Back in the startup game…shhh mode

I love being parts of great teams starting and building businesses. For the last 2 years I helped launch and its news media platform. That company is doing great and solves major problems for publishers and marketers alike. We built a great management team who have great technology and a proven business model and it is in great hands. So it is time for me to move on to a new passion. was about reaching people all around the world with content. It was focused on the premise that the way brands communicate and the way reporters source stories was not taking advantage of the internet, network effect and new business models.

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Another long-term passion is globalizing commerce. Within many markets, ecommerce has revolutionized how consumers gain knowledge, make decisions and purchase goods and services. But, on a global scale, ecommerce has become a complex patchwork of inconsistent solutions that limits the collaborative and scale benefits of the internet. My new company Cloud Commerce is dedicated to addressing that need.

I will publish more when I can but what is great is the fun and excitement of starting with a blank slate and I am happy to have another chance to do that.

The Rise of Digital Natives has a great team that includes Boomers, Gen X and Millennials and it is great to see how they all mesh together and complement each other. I have been very interested in ‘Generation Z’ and it was highlighted last week when one of my kids told me that her favorite band is Nirvana.

My oldest was the first place I heard about Instragram when I asked her several years ago why she had not asked me to let her get a Facebook account. She told me that she wasn’t interested in Facebook and introduced me to Instagram well before the big buyout. Since then I have really looked to my kids to understand digital culture.

So when Nirvana came up I was interested to learn more. Curt Cobain dies when I was 2 years out of undergrad. The interesting story here is not nostalgia or even a band from your youth coming around as a hip, retro experience. What is interesting is a generation who never knew a time when all the world’s information was online and when you could sample all the world’s content largely for free. Of all those limitless choices does this mean her choosing Nirvana makes her a new type of consumer? I think it does. Where I use the tools she doesn’t know anything else and that gives her and her generation a different vantage point to view information and decision making.

Michael Zammuto on the best and worst in automotive branding

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 10, 2013—

Most consumers know full well that some auto brands are more reliable, better-designed, or simply more attractive than others—and according to Michael Zammuto, the realities of auto branding are rich with implications for the car industry. To illustrate his point, Michael Zammuto highlights a recent report from 24/7 Wall Street, which comments on the fact that some auto brands are simply more appealing than others—and that the more appealing the brand, the more money consumers are willing to part with. Zammuto has issued a new statement to the press, weighing in on the report.

According to 24/7 Wall Street, “consumers know what matters,” when it comes to vehicle brands, “and vote with their wallets. A more appealing car commands a higher price, sells more quickly and develops customers who are loyal to the brand. Cars with low score tend to do worse in these areas.”

The article goes on to cite evidence from a recent J.D Power survey, which seeks to evaluate consumer opinions of various auto brands on the basis of design, performance, features, style, and comfort. The measures add up to provide the car’s score for the Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) report for 2013.

“The important point that this article makes is that these scores are not just matters of vanity, and they are not some meaningless marketing drivel,” Michael Zammuto explains. “The cars that enjoy the best public perception, in these categories, sell for much higher prices. Cars that are ranked lower do not sell nearly as well. The perception of a brand directly impacts bottom-line sales figures.”

“Many of the car brands with lower APEAL are struggling in the U.S. auto market,” the article confirms. “Nationally, sales are up by 7.5 [percent] this year, compared to the same period in 2012. Of the 10 brands with the lowest APEAL scores, eight grew at a slower rate or had
Expert Michael Zammuto Weighs in on Auto Industry’s Need for Better Branding Page 2

declining sales.”

According to the report, the cars with the worst brand APEAL include Smart, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Jeep, and Mazda. The runners up for this dubious distinction include GMC, Chrysler, Fiat, Scion, and Toyota. “This last one is surely experiencing residual effects from its fairly recent product recalls,” offers Zammuto.

Zammuto then turns his attention to the question of what these companies can do to improve their public image. “First and foremost, these auto makers need to understand that the public consensus is very much against them, and that they are faced with some serious reputational woes that demand total brand overhauls,” he says. “These companies need to develop brand identities that speak to quality, trustworthiness, and style, and then inundate consumers with this new brand message.”

The best approach, Zammuto says, would be for these auto brands to enlist the services of a professional reputation management company. “Our company,, is really in the business of building brands,” he says. “We have the tools and the strategies that can bring new brand equity to auto brands like these.”

Michael Zammuto is the president of, and a leading figure in online reputation defense.


Michael Zammuto is the President and COO of, and as such he is one of the most public advocates for the online reputation management industry. An award-winning technology entrepreneur, Zammuto has successfully launched and led numerous thriving online startups. His previous career experience includes work with ChaCha and Ontario Systems, among other companies.

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