Online ads and games would benefit from more rewards according to UCLA survey

Online ads and games would benefit from more rewards, according to UCLA survey

A new study from Versus Systems and the MEMES

(Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment & Sports) Center at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management examines how gaming and advertising are evolving, and how one influences the other. As Versus Systems CEO Matthew Pierce put it, the goal was to study, “What is the impact on advertising as interactive media grows, and as more people consume interactive media?” The individual findings — People like rewards! Not everyone who plays games calls themselves a gamer! — may not be that shocking to TechCrunch readers. And because Versus Systems has built a white-label platform for publishers to offer in-game rewards, the study might also seem a bit self-serving.

But again, this was conducted with UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, and both Pierce (who’s a lecturer at the school) and UCLA MEMES head Jay Tucker pointed to the size of the study, with 88,000 (U.S.-based) participants across a broad range of demographic groups. Of those respondents, 50 percent said they’ve played a video game (on any platform) in the past week, while 41 percent said they’ve played a game in the past 24 hours. However, only 13 percent of respondents described themselves as gamers. That “identification gap” is even larger among women, where 56 percent played a game in the past week but only 11 percent identified themselves as gamers.

Why does that matter? Well, the MEMES Center and Versus Systems argue in the study press release that “advertisers that are recognizing the value in advertising in-game may be underestimating how large and how diverse the gaming audience really is today.” The study also suggests that traditional advertising may be facing more resistance from consumers, with 46 percent of respondents saying they frequently or always avoid ads by “clicking the X” to close windows or changing channels or closing apps. Only 3.6 percent of respondents said they always watch ads all the way through.

When asked what would make them play games more, the most popular answer was “winning real things that I want when I achieve things in-game” — it was the number one result for 30 percent of respondents, and among millennials, it did even better. (In comparison, 18 percent put “if the games were less expensive” as their top answer and 11 percent said “my friends playing the same game(s).”) This attitude even extended to TV, where 77 percent of respondents listed rewards as one of the things (not necessarily the top reason) that would make them watch more television. Meanwhile, 24 percent of respondents listed “if more games/more shows were made for people like me” as the number one thing that would convince them to play or watch more.

Tucker suggested that these seemingly scattershot answers are actually connected. On the advertising side, “We’ve got folks who are used to being part of a community all day, every day, whether that’s social media or massively multiplayer games. We see users are increasingly connected and are not really interested in getting pulled out of an experience. Rewards, if done properly, can reinforce being part of a community … you can amplify that sense of connection.” “The introduction of choice seems to make a big difference,” Pierce added. “We need new models where we can foster choice, foster community, foster more aspirational relationships between viewers and brands that ultimately allows content developers to have a relationship with the brands that isn’t so adversarial.”

Meanwhile, when it comes to content and storytelling, Tucker said we’re entering an “age of personalization.” Among other things, that means more diversity, in what he described as “a generational shift away from stories that assume everybody’s looking at life from the same perspective.” Pierce and Tucker suggested that they’ll be taking an even closer look at the data in the coming months (“needs further study” was repeated several times during the interview), particularly by examining responses within smaller demographic groups.

Article Produced By
Anthony Ha

Anthony Ha is a senior writer at TechCrunch, where he covers media and advertising and co-hosts the Original Content podcast. Previously, he worked as a tech writer at Adweek, a senior editor at the tech blog VentureBeat, and a local government reporter at the Hollister Free Lance. He attended Stanford University and now lives in Brooklyn.

Bitcoin Should Be Worth 14800 Judging By Market Metrics: Tom Lee

 Bitcoin Should Be Worth $14,800 Judging By Market Metrics: Tom Lee

Bitcoin’s current value is $3,312 but according to Tom Lee,

it should be between $13,800 and $14,800. The ever-so-vocal Bitcoin bull believes that the currency is grossly undervalued and believes last year’s meteoric rise could be one of the reasons. In a note to Bloomberg today, Lee further refused to delve into his Bitcoin prediction for the year which seems quite unlikely as things stand. Earlier in the year, Lee predicted that Bitcoin would end 2018 at $25,000.

Bitcoin has seen a 5 percent drop in the past 24 hours to trade just above $3,300. In the top three Bitcoin trading platforms, BitMEX, CoinBene and Coinbit, Bitcoin was trading below $3,300. The currency is flirting with the $3,300 level again, having breached past that level on December 7 when it set a new yearly low.

Bitcoin Trading at a Fifth of Its Value

Much of the debate has centered on when Bitcoin is going to recover its former glory. This debate has been tough enough, but maybe we should be having another debate: what is the true value of Bitcoin? Tom Lee, the head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, believes it should be just below $15,000.

And he justified his assertion:

Bitcoin’s fair value, given the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account and factors influencing supply, is between $13,800 and $14,800

Well, Bitcoin is $11,500 below its ‘correct value.’ And according to Lee, the divergence in value stems from a number of issues, the first of which is its meteoric rise to record highs last year. ‘A meltdown in the macroeconomic climate and treasury sales during initial coin offerings’ are some of the other reasons there has been such a huge difference. Moving forward, a rise in user adoption and acceptance of Bitcoin as an asset class will be vital to driving the value of the currency higher, he added. If Bitcoin hits just 7 percent of the 4.5 billion Visa account holders, its fair value would be $150,000, Lee stated.

He added:

Fair value is significantly higher than the current price of Bitcoin. In fact, working backwards, to solve for the current price of Bitcoin, this implies crypto wallets should fall to 17 million from 50 million currently.

After being asked if he has scaled down his Bitcoin prediction, he replied: “We are tired of people asking us about target prices.” Lee had predicted that Bitcoin would end the year at $25,000. Following a steep decline in the currency’s value, he updated his prediction in mid-November to $15,000. While there are still two weeks left to the end of the year, it’s looking quite unlikely that Bitcoin will hit this level.

New York Bomb Threat and Bitcoin Ransom

While the currency was tumbling, it was making headlines for other reasons. According to the New York Police Department, bomb threats have been made across the country, and the people behind them were demanding for Bitcoin. Turning to its Twitter page, the NYPD advised people to ignore the threats, which were being circulated via email.

Article Produced By
Steve Kaaru


I am a very awesome human. I love writing, and I am awesome at it. I am a blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiast and championing the blockchain through well-crafted articles is what I do


How a simple solution made this Indonesian startup hundred of millions of dollars

How a simple solution made this Indonesian startup hundred of millions of dollars

Access Indonesia is a series by Teoh Minghao,

Tech in Asia’s business development head specializing in market access to Indonesia. He aims to help foreign companies learn more about Indonesia’s tech landscape and strategic partners who can accelerate your growth in the country. When I met Roby Tan, he looks like any other young aspiring entrepreneur. He’s casually dressed in jeans, a traditional Indonesian batik shirt, and a pair of sneakers. At 45, Tan is the founder of two listed companies in the Indonesian Stock Exchange. Mitra Komunikasi Nusantara Tbk PT (MKNT) has a market capitalization worth US$70 million and posted US$443 million in revenue last year. Kioson has US$138 million market cap and logged US$79 million in 2017 revenue.

MKNT’s core business is telecommunications, selling gadgets, phones, top-up vouchers, and networking devices. According to its 2017 annual report, the company has a total of 94 branch offices, 15,000 resellers, and 125,000 retailers. Kioson is a subsidiary of MKNT. It’s an online-to-offline startup, similar to Indonesian e-tailer Kudo. Kioson provides hardware (such as kiosks or tablets) and software products to enable more than 35,000 agents and small and medium-sized enterprises to transact online. These companies have long outgrown the startup status, but I want to highlight Tan’s zero-to-one journey to inspire other entrepreneurs.

Early days

Tan didn’t come from a rich family. His early life started in Makasa, a city in Eastern Sulawesi where his family ran a small store that sold coffee and cloves. His parents sent him to study in Jakarta at the Tarumanagara University, but he didn’t like it. Without their knowledge, he dropped out of school after a month and started his own business, selling computer parts and accessories. He continued to run his small profitable shop for 10 years before he sold it to his brother in 2002 and pursued a new opportunity in the telecommunications industry. Tan got into the telco business because he spotted an opportunity: the sheer market size of 200 million users who were putting up with inefficiencies around pulsa, or phone credits in Indonesia.

Pulsa is a necessity, like rice. Every Indonesian needs it,” he says.

Tan admits that when started out in 2003, he was a newbie who didn’t have a clear idea of how he could contribute to the industry. As a result, he only sold phone credits in his startup’s first year while learning about the market and its challenges. In that same year, Indonesia had 13 telcos issuing their own phone credit vouchers. Phone credits were sold via printed scratch cards of various denominations: US$1, US$2, US$5, US$10, and so on. All vouchers were produced in Jakarta and shipped to more than 98 cities across Indonesia. To make sure they had enough stocks, distributors of phone credits need large capital to buy the various denominations from all 13 telcos. And even if they had the money, they often experienced supply shortages.

A simple solution

Tan and his partners came up with a simple solution. They spent US$1,300 to buy 100 vouchers of different denominations from all the country’s telcos, scratched all the cards, and put the phone credit redemption codes into a spreadsheet. Next, they built a server so that distributors can send a text message to it to request for credit. The server automatically sent the redemption code after it verified that the distributor had enough deposit with MKNT.

Using this system and their position as the first mover in the market, Tan’s team of 10 was able to recruit 4,000 sub-dealers across major cities in Indonesia. Within a year, they were managing more than 60,000 resellers. So how does this solution work? A reseller sells a US$1 phone credit at US$1.20 to end users, and this profit is shared among the resellers, sub-dealers, and MKNT. Tan also highlighted that he is happy that not only is MKNT doing well, but it also enables many poor owners of small shops and even car-park attendants to make significant income.

“I remember one of our sub-dealers was a rombong rokok (a one-man roadside pushcart vendor selling cigarette sticks) who barely earned US$1 per day. He came in as a sub-dealer very early on and recruited many resellers under him. Within a few years, he was able to buy a house and cars, and started his own happy family,” shares Tan.

I asked Tan if he had any advice for entrepreneurs.

He says, “The five people you hang out with will determine who you are, how you think, and eventually, what you will achieve. So make sure you find yourself a good circle of friends. Also, prayers and meditation help. They give you the right state of mind, making you prepared for daily challenges. Be positive every day.” If you’re keen to learn more about the tech business environment in Indonesia and expand there, go on a chat with Minghao here. If you’re from an Indonesian company that wants to support and partner with incoming foreign companies, please fill in the form here.

Article Produced By

Minghao Teoh

About me: Entrepreneurial, adventurous, fun-loving, spent 4 years in Indonesia, hustler, love sports, enjoy competition, Arsenal fan since 18, into crypto, tech recruitment

Is The Current Email Marketing Old Technology?

Is The Current Email Marketing Old Technology?


After 47 years since Email’s inception,

this technology is still going strong. It’s one of the most widely used and trusted channels for communication today, particularly with entrepreneurs, marketers and business owners. It’s helped many startups grow into multi-billion dollar companies. The unfortunate side of email is spam and although spam filters do a good job of detecting junk and send it straight to the spam folder, many organizations legitimate emails end up in the spam folder. If your subscribers don’t see your emails, they can’t open, click or convert.

Primarily, email campaigns and autoresponders use a capture page opt-in form to collect data, being a name, email and often times a phone number. This takes time and usually a number of steps to complete. You then in some cases need to go to your email to verify it. It is well documented that the more steps in the signup form process, the more likely prospects will be lost for lack of follow through. Email verification can reduce lead conversion up to 50%, delayed verification and delivery to spam folder reduce conversion up to 90%.

Alternatively, there is a capture technology which uses OAuth to capture the data of a potential lead or subscriber. This virtually guarantees the data is legitimate and the email is clean and not from a spam trap often acquired through website harvesting. Autoresponders and email advertising tools are probably the most essential parts of your business. You utilize it to follow-up with clients. To keep individuals returning to your site. To build loyalty. To create sales.

Email deliverability rates can really make or break an email marketing campaign. Here are 5 email and autoresponder tools with prices and deliverability percentages. Although rates can fluctuate over time, there does, however, seem to be some consistency between those that perform the best, and those that perform the worst.


Aweber has a free 1 month trial period then priced as shown below. Aweber doesn’t really allow you to add leads from offline sources. Online lists are captured using online opt-in forms requiring name and email address.

Starting from $19/mth for 500 subscribers up to $149/mth for 25,000. Get a quote if over 25,000 subscribers are required.

Deliverability: Main Inbox 71.5% Spam 18.6% Tabs 8.2% Missing 1.7%


MailChimp has a “forever free” plan that allows you to create a list on MailChimp for free as long as your list is under 500 users. Although MailChimp offers a free trial, their autoresponder feature is only available in paid accounts and lists are built through single or double opt-in forms.

It has different pricing plans for Growing Businesses, Entrepreneurs and High volume senders. Grow Membership from $10/mth?—?Pro Membership starting at $199/mth.

Deliverability: Main Inbox 57.8% Spam 13.6% Tabs 24.7% Missing 3.9%


GetResponse is a web-based email marketing system for beginners right through to high-end businesses wanting scalable, high-performance solutions.

Starting from $15/mth for email marketing up to Enterprise at $1,199/mth.

Deliverability: Main Inbox 74.7% Spam 17.0% Tabs 3.4% Missing 5.0%

Constant Contact

Constant Contacts is an email marketing service, created to strengthen email marketing practices of small businesses, associations, nonprofits organizations, etc. It uses templates requiring email data from subscribers. Constant Contact provides monthly plans measured by the number of contacts.

Basic Email starts at $20/mth?—?Email Plus Starting at $45/mth. Both subscriptions are based on the number of contacts.

Deliverability: Main Inbox 86.1% Spam 2.2% Tabs 6.9% Missing 4.8%


The Markethive email and autoresponder system are built for beginners through to Entrepreneurs and Business Owners at any level. It has utilized the OAuth technology to capture data via capture widgets through a choice of Social Media Sites situated on your capture pages, blogs and profile pages. Pricing: Free when you subscribe to Markethive. There are no limitations on the amount or size of your list or subscribers and no upcharges.

Deliverability: Main Inbox 99.97% Spam 0.0% Tabs 0.0% Missing 0.03%

The advent of the blockchain adds several new twists and may serve to be the disruption that has been overdue for marketers and advertisers that are looking to take their targeted campaigns to the next level. As we move forward, it will be interesting to see how this new technology could be used as a basis for a distributed email system. We are in for a ride over the next couple of years as technologies like blockchain slip into every facet of our lives. It’s not the strongest who survive or smartest, but the most adaptable.

Article Produced By
Deb Williams

I’m a freelance writer for the Market Network & crypto/blockchain. Stong advocate for technology progress & free speech

Stop Buying Leads And Create Your Own Instead

Stop Buying Leads And Create Your Own Instead

Anyone in sales can tell you that no new leads typically means no new business.

Without sales, you truly don't exist. When I entered into the insurance business, I initially tapped my natural market. But — as you can imagine — that only goes so far. In order to succeed, you need to have an ongoing plan. Mine was to purchase leads.I started using a service called NetQuote, where I could buy leads from online shoppers who were looking for insurance. These leads were $15 a piece — and for the most part, the individuals were interested in purchasing coverage. But in addition to the cost, those same leads were also being sold to other agents from competing companies. So if I didn't get to them first, I was essentially throwing away my $15. I had only a 15-20 percent closing ratio, so I knew I had to find a better way.

Using SEO

Throughout the past decade, the Internet has changed the way we do business — insurance is no exception. Gone are the days of sitting across the kitchen table and discussing benefit options. Just like most other products and services, people want to be able to search and compare what options they have available, and they want to do it quickly. I decided to learn everything I possibly could about search marketing, lead generation and SEO, and I also started to build a resource list. A few sites that helped me were, and Even today, for any beginner who is looking to learn, I highly recommend these websites. They contain some great content, along with helpful video tutorials.

Once I had my go-to sources, I then obtained the proper tools for tracking and I further developed my plan. Two great sources that I recommend in this area are AHREF and SEMRush. You can learn a lot from these tools, and even though they are paid, I found them well worth the money.


Building Local to National

My initial plan was to rank on a local level in my home city of Columbus, Ohio, for homeowners, auto, life and business insurance leads. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I had no lead generation or web design experience. In addition, Columbus is already host to some major insurance brands such as Nationwide and Safe Auto, so I had stiff competition, especially as Google GOOGL +0.02% loves big brands and they rank well for the most difficult keywords. I admit that my first website,, wasn't pretty. Yet I was still able to reach my goal. In fact, I was able to generate more leads per month from that site than the ones I was purchasing for $15 apiece for all those years. To this day, we still generate local insurance leads from this website.

Once I'd reached local success, I decided to up the ante and see how I could do on a national level. I was lucky enough to buy the domain name at an auction. This was great, because at the time Google liked exact and partial match domain names. These days it’s hard to brand a partial-match domain like the one I bought, so I've also since built my most current and best website, This site has brought both the local and national aspect to one site. As you can see, each of these sites is progressively better from a design and user flow aspect, which helps.

Getting Attention, Traffic and Leads

In order to rank organically, it's necessary to have great website architecture along with great content and quality links. In fact, links are probably the hardest part of the SEO equation. Quality links are hard to get, which makes link building more difficult. Most people don't know where to start when it comes to finding good links. I started by leveraging current relationships and then building new ones with people who were talking and writing about what I sold.

Never assume that someone wants to link out to you. Before you think about asking for a link, make sure they have a good reason to do so. For example, show them how your product or service solves a problem, especially if it's something they believe in or can relate to. People are also looking to link to sites that have quality resources. It's best to build a page on your site that solves a problem. This makes outreach much easier. That's what I did with my first national site, and over the years the leads have snowballed. The sites bring in business — exclusive leads — every day.

Creating Results

A quick Amazon search will result in numerous books on "how to" build a website, many filled with details on how to monetize the site for getting the maximum amount of traffic. But based on what I've learned 20,000 leads later, don't build your site for Google or a search engine. Build it for the potential customer who lands there. Granted, you still need strong signals for the search engines: ensure that you have good, on-page SEO and well-researched keywords along with site architecture that makes it easy for visitors to find what they're looking for.

People come to your website for a reason. Regardless of what it is you do, they are looking for information. So, give them what they came for. Provide your site visitors with answers and guidance on how to solve a problem, and then show them how your own product, service or expertise can make their lives easier. Then, provide a clear call to action. It's as simple as that.

Article Produced By
Brad Cummins

Founder of Local Life Agents, a nationwide independent life insurance agency.

Investment Firm Predicts Cryptocurrency to Grow Up in 2019

Investment Firm Predicts Cryptocurrency to Grow Up in 2019

Technology advisory and investment firm GP Bullhound has published

its “Technology Predictions 2019,” in what might be music to the ears of disgruntled investors right now, it says we have “yet to see the best” of cryptocurrencies. Should another prediction be trusted? GP Bullhound says only one of its 2018 predictions, the decline of email in the workplace, was incorrect. Its prediction of a “boom and bust” of ICOs in 2018, sadly, seems to have rung true. ICOs are indeed at crisis point.

Institutional Money Will Flow

GP Bullhound is bullish for 2019 believing that long-awaited institutional money will flow into cryptocurrency led by blockchain’s “full speed” activity. “Given the pace of innovation,” the firm said in the report, “There is a thin line between being first and being last. Since many market participants on the financial and strategic side are aware they largely missed benefiting from the digital revolution, we expect they’ll ensure they do not miss out on the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution.” Institutional investors will first look to funds and equity investment into blockchain as well as cryptocurrency-based financial instruments and derivatives. This will not all be financially motivated, it says,


“Backed by increasing demand we see on the corporate and family office side and their desire to build positions.”

The regulation of bitcoin and ether as “non-securities,” bitcoin considered a “replacement” for fiat currency, and Ethereum’s ether seen as a commodity offers security to the two coins. This will allow capital to flow into the sector both directly and increasingly through derivatives.

STOs Will be a New Focus

The “massive wave” of compliant security token offerings (STOs) ready for market will become a new activity focus for the sector.  And, GP Bullhound believes, “promising” cryptocurrency custody services will comfort professional investors. At the

beginning of the recovery:

“Offerings structured as tokenized financial products are expected to initially absorb substantial volumes and allow avoidance of direct handling of cryptocurrencies.”

Liquidity is improving in the sector as large banks enter, regulated exchanges emerge, and stablecoins provide a “haven” for investors. The hype in 2019, say the advisors, will be more technology and

product focused and that:

“Overall, the correction is ongoing and healthy for the sector to allow the technology to catch up.”

Dubbed the “crypto queen” of Switzerland’s crypto-valley Zug, Smart Valor CEO, Olga Feldmeier,

adds her view to the report:

“The crypto market is still in its early stage and so high volatility is to be expected. Over the mid-to-long term, cryptocurrency is a new alternative class of digital financial products that offers many benefits.”

Today, the market correction still appears to be in play, bitcoin could drop below $3,000 yet, but despite the decline, a recent report from the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance says 54 million new cryptocurrency users joined the cryptocurrency sector in 2018.

Article Produced By
Bitcoin & Blockchain Investments

Cryptocurrency Developments to Look Forward to in 2019


2018 has been an eventful year in the crypto industry.

The market experienced a severe price correction to the extent that some are beginning to doubt the future blockchain promises. Still, in spite of all the losses and FUD, the fundamentals continue to grow, and 2019 is promising to be an exciting year in terms of project development as well as cryptocurrencies edging toward the mainstream.

Institutional bodies are getting more interested in cryptocurrencies.

One example of this is the U.S. state of Ohio accepting tax payments in Bitcoin. Merchants accepting cryptocurrencies as payments have also grown in number, with several people testifying on social media how they paid for goods and services with cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, and BNB. Notable merchants that accept Bitcoin include Overstock, eGifter, Expedia, Shopify, and others. Another metric that expresses the growth of the industry is the amount of talent that has been attracted to blockchain. Research carried out by Glassdoor reveals a 300% rise in blockchain-related job openings in 2018 (as opposed to 2017).

This metric defies the downtrend in Bitcoin price, as can be seen in the chart below:


Despite the heavy price downtrend of 2018,

many would still agree with investor Anthony Pompliano that Bitcoin is the best-performing asset of the decade. This matters for long-term crypto investors as they look beyond the immediate state of the industry to the impact it will have on the future world economy. As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to look forward to what 2019 has in store, in terms of growth and development for the industry.

The Launch of Financial Products on the Stock Market in 2019

2018 was filled with rumors of institutional investors buying into cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin. This has not brought about the uptrend in valuation that many expected to accompany it. Several times, the Bitcoin ETF proposal was rejected in 2018. But the sentiment is beginning to change, as a SEC commissioner has stated a Bitcoin ETF is “definitely possible.”

In 2019, some fresh momentum in crypto gaining acceptance in the traditional finance world is expected. Nasdaq is reportedly working with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to launch Bitcoin futures in Q1 2019, and the report has just recently been confirmed. Also, Bakkt Bitcoin Futures is scheduled to launch in January 2019, after being pushed back from their original launch date of December 12, 2018.

Developments to Expect From Crypto Projects in 2019



The Bitcoin blockchain continues to develop despite the bear market, the most notable aspect of development being the Lightning Network. Bitcoin currently processes about 7 transactions per second. This low transaction speed is the major technical argument against Bitcoin. The Lightning Network is a solution created in late 2017 to help Bitcoin scale and achieve a high transaction speed. The Lightning Network has witnessed steady progress over the course of 2018, gained adoption from a payment processing startup known as CoinGate, and recently grew by 300% with support from over 4,000 nodes. A full-version release of the Lightning Network is expected in 2019. The success of it will then be based on adoption, which will take some time.



Since its release in 2015, the Ethereum blockchain already has so many dapps and games on its network that concerns about scaling have been raised. Ethereum boasts over 2,000 dapps on its platform, and developers have been hard-pressed to create a solution to its scalability issues. Even smart contract functionality must be constantly upgraded, as the blockchain industry keeps evolving. Ethereum’s next upgrade is coming up in January 2019. The update, named Constantinpole, is designed to improve the efficiency of the blockchain, reduce block reward for miners, and make the blockchain more ASIC-resistant. Much later in 2019,

Ethereum plans to have a second upgrade, which will include implementation of the Casper protocol and sharding. Casper will move Ethereum from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) protocol to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS). PoS solves the problem of large mining operations having too much power over the course of the blockchain. Sharding will enable the Ethereum blockchain to attain higher transaction speeds by partitioning network resources such that a single node doesn’t have to process every transaction in the blockchain history to make a new transaction.



Litecoin is solidifying its status as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold. With Bitcoin becoming a store of value, people might be reluctant to use it in everyday transactions, preferring instead to store it. Litecoin is an alternative created to enable everyday payments. The Litecoin Foundation already has a campaign that encourages this,, which basically showcases the benefits of paying with LTC, such as high-speed transactions and low fees. LTC fees are expected to go much lower with the release of Litecoin Core 0.17. This update was announced in October 2018, and will likely be released early in 2019. However, it is unlikely that the Lightning Network becomes a fully functional product in 2019, although significant development is expected to be completed on it. Also, Litecoin is looking towards enabling more anonymous transactions on its blockchain to increase fungibility. This was hinted by Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee on the popular crypto TV show, Magical Crypto Friends, and could be among Litecoin’s priorities for 2019.




Cardano is expected to release the features of the Shelley phase in 2019, starting with delegation and stake pool testnets. Shelley is the phase in the development of Cardano aimed to make the project fully decentralized and autonomous. Also, Cardano is expected to deliver on advanced smart contract capabilities suitable for enterprise usage, especially with reference to transaction speed.



TRON launched its mainnet on June 25, 2018, and has been growing ever since. Recently, Tron surpassed Ethereum in dapps usage, as well as in the number and volume of transactions put through these dapps. In a recent interview, Justin Sun, CEO of the Tron Foundation, says that Tron will adopt zk-SNARKS into the network. Expected to take place in Q1 2019, this means the transfer TRX tokens can be anonymous and private to a larger extent. Also worth mentioning is the acquisition of BitTorrent by Tron in July 2018, which is a move to foster the mainstream adoption of Tron. Tron will use its network to build BitTorrent more efficiently in 2019, a development known as Project Atlas.



The OmiseGo project is bringing financial services to the world’s unbanked, focusing particularly on Asia. OmiseGo is built on Ethereum as a peer-to-peer payment system as well as a decentralized exchange. In 2019, the project is expected to reach a milestone on their roadmap — creating a scalable PoS blockchain and decentralized exchange.

The completed, current, and upcoming stages of the development can be seen on the roadmap below:



Hyperledger is an open-source, non-profit, and independent smart contract platform originally launched by The Linux Foundation. Hyperledger is focused on building a platform suitable for large organizations, such as IBM and Intel, interested in blockchain and smart contracts.  On October 1, 2018, Hyperledger announced a partnership with Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), each becoming an associate member in the other’s organization. This is expected to trigger a collaboration in 2019, which would likely result in the interoperability of the Hyperledger and Ethereum blockchains.




Qtum is a notable dapps platform with a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) system of verification. The mainnet was launched in September 2017, and a number of developments have already taken place on the platform. Qtum plans to launch its enterprise version QtumX in Q1 2019. In Q2 2019, Qtum is expected to release its first public testnet with x86 smart contracts, and mainnet integration of the x86 Virtual Machine is scheduled for Q4 2019. Qtum also plans to introduce Lightning Network in 2019. This will help the blockchain platform scale and achieve faster transaction speeds. The plan is to have a public testnet of the Qtum lightning network in Q2.



Zilliqa is a blockchain platform for hosting decentralized applications similar to Ethereum. The notable advantage Zilliqa offers is a transaction speed many times what Ethereum currently offers. According to the website, the platform is able to do as many as 2,828 transactions per second. The mainnet launch of Zilliqa was previously scheduled for Q3 2018. However, it was rescheduled due to concerns about the readiness of the code.  January 2019 has been announced timeframe for the Zilliqa mainnet launch.

Other Upcoming Crypto-Related Products and Services in 2019

IOTA and Volkswagen have scheduled the launch of a digital car pass for Q1 2019. This would be the first working product for IOTA. This is expected to be the first of many, as IOTA already has partnerships with other companies with whom they have plans to create products with their Tangle technology. Recently, Coinbase began offering an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk for institutions to get crypto exposure. Binance has also started testing a fiat-to-crypto exchange in Singapore. The full launch will be expected in 2019, with many more exchanges and trading tools also in line to get introduced into the crypto market.


The crypto industry has shown great resilience in 2018 despite the bear market. Throughout 2018, the industry was haunted by regulatory rumors that contributed to FUD regarding the future of crypto. Now that there is a glimpse of what regulations will look like for the industry, the focus will be back on efficiency (through development) and adoption (through marketing efforts) in the new year. The impact these developments will have on the valuation of cryptocurrencies is yet uncertain. While there are arguments for a bull run, the short sellers may still impact the market for a more prolonged period of time.

In spite of all that has happened, there are a lot of things to look forward to in 2019 — the above are only a selection of some of the developments we can look forward to in the new year. 2019 will definitely not be like 2018, nor will it be like 2017. What the year will turn out to be lies in the hands of the developers, business managers, marketers, and various stakeholders in the industry’s ecosystem.

Article Produced By
David Olarinoye

How Much Leads Cost

How Much Leads Cost

Lead Generation Featured Image

I review a lot of content on this topic and am amazed at what I find written about lead cost.

For example: “The average cost per lead across all the companies surveyed is almost $200 ($198.44).Admittedly, that’s a useless statistic, as these figures vary quite dramatically depending on industry, company size, etc.”  Others stated that the range is between $35 – $100 for a B2B lead. Of course, it depends on what you are selling, but common sense tells you that B2B leads for a complex sale (that are worth a sales rep’s time) are probably going to cost more than $200.

Look at this data from an actual PoinClear teleprospecting client:

  • One source of leads was PointClear—we sent them only qualified leads and nurtured leads—at an average cost of $1,357.25.
  • Five additional sources of leads were from other sources, which included some qualified leads and nurtured leads, but which also included many, many more which were termed just plain “leads” (not even scrubbed, let alone qualified and nurtured) and a lot of “scrubbed” leads which were also not qualified and nurtured. Leads from these sources, most of which will land in a black hole, all cost more than the PointClear qualified and nurtured leads.

This table compares the cost per lead on outbound (PointClear Prospecting/Nurturing) to several other sources of inbound leads.

  • The EVP of Sales at this client, a big division of one of the world’s largest software companies, said that he received zero qualified leads from marketing—except for the PointClear outbound leads.
  • Marketing on the other hand stated that they had provided sales with more than 4,000 leads.

This problem is classic and represents the disconnect between marketing and sales:

  • Marketing is focused on the quantity and cost of the leads.
  • Sales is focused on the quality of the leads and revenue generated.

Marketing considered the content syndicator download “leads” to be “too valuable to stop buying” (at $23.15 per gross lead). Because prequalifying the leads adds cost, marketing’s solution was that they would just quit prequalifying the leads and send them straight to sales. What do you think the chances are that sales will cull through 3,117 suspects to find 40 prospects? Right. Zilch. Yet from one source alone marketing spent $72,158 per quarter on leads that were sent to sales and ignored. What is the “right” price to pay for leads? Here are some scenarios to review:  

Lead Rate Break-Even Analysis

To convert to a SaaS solution, calculate lifetime net present value of the average deal.

While this is a simplistic approach, you can see the extent to which average deal size, margin and the percent of revenue that is spent on marketing impacts the allowable cost per lead. Only the $50,000, 60% margin, 15% allowable marketing cost ($1,500 target allowable $ per lead) scenario works for proactive outbound marketing. You can’t cost effectively buy quality leads for low price and low margin offers. I go through an exercise like this with prospects and clients as we work through whether our services will result in a successful outcome. 


Article Produced By
Dan McDade

The Decentralized Internet is Here: Web 30 and the Future of Blockchain-Powered Future

The Decentralized Internet is Here: Web 3.0 and the Future of Blockchain-Powered Future

Newton’s third law dictates that every action has an equal opposite reaction

?—?complex systems both organic and inorganic exhibit a tendency toward equilibrium. Over the last decade, the vast, rapidly evolving network that is the internet has slowly but surely metamorphosed into a highly centralized system in which a small group of titanic corporations control the infrastructure and platforms that comprise the internet as it exists today.

The centralization of the internet is a direct result of the “Web 2.0” paradigm shift, which saw the internet transform from a non-interactive network of static content into a dynamic, interoperable, and collaborative medium. This transformation resulted in the creation of social networks and web apps, but also in the establishment of digital oligarchies that now threaten the democratic foundations of the web.

The emergence of the centralized web, however, has sparked a Newtonian response that aims to dismantle the vertical structures that compose the modern internet in the same way that the genesis of blockchain technology was driven by the restrictive centralization of finance and currency. The Web 3.0 paradigm shift is positioned to do for the internet what Bitcoin has done for money.

Why Web 3.0?

The primary purpose of the Web 3.0 movement isn’t focused on expanding the functionality of the internet. Instead, Web 3.0 is focused on restructuring the way in which the internet is accessed and interacted with. Leveraging the technology that drives the blockchain revolution, Web 3.0 aims to wrestle ownership away from the corporations that rule the internet as it exists today.

The centralization of the internet has reached an astonishing point?—?almost all online services are hosted on hardware owned by the “big three” cloud providers, which consist of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and search juggernaut Google. Facebook boasts 2.23 billion users worldwide?—?more than two-thirds of the world’s 3.2 billion active internet users. While internet centralization may provide users with faster, more reliable, and feature-rich services, it also comes with significant drawbacks. Centralized platforms are highly susceptible to security breaches and data leaks?—?in early October 2018, Facebook suffered from a hack that exposed the personal details of over 50 million users.

Users of the modern internet rely on monolithic corporate service providers to access the services they use on a daily basis and have no guarantees that the platforms they use won’t leak their data or abscond with their capital. The Web 3.0 movement is comprised of a broad spectrum of projects working together to decentralize the platforms and infrastructure that the modern internet consists of, allowing peer-to-peer, trustless services to compete with the incumbent digital oligarchy that rules the current internet landscape.

What is Web 3.0, and Why Does it Matter?

Web 3.0 is a collection of values as opposed to a technology, it compromises any idea or technology that aims to perpetuate and restore individual sovereignty, by re-democratizing and decentralizing the internet. The Web 3.0 ecosystem consists of projects that aim to redistribute control over the internet. Web 3.0 not only shifts control over information back to the individuals who create it but includes value as a primitive. In the current paradigm, payment processors function as necessary middlemen that bridge the gap between the world of digital currency and fiat currency. The dangers of allowing centralized organizations to facilitate this bridge and to dictate monetary terms to users are obvious?—?Paypal, for example, has been fined millions of dollars multiple times for deceptive business practices and legislative violations.

The centralization of internet infrastructure also provides governments with the ability to interfere with or censor free speech. In September 2018, the European Parliament voted in favor of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market?—?dubbed the “anti-meme law”?—?which forces platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter to censor the distribution of copyrighted materials. The directive also includes an article that forces news aggregator sites such as Google News to pay publishers for distributing excerpts of content.

While the EU Directive is focused on enforcing copyright law, its opponents highlight the impact of restrictive legislation enforced on a service provider level and how it can negatively impact free speech?—?a stance supported by major organizations in the current centralized internet power structure. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki states that “Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ,” while European Parliament Member Julia Reda argues that state-enforced content control is designed to benefit “big media companies, with their waning control over distribution channels” only. Web 3.0 aims to eliminate single, centralized points that can be targeted by payment providers, middlemen, or nation-states that seek to monopolize or restrict information and value flow by decentralizing the infrastructure that the internet operates on.

Web 3.0 Use Cases

The Web 3.0 ecosystem is already here and is growing rapidly. The technology that will power the web 3.0 revolution has evolved dramatically in the decade since the distribution of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper in 2008 and has catalyzed a Cambrian explosion of cryptocurrencies, trading platforms, utility tokens, decentralized applications, and enterprise alliances.

Cryptocurrency is the most obvious implementation of Web 3.0 methodology, with platforms such as Bitcoin and Ethereum now making it possible for users to store and transfer value outside of the traditional banking system. Malta-based “blockchain bank” Founder’s Bank represents one of the first Web 3.0 financial institutions, while platforms such as OmiseGo are providing banking services to the unbanked and underbanked by creating a decentralized, peer-to-peer payment system. The Web 3.0 revolution reaches beyond currency and finance, promising to decentralize venture capital, governance, supply chain, healthcare, lending, security, cloud computing and storage, education, insurance, digital advertising, and hundreds of other industries.

What Will the Web 3.0 Look like?

The Web 3.0 internet is anti-monopoly, interoperable, pro-privacy, and collaborative. The core goal of the Web 3.0 movement is to atomize the internet as it exists today and distribute it across all network participants. To achieve this, the Web 3.0 movement is built on the principles of data privacy and collaborative decentralization?—?users will have more options and cloud providers will be forced to compete with decentralized file storage platforms such as Storj or the IPFS hypermedia protocol, which split, encrypt, and distribute data across tens of thousands of separate, independent hosts.

Web 3.0 will also change the way identity is tracked online. User identity information is currently owned?—?and sold?—?by platforms such as Facebook and Google. Web 3.0 projects such as the blockchain-based ERC-725 self-sovereign identity protocol allow users to manage their own data, while platforms such as IBM-backed Hu-manity allows users to sell and profit from their data, should they choose to sell it.The future of the Web 3.0 based internet is a future in which users operating blockchain-based smartphones are able to access truly decentralized applications equivalent to Facebook, eBay, Uber, and Amazon, transacting in a peer-to-peer manner with full control over who can access their data.

Who is Building the Web 3.0?

The Web 3.0 revolution is in full swing and is under active development by a wide range of forward-leaning tech companies. The Web3 foundation works to nurture the growth of tech that brings the internet closer to its decentralized future, running frequent events such as the Web3 Summit that bring together developers and researchers that are working on the protocols, computational languages, blockchains, and storage mechanisms that will fuel the Web 3.0 movement. Web3 works with platforms such as Chainlink, an interoperability-focused blockchain network that aims to bridge the data gap between off-chain systems and distributed ledger systems in order to facilitate blockchain ubiquity.

A large-scale open-source collaborative project such as the Web3

Foundation and the Internet of Blockchain Foundation work toward creating alliances between blockchain projects and enterprise. The growing Web 3 landscape is also home to hundreds of promising blockchain-based decentralized applications, or dApps, that aim to create Web 3.0 alternatives to the centralized apps used today. Poland-based cloud computing platform Golem is creating the world’s first decentralized supercomputer, Ethlance is working on the world’s first decentralized Web 3.0 job market, while ConsenSys-backed project uPort is building the first open identity system.

The Future of Web 3.0

A future in which we can speak freely with our loved ones and have confidence that they’re the only ones listening won’t come overnight, but it is coming. There are many questions that must be answered and many obstacles that must be overcome before the internet transitions into a truly peer-to-peer decentralized network?—?how will current blockchain technology scale to a level that can support hundreds of thousands of transactions per second? How will decentralized governance work, and how does the decentralized internet and economy fit into existing legislative frameworks?

Organizations such as the Web3 Foundation are working to solve these problems today, fostering adoption and accelerating the development of technology that will overcome the obstacles that the Web 3 movement faces in order to establish a truly democratic, open, and free internet free from middlemen, censorship, and monopolization.

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How Much Should You Pay for a Sales Lead?

How Much Should You Pay for a Sales Lead?



When planning a B-to-B lead generation program,

you need to deliver leads to your sales team at an affordable price. A neat way to determine in advance how much you can spend on a lead is to calculate the allowable cost per lead for your campaign. This number can then be used as a benchmark for evaluating campaign investments, and deciding which ones are likely to work. If a campaign is looking like it’s not affordable, then you’ll want to make some tweaks, like find a stronger offer, or narrow your targeting.

Begin by calculating your cost per inquiry. Assemble the total direct campaign costs, including all fixed and variable costs that can be directly attributed to the campaign. Include creative and pre-production work, cost of developing and producing content, and the normal variable costs of campaign development and execution. Divide this amount by the number of expected campaign responses, and voila! There’s your cost per inquiry.

Then, estimate the costs associated with qualifying a lead. Don’t try to determine this number on a per campaign basis — it’s too hard. Instead, calculate an average qualification cost for inquiries over a set period, such as a year. Gather up all your inquiry-handling costs, including the direct headcount involved in inquiry capture, fulfillment, qualification, and nurturing. If your back-end processes are outsourced, gathering the data is as simple as adding up the bills. After you have a number for the year, divide it by the number of inquiries handled in the year. This number will serve as your average cost to qualify an inquiry.

Finally, go talk to your counterparts in finance and sales to gather several data points. You need the average order size, namely, the total revenue divided by the total number of orders. (If this number swings wildly, do the calculation by product category.) You need the margin (or its opposite, the cost of goods sold) and the direct sales expense per order, calculated by the total sales expense divided by the total number of orders.

Let’s look at an example of how this works. The chart works through some hypothetical numbers to arrive at a cost of lead closed and an allowable cost per lead, and compares the two. Your goal is for the cost of a closed lead to come out lower than the allowable — obviously. If it’s higher, you lose money on the campaign. To get to Allowable Cost per Lead, it’s not actually necessary to know how many inquiries will be generated, qualified, and converted. But you do need to know the cost per inquiry, the cost to qualify an inquiry, the qualification and conversion rates, the net margin per order, and the direct sales expense per order.


Comparing your cost per closed lead to your Allowable Cost per Lead: A hypothetical example
Cost per inquiry (campaign cost/# responses) $100
Average cost to qualify an inquiry (lead management costs/inquiries per year) $50
Total cost per inquiry qualified (cost per inquiry + cost to qualify) $150
Lead qualification rate 25%
Cost of qualified lead (cost per lead/qualification rate) $600
Lead conversion rate 30%
Cost of a closed lead (cost of qualified lead/conversion rate) $2,000
Average order size (annual revenue/# orders) $10,000
Net margin per order (revenue per order x margin, 60%) $6,000
Allowable cost per lead (net margin per order – direct sales expense, $3,500) $2,500


In this hypothetical example, say the campaign spent $15,000 and generated 150 inquiries. Whatever the cost and the responses, the important number is the cost per inquiry. Here, we have hypothesized it as $100. Separately, the average cost to qualify an inquiry for the year was calculated at $50. We divide the qualification rate (25 percent) into the total cost per inquiry qualified ($150) to calculate the cost of a qualified lead. Then, we divide that by the conversion rate (30 percent) to get the cost of a closed lead ($2,000).

This number is then compared with the allowable cost per closed lead ($2,500), which is a simple calculation of the net margin per order minus the cost of sales (hypothetically set here as $3,500). In this example, the campaign looks promising, because the expected cost per converted lead is $500 less than the Allowable Cost per Lead. If you put this information in a spreadsheet and play with it, you can quickly see how much leverage there is on the back-end, meaning after the inquiry has come in and you are working it through qualification and nurturing. A few efficiencies on qualification rate and conversion rate work wonders on campaign ROI.

Article Produced By
Ruth P. Stevens

Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.