Suni on December 5th, 2007

Every time you put an image into a blog post, you might not think that it is doing much, other than making your post pretty. Actually, the pictures attract people’s attention. They are more likely to see a picture before they read words.

Deb says that every time she puts a piece of clipart into her posts, traffic increases to that post. Something to think about, no? There are a number of places online you can go to get clipart, real art, photographs and such for small fees and sometimes even free.

I use more free resources than anything, myself. I usually do a search for free clipart images in my favorite search engine and go from there. Then, there is iStockPhoto where you can buy pictures or just use a sample pic. The sample pictures are free to use anywhere, but they have the iStockPhoto logo across the face of it. These are available for use as is. If you buy the pictures, then there is no logo BUT there are stipulations, depending on what you buy.

Next time you want to post something on your blog, try and find a good picture that goes with the post content. It might just give you that extra boost of traffic and a few more regular readers.

Also, don’t forget about those little tags inside the image code that tell people what the picture is. Those tags are picked up by search engines. Whenever someone looks up a photo of something with those image searches, your photo would then be available to come up under the tag you gave it. For example, I am going to post this photo:

The code would look something like this:


See where I added the alt=”Digital Camera” ? That is crawled by search engines so when people look for pictures of digital cameras, this picture will be seen by the searches.

You can do the same thing with the title tag in the link for the picture. For instance you can do this:


Yet another way for your pictures (and links) to pick up traffic. Let me know if you find that this works for your site.

Tags: pictures+in+posts

Blog Marketing No Comments »
What is Your Blogging Goal?
Posted by Deb on December 5th, 2007

What is the goal of your blog? It’s a simple question really, just not one that is easy to answer at times. You may have many goals for your blog. Do you want to have lots of readers, have a place to express yourself, or do you want to earn money from it?

When you have an idea of what you want from your blog, you’ll have a clearer plan.

My goals have changed over time, and in the course of the change, I’ve had to change my path. When I first started writing my blogs, I wrote them for me. I really didn’t care if I had readers, I wanted to be able to have a voice and express myself. Over time, I started to enjoy when readers would comment, and I realized I liked that extra traffic. The question became do I change my voice or my path? Was I now writing for my readers, or writing for myself?  I chose to stay in the voice that I was comfortable with, but also add in some questions so people had something to respond to. It led to more interaction.

What about making money? Many people blog with the intention of selling ad space, or blogging for bucks. That’s all well and good, but if you lose that voice that people enjoy, you may lose your readers. Without readers, there isn’t much monetization going on. Traffic brings bucks and advertisers, and readers want something good to read or chew on.

It’s a fine balance between doing both. Be sure to put personality even in those $$ posts, so that the reader gets something out of the mix.

If you write for pleasure and for advertising, how do you find your own personal balance?

So let’s see…for lunch today, I had vegetable soup and…oh, you really don’t care do you?

You’re just learned a valuable lesson in that last sentence. Nobody cares what you had for lunch today, unless it was awesome and you’ve included the recipe. Maybe it was a great new restaurant you’re reviewing, and in that case you just may want to talk about those belly dancing waitresses. If you were just sitting at your desk eating some soup, it doesn’t really hold much interest to others. Bringing personality, having fun, or bringing useful information to people, will make them want to return.

Does your blog have snap? Or does your blog have too much bounce? What exactly is bounce? It’s a measure of how long people stay on your site and keep reading. If you have a high bounce rate, that means people are opening your page and moving on way too quickly.

It’s not just what brings somebody to your site, it’s what keeps them there. Do they keep reading, or do they jump ship too quickly?

A quick way to check your bounce rate is to look at your stats. If you have Google Analytics, you can see your bounce rate easily. In this instance, the lower a number is, the better it is. (Ex: a 40% bounce rate is better than a 90% bounce rate)

bounce rate, bounce, google analytics
Blog Marketing 2 Comments »
Tweet for Traffic
Posted by Suni on January 11th, 2008

Remember we talked about Twitter before? Well, there are a number of websites that allow you to use your Twitter account to garner traffic for your blog.

Twitterfeed allows you to send automatic updates from your blog to your Twitter friends. You can set the posts from Twitterfeed to only post at intervals. This is great for those of us who update our blogs every day and would like for people to continue to come back. Eventually those people become regular readers and will likely comment more on your blog. Continually reminding people that you are updating your blog is a surefire way to keep traffic coming in.

You can also automatically blog your Tweets for the day automatically with LoudTwitter. The bonus in this is if you can’t blog from your cell phone but you can use Twitter from it, you are able to blog about the day with your tweets. These tweets are posted in your blog as a post. If you have your Twitterfeed account going, the resulting blog post will end up in your feed with all your tweets posted for easy reading.

These are only two of the ways you can use Twitter to keep a continuous flow of ideas and readers rolling through. Can you think of more?

Tags: twitter, twitterfeed, loudtwitter

Blog Marketing, Social Networking No Comments »
What Does 2008 Hold for Your Blog?
Posted by Deb on January 2nd, 2008

Happy New Year! What does 2008 hold for your blog?

Many people think of the new year as a chance to have new beginnings. I’m certain many new blogs will be started as people vow to write to them on a regular basis. I’m also certain at least 70% of those blogs will end up being forgotten about at some point.

Rather than take on a new blog, let’s look at the blog you have in front of you. What direction do you want your blog to go in 2008? What worked well for you in 2007? Was there a series of articles or a topic that seemed to do well? Did people respond to one type of post over another? Did the posts with pictures gain more traffic?

When you have a clear picture of what worked for you in 2007 and what didn’t, you can weed through and tighten what you’re doing this year.

I’ve been looking at one of my blogs, and I’ve found it doesn’t have enough focus. My goal for 2008 is to give it better focus. On another blog, while it’s a niche blog, I found that by changing the particular angle, I was able to zone in on what I wanted my blog to represent. Another blog I found was too boxed in by being a targeted topic, and I’ve decided to open the topic up a little wider to include more categories.

I’m also trying to add clipart and pictures to more of my posts, as well as get better at tagging. Tagging is one of those things that just seems to slip my mind, and that’s not good! I’ve taken an inventory of my own blogs, analyzed my stats, and I’ll be making some changes.

What will you be doing to change your blog in 2008? Will you add another category, writer shorter or longer posts? Maybe you’ll work on social networking, and building traffic.

With a fresh year before you, it’s now the perfect time for you to go take inventory!

Happy Blogging! Deb

blog, blogging, social networking, blogs, build traffic

Blog Burnout
Posted by Deb on February 6th, 2008

Let’s face it, sometimes you just don’t have anything to say. When you blog regularly, there will be times where you may have blog burnout. Here are some ideas to get that fire going again.

    Change the look(theme) of your blog to get inspired
    De-clutter your blog, examine those crowded sidebars
    Add a new category that you haven’t written about before
    Get inspired by what others are saying, write a post responding to another post
    Sometimes just taking a small break is enough
    Write a post highlighting your favorite posts of the month or year
    Write a post that highlights other blogs in your category you love, and what you like about them

Sometimes just taking a look from a different angle will give exactly what you needed to get back on track!

Happy Blogging, Deb

blog, blogging, blogger, burnout