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Big winners share lessons, risks of Powerball win

FILE- In this Feb. 22, 2006, file photo, the eight winners of the $365 million Nebraska Powerball lottery hold up their ceremonial checks at a news conference in Lincoln, Neb. As the drawing for a $500 million Powerball jackpot approaches, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some advice: stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

FILE- In this Feb. 22, 2006, file photo, the eight winners of the $365 million Nebraska Powerball lottery hold up their ceremonial checks at a news conference in Lincoln, Neb. As the drawing for a $500 million Powerball jackpot approaches, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some advice: stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, File)

FILE - This April 13, 2006, file photo, shows Sandra Hayes of Florissant, Mo., who split a $224 million Powerball jackpot with a dozen co-workers in 2006. As the drawing for a $500 million Powerball jackpot approaches, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some advice: stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post Dispatch, Amanda Whitlock, File)

Maria Diaz, right, sells a customer Powerball tickets at a local supermarket in Hialeah, Fla.,Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot already has reached a record level for the game. Already over $500 million, it is the second-highest jackpot in lottery history, behind only the $656 million Mega Millions prize in March. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

A customer buys three Powerball tickets at a local supermarket in Hialeah, Fla.,Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot already has reached a record level for the game. Already over $500 million, it is the second-highest jackpot in lottery history, behind only the $656 million Mega Millions prize in March. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

A crowd, consisting of residents from California and Nevada, lines up outside the Arizona Last Stop convenience store and souvenir shop to buy Powerball tickets, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012, in White Hills, Ariz. There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot already has reached a record level for the game of over $500 million. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

(AP) ? So you just won the $550 million Powerball jackpot, the second highest in lottery history. Now what?

Perhaps it's time for a tropical vacation or a new car. There are bills to pay, loans to settle, debts to square.

Past winners of mega-lottery drawings and financial planners have some more sound advice: Stick to a budget, invest wisely, learn to say no and be prepared to lose friends while riding an emotional roller-coaster of joy, anxiety, guilt and distrust.

"I had to adapt to this new life, "said Sandra Hayes, 52, a former child services social worker who split a $224 million Powerball jackpot with a dozen co-workers in 2006, collecting a lump sum she said was in excess of $6 million after taxes. "I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them. That caused a lot of emotional pain. These are people who you've loved deep down, and they're turning into vampires trying to suck the life out of me."

The single mother kept her job with the state of Missouri for another month and immediately used her winnings to pay off an estimated $100,000 in student loans and a $70,000 mortgage. She spent a week in Hawaii and bought a new Lexus, but six years later still shops at discount stores and lives on a fixed income ? albeit, at a higher monthly allowance than when she brought home paychecks of less than $500 a week.

"I know a lot of people who won the lottery and are broke today," she said. "If you're not disciplined, you will go broke. I don't care how much money you have."

Lottery agencies are keen to show off beaming prize-winners hugging oversize checks at celebratory news conferences, but the tales of big lottery winners who wind up in financial ruin, despair or both are increasingly common.

There's the two-time New Jersey lottery winner who squandered her $5.4 million fortune. A West Virginia man who won $315 million a decade ago on Christmas later said the windfall was to blame for his granddaughter's fatal drug overdose, his divorce, hundreds of lawsuits and an absence of true friends.

The National Endowment for Financial Education cautions those who receive a financial windfall ? whether from lottery winnings, divorce settlements, cashed-out stock options or family inheritances ? to plan for their psychological needs as well as their financial strategies. The Denver-based nonprofit estimates that as many as 70 percent of people who land sudden windfalls lose that money within several years.

"Being able to manage your emotions before you do anything sudden is one of the biggest things," said endowment spokesman Paul Golden. "If you've never had the comfort of financial security before, if you were really eking out a living from paycheck to paycheck, if you've never managed money before, it can be really confusing. There's this false belief that no matter what you do, you're never going to worry about money again."

David Gehle, who spent 20 years at a Nebraska meatpacking plant before he and seven ConAgra Foods co-workers won a $365 million Powerball jackpot in 2006, used some of his winnings to visit Australia, New Guinea and Vietnam. He left ConAgra three weeks after he won, and now spends his time woodworking and playing racquetball, tennis and golf.

But most of his winnings are invested, and the 59-year-old still lives in his native Lincoln. He waited for several years before buying a $450,000 home in a tidy neighborhood on the southern edge of town.

"My roots are in Nebraska, and I'm not all that much different now than I was before," Gehle said. "I'm pretty normal. I never was the kind of guy who went for big, expensive cars or anything like that. I just want something that runs."

In the first year after he won, Michael Terpstra would awaken many nights in a panic. Had he slept in? Was he late to work the night shift?

"At times I'd wake up and this would all seem like a dream," the 54-year-old said. "I'd have to walk around the house and tell myself, I did win. I'm not working anymore, and I do live here. I didn't get drunk, break into someone's house and go to sleep. This is where I'm supposed to be."

His new home is a roomy, two-story house in south Lincoln with a big-screen television and paintings of Jesus on the walls. He no longer uses alarm clocks and spends his days taking his 92-pound black lab, Rocco, on walks.

He was terrified when he first won, convinced that he would lose all of the money and have to return to work. So he lives carefully off the interest from conservative investments, with help from accountants and lawyers. He bought the new house and a truck, but struggles to name any extravagant purchases.

"I can't buy a super yacht. I can't buy a Gulfstream," he said. "Then again, I don't think I'd use either one, so why would I buy one?"

That said, some mega-winners still can't resist the lure of big jackpots, at least not the two-buck chances. On Tuesday, former ConAgra worker Dung Tran, a Vietnamese immigrant, walked into the same Lincoln U-Stop where he purchased the winning ticket six years ago and bought 22 more from the very employee who sold him the first prize-winner, said cashier Janice Mitzner.

"We joked about it," she said. "I told him, 'Wouldn't it be something if you won again?'"

Hayes is also hoping to strike rich again ? she bought 10 tickets at a Dirt Cheap liquor store on her way home Tuesday while speaking with an Associated Press reporter. Unlike many big winners, she has kept a visible public profile instead of going underground, appearing on a 2007 reality TV show ("Million Dollar Christmas"), writing an online Life After the Lottery blog and self-publishing a short book, "How Winning the Lottery Changed My Life."

"We have this drawing tomorrow, and if somebody wins, God bless them," she said. "They're going to need those blessings."


Alan Scher Zagier can be reached at http://twitter.com/azagier


Associated Press writers Grant Schulte in Lincoln, Neb., and Josh Funk in Omaha contributed to this report.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/386c25518f464186bf7a2ac026580ce7/Article_2012-11-28-US-Powerball-Lottery%20Lessons/id-7870c4ea49694b60907f1410bf8e4f11

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Before Hurricane Sandy, No Advocate For New York's Utility Ratepayers

NEW YORK -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched an investigation two weeks ago into utility companies' performance before and after Hurricane Sandy left millions of New Yorkers powerless -- some for weeks.

But one issue that could be crucial to Cuomo's special commission review is why there is no independent voice in New York state to stand up for electricity ratepayers before storms hit.

Last March, Cuomo rolled the state's independent Consumer Protection Board's Utility Intervention Unit into the Department of State. The unit now has a bare-bones staff with no authority to sue on behalf of ordinary customers. The governor's administration also has yet to issue a contract for independent utility watchdog and non-profit the Public Utility Law Project -- despite appropriations by the state legislature.

Across the Hudson, even though its population is a fraction of New York state's, New Jersey has a Division of Rate Counsel with dozens of employees on guard against jacked-up rates and lowballed tree-trimming budgets. It also can take utilities to court if it needs to.

"Right now as it stands, we have a diminished consumer protection representation," said New York Assembly Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill. "It's a serious, serious issue."

Utilities are claiming a staggering $1.5 billion in damages from Hurricane Sandy. If companies like Con Edison argue -- as they likely will -- that consumers should be forced to pay for most of that, there is no one with the technical knowledge necessary to find out what is warranted and what is not.

The lack of consumer protection also means that before Sandy, nobody was looking into whether ConEd was spending enough on maintenance and infrastructure investments, aside from the state regulator, the Public Service Commission.

New York's Utility Intervention Unit has just two employees, according to Cahill. And at a hearing earlier this year, when he asked about its jurisdiction since it had been rolled into the Department of State, he said, nobody seemed to know.

The governor's office and the Utility Intervention Unit did not respond to requests for comment.

Gerald Norlander, the executive director of PULP, said the state now appears to belatedly be moving to approve his outfit's contract. But he also sees a need for a strengthened, politically independent state utility intervention body.

"Under Pataki and Spitzer and Paterson and Cuomo -- it's not just Cuomo -- it's withered for 15 years," Norlander said of the unit. "They don't have the structural power and the independence they should have."

Having a voice independent from the regulator is critical, said Paul Flanagan, the litigation manager for the comparatively well-staffed and well-defined Division of Rate Counsel in New Jersey.

"We tend to be more the adversaries of the utilities, more so than the (regulator's) staff," he said.

An independent advocate can look out for customers before a disaster like Sandy strikes. It was the Division of Rate Counsel that filed a request in July with New Jersey's Board of Public Utilities to require one of the state's leading utilities, Jersey Central Power & Light, to explain how it was spending its storm mitigation money.

"As the utilities come in, which some of them already have and some of them will, to look for monies to pay for the storm ? we look at the cost of things in particular, so we want to see whether the ratepayers are getting value for the money that is spent," said Flanagan.

Many other states have a similar ratepayers' advocate, usually funded by the utilities themselves in a way that amounts to pennies per consumer per year. There is even a National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates. But New York is missing out.

"One of the problems with the rate-making structure in New York is that utilities can basically submit the bill for their response to storm damage, and it's pretty much passed through to the consumer," said Cahill.

But in many cases, he argued, utilities should have been spending more before the storm, to make outages less likely and shorter. Instead, he said, they have cut back on tree-trimming that can prevent downed lines, upgrading infrastructure, and hiring the lineworkers necessary to keep systems in shape.

"The question from a consumer representation standpoint at the current moment is, should the ratepayers in any way, shape, or form, be saddled with the costs of recovery where those costs could have been avoided with proper preparation?" he asked. "My answer to that is 'no'."

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/hurricane-sandy-utility-ratepayers_n_2207285.html

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10 Holiday Gifts For Business Travelers - Business Insider

Tingo | Nov. 27, 2012, 7:03 PM | 40,595| This post originally appeared on Tingo.com.

Not every hotel stay is pleasant, but they all should be.

Here are the top gifts this holiday season that can make every stay a better and safer one.

Please follow Your Money on Twitter and Facebook.

Tags: Holiday Shopping, Gifts, Travel, Hotels, Features | Get Alerts for these topics ?


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Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/10-holiday-gifts-for-business-travelers-2012-11

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Women Give 2012: Older Women Give More than Men - Asian ...

by Ann Hoang

The Women?s Philanthropy Institute at the Center for Effective Philanthropy at Indiana University has just released its third research report on women donors. The series, named Women Give, builds on a growing body of research about the role and behaviors of female philanthropists. We all know giving motivations are shaped by personal experiences and values, so it should be no surprise that some differences between men and women, such as average income and life expectancy, might also produce different philanthropic behaviors.

While the 2010 report confirmed that there were significant differences between the giving patterns of single men and women in general, the focus of the 2012 report is placed on Baby Boomer and older women. Before this, little research had explored the ways that gender and age might affect giving preference, so the findings of this report provide some valuable insights for our work in philanthropy. These findings include:

- Baby Boomer and older women are more likely to give than their male counterparts in all giving levels. Of those who give, Baby Boomer and older women give 89% more (almost twice as much) to charity than men.

- Baby Boomer and older women in the top 25% of permanent income are more likely to give than their male counterparts. Of those who give, Baby Boomer and older women in the top 25% of permanent income give 156% more (more than 1.5 times more) to charity than men.

Interestingly, the study also lists constraints on giving by Baby Boomer and older women. It?s within this context that the findings are even more remarkable: despite income-limiting factors like risk aversion in financial decision-making, a longer life expectancy (thus higher likelihood of outliving their savings), and less time in the labor force, for example, older women still demonstrate a higher propensity to give to charity. The study doesn?t give much in the way of theories or conclusions on why this trend exists, but the results are no less enlightening.

At the very least, it is certainly affirming: because senior women age 50 and older own more than ? of the nation?s financial wealth (MassMutual Financial Group), this does bring some good news for the field of philanthropy.

Source: http://www.asianphilanthropyforum.org/2012/11/women-give-2012-older-women-give-more-than-men.html

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'Dancing With the Stars: All Stars' champ crowned

This Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 publicity photo provided by ABC, shows Derek Hough and Shawn Johnson in ?Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars? - Episode 1510, as a competing couple in a Super-Sized Freestyle one-hour performance in which they were allowed to add extra performers, to incorporate all kinds of lifts and tricks to create an out-of-this-world entertaining routine on the ABC Television Network. Johnson is a finalist for the ?Dancing with the Stars? Mirror Ball Trophy on the ABC TV show Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/ABC, Adam Taylor)

This Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 publicity photo provided by ABC, shows Derek Hough and Shawn Johnson in ?Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars? - Episode 1510, as a competing couple in a Super-Sized Freestyle one-hour performance in which they were allowed to add extra performers, to incorporate all kinds of lifts and tricks to create an out-of-this-world entertaining routine on the ABC Television Network. Johnson is a finalist for the ?Dancing with the Stars? Mirror Ball Trophy on the ABC TV show Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/ABC, Adam Taylor)

This Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 publicity photo provided by ABC, shows Kelly Monaco, left, and Valentin Chmerkovskiy in ?Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars? - Episode 1510, as a competing couple in a Super-Sized Freestyle one-hour performance in which they were allowed to add extra performers, to incorporate all kinds of lifts and tricks to create an out-of-this-world entertaining routine on the ABC Television Network. Monaco is a finalist for the ?Dancing with the Stars? Mirror Ball Trophy on the ABC TV show Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/ABC, Adam Taylor)

This Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 publicity photo provided by ABC, shows Tony Dovolani and Melissa Rycroft in ?Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars? - Episode 1510, as a competing couple in a Super-Sized Freestyle one-hour performance in which they were allowed to add extra performers, to incorporate all kinds of lifts and tricks to create an out-of-this-world entertaining routine on the ABC Television Network. Rycroft is a finalist for the ?Dancing with the Stars? Mirror Ball Trophy on the ABC TV show Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/ABC, Adam Taylor)

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? She was dissed on "The Bachelor" and came in third place during her first stint on "Dancing With the Stars," but Melissa Rycroft is now a winner.

The reality TV star and her professional dance partner, Tony Dovolani, were named the champions Tuesday on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars: All Stars."

The pair beat out fellow finalists (and former champs) actress Kelly Monaco and Olympian Shawn Johnson to claim the sparkly mirror-ball trophy.

Fellow contestants on the show's first "all-star" season hoisted the new winners into the air as confetti rained down inside the "Dancing With the Stars" ballroom.

On the eve of the final competition, Rycroft said she felt confident and excited.

"I want to feel like a champion," she said.

Tuesday's two-hour season finale featured performances by the three finalists and each of the returning cast members: actors Pamela Anderson, Sabrina Bryan, Kirstie Alley and Gilles Marini; singers Joey Fatone and Drew Lachey; race car driver Helio Castroneves; reality TV star Bristol Palin; Olympic skater Apolo Anton Ohno; and football star Emmitt Smith.

Six of those contestants ? Johnson, Monaco, Lachey, Ohno, Smith and Castroneves ? were previous "Dancing" winners.

Rycroft and Dovolani came into the final contest with a pair of perfect scores. Those points were combined with viewer votes and a last set of judges' scores for an "instant dance" for which they had less than an hour to prepare.

Rycroft was a contestant on "The Bachelor" in 2009 and first appeared on "Dancing With the Stars" that same year. The 29-year-old also starred in a reality series earlier this year, "Melissa & Tye," about her marriage to Tye Strickland and their move to Hollywood so she could pursue an entertainment career.




Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/4e67281c3f754d0696fbfdee0f3f1469/Article_2012-11-27-TV-Dancing%20With%20the%20Stars/id-604ec6b459654d549bbbfb65c5c6df0d

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মঙ্গলবার, ২৭ নভেম্বর, ২০১২

Facebook policy change results in hysteria ? and a hoax


15 hrs.

If you're confused over a recent email from Facebook regarding its data use policy, you're not alone.?

The email ? with the subject line "Updates to Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" ? sparked an online hysteria which divided the Facebooking world into two factions: users who suspected the email?was yet another phishing spam scam; and users?who believed that Facebook is rolling back copyright and privacy rights, and protested this by cutting-and-pasting a viral?status update. ?

The hysterically reposted?status?update starts?like this (and then goes on and on and on):

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

Blah blah blah and so on. We're all busy people, so let's just cut to the chase:

  • The Facebook policy update?email, subject line: "Updates to Data Use Policy Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" (pictured below)?is totally real, totally from Facebook and totally?not a scam. ?
  • The Facebook policy update doesn't represent any egregious robbery of your personal data, photos, drawings,?macaroni?art, etc., let alone any personal data you've already made available to Facebook or on many a site or mobile device.
  • Even if Facebook was coming for your macaroni art, et. al, your cut-and-paste status would do nothing to change it. As Snopes (a site you should have bookmarked) helpfully reminds: "Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their Facebook accounts nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict any new privacy or copyright terms instituted by Facebook simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls. " This is true whether Facebook is a publicly traded company or not.?

Now that we're clear on that, let's focus on the notable items of this totally real, authentic?Facebook update (which you can read in full here):

  • The new policy will allow Facebook to obtain data about you?"from our?affiliates?or our advertising partners" (with whom you've already shared your personal info, such as websites, memberships, etc.), to "improve the quality of ads." Plenty of sites already do this, matching your info (which you've provided, technically?of your own free will)?to show you ads your most likely to respond to, and to report to those ad partners how you did respond.
  • As we reported last week, Facebook is also axing your ability to vote on policy changes ? a practice it first launched in 2009 to a continually?underwhelming?response. ?As Suzanne Choney reported earlier this year, a vote on privacy changes resulted in "hardly anyone voting."?(The trouble here?may be in the rules, however.?"Hardly anyone"?equaled?342,632 votes at the time," Choney explained. An army, but hardly the third of its users Facebook requires to?vote before it registers?dissent.)?
  • You have until 9 a.m. ET, Wednesday,?Nov. 28 ?to vote or comment on these and the other?changes ? most likely for the last time. ?That's a scant seven days since the policy notice went live on the Facebook Governance page, but face it, were you ever?really going to vote, anyway?

NBC News?contacted Facebook over the confusion most likely caused by the latest policy change?announcement and the latest Facebook copyright status hoax, and received the following email statement:

As outlined in our terms, the people who use Facebook own all of the content and information they post on Facebook, and they can control how it is shared through their privacy and application settings. Over the last few years, we have noticed some statements that suggest otherwise and we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the facts ? when you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them.?

True enough.

As we reported a year ago, Facebook made a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the massive privacy rollback on 2009 which bars the social network "from making?any further deceptive privacy claims." Facebook is also?now required to?"get consumer's approval before it changes the way it shares their data, and requires that it obtain periodic assessments of its privacy practices by independent, third-party auditors for the next 20 years."

Hence these emails that send us into a status-update cut-and-paste panic. If you fell for it this time around, don't be too hard on yourself. You're certainly not alone. As Facebook users, we're still angry over the social network playing fast and loose with our privacy in years past. Some people show their rage in fits of cutting and pasting, others vow they'll never touch Facebook again, then secretly log in three days later. We may love it too much to leave it, but can you really ever?trust?a cheater ? even when that cheater is trying to show you its reformed??

?Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about privacy and then asks her to join her on Twitter and/or Facebook. Also, Google+.?Because that's how she rolls.

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/facebook-policy-change-results-hysteria-hoax-1C7206892

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The Death Of The Banner Ad - Business Insider

Banner ads, those benighted rectangles and boxes, have been the primary way publishers make money online since a digital offshoot of Wired magazine ran the first one 18 years ago.

But the industry is ripe for disruption, and many feel it won't be long before banners are replaced by a better, more attractive advertising solution.

One industry source went so far as to say that we'd one day look back on 2012 and deem it the "defining year in the death of the banner ad."

"The traditional standard media model is challenging," this person said. "There's a lot of pressing need for innovation around the approaches people are taking [to make money online]. I see a lot of people refusing to acknowledge the trend lines here.... 2012 is really the defining year in the death of the banner ad. Other people are refusing to believe it because then they don't have another clear revenue path."

John Battelle, an advertising visionary and the founder of Federated Media, who was present for the invention of the banner ad at Wired, agrees. He told us recently that, as an industry, "we messed up when we decided banner ads would be how we make money on the Web."

"We shoved them up in the corners and tried to ignore them, and advertisers have had to scream from the sidelines," he says. "There's a way to make web advertising a better experience, like an ad in between every pageview that you can simply flick away if you don't want to see it. I'm a big fan of full-page ads, especially on tablets."

"I see a lot of people refusing to acknowledge the trend lines here and are clinging stubbornly to direct sales model," says an industry source. "2012 is really the defining year in death of the banner ad. Other people are refusing to believe it because then they don't have a clear revenue path."

Banner ads achieved mass scale because they're easy to implement on Web pages. Increasingly, their placement is standardized and automated by computers, though big banner-ad deals are still negotiated the old-fashioned way, human to human.

They're also supported by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), a trade organization whose standards apply to 80 percent of banner ads sold. Battelle, who is on the IAB's board, says he's trying to push the group to rethink Web advertising and come up with a widely implemented solution that makes advertisers look and feel more welcome on Web pages.

The transformation away from banner ads will take a long time. Battelle thinks it could take ten years before the online advertising industry is thoroughly disrupted. In the meantime, more and more companies are steadily working at more engaging banner-ad alternatives.

Foursquare, for example, offers businesses a way to deliver updates to users who use its mobile app to check in to their locations. Facebook and Tumblr offer ad formats that promote specific posts to more users. BuzzFeed tries to create viral stories that feature advertisers. And Twitter's promoted tweets are working well, particularly on mobile devices.

These are so-called native ads that play off user behavior and enhance the experience rather than interrupt it.

Arguably, banner ads tried to do something like that 18 years ago, when every Web page felt fresh and new and the notion of multimedia-rich pages mixing graphics and text were novel.

But the Web has moved on since then. It's time banners did, too.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-death-of-the-banner-ad-2012-11

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Whoever Wears This Rocket-Powered Prosthetic Ankle Is Guaranteed Olympic Gold

When the International Olympic Committee approved the prosthetic blades that replace Oscar Pistorius's artificial legs when running, they set a precedent that could be hard to manage down the line. What was the committee's criteria for approving them, and why should one prosthetic be allowed and not another? There's no definitive answer yet, but it's a safe bet that a rocket-powered prosthetic ankle probably won't make the cut. More »

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/i-L0x-bJ9Ck/whoever-wears-this-rocket+powered-prosthetic-ankle-is-guaranteed-olympic-gold

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Fwd: qotd: Health insurance exchanges may be too small to succeed

Quote-of-the-day mailing list

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: qotd: Health insurance exchanges may be too small to succeed
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2012 08:30:53 -0800
From: Don McCanne <don@mccanne.org>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <quote-of-the-day@mccanne.org>

The New York Times
November 23, 2012
Health Insurance Exchanges May Be Too Small to Succeed
By Dana P. Goldman, Michael Chernew and Anupam Jena

With the re-election of President Obama, the Affordable Care Act is back
on track for being carried out in 2014. Central to its success will be
the creation of health-insurance exchanges in each state. Beneficiaries
will be able to go to a Web site and shop for health insurance, with the
government subsidizing the premiums of those whose qualify. By
encouraging competition among insurers in an open marketplace, the
health care law aims to wring some savings out of the insurance industry
to keep premiums affordable.

Certainly, it is hard to be against competition. Economic theory is
clear about its indispensable benefits. But not all health care markets
are composed of rational, well-informed buyers and sellers engaged in
commerce. Some have a limited number of service providers; in others,
patients are not well informed about the services they are buying; and
in still others, the quality of the service offerings vary from provider
to provider. So the question is: What effect does insurer competition
have in a marketplace with so many imperfections?

The evidence is mixed, but some of it points to a counterintuitive
result: more competition among insurers may lead to higher
reimbursements and health care spending, particularly when the provider
market ? physicians, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and medical device
suppliers ? is not very competitive.

In imperfect health care markets, competition can be counterproductive.
The larger an insurer's share of the market, the more aggressively it
can negotiate prices with providers, hospitals and drug manufacturers.
Smaller hospitals and provider groups, known as "price takers" by
economists, either accept the big insurer's reimbursement rates or forgo
the opportunity to offer competing services. The monopsony power of a
single or a few large insurers can thus lead to lower prices. For
example, Glenn Melnick and Vivian Wu have shown that hospital prices in
markets with the most powerful insurers are 12 percent lower than in
more competitive insurance markets.

So health insurance exchanges are probably welcome news for hospitals,
physicians, and pharmaceutical and medical device companies throughout
the United States. If health insurance exchanges divide up the market
among many insurers, thereby diluting their power, reimbursement rates
may actually increase, which could lead to higher premiums for consumers.

There is some evidence on how insurer market power affects premiums.
Leemore Dafny, Mark Duggan, and Subramaniam Ramanarayanan have found
that greater concentration resulting from an insurance merger is
associated with a modest increase in premiums ? suggesting that
concentration may not help consumers so much ? although they did report
a reduction in physician earnings on average. Over all, however, the
evidence is limited and mixed.

Greater competition in the insurance industry ? either through health
insurance exchanges or other measures ? may not lower insurance
premiums. Weakening insurers' bargaining power could instead translate
into higher costs for all of us in the form of higher premiums.

In financial markets, we ask if banks are too big to fail. When it comes
to health care, perhaps we should ask if insurers are too small to succeed.


NYT Reader Comments:

Don McCanne
San Juan Capistrano, CA
Nov. 23, 2012

It is true that very large insurers within the exchanges can use their
monopsony power (controlling the market as exclusive buyers) by
demanding lower prices for health care services, but only for their own
plans. Most health care costs will still be covered by
employer-sponsored plans, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs. Thus
plans offered by the exchanges cannot have much impact on our total
national health expenditures.

Another difficulty with the monopsony power of private insurers is that
when they are investor owned (WellPoint, UnitedHealth, Aetna, etc.),
their first priority must be to use their leverage to benefit their
investors. That results in insurance innovations that often are not
particularly transparent, but have adverse consequences for the patients
they insure. The private sector exercising power as a monopsony can be
as evil as a monopoly.

In contrast, a public monopsony can be very beneficial in getting prices
right - high enough to ensure adequate capacity in the delivery system,
yet low enough to ensure value in health care.

The ultimate beneficent monopsony would be a single public program
covering absolutely everyone ("single payer"). We could achieve this
easily by improving Medicare and then making it universal. Health policy
studies have proven that this would not only cover everyone, but it
would finally bring us that elusive goal of health care reform - bending
the cost curve to sustainable levels.


Source: http://healthpolicydaily.blogspot.com/2012/11/fwd-qotd-health-insurance-exchanges-may.html

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Pentagon's message to Lockheed: Stay focused on F-35

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp on Monday said Pentagon officials had underscored their support for Marillyn Hewson, named to take over as chief executive in January after an ethics scandal, and urged the company to stay focused on its flagship program the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Current Chief Executive Bob Stevens, who will stay on as executive chairman when he retires at the end of the year, told analysts that the Defense Department was understanding about the management changes, but also reiterated the importance of keeping such programs such as the F-35 fighter on track.

Hewson and Stevens spoke with analysts on Monday morning in an effort to reassure investors that the company's leadership changes would not alter its focus on cutting costs, delivering programs and expanding international sales.

Lockheed shares were trading slightly lower on Monday morning dropping 44 cents to trade at $89.54.

Stevens said Lockheed informed the Pentagon after the close of the stock market that its president and chief operating officer, Chris Kubasik, had been forced out after admitting to an inappropriate personal relationship.

Kubasik had been set to replace Stevens as chief executive officer in January. The news on Kubasik emerged hours after CIA Director David Petraeus resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair.

"The initial response has been an understanding of the situation that we faced here and an understanding of the actions that we've taken and a full measure of support for Marillyn in her new position," Stevens said on Monday.

He said officials also told the company: "Don't lose focus on the commitments that you've made on the F35 specifically and on other programs."

Stevens said Hewson was very familiar with the breadth and depth of Lockheed's operations and had been deeply immersed over nearly 30 years in many of the company's key programs, including the F-35 fighter program over the past nine months.

Hewson, who was already slated to become president and chief operating officer in January, said she had taken part in high-level talks with the Pentagon about a contract for a fifth batch of F-35 jets, and would remain closely engaged in the process.

Those talks have been under way for nearly a year, prompting one of the Pentagon's top F-35 officials to describe ties between Lockheed and the government as the worst he'd ever seen.

Hewson said she was committed to securing a contract for those planes, which is needed to free up funds for a sixth batch of planes, and said the company would deliver all the airplanes it was committed to this year, despite a strike that slowed production earlier in the year.

Lockheed last month warned investors that it faced a potential termination liability of $1.1 billion on the F-35 fighter program unless it received additional funding for work on a sixth batch of airplanes by year end.

"We are going to meet our commitments this year on delivering the aircraft that we committed to, the support for the customer is strong and so we'll continue to be very much engaged and we won't miss a beat on F-35," Hewson said.

Stevens said Hewson was well suited for the top job because of her long years of experience in running various company divisions, as well as what he described as her "remarkable" people skills.

"I know you're going to find this extraordinarily hard to believe, people seem to like Marillyn more than they like me," Stevens joked, adding that he had learned "a lot from her in our ability to work together over the years."

For her part, Hewson said she was focused on clearly communicating the company's priorities, fostering innovation, listening to customers, and continuing to develop its workforce.

"I think it's also important that a leader put in place an environment where people can do their best work, where they feel comfortable to bring their best ideas forward," Hewson said.

(Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa; editing by Andrew Hay)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/pentagons-message-lockheed-stay-focused-f-35-162928708--finance.html

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Dissertation Thesis: Marketing Dissertation

Executive Summary

The following marketing plan forms the basis for the introduction of select products produced by Ukrainian alcohol producer Aleph Vinal into the international marketplace. The analysis serves as a guideline that will help to select the best strategies in product selection, pricing strategies, placement, and promotional tools. The proposal will ensure that products chosen are marketed according to the needs of the target market and will therefore show investors the company?s ability to serve range of targets. The marketing strategies will enable to reach foreign markets of considerable size and utilize Ukrainian diaspora communities in order to maximize the potential of foreign direct investment. Success will be measured by substantial procurement of market share in several markets, with market penetration being the primary goal.

I. Marketing Research and Analysis

1. Company Analysis

1.1. Company profile

The company is named Alef Vinal. It is a relatively young company, founded in 1999. Its specialization includes the production, bottling and sales of alcoholic beverages including wine, cognac, and vodka. Its physical assets include:

  • ?Starokrymskiy? wine-making factory
  • ?Burlyuk? wine-making factory
  • ?Atlantis? wine making plant
  • ?Bahevoro? Crimean vintage cognacs plant

Alef Vinal has four factories / plants where the company produces its alcoholic beverage products. It also owns a bottling plant. In aggregate, these enterprises hold thousands of hectares of vineyards, employ over 2000 workers, and harvest about 14, 000 tons of grapes per year. The ?Atlantis? bottling plant can store up to 6 million liters in tanks and 330 thousand liters in cold store, while labeling, filling, and washing bottles. This plethora of resources gives the company the possibility of expanding into larger markets.

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Since 2001, the company has won multiple awards at food and drink exhibitions and competitions in Sofia, Bulgaria, Moscow, Russia, and in major cities of Ukraine. (Note: These achievements can be used as a tool around which to base an individualistic campaign in Western countries.) As an entity, Alef Vinal benefits from Ukraine?s rich natural resources and cheap but skilled labor force (Kekic, and Sauvant).

1.2. Product Line

The product line by Alef Vinal offers a variety of different flavors of each type of alcoholic beverage. Each product line has its own branding practices, including their own website. The following descriptions will merely provide an overview of each type of product in order to obtain a solid foundation of understanding of the company?s marketing needs and opportunities.

1.2.1. Golden Amphora

The Golden Amphora trademark consists of Golden Amphora wines, Golden Amphora Grapes wines, Golden St Crimea wines, Sonata wines, champagne wines and a specialty line of kosher wines, which applies to a niche market.

1.2.2. Klinkov Cognacs

one of the higher end products offered by this company, Klinkov maintains rich brand recognition and is known for its high standards in production and exclusive tastes. The product line includes Klinkov V.S, Klinkov V.S.O.P, and Klinkov X.O, which vary by years aged, ranging from 5 to 10 years. (This product is suitable for the tertiary target market, segment B.)

1.2.3. Jan-Jak Brandy

These aged brandies come in different sizes and types. The product line includes Jan-Jak, Jan-Jak Klassik, and Jan-Jak Reserve. Specialty brands include Jan-Jak Paris and Jan-Jak Eifel Tower, a gift cognac sold in an Eifel Tower shaped bottle.

1.2.4. Helsinki Vodka

This vodka is a product of negotiations between Ukranian and Finnish businessmen, helping to incorporate Finnish traditions with all the technological advances in production provided by Alef Vinal. This product line consists of variations including brand names Ultramarin, Silver, and Ice Palace.

1.2.5. Ukrainka Vodka

An extensive line of specialty vodkas is perfect for the nationalistic personality of all Ukrainians. This vodka comes in many different flavors including Mountain Honey, Wheat, Hazel Nut, Platinum, Peppered, and Traditional. (This product is suitable for both primary and secondary target markets.)

1.3. Current Marketing and Sales Strategies

The marketing department at Alef Vinal consists of 15 employees and is divided into department of strategies and innovation, direct-marketing, and ?trademarks promotion. The sales department consists of 450 employees, which supports the company at many levels, including retail, for which training seminars are provided. The parent company has official websites for each of their products. The staff in charge of marketing is outnumbered by the staff in charge of production by about a 3:1 ratio. In order to internationalize the retailing of Alef Vinal?s products, the staff in the Marketing and Sales departments will be given added responsibilities, and will most likely require additional help from either internal or external sources, such as local representatives for foreign markets.

2. Industry Analysis

2.1. Consumption

The World Health Organization estimates that there are around 2 billion individuals in the world consuming alcoholic beverages. The industry is under constant scrutiny and marketing practices are faced with many restrictions and regulations, usually enforced by the state in which the products are being sold ("World Health Organization").

In regards to alcohol industry, there are many cultural differences that must be taken into account in the consumption of alcohol in an international market. For example, The English people are known to be goal oriented. Therefore, the act of drinking alcohol is also carried out with a goal: to get drunk. Meanwhile, French and Italian drinkers usually drink during participation in broader social rituals. The concept of a night of binge drinking applied to the English group while the idea of drinking during meals such as lunch and dinner is more suited to people living in France and Italy (Lansdell).

2.2. Competition

The level of competition in the alcoholic beverage industry is immense. There is competition between brands and there is competition between types of beverages. Considering the vast variety of products offered by Alef Vinal, which includes wine and spirits, the competition analysis should focus on wine and spirit producers only, as ready to drink beverages and beer offer product benefits to a different target group. The International Wine and Spirits Competition lists over 80 countries from which it has received entries in the past. In 2008 and 2009, over 30 countries won awards in the category of wines, with Ukraine receiving none (source). This indicates that there is room for improvement of the international recognition and image of Ukraine as a top wine and spirit producer.

2.3. Barriers and Limitations

2.3.1. Internationalization Standards

An international marketing plan differs from a local marketing plan in many ways. Amongst these ways is increased paperwork and documentation and additional payments for currency exchange and international transactions. Other factors that must be considered include variation in norms in regards to practices, partnerships and protection. Different cultural, social and business standards must be considered when making strategic alliances for the development of a product?s market share.

2.3.2. Monopolies and Restrictions

Some countries hold state monopolies and licensing systems on on-premise and off-premise retail sale of alcohol (?World Health Organization?). Some countries hold these restrictions on all alcoholic beverages while other restrictions are beverage-specific. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Canada, French Polynesia, Iceland, Malawi, Mauritius, Mongolia, and Sweden, all alcoholic beverages are sold under a state monopoly. In other countries such as Columbia and Turkey, the sale of spirits is restricted, as well as in Finland, Kyrgyzstan and Norway (?World Health Organization?, 17).? Other countries have less strict policies on alcohol consumption due to more strict policies being included in the general policies on sales and production of food and beverage. The following is a more detailed breakdown of relevant barriers, restrictions and limitations. (Note: The countries chosen for analysis have been chosen due to the market potential of these countries.)

2.3.3. Production, Sales, Advertising and Promotion

This section focuses on barriers associated with the delivery of brand messages and products in a few potential markets in selected countries. The data can be analyzed by country or by regulation type. For readability purposes, data is presented in both forms, depending on the country. All data is extracted from the 2004 ?Alcohol Policy Report? produced by the World Health Organization.

Luxembourg: Luxembourg does not hold state control on the sales or production of wine. However, it does hold a monopoly on the sales of spirits. In fact, there is relatively small amount of restrictions on other alcohol related activities such as advertisement and sponsorship of sporting events. The age limit for purchase of alcohol is 16.

Ireland: Ireland does not hold a state monopoly on the production or sales of wine or spirits. Restrictions on advertising through all types of media are voluntary or non-existent. The age limit for purchase of alcohol is 18.

Hungary: Hungary does not hold a state monopoly on the production or sales of wine or spirits. Restrictions on sponsorship of sporting events are partial. National television advertisement for wine and national radio advertisement for spirits is banned.

Russian Federation: In Russia, there is a complete ban on advertisement of wine and spirits through television and radio, a partial ban on billboards, as well as a partial ban on spirits advertising through print media.

Sales and Production: Other countries without a monopoly on the sales or production of wine and spirits include Moldova, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Australia, and Italy.

Advertisement: Some countries without high levels of restriction on advertisement of alcoholic beverages include Moldova, Czech Republic, Germany, and Australia. For these countries, Alef Vinal can market any of their products using advertising through TV, radio and print mediums. France allows billboard advertisement, but has a complete ban on television advertisement and a partial ban on radio and print media advertisement. Denmark has a ban on advertising wine and spirits through national television and national radio mediums.? Italy has a partial ban on television, radio, print, and billboard advertisement.

Sponsorship: Countries without restriction of sporting/ youth events include Moldova, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Australia, and Italy. France has a complete ban on youth event sponsorship, and a partial ban on sporting event sponsorship. This shows that in most cases, sponsorship is a valid means of promoting products internationally.

3. Company SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)?


  • Cheap labor and production
  • Extensive line of high quality products
  • Capability to produce in high quantities due to rich natural resources
  • Large Ukrainian Diaspora communities around the world
  • Former soviet country, general public?s association with alcohol


  • Difficulties attracting investors due to Ukrainian policies
  • High taxes and tax barriers
  • Language barrier with current staff and sales team
  • Brand awareness in European market


  • Penetrate into great and large markets
  • Establish prime market position
  • Attract Ukrainian?s living outside of Ukraine
  • Attempt varying marketing strategies using various products


  • Policies, regulations and reforms may block progress
  • Inability to reach trade agreements with EU member states
  • Very competitive market
  • Production may not suffice international demands

II. Marketing Strategy

4. Target Market

Because this marketing plan is one of great intricacies, the target market is broken down into three segments: primary, secondary and tertiary, which is a coupling of two niche markets (one business-oriented) that will be used for specific marketing purposes.

4.1. Primary Target

Ukrainian Diaspora Community: This includes people who were born in Ukraine as well as those who identify themselves as having a Ukrainian heritage, but are currently living elsewhere. The target demographics consist of males and females of legal drinking age. The entire Ukrainian Diaspora consists of over 10 million people, but not all 10 million will be targeted. Marketing campaigns for this target group should create feelings of nostalgia and pride for their country. These people will serve as ambassadors to the brand. This target group will be a perfect fit for the ?Ukrainka? line of products, as these products are associated with a strong sense of nationalism. Other lines of products also fit into this category. Rationale for this target group selection will be explained in further sections. (See: Brand Ambassadors and the Ukrainian Diaspora Community, Foreign Direct Investment)

4.2. Secondary Target

In the long term, establishing a European presence is a necessity for a company that is so young yet growing so fast. This target group represents males and females, those of legal drinking age in the top alcohol consuming countries. This target is arguably more important than the primary target but market penetration of this segment cannot be properly achieved without the first segment. Tertiary Target ? This target can be segmented into two groups, one of which will be utilized as a test market, while the other will be used for investment purposes.

4.3.1. Segment A (Niche Targeting)

The first segment will consist of people of Jewish descent who currently live in one of the following four countries; France, Germany, Russia, and Australia.? A test market of a population of 1 million, with an estimate of 3,000,000 alcohol consumers will provide an inexpensive international barrier busting justification. More detailed rationale is explained further in the marketing plan.

4.3.2. Segment B (B2B Marketing)

The second segment of the tertiary target group is closely related to the primary target. However, it is more of a niche market of investors, which necessitates implementation of B2B principles. This segment consists of established professionals with high annual incomes as well as a portfolio of monetary assets, with a minor emphasis on those who identify themselves as Ukrainian by birth or by heritage.

5. Marketing Objectives

The objectives of this plan can be broken down into 3 criteria:

  • To clearly define the market opportunities by country-specific breakdown, while considering legal and economic restrictions
  • To emphasize the strengths and opportunities provided by the product line available via Alef Vinal, determine which strengths can be maximized by which market
  • To implement effective marketing ideas and penetrate selected markets with corresponding products, leverage each product in order to introduce others

6. Market Opportunities
In an article included in the series of articles providing Top 10 lists, travel specialist Geoffrey Lansdell uses alcohol consumption in liters per capita per year to provide a list called ?Top 10: Drinking Countries?. The following names appear on the list, in corresponding order: France, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Australia, Russia, England, Finland, and the number one spot is occupied by Ireland. The opinion of Mr. Lansdell is clearly arguable but it also provides some insights as to who is drinking and what is their preferred drink of choice (Lansdell). In 2006, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development provided a data set, which measured consumption of liters of alcohol per year per person per country. Luxembourg ranked first, leading France, Ireland, Hungary, and Czech Republic (Malone and Riper). The ranking provides similar results as a statistic that can be found in the Economist, and was provided by the World Health Organization. The same type of data set provided the 2007 ranking of the top 5 countries is as follows: (5) Czech Republic, (4) Moldova, (3) Hungary, (2) Ireland and (1) Luxembourg. Countries such as Germany, Britain, Russia, Denmark, Spain, France, Australia, United States, and Italy round up the top 50 (?Economist?, 2007)

6.1. Analysis

It is evident that Europeans are relatively heavy alcohol drinkers compared to the rest of the world. Luxembourg is the leading alcohol consuming country, due to low alcohol taxes and high involvement of alcohol in tourism. Establishing a market presence in most of these countries would involve trade barriers due to European Union law. However, because of the uniqueness of the product, especially due to the aforementioned factors, acquiring permission to export to these countries can be extremely beneficial to both parties. For the purposes of this marketing plan, we will analyze the market opportunities of selected countries from this list, with an emphasis on the European countries that have a larger Ukrainian Diaspora community. Applying this data to the secondary target group indicates that communities in Luxembourg, Ireland, Hungary, Moldova, Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, Britain, France, Denmark and Australia should be targeted.

6.2. Further considerations: Western vs. Eastern Acceptance of Advertising

It is important to consider the culture of the country in which one is marketing a product. Advertising, an important part of marketing must be executed to include the norms and values of the people of a specified country or region. In Western countries, like the USA, collectivistic advertisement was found to be not as effective as individualistic advertisement. However, in countries like China and Japan, experiments show, that the public receives both individualistic and collectivistic advertisement equally well (Diehl, 130).

6.3. Brand Ambassadors and the Ukrainian Diaspora Community

The Ukrainian diaspora community can serve as community brand ambassadors for Alef Vinal. People who have moved from Ukraine may find nostalgic value in a Ukrainian product, hopefully causing a spillover effect into the rest of the country?s, region?s, or city?s communities and general public.

In total, about 10 million people living around the world have a Ukrainian birth or origin. By far, the largest diaspora of Ukrainian people is in Russia, with some sources quoted over 4,000,000 people representing the country. Among the countries that lead the world in alcohol consumption, other significant diaspora communities include that of Moldova (600-650,000), Greece (350-360, 000) , Italy (320-250,000), Kyrgyzstan (108, 000), Slovakia (40-100, 000) Australia (35,000), France (35, 000) , and Germany (22, 000). Hungary has a community of 3,000 (Butsenko). Other communities where there is a lot of Ukrainians include Kazakhstan, USA, Canada, Brazil, Poland, Greece, Belarus, and Argentina. If these markets were targeted, there should be different considerations, seeing as the people in these countries are not as avid drinkers as the one?s formerly mentioned. For this alternative, further research regarding sales and production, advertising, and sponsorship regulations must be conducted. A proper application of this marketing concept can lead to a great deal of foreign direct investment for Alef Vinal. Applying this data to the primary target indicates that Russia, Moldova, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Slovakia, Australia, France, and Germany should be targeted.

6.4. Foreign Direct Investments

The line of products and trademark brands of Alef Vinal is a perfect vehicle to attract foreign direct investment in Ukraine. For example, ?Ukrainka? vodka has been branded in the Ukraine as nationalistic, Ukrainian vodka for Ukrainians. The founder of the company, Anatolii Kogan can be quoted saying the ?Ukrainka? vodka is ?for those who love their country?. The confidence that the ownership has in its products? relationship with Ukrainians provides a solid foundation for the possibilities of foreign direct investment. In a report entitled ?World investment prospects to 2011?, produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Ukraine is classified as an emerging market (Kekic, and Sauvant).

Foreign direct investment inflows in Ukraine for 2011 are expected to reach higher than anytime in the last 5 years, totaling 5.3 billion USD (Kekic, and Sauvant, 175) Major contributors to current inflows of FDI include Germany, Russia, Austria, and Netherlands. However, the fact that a country is not on this list does not necessarily mean that there is no possibility for increasing foreign investment. In fact, the sectors attracting FDI the most are those in which the government interferes less, such as the agriculture-processing industry where much progress on privatization through regulatory, administrative and fiscal reform has taken place. With that said, limitations and barriers must be considered in this regard as well. The political environment, policies towards private enterprise and competition, and tax structure are major deterrents to investors looking to invest in Ukraine. Ukraine offers weak incentives and unfriendly investor-friendly policies, including an excessive tax burden (Kekic, and Sauvant, 177).

7. Strategy Implementation

7.1. Use of Online Communications

Web localization is an important practice that will play a vital role in the internationalization of any good or service. Once the options are laid out and specific markets are chosen for the first wave of internationalization, online communications to all new stakeholders must be available and ready to go. This includes localization and translation of the product?s corresponding website. Considering the current online communications breakdown of parent company Alef Vinal, this process should not encounter too many obstacles, providing that there is sufficient capital and human resources to carry out the task. Appropriate management of online communication channels allows for customizability of campaigns, as necessary per market and/or country or region. Online communications can be used to inform primary and secondary targets about retailors, as well as investors about distributors. For those countries where sales restrictions are scarce, online portals can be used as part of the sales distribution plan.

7.2. Current Market Practices

Marketing tactics have enabled alcohol brands to become a major part of entertainment, sporting, and cultural ambience, which is made evident by many examples, such as the promotion of musical acts at Molson Beer concerts in Toronto, Canada (Casswell, 471). Sponsorship of concerts and sporting events are a prevalent tactic through which brands have been able to gain recognition. Other tactics commonly used include viral marketing (Smirnoff?s Half Day Off campaign), which utilized giveaways, bar events, and text messaging to build buzz.

It is important to understand the variances in the target market?s goals that which are associated with alcohol use. It must be considered that ready to drink alcoholic beverages are often targeted to young consumers who?s goal is to reach intoxication as opposed to more sophisticated wine and spirit drinkers (who would benefit from the Golden Amphora and Klinkov trademarks) (Casswell, 472). Nevertheless, there is still the option of targeting younger audiences as well, in order to build a long-lasting impression for future growth. Young audiences are often targeted through special promotions, low price specials, and advertising at drinking establishments, especially in and around college campus communities. The message indicating the type of product benefit being sent, whether it is social success or self-confidence, is just as important as the medium through which the message is sent. ???

7.3. Choosing Priority Markets

Penetration into the international market can be easily justified by a statistical analysis of a few data sets. The ability to cross reference three market factors can dilute the size of the markets and paint a picture of the best market opportunities for Alef Vinal. These factors include the market opportunities in countries that present themselves in the list of leading alcohol consumers, the countries that account for a large portion of the Ukrainian diaspora, and the countries with high foreign direct investment outflows. In this case, the criteria insinuating the term high foreign direct investment outflows is provided by 2008 data and is relative to inflows, which are lower than outflows. These countries include France, Germany, Britain, Luxembourg, Denmark and Australia. Other notable countries with high foreign direct investment outflows include Japan and Canada (?Economist?). In simple terms, there are a lot of alcohol users in these places, there is also a large number of Ukrainians in this country, and among these alcohol users and Ukrainian diaspora members, there is also a lot of people sending money to Ukraine as an investment.

  • Cross-referencing primary and secondary target group data indicates the following: If the theory that targeting Ukrainians living in countries where a lot of alcohol is consumed proves to be legitimate, cross referencing this data indicates that marketing efforts targeted towards Moldova, Russia, France, Germany would have the most positive effects and should coincide with the greatest market share gained.
  • Cross-referencing primary and tertiary target group (Segment B) data indicates the following: If the theory that Ukrainians living away from Ukraine who are in a position of considerable wealth are more likely to produce foreign direct investments into a home-grown product, then the most success will come from Russia and Germany.

7.4. Niche Marketing

While there is a lot of potential to gain substantial market share of the general publics of the selected countries, it is financially crucial that a company takes small progressive steps in doing so. This ensures that there is enough cash flow coming in to finance operations. The uniqueness of Alef Vinal offers multiple opportunities that allow implementation of a niche marketing strategy as a spark plug to further market penetration. The company?s kosher wine trademark consists of four beverages including Agada, Cabernet, Karem and Saperavi. The production of kosher wine follows strict procedures that must be observed carefully, giving the product a USP, often coupled with higher prices. Since labor is cheaper in Ukraine, the company can explore the marketing opportunities of this wine in some of the aforementioned countries. Kosher beverages are targeted to Jewish people, who ritually drink wine every Friday and Saturday as part of a religious tradition. As of 2006 there were only 70,000 Jewish people living in Ukraine and Alef Vinal has maintained production for local distribution. Out of the aforementioned countries, there are four countries that have a larger population of Jews than Ukraine: France, Russia, Germany and Australia combine for a population close to 1 million people (American Jewish Yearbook, 2006). This can provide an excellent test market for some internationalization tactics of this company. Although marketing tactics and channels may be different from other target markets, many restrictions and regulations will be tackled, which will provide breathing room and the ability to concentrate on further marketing tasks.

7.4.1. Price Strategy and Sales Distribution

Since this market would be the test-market it is important to identify the pricing strategy and the sales distribution plan for this market. As a producer of kosher wine, Alef Vinal incurs fewer costs than wine thanks to Ukraine?s low wages, relative to the markets of sale. This allows the company to use penetration pricing (low pricing) in order to attain significant market share. For example, a dominant brand of kosher wine in Germany is Kinneret, which sells its products for $11-15 USD. To compete, Alef Vinal could charge downwards of $10 USD. Distribution of this product should be done through small specialty shops in each community, of which there are plenty. Online communications such as email can be used to establish networking opportunities through synagogues, chief rabbis, and Jewish organization representatives. Sales representatives can also attempt to make leads via telephone, should they be able to speak the required languages. Although this model would not be entirely applicable to the proceeding marketing efforts, the penetration of these markets can provide a solid foundation for future efforts.

7.5. Overview of Pricing Strategy

Considering the wide variety of products to market, there is a lot of flexibility in regards to pricing. The general principle of market penetration indicates that a lower price rather instead of a higher price point should be utilized. In terms of alcohol, which is a highly elastic product, this principle applies with even greater conviction. Furthermore, the costs of production, although not necessarily utilizing the economies of scale concept as some other companies, is relatively low in Ukraine. All of this information points to a low pricing strategy.

Alternatives: Ukrainian brand beverages do not have such great competition and market presence. This renders the product unique in the international sphere. Should the initial product launches be successful, it is possible that launching a higher end product at a high price point could result in a successful campaign as well.

Recommend Pricing Strategies for highlighted product lines:

  • Low Price Strategy: Ukrainka Vodka (Primary and Secondary Target Market)
  • Low Price Strategy: Golden Amphora Kosher Wines
  • Medium-High Price Strategy: Klinkov Cognacs
  • Undetermined: Others???

7.6. Sample of an Advertising and Promotions Plan

Once the exploration of current market practices such as event and sponsorship has been conducted, online communication strategies such as web localization have been realized, and priority markets have been chosen, the information obtained from the World Health Organization in regards to advertising and sales promotion can be utilized to explore more traditional mediums of advertisement and promotions such as television, radio, and print. The rationale for this particular order indicates that event and sports sponsorship are the fastest way to build brand awareness but they are also the most costly. Web localization offers a perfect compliment to this as a low-cost brand builder. Note: All licenses must be acquired beforehand.?

Traditional Media: Television, print and radio advertisement are all effective forms of communication for both wine and spirits. As the development of advertising campaigns depends on the product launch sequence, we will analyze three products, referring to them as product A, B, and C.

A. Golden Amphora Kosher Wines

(Tertiary Target Market, Segment A)

Recommended Product Launch Locations: Russia, Germany

Advertising/ Promotional Restrictions Indicate:

Russia?s strict regulations enforce a ban on almost all traditional media, however there is no ban on advertising wine through print media or on private event sponsorship. Considering the information provided on product and the target market in the ?Niche Marketing? section of this paper, this allows just enough wiggle room for a solid campaign through specialty news publications and Jewish event sponsorship such as holiday celebrations, where the wine will be prominently featured. In Germany, there are little laws banning forms of traditional advertisement. Nevertheless, to keep a uniform, organized, and cost-efficient campaign, the same methods should be used.

B. Ukrainka Vodka

(Primary and Secondary Target)

Recommended Product Launch Locations: Moldova, Russia, France, and Germany

Advertising/ Promotional Restrictions Indicate:

Moldova and Germany allow for much freedom in sports and youth event sponsorship. France however, is much more strict than those two countries, allowing only partial sponsorship at sporting events and Russia disallows any promotion of the sort. The recommended strategy would advise to take advantage of the rules in Moldova and Germany by sponsoring concerts and sporting events, as well as conducting some detailed research as to what is allowed in France, and executing that as well. Seeing as Russia and Ukraine have a long history of relationships and the Ukrainian diaspora community is rather large there, the use of print media and billboards, as well as online communications and word of mouth should be effective enough to spread the good word about the arrival of Ukrainka vodka.

C. Klinkov Cognacs

(Tertiary Target, Segment B)

Recommended Product Launch Location: Luxembourg

Advertising/ Promotional Restrictions Indicate:

Acquiring sales channels may be the most difficult task here, but it can be exponentially beneficial. Luxembourg is home to a lot of tourism and alcohol related activities involving tourism. A high quality of life indicates high income among citizens and tourists. This could be a great place to snatch up investors through event sponsorship at bars, clubs, and other special events. Klinkov Cognacs are aged up to ten years, which provides satisfaction for attainment of prestige when drinking. Luxembourg offers Alef Vinal freedom in advertising and promotional activities. By the time of this product?s launch and promotional strategies come to fruition, more information will be available which will give insights on further marketing needs and fulfilling these needs through news-worthy promotions.


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Installed New Whole House Humidifier Castle Rock, Colorado ...

November 12th, 2012?????? no comments???

In Colorado, whole house humidifiers can drastically improve your homes air quality and enhance the comfort level of your home environment.? Humidifiers help decrease static electricity and eliminate dry air.? Many of our customers see vast improvements in their home after having a new humidifier installed.

Below is a picture of a recent installation of a York Humidifier in Castle Rock, Colorado.? The humidifier in the picture is a bypass model and does not require an internal fan to operate.? Instead it utilizes the furnace blower to move the humidity through the home.? Bypass humidifiers are recommended because they are more affordable and are less likely to require repair.


Source: http://www.foothillsheating.com/installed-new-whole-house-humidifier-castle-rock-colorado

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Saints put an end to Falcons' unbeaten run

Late Atlanta drive fails at the 2, and New Orleans wins 31-27


Associated Press Sports

updated 4:05 p.m. ET Nov. 11, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - The Atlanta Falcons can forget about perfection, thanks to their resurgent rivals from the City that Care Forgot.

Of all the teams to end Atlanta's unbeaten run, it had to be the New Orleans Saints. And it had to be a memorable, drama-filled game that left the Falcons frustrated by the 1 meager yard they could not get to take a lead inside the final 2 minutes of a 31-27 loss Sunday.

"It's very frustrating," said Falcons coach Mike Smith, who is 2-7 against the Saints and 49-15 against the rest of the NFL in his four-plus regular seasons as Atlanta coach. "We were close. ... This will be something we will learn from."

If the Falcons (8-1) want to beat the Saints (4-5) in their rematch in Atlanta on Nov. 29, it would help to learn how to stop dynamic young tight end Jimmy Graham, who caught seven passes for a career-best 146 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, Atlanta might have pulled it out, but Jabari Greer made a diving, touchdown-saving pass breakup on a late fourth-down pass intended for Roddy White.

"It's not like they came out here and won a game today," White said. "I think we kind of gave it to them. ... We play them in three weeks and we'll be ready."

Greer's play represented a measure of redemption for the veteran, who'd given up two long passes earlier in the game that led to Atlanta scores.

"I was kind of depressed before that play," Greer said. "I saw my name on the waiver wire. ... Being able to go out there and make a play for our team and be able to celebrate after everything that happened and just to win that way, it's a gift."

Matt Ryan was 34 of 52 for a career-best 411 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. The game was there for him to win when his 9-yard pass to Harry Douglas gave Atlanta a second-and-goal at the 1. But Ryan could not connect on a second-down pass for Gonzalez, the Saints stuffed Michael Turner for a 1-yard loss on third down, and then came Greer's play.

"I could put that ball in a better spot - a little higher and more in front of him to give him a chance to catch it," Ryan said. "We've always played them tough and haven't had the outcomes we wanted."

Both Graham and his Atlanta counterpart, veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, were superb in a game that showcased all the intensity and momentum changes expected from such a passionate and longstanding rivalry.

"Tony, he kind of paved the way for me," said Graham, who like Gonzalez had a college basketball background. "It seemed like every drive I'm kind of going up against the things that he did the last drive."

Gonzalez finished with 11 catches for 122 yards and two scores for Atlanta, becoming the first tight end to catch 100 touchdown passes.

Brees threw for 298 yards and three TDs as the Saints won for the fourth time in five games, keeping alive hope of getting back into the wild-card race after an 0-4 start. It was also New Orleans' 11th win in 13 games against Atlanta since Brees joined the Saints in 2006.

The Saints can even their record with a win at Oakland next weekend.

"That's something we feel like we're capable of and we envisioned being able to do that, because we know the type of team we have," Brees said. "We knew we dug ourselves a hole. We knew we had a mountain to climb, but we also knew we have the right type of people."

The Saints still had to punt the ball back to Atlanta with about 40 seconds left, but Gonzalez could not handle a fourth-down throw in tight coverage along the sideline.

"No one is going to go around crying or panicking or anything like that," Gonzalez said. "We're a good team. Our confidence hasn't changed."

Although the Saints came in allowing a league-worst 176.5 yards rushing per game, they held Atlanta to 46 yards on the ground.

New Orleans rushed for 148 yards, highlighted by Chris Ivory's career-long 56-yard scoring run that gave the Saints a spark after Atlanta had a 10-0 lead.

Ivory used a hesitation move to get to the corner past Asante Samuel, broke a tackle by Thomas DeCoud, kept his balance, cut back and then stiff-armed Dunta Robinson before trotting into the end zone.

The Saints' largest lead was 28-17 on Brees' scoring strike to Marques Colston, the 55th of Colston's career, tying Deuce McAllister for first in Saints history. The touchdown capped an 81-yard drive which started with rookie Corey White's interception.

The Falcons pulled to 28-27 on Gonzalez's second TD and Matt Bryant's field goal after New Orleans' second red zone stand of the game.

New Orleans briefly interrupted Atlanta's momentum when Graham's 46-yard catch set up Garrett Hartley's 31-yard field goal.

Atlanta opened the game with an 80-yard scoring drive, highlighted by White's 49-yard reception to the New Orleans 1, setting up an easy TD toss to eligible offensive tackle Mike Johnson.

Samuel then made a diving interception of Brees' first pass and returned it to the Saints 12. However, Samuel drew a penalty for taunting fans, moving the Falcons back to the 27 and Bryant kicked a field goal.

New Orleans vaulted into the lead with touchdowns on two straight possessions, the first on Ivory's long run and the second on Brees' first TD connection with Graham from 29 yards.

The Falcons pulled back in front on Gonzalez's 1-yard catch, capping a drive on which Atlanta converted three times on third down - all on Gonzalez catches.

Then Graham helped New Orleans regain the lead before halftime, making three catches for 47 yards, the last a 14-yard TD to make it 21-17 at halftime.

Notes: Ivory's 56-yard run was the longest from scrimmage by a Saint since Oct. 8, 2006, when McAllister ran 57 yards vs. Tampa Bay. ... Ivory's previous career-long run was a 55-yard score at Cincinnati in 2010. ... Brees has now passed for touchdowns in 52 straight games, extending an NFL record he set earlier this season. ... Julio Jones missed much of the first half after an undisclosed leg injury, but returned in the second half. ... Gonzalez now has 101 career TDs, one of only eight players ever with 100 or more. ... All 55 of Colston's TD passes were thrown by Brees, tying the tandem for ninth with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice with San Francisco and Dan Marino and Mark Duper with Miami.

? 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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PFT: Texans out-Bearsed the Bears

PFT: From creating four turnovers to running with authority, Houston (8-1) played the way in a 13-6 win over Chicago that we have come to expect the top NFC teams to play this year.

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/49780471/ns/sports-nfl/

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