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Microhoo [Counterpoint]





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Earlier this week, Microsoft placed a bid for Yahoo totaling nearly a bajillion dollars (well, $44.6 billion to be precise). This possible merger conjured up conversation about Google’s monopoly of online information and their hesitancy to release it to the government (which could make them a target for investigation based on principle). Some discussed how amazing it would be to have the opportunity to impress a non-Google search engine to compete with Google while others noted that it would create confusion by creating too many places to have to do SEO sucking-up-to.I read a position today that made me think the merger might not actually be a great idea.

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing noted:

My take is that Microsoft is admitting defeat by trying to buy their way out of it. Yahoo! has been scuffling of late and has never been a better deal, but is putting two companies together that can’t really figure out how to compete with Google going to make one company that can?

What say you? Is a potential Microhoo an awesome balance to Google, or will it be an epic fail?

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Lucas Lechuga

    February 3, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Google would still end up winning the search engine war, in my opinion. I’m all for competition and more choices for the consumer. However, as a blogger, I personally wouldn’t feel the need to do SEO sucking-up to the new Microsoft-Yahoo search engine unless they came up with something radical which made the average Internet user feel compelled to use that new search engine. I read a book recently which stated that the founders of Google have always made it known that their goal is to one day make it possible for a search engine to be intertwined with the human brain. Basically, you ask yourself the question and the answer will come to you via the search engine. I don’t agree with that approach, because I would never want to have something embedded into my brain or body, but these guys (and gals) are very forward thinkers. Besides, they (Google) have such a firm grasp on the market right now. I NEVER conduct searches through MSN and very rarely do a search on Yahoo!

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    February 3, 2008 at 6:25 am

    I’m certainly not an expert in marketing, but I have my doubts that Microhoo could compete with Google. Google figured it out long ago. They are trendy, intuitive and forward thinking. MSN and Yahoo seem to be followers. No, I think that this is more a financial investment deal and another step of Microsoft owning all things.

    The reason Microsoft has beaten out Macintosh, is because they got there first and indoctrinated everyone, not necessarily because it’s a better product. Could that shift? Yes, I think so; but it take a new invention of Microhoo starting from square one to do so.

    I also wonder if folks will stick with Google because it’s not “big brother” MSN. Not everyone is a big fan of the less than stable MS OS. A lot of folks see Microsoft as a necessary evil, as opposed to a great series of products. I think that folks will stay away just because they hear MS.

  3. Ginger Wilcox

    February 3, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Google always seems to be one step ahead with the next idea. It seems like Microsoft and Yahoo are always chasing. Perhaps the combined power will give them a leg up, but I am not really seeing it.

  4. Athol Kay

    February 3, 2008 at 11:51 am

    It’s a bad idea I think. It’s like two slower guys agreeing to tie their ankles together and run three-legged in an effort to run faster than someone who already runs faster than either one of them can.

  5. Mark Harison

    February 4, 2008 at 7:32 am

    There’s an old stockmarket saying, often wrongly attributed to Warren Buffet:

    – Put two bad companies together and you end up with one big bad company

    Yahoo! is still stuck in a mindset that it can build “destination” sites – where people will go and stay, and the rest of the world has realised that Gen Y in particular (!) want to be always on the surf, and the trick is to provide out content in places people want.

    Microsoft is learning that it’s pretty much all the market share it’s going to have (OK – it may lose a bit on the desktop to Apple and a bit on the server side to Linux, but pretty much it’s got the market share figures it’s going to.) Its ONLY option is to grow the market.

    Of course, they could have given the cash back to the shareholders. If I owned MSFT I’d be pretty angry at that sort of bid for a company which has a different market, a different culture, and not much in the way of intellectual property that MS couldn’t get elsewhere. Essentially, MS is buying a customer base… of Gen Ys… and that mob don’t take well to being bought and sold.

    Mark, firmly at the tail end of Gen X 🙂

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Tech News

Calendly just dropped an automated scheduling feature you NEED to try

(TECHNOLOGY) Calendly added a new automated scheduling feature, Routing Forms, with a twist. If typical scheduling hasn’t been your thing, try this.



Calendly Routing Forms

Routing Forms, a new feature of Calendly, is a way to screen and qualify meeting participants to schedule customers with the right person.

Calendly is a popular scheduling system that has been getting rave reviews for quite some time. The American Genius promoted it in 2015 as a way to avoid email tags when setting appointments. Millions of people around the world use Calendly for business to streamline scheduling between customers, clients, and teams. A new feature, Routing Forms, can help get customers to get to the right person or resources.

How Routing Forms works

Routing Forms integrates with Calendly by asking screening questions of someone who wants to schedule a meeting with you or your team. Calendly uses that information to send the person to the right person to meet with or to the resources the person needs. This can help your business prioritize scheduling with qualified customers and by getting the customer to the right person the first time. It saves time for everyone and offers a better customer experience. According to Calendly’s website, Routing Forms eliminates missed opportunities and booking delays that are common with manual follow-up. Routing Forms can be embedded into your website for a streamlined customer experience.

Automated scheduling helps you connect – but is there a price?

Calendly bills itself as a way to “take the work out of connecting with others so you can accomplish more.” Routing Forms is a great way to integrate scheduling while qualifying customers to “get more business with less work.” But the debate over automated scheduling continues. There are opponents who believe that automated scheduling is rude. Keep in mind how your audience will perceive your scheduling questions. Not everyone likes automated scheduling and wants to use it. Always offer another way to get a meeting with a representative.

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Opinion Editorials

Dopamine detox to rewire your brain from internet addiction (it’s common!)

(EDITORIAL) So, you’re addicted to the internet. Whether your drug of choice is scrolling, posting, or interacting – it’s time for a dopamine detox.



Upside down photo of man holding iphone case saying "social media seriously harms your mental health" representing dopamine.

Ah, smartphones. The best friend we can carry around in our pockets. This small device that’s nearly glued to our hands gives us instant access to many worlds.

It’s exciting to see what’s up on Instagram, take up to six stabs at Wordle, and scroll recipes you’ll never make on Pinterest. It’s also a place where we can share the highlights of our life and, in return, get validation through likes.

With that validation comes a small rush of dopamine, something we’ve all become accustomed – and some of us addicted – to.

While I’m not addicted to posting, I would say I have an addiction to scrolling. I can’t make it through a 50-minute episode of “Dexter” without picking up my phone to check an app or two.

And there is that dopamine rush with it, where you feel like you’re the most up-to-date you’ve ever been. But what about when this becomes too much and we’re overloaded with information and feel bogged down by the constant updates?

First, we need to understand what dopamine is.

It’s a neurotransmitter that works in two spots in the brain: first, its production helps us begin movement and speech. Second, we feel it when we receive or expect a reward. It even creates a kind of “high” similar to what’s found in nicotine and cocaine.

So, if we expect these dopamine hits from social media and we don’t get those results, the dopamine crashes to the ground creating burnout.

Well, this can cause burnout. And, while tempting, the solution isn’t as easy as just deleting all of your social media and walking away clean. Additionally, “take a break” features are too easy to swipe away.

So what can you do?

Mana Ionescu at Lightspan Digital recommends a Dopamine Detox.

While breaking an addiction takes longer than a day, Ionescu recommends starting there and tailoring it to your needs.

Here is what she describes is necessary for a detox:

  1. Turn off all notifications on your phone. ALL of them. You will be looking at your phone every 10 minutes as it is. You won’t miss anything. We lose endless hours of productivity because of those pings.
  2. Tell people to call you if it’s urgent. And teach them the difference between urgent and important. So do keep call notifications on.
  3. Stop over-messaging. The more you message, the more you’ll get responses.
  4. Shed the pressure to respond right away to messages that don’t need a response right away.
  5. Take detox days. Nothing but calls, confirming meetings, and using the GPS is allowed on those days.
  6. Put your phone on sleep mode at night. You can, at least on iPhone, set permissions so that certain phone numbers can get through, in case you’re worried about mom.
  7. If you’re dating, remember that texting is for laughing, flirting, and confirming plans. Please pick up the phone and talk to that person to get to know them. I will not take you seriously if you just keep texting.
  8. And yes, we all know the game, whoever looks at their phone first over dinner picks up the bill.

This won’t be easy, but your brain will likely thank you in the long run. And, when you’re back online, hit up the comments and let us know how the detox went!

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Business Entrepreneur

Scammers are out to prey on MLM victims and small businesses

(ENTREPRENEUR) MLM pyramid schemes are already predatory enough, but for victims trying to get out of the cycle, scammers are waiting on the sidelines.



Thieves Young Living MLM Oil

Predatory, scam, rip-off, shady, trap… all of these may be words that rightfully come to mind when I mention pyramid schemes, multi-level marketing campaigns, or “MLM.”

It probably conjures images of annoying messages from the one gullible high school friend you haven’t quite had the heart to unfriend on Facebook. Perhaps you know someone who got put through the wringer themselves. The one thing victims of these predatory marketing schemes have in common is being in the hole of a lot of money. Usually money the victims can’t afford, since these scams prey on the economically vulnerable. Truly, there are few things more universally detestable than MLM pyramid schemes… but I found one.

Did you know there is an entire secondary scammer market to recycle victims of MLMs?

A new spin on the idea of ambulance chasers, there is an entire demographic of scammers out there that trawl social media such as Facebook and Reddit to find recently victimized people looking for a way out of the pyramid-shaped hole they’ve found themselves in, offer services to these victims to “assist” them in recovering lost investments or liquidating their almost valueless inventory, and then ghosting the victims – taking them for their non-existent money a second time. They often pose as legal representation or consumer relief of one flavor or another.

Here is an example posted on the subreddit r/antiMLM:

That website doesn’t exist. That is not a real law firm. The premise is a scam looking to make a sucker twice out of the same victim. One commenter using the user name ‘lemontest’ shared the following account:

After my relative got scammed by a company that promised to help her set up a drop-shipping business, another business magically appeared that promised to get her money back. She gave them money and never heard from them again. I’m sure there’s a lot of money to be made selling contact lists of people who fall for get rich quick schemes.

How incredibly filthy toxic is that? Be vigilant out there, the scammers are creative.

If you (asking for a friend of course) or anyone else you know has fallen victim to any online scam, I recommend this light-hearted, and a little bit cheeky, recovery guide found on the Federal Trade Commission website and authored by Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D. of the Consumer Awareness Institute.

Any stories to share about MLMs or other comments? I’d love to hear from you.

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