Friday, June 24, 2005

Big advertisers catch the bug for viral campaigns

"CANNES, France (Reuters) - Some of the world's biggest advertisers, including Microsoft and Anheuser-Busch, are increasingly turning to electronic word-of-mouth advertising campaigns as they seek inexpensive, provocative and entertaining ways to reach new customers.
Known commonly as viral advertising, the marketing strategy often can hide who's behind it and usually involves an online component to spur consumers to spread the message themselves with minimal noticeable involvement from the company."
Yahoo!: Online Banking Empowers Consumers:

"MORE THAN ONE OUT OF three single consumers say they prefer to apply for credit cards online rather than by mail or in person, while more than one in four would rather apply for mortgages online, according to a new report released Thursday by Yahoo! and Ogilvy One Worldwide.
For the report, 'Selling Money: The Impact of the Online Channel,' Forrester Research conducted an online survey of 2,687 adult U.S. consumers, while Flamingo International conducted in-depth interviews with 18 households. "

Thursday, June 23, 2005

United States Patent Application: 0050071741

Google's filing of a United States Patent helps explain Google Sandbox workings

Snipits of Jill Whalen's 6/23 Article

"++Google's Patent Implications++

"You may have already heard or read about Google's latest patent application regarding "information retrieval based on historical data"

See link above - WPS

"I wasn't surprised about the stuff in the patent that corresponded with Google's aging delay and its "sandbox" as I had already seen a lot of discussion on this. For those who aren't familiar with the aging delay and the sandbox, you'll want to note that there is a lot of disagreement over what causes a site to be thrown in the sandbox.
However, based on my own observations and the experiences of some trusted SEO friends, it's my belief that the sandbox is basically a purgatory database where Google places certain URLs based on a variety of predetermined criteria. (Much of this is spelled out in the first part of the patent application.)

The aging delay, on the other hand, is actually a subset of the sandbox. In other words, the aging delay is just *one* reason why a URL might get placed in the sandbox.

Basically, if you have a brand new domain/website, it will automatically land in the sandbox regardless of anything that you do with it. Your new website will be stuck there for an unspecified period of time (averaging around 9 months these days) and it will not rank highly in Google for any keyword phrases that might bring it any decent traffic. Yes, it can sometimes rank highly for the company name, or the names of the people who run the company. It may also show up in Google for a few additional phrases that other sites are not focusing on within their content. But new domains will not show up in Google's natural results for even slightly competitive keyword phrases until they are removed from the sandbox."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Survey: Two of Three Adults Use Search For News:
"THE MAJORITY OF ONLINE ADULTS--53 percent--use search engines most or all of the time they go on the Web, while only 4 percent say they never use them, according to a study released Tuesday by search engine marketing firm icrossing.
The report, 'How America Searches,' based on a Harris Interactive survey of more than 2,000 online adults, also found that most searches are conducted with specific topics in mind. When asked why they used a search engine, 88 percent of respondents said they did so to research specific topics; 75 percent searched for directions or maps; and 64 percent were seeking news or information about current events.
Of the approximately 1,300 adults who said they used search engines to look for news, almost half--45 percent--said they specifically sought alternative viewpoints, while 42 percent wanted additional information.

The report also found that more than four out of 10 users--44 percent--didn't know the difference between sponsored and organic listings."

Monday, June 13, 2005 - The Top 400 Guide

"Online retailing continues to be a significant merchandising channel, with e-retailing operations growing in sales, average ticket, conversion rates and more
By Mark Brohan

Ten years ago, long before the Internet investment bubble even began to build much less burst and was just beginning to sell online, few, if any, retailers could predict whether business-to-consumer e-commerce would catch on with customers or if the Internet would ever rival stores and catalogs as a serious sales channel.
But today, with more than a third of all households making at least one online purchase each year a figure Forrester Research Inc. predicts will increase to almost 40% by 2009 Internet retailing has clearly come of age and remains the U.S. retailing industry's fastest-growing sales channel.
U.S. Internet retail sales totaled $87.5 billion in 2004, up 25% from
$70 billion in 2003 and up 62% from $54 billion in 2002, according to Internet Retailer estimates.
Based on statistics compiled for the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide, the top 400 retailers in 2004 generated combined web sales of more than $51 billion and accounted for 58.3% of all U.S. Internet sales. In comparison, the top 300 web retailers in 2003 generated sales of $40 billion, 57% of all U.S. Internet sales."

eTail Hits Puberty
By Seana Mulcahy
(In reference to the article above)

"In a nutshell, the good news is Internet retail sales totaled $87.5 billion in 2004, up 25 percent from $70 billion in 2003 and up 62 percent from $54 billion in 2002, according to Internet Retailer estimates. eTailing is on the up and up, overall sales, average tickets, and conversions are steadily increasing. U.S.

Top findings of the study: The top 400 eTailers represent a combined bank of $51 billion USD. This represents 58.3 percent of all U.S. Internet sales.

Consumers are confident purchasing products and services online. Conversion rates are 2.5 percent on average. However, some sites reflect anywhere between 8 and 18 percent. While these numbers seem low, they have increased steadily. There is a huge potential for sites to make it easier and more convenient for consumers to click and buy.

The average ticket across all categories increased to 16 percent last year. The Computers and Technology category continues to lead the pack representing 28 percent of overall sales or $14.3 billion in Web sales (up from $10.9 billion).

Other Web retailing categories demonstrating solid sales growth are books, CDs, DVDs, and music, which increased sales 70 percent from $999 million in 2003 to $1.7 billion in 2004 and office supplies, which rose 23 percent from category sales of $5.2 billion in 2003 to $6.4 billion in 2004.

The top eTailers represent minimum sales in at least the $1 billion dollar range. To no surprise, according to Internet Retailer, they are as follows (in order of sales): Amazon, Dell, Office Depot, Staples, and HPDirect."

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Comergent - 2005 E-Commerce Best Practice Survey:

"Conducted in March and April of 2005, The 2005 E-Commerce Survey provides a window into the current and future e-commerce plans of 124 companies from more than eleven different industries. Across industries, the survey revealed a great deal of diversity in the forces driving e-commerce, e-commerce spending, and e-commerce expansion plans."

Good resource for eComm bench marking.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

SEO Your PDF's - Does This Work?
"In Adobe Acrobat 6 there are two places to input content into a PDF file. The first place is under File / Document Properties and the second place is under Advanced / Document Metadata. Under File / Document Properties there are several menus but the most relevant for our purposes is the Description menu. Under the Description menu, there are fields for Title, Author, Subject and Keywords.

Now to confuse matters more, let's go over to the Advanced / Document Metadata menu. There are a couple of choices here, but let's once again look at the Description menu. Under this Description menu, there are fields for Title, Author, Description, Description Writer, Keywords, Copyright State, Copyright Notice and Copyright Info URL."

Looks like a bunch of PDFs just got religion. PDFs are now ranking higher than some of our obscure pages, probably a result of the Bourbon update. Need to go back and do a a better job of including Acrobat properties. As an Example the titles are being displayed as the PDF file name...
Website Purchase Decision Report

"FOR CONSUMERS WHO SHOP ONLINE, purchase decisions are driven by factors other than price to a surprising degree, according to a study expected to be released today by research company ForeSee Results.
'While price can have a positive effect on satisfaction, loyalty, and buying behavior, it is seldom the key determinant of how satisfied a site visitor is--and never appears as the determining factor, on average, in whether a purchase is actually made,' the study stated. "

Study looks at consumer satisfaction with websites, for: price, selection of merchandise, look and feel, navigation, etc.
Perception Is Reality - Editorial - CMO Magazine

"Perception research is a different animal altogether. It's more about sniffing out new opportunities rather than looking back to see how well you've done. Perception research can reveal much that is hidden. It can expose a client's unmet needs and unexpressed thoughts such as brand-promise expectations. It can reveal a client's desired price points or attraction to certain services and attributes or illuminate how a client is affected by an industry's evolution. It can also show a professional services firm where it is positioned versus its competitors in the mind of the client or prospect. Finally, perception research helps a company test strategies that will differentiate it from competitors."

Good primer on what is Perseption Research and it can identify a customers buying motives in a way satisfaction interviews doesn't.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Questions for GoogleGuy: "Questions for GoogleGuy"

New web board specifically set-up for Burbon Update questions to Google Guy.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yahoo! Mindset - Cool Search tool:

This is a Yahoo! Research Labs demo that applies a new twist on search that uses machine learning technology to give you a choice: View Yahoo! Search results sorted according to whether they are more commercial or more informational (i.e., from academic, non-commercial, or research-oriented sources).