Startup in Germany: rip-off warning

I just registered an Inc. in Germany and immediately got 6 pieces of mail which look very authoritylike, “offering” me the registration of the company for a fee ranging from € 333.58 to 697.42. The total sum of “offers” was 3,374.53!

This is how the correct official confirmation of incorporation (Handelsregistereintrag) looks like in Berlin. Do not confuse this with registration offers (“Eintragungsoffert”) from various publishers.

All of that mail came after I had paid the official registration fee (€ 150) to the court. But it came exactly at the time when the official confirmation of incorporation arrived, making it difficult to distinguish from the official information and very easy to get tricked into paying for some service you probably do not want. The registrating court actually warns about these rip-off attempts: some publication companies constantly scout the listings of new incorporations to “offer” them this kind of registration. (Read about the duration and cost of incorporating in Berlin here.)

The six letters I got were from various publishers with very official sounding letter heads like “Handels- und Gewerberegister”. Since the company register is the “Handelsregister” in German, you can be easily mislead to pay and expect to have paid to the state authorities.  When you compare the letter head to the beneficiary of your payment slip, you realize that there is a totally different name! One of them even sent me two letters different fees for the same service – I found that very interesting. Why do I not mention the names here, so you can be warned better? Because the way these publishers are working, they would probably flood me with “Abmahnungen” – warning letters costing a legal fee. That’s a German legal issue making the life of bloggers and ecommerce companies difficult. I will come to that in a later post…

The letters look very much like coming from the official authorities. Three of them even bear an eagle as a state symbol, reminding of the official symbol, the Bundesadler.

I found out that many entrepreneurs have already blogged about this rip-off attempt, but one cannot warn enough, especially since international founders will find it hard to distinguish these pieces of mail from the official authorities’ mail.

What would you like to pay for incorporation? –> (Survey) 


British Airways Insomnia Cure

BA Passengers can now fight insomnia with a 7hour film of a Norwegian train ride.
Here is a 10 minute clip out of the 7hours courtesy of Bergensbahnen under the conditions of a Creative Commons License: «Bergensbanen» – NRK –


App Programming without prior knowledge – the wowoodu Story

On February 22, 2014 I had this idea for an app. Today, three months later – wowoodu is online and running flawlessly. As a marketing expert I am not a programmer, therefore I want to encourage other marketing people to learn to code.

In the next few months, I will tell the story, how I created wowoodu, about the problems I had to solve and also how it is progressing. Kind of a marketing reality show.


5 Steps to your successful YouTube Video

How to make 10,000 views on YouTube with a video like this:

  1. Set a realistic goal 
  2. Choose content that your target group is interested in
  3. Find an interesting way to present that content
  4. Work with music
  5. Promote

YouTube Video Views for Social Media Effect

The most used goal for YouTube videos is reach in the form of views. The number of views you can achieve is highly dependent on what your business is about. A cosmetic brand will potentially attract way more views than a consultancy. One of my videos – “The Social Media Effect” – is very successful and it motivated some prospective clients to visit my website and to contact me for a proposal, i.e. it created profit. The video is at 6,600 views right now. Compare this number to the YouTube videos one of the most successful bloggers in Germany – MobileGeeks – whis is writing about notebooks, mobiles and other hardware. Some of their videos attract more than 5 times as much. So why is 6,600 a success? Because reports on hardware have a much wider target group than marketing advice. So pick your goals in relation to your potential and your possibilities.

You need to find content that provides a value to your target group. Most people like jokes. If your video is about financial advice, you need to report something serious. Find out what your target group has a need for. “The Social Media Effect” is interesting, because nobody had so far tried to actually calculate the effect of social media sharing. But for marketers who need to justify social media activities, it is valuable to have such a calculation. Your content has to provide valuable information.

Present that content in a way that is interesting, funny, engaging or motivating. Find a way to make your point. Use common memes, fashion, fads, current events, symbols etc. to make sure, people understand you and can relate to what you are saying.

Use background Music. If you watch “The Social Media Effect” without speakers, you will see that it is relatively boring. The music was chosen to give a feeling of mass engagement of human beings. You can find background music on YouTube or you can produce it with simple software.

Use all your contacts, social media platforms and all your other digital assets to promote the video. Do not hope for viral success, because the odds are against you. The reason for viral success of YouTube videos has not yet been found although many scientists are trying to find out. Virality seems to be more luck than anything else. Look at the chart above. “The Social Media Effect” is still rising and it seems that it’s rising progressively. But it has not been shared more than 10 times (!!!!). Virality would have made the video reach its viewership much faster and this would have been great. But its still great, even without virality, because obviously there is a growing demand for the information in that video.

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Marketing Research 2013

How to reallocate research capacities in today’s digital media environment

Procter & Gamble is probably the world’s biggest market and marketing research buyer. Joan Lewis, Global Consumer & Market Knowledge Officer at P&G is the top executive in this field. She expects market surveys to decline dramatically, because social media listening is replacing traditional market research methods.

What social media listening tools are out there?

The former Alterian SM2, is integrating listening methods, marketing analytics, campaign management,social media capabilities and SDL’s functionalities. I have used SM2 for research in German language, where it delivered much mor accurate results than all other products.’s Radian6
Radian6 – which was aquired by in 2011 – is probably still the market leader and is a very handy tool as long as your research is focussing on English language mentions preferably targeting the U.S.

A Silicon Valley-based developer of natural language processing technology used to analyze social media and online digital content in general. It’s Insight Workbench combines analytics, charts and research tools on a subscription basis.

Here is an overview of a number of other helpful tools. The author did obviously not like to promote the market leaders, which is why the above mentioned products are not on the list.


Social Media Department – Examples