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February 14 2014

90+ Events in Tech, Social Media and More

The Mashable Events Board is a great place to find the leading conferences in your industry, whether it's advertising, technology, media or public relations. This week, we're highlighting five events that we think can help move your career forward, from events in California to London. If you don't find something that's right for you, check out more than 60 events featured among our complete listing.


On the Events Board, you can sort listings by date added, get discount codes as a Mashable reader and watch videos of past events to get previews of what to expect. You can also follow @MashableEventsMore about Events, Marketing, Social Media, Sales, and Business

February 04 2014

China Is Dominating Global Ecommerce Sales, Study Says

China's ecommerce sales are set to grow nearly 64% in 2014 — leaps and bounds higher than any other country in the world.

Global business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce sales will hit $1.5 trillion this year, which is a 20.1% increase from 2013, according to eMarketer's latest forecast.

Created by Statista, the following chart shows 10 selected countries and their ecommerce sales growth. It shows that China's sales are expected to grow twice as much as India, and more than five times as much as the U.S.

China Ecommerce Sales Growth

Image: Statista

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

More about China, Business, Ecommerce, Sales, and World

December 12 2013

Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sales Happen More Often Than You Think

If you caught the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on Tuesday night, you've probably decided that your underwear drawer is due for a major overhaul. Luckily, you won't have to wait long for one of the lingerie house's semi-annual sales. In fact, there's probably one going on right now.

A parody video from UCB Comedy pokes fun at Victoria's Secret's ambiguously-timed sales, each of which promises to be the company's "biggest sale yet."

As the voiceover says, "If you miss this, you'll have missed the boat for a few weeks, probably."

The hilarious clip, above, does mention the few times each year when VS deals aren't available, including Australian summer and alternating Mondays. Mark that down on your calendars, ladies. Read more...

More about Youtube, Shopping, Parody, Comedy, and Sales

November 23 2013

November 07 2013

Walmart Website Glitch Sells $600 Electronics for Less Than $10

Due to an internal website error, Walmart listed tons of expensive merchandise for sale at incredibly low prices Wednesday

Digital projectors and computer monitors normally costing $600 were listed for less than $10. And ABC reports the company “was selling a 24-inch high definition Viewsonic computer monitor, an InFocus IN2124 Projector digital projectors and other products, many for $8.85. The projector is listed for $578.89 on Walmart.com.”

In October, a similar incident in one of Walmart’s stores allowed customers to buy unlimited goods on SNAP food stamp cards, but this one on the e-commerce side was open to everyone. Read more...

More about Online Shopping, Sales, Website, Walmart, and Glitch

June 04 2013

Windows Phone Sales Rising Despite Android's Dominance: Report

Although Android remains the leader among smartphone operating systems in the United States, new sales of iOS and Windows devices actually grew more in the last year, according to new data.

The data, from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said the share of sales for Windows devices grew 1.8 percentage points and that iOS grew 2.3 percentage points year on year. Despite Android dominating 51.7% of U.S. smartphone sales in a recent three-month period, the Google-owned platform only grew 1.4 percentage points year on year. Apple's iOS devices also lead with 41.4% of smartphone sales, while Windows trails far behind at 5.6% of sales. Read more...

More about Android, Sales, Smartphones, Windows Phone, and Tech

August 09 2012

MTV Award Nominees See Spike in Sales, Social Reach

Thanks to multi-platform voting for the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards, artists are seeing noticeable spikes in both their sales and their social fan base.

More About: Awards, Entertainment, Music, Social Media, VMA, mtv, sales, television, vmas

August 02 2012

How to Capitalize on Web-Generated Sales Leads

Congratulations! Someone is interested in your product. Maybe they filled out a web form or mentioned your brand in a tweet. Regardless, if you're in sales, it's time to pounce.

But how quickly? What days and times are best to follow up on leads? How persistent should you be before it's no longer worth your time?

SEE ALSO: Marketing to Women? Keep These 3 Facts in Mind

James Oldroyd, PhD of Ohio State University, and David Elkington, CEO of InsideSales.com, conducted research on three years of data from companies that deal with web-generated leads. They found that timing is key. The likelihood of making a sale drops off dramatically more than five minutes after initial contact.

Continue reading...

More About: Business, infographics, sales, sales leads

December 30 2011

8 Ways Digital Will Improve B2B Sales in 2012

Guy Nirpaz is the CEO and co-founder of Totango, which analyzes user actions on SaaS applications, providing sales teams invaluable information in qualifying prospects and prioritizing people to contact who are most likely to buy or renew.

How B2B products and services are purchased and sold is rapidly changing. Some call it the consumerization of IT, but perhaps it’s the consumerization of B2B in general.

Buyers are demanding cloud-based products that are user-friendly as well as social and mobile capabilities, with as little sales involvement as possible. A good example is purchasing from iTunes: web-based self-service with instant gratification.

Below are eight predictions for B2B sales in 2012.

1. Social Selling Will Go Mainstream

Ninety-two percent of prospects almost never book a meeting from a cold call or email, according to a study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business. In 2012, rather than make cold calls, sales executives will first seek connections through social media networks, and then increase response rates with warm introductions.

Aside from personal networks, sales managers will also find ways to leverage the networks of colleagues, partners, customers, executives and former employees during the sales process. 

2. Companies Will use Facebook as a Sales Channel

Facebook was originally viewed as a network for personal communications in which direct selling was frowned upon. In 2012, more companies will experiment with the social platform as a sales channel, beginning with employees who sell or advocate to their friends.

Home Depot has already asked store associates to post helpful do-it-yourself tips on their personal pages. Farmers Insurance encourages local franchisees to build relationships with customers via Facebook; the company won a Guinness World Record doing so.

3. Sales Executives Will Adopt Big Data

In 2012, sales leaders will embrace big data to increase sales performance. Some will use it to identify the most profitable customers and find more leads with the same characteristics. Others will analyze customer usage patterns during trial and production to find the hottest prospects and to up-sell targets.

Combining analytics and sales automation, B2B companies will target prospects and customers with personalized offers triggered by specific behaviors.

4. Customer Engagement Becomes a Top Priority

Sales managers will no longer be able to drop off software and drive away. With the rise of subscription-based pricing models, unhappy customers who are not actively using a product or service will simply cancel their subscriptions.

This will align organizations behind their customers’ success, and encourage them to increasingly monitor engagement throughout the customer lifecycle. Some B2B companies, like Yammer, will even appoint a dedicated VP of customer engagement, also responsible for up-selling and renewals.

5. Outside Sales Reps Will Use iPads

The iPad is finding its way into the enterprise. Some are calling it the most important new sales tool since the invention of the cellphone. In 2012, most outside sales reps will start to use an iPad or other tablet for work. They will use it for shipping, product documentation, demonstrations, to capture leads at a trade shows or to quickly research a prospect before a meeting. 

6. Most Sales Tools Will Move to the Cloud

The average sales organization already uses more than 24 software tools in the sales process, based on a poll conducted by Gerhard Gschwandtner, publisher of Selling Power magazine, at the 2011 Sales Strategies in a Social & Mobile World conference. This number is growing every year. In 2012, the majority of these applications will move to the cloud.

Many companies, for example, will adopt cloud-based versions of subscription and billing software. This is a boom for sales executives, who will now have more visibility into a customer’s billing cycle, which is helpful when growing or renewing an account. Also, the more applications to move to the cloud, the more streamlined the process.

7. Sales and Marketing Will Converge

The sales process is becoming more self-sufficient, and customers are driving the pace. Outside sales are becoming inside sales, partly because of online conferencing tools. Inside sales is being replaced with self-serving website resources. As this happens, the lines between marketing and sales continue to blur.

In 2012, more organizations will appoint chief revenue officers in recognition of this trend. Overall, there will have to be closer collaboration between the sales and marketing chiefs.

8. More Companies Will Offer Free Trials

More organizations will offer free trials or completely free versions of their products. Prospects and customers are increasingly demanding self-service, which provides instant access to a free trial of products, before deciding to talk to a sales rep. Companies that offer a free trial will get more buzz and word-of-mouth referrals, and their sales costs will lower when fewer live touch points are required.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mbortolino

More About: b2b, cloud computing, contributor, features, ipad, sales, Social Media, Year End 2011

For more Business coverage:

July 14 2011

Apple Now Third Largest PC Vendor in the U.S.

Apple has surged past Acer and Toshiba to become the third largest PC vendor in the U.S. with a 10.7% market share, the latest data from Gartner suggests.

In Q2 2011, Apple has experienced a solid 8.5% year-over-year growth in the U.S. market; Toshiba grew 3.3%, and Acer fell 22.6% in that same period.

The top of the chart is still dominated by Dell with a 22.6% market share and HP, which holds 26.9% of the PC market.

IDC’s data also places Apple in the third place in the U.S., but suggests an even bigger growth for the company: 14.7% in Q2 2011 year-over-year.

Worldwide, according to both IDC and Gartner, the top five PC vendors are HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Asus, and Apple is still not in the picture. It’s important to note, however, that the worldwide market grew only 2.3% (according to Gartner; IDC suggests a 2.6% growth) year-over-year which means Apple has been growing considerably faster than most PC vendors.

One exception to that rule was Lenovo, whose channel expansion to markets other than Asia/Pacific propelled it to third place globally with an amazing 22.5% growth (22.9% according to IDC).

[via Gartner, IDC]

More About: apple, dell, Hewlett-Packard, HP, lenovo, pc, sales, U.S.

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March 21 2011

Why Sales Is Still Missing From Social CRM

sale image

Umberto Milletti is the CEO of InsideView, the social CRM application which brings comprehensive sales intelligence gained from social media and traditional sources directly into any CRM platform for increased sales productivity and revenue.

We’ve all heard the stories about the big deals closed on the golf course or at the steakhouse, but these tales are starting to belong more in episodes of Mad Men than in today’s business environment. Today’s sales professionals operate less from the fairway and more online and by phone. Indeed, CRM, email, and web conferencing have become the ubiquitous productivity portals for all customer-facing professionals. However, with the efficiencies and cost effectiveness of such virtual work platforms has also come a dramatic reduction in the actual relationship time needed to conduct the inherently interpersonal business of selling.

In the past few years, while sales has mostly ignored the social media revolution, the marketing and customer service functions have led the way in adopting and demonstrating the power of social media in engaging customers, especially as part of the social CRM movement.

What has taken sales so long to catch up, and what now needs to be done?

Learning From Marketing and Customer Service

Leading social CRM expert Paul Greenberg describes the socialization of business activities as “the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.” Indeed, social media builds a two-way street with customers.

Visionary B2C companies like Procter & Gamble (Old Spice), Zappos and Diapers.com have executed effective strategies based on the idea of “delight” through social media, and with great success. B2B companies have learned from these B2C examples and are combining superb customer service with newly created social customer communities, resulting in significant cost savings and revenue increases.

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff — one of the top analysts in the ROI of social media in B2B customer strategies — cites everything from reduced call/email volume and SEO costs to increased customer lifetime value and lead conversion rates. And according to a recent study by Gartner, one-third of leading companies will extend their online community activities over the next two years “as customer awareness and use of social CRM for marketing as a back door to customer service increases.”

Customer service organizations are certainly leading the charge in recognizing the power of social media to give insight and measurement to their work, as well as bring their customer communities together. If social media is such an indomitable force in customer engagement, where is social media in sales?

Hey Guys, Wait Up!

social crm image

While marketing and customer service have jumped on the social CRM bandwagon, the sales profession has mostly been watching from the sidelines, wondering what to do and how to do it. There are four main reasons for this lag:

  • Salespeople are not techno-geeks. They view technology, at best, as an enabler — a tool for getting their job done — rather than something you experiment with on the weekends for the fun of it. Clearly, social media is more approachable and engaging than traditional enterprise applications, but a level of technical skepticism remains.
  • Salespeople need to understand what’s in it for them. Good salespeople are highly efficient in their use of time. It’s a benefit of years of being compensated for results. If they don’t understand how something is going to make them more productive and successful, they won’t do it, and no one has done a good job explaining why social media matters for sales. Considering the indication of some reports that sales teams generate upwards of 70% of their own opportunities without the help of the marketing department, the importance of engagement for salespeople cannot be overstated.
  • Social media tools have not been integrated into the sales workflow. CRM vendors have so far focused on integrating social media into their service and support offerings, and sales functionality has been mostly left to specialized third-party providers (see options on Salesforce.com’s AppExchange and Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM Marketplace).
  • Salespeople rely on their employer for training on new sales processes and tools to support them. If they are not being trained or given a managerial “green light” on social media, they are less apt to explore and implement it on their own. According to a recent study by OgilvyOne, while more than half of sales professionals thought that social media was important to their success, only 9% had been trained on it by their employer. As companies are starting to think about how to best leverage social media, sales training will undoubtedly be near the top of the list.

Selling Has Always Been Social

Despite these reasons for the lag, salespeople are in the business of understanding, relating to and engaging decision makers. Short of an expensive in-person meeting, what could be better than having real-time insight and intelligence into a prospect’s Twitter feed, Facebook profile, or even their music interests on Pandora?

Fortunately, the wave of social customer interaction education is starting to form, with initiatives like the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management’s Social CRM Program and Social Selling University leading the way. Just as early and effective adoption of the web gave competitive advantages to forward-thinking businesses (Amazon, eBay, Cisco) in the 1990s, in this decade, companies that effectively leverage the social media wave to improve their customer-facing business will thrive while those who don’t will stall.

Have you implemented social strategies into your sales force? If so, please let us know in the comments. If not, we’d also love to hear your thoughts, challenges and/or successes as well.

Interested in more Business resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Rak’s passion boy (楽の情熱ボーイ), smemon87

More About: business, crm, MARKETING, sales, social crm, social media

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March 11 2011

Motorola Xoom Tablet Sales “Underwhelming”

Amid all the hype about the iPad 2, one of its chief rivals, the Motorola Xoom, is not selling well.

Analyst Peter Misek of Jefferies & Company tells ZDNet that Motorola’s tablet, even with its higher-resolution screen and faster processor than the Apple iPad 2, is not exactly flying off the shelves:

“Xoom sales have been underwhelming. While marketing has just started we believe MMI will likely have to cut production if it already has not done so. We believe the device has been a bit buggy and did not meet the magic price point of $500. We believe management knows this and is hurrying development and production of lower cost tablets. Importantly we believe management will likely have to make the painful decision to accept little to no margin initially in order to match iPad 2’s wholesale pricing.”

So what if the Xoom’s sales aren’t exactly zooming right now? If Adobe Flash would work with the Xoom (a beta is coming 3/18/11, we’re told), if Google can fix the bugs in the Xoom’s Android 3 (Honeycomb) OS, and if Motorola can somehow lower its prices, in our opinion, the Xoom still has a chance. Competition is good.

More About: Jefferies, motorola xoom, Peter Misek, sales, tablets

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March 09 2011

Microsoft Kinect Sales Top 10 Million, Set New Guinness World Record

Microsoft has sold more than 10 million Kinect systems for the Xbox 360 to retailers, the company announced Wednesday.

Kinect, a controller-free gaming system that competes with the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 Move, has been selling at an impressive rate since it launched in November.

During the first three months after its launch, this rate was fast enough to earn Kinect the title of “fastest-selling consumer device.” According to Guinness World Records, which officially confirmed the record today, Microsoft sold an average of 133,333 units per day between November 4 and January 3.

“The sales figures here speak for themselves,” said Gaz Deaves, gaming editor for Guinness World Records in a statement from Microsoft. “According to independent research, no other consumer electronics device sold faster within a 60-day time span, which is an incredible achievement considering the strength of the sector.”

In comparison, it took the Nintendo Wii about two years to pass the 10 million sales mark (although to be fair, Nintendo’s system was about $100 more expensive at launch than Microsoft’s system).

Kinect sales have unsurprisingly slowed since the holiday season and the initial launch. If sales had continued at the newly announced record rate, Microsoft would be announcing it had sold more than 18 million units instead of 10 million. Even so, at this point it looks safe to call the device a smash hit.

More About: games, kinect, microsoft, sales

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February 03 2011

The Evolution of the Social Media Manager: Social Monetization Manager?

The next evolution of the social media manager position may very well focus on a puzzle piece that is largely missing in the social media strategy of news companies: monetization.

Cox Media Group digital posted an opening Wednesday for a “Social Monetization Manager (SMM)” — someone who will focus on a strategy and implementation that will drive revenue to the company’s 100+ TV, radio and newspaper properties.

Although Cox is one of the first news media companies to hire for a position of its kind, this may signal a larger shift for news companies experimenting with ways to monetize social media. In some ways, Cox is making a big bet that social media will play a big role in its revenue strategy — at least one big enough to require such a position. The position is part of a further shift in company strategy to invest in digital, and includes a recent structure shift that unified its digital and corporate business strategy groups to one team.

According to the LinkedIn listing, the person will have a blend of digital savvy and sales expertise:

“The right candidate will have a blend of digital media savvy, social media knowledge and first hand sales experience. While social will be the primary focus, the SMM will also have working knowledge regarding email/permission marketing and mobile/SMS packages. A sense of experimentation is a must for this individual as this segment of the business is relatively new, underdeveloped and without a prior history to build upon. To be successful, they will work with the product managers for the three platforms (social media, mobile, email) to guide development to ensure a sustainable business model and sales strategy. They will work across the entire organization to support both local sales teams and corporate strategy work.”

Alan Segal, senior manager of business intelligence and platforms at Cox Media Group digital, said for the last couple of years, social media has had a clear place of value in editorial, customer service and marketing. Many of Cox’s properties had people who would focus on these areas with Cox’s Social Media Manager Mathilde Piard helping facilitate best practices to individuals that manage social at individual properties.

In the last year, Piard began fielding more questions around monetizing social media from individual properties. More were interested in experimenting with different ways to use social to boost revenue. But because Piard was already managing social media implementation across editorial and other channels, Segal said it wasn’t feasible for her to also be responsible for monetization efforts, at which point it made sense to add someone to focus on monetization.

Though the company has done some experiments thus far, Segal expects the social media monetization manager to rethink the current approach and strategy.

“We need to get beyond the idea that a sponsored tweet is going to cut it and get many different tests in the field to see what will work,” Segal said. “Social has the potential to be really creative in the approach and we need to take advantage of that.”

Segal said more media companies will start to hire for such a position because social offers are different from what companies are used to selling in the digital space. Everything from the available inventory to the package has to be rethought and often tailored for each advertiser, he said, and that requires a specialist who thinks about how to leverage the space.

“Not everyone will do it, but I’d predict those that make the investment will get a much greater return,” he said.

More About: advertising, business, MARKETING, monetization, sales, social media

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January 18 2011

Apple COO Calls Android Tablet a “Bizarre Product”

Ahead of its earning call for the first quarter of fiscal 2011, Apple announced record-breaking earnings, led by strong sales of the iPhone, Mac and iPad product lines.

The iPad in particular had a phenomenal holiday season, with more than 7.3 million units sold. That’s an increase of more than 85% from the fourth quarter. Since launching the iPad in April 2010, Apple has sold almost 15 million iPads.

The success of the iPad hasn’t cannibalized Mac sales — to the contrary, Apple had its best quarter ever for the Mac, selling 4.19 million units in the December quarter.

Apple: We’re Not Sitting Still

As we saw at CES, tablet fever has taken over the consumer electronics industry, with would-be iPad competitors appearing at every turn. Everyone (and we do mean everyone) has a tablet or is working on a tablet.

The fact that Apple has established a user base of nearly 15 million in just nine months makes Apple a formidable competitor in this emerging space.

For comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab — one of the few high-profile non-Apple tablets to hit the retail market before the end of 2010 — managed to sell more than a million units in its first 60 days. By comparison, Apple is averaging a little more than 2 million iPad units per month, with that figure rising every month.

We should note that these sorts of leads are not insurmountable. After all, Android as a device category is now eclipsing iOS in terms of sales. Still, individual phone models from companies like HTC, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung aren’t matching the figures Apple continues to turn out with the iPhone.

Apple COO Tim Cook (the man currently taking over day-to-day operations for Steve Jobs) commented on the current competition during Tuesday’s earnings call. Cook made it clear that Apple doesn’t believe the Android-based tablets on the market are competition. He called these devices “scaled up smartphones” and continued to opine that he sees them as “bizarre product[s]” that don’t offer the “real tablet experience,” and he asserted Apple’s belief that it has a “huge, first-mover advantage.”

Cook acknowledged that future tablets running Google Honeycomb or from RIM may provide some competition, noting that Apple will “assess [the competition] as [it is] coming;” Cook made it clear that Apple isn’t sitting still.

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that 80% of the Fortune 100 is either deploying or piloting the iPad in the enterprise. That’s up from 65% in the fourth quarter of 2010.

With this level of penetration on the consumer and business side, unseating Apple in this space won’t be easy. It will be interesting to watch what Google, Microsoft, RIM and HP do in the future.

Reviews: Android, Google

More About: android, apple, apple earnings call, iOS, ipad, sales, tablets

December 21 2010

Apple TV Sales to Reach 1 Million This Week

Apple announced that it expects sales of its redesigned Apple TV, introduced this September, to top 1 million later this week.

The latest version of Apple TV offers support for Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe, as well as content streaming and affordable rental pricing for TV shows, at a price of $99.99. It seems that Apple’s new strategy worked, as 1 million units sold in three and a half months. Apple also claims that iTunes users are now renting and purchasing more than 400,000 TV episodes and more than 150,000 movies per day.

It’s also another slap in the face for Google, whose Google TV, which was once perceived as a chief rival to Apple TV, is not doing nearly as well. Several major broadcast network have banned it from accessing their content, and a recent report from The New York Times revealed that numerous manufacturers will hold off from displaying their Google TV devices at CES as Google needs more time to tweak the software.

More About: apple, Apple TV, sales, tv, video

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December 18 2010

Android Devices Dominate Holiday Sales in Mashable Poll

What’s been hiding under the wrapping paper at your house this holiday season: Android or iPhone? BlackBerry or Windows Phone 7?

Last week, we conducted a poll asking our readers what they planned to buy — or hoped to receive — as holiday gifts this year.

From the end user’s perspective, it’s a decision that’s often based on marketing and emotions, but from the manufacturers’ and networks’ point of view, holiday shopping is a huge part of Q4 sales. And sales for some of these platforms could use a nice end-of-year boost.

While Apple and Google are enjoying an increasingly brisk tug-of-war for consumer dollars, selling millions upon millions of devices during 2010, Microsoft is refusing to report on initial Windows Phone 7 sales. And BlackBerry devices, though still a huge part of the mobile landscape, are definitely on the decline.

If our readers are any indication of things to come, Q4 is going to look exceptionally bright for sellers of Android devices.

Out of our 1,368 respondents, 41.2% said they were buying or receiving an Android device as a gift this year. Just 30.6% said the same for iOS devices, including iPhones and iPads. Around 12% said they’d be buying or receiving a Windows Phone 7 device, and just 4.1% were planning to give or get a BlackBerry.

What’s even more interesting is that Android smartphones are by far the most popular items to give as gifts, according to our poll, with a full 31.6% of all respondents saying they’d buy or had already bought an Android as a gift for someone else.

While this small sample size might not be indicative of purchasing patterns in the much larger market, we are curious to see how Q4 numbers will pan out for Apple devices, Android devices and especially Windows Phone 7.

More About: android, blackberry, Holiday, iOS, iphone, Mobile 2.0, poll, RIM, sales, windows phone 7

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December 14 2010

Latest “World of Warcraft” Expansion Breaks Sales Records for PC Games

The latest World of Warcraft expansion has topped all previous sales records in its first 24 hours, not just for WoW but for all PC game titles.

Dubbed World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the game’s final count for copies sold is — are you sitting down? — 3.3 million in the expansion’s first day. That means more than one out of four WoW subscribers bought the expansion within 24 hours of its release.

Based on data from its distributors, WoW maker Blizzard Entertainment is calling Cataclysm “the fastest-selling PC game of all time.”

By (an admittedly apples-to-oranges but nonetheless interesting) comparison, the iPhone 4 saw a paltry 1.5 million units moved in its first 24 hours; and only 2 million songs by the Beatles were sold during the entire week of that band’s iTunes premiere.

The expansion has been getting buzz for months already for its radical alterations to existing WoW content and for bringing new regions, quests, races, learnable skills and battlegrounds to the game. Cataclysm also brought some significant social-gaming improvements by beefing up features for guilds.

And when Blizzard put the expansion’s cinematic trailer on YouTube, that quickly went viral, too, garnering more than 1 million views in its first day online.

Given all the pre-launch excitement over the expansion — and previous WoW expansion sales figures, which would typically break 2 million — we’re not completely shocked that Cataclysm is performing so well.

If you’ve bought and played the expansion already, please let us know what you think in the comments.

More About: cataclysm, pc game, pc gaming, sales, world of warcraft, WoW

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November 28 2010

Will Microsoft’s Buy-One-Get-One Promo Boost Windows Phone 7 Sales?

On Black Friday, Microsoft announced that consumers would be able to buy one Windows Phone 7 device and get the second free for purchases at all AT&T stores.

These phones, which retail for $199, include the LG Quantum, HTC Surround and Samsung Focus.

Is this just a typically lowball Black Friday sale? Or is this indicative of lackluster sales for Windows Phone 7 devices? It could be both; we won’t know for certain until we have more information about Microsoft’s numbers for Windows Phone 7 sales.

Still, this sale, however conveniently timed, is reminiscent of an identical offer made for the KIN, the prematurely axed device that was Microsoft’s last big mobile attempt. In that case, low sales — some say as few as mere hundreds of units — prompted the price-slashing and rebranding of the phone in the same year it was released.

If a recent poll of Mashable readers, most respondents thought the Windows Phone 7 platform would be a success. Indeed, even though Microsoft execs were vague on Windows Phone 7 device sales in a November call with shareholders, CEO Steve Ballmer himself made optimistic statements about the platform, saying that Windows Phone 7 was “off to a great start… It marks the beginning, we think, of a new era in smart phones. The response has been really fantastic.”

What do you think: Is the promotion an innocuous marketing tool, or is Windows Phone 7 simply underperforming? We welcome your speculations and opinions in the comments.

More About: black friday, microsoft, Mobile 2.0, sales, windows phone 7

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November 18 2010

Our Readers — and Steve Ballmer — Think Windows Phone 7 Will Succeed

In a recent poll, we asked whether you thought Windows Phone 7’s chances were in the mobile market.

While other recent Microsoft releases (namely, the Kinect) have seen fabulous sales at launch, Windows Phone 7-powered devices reportedly limped in with just 40,000 units sold during the OS’ first day on the market.

At a shareholder meeting today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was enthusiastically specific about Kinect’s sales and goals, but he became much more general when discussing the company’s latest mobile OS, saying that Windows Phone 7 was “off to a great start… It marks the beginning, we think, of a new era in smart phones. The response has been really fantastic.”

Whether that “response” refers to actual sales numbers we haven’t yet seen or rather to the general feeling of consumers toward Windows Phone 7 devices isn’t clear.

What is clear, however, is that most Mashable readers don’t have overwhelmingly negative opinions of the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

Almost 43% of respondents said they thought Windows Phone 7 would succeed for one reason or another, versus 37.4% who said they thought the OS would fail.

While some of our poll respondents said that Microsoft had lost its touch when it came to mobile OSes, many more of you said that Windows Phone 7 would succeed because it’s simply a good product. In fact, out of all possible responses, this one got the most votes:

And of those who thought Windows Phone 7 would be a success, a full 85.5% said that success would be on the strength of the product itself rather than marketing or other causes.

For those who thought the OS wouldn’t do well, the majority said that Windows can’t match the strength of its dominant competitors, iOS and Android.

Of course, a large group of respondents correctly said that it’s probably too soon to tell exactly how Windows Phone 7 will perform in the long run:

What do you make of these poll results — and of Windows Phone 7 — so far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: microsoft, Mobile 2.0, sales, windows phone 7

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