Exelon Corp.’s proposed $6.8 billion takeover of Pepco Holdings Inc. was approved by Washington regulators, clearing the way for the companies to form the nation’s biggest utility almost two years after the deal was first announced.
The District of Columbia’s Public Service Commission voted in favor of the deal at a meeting in Washington Wednesday. Pepco shares jumped as much as 28 percent.
The sign-off from Washington was the final hurdle needed for Chicago-based Exelon to complete the deal. Earlier this month, Exelon and Pepco made a renewed attempt to salvage the merger, offering to reallocate customer benefits they had pledged.
The decision will allow Exelon Chief Executive Officer Chris Crane to complete his long-running quest to add Pepco’s steady, regulated earnings to offset losses at his company’s nuclear power plants. The U.S. utility industry is consolidating as power companies are looking to grow through acquisitions in the face of tepid electricity demand, low prices and rising costs to upgrade aging equipment and comply with pollution regulations.
D.C. regulators first turned down the merger in August, saying it wasn’t in the public interest. Last month, regulators rejected Exelon’s effort to win approval with a settlement it struck with Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and other city officials that included $78 million in benefits. At that time, the commission offered a counterproposal that it said would allow the agency to approve the merger if all the parties to the settlement agreed to its terms. Bowser and the Office of the People’s Counsel said they couldn’t accept the commission’s plan because it didn’t guarantee a freeze on residential bills for three years.
On March 7, Exelon filed its latest proposal, which was an attempt to strike a compromise with regulators and D.C. officials by providing an option that would preserve the residential rate freeze as well as giving the commission discretion to spend $20 million of the $78 million of promised customer benefits. Exelon and Pepco also said that either company could terminate the deal at any point and the companies asked D.C. for a decision by April 7.
The companies had gotten approvals from Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and federal regulators.
Why Google AdWords Isn’t Working For You (Or Vice Versa)
Many organizations find difficulties in gaining ROI through Google Adwords due to their misunderstanding of the tool. This article is specified to startups, even though larger organizations face this issue as well. Many are aware of the solutions such as providing relevant content and offering transparency, making your site easy to navigate, and smartly selecting your campaign type. However, there are dilemmas when it comes to what makes those solutions ineffective for specific targets, which the startups often don’t account. This is largely because of how startups use commonly recognized strategies that may not work for them.
Often, startups perceive Google AdWords as a magic tool that brings customers to their table without moving a finger. Conversely, it gives a huge scope for a lot of smart work and competition. It is often perceived as a single whole tool for value proposition and ROI goals whereas it’s the other way round. In this article, we will understand why startups don’t achieve their ROI goals through Google AdWords.
Prioritizing Google AdWords Before Market Research
Startups use Google AdWord as an experimental tool to understand their market and form unrealistic ROI goals. In this case, experimenting your market and setting unrealistic ROI goals are inversely related, which merely makes you a “venture capitalist in disguise” for AdWords. You probably now have abundant knowledge about your product and you can make hypothetical guesses about who your customers. But at the cost of bidding $125 a day for advertisements? This is where your ROI goals are gone for a toss. Google AdWord is not Google Trends to tell you about your market scope.
Thus, it is important to do your market research before your get your hands on Google AdWords. This would sound stereotype enough, but why would you post ads without understanding who your customers are and invest on a bunch of hypothetical scenarios that wouldn’t favor your ROI goals? Prioritizing market research would help you choose the right keywords, convert clicks to customers more qualitatively, and choose bids for each ad group smartly. This makes you choose your ROI goals that are more favorable and exploit your existing market with larger ROI.
Many would suggest that making a hypothesis on your customers’ preferences and experimenting on Google AdWords is often a great idea. We would probably understand what wouldn’t work in terms of our market using this method. However, when you do this, you shouldn’t expect much ROI as this would be a part of your market research and not implementation. This would be a plausible idea if you don’t take this as a part of your business. Just make sure you’re okay to invest tons on just market research.
Choosing Standard Option Hoping For More Visibility
There’s a myth that startups are safer when they choose the standard option for an immediate visibility. However, this would be a good option if you’re going to choose AdWords as your market research tool, but cannot be entertained for market implementation. This is where startups fail as they listen to common strategies that are often not theirs’. Since this is entirely dependent on your ROI goals, you need to choose your options wisely.
If you want a qualitative click-to-customer conversion and ROI, you need to choose specific features for your advertisements, which is choosing the other feature below. This would give you insights regarding which particular geographical location you want to target. Since the standard option would post ads everywhere regardless of the location, there are chances that many might not buy your products once they visit your site. This decreases your ROI. Thus, market segmentation in terms of geographical area is more beneficial for qualitative ROI and click-to-customer conversion. Focusing on your vicinity at the beginning is important because they provide more scope to conversions, which would increase your ROI.
Initially, target customers within your vicinity, and then expand your visibility. If we start off with immediately expanding our visibility, then we know what would happen. Focus on all what is there in your vicinity in regards to product preference. This would enable us to smartly choose specific ad groups and keywords for a time period and bid smartly for each ad group. In this way, you save a lot of money and give a huge scope to more conversions.
Keywords? Ha, I Have Google Trends!
Congratulations if you chose Google Trends to choose your keywords; you are indeed smart.. not enough. The process of choosing the right keyword might sound like a joke, but they’re the ones that decide whether all your clicks are getting converted into customers. Startups unknowingly fantasize just SEO and perceive keywords as just a feature that’s a part of it. This makes startups use Google Trends for choosing keywords that are highly searched, believing that it makes their process easier. However, it’s the SEO that’s one part of the keywords you choose, and it’s important to choose the ones that attract the right customer!
Google Trends often show a lot of scope for short trail words like shoes, bags, memes, curtains, and etc., which aren’t the right words when it comes to attracting the right customers. We get fooled by how these words have the highest search number and choose them to expand our visibility. For example, let’s say you sell flowers that can be kept at home. Let’s see what Google Trends tell us about the search term ‘flower’.
Google Trends definitely gives a higher score for this search term. However, when a person googles ‘flower’, they do not necessarily want to ‘buy’ flowers. A kid probably just searched that term up for a school project and would probably visit your site to know about different flowers.. but certainly not to buy them. Henceforth, you lost a click worth one customer. It is important to specify your keywords crisply that every click converts into a potential customer. If you’re selling home flowers, then your potential keywords would be the following:
- Basil Flowers For Home
- Geraniums For Home
- Ivy For Home
- Rosemary For Home
- Mood Boosting Flowers For Home
- Home Decoration Flowers
- Additional Flowers For Christmas Tree
- And Alike!
In order to attract the right customers, the customers who badly need your product, you need to make your keywords as specific as possible. The specific keywords are essentially motivated by your short-term goals. For example, if it’s Christmas season, then you would potentially choose the following keywords:
- Additional Flowers For Christmas Tree
- Buy Christmas Cactus Online
- Cyclamen For Christmas Decoration
- And Alike!
Let’s insert “Additional Flowers For Christmas Tree” on Google Trends. Oops! No results are shown!
This is how Google Trends can fool you by saying that people would not prefer additional flowers for their Christmas tree even during Christmas! However, Google Trends scale their analytics on a billion people level, whereas we are seeking for a few hundreds or thousands of customers. Thus, using Google Trends for choosing your keywords is the worst idea you can ever think of! You need to choose specific keywords that are only motivated by your market research and specifically, market segmentation. Choosing the right short-term goals and vicinity from your market segmentation can highly help you convert clicks into customers much more qualitatively!
AdWords Is The Only Problem Here – I Am 100% Sure!
How sure are you that AdWords is the only reason why your ROI goals aren’t met? Are you satisfied with how your site is organized? Are customers finding exactly what they want in 3 seconds after they visit your site? If it’s a no to all, then AdWords isn’t the problem here – it’s how your website isn’t getting your customers to what they want! In this case, please make sure that the top of your web page equally has portrayed your short-terms goals, which is essentially why the customers came to your website through keywords.
For example, if it’s Christmas season and you’re selling flowers for Christmas decoration, make sure that you place your redirection link to Christmas flowers right at the top center of your page. When I say short-term goals, they’re short! – they last only for a week or a month! Accordingly, you keep changing your keywords relative to your short-term goals.
Another problem would be the absence of retargeting. Retargeting ads through your website is equally important. Now that we have converted sufficient clicks into customers, we also need to get the attention of customers who did not buy our products. This would give a plausible scope to potential customers.
The most important part of the entire process is market research, which is often ignored either as time-consuming or an amateur process. However, your choice of keywords, ad groups, campaigns, and vicinity is only motivated by your market research which essentially results in greater ROI and qualitative click-to-customer conversions. Besides, your short-term goals initially should account for your vicinity’s preference, from which you can slowly expand your geographical radius after your initial ROI goals are met.
Your keywords should be specific and related to your short-term goal. Thus, you need to keep updating your keywords relative to your varying short-term goals to entirely benefit from Google Adwords. That’s how your ROI goals can be met and more conversions can occur.
Is Cultural Appropriation a Part of Fashion?
What comes to your mind when you hear the term “Navajo?” Do you shop at Urban Outfitters, and why? Are you interested in law and court cases? What does appropriation mean, especially when linked to fashion? Is it good or bad? These are all challenging questions that can be answered extensively. These are not simple yes or no questions, and neither is it easy to define appropriation, but I feel it is a term that people find applicable and connote negatively. It is, in essence, a negative word, to me, especially when we talk about cultural appropriation, but it does not necessarily mean what you may think it to mean when considered in the context of fashion.
Urban Outfitters has actually recently won its case against the Navajo Nation, which initially was filed by them in 2012. The question leads to how they brand their items, whether they are essential clothing items or then utility items. Judge Bruce Black ruled the case, approving the retailer and place for beatnik shoppers, the ability to brand their items by the name of “Navajo.” Urban Outfitters actually even claimed, as a defense, that they brand their items to describe the style or print of the item. So as not to contravene issues of political correctness and colonialist histories, this label is supposed to be used as descriptive and to have ascertained and branded styles and prints. It should not evoke the irrevocably and indescribably depressing and devastating histories of cultural appropriation and colonial thinking inflicted on the tribes of Native Americans.
When the use of a word can be interpreted as offensive, it can be problematic, but when given a voice for them to justify their usage of the word, it can be clarified. Should this be called cultural appropriation and should we stand against branding in this form? In popular culture, ample icons and stars have exhibited the clothing that is described as “tribal.” Every class on colonialism that, personally, I have taken, has shed cultural appropriation in a negative light, and why not? It is negative, no doubt. The question, though, is, is this considerably a form of colonialism, neocolonialism, and cultural approbation?
Puerto Rico to Default on More than $420 Million Debt
Governor Alejandro García Padilla of Puerto Rico said Sunday that the island territory will not be making a payment of more than $420 million of its debts. It is not the first such payment Puerto Rico has defaulted on, but it is the largest. The territory will likely default on additional payments owed on July 1st unless Congress intervenes.
Despite the fact its economy has been slouching for the last 10 years, investors have been drawn to Puerto Rico since its status as a territory means that its bonds are exempt from income tax applicable to residents of the 50 states. The debt moratorium ordered by the governor has ruffled creditors and may cause a string of lawsuits.
“This was a painful decision,” the governor said on Sunday.
“We would have preferred to have had a legal framework to restructure our debts in an orderly manner, but faced with the inability to meet the demands of our creditors and the needs of our people, I had to make a choice. I decided that essential services for the 3.5 million American citizens in Puerto Rico came first.”
Governor Padilla said paying the debt would have entailed cutting service for the island’s residents, including keeping schools and public hospitals open.
“We will continue working to try to reach a consensual solution with our creditors,” he said. “That is one of our commitments. But what we will never do is put the lives and safety of our people in danger.”
Congress is still uncertain of how to deal with the economic situation in Puerto Rico. Given that the island is a territory of the USA rather than a state, it is not currently eligible for restructuring through municipal bankruptcy. Negations are being held in the House of Representatives to create a new law that would give Puerto Rico legal powers to abrogate debt, but the progress is slow.
“Puerto Rico needs Speaker Paul Ryan to exercise his leadership and honor his word,” Padilla said. “We can’t wait longer. We need this restructuring mechanism now.”
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