Starbucks Concept Test, Dynamic Pricing for Online Music, and Legal Issues for “Astroturfing”

Highlighted Marketing Stories:

The New Starbucks: A Subtler Brand (ABC News) – This video news story gives a peek at how Starbucks is researching a possible new approach through a no-name test store.? Products include tea, beer and other non-Starbucks product offerings.

Can Starbucks build a new brand that is not easily associated with the well-recognized brand name?


New Pricing Plan Soon To Be At Play For Online Music (NPR) – High-tech methods for setting the right price have been around a long time so there are more than a few who are skeptical that the plan discussed in this story will actually work.? But such methods for dynamic pricing are common among online sites and this is certainly something to watch.

“We use our science to systematically decrease the price,” says Jan Eglen, the CEO of Digonex. “We find the exact moment and the exact price that the people are willing to pay. That’s the sweet spot.” Digonex has an algorithm that factors in how many songs are being sold and how often they sell to calculate how much to charge.

How will customers respond to ever changing pricing for online music?


Astroturfing – A Problem for Marketers, Not Sports Stars (AdLaw) – The title of this potentially deceptive marketing practice has nothing to do with the turf on some sports fields but with a marketing practice that for one company resulted in “false positive” comments about the company’s products appearing on many websites.

According to the New York attorney general?s complaint, Lifestyle Lift asked its employees to create accounts with various Internet message boards and pose as satisfied customers of Lifestyle Lift. In addition, employees were asked to attack legitimate message board posters who criticized Lifestyle Lift, and tried to get those posts removed from message boards.

Is it likely that many other marketers are also doing the same thing but just have not yet been caught?