Taking Business Elsewhere: Wal-Mart Gets Into Social Networking

Interesting report from PR Daily about Wal-Mart’s new venture into social media. While Facebook and Twitter are currently tools of commerce for some businesses, it seems Wal-Mart expects the platform to become an even bigger force for sales:

Walmart and social media?

It seems an unlikely pairing, but the retail giant has signed an agreement to purchase Mountain View, Calif.-based social media startup Kosmix for a cool $300 million.

Founders Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman and the Kosmix team will operate as part of the new @WalmartLabs and continue to be based in Silicon Valley.

According to a press release, Walmart plans to expand @WalmartLabs. I imagine it will be tasked with Walmart’s cache of discounted products, available for purchase via every piece of Internet-accessible hardware on the planet.

Business Insider sees it as more of a move toward social commerce:

“The bottom line is that social commerce is starting to turn into a reality. People are turning to social networks more and more to decide on what to buy, and the businesses who are on the forefront of that trend will reap a windfall.”

Awesome. Now I’ll have official Facebook confirmation that my friend’s mom likes tchotchkes, Americana art, and cute outfits for her dog.

Thanks, Kosmix.

Wikileaks Impacts Big Business

Business Insider examines how Wikileaks, the foreign web site under scrutiny for releasing national and international government secrets, now has a major U.S. business scrambling to protect itself.

Bank of America has set up a swat team to combat Wikileaks in case it is, as suspected, the target of the next leak, says Charlie Gasparino.

The FOXBusiness news reporter just tweeted:

Bank of America sets up Legal Swat team to combat Wikileaks in case it is the target.

If the rumors are true, Bank of America may really need it.

Earlier this week, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said the leak could "take down one or two banks."

And soon after, we recalled an interview with Assange from last year, in which he said:

"At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives. Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it."

His comment in the interview makes it highly likely that Bank of America will indeed be the bank targeted in the next Wikileaks drop, which is expected early next year.

When Bad PR Causes Falling Stock Prices

Business Insider took an interesting look at 10 PR catastrophes that really damaged companies’ stock prices. It’s a great thing to keep in mind when you’re handling a crisis.

Is PR dead? There’s no better way to tell than looking at the aftermath of a major PR fail.

When really bad news is made public, it not only affects people’s opinions, but it also affects the stock market.

Remember what happened when Steve Jobs denied he was ill, then took a leave of absence to have a liver transplant? Apple’s stock nose-dived 7 points that day.

Here are several other major public events, compared them to the company’s stock prices for that month.

See the 12 instances at BusinessInsider.com.

GAP’s Groupon Earns Company Some Extra Bank

Ever heard of a Groupon? Well, you have now. See how GAP’s week got a whole lot better when results from its discount push started rolling in last week:

Groupon is having a smashing day, likely generating over $4 million in net revenue, thanks to a deal with the Gap.

Today’s Groupon gives users a $25 discount at the Gap if consumers spend over $50 at the store. If you think it sounds like a good deal, you’re not alone.

CEO Andrew Mason tells us that as of 4:43 ET, Groupon has sold over 300,000 Gap deals. That puts Groupon’s gross revenue for the day at $7.5 million ($25X300,000).

Mason wouldn’t say how much Groupon keeps, but previously we’ve heard it’s around 50%. So, Groupon’s net revenue could be $3.75 million already, and the day’s not over yet. It will keep selling deals and it will generate much more than $4 million today.

TechCrunch thinks Groupon could do 700,000 sales today for gross revenue of $17.5 million.