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July 2007, Week 2 Marketing Archives

Friday, July 13, 2007

RealNetworks Outlines Music Survival Strategy

Don McLean may have to record an updated version of "American Pie" as July 15 will forever be known as the day that online music died. RealNetworks has come up with a plan to make the best of the vastly increased royalty payments that web broadcasters will have to pay to music publishers.

RealNetworks has signed a deal with iriver digital music device maker Reigncom for a try before you buy service. Consumers will have a access to a customized set of music to listen to as a means of providing exposure to new music. The company also signed up with LyricSearch to provide access to lyrics on its Rhapsody site as a means of generating more traffic.

Most directly, the Rhapsody monthly subscription service is going up from $9.99 to $12.99. I'm not so sure that this will be enough to enable RealNetworks to profitably deliver online listening services.

The music publishers seem to be short-sighted in drastically increasing the rates for all web broadcasters. Just like reading and watching video, the music experience is going online, and this move will reduce the exposure of listeners to new music. Also, it isn't fair to have separate pricing for online versus terrestrial radio stations. Giving away music to "old media" while bleeding online stations is an inequitable strategy that will hurt music sales.

RealNetworks Outlines Music Survival Strategy By John Gartner at 09:43 AM
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IAB Establishes Order for Email Marketing

The Internet Advertising Bureau is trying to bring some consistency to the email marketing area by creating a set of standard definitions for describing and measuring campaign performance.

That the IAB has decided to get involved suggests that though email marketing predates many of the online techniques for getting the message out, it is not completely understood. We understand the importance of analytics, and it is critical that email marketing performance be understood at least as well as SEO or website traffic.

Email marketing will probably grow in the next few years because other direct to consumer options are seen as less desirable. Direct marketing will dwindle as more consumers look to reduce the paper waste of "junk mail," preferring for a digital version. Also, telemarketing continues to be under the gun as "do not call" registrations and the widespread adoption of cell phones as the primary line of communications continues.

I received an effective email from my local Safeway supermarket that showed items that I commonly purchase that are on sale. We can look to see more "circulars" becoming targeted and going online.

IAB Establishes Order for Email Marketing By John Gartner at 09:22 AM
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Web Audience Grows, But Not Time Warner

The global audience of web users grew less than one percent to 772 million people online worldwide between April and May, according to new data released by comScore. This represents a 16 percent penetration of the worldwide population of individuals age 15 or older.



All of the 10 largest website showed growth in visitors between one-half and five percent, with the exception of Time Warner's sites, which were down one-tenth of one percent. That is bad news for the AOL parent, considering that eliminating AOL's subscription services was supposed to grow the audience for advertisers.

What truly amazes me from this chart is that Apple.com is the 10th most visited site on the web. Sure, iTunes is huge, but when you consider the paucity of pages on Apple versus every other site, it is truly mind boggling. Apple has build a nice little business from iTunes, but imagine how much money the company could make from advertising if they placed just a few ads on Apple.com. The record companies and movie studios should be clamoring for a share of the real estate on the iTunes site.

Apple is very protective of its users and has stayed away from ad-supported content, but now is the time if Apple wants to become a major media player.

Web Audience Grows, But Not Time Warner By John Gartner at 01:45 PM
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WeShow Organizes Search Sites

Video sites such as YouTube still have a long ways to go in organizing content and being comprehensive, and one startup seeks to be the DogPile of video search, organizing and aggregating content from the top video sites.

WeShow.com is a "human-powered" video search site that vets and categorizes videos from 15 of the top video sites. In its press release, WeShow cited data from Kelton Research quoting what I've been saying for some time: Video sites are confusing and a turnoff to many people.

Kelton says 45 percent of people only watch videos that have been forwarded by someone else because finding quality in amongst the dross is difficult. Matching individual tastes to videos is also not being done online as nearly was well as it is being done by TiVo today.

If WeShow can successful elevate the best videos and find order amongst the chaos they may have something. It's a tall order, but someone has to do it.

WeShow Organizes Search Sites By John Gartner at 02:59 PM
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Time Magazine's 5 Worst Web Sites

#5 SecondLife.com

Time Says: It's slow, requires additional software, too steep of a learning curve and essentially stop being so pathetic and live your real life first!
Evan Says: 100% correct, I never understood the point of having a second life when most people don't even utilize their first life. I know some say its a way to do things you've always wanted to but never have, but honestly get off your a$$ and go do it. No one is stopping you except yourself, and your SecondLife self.

#4 Myspace.com

Time Says: The most popular social network sucks because of all the spammers
Evan Says: The spammers do suck and the layout is hideious but its a great way to keep in touch with friends but maybe not neccessarily make new ones. I prefer Myspace.com over to Facebook for a variety of reasons, but mainly b/c I'm not smart enough to figure out Facebook's networks and searches.



#3 Meez.com

Time Says: "But the 3-D animations and other digital doodads created with the help of Meez and other sites of its ilk — Blingee, Iconator — are just plain annoying..."
Evan Says: I've never heard of this and I'm really glad I haven't.




#2 Evite.com

Time Says: "Evite's fill-in-the-blanks approach feels clumsy and dated. The ads are intrusive and navigation's a drag.."
Evan Says: I agree with Time's statement "we're only mad at Evite because we need it so much and we know it could be better." In the age of copy-cat sites and the 'I can do it better than them' attitude, how come no one has made a better Evite. Its something I think about everytime I'm forced to use Evite or respond to an Evite.



#1 eHarmony.com

Time Says: "But if you've taken the time to answer eHarmony's 436 compatibility survey questions and paid its premium charges ($21 to $60 a month, depending on how many months you prepay), and the site then delivers terrible recommendations — or worse, rejects you as unmatchable — what do you tell yourself then?..."
Evan says: I've never used eHarmony, but the fact they claim that 16,00 couples were married from their service in the year 2005 is pretty impressive. I think you'd have to be pretty unique (a.k.a wierdo!) to be unmatchable but even so there are tons and tons of free and cheaper dating sites out there so I don't feel bad for people who can't find a match. It is pretty poor form that they discriminate against gays.

Read the full reviews on each site in the Time article.

Time Magazine's 5 Worst Web Sites By Matt O'Hern at 02:14 PM
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Nielsen Redefines Rules of Engagement

It's not how often that matters, it's for how long.

At least that's what Nielsen/NetRatings now believes when it comes to assessing the value of exposure to advertising. The metrics company has changed how it measures the reach of websites by now emphasizing the time people spend on a site instead of the number of page views, according to MediaPost.

Nielsen is changing with the evolution of the online experience, which now includes much more video and interactivity through technologies such as Flash and AJAX that do not require reloading pages.

I agree with the premise that the longer readers (viewers?) spend looking at a page with an ad on it, the more likely that the ad will have an impact on purchasing decisions and brand retention. However, the number of ads is also important, as video and interactive technologies to date have incorporated fewer ads than the old static web did. Also, interactive web experiences require more attention than browsing a text-heavy article, something that advertisers need to consider.

I take issue with considering instant messaging as "time spent" because IM ads have less impact than display or interactive ads. So saying AOL has much broader reach based on the ubiquity of their IM client is a stretch.

Nielsen Redefines Rules of Engagement By John Gartner at 10:28 AM
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

PR Needs to Be Journo Friendly

I like many reporters/bloggers spend a fair amount of time reading press releases to stay better informed and to find things for me to write about. So in this era of corporate blogging and consumer-friendliness, why do some companies make it so hard for the media to contact them?

My blood pressure rises whenever I see a release from a company that I want to talk to, but they keep their contact information cloistered away from the very people who need to contact them. I still see countless press releases with no contact phone number and email address. That is inexcusable. Companies may have to deal with unwanted calls from "the great unwashed," but every writer who bails on sending an email because the company doesn't make it easy to contact them is a huge opportunity lost. While companies don't want to waste precious PR resources answering queries from the public, think of how happy consumers who get a response from a company will be? Isn't that a valuable communication?

Part of website optimization for any commercial venture should include prominent placement of a link for the media to contact the site. And that does NOT mean filling out some random form or submitting an email to info@blahblahblah.com. This means a real name, phone number and email address. Companies that want bloggers and scribes to cover them need to be accessible, and media coverage can do wonders beyond what keyword buys or a smartly designed website. So if you want coverage from this guy, stop barring the windows, and invite me in.

PR Needs to Be Journo Friendly By John Gartner at 10:15 AM
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Online Marketing Slow to Generate Sales

A new study by ScanAlert suggests that online shoppers take their time to complete a purchase, suggesting the pay-per-click campaigns should consider a longer window of subsequent purchases.

The average time from click to credit card purchase grew by nearly 80 percent during the past two years to nearly a day and a half, according to ScanAlert. This suggests that companies that do advertise via pay per click might be getting a better ROI than originally believed if the tracking mechanisms and analytics don't account for the longer time to purchase.

Shoppers are getting more savvy in looking for the best deals through comparison shopping engines and knowing that a better product or price might be a click away. Perhaps more incentives are needed to buy now, such as timed sales.

In the offline world, one-day sales and holiday incentives are the norm, but why not online? Amazon, eBay, Shopping.com, etc. could have 24 hour sales the days before the biggest traditional shopping days and take some of the thunder away from brick and mortar stores.

Source: MediaPost.

Online Marketing Slow to Generate Sales By John Gartner at 09:41 AM
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Goog-411 Needs to Call 911

I'm usually a fan of innovation, especially when it involves a free service that I can use. Enter Goog-411. Considering Google's history of putting out pretty good products, I got excited to hear of a free 411 service by Google. That was until I tried it.

Google's 411 service is essentially a voice activated search engine. The concept is nice but its got a long way to go for it to be adopted by the mainstream. At first I thought it was just me having issues with it but when I had my friends try the service they became equally as frustrated.

At the time we were searching for a cab company's phone number but quickly found Goog-411 to be extremely inefficient for this sort of thing and here is why:

* Goog-411 seemed to be confused by the query "Phoenix Transportation in Raleigh" and would try to give us listings for Phoenix, AZ cab companies. A typical Google search returns relevant results with the company we were looking for as the second result.
* Asking Goog-411 to find a phone number is nearly impossible.
* Goog-411 needs some kind of location identifier in order to tailor its results. Most of the time when using a 411 service its for a local phone number or address, at least in my experience.

Overall, we had pretty poor experiences with Goog-411. And while I appreciate the effort of the free service, its no where close to competing with other 411 services that actually involve an operator.

Has anyone had better luck with Goog-411?

On a side note, an idea that would be fantastic for people like myself who always end up in some silly bar bet would be a Yahoo! Answers + Goog-411 service. Where someone can call up and search Yahoo! Answers for answers to questions like "What's in an Alabama Slammer?", "Who won the 1999 HR Derby?", or "How many days did Paris Hilton spend in jail?" Not sure how you'd monetize it but I'd bet it could become popular, at least with my friends.

Goog-411 Needs to Call 911 By Matt O'Hern at 05:57 AM
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Monday, July 09, 2007

Compete.com Report: MSN Search is Actually Growing!

There is a report just posted on the Compete.com blog that MSN is actually gaining market share in terms of search volume these days.

While it looks like MSN's Live Search is on the rise, a closer look at the data reveals that the huge increase in search volume comes from the http://club.live.com. Club.live.com is Microsoft's attempt to increase the confidence people have in Live search by heavily integrating Live Search into some rather addicting but time-wasting games. Play enough and you have the chance to win some prizes.

It's an almost certainty these searchers are not "real" search queries nor being monetized but at this point in time, any search increase is a good increase for MSN. The real key will be MSN's ability to keep these gamers as loyal Live search users.

Compete.com Report: MSN Search is Actually Growing! By Matt O'Hern at 04:48 PM
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What Can We Learn from the Best Piece of Spam Ever?

Spam that works, I must be joking right? Nope. This weekend I returned home from a out of town wedding and had received the most clever piece of spam I've ever seen. I should clarify that when I mention 'spam' I am not talking your typical unwanted email, this is the snail mail that I don't want. I consider that spam too. I received this envelope addressed to me but with my old address and my old employer and title so I was immediately suspicious. There was no return address and it was from Santa Ana, CA which only heightened my suspicion. I only know a few people in CA and none that I can see sending me this type of mail especially without a return address. I opened the envelope and all that was inside was a page that looked torn out of a magazine with a yellow post-it note on it with the handwritten text:

"Evan, Try this, it's really good! -J"

Even the title of the article looked convincing at least it looked like something someone would send me; "Outfox Your Competition with Clever, Profit-Driven Strategies." I can't emphasize enough how much it really looked like it was torn out of a magazine and it had me convinced I had a secret admirer who was looking out for my best interest. Seeing as I'm pretty deep into the PPC industry (and run a great ppc blog) so this type of article is not uncommon, although friends usually send them in link form via IM or email. It took me about 10 minutes of inspection until I noticed the little (and faintly) printed "advertisement" on the very top right of the page, like you so often see in magazines these days. A extremely clever piece of marketing, I went on to read it anyway and it turned out to be a promo piece for fuelpublishing.com, a newsletter type service for professionals. Not really my thing but the campaign got me wondering what can I take from this off-line marketing effort and apply it to my search marketing efforts. What Can We Learn from Smart-spam? The time it took to customize this campaign will in all likelihood be met with higher than normal conversion rates, especially for a snail-mail campaign. Applying this theory to your everyday pay-per-click campaigns can also work wonders. Take the time to customize your account and ads to best-fit your demographics and you will see increased clicks, conversions and account performance. You can do simple things such as customizing your ad-text and titles or just adjusting the content of your landing pages to match the style of your target demographic. All-in-all, personalization is an amazing powerful seller and while I didn't sign up for the $159 Fuel-Publishing newsletter, I gave their marketing efforts a good 15 minutes of my time and won't soon forget the Fuel Publishing brand. Just imagine what you could do with 15 minutes of your customers' time!

What Can We Learn from the Best Piece of Spam Ever? By Matt O'Hern at 03:02 PM
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E-Mail Marketing Builds Retention

Successful websites tend to pay considerable attention to search optimization and navigation to encourage people to find and spend time on their websites, but we shouldn't underestimate the importance of e-mail marketing in building stickiness.

A new report from e-consultancy says spending on e-mail marketing in the U.K. increased by 20 percent in 2006, and the firm suggesting that investment was money will spent.

Building loyalty and brand awareness are the top benefits as despite concerns about spam and information overload, people do read the e-mails that they subscribe to.

The price of administering an email campaign is going down too, as popular open source program OpenEMM is now available for download. Originally for Linux, the Windows version enables companies to implement, manage and track e-mail campaigns. E-mail marketing should be closely tied to analytics to make sure that its value is correctly ascertained.

E-Mail Marketing Builds Retention By John Gartner at 02:56 PM
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Feeling Sicko? Ask Dr. Google

Google and Microsoft are preparing to slug it out to be your virtual diagnostician, according to analyst firm Wireless Healthcare.

Google just launched a health advisory board to help the search engine to deliver better quality search results, and Microsoft recently launched a health care platform aimed at delivering corporate and consumer information.

Also, according to Wireless Healthcare "...Google's recent investment in the Genetic profiling company 23andMe and Microsoft's purchase of the intelligent medical search company Medstory could lead to the emergence of services that are highly disruptive within the healthcare market."

But display ads and medicine aren't a healthy combination, so perhaps pay-for services are in gestation.

"Advertising and healthcare do not mix well and this issue is already proving to be controversial. I am sure that regulators would be unhappy if banner advertisements started to appear on a patient's online medical record or diagnosis," said
Peter Kruger, Analyst with Wireless Healthcare.


The search engines must be very careful in this area because steering people towards bad health information that gets them hurt could be an ambulance-chasing lawyer's dream case.

Feeling Sicko? Ask Dr. Google By John Gartner at 10:28 AM
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« July 2007 Week 1 July 2007 Week 3 »

  • Week 1 (11 entries) July 1-7
  • Week 2 (13 entries) July 8-14
  • Week 3 (11 entries) July 15-21
  • Week 4 (11 entries) July 22-28
  • Week 5 (4 entries) July 29-31

Time Magazine's 5 Worst Web Sites
meez is fun i have lots of friends...
by qiyara_-qi-
IAB Establishes Order for Email Marketing
One note of interest is their definition of a &apo...
by Douglas Karr
What Can We Learn from the Best Piece of Spam Ever?
I got a similar piece of junk mail, but this was f...
by Pete Freitag

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