Google Places Scam

September 10, 2012 · Filed Under dLook Blog, Online Advertising Australia · 1 Comment 

Google Places is Free. Don’t be caught unaware, ensure you know what you are paying for.

Last month dLook announced to its registered users that the Australian market is being inundated with scam calls, particularly targeting the elderly and small business. (Log into dLook dashboard for more).

A major online scam currently doing the rounds of small business relates to the Google page one guarantee using Google Places (Google+).

This article details more information on:

  • Google page 1 guarantee
  • Google Places is free
  • Claim your listing
  • If you need help

Google Page 1 Guarantee

There is only one way to guarantee page 1 of Google and that’s by paying Google.

Page 1 is only guaranteed when you use Google AdWords and by allocating enough budget for a pay per click model.

There is NO guarantee for any other method – we are all subject to Google’s ever changing search algorithm.

No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google.”

Posted on the Google Webmasters Forum, last updated March 15, 2012.

Using Google Search

When you enter a search query into Google, the search engine results page (SERP) contains a number of key sections.

Google Search Engine Results Page

  • The sponsored ads or the paid advertising using Google AdWords
  • The “map listings” often displayed at the top of the page known as  Google Places (recently merged with Google +)
  • The “free search” or organic search that are deemed the most relevant by Google

Google Places Small Business Scam

For many months Australian businesses have been targeted by numerous overseas scammers offering the Google page 1 guarantee.

The core offer is that by paying hundreds of dollars your business can feature in Google Places, highlighted on the Google map. Worse, some “scammers” then charge a monthly optimisation fee to keep you there.

 

Google Places is Free

 

Google Places is free.

Google provide a free online places search which is available to all businesses who wish to appear in Google Places.

In fact only you can claim the Google Places listing and it must be verified by a postcard sent to your nominated address.

Set Up Your Google Places Listing

Claim your Google Places page today by setting up a Google account and creating your business profile.

What You Need

First you need to create an account via the Google sign up process.

Once logged in visit Google Places and claim your listing.

Most of the information is straight forward; company name, address, phone, email, website, trading hours, a short 200 character description. Also you need to classify your business by entering related categories that best describe your business. Uploading images and videos are also helpful.

Obviously the more you complete your profile the better it will perform.

The expected time frame for setup is around 2 hours.

On completion Google will guide you through the verification process sending a postcard to your registered address. Once received and entered, your listing is activated.

Need Help?

Maybe you don’t have the time, or the skills to create your own listing? Or you are trying to and have run into a stumbling block.

There are numerous videos on YouTube, forums, blogs and free advice on how to compete your profile. Try searching YouTube, or read the help sections in Google Places.

Of course, if you’d prefer to outsource it and use someone else then shop around. For dLook customers email us and we can assist with content, video creation and keyword suggestions.

The Death of Retail

July 11, 2012 · Filed Under dLook Blog, Online Advertising Australia · Comment 

Sydney’s CBD is witnessing a hollowing out of prime retail and commercial office space.

The affects of online purchasing is only one factor that’s hitting Australian retailers. Possibly a greater contributor is the influence on shopping behaviour.

Consumers are no longer content with a ticket price, or even the first response to “what’s your best price”. Now consumers are looking for physical stores to match their virtual counterparts.

A 10% discount is a paltry offer when you’ve become accustomed to ‘two for the price of one’.

Buy One Get One Free

Our shopping culture is now expecting sales, discounts, loyalty rewards and bonus offers.

We’ve become a more for less society – forcing down prices demanding greater service.

Typically, as consumers, our expectations grow and we are frustrated if a business doesn’t exceed our requirements, all the while driving down their costs of doing business.

The Future of Australian Retail

So where will this leave Australian retailers, especially those in the heart of the major capitals?

It’s only observation, but Sydney CBD is littered with For Lease signs, closures or empty shopfronts. Some are located in the traditional “gold mines” of street shopping and arcades.

With fewer tenants, property managers are striving to maintain rents to businesses forced into lowering costs.

There’s a feeling of inevitabilty creeping in – that our traditional mode of business is changing. That decentralisation is occurring due to economic reality.

Online business is rapidly becoming more prolific, with many stores already gone. Goodbye to the bookstores, farewell to the the video rentals, the music shops.

How long till clothing shops, tech stores, newsagents are just a thing of the past?

Shift Happens

As time marches on shift happens. Life changes and culture evolves. Yet this cycle of evolution foretells such a significant power shift that business is yet to understand.

Already the online shopfronts are more likely to be in Hong Kong, India or elsewhere than you’re local outlet.

Competing with different staff costs, lower infrastructure requirements and on demand models – meaning no stock holding – well how do Australian retailers compete?

The Future Retailers

What will the future retailer look life? Will we require shopfronts? Or will we ending up ordering our coffee, our lunch online and never leaving the home?

Well some of this is inevitable. Just ask Video Ezy. But then there’s Apple, Google and Microsoft all heading back to a bricks and mortar storefront.

So, while I don’t believe that bricks and mortar stores are dead, the traditional model has certainly changed.

The Social Media Movement

February 13, 2012 · Filed Under dLook Blog · 1 Comment 

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that social media has revolutionised the way we live.

It has changed us down to our foundations.

Though some people are blind to this stunning transformation. Let me bring it to light for you.

In 1980, the main method of communication was landline telephones, handwritten letters and then the impressive fax machine. People still wrote love letters to each other, you faxed a copy of your report to your best friend and having a telephone in your bedroom meant you were not just well off, but spoiled.

Flash forward to 2012.

You are experiencing one of modern man’s greatest marvels – the internet.

A body of media so extensive it’s almost sizeable to our galaxy, but with every single particle of it within grasp.

The previous decade has been one of expansion and uncontrollable growth in the social media sector. Early on favourite Myspace gave way to giants Facebook and Twitter, founded in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Middle sibling YouTube, bursting onto the scene in 2005, has significantly altered our access to media which we could previously only hire, buy or view for a limited time on TV.

Beyond these three big names, there are hundreds more, some generalists like Google+ and other more niche sites like LinkedIn, deviantArt and Last.fm.

Across these various sites, people from all walks of life are given the chance to connect – so long as they have an internet connection.

The New Age of Social

Social media connects one mother to another, a retiree to a forgotten highschool friend, a teenager to their favourite band, the West to the Eastern world and Hollywood to the globe.

What’s more, as the social media movement really begins to pick up the pace, founders, investors and developers are taking it in an array of new directions, from connecting consumers to businesses, to creating mass awareness of causes and building scores of public opinion, the likes of which the world has never seen.

So if you ever thought social media had nothing to offer you, think again.

Latest post provided by Taylor Pini, leading dLook Copywriter

SEO Basics: Backlinks

January 20, 2012 · Filed Under dLook Blog · 2 Comments 

So you have a website, you added your keywords, your service area, your products, your contact details, a few graphics and now you sit back and watch the results … wouldn’t it be lovely if that were the case.

To gain high exposure in the major search engines, like Google and Bing, relies on a whole host of factors – the one we are focusing on today is Backlinks.

What is a backlink?

A backlink is a hyperlink from another website to yours.

This could be from your profile page in Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, or it may be a link from a suppliers or customers website.

Backlinks are a little bit like money – you never seem to have enough!

If asked for the optimal number for backlinks for a website I’d have to say how well do you want it to perform?

Google sees backlinks as one major indicator of site integrity – and it’s not just the number, it’s the quality as well.

Like the huge range of web pages found on the Internet, so too are the diversity of backlinks.

There are many forms of URL extensions such as .com, .edu, .org, .gov sites. There are OBL’s to consider, anchor text, pagerank and then the Do Follow or No Follow rule!

Sound confusing?

.GOV is a Good Surname

Let’s start with the URL extensions – every website on the web has a unique address called a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) which goes something like http://www.dlook.com.au. There can be no two website page addresses are the same – like a phone number – every page has be uniquely identified to ensure you get where you clicked.

In terms of understanding backlinks the focus is on the “.com.au” section (as shown in example) known as gTLD’s (global Top Level Domains). These consist of restricted and unrestricted domain extensions that are weighted differently by Google.

A gTLD extension denotes the type of page it is, the most common is .com (which includes .com.au as well as other country codes) and are given out for general use. More recently the .org extensions were classified unrestricted and fall into this category of general release as well.

However, .edu and .gov extensions are restricted gTLD’s and therefore less accessible. There are numerous restricted URL extensions but these two are the most common and typically are harder to get and so hold more weight in the eyes of Google.

Though backlinks are worth collecting, not all backlinks provide the same value … .gov and .edu extensions are much more desirable than the more common .com.

I Will Follow You

Websites may provide backlinks but they have the option of adding their tick of approval … or not.

Some websites choose to add the phrase “NoFollow” in their source code – which means the originating site does not endorse the link or, more specifically, it removes any search engine value from the link.

The link is still available to be clicked by real (human) viewers, but adding NoFollow has instructed the search engine that their site does not support the link.

The only way to check if a site provides Do Follow links is to check the source code of the website you are looking at.

So the best links are Do Follow backlinks … providing a full endorsement to your page.

Why Link Pages Don’t Work

Well, that’s not totally true. Though a single web page only has so much value to give out.
If we put a figure of 100 as an example … If you only have one link on the page then that link gets 100%. If there are two, 50 / 50. Five 20% each and so on.

The term that pops up often is OBL’s or other backlinks. When you run a search with a backlink checker it often includes a column denoting OBL’s. This is to highlight the number of other links that share the page with you – this could be a few to a few thousand.
So getting lots of No Follow links on pages with OBL’s numbering hundreds or more … well is possibly not the best use of your time.

Anchor Text Explained

Another key factor in integral backlinks is anchor text – this is literally the words that are used in the hyperlink. This text is given more value than the surrounding text – you’ve considered this important enough to use as your key words.

The text you use as anchor text should be the phrases or keywords that are most relevant to your page. Just writing “Click Here” doesn’t identify anything about the content. If your page is about shiny widgets then your link should be “shiny widgets”.

All Links Are Not Equal

Backlinks are not all weighted the same, we’ve already discovered that there are various extensions like .gov or .edu, there are Do Follow and No Follow and that OBL’s play a part … the final piece of the pie is Pagerank.

Pagerank is a Google patented algorithm that provides their view of a website’s integrity. The Pagerank (PR) score ranges from 0 through 10, with the majority of sites either unranked or achieving a PR of 1 or 2.

The higher the PR the less web sites with that score. At the top are behemoths like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter then cascading down to the millions of websites that pop up each and every day.

A backlink from a PR4+ site is quite a coup … Add to that .gov and Do Follow and a few hundred of those would do me just nicely!

Reciprocal Links

Finally there are reciprocal links, where each site links to each other.

If you scratch my back then I’ll scratch yours!

If you close the loop on a backlink, providing an equivalent link from yours then this is also a good indicator of integrity.

Group Hug!

Well there you have it, an intro to forming a backlink strategy – like a giant virtual group hug.

The intricacy of linking and backlinking, reciprocal links forms a mosaic that all helps create relevance and site integrity.

The Backlink Shortlist:

  • Create a lot of them
  • Variety counts (.com, .edu, .org, .gov)
  • Relevance counts too (anchor text, Do Follow)
  • Be a backlink VIP (check the OBL’s)
  • Look for the premium seats (Pagerank counts)

There are lots of ways to generate backlinks, hopefully this gives you a start on what to look for.

Trials of the Entrepreneur

August 15, 2011 · Filed Under Online Advertising Australia · Comment 

Whether it’s Steve Jobs or yours truly, every entrepreneur has committed many mistakes and been victim to rejection and letdowns along their entrepreneurial journey. These arrows of misfortune, though agonizing, will teach you more about business than any coach, or guru ever could.

I’m no exception, I have learned a lot from my failures, and they have yet to kill me. This is an opportunity to share some knowledge I gained from my experiences. Without further ado, here are 5 tips (read as lessons) to survive the “entrepreneur fail test” that were worth confessing, once I survived them.

1. Success isn’t final

Despite how booming you are, understand that you may fall short again. ‘Loser’ tag is just fine as long as you’re ready to learn. It will motivate you to make wiser, enhanced assessments. The sooner you understand that your business has some beautiful and ugly parts, and there is such a thing as the “God Complex”, you’ll raise your stakes as a leader.

2. Keep in mind: No returns, no business

It’s as simple as that! Initiate a viable business for yourself, and not the one rooted in future skills or unreal investment. If your real business can make it, you will learn how to acquire other firms in the future or raise funding sources. But, relying on the latter path as a surefire tactic is just dumb and can easily backfire on your dreams. Upshot: Quit guessing about coming days from now, and laser-focus on present-day. Adopt, or perish.

3. Keep It Simple

As your business gets underway, and you think you can do more than a few things perfectly at once, well you’re probably not going anywhere. From PayPal to Google, everything stands out like a beacon today. These companies were developed by clear-cut plans, balanced budgets, and only then, did they expand. Keep your business/start up plan uncomplicated; because if it’s not easy, you’re doomed.

4. Be practical

You are an ordinary person attempting extraordinary things, As you are human, the mistake easily made is to believe your own nonsense, so be alert, stop conceiving you as a champion imagining your thought is brainy, and go motivate yourself better.

5. Think outside the box

Murphy’s Law in business is the likely scenario. If you predict 500 clients, you might get around 100. If you project a contract to seal within 10 weeks, it might creep up to 20. What I’m trying to say here is you invariably need to be prepared for these kinds of worst-case scenarios and have fitting backup plans for every circumstances. Don’t look at the problems with one solution in mind, commit yourself to think creatively. Extend yourself by brainstorming about options for every uncertainty and you’ll turn into a better business person.

Broken Links – End to End Networks

July 29, 2011 · Filed Under dLook Blog · Comment 

Can anybody define the term end-to-end network process visibility and its scope?

There seems to be a huge confusion in the market, as to what the term end-to-end network process really means. Is it one node forward in the supply chain (my customers) and or one node back (my suppliers), or is it multi-tiered (primary production to end consumer).

If it is the latter, then how do you gain visibility across your suppliers, suppliers – suppliers and / or your customers – customers – customers?

The extract from an economist article below gives an example of the compelling need for visibility across a multi-tiered network.


Broken links


The disruption to manufacturers worldwide from Japan’s disasters will force a rethink of how they manage production – Mar 31st 2011 | TOKYO | from the print edition.

LAST year Iceland’s volcanic ash disrupted air transport across Europe and gave the world’s manufacturing supply chain one of its biggest tests since the advent of the low-inventory, just-in-time era. Now, Japan’s quadruple disaster—earthquake, tsunami, nuclear alert and power shortages—has put the supply chain under far greater stress. Three weeks after the massive quake, the extent and likely duration of the disruption are still unclear.

There are some enlightening similarities between the shocks that manufacturers are now suffering and those that buffeted the banking system in the 2008 financial crisis. In both cases two of the biggest surprises were the unexpected connections the crisis uncovered, and the extent of the contagion. The problems began in a seemingly well-contained part of the system—subprime mortgages in the case of finance, in manufacturing’s case a natural disaster in an economic backwater—but quickly spread.

This issue will not go away, no more than natural disasters will go away. If anything they will both increase in intensity.

We do indeed live in interesting times?

The Future of Employment

July 27, 2011 · Filed Under Online Advertising Australia · 4 Comments 
Article by Corri Byrne, dLook General Manager – Like dLook on Facebook

What are your plans for team expansion? Are you employing full time or on a project basis? In-sourced or outsourced? How is the employment landscape changing with technology?

Worldwide Changes in Employment

Government argues that we need more stimuli and the opposition argues that we need more tax cuts to increase demand. There is some truth in both arguments, but that’s not the whole story.

There is a restructuring going on in economies worldwide, jobs are moving to contracted people on value / relevance based terms; that are reviewed by project rather than traditional annual arrangements. Individuals are becoming more like actors / directors / producers and crew on movie sets.

The internet economy is ushering in a new wave of networked project based people working in enterprises with staggering capital values. Facebook is now valued near $100 billion, Twitter at $8 billion, Groupon at $30 billion, Zynga at $20 billion and LinkedIn at $8 billion. These are classed as US companies, when in reality they are becoming stateless organizations that are global in their reach.

While the company capital valuations are huge, they cumulatively employ less than 20,000 people. That’s not a lot of people, relative to their valuations, and while they’re all hiring today, they are largely looking for specific skill sets, suited to needs of “the movie” being made today.

The people resume of the future will call for people who have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding jobs that technology can’t do, as well as people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs (value) every day, in a market that changes @ NetSpeed.

Today’s college grads need to be aware that the rising trend in Silicon Valley is to evaluate employees every quarter, not annually. Because the merger of globalization and the I.T. revolution means new products are being phased in and out so fast that companies cannot afford to wait until the end of the year to figure out whether a team leader is doing a good job.

Employers or should I say Prime Contracting parties are asking of contract candidates: Can this contactor add value every hour, every day — more than a contractor in China, India, Poland or Russia? Can they add significant value to my prime contract position in the market place, can they adapt to my evolving role in the current project; and can they reinvent themselves for the projects of tomorrow? And can they become continuous self learning organisms that adapt to continuous market place change, so that as a federated group we can adapt and export more into the fastest-growing global markets?

In today’s interrelated, interconnected and intelligent networked world, more and more enterprises will evolve into these federated networks that will not hire sub contracting people who don’t fulfill those criteria.

This will require a new mind-set and skill set to compete. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it’s now like for all of us planning careers in a world filled by dynamic points of stability. Each point of dynamic stability has the potential to have a catalytic affect on all other points of the federated networks that we may become part of.

In accordance with the Chinese proverb “we do indeed live in interesting time”

Business Models Must Be Built to Adapt

July 27, 2011 · Filed Under dLook Blog, Online Advertising Australia · Comment 

In every market there are industry captains that excel at executing their current business model, that’s what makes them industry leaders.

However most of them slowly become hostages of the status quo, “the way we do things round here slowly morphs into the way we think round here”

History is littered with industry captains that lose out to start up companies who appear from nowhere, and in a few short years overtake the established leader.

A New Paradigm

Cloud computing is bringing in a new disruptive economic environment that will make these transitions occur @ NetSpeed.

This speed of change and market volatility challenges the sustainability of “business as usual” in many markets, placing enormous pressure on any individual enterprise’s ability to respond to market disruption in a timely manner, as most enterprises are now heavily reliant on a multiplicity of external supply partner relationships to produce and deliver their products and services to market.

What’s The Main Frame

Looking back at history, IBM in the 1960’s and 70’s dominated the mainframe computer market, and it did so very successfully against competitors like ICL (UK), Bull (France), Univac, Honeywell, Fujitsu and CDC.

IBM quickly achieved value keystone status within the ecosystems it competed in. IBM’s technology capability, capacity, service level availabilities, integrated sales channels and associated high cost structures were sustained by burgeoning mainframe margins. IBM’s cost base expanded as their enterprise structure grew to manage and support the strategic relationships they forged with their customers.

Their customers (usually large enterprises) were generally value keystone players in their respective ecosystems and also on the trail of sustaining their existing capabilities and capacities.

This capability and value sustaining model utilised by customer and supplier resulted in creating incremental innovations that maintained and improved the business as usual approach in the computer industry.

Consequently IBM largely missed out on the minicomputer market to new competitors such as DEC, Prime, Data General Etc. Subsequent to the minicomputer market, IBM misread the PC market by seeing the value opportunity in the production of PC’s rather than the associated operating systems and software services that supported them.

In the case of DEC and Prime, who had successfully led IBM in the minicomputer business, they completely missed out on the PC market.

The IBM PC division has since been sold to Lenovo (China).

Not Robinson Crusoe

The list of market failure examples is endless and applicable to any industry. All of the above quoted enterprises had the capabilities, resources and capacities to test the relevance of their strategy and value assumptions within their ecosystems; and respond to the disruptive challenges they faced. Yet none of them did so, they lacked the insight to recognise and adapt to change in their business ecosystems.

It appears as if incumbent market leaders throughout history spent their time gathering evidence to support the belief that their strategies, business models and supporting value assumptions were permanently relevant and sustainable.

Give Me the Life Raft

So what’s the lesson to be learnt?

All enterprises and their capabilities, strategies, value assumptions, capacities and availabilities within an ecosystem are dynamically interlinked with their ecosystem partners.

Existing capabilities, capacities and business models, are not permanent and profitable belief systems to be defended at all costs.

Hacking and Scraping through … Orwell’s Sensis

July 22, 2011 · Filed Under dLook Blog · Comment 

With the investment in competitive facilities provision now ceded to the new government monopoly of the NBN its frightening to look out a couple of years into the emerging content world and see what may become of the competitive content providers in the Australian internet market with Telstra and its resources now moving unfettered from the Google Schmoogle era to a content predator, preying on all the relative minnows in this growing internet on line advertising big pond. The Orwellian Telstra have announced they are going to take over the internet content space and build upon previously print focused Sensis all the bits they think will make it the online content world, a secret deal with Google, a deal with US Yelp for reviews and acquiring Quotify for SME quoting.

At dLook we also feel flattered by having the dubious honour of having our copyright content regularly hacked and scrapped directly by the Yellow Pages, Telstra Burwood IP 203.7.207.5 and then more recently hacked again which led back to the same Telstra IP block at Sensis YP. We assume we are not alone in having this honour bestowed and usually one would be forgiven in thinking that it could have been just an error. Hardly as for over 3 months now Sensis has tried and tried again and this persistence moves the hacking from an aberration to what is a clear and focused management strategy for entering the market using the whatever it takes philosophy. It looks more like the reported old News International principles that are now under much question in other places. Now hacking and scraping is not new and we regularly endure the hacking of the truly dumb people doing the same thing in a smarter way, but for them we understand that is a way of life … like hacking phones.

For Telstra to announce it is now going to take over the fledgling market in March 2011 and immediately start by hacking and stealing the competitor’s databases points to a disregard for the law and to a bleak minnow future when facing such a dominant non law abiding monopoly. Telstra brings already well documented significant market power into the sector with Bigpond, Foxtel and a raft of other ventures including Google. Telstra recently announced that over half its data capacity is now tied up with Google along with its special relationships. It is, of course, the dominant underlying facilities carrier and holds a dominant position in both internet transit and internet content sectors to say nothing of being the publisher of the White and Yellow Pages and the contract operator of the numbering system. Now all of these activities already have more than 50% of the markets they participate in and some well over 90%.

Competing with a Monopolist

Ahh … you may say … but that’s just competition and sour grapes. Competition is OK if you do not have to deal with a competitor who knowingly sets out to break the law and last time I looked hacking copyright content is a breach. Telstra seems to be doing just that whilst at the same time bringing all its gaming tricks from the old pseudo monopoly business into the wild west but relatively naive online internet business sector.

Just how we did arrive here in a new market when Telstra holds a number of Government licences and is supposedly subject to the purview of the ACCC ? Well it would appear that the ACCC is just looking the other way. Surprising, given the changes on foot but given its record, not really unexpected.

I fear the minnows cannot rely on the ACCC to be even able to define these new markets let alone work at a pace that could actually set out a competitive playing field before the minnows are no more. The on balance abandonment strategy and the record they have is seriously not flash … just look at mobile prices here and overseas to see what can be done and what can’t be done when the regulator is gamed and humbled. Telstra is also on record for running policies of deliberate breach and paying fines as a commercial strategy regardless of the collateral damage it inflicts to its competitors. Go figure.

Hacking and scraping is really ugly for the target as it has the double problem of creating duplicate data which can severely impact the hacked party if the data is republished from an alternate and often hidden site. Given the Google Telstra relationship it is of some concern that this may be an underlying motive and the future dims when an unchecked predator like Telstra is free to do what it likes outside the law to whomever. It’s now down to working out who is Snowball and whether the licensor will ever act.

Built to Adapt

June 9, 2011 · Filed Under Online Advertising Australia · Comment 
Article by Corri Byrne, dLook General Manager – Like dLook on Facebook

Is your business ready for disruption? Upheaval? What are the things you can do to future proof your business? This article explores business models that are built to adapt.

Business Models need to be Built to Adapt

In every market there are industry captains that excel at executing their current business model, that’s what makes them industry leaders.

However most of them slowly become hostages of the status quo – “the way we do things round here slowly morphs into the way we think round here.”

History is littered with industry captains that lose out to start-up companies who appear from nowhere, and in a few short years overtake the established leader.

Disrupting the Landscape

Cloud computing is bringing in a new disruptive economic environment that will make these transitions occur @ NetSpeed.

This speed of change and market volatility challenges the sustainability of “business as usual” in many markets, placing enormous pressure on any individual enterprise’s ability to respond to market disruption in a timely manner, as most enterprises are now heavily reliant on a multiplicity of external supply partner relationships to produce and deliver their products and services to market.

Looking back at history, IBM in the 1960’s and 70’s dominated the mainframe computer market, and it did so very successfully against competitors like ICL (UK), Bull (France), Univac, Honeywell, Fujitsu and CDC.

IBM quickly achieved value keystone status within the ecosystems it competed in.

IBM’s technology capability, capacity, service level availabilities, integrated sales channels and associated high cost structures were sustained by burgeoning mainframe margins. IBM’s cost base expanded as their enterprise structure grew to manage and support the strategic relationships they forged with their customers.

Their customers (usually large enterprises) were generally value keystone players in their respective ecosystems and also on the trail of sustaining their existing capabilities and capacities.

This capability and value sustaining model utilised by customer and supplier resulted in creating incremental innovations that maintained and improved the business as usual approach in the computer industry.

Consequently IBM largely missed out on the minicomputer market to new competitors such as DEC, Prime, Data General Etc. Subsequent to the minicomputer market, IBM misread the PC market by seeing the value opportunity in the production of PC’s rather than the associated operating systems and software services that supported them. In the case of DEC and Prime, who had successfully led IBM in the minicomputer business, they completely missed out on the PC market.

The IBM PC division has since been sold to Lenovo (China).

Death is Part of the Cycle

The list of market failure examples is endless and applicable to any industry.

All of the above quoted enterprises had the capabilities, resources and capacities to test the relevance of their strategy and value assumptions within their ecosystems; and respond to the disruptive challenges they faced. Yet none of them did so, they lacked the insight to recognise and adapt to change in their business ecosystems.

It appears as if incumbent market leaders throughout history spent their time gathering evidence to support the belief that their strategies, business models and supporting value assumptions were permanently relevant and sustainable.

Lessons to be Learnt

So what can be gleaned from these cyclical trends:

  • All enterprises and their capabilities, strategies, value assumptions, capacities and availabilities within an ecosystem are dynamically interlinked with their ecosystem partners.
  • Existing capabilities, capacities and business models, are not permanent and profitable belief systems to be defended at all costs.

Whether you are dominating your market or a new entrant, it is important to maintain an adaptable business model, focused on the rapidly changing market conditions. Maintain an appreciation that your business is completely reliant on numerous external factors – all of which could significantly impact your market position, long term strategy plans or entire industry relevance.

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