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Controversial Picks

Who Owns Your Content On Facebook?

Who Owns Your Content On Facebook?

When you go to the bank to rent out a security box from them they will inform you of their policy. They will also ensure you that if they want to terminate your contract at any point they will first inform... Read more »

Now you can b**** about your job on Facebook & get away with it!

Now you can b**** about your job on Facebook & get away with it!

As soon as Facebook use became ubiquitous we started hearing about more and more people who have lost their jobs due to the service. There are plenty of stories, from those caught skipping work to attend a... Read more »

Is Religion, Stereotyping or Strategies Holding Down XBox, Wii and PlayStation in the Middle East?

Video games are on the list of the most popular mainstream media, which makes up an important percentage of social activity for a considerable portion of youngsters worldwide. The Middle East region is no exception; video games are as popular in the region as it is anywhere else in the world despite the minimal support/focus of the major hardware players Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. Their lack of interest in the region – so far – keeps the doors open for piracy to nourish and dominate the regional video games industry. For instance, almost every Nintendo Wii in Saudi Arabia is modified with a special chip to allow the machine to play pirated games that cost 3$ to 8$ in comparison to the original games costing around $80 – $100 in the region – even higher than their prices in many western countries -.

Quraish Arabic Video Game

Quraish Arabic Video Game

Is price the issue here?

Partially yes, but not for the entire region. We have to bear in mind that countries in the Middle East differ substantially in their income levels. There are the richer Gulf countries where people’s income rivals the income of European countries, and there are other countries which are not rich at all and where people’s incomes are much lower. Both cases can be treated differently with a proper distributor from the major hardware players. The answer maybe an adequate price point for original content that fits these markets. Rotana, the biggest Arabic music producer and distributor figured it out, and provided an excellent model of pricing for their music productions that left little room for piracy. The same can apply to video games.

Localized content and cultural conflicts…

Pricing is not the only barrier holding up the growth of video games in the Middle East. Other major factors include language, localized content and cultural barriers. Wall-E, a game built based on the popular animated film produced in 2008, has been the first world game to be localized for the Middle East. We are talking here about a single game which received very poor reviews and considerable criticism. The fact is that localization of games for this market is very minimal, thus leaving out a big pool of people who simply find it hard to understand English.

On the other hand, the Arabic culture and heritage is rarely portrayed the right way in video games produced in the west. That is understandable in a way because it may not be easy for one to reflect the right cultural heritage of another nation especially when they don’t have to – games produced are usually targeted for western audience -. Beside stereotyping (Delta Force) and oriental-ism (Aladdin), there are no real Arabic characters that would get video game players in the region to relate to. It’s gotten even worse, because – like in Hollywood – major video games that incorporate Arabic characters are usually based on recent Middle Eastern conflicts and thus depicting Arabs as enemies and terrorists!

Local video games productions strike back!

The offensive portrayal of Arabs in some Western video games has triggered local Arab production companies to come up with their own version of video games to protect their identity and perspective of the state of affairs of the regional conflicts. Afkar Media, a Syrian company, has already produced different games with nationalism streak: Under Ash, a political game that tells the story of the first intifada from the Palestinian perspective. Under Siege, is another political game that tells the story of a Palestinian family and their struggle during the second intifada (1999-2002). Quraish, the first Arabic 3D real strategy game (RTS), tracks the origins of Islam in the desert of Arabic 590 A.C.

Big potential…

With the population of the Middle East approaching 300 million, there is a big market for localized and focused video games. High rate of illegal software use may be an obstacle, but it can be worked out with proper strategies if there is a good will to penetrate the Middle Eastern market. Local offices or partnerships with local development companies can also help in delivering some good quality content. Relatively cost-effective and skilled labor is also available in the region especially in Jordan and Egypt.

Is piracy really what’s preventing Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft from taking the full advantage of the market? Is it a strategic decision – or lack of it – to hold off targeting the M.E.? Or is it the lack of consideration of the religious and cultural differences between the East and the West?

First Reddit Bacon Soap… Next Twitter Pork Shampoo? Is it a Marketing Plot?

What is the clear cut line, if it exists, between actual monetization planning created to increase profits and marketing/branding strategies designed to increase a “buzz” and word of mouth for a certain product or service? Are social media sites such as Reddit using their influence, popularity and reputation to lawfully bring in more cash or is it all just a maneuver to attract more and more exposure wishfully thinking it will lead to more loyal users?

Reddit's Bacon Soap

Reddit's Bacon Soap

After yet another dive in the OriginalSignal news pool, my hook caught an interesting title: “Love Bacon? Need Soap? Now There’s Reddit’s Bacon Soap.” For a moment there, the main idea floating around my head was: Wow! What a great way to monetize!

I took a few steps back, reflected on all those Marketing courses I have taken a few years back and within yet another few minutes, it struck me: Is Reddit really thinking of gaining profit through selling such a strangely branded, not very appealing, type of soap? Or is this just another way to increase the buzz about Reddit in general and get more people, like me, to write about this product in relation to Reddit?

In my humble opinion, Reddit’s product would not bring about a high percentage of sales but it will, on some level, increase Reddit’s popularity amongst its current and potential users at the same token. The way I see it, and with the social bookmarking site’s clutter, Reddit took a smart step to remind its users of its availability as well as its creativity drawing an image of innovation and continuous improvement in the minds of anyone who hears of it.

I’ll conclude this controversial pick with two simple questions: Would you really consider buying or using Reddit’s Bacon Soap? How did this branding move effect your overview of Reddit?

Anxious to hear your opinions down below :)

5 Top Reasons Why Twitter is Not Very Popular with Teens!

Is Twitter simply too “dull” for teens to sign up to and use? What are the reasons for the rather low number of teen Twitter users? Would it be wise for Twitter to focus advertising in a way that targets teens? What benefits would teens gain from regularly using Twitter?

Microsoft’s “Browse Never” Campaign: Was the Puke Really Necessary?

Is spending millions on “bad” advertising the new emerging trend to capture audience attention and spread the word about new products and services? How much impact do “bad” ads have on sales as opposed to good creative ads? Is Waggener Edstrom doing the right job for Microsoft? YouTube’s famous “Friday Pranks” seems to be doing a better PR job than the giant!

Are bloggers influencers, journalists or both? Does it matter?

Are bloggers influencers, journalists or both? Does it matter?

Cartoon: If superman would blog. Thanks to @Boris.

Bloggers are gaining power all over the world; A recent survey showed that they prefer to be treated as influencers rather than as journalists. Is there a difference? does it really matter?

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10 Things I Hate About So-Called Gurus!

10 Things I Hate About So-Called Gurus!

A guru with poor listening skills!

What is the real definition of the word "guru"? How many real gurus, on different topics, could there possibly be? And what is this new emerging trend of having people describe themselves as gurus in their biographies and resumes?

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Social Media: The New Path to World Peace & An End to Racism?

Social Media: The New Path to World Peace & An End to Racism?

Twitter Visitors Country Rank

Will world peace always be a Utopian dream? Is open unrestricted communication between different cultures and across unlimited boarders the way to achieve world peace? Are social media platforms and services slowly paving the path to a better, more peaceful tomorrow for all with there is no room for racists?

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Does Yahoo! Mail Applications pose a challenge for Google Wave?

Does Yahoo! Mail Applications pose a challenge for Google Wave?

Yahoo! Mail Applications

Both Yahoo and Google seem to realize that opening their email platforms would be their way to compete in the social networking arena. Using their email user-bases is not a bad approach to conquer areas that are only possible with platforms like Facebook and MySpace. Competition is good, it brings us - the users - revolutionary technologies!...

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The Many Ways Social Media Affects Parenting Online & Offline!

The Many Ways Social Media Affects Parenting Online & Offline!

Parents: Always stay within arms reach

How do social media tools, channels and platforms affect parenting habits? Is social media widening or narrowing down the generation gap between parents and children? Are parents able to obtain more advice on good parenting habits through social media than any time before?

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iPhone Porn Debate: Are You With or Against?

iPhone Porn Debate: Are You With or Against?

iPhone Welcomes Porn

Do we really want to help promote such a wide propagation of porn and nudity on such a large social media platform such as the iPhone? Below, we have prepared a list of pros and cons for the topic of mobile porn. Let us know what you think.

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