Internet Marketing News Update #246, February 15, 2016

WhatsApp changes its business model
WhatsApp, a messaging system that was purchased for $19 billion in 2014, announced that it will no longer charge subscribers for using its service. Previously, the WhatsApp userbase of nearly 1 billion people worldwide was charged 99 cents each for the service. WhatsApp now hopes to develop a revenue model involving charging corporations to communicate with its users, though this might compete with another Facebook service, Facebook Messenger.
The New York Times

Some private tech valuations take a hit
Privately-held technology companies have been a hot venture capital investment in recent years, but now the bloom may be coming off the rose. Jawbone, a wearable technology company, just did a new round of financing at half the valuation of its last 2014 assessed value, and this follows an even steeper haircut taken by Foursquare in its latest round of financing. Some of this may be due to company-specific factors, though a 30 percent drop in new private equity funding in the fourth quarter may indicate it is part of a broader trend.
The New York Times

Consumers hesitate about diving into the Internet of things
The Internet of things has been hyped as a way of spreading connectivity to a variety of everyday devices, but consumers have some reservations. While smart TVs are fairly popular, with 43 percent of Internet users now owning one, penetration rates for other connected devices are considerably lower. Expense is the number one reason consumers give for not buying more such devices, though privacy and security is a concern of nearly half of those surveyed.

Brick-and-mortar retailers gain an edge with in-store pick-up
The popularity of in-store pick-up for e-commerce purchases could give some brick-and-mortar retailers an edge over purely online entities. Sam's Club leads the way in encouraging this product delivery method, with 30.2 percent of its online purchases picked up in-store. Eighty-six percent of consumers say they would opt for in-store pick-up if it could save them $10 to $50 on an item, and 78 percent said they would pick up in-store if it meant getting their hands on an item three days earlier.

Snapchat looks to be this year's big social media ad dollars gainer
While established social media giants such as Facebook continue to attract the lion's share of social media advertising, a new poll suggests Snapchat will be the social media outlet that picks up the most business from people who have not previously advertised there. Twenty-two percent of senior ad buyers said they will begin advertising on Snapchat for the first time in 2016, followed by Instagram and Pinterest at 12 percent each.

Yahoo's latest strategy: up for whatever
Yahoo's recent communications show that the company is casting about in all directions in search of a plan to revive itself. While CEO Marissa Mayer reaffirmed that turning around Yahoo's core Internet business was a priority, the firm is also cutting back, as evidenced by announcements of layoffs and an ongoing plan to spin off core businesses. Meanwhile, the company's chairman also announced the company was open to buyout bids.
The New York Times

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