Localization and translation: The biggest mistakes you’re probably making (webinar)

the world

Join us for this live webinar on Tuesday, September 29 at 9 a.m. Pacific, 12 p.m. Eastern. Register here for free. 

International marketing fails are legendary — and show that even mega brands can blunder big time when they try and take campaigns beyond familiar borders.

When Pepsi tried to introduce the slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” into China, the translated message apparently was read in Chinese as “”Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.”

“Got milk?” — the famously successful tagline for the California Milk Processing Board — didn’t go over so well in Mexico. The Spanish version was interpreted as “Are you lactating?”

The need to get localization and translation right is more urgent than ever as digital and mobile brands can cross geographies at lightening speed compared to companies producing packaged goods. With a digital commodity that’s gaining traction, breaking down geographic doors is the next logical step. But it’s not just about translation (although you certainly want to get that right).

It’s far more about understanding the cultural differences that are going to help you break into that next lucrative market. How you onboard customers may vary differently from one region to the next. Monetizing tactics may vary considerably as different markets can respond distinctly. And the user experience may need to be adapted accordingly.

This webinar will help you understand how you can truly “think global and act local”. VB Insight’s Director of Marketing Technology Stuart Rogers and a stellar panel will share essential best practices and tips on how to approach the vagaries of international marketing in a tech-driven age.


Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.


In this webinar, you’ll learn how to:

Re-think campaign creation at the regional level — and the global one
Effectively use in-market experts to drive better impact
Make your branding as world-ready as possible.
Use metrics to show the truest picture of your campaign’s effectiveness
Enhance the customer experience through added local flavor

Speakers:

Stuart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VB Insight

Dave Fish, SVP, Expert Services, MaritzCX


This webinar is sponsored by Lionbridge.

 

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Google plans expansions in Mountain View, eyes San Jose for first time

Google is planning to expand in its hometown of Mountain View -- and for the first time is strongly considering planting its flag in north San Jose in a big way, an indication that job growth in Santa Clara County remains robust. Mountain View-based Google is in talks to lease two expansion sites in Mountain View that together total 357,000 square feet and also wants to grab about 150,000 square feet or more in north San Jose, according to multiple sources familiar with the space hunts and the commercial real estate market in Silicon Valley.

Google plans expansions in Mountain View, eyes San Jose for first time

Google is planning to expand in its hometown of Mountain View -- and for the first time is strongly considering planting its flag in north San Jose in a big way, an indication that job growth in Santa Clara County remains robust. Mountain View-based Google is in talks to lease two expansion sites in Mountain View that together total 357,000 square feet and also wants to grab about 150,000 square feet or more in north San Jose, according to multiple sources familiar with the space hunts and the commercial real estate market in Silicon Valley.

What happened to the growth in mobile gaming?

The Chinese have mobile gaming in their blood, as evident at ChinaJoy 2015.

For those who haven’t noticed yet, the market for mobile games in the West has started to mature.

Mobile game revenue of six public listed companies combined (DeNA*, EA, Glu, Gree*, King, and Zynga) grew a paltry 1 percent from a year ago during the second quarter of 2015, compared to 25 percent during the second quarter of 2014 and 367 percent during the second quarter of 2013.

Growth has slowed for six public mobile game companies.

Above: Growth has slowed for six public mobile game companies.

Image Credit: Company reports

Not only has revenue growth slowed down, but the cost of doing business has also risen substantially over the last few years. During this same period, cost of distribution has increased drastically — ad revenue/mobile daily active users (DAU, a reliable indicator of distribution cost) for Glu and Zynga was up 28 percent from a year ago and 36 percent from a year ago, respectively, during the second quarter of 2015.

Mobile game distribution costs are rising.

Above: Mobile game distribution costs are rising.

Image Credit: Company reports

Similarly, product development budgets are moving up, driven by rising labor costs (competition for talent) and increasing production values. Product development costs for three companies** (Glu, King, and Zynga) combined were 15 percent of revenue during the second quarter of 2015, up from 11 percent of revenue during the second quarter of 2014.

The story of slowing growth and rising costs for mobile game companies shouldn’t be a surprise, as we have seen this story play out several times in the past. Recall the gold rushes for PC, console, and Facebook games, in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s, respectively, that attracted hordes of developers. Subsequently, slowing growth and rising costs led to consolidation with a number of “also-ran” companies that got acquired or, worse, went belly up (e.g., Midway Games, THQ, Realtime Worlds). The result was a handful of “at-scale” companies dominating each of the platforms, such as Blizzard on PC, Activision and EA on consoles, and Zynga on Facebook.


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The difference this time around is that the time to maturity was shorter for mobile games industry than that for previous platforms. Given the leverage in the model, a few of “at-scale” businesses — such as Supercell, King, and Machine Zone — have already established dominance and are vastly profitable (King’s EBTDA margin at ~40 percent, Supercell likely even higher given its small cost-base); and a number of “also-ran” businesses are still chasing to get to scale that would lead to desired profitability. While some “also-ran” businesses will eventually find their way in the “at-scale” club, most are likely to consolidate or wither away, similar to what happened during maturity phase of other platforms.

In order to join the “at-scale” club, a number of “also-ran” companies have recently shifted their strategy — away from launching a large number of titles to focusing on a fewer number of titles, doubling down on quality and production values. They’re supporting their product with a stronger go-to-market strategy. As a result, some recent games have shown improved performance, though none have succeeded at dethroning the dominant at-scale games.

Angry Birds 2

Above: Boss battles take a different kind of strategy in Angry Birds 2.

Image Credit: Rovio Entertainment

The next big “at-scale” businesses for mobile games will be built green field, rather than in markets and genres dominated by existing leaders, in my opinion. A strong “match-3” or a tower defense game could become a good lifestyle business, but is not likely become an at-scale product given dominant leadership in these genres and given incumbents’ ability to invest opportunistically in sales and marketing to thwart potential competition. The green-field opportunities could be either new genres (e.g. shooting, sports – two vastly popular genres of games that have been under-indexed on mobile) or new geographies.

Innovating a successful game mechanic for under-indexed genres could be lucrative. But it’s also tedious, time consuming and expensive. A case in point, the success of Top Eleven likely stemmed from players’ love for soccer and a game mechanic (team management) that worked well for mobile vs. many unsuccessful attempts to bring the simulation sports experience on mobile that players found too cumbersome on a small screen. Similarly, despite a number of attempts (Call of Duty, Uberstrike, Contract Killer), the shooting category has not yet taken off on mobile, likely due to want of a game mechanic that is more suitable for small touchscreens.

I believe that the lower hanging fruit are the new, unexplored territories. Since the early 2000s, we have witnessed the development of a PC game industry in China, new game platforms in Japan and Korea, and, most recently, explosive rise of mobile games in China. While Western game companies didn’t participate in this value creation (except for Blizzard and Riot Games), they may soon be able to more than recuperate the missed opportunities.

Atul Bagga

Above: Atul Bagga

Image Credit: Atul Bagga

A new emerging opportunity has the potential to dwarf some of the more recent markets we have seen.

To be continued. …

  • Western/overseas revenue only
    ** I excluded other companies where majority revenue was international (DeNA, Gree) or console games (EA).

Atul Bagga was most recently the CFO  for Zynga Asia. Prior to Zynga, Atul was an equity research analyst covering digital media and Internet with Lazard Capital and ThinkEquity. He’ll be moderating a session at our GamesBeat 2015 conference on October 12 and October 13 in San Francisco Twitter: atulbagga; Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bagga

 

 










Marco Arment pulls popular Peace iOS ad-blocker from App Store after just two days

Marco_Arment_October_2007

The maker of Peace, a popular ad-blocking software for Apple’s iOS 9 mobile OS, has pulled the app from the App Store.

Apple made the controversial decision to support ad-blocking apps for mobile browsers in iOS 9, but Peace creator Marco Arment fears that his app might unfairly hurt publishers.

“Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white,” Arment wrote today.

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“This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app,” Arment said.

The app was available from the Store for just a couple of days, and in that time, Arment said, it was the most popular paid app.


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“I’m sorry to all of my fans and customers who bought this on my name, expecting it to be supported for longer than two days,” Arment wrote in the blog. He says that for those who downloaded it, the app will continue working, but with no updates.

The classic argument against ad blocking has been that web ads bring in the revenue publishers need to keep providing content for free.

Arment had argued that mobile ad blockers are fair game because mobile ads are large and highly disruptive, and that no clear rules exist to govern the amount of user tracking publishers can conduct through the ads. He likens mobile ads to pop-up ads on the desktop, pointing out that pop-up blockers in desktop browsers are widely considered appropriate.

But Arment has reconsidered.

From the blog:

“Ad-blocking is a kind of war — a first-world, low-stakes, both-sides-are-fortunate-to-have-this-kind-of-problem war, but a war nonetheless, with damage hitting both sides. I see war in the Tao Te Ching sense: it should be avoided when possible; when that isn’t possible, war should be entered solemnly, not celebrated,” he wrote.

“Even though I’m ‘winning’, I’ve enjoyed none of it,” Arment wrote. “That’s why I’m withdrawing from the market.”


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James Currier and Stan Chudnovsky Takes the Wraps Off Their New Incubator, NFX Guild

NFX Guild logo big A new Bay Area accelerator, NFX Guild, has emerged on the scene with plans to run a three-month-long program twice a year for between 10 and 15 companies. It has a novel approach, too. For one thing, there is no publicly available application process. Startups will be referred to NFX by “scouts,” after which a select number will receive invitations into the program. The scouts… Read More

Google demands reform for 30-year-old U.S. data privacy act

open source congress

Google and other tech industry players testified in Washington this week that the 30-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) needs and overhaul. The law, written in 1986, was meant to set warrant rules around government agencies’ access to personal data in the cloud.

Debate on the issue is taking center stage in Washington after gaining attention over the past few months, and reform legislation is now making its way through Congress.

The current ECPA allows government agencies to force Internet companies and network providers to hand over the content of email communications, without a warrant in some cases. That’s mainly because the law is too old to have explicitly laid out warrant rules for 21st century cloud technology.


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“This pre-digital era law no longer makes sense: users expect, as they should, that the documents they store online have the same Fourth Amendment protections as they do when the government wants to enter the home to seize documents stored in a desk drawer,” said Richard Salgado, Google’s director for law enforcement and information security, in a blog post.

Salgado points out that the ECPA was found to be unconstitutional by the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in United States v. Warshak back in 2010, adding that Google requires that law enforcement have a warrant to access any data on its servers.

One of the circumstances in which law enforcement can currently exploit vagaries in the ECPA is to obtain access to data owned by a foreign citizen without a warrant. The Department of Justice, for example, can claim that right when the data is stored in the servers of an American company, regardless of data privacy rights granted the citizen by his own country’s laws.

Some believe this use of the ECPA is hurting U.S. tech companies’ trade relations with other countries. The App Association’s Morgan Reed had this to say about that claim during testimony in front of a Senate committee Wednesday:

“For American tech companies to remain global leaders, we must be clear with our trading partners that their citizens can store data in their home country with a U.S. company and retain the privacy protections provided by their sovereign government,” Reed said. Google’s Salgado also testified at the hearing Wednesday.

The App Association supports a bipartisan piece of legislation called the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS) to fix the problems in the ECPA. The legislation establishes a clear set of rules governing how law enforcement can access data stored abroad.

The White House in July endorsed a petition to have the ECPA law upgraded. At its We The People petition website, the White House yesterday endorsed a petition called “Reform ECPA: Tell the Government to Get a Warrant.”


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BlackBerry Venice hands-on video: Android slider has touch keyboard, universal search, and Google services

blackberry_venice_leaks

BlackBerry’s Android phone, codenamed Venice, continues to see leak after leak. Following the slew of images we’ve already seen, we now have a hands-on video.

In June, rumors that BlackBerry was building an Android smartphone returned in full force, followed by a big leak in July. Then in August we saw the keyboard, and also learned the device will likely launch on all four major U.S. carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile) in November.

As one who loves BlackBerry hardware but not the software, I’m excited about the potential of a proper QWERTY phone with Android apps. Today’s video comes courtesy of Bell Mobility retailer Baka Mobile:

The clip shows features like tap to wake, universal search, and even demoes that the keyboard responds to touch, much like the BlackBerry Passport. This means you’ll be able to navigate the phone without blocking anything on the touchscreen.


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We’ve seen rumored specs that include a Snapdragon 808 processor, a 5.4-inch QHD LCD, and 3GB of RAM, but nothing has confirmed these yet. The device is expected to feature a dual curved display (think Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge) with a physical keyboard that slides up from underneath (think Palm Pre). The hardware is similar to the slider that BlackBerry showed off at Mobile World Congress in March, though that device was clearly running BlackBerry OS 10.

But all the leaks have shown Android. They all depict Google apps, suggesting Venice is getting a largely unmodified version of Android, unlike Amazon’s Fire OS, which is based on a fork of Google’s mobile operating system. We’ve also seen an Android version of BlackBerry Hub, supposed Chromecast support, and Content Transfer for BlackBerry that will let you move phone data using Google Drive.

Seeing a hands-on video of the device is the best confirmation yet that this device will be announced within the next two months.

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Cheetah Mobile: ‘Ghost Push’ Android virus infects 600k+ users a day with unwanted apps

The Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Android users should probably be extra careful about what applications they download these days, especially when using non-Google Play stores. According to Cheetah Mobile’s security research lab, there’s a new virus that is spreading pretty quickly — by the firm’s estimates, it’s infecting more than 600,000 users each day.

Called “Ghost Push,” it’s believed to be delivered via malware and is spread through commercial SDK or browser ads. Cheetah Mobile said that it has “affected 14,847 phone types and 3,658 brands.” Once on a device, the virus will install unwanted and annoying apps on your phone and is said to be pretty difficult to remove, even if you’re using an antivirus software or doing a factory reset. Ghost Push will gain root access and cause issues with your device, such as slowing it down, draining its battery, and even consuming lots of cellular data.

Cheetah Mobile’s team says it has found 39 apps that have been infected with the Ghost Push virus. It’s possible that these are spoofed applications with the malicious intent of infecting your device. The company says that the app label is designed to trick you, but to know whether it’s real, you can look at the package name. If it’s something like “com.abc.yinhe”, then don’t install it. Best bet: Make sure you’re going through the official developer website to download the app.

Some of these apps you may want to take a second glance at include WiFi Enhancer, TimeService, Assistive Touch, All-star Fruit Slash, MonkeyTest, Super Mario, Simple Flashlight, and Amazon. Cheetah Mobile says these apps are found in app stores and forums other than Google Play — places where the origins of these apps can’t be verified.

As it’s perhaps one of the first to detect Ghost Push, Cheetah Mobile has issued a way for you to detect it using its own software. You can download Clean Master and CM Security to find out if your device has been compromised. Of course you can do it the old-fashioned and manual way, which the company detailed here.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update this if we hear back.

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