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January 2007 Marketing Archives

Friday, January 05, 2007

Google Exodus Clicking

Frustrated advertisers tired of escalating keyword prices and the networks' lack of attention to click fraud are leaving Google, according to MarketWatch.

Depending on the term, keyword cost rose as much as 60 percent during the past year, juicing Google's revenue by 80 percent. But Google's growth is likely to slow as more advertisers find other outlets for their marketing dollars.

Alternatives include the other search networks, or display advertising on vertical networks that match the desired demographic, such as Federated Media.

The exodus from Google and pay per click is capitalism at work. While no single advertiser is going to prompt a change, a stampede to competitors or other forms of advertising would force Google to rethink its pricing and modus operandi.

Google Exodus Clicking By Jason Dowdell at 05:48 PM
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Movie Downloads Yet to Hit Home

In a few days at Macworld Expo we'll learn more about how Mr. Options -- I mean Jobs -- plans to revolutionize the video download business with the device that will soon be formerly known as the iTV.

As I said in September, I'm not that high on the prospects that this device can vastly grow the market for video downloads unless it can:

a) work with PCs and Macs equally well
b) allow online video content -- from the web, TV shows and movies -- to be automatically saved and easily streamed for broadcast to the TV
c) embraces the "long tail" of video content

I'm doubtful that the PC functionality would ever be as good as the Macintosh, and that obviously is the lion's share of the audience. Like all of the other movie download services, you aren't going to win users by offering the same 100 movies that you can get from Blockbuster or video on demand because those models are well entrenched and easy to use.

If Apple can get a breadth of movie content at a price that beats NetFlix, then they may have a chance. They have to combine that with vlogs, Internet-based TV shows, and user generated videos that can be subscribed to by RSS.

Apple does have the chops in simplifying networking, at least on Macs, and that is probably its greatest strength in challenging Microsoft/Intel in the PC home entertainment space.

Just as I expected, Amazon (which is no Apple when it comes to designing digital services) has not had great success with its video download service. Intel and CinemaNow will be showing off a new service at CES that simplifies burning DVDs from downloads, and the companies also say they are coming up with a simpler way to share movies with connected home devices, putting them squarely in a battle with Apple.

As Neoseeker points out, things are still too complex for most folks.

It's difficult for consumers to burn downloads onto DVD (save for a few titles on CinemaNow), and it's tricky for all but the most tech-savvy to watch downloads on a TV... As a result, studio sources say, Amazon.com digital download sales have been as slow as at other Web sites -- under 100 downloads per day for some titles

I, and many other consumers, won't be happy until we can order movies online and watch video from our RSS feeds on TV just as easily as we use a TiVo. I also would prefer a subscription model, ala NetFlix and now Blockbuster. Charge me $24.99 per month for up to 10 movie downloads of my choice, and I'll sign up today.

Movie Downloads Yet to Hit Home By Jason Dowdell at 09:21 AM
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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Drivers Get Yahoo Local Search

People who purchase the Dash Navigation system for their cars will get access to Yahoo's Local Search as a bonus. According to MediaPost, the Dash Express service will allow drivers to enter a keyword and receive the closest matching businesses.

Maps will be automatically generated to guide drivers to their destination, a feature that could help small businesses more than the often centrally-located chains. Surprisingly the service won't feature any ads, so I'm not sure how Yahoo monetizes this relationship, unless they will start charging local companies to be included in the listings.

Car-based navigation systems have better displays than handsets, and Dash says it will use both WiFi and cellular connections, so this could be a more user-friendly service than the geo-location services for mobiles. Perhaps GM's OnStar will add this feature, with the difference being that live operators would perform the searches for you.

I'm expecting big improvements from local search in 2007, and this is a promising start.

Drivers Get Yahoo Local Search By Jason Dowdell at 11:30 AM
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It's Time for Pay Per Click Showdown

Jeffrey Rohrs speaks for many advertisers who are frustrated by the lack of transparency in addressing click fraud, and his message could spark a "counter" revolution.

Rohrs' Sausage Manifesto breaks down the problems with the PPC networks' current lack of disclosure into 11 easily understood points. (You can read the highlights at SearchEngineWatch.)

Rohrs calls for much more disclosure about how Google et al are addressing click fraud, and also asks that they spend as much money on combating the problem as they receive in acknowledged bogus clicks. He also calls for more cooperation in publicly identifying those who defraud since it is too easy today to jump from network to network.

Today the burden is mostly on advertisers to monitor their campaign performance, and that is unacceptable. While everyone should check their own data, the ad network administrators know much more about the trends across publishers and vertical segments.

Advertisers need some confidence that their clicks will match established conversion rates within a range. Providing a maximum fee or out clause if the ratios start falling out of sync is a minimum. If not, it will be time for advertisers to pick up their toys and go somewhere else -- like a pay per action network.

The status quo in click fraud detection and prevention doesn't cut it, and it's about time that someone took a stand.

It's Time for Pay Per Click Showdown By Jason Dowdell at 10:03 AM
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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Online Exposure Helps Music Industry

Music download/listening services aren't only good as a revenue stream, they can also increase interest in music, according to a self-affirming study from the Digital Media Association.

The DMA says 75 percent of people who listen to music online have recommended that others do the same. The survey also purports that people who buy music online buy a lot of it, with half spending more than $200 a year on music.

These mostly teens and young adults are listening online and on their iPods, but they still buy CDs. The Fray's How to Save a Life album has sold more than 1.3 million copies as a CD, and the title track has sold more than 1 million copies as a digital single. The group has also sold more than one million ringtones, making it the first "rookie" band to score a triple crown.

Videos featuring the song have also been viewed more than 1.2 million times on YouTube as well, giving further proof that overexposure online can actually boost sales.

Online Exposure Helps Music Industry By Jason Dowdell at 05:49 PM
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Ads Could Set Digital Music Tempo

This year could be the year that the music industry finally figures out how to milk the Internet for all its potential, according to Reuters. User generated content and personal recommendations will drive growth, which could enhance revenues enough to make up for any shortfall in CD sales.

Digital music sales, while slowing, continue to climb, but by embracing fans, sales could grow much faster. According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of digital tracks were up by 67 percent, and digital album sales doubled during the first 49 weeks of 2006 over the previous year.

Copyright holders should develop mechanisms so that the individuals who care about music can serve as affiliates and promote tracks and make a few bucks in the process. Allowing people to link to music downloads on their MySpace or personal web pages and have the sales tracked so that they can earn a commission has great potential. Customers who have purchased products are the best marketers, and the music sites should develop affiliate programs so that any music enthusiast can make money.

Another possibility is using peer-to-peer networks to allow users to distribute and sell tracks themselves and automatically report the sales back to the copyright holders. The music industry may not be comfortable with the lack of control with this model, but from a user perspective it's the easiest way to buy and distribute content.

Then there's allowing users to mash-up songs into their own videos, which has proven popular on YouTube. Music publishers are already working with the video site, but the companies could promote new tracks by having contests for the best music video of newly released tracks. Music is becoming integrated like never before with popular shows such as Grey's Anatomy, and fans could go crazy with home-made videos that would create extra revenue with each stream.

Ads Could Set Digital Music Tempo By Jason Dowdell at 03:39 PM
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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Wikipedia SEO is So 1999

In comparing some of the annoying acronyms that come out of our US business management curriculum, a friend cited a wikipedia entry for BATNA.

This all started with a discussion of SWOT and it was noted that BATNA http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Best_alternative_to_a_negotiated_agreement is much more annoying.

What I find annoying is Wikipedia's url structure, I know that's a bazar complaint. But the wikipedia article is way underoptimized. I mean just look at it. Mixed case, usage of underscores, no file extension or trailing slash... I think I'm going to be sick.

Wikipedia SEO is So 1999 By Jason Dowdell at 11:52 PM
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Irony? Matt Cutts Using Wordpress

This never dawned on me before but Matt Cutts recent problems with Wordpress his comments made me wonder why he is using Wordpress. The man the myth the legend behind all our juicy GOOGLE news blogs on Wordpress rather then Google's own Blogger! I guess Robert Scoble did it when at MSFT but they don't have a blog platform worth its salt so I can understand that. With Cutts, it just seems funny to me. I do not blame him one bit thouh, WP is better for just about everything in my opinion and apparently his.

Irony? Matt Cutts Using Wordpress By Jason Dowdell at 07:44 PM
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Eco-Marketing Goes Mainstream

One of the shifts of 2006 for corporate websites was the introduction -- and now expectation -- that companies maintain blogs to facilitate conversation with their customers.

For this year, companies should prepare to include environmental impact as part of its standard marketing message to consumers. Being "green" isn't just a fad, and smaller organizations will have to join the likes of Ford, GE, and WalMart in preparing marketing materials that explain their sustainability policies.

According to the International Herald Tribune, the number of agencies that focus on green marketing campaigns is exploding. While this article focuses on non-profit agencies, I see a bigger opportunity in helping the world's largest companies to hone their green messaging.

The new Congress is likely to generate lots of attention for global warming and energy efficiency, and the companies that can prove to consumers and business partners that they are serious about their environmental impact will reinforce their branding. (I also write about sustainability issues at Matter magazine, so I may be a tad biased on this issue.)

Eco-Marketing Goes Mainstream By Jason Dowdell at 01:13 PM
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Google Yet to Master Shopping

Google may be the king of web search, but the company still has a lot to learn about running shopping sites.

Despite Google's stranglehold on search, it's Froogle and Local search sites aren't among the top three shopping destinations, according to Nielsen/Netratings The top spots are held by eBay, Amazon, and WalMart.

To succeed, Google needs to integrate Froogle and Local search so that you can buy something at the best price, be it online or in a store. Since I live in sales tax free Oregon, I can often buy things cheaper in the store than paying for the shipping cost, so I want to know the best price wherever available.

Froogle lists prices from the online stores of retailers, but it doesn't include the proximity of the retailers from its Local pages. For example, if you are looking for a Nikon digital camera, you can see prices from CompUSA and Circuit City among the online-only results. But even if you enter your zip code, Froogle doesn't tell you where the nearest store is. When I tried to search Local with the query "Nikon digital camera" and my zip code, I got a mishmash of news articles and unrelated sites.

Google should also do a better job of integrating consumer reviews into Froogle, which would help with the selection process. Also, Google Catalogs is woefully out of date, so the company should add catalog pages to Froogle, or just put it out of its misery.

For 2007, mastering local search and integrating consumer reviews will be two of the biggest opportunities for search companies to grow their share. If Google doesn't move quickly, it will only fall further behind.

Google Yet to Master Shopping By John Gartner at 12:41 PM
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January 2007 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (10 entries) January 1-6
  • Week 2 (12 entries) January 7-13
  • Week 3 (12 entries) January 14-20
  • Week 4 (13 entries) January 21-27
  • Week 5 (11 entries) January 28-31

Eco-Marketing Goes Mainstream
Hey John, Interesting article you posted. I too a...
by Robert Kingston
Google Exodus Clicking
The semi-monopolized web ads on Google are in dire...
by baron
Irony? Matt Cutts Using Wordpress
Hey, I use Expression Engine; lots of Googlers use...
by Adam
Irony? Matt Cutts Using Wordpress
I think its pretty obvious that WordPress is a mor...
by Kian Ann
Wikipedia SEO is So 1999
I think you guys do that quite well. As I've...
by Jason

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