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February 2006, Week 4 Marketing Archives

Friday, February 24, 2006

AvP: Humans Strike Back

Google may have won round one of the Algorithms versus People battle, but those pesky humans are making a come back.

Google has made billons betting that computer analytics offer the best technique for finding related content, and the company laid waste to dozens of directory services such as NetGuide that relied on people power.

But every where you look these days there are human-based websites, search engines and information resources saying that they can do better. From digg, to to social networks to wikipedia, relying on the judgment of humans is back en vogue.

Add to the list of Liliputians search engines trying to hold down Google's growth. The company is using volunteer "experts" to identify the most relevant results.

The uber-solution is probably a hybrid that takes the best of both worlds. Analyzing the frequency of words in a document does not provide the context that only people can provide, while algorithms are the best to find obscure topics that are beyond the reach of human categorizers.

Perhaps advertising engines will someday incorporate the human factor as a replacement for contextual ads. MySpace would be a likely candidate to automatically display products or services that are people-recommended.

AvP: Humans Strike Back By John Gartner at 03:22 PM
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E-commerce Needs E-payments

PayPal may have just past 100 million accounts, but electronic payment infrastructure is still far behind what is needed for secure and simple ecommerce. Last year PayPal processed more than $27 billion in total payments, which is a big number, but it isn't accepted at many large retailers and takes days to transfer funds.

Another option is electronic payment company Click&Buy, which Skype just hooked up with to enable customers to load their Skype Wallets.

Banks do allow you to pay your bills electronically, and folks like Amazon enable you make to pay for things from your bank account, but that requires entering your routing number, and I'm just a tad uncomfortable giving out that information to all but the most trusted of sources.

The simplest solution would be for the banks themselves to get into the epayment biz without exposing your account numbers. I want one-click shopping where my bank does the authorizing that is just as easy as a credit card payment, and without having to worry that a hacker is going to clean out my account.

This would not make the credit card companies happy since they get to charge the retailers for each transaction, and also they get to charge double digit interest to all of the account holders.

If the banks don't compete with PayPal, perhaps
will. The company wants to open a bank to handle electronic payments. Isn't being the world's largest retailer enough?

E-commerce Needs E-payments By John Gartner at 02:33 PM
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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Does Google Annoy You Too?

Ok, maybe its just me, maybe its my extreme hatred for all of the unknown factors that go along with Google Adwords, or maybe its the fact that EVERYWHERE I turn I see 'Google this', 'Google that.' I know I must have drank some Hatorade for breakfast this morning but I'm just tired of it. Just this morning I sit down with my bowl of cookie crisp and enjoy the early SportsCenter and the first commercial I is for Pontiac's new car-van-suv thing. Lately, Pontiac has been putting out some catchy tunes on their commercials and this one was no different, until the end. I'm bobbing my head to the tune 'Struggle' by Ringside when the song is abruptly interrupted with "Go to Google and search Pontiac." Why did Pontiac choose to to say that instead of "Visit"? How much did Google pay to get into that commerical? Or are they just trading search rankings for TV ads now?

As if that wasn't disturbing enough, later this evening I'm watching CSI on the boob tube and the turning point of the investigation was when the detective search on Google! Now this wasn't a scene where they faintly showed the familar rainbow colored Google logo slightly out of focus, it was a zoomed in shot of the Google search page. How annoying!

I know all about product placement in shows and movies but does Google really need anymore brand recognition? Who knows what is next, I'll probably be eating my Google cereal watching SportsCenter powered by Google on my Hi-Def Google Tv!I know deep down inside I'm just jealous that I'm not one of those Google-Millionares with a different Google colored Pontiac for every day of the week. I can't be the only one who thought "$85 for the Google IPO, that's ridiculous," or can I?

Does Google Annoy You Too? By Jason Dowdell at 11:31 PM
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Yahoo Alters Trademark Guidlines

After the whole Google/Geico fiasco, most people saw this coming. Look for google and MSN to follow suit rather quickly. No more buying up trademarked keywords and using them to sell unrelated stuff.

This is going to cost me a pretty penny. I've been using the keyword iPod to sell my homemade pot holders.

Here is the text from the Yahoo email:

We wanted to let you know of a policy change that will affect your account.

On March 1, 2006, Yahoo! Search Marketing will modify its editorial guidelines regarding the use of keywords containing trademarks. Previously, we allowed competitive advertising by allowing advertisers to bid on third-party trademarks if those advertisers offered detailed comparative information about the trademark owner's products or services in comparison to the competitive products and services that were offered or promoted on the advertiser's site.
In order to more easily deliver quality user experiences when users search on terms that are trademarks, Yahoo! Search Marketing has determined that we will no longer allow bidding on keywords containing competitor trademarks.

Our records indicate that you currently have one or more listings that were allowed under the competitive advertising guideline. On March 1, 2006, these listings will be removed from your account, and we will no longer accept listings containing search terms comprised of your competitors' trademarks.

For more information on our trademark policy, please visit note that Condition #3 ("Competitive Comparison Site") will be removed when the policy is officially implemented on March 1, but advertiser listings that qualify under the reseller or non-competitor information guidelines may be allowed, subject to Yahoo!'s discretion to accept or reject listings. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue, please do not hesitate to contact us...

Yahoo Alters Trademark Guidlines By Brent Brandow at 11:16 PM
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Nielsen to Meter Game Ads

The video game industry should be getting a huge influx of cash from advertisers during the next few years. Nielsen/Netratings will start providing metrics about brand recognition in video game ads, an industry that the company expects to grow from $75 million last year to as much as $1 billion by 2010.

According to BusinessWeek, game companies are more acquiescent to advertisers about product placement and control over how the products are represented, so they are willing to play.

And of course, mentioning the gamer demographic in front of advertisers prompts Pavlovian salivation. Being able to quantify the effectiveness of in game ads will inject incredible interest among advertisers and game companies looking for revenue to offset game development costs.

Nielsen to Meter Game Ads By John Gartner at 05:06 PM
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David Verklin: Search Will Become Ubiquitous

The comments made by David Verklin at Yahoo's Search Marketing conference in New York, Thinking Outside the Funnel, are telling. At the symposium devoted to creative uses of search marketing, his proposal to make all marketing camapaings operate with a web-first-type approach echoes the sentiments of interactive marketers world-wide. As the CEO of Carat Americas and chairman of Asia Pacific, people will actually listen to him

By adding that the concept of "search" has already moved beyond the notion of searching the Web: Tivo, he said, is "a search engine for television," while GPS is a form of search for cars.
"Search is becoming the behavior of choice," he said.

"Our job as advertisers," he added, "is to put our clients' products in the path of search behavior."

This solidifies the assertion that only with the addition of web-oriented marketing can a campaign be successful. While this is hardly shocking news to our informed readers, when you coonsider the meager slice of the advertising budget pie devoted to SEM, it can certainly be viewed as a light at the end of the tunnel.

David Verklin: Search Will Become Ubiquitous By Jason Dowdell at 02:18 PM
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GoogleSpace? GoogleCities? GoogleWeaver?

Google has dropped another "innovative" product into the web with its new Google Pages. If you were alive in 1997 and had a computer, you have probably heard of GeoCities. Take that, add some fancy javascript, a simplistic interface, 100mb of storage space, a Google logo and you have Google Pages. Oh Yeah, minus the annoying pop up banners. It is a decent place to go for a web page if: 1. You've never heard of the Internet 2. you think HTML is some space station acronym or 3. you need an extra 100mb to upload some files to share with friends error message i keep getting

Google Page Creator is having a little trouble right now. This is not because of anything you did; it's just a little hiccup in our system that will hopefully go away soon. We apologize for the inconvenience, and recommend you try reloading this page.

links developing their own myspace? for data? or for ads?

GoogleSpace? GoogleCities? GoogleWeaver? By Jason Dowdell at 12:42 PM
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Patent Awarded for Rich Media

A broad patent awarded to Balthaser Online could require companies that offer rich media applications to pay a licensing fee.

The patent, which was applied for in 2001 and awarded last week, covers any use of controlling rich media over the Internet through technologies such as Flash, AJAX and Java.

Huh? Well, the patent office has been known to slip up a time or two, and I'm sure that several companies will be contacting the Patent Office to show that they were using rich media applications before the patent was applied for, and should they prove that this "prior art" exists, then the patent could be reduced in scope or rescinded.

From the description, the patent appears overreaching, but crazier things have happened in the patent world.

Patent Awarded for Rich Media By Jason Dowdell at 09:48 AM
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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

MSN adCenter Turning Up the Traffic

The time is getting near. You can hear the footsteps. Microsoft is coming. On Monday, Feb 27th they will open the flood gates, almost. Following their recent adCenter update, a notice was sent to current advertisers on the MSN adCenter, MSN said:

"our next step is to begin increasing traffic to your ads served by MSN adCenter. To that end, we will be increasing traffic by approximately 70% from our current levels."

This notice is to serve warning that Microsoft is getting ready to stick its hand in your advertising budget and take their share. MSN currently displays ads from their system 25% of the time and Yahoo ads the other 75%. MSN call this "an increase in traffic" but that is only if click through rates remain at their current levels. This increase will provide us with a lot of good information on the future of adCenter and hopefully answer a lot of questions.

Will the conversion rates remain higher then Google and Yahoo? Will the demographic bid targeting really prove beneficial online? Can MSN put a dent in Google's revenue? Only, time will tell and the time is Monday February 27th.

MSN adCenter Turning Up the Traffic By Evan Roberts at 09:25 PM
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XM to Offer Impulse Buys

XM Satellite Radio is bringing interactive music downloading to its digital radio platform. Customers will be able to push a button to save songs that are playing so that they will be downloaded via the Napster service when they connect their radios to a PC.

The technology could similarly enable advertisers to instantly send product information. Several online radio stations such as AOL Radio currently offer a similar technology today, but this would be a first for a wireless radio broadcaster.

Perhaps terrestrial radio stations will follow XM's lead and offer the service to advertisers when they shift to digital broadcasts during the next few years. Mobile phones could play too via text messaging. TV, which has talked about this for many years, will probably be the last to participate.

Providing a mechanism that enables interaction at the moment of interest (can you say impluse purchase?) is the dream of advertisers.

XM to Offer Impulse Buys By John Gartner at 06:10 PM
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Outlook for Outlook Grim

\Advanced webmail clients could rain on the parade of Microsoft's Outlook and other desktop email clients. According to the research firm Radicati Group, the number of email clients will nearly double in the next 5 years, and the strongest growth will be among webmail clients that use Web 2.0 technology to approximate desktop features.

Programs like Mozilla Thunderbird, Scalix 10, and Gordano Messaging Suite will take a bite of Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes. (Lotus Notes is my least favorite application of all time. Two of my previous employers standardized on Notes, and within six months both companies had massive layoffs. Coincidence?)

Microsoft will have to keep pace with all of the Ajax-based up-and-comers. Yes, corporations still want the backend messaging servers for archival and management purposes, but webmail makes so much sense on the client side for mobile workers and reducing the cost of managing users. Perhaps free webmail be the first ubiquitous ad-supported Web 2.0 application.

Outlook for Outlook Grim By Jason Dowdell at 10:53 AM
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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

NBC Busts Chronic Video Clippers

NBC's legal department is asking websites that make copyrighted videos available online to cease and desist. NBC requested that sites including remove copies of videos including Saturday Night Live skits such as the popular "Lazy Sunday" episode.

IF NBC is concerned about losing revenue, then the company should do a better job of integrating ads. You can watch Lazy Sunday on, but the website has very few ads.

Much like the music industry's slow march to make music available online in response to widespread file sharing, broadcasters are crawling to make content available through a few partners such as iTunes or Blinkx. They should be distributing their content far and wide and offer an RSS feed to affiliates and search engines. Someday it will happen.

NBC Busts Chronic Video Clippers By John Gartner at 04:54 PM
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Creating A Successful Email Marketing Campaign

You won't hear this from your prototypical SEM salesguy, but a well-fuctioning marketing program is multi-leveled. Why keep this secret? If they are completely honest they will tell you that if you are relying soley on SEM as your only means of marketing, you are behind the 8 ball

Retailers that have been dealing with rising competition over paid-search keywords and are finding they need to rely less on search engine marketing and develop a more comprehensive, multi-channel strategy.

Aaron Kessler, a senior research analyst who follows e-retailers for investment research firm Piper Jaffray & Co. notes, "Three years ago, Internet search was a good value for any retail category, but now it's not always the value it was," he says. "It's a great marketing channel when it works, but many retailers have become too reliant on it."

An email-marketing campaign is a popular way to increase traffic to your web site and increase conversion rates using a fairly inexpensive and easily istituted program. Remember, howefer, that a profitable email-marketing program can't be developed overnight.

Here are some tips from at setting up an email-marketing campaign:

1. Get relevant - dive into personalization and segmentation.
2. Resolve or minimize deliverability and rendering issues.
3. Redesign email messages for the inbox and users who view them in the preview pane and block images.
4. Optimize the beginning of the email relationship.
5. Get on the permission train.
6. Focus on metrics that matter.
7. Take better care of long-term subscribers.
8. Maximize search with email.
9. Test, test, test and improve.
10. Create an email marketing plan and align resources.

Creating A Successful Email Marketing Campaign By Brent Brandow at 03:06 PM
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Monday, February 20, 2006

PRWeb Enhances Distribution Services

PRWeb is rolling out new services enabling marketers to enhance their press releases. PRWeb has simplified creating RSS feeds, and enables customers to include hi-res images.

I'm not so sure the podcasting service will be a big hit with readers, though. Browsing press releases lets us skip past the marketingspeak to hopefully find some nuggets of interest and product details. I can't imagine listening to CEOs proselytize about how wonderful their products are for five minutes.

This is more of a testament to the power of using press releases to directly connect with audiences without the filter of us media types (who often don't do much besides regurgitate the stuff anyway).

PRWeb Enhances Distribution Services By Jason Dowdell at 03:41 PM
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Emails Try to Steal From Chase Customers

Danger Will Robinson, an e-mail scam is trying to take your credit card information and Social security number.

Today I received an email stating that my Chase Internet Banking may have been compromised and that I needed to sign in and provide my SS#. Smelling a rat, I checked to find who owned the websites that you are sent to, and neither of the domains " and "" belong to Chase.

A "Janice Mann" of Woodbury CT registered through a Russian registrar.

I called Chase, and they said they are aware of the scam, and that they would never ask for personal information or send out alerts via email. I haven't seen any national reporting on this, although two local TV stations have covered it.

Chase should inform its customers about this, as I'm sure some folks have fallen prey to this hoax.

Here is the email text:

Dear Chase account holder,

We recently reviewed your account, and suspect that your Chase Internet Banking account may have been accessed by an unauthorized third party. Protecting the security of your account and of the Chase Bank network is our primary concern. Therefore, as a preventative measure, we have temporarily limited access to sensitive account features.

To restore your account access, please take the following steps to ensure that your account has not been compromised:

1. Login to your Chase Internet Banking account. In case you are not enrolled for Internet Banking, you will have to use your Social Security Number as both your Personal ID and Password.

2. Review your recent account history for any unauthorized withdrawals or deposits, and check your account profile to make sure not changes have been made. If any unauthorized activity has taken place on your account, report this to Chase staff immediately.

To get started, please click the link below:

Emails Try to Steal From Chase Customers By Jason Dowdell at 03:39 PM
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$nark - Advertisers Wise Up To The Interweb-Savvy

Two recent incidents made me do some serious soul-searching

1. My Mom asked how my
was going
2. My mother-in-law asked how many
i write.

I kind of laughed off their mispronounciations and went about my business...until this morning. My 8-month-old son had a fecal explosion that went out of his diaper and up his back. As i cleaned the filth off the little critter it occurred to me that inevitably, my wife and i will be technologically retarded and at somepoint the little kid with poop in his jammies will make fun of me. Worst of all, i will deserve it.

Like my Mom, marketing professionals have been slow to warm up to nontraditional means of promotion.

Increasingly, advertisers are realizing that newer forms of media are far less expensive and equally successful in reaching certain target demografics. Enter Rocketboom. Rocketboom creators will conceive and execute the ads for Earthlink and TRM. Using nontraditional advertising, like the use of video blogs. While this route may seemingly be less expensive and riskier, Rocketboom creators say it can be good for the right advertisers.

"Our key target is the tech-savvy early adopter," said Scott Thomas, director of media and messaging for EarthLink. "We want to be cutting-edge and we want to extend beyond traditional media."

Deals like this mean big things for companies like Rocketboom and Audioblog. With usership on the rise, an ever-expanding audience means expanding advertisement budgets and everyone will be scraping for a piece of the pie.

$nark - Advertisers Wise Up To The Interweb-Savvy By Brent Brandow at 01:38 PM
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MSN adCenter Updated

Adcenter Logo
Those sneaky boys over at MSN adCenter went off and updated their interface this weekend. According to adCenter blog you should notice the following changes:

* When you sign in, the first page you see is now the "Campaigns" tab, and there's a greater distinction between campaigns and orders. Campaigns and orders now have their own elements, historical stats, and summary pages.
* There's a simplified order creation process; it's now 4 steps: Order Settings, Ads, Keywords and Pricing. And, the Order Settings tab includes targeting elements.
* You'll be able to delete campaigns and orders without first deleting all keywords and ads.
* Edit your budget, bidding, and incremental pricing options in one place — the new Pricing tab.
* Do research while you create orders.
* There's a new Keyword Research Tool as well, with keyword alternatives, pre-sales data, and demographic info.
* When you create your keyword lists, you'll see the keyword research and idea tool on the Keywords tab.

More cool stuff: manage your ads and keywords more easily.

* When you create or edit ads, you'll see a real-time preview on the right.
* As you type ad text and titles, the character limits update to match what you've got in the text field.
* All keyword/ad rejections will now show reason codes.
* The “Ad Description� field is now called "Ad Text."
* The “negative match� option is now called "excluded keywords."


* When using incremental bidding, you can set a relative percentage applied across all keyword bids instead of a specified dollar amount, so if you change your base bids, the additional targeted bid now adjusts automatically.
* Apply your negative keywords at the order level.
* If you want, apply your base bid amounts across all of your orders.
* U.S. city-based targeting options now include a corresponding state.

Good stuff MSN! I have logged in and the changes are noticeable and I hope the continue to improve adCenter. Maybe some geeks will come up with a easy way to convert your adwords account to adCenter? :)

MSN adCenter Updated By Evan Roberts at 12:07 PM
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In Google We Trust

On its blog, Google posted its response to the government's request that it turn over search data. Google's primary objections are:

the government needs a warrant or court order to obtain the data
the data from one week's searches tell little about how searches are done today, and bots make it impossible to identify human searches
the loss of faith in Google's service will break users' trust and do irreparable harm to Google
disclosing the data would reveal Google's trade secrets

Should this case proceed in the courts, it could set precedent about the right to privacy for people using search. Google's assumes that though it may store data about searches and cache data to make an individual's repeat searches more efficient, the individual "owns" the data about what and when they searched.

This is the implicit trust that we give when using web or desktop search and, and a decision that breaks that trust would have considerable ramifications for the search industry.

"The privacy and anonymity of the service are major factors in the attraction of users – that is, users trust Google to do right by their personal information and to provide them with the best search results. If users believe that the text of their search queries into Google's search engine may become public knowledge, it only logically follows that they will be less likely to use the service."

This data should only be made available through a court order (giving new meaning to the term "search warrant") that targets a specific individual suspected of breaking the law.

In the future, search engines, shopping engines, stores and portals will increasingly be matching individuals to searches through behavioral and target marketing. Forcing them to turn over records en masse would quash user's interest in disclosing the information about themselves that could be used to enhance their search.

Hey government, don't be evil.

In Google We Trust By John Gartner at 11:19 AM
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« February 2006 Week 3 February 2006 Week 5 »

  • Week 1 (7 entries) February 1-4
  • Week 2 (13 entries) February 5-11
  • Week 3 (21 entries) February 12-18
  • Week 4 (18 entries) February 19-25
  • Week 5 (2 entries) February 26-28

GoogleSpace? GoogleCities? GoogleWeaver?

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