Net Marketing - news and strategy

Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Anna Kournikova Penthouse update

If you are here to see Anna, I'm afraid that she has left the building. I strongly recommend that you visit Tony Pierce online - he knows more about Anna Kournikova than any person alive.

Net radio to fall silent for a day

'In a move to drum up opposition for a proposed royalty regime for Internet radio, hundreds of small online radio stations plan to turn off their music streams Wednesday. The independent Webcasters are protesting a royalty fee proposed by the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP). Appointed by the U.S. Copyright Office, the panel recommended that Webcasters pay record companies a rate of 0.14 cents per listener per song and 0.07 cents per song for streaming an over-the-air broadcast online. Small Webcasters, however, say the fees would exceed their revenue, driving them out of business and stifling the industry.'

Google challenges Yahoo

'Of all search referrals worldwide, 36.35 percent come from Yahoo, while Google trails close behind with 31.87 percent, according to figures from market researcher WebSideStory, which released the results of a tracking study by its StatMarket division Tuesday.'

Study: Classifieds to Drive Internet Ad Growth

'According to the New York-based researcher, spending on online classified advertising grew 38 percent from 2001, rising to $1.2 billion this year. By 2007, that figure will almost double to $2.3 billion -- making it the Web ad industry's fastest-growing segment.'

Google sends me 1000 Anna Kournikova fans in the space of 4 hours

One post about Anna Kournikova and Penthouse, and my site gets flooded. Somehow, my timely post got to no. 1 under the search term 'anna kournikova penthouse.' Since then my visitor profile has somewhat changed ;-) Still, from a marketing perspective, this does demonstrate the potential for opportunistically using news events to bring users to your site.

Monday, April 29, 2002
Webby Awards Announces Nominees

Not that many surprises. I was glad to see the BBC getting decent recognition, although somewhat surprised that The Guardian was not included in the news section. I think that their online effort has been outstanding over the last 12 months. PETA, the animal activists got a deserved nominated. Their utilisation of the internet has been very effective recently, with an endless number of PETA 'I'd rather go naked that wear fur' photos appearing all over the web.

Nielsen//NetRatings global category survey

'The findings, released today as part of Nielsen//NetRatings' Global Internet Index for March, found that well over three quarters of the world's active internet audience visited search engines, portals and community sites last month (see Table 1).'

Sunday, April 28, 2002
Penthouse, agency in dispute over nude Kournikova photos

'Exclusive nude photos of Anna Kournikova "caught close up on a nude beach" are promised on the June cover of Penthouse, which went on sale this week. An attorney representing the magazine said Penthouse believes the pictures are real, but representatives of Kournikova claim it isn't the Russian professional tennis player.'

I accidentally saw a couple of these photos and can officially report that tragically they are not her. In fact they are so obviously not her that this must be a desperate stunt. Penthouse is dying, destroyed by the rise of free porn. Could this be their last defiant stand? Clearly this story has huge implications for internet marketing, although I can't think of any at the moment ;-)

Usability for Senior Citizens

'The Internet enriches many seniors' lives, but most websites violate usability guidelines, making the sites difficult for seniors to use. Current websites are twice as hard to use for seniors than for non-seniors.'

Kylie Minogue in "world's most erotic lingerie" ad

Who say online advertising doesn't work? This cinema ad found its way online and is now the no.1 most emailed content at Viral Lycos. The ad has been fired around the web, posted on numerous community sites, including Fark. Is there a lesson in this? I think so.....(5mb download)

Saturday, April 27, 2002
CNet Sees the Internet as an Indispensable Marketing Tool

'In his keynote address April 25 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Bonnie argued that the Internet has changed the relationship between customers and companies, and that winning companies are those that have learned how to leverage that technology along with customer desires. The Internet "clearly had dramatic effects on business," said Bonnie, citing in particular the increased speed of business. "But I would say the most important thing it's done is that it's fundamentally changed the relationship between customers and companies." '

Star Wars Fan Film Awards

This is a good example of how the web can help virally support your product/service through active community participation.

Friday, April 26, 2002
Study: Customers wary of online IDs

'A new Gartner study indicates that despite compulsory sign-up programs, consumers aren't interested in online identity and authentication accounts--such as Microsoft's Passport and AOL's Screen Name service--and won't be anytime soon.'

Interview - Vincent Flanders of Web Pages That Suck

This is definitely amusing, and possibly even insightful :-)

'The Vincent Flanders translation of "branding" is "We're going to spend a lot of your money putting your name out in front of the public, but we're going to do it in such a way that you can't prove we screwed up." '

Yahoo! keeps! Overture!

'Yahoo! Inc has decided to renew its contract with Overture Services Inc for three years, Overture announced yesterday. The decision dashes speculation that Yahoo was poised to give its advertising search business to Google Inc, which is already a key partner, or build its own customer service in-house.' This is massively good news for Overture.

Thursday, April 25, 2002
Long-Time File-Swappers Buy More Music, Not Less - Jupiter

'Contrary to charges that Internet song-swapping is killing the music industry, new Jupiter Media Metrix research contends that experienced online song-swappers are more likely to buy new albums than average music fans, not less.'

"You've Just Won a Playstation 2!"

'"Spam" e-mail messages claiming that consumers had won a free Sony PlayStation 2 or other prize through a promotion purportedly sponsored by Yahoo, Inc., instead routed consumers to an adult Internet site via a 900-number modem connection that charged them up to $3.99 a minute'

Online Magazines Gather Dust, Not Readers

'Today, less than one in three individuals (32%) read any magazines online as readers cite inconvenience (54%); dislike of online banner ads, pop-ups, and general distractions (47%); prices of online magazines (43%); and eye strain (23%) as the main reasons for staying away from online magazines.'

Overture scores another week on AOL

'The partnership is now due to expire on May 1, unless a longer-term deal is negotiated. The two companies have been in talks to extend their partnership but have not commented on the progress of those talks.' This looks like a case of handbags at dawn to me, with neither party presently in a position to walk away from this deal.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002
Lycos Viral UK Top 10

Now this is cool. Lycos UK has started a chart for the most virally spread content. The results come from Lycos montioring download on Lycos mail.

Australian entrepreneur outlines plans for KaZaa

'KaZaa is already turning a profit from revenue derived from advertising and from software bundled with the program. Sharman has now struck a deal with the New York Internet advertising agency DoubleClick Inc. to sell more ads.'

Consumers Rank Trust Above Low Prices

'The results of interviews with 6,000 consumers in nine European countries revealed the most important values to the global e-shopper: honesty, respect and reliability. The respondents indicated that human values are more vital to a satisfactory business transaction than traditional notions of product and service. European respondents identified the same top five factors related to shopping as did their counterparts in the U.S., with a slight difference in rank order.'

Tuesday, April 23, 2002
Samsung launches folding screen computer

'A new paperback-sized computer screen that folds like a book will be ideal for Internet users reading online novels, its South Korean inventor said on Tuesday. The 6.7 inch by 5 inch flat LCD screen folds along a central hinge and is much clearer than existing devices.'

Harness the Psychological Power of '3' and Improve Communication

'Most visual communication can be reduced to these three features: Elements, Fonts and Colors. Understand how they work and you've given yourself the added advantage of a mini design degree.'

Online shopping saves time

'Slightly more than half of those surveyed, 51 per cent, said they liked using the internet as they don’t have to leave their desk or home. An anti-social 39 per cent said the best thing about online shopping was not having to speak to anyone if they did not want to.'

Amazon realised a while back that selling cheap is not the only factor for online success - customer service, convenience and saving people time also matters. My belief is that overtime service centric components will become increasingly significant.

Yahoo to push pay services

I didn't realise that they had achieved as many as 500,000 subscribers to their different online services. That is pretty encouraging, especially as they've only recently started to push them hard.

Monday, April 22, 2002
To Charge or Not to Charge?

8 business models for online news. My vote goes to no.3.

The value of a name has been bought by the company that owns for a staggering $800,000. Although this sounds like a return to dotcom bubble stupidity, there is in fact some logic behind this madness. receives around 400,000 unique visitors per month from people typing in the URL. TMP Worldwide now plan to redirect them from to one of their active job sites.

Move beyond banner ads

'As an advertiser, you may like the idea of having a captive audience, but be aware that these kinds of aggressive advertising techniques are resulting in complaints. What bothers me most about these aggressive ad models is they aren't even innovative; they are adaptations of the captive-audience model used in television and radio to reach broad audiences. People don't use the Internet because they want to be a captive audience. They use it because they want to actively seek things they're personally interested in.'

The article goes on to suggest that less intrusive techniques, such as the New York Times surround session and CNET interactive cube ads, are far more in tune with the nature of this medium. I strongly agree; holding readers 'captive' is not the way to go. Advertising must match the medium, if it doesn't marketing viability will be compromised.

Reviewing Race Online

'Harris interviewed 2,038 US adults in February and March 2002 and also found that 76% of all adults online are Caucasian, 12% are African American and 9% are Hispanic.'

Friday, April 19, 2002
Russian hacker removes Kazaa ads

'A Russian programmer, known only as Yuri, said he developed the software "Kazaa Lite" as a protest to Kazaa's owners over their secretive inclusion of another company's software in their program. Kazaa Lite gives access to the FastTrack file sharing network used by Kazaa and until recently used by Morpheus. Kazaa's Australian owner Sharman Networks said it would "vigorously defend its rights."'

Hollings unveils Net privacy bill

'The bill calls for users to "opt-in" before allowing sites to share with third parties sensitive information such as political or religious beliefs, credit card information or sexual orientation. Less sensitive information, such as buying preferences, could be shared with third parties unless the user specifically asked (opt-out) the site not to disclose the information. The legislation gives consumers the right to sue an online business for up to $5,000 per count if sensitive data was misused.'

And in related news from The Big Brother Awards - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and (Oracle) database billionaire Larry Ellison were named as this year's most notorious violators of personal privacy.

Europe moves away from cookie clampdown

'It is looking increasingly unlikely that the European Commission will insist on tough restrictions on the use of cookies, although the UK could still follow a more pro-privacy approach. Internet users will not be warned before a cookie is installed on their computer if the European Parliament accepts the recommendations of one of its key committees.'

It looks like the 'Save Our Cookies Campaign' may win through. God I hope so, as it really would be a disaster for European internet marketing and ecommerce if the Cookie Fascists got their way.

Thursday, April 18, 2002
'Garfield' Browser for Kids Gets Multichannel Push

'Children's Technology Group Inc. began an offline and online direct marketing campaign to promote Garfield Island, a browser that limits the Web sites children can visit, with a goal of getting 800,000 registered users and 100,000 paying subscribers by the end of the year.'

"Simply, it solves the growing problem of Internet safety for children," said Chris Wrolstad, vice president of Children's Technology Group, a Golden, CO, builder of co-branded sites. "Using standard browsers, kids can go anywhere on the Internet and see hate, violence and porn sites. With Garfield Island, kids can only see a list of pre-approved Web sites, e-mail friends in their parent-approved buddy list and chat in our community chat rooms with language and personal information filters."

This appears to me to be a pretty smart way of using technology to help support a brand.

Forrester calculates that 67% of European consumers will be online In 2006

"Driven by a need to communicate and falling hardware and connection prices, the number of online users will grow from 39 percent to 67 percent in the next five years -- resulting in more than 200 million regular online users by the end of 2006."

More Than a Game

'TV advertising is tired. Internet banners have stopped clicking. What's next? Play the "advergame." America's addiction to video games is leading the way to a brand-new advertising platform with astounding click-through rates, play times, and peer-to-peer potential.'

This type of initiative isn't brand new, in fact it is 6+ years old, however it is true to say that the techniques being utilised in this field are becoming increasingly sophisticated. The article profiles YaYa, one of a number of online brand building companies who specilise in gaming. What I found interesting about this is that YaYA has recently 'introduced a new metric -- "cost per time engaged" -- as an alternative to cost per impression.' Now that is new - a company measuring/rating the time that a user spends within the sphere of influence of a brand.

Mothers Watching Less TV, Surfing Web More - Jupiter

'About 44 percent of women with children said their usage of the Internet caused them to spend less time watching TV. Jupiter recommended that advertisers and programmers interested in reaching mothers should therefore consider increasing their online marketing efforts relative to TV advertising.'

Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Overture Backers See Little to Fear From Google

Interesting analysis of the pay for click scene.

Winners Don't Take All: Link Popularity for the Rest of Us

'Though a small number of sites get the majority of inbound links and traffic, a new study reveals a previously unknown pattern of web page connectivity and shows how new, poorly connected sites can compete...-- spend less time working on your overall, global link popularity, and focus more on building up strong connections in the natural "community" of sites that share a similar focus to your own. While this tactic of "sleeping with the enemy" might seem dubious in the real world, the NEC study strongly suggests that it's one of the best ways to strengthen your presence in the universe of the web.'

Live your life on MSN

This is a kind of hybred EdTV/Big Brother, but in cyberspace. I think that I might have to give it a go :-)

'Would you be brave enough to hand over your daily decisions to millions of people you’ve never met? These 5 people (Brits) have done just that and for 15 days their life is quite literally in your hands. Each day, 5 new life decisions will appear here for you to vote on, and the contestants must abide by the decision of the Web. At stake, a prize of £10,000! ($14,370)'

Web privacy system gets approval

'"P3P will give users a better understanding about the privacy relationships they choose to enter into or choose to avoid," said Danny Weitzner, head of the Web consortium's technology and society group. "It will help them make choices without having to read through screen after screen of privacy policy." Users tell the software how much data collection and sharing they are willing to tolerate. The software then checks the machine-readable privacy policies attached to Web sites as hidden tags. The software can then warn users when a privacy policy does not match their criteria.'

Clearly, if this standard is widely adopted, it could have pretty serious implications for affiliate marketing, e-commerce, in fact anything that involves cookies. I'm looking forward to hearing the industry's reaction to this - I will keep you posted.

Attic Games - Viral Interactive Marketing Games

I just stumbled across these guys, and was pretty impressed with the standard of games they produce. Many companies now use flash games as branding devices. This technique can work very well, especially if you get the viral component right. My personal all time favourite flash game is the exceptional mini golf. The 17th hole is an absolute nightmare.

Fifa hits back at guerrilla marketing

'World football's governing body says companies that indulge in "guerrilla", or "ambush", marketing contravene "the most fundamental principles of every society" and show a lack of decency and creativity. Fifa spokeswoman told - "Ambush marketing not only puts the integrity of the Fifa World Cup at stake but also the interests of the worldwide football community. Parasite activities of direct competitors of our official partners are strategically planned by marketing experts. But someone who only takes from the others without giving anything back contravenes the most fundamental principles of every society."

This has little to do with internet marketing - I just thought it was funny. FIFA complaining that companies like Pepsi are stealing The World Cup from their official sponsors, one of which is Coke. I love their attempt at claiming the moral high ground, as if it were possible to do so. Don't they realise that all's fair in love, war and marketing - especially when Coke and Pepsi are involved.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Study: Most Web surfers use Google

'Google ranked as the No. 1 search service in March, according to Net analysis company The analysis showed that Google drew the largest global search audience, with nearly 46 percent of Web surfers using its site. Web portal Yahoo came in second with 20.6 percent usage, and Microsoft's MSN followed with 7.8 percent reach.'

Suddenly Google Ad Word Select looks stunningly attractive.

Fred Perry viral marketing micro site

This site is a hybrid, that has been created to virally support the Fred Perry brand. Users get to post pictures of themselves in Fred Perry gear, and then visitors vote for their favourites. Not a bad idea, although something like 'are you Nike or not' might work better.

Consumers Trust In Online Content 'Alarmingly Low' - Report

'Just 29 percent of those surveyed for a report on online consumer attitudes said they trust Web sites that sell goods and services. Only 31 percent of those online for three or more years said they trust e-commerce sites and only 33 percent of surfers who visit such sites said they trust them.' - Full report plus 'What Makes a Web Site Trustworthy?'

Monday, April 15, 2002
Banner Console increases CTR by 15 times industry average

'iLOR conducted extensive research and discovered many users don't click on banners because they don't want to be distracted from what they're doing. Banner Console solves that by building in flexibility.'

Zoom in function increases sales

'In the past six months, has seen a double-digit sales increase on products for which it offers zoom enlargements. The zoom feature, which allows site visitors to greatly enlarge areas of the product image, has been added for products that are rich in detail, such as rugs or certain items of apparel. And it`s been particularly effective at closing online sales of higher-ticket items, says Burke. "When you`re buying something online that`s over $100, there`s the hurdle of seeing a close enough view of the product to feel comfortable buying it, and zoom really contributes to that," he adds.'

Spammers hide behind a friendly face

'Spam's newest pitches are coming to you courtesy of friends and co-workers -- or so it might seem. In one of the latest marketing gimmicks circulating the Net, the sender comes disguised as a corporate network administrator with the subject line: "Your mailbox is over its size limit." Once opened, however, the email's message lewdly invites the recipient to view adult material.'

Fleishman-Hillard PR in PR mess (NYT - registration required)

An office manager at Freishman-Hillard had her email address changed to that of a former employee which led to her receiving over 80 emails from Politech. She assumed that it was spam, told the IT guy, who then went ahead and issued a threat. Unfortunately for him the target of his crusade was a leading internet politics (anti spam) community. He issued a warning that Fleishman-Hillard would block all mail from Politech and also announced that he was reporting Politech to the spam police. This caused uproar. In the end the boss at F-H PR stepped in to diffuse the situation, issuing a much needed apology.

The whole fiasco is pretty entertaining. One thing is for sure, no company should underestimate the potential of the internet as a PR nemesis.

Sunday, April 14, 2002
Study - Usability of Websites for Children

'Children don’t distinguish between ads and content. To them, it’s all content, it’s all information. A grown-up user clicks on an ad banner maybe once a year, but children do it all the time. They see a banner with a Pokemon character and they think it’s a game. They don’t realize it takes them to a different site.' Update: Further details from the original study.

Saturday, April 13, 2002
The Thirty-One Steps to SEO

Some pretty good tips on the black art of search engine optimisation.

How Google's AdWords system is changing online advertising

Discusses textads, highlighting other sites that have followed Google's example, including MetaFilter.

The Devious Traps of Web Comparison Shopping

'Experts have a message for undecided shoppers who think a single comparison Web site will give them all the information they need to choose from among a dizzying array of options: Keep looking. Because of comparison sites' various agendas -- not to mention wide variations in their ability to deliver on promises -- consumers should view such sites as just another stop along the road to a truly informed decision.'

Friday, April 12, 2002
Forgiveness Marketing

A great alternative to the failed concept of permission marketing: 'this is how you build loyalty: Disappoint them and then make it better.' :-) bought by NTL

I suppose that is one way to solve a PR problem, just buy your company's main online critic. This is just too funny. 'NTHW remains a forum for the good and the not so good parts of being an NTL customer. But NTHW has a new owner. NTHW is now owned by NTL.' The statement goes on to explain why this is good news for users. You've got to admire their personal favourite is:

  • The company’s future vision is to earn the right to rename this site

  • Study: Web Helps in TV Ad Recall

    'Thirty-two percent of the Web-and-TV group recalled the ad; only 23 percent of those that saw just the television spot were able to recall it.' Update: Details of the study. Overall, I'd have to say that the implications of this study could be pretty dramatic. If accurate it clearly demonstrates that there is a substantial amount to be gained from mixing off and online marketing within a campaign.

    Pick a Car - any Car

    'Even though General Motors Corp. knows it doesn’t have a car to suit everyone, companies aren’t exactly known for admitting such things.

    Yet GM has set up a Web service that often recommends that customers buy from competitors. The service, Auto Choice Advisor, is designed to attract users by promising to simplify car selection by providing smart, impartial advice. The site offers a handful of possibilities—often without a GM car among them—and provides detailed, unbiased information, including independent reports such as the J.D. Power & Associates quality ratings.'

    How the Republican Party is harnessing the Internet

    'Employing a mix of huckster marketing and grassroots organizing, the Republican National Committee has launched a new web site designed to nurture local GOP activism.'

    Apparently the intention is for it to function as "virtual command center." It is good to see republicans embracing this medium - it wasn't that long ago when their leader said "It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet."—Bush, Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

    Thursday, April 11, 2002
    IAB told to adjust strategy to save interactive ads

    'Yet-to-be-published research funded by the European Commission will tell the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to change its focus to become a technology consultancy for advertisers.'

    Just what we need. As if the industry hasn't got enough problems without having to deal with hyperactive bureaucrats.

    LookSmart Debuts CPC for Small Business

    'Paid search engine LookSmart (NASDAQ:LOOK) is aiming to boost its appeal to small advertisers with a new cost-per-click (CPC) program. Instead of charging a fee to be included in keyword-based paid listings, The San Francisco-based firm's new product -- Small Business Listings -- charges advertisers only on a $0.15 cost-per-click basis.'

    Dynamic Logic's Nick Nyhan on Internet Branding

    Very interesting interview.

    Online ads drive sales of goods offline

    'Online advertising increases offline sales for consumer-packaged goods by an average of 6.6 percent, according to a new study by Information Resources Inc (IRI) and DoubleClick'

    I can just about believe that, although I'd somewhat question the reliability of the data. After all the study only covered 8 brands.

    Wednesday, April 10, 2002
    E-mail, Web Boost Sales

    'Marketers that used e-mail promotions and other online advertising methods found a positive impact on sales, customer retention, and brand awareness.'

    Using the net to catch junk mail

    'A Napster-like network might be able to stem the tide of spam mail messages flooding the internet. By sharing information about unwanted commercial e-mails among a network of collaborating computers, two US software developers are hoping to swiftly spot and spread the word about the junk messages. Tests of the system have shown that it can successfully spot and stop almost all unwanted e-mails, yet doesn't catch legitimate messages.'

    Overture Results to Appear on HP Computers

    'In a break from tradition, paid search leader Overture (NASDAQ:OVER) will deliver its listings to users not through its usual deal with Web portals, but by way of a new agreement with computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HWP). HP will bundle co-branded search pages available through the "Search the Internet" button on the Pavilion Desktop PC's keyboard, on the default Web start page, and as the default search engine on the computers Web browsers.'

    Tuesday, April 09, 2002
    The 5 most common SEO mistakes

    'Another common mistake made by webmasters and SEO learners is their choice of keywords placed in the META keyword tag. Sure it might seem logical to target the word “printers” if you run a printer repair business in Ohio, but think about it – even if you succeeded in ranking well for such a competitive term (you won’t), how many of the people visiting your site as a result of this search would leave as soon as they saw your home page? That’s right, most of them. All the people who wanted to buy printers, all the people looking for businesses outside Ohio, all the people not looking specifically for printer repairers.'

    85% of all Internet radio listening takes place during traditional work hours

    I don't listen to the radio at work as I find it hard to concentrate on that and play mini golf. There appears to be some serious growth going on in this sector - 'the total time spent listening to streaming radio stations has increased 495% since January 2001, and 79% since Jan. 6 of this year." It may be time to start taking internet radio more seriously as an advertising medium.

    Interview: TripAdvisor Advises Relevance

    'Where are net users going for all this travel research? An increasingly popular spot is TripAdvisor, a search engine and reference guide dedicated to travel. The site is entirely ad-supported, and all ads are simple text links. When TripAdvisor boasts of click-through rates averaging 10%, it does so without subjecting visitors to 30-second takeover ads. eMarketer converses with TripAdvisor President and CEO Stephen Kaufer about what keeps his visitors clicking.'

    Interesting - a topic specific search engine supported by contextual advertising. I like it.

    Monday, April 08, 2002
    A better yardstick for measuring online ads’ effectiveness

    'The system will estimate the number of unique individuals that an ad buy of any size on any site or online channel will reach, based on the number of impressions purchased. The system calculates the likely effectiveness of the ads within different demographics. And the analysis allows online ad buyers to adjust campaigns and allocate spending efficiently as well as quantify the benefits of spending overall, says Jupiter.'

    Media Life Magazine Takes The Day Off

    'Dear Media Life readers:

    The premises of Media Life burned down over the weekend. We will not publish the magazine today. We will resume publishing tomorrow, Tuesday April 9. No one was injured in the fire.
    Thank you very much for your support.
    -Media Life'

    I have to say, when they are not slacking off, they do produce a pretty impressive rag. A recent article - Those big ads on CNET really work - is quite an interesting read, and certainly consistent with a great deal of current industry opinion.

    Sixth Annual Video and Computer Game Report Card

    'Video and computer game play is most popular among kids. Our national survey reveals that 92% of kids age 2-17 play video and computer games. That translates into 59 million young players. In contrast, only 26% (55 million) of those over 18 play games. Many of these fall in the 18-24 age group. While it is true that there are gamers in almost all age categories, and millions of players are adults, the demographics of gamers skew toward the very young.'

    This survey was created to inform parents of the dangers of computer games. I'm pointing you at it for somewhat different reasons. I've long been an advocate of using online games as a marketing tool. I genuinely think that we have not even begun to realise the potential in this area, be it brand centric games or product placements. Related article: Online gamers pay real cash for virtual objects

    Technology Brand Recovery Online Seminar

    Tuesday, April 9, 2002, 9AM Pacific/10AM Mountain/11AM Central/Noon Eastern/5pm UK time. The speakers include:

  • John Loiacono, Chief Marketing Officer at Sun Microsystems
  • Ken Fitzpatrick, Chief Marketing Officer at Computer Associates
  • Peter Isaacson, Director of Worldwide Branding at Adobe

    Could be interesting. (Free registration required)

  • Sunday, April 07, 2002
    Kids prefer Net to TV

    'More children said they would pick the Internet over TV, telephone and radio if they were allowed only one medium or media technology, according to a study scheduled to be released today by Knowledge Networks/Statistical Research Inc., as part of its ongoing Home Technology Monitor. One third of kids 8 to 17 chose the Internet as their preferred media choice, while just 26% chose TV (see chart).

    The findings mark the first time the Internet has surpassed TV since KN/SRI began tracking children’s attitudes on media. Last year’s study showed TV was preferred by more children (29%) than the Internet, which was behind by one percent.'

    Yahoo to present LookSmart's paid listings in Australia

    'According to the agreement between the two directories, announced today by the Australia-based subsidiaries, Yahoo will in response to certain searches return three paid listings provided by LookSmart Australia. The "Yahoo Sponsor Matches" appear after searches for specific key words.The agreement with Yahoo Australia & NZ will run until March 2003, with the potential for an extension, the company said in a statement.'

    Saturday, April 06, 2002
    Dirty Laundry On The Web

    'IT'S NOT often that a company publishes accusations of murder on its website, especially when the accusations are directed against the company. But when the Hague, Netherlands-based Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies committed to an open discussion with the world's citizenry, they meant it. The result is a site that blazes a trail for companies that want to take their customers seriously as world citizens and not just as potential revenue sources. The accusations are found in postings to open forums the company maintains on its website.'

    I wouldn't recommend Nike doing this ;-) In all seriousness, the net does present a potential PR nightmare. For Shell to encourage negative discussion is certainly bold and commendable. Done right, I am a great supporter of any move towards increasing the information flow between customers and companies. That said, it is imperative that the necessary infrastructure is in place to facilitate quick reaction to such feedback. Remember the net can turn rumour into apparent fact faster than anything on earth, except perhaps women.

    There are 32 'possible beverage occasions' in every day. (login-rloch password-dogs)

    Why I bring this up is that I think it has relevance to the way marketers should look to deliver advertising online. Clearly if you want to win business from Coke in the future you've got to deliver advertising at a precise time of day. The internet should be great for that - but as of yet few companies are even coming close to providing proper solutions along these lines. If you want to buy an ad on a front page of a publication for 1 minute at 12.53pm, that is viewed by all readers, you can't. Clearly these kind of more sophisticated options need to be developed.

    Friday, April 05, 2002
    Overture Sues Google for Patent Infringement

    'Internet advertising company Overture Services Inc. OVER.O said Friday it sued search engine Google, alleging that Google's system for featuring paid advertisements infringes an Overture patent.......In a brief statement Friday, Google said that it was not surprised by the lawsuit but that it had determined it did not "infringe any valid claim" of Overture.'

    Update: The patent: 'The system and method of the present invention then compares this bid amount with all other bid amounts for the same search term, and generates a rank value for all search listings having that search term.' It seems wrong to me that a company can patent something so broad. Personally I can't see Overture winning this as the potential ramifications would be so significant.

    Online advertising gone wrong

    'A THERAPIST has been left living in fear after her address and a map showing the way to her front door was published on the internet by mistake.

    Jo Spaczynska was horrified when she saw her personal details had been placed on the web by internet advertising firm Scoot. The company was supposed to advertise the services which she offers at a local medical centre........The details remained published for more than a month, she said, despite repeated calls have them removed. Her problems with Scoot continued when she tried to cancel her contract, which she understood she had taken on as a one-month free trial. The firm insisted that she owed £117, covering administration fees and payments for every hit on her web page. She refused, saying she should not be expected to pay for a page which had mistakenly published personal details. The firm then hired a debt collection agency to pursue her for the cash.'

    Final chance to halt EU cookie fascists

    Apologies if I appear slightly emotive here, but god help us. EU bureaucrates are attempting to ban all cookies, except those specifically/previously requested, or something like that. Without cookies, CPA (affiliate) marketing is destroyed, in fact all online advertising and ecommerce becomes more difficult. If this goes through it will be an axe in the side of European online marketing. Save our cookies!

    Yahoo!, MSN and Google Lead in Online Search, According to Nielsen//NetRatings

    'NetRatings, the global standard in Internet audience measurement and analysis, today reveals that Yahoo!, MSN and Google led the online search category for February 2002. Today's study also reported on the top ranking brands and channels for various categories, including: Apparel and Beauty, Automotive, Computer Hardware Manufacturers, Finance, Insurance and Investment, Multi-category Commerce and Multi-category Travel.'

    And in related news:

    'Data based on audience measurement of more than 62,000 U.S. Nielsen panelists who have home Internet access for the week ending March 24, 2002 shows that sports holds the lead with game sites pushing hard. And, if you're an auto advertiser, here's the top car sites in March.'

    Specialists, Experts, Gurus, and Other Marketing Problems

    In case you wondering, I classify myself as - none of the above ;-) This article makes a good point - are your consultants giving you advice based on your needs or their knowledge? Are you giving advice that is more to do with your knowledge than client needs?

    Thursday, April 04, 2002
    Like a Virgin: Is Your Marketing as Fresh as Madonna's?

    It reminded me of an article that I read 12 years ago in The Times - something like 'Madonna the Brand.' It was the first occasion that Madonna had made the business section of a British newspaper. Well she is still around, and still making cash, and as the article points out, she still knows how to reinvent herself and keep fresh. There is clearly much that can be learnt from the old mistress.

    Online Advertising - The Cost Effective Option

    I'd agree that it is a cheaper option. However I'm not certain that it is as of yet a cost effective option, not in the traditional sense anyway. Yes, you can get in front of a lot of people for a comparably low cost, but the success of your advertising is likely to be relatively limited. I am still very much of the opinion that the web is best utilised as a viral marketing medium.

    Up Close With Google AdWords

    This is a must read. Danny Sullivan gives us his thoughts on Google AdWords Select from an advertisers perspective.

    'The motivation behind Google's ClickValue ranking method is noble. Google is trying to create the most "relevant" ads for a particular term. The thought is that those who write the best ads will be rewarded with clicks and thus do better in the system. Money doesn't rule. Of course, Google is also looking out for itself, to ensure that users consider both the ad listings along with editorial listings, in choosing what to click on.

    Personally, I think Google should drop the ClickValue idea. These are ads. As long as they are not misleading (and that should be policed), what's wrong with letting the person who pays the most come first? That's essentially what happens with Yellow Pages listings, where the people who pay the most get the biggest ads. In fact, it's hard to think of an advertising medium where money doesn't rule, when it comes to positioning.'

    Click Through

  • '72% Share of consumers who say they never pay attention to pop-under ads on the Internet.'
  • 4o% Share of consumers who say that when they do pay attention to a pop-under ad, it lowers their opinion of the product advertised. (SOURCE: E-Poll)'

    I am not a fan of pop ups, or pop unders. However companies such as Orbitz have had huge success using pop unders. Somehow they get publishers to take them on a CPA basis.

  • launches ad service has launched an advertising service for its partner web sites to allow more targeted matching of its products to web users. The service, called Amazon recommends, will be offered to Associates' 65,000 members, enabling them to create personalised product placements that are relevant to the content on their web sites.

    Wednesday, April 03, 2002
    Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)

    'Small business counselors are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed. SCORE's team of 900 virtual volunteers provide free and confidential E-Mail Counceling'

    What a truly wonderful resource.

    Business More Popular Than Sex On Search Engines

    How depressing ;-) Joking aside, it is not a bad idea to keep an eye on searching habits. Lycos 50 is always a good laugh. For a more detailed look I subscribe (free, of course) to WordTracker Top 500.

    Spam flood will drown email marketing warns Forrester

    'The bottom line here is that Forrester is warning marketers that email is out of control' Ya think?

    I promise you it will get worse. Wait until we properly adopt wireless. Can you imagine how annoying endless SMS or Wireless E-mail spam will be? NTT DoCoMo are struggling with this problem at present:

    'NTT DoCoMo thought it had tackled the problem by allowing i-mode phone users to stipulate up to ten domain names they are prepared to receive mail from. But spammers have found a way around this by making their messages appear to have originated from legitimate sources, such as rival telecoms carriers.'

    Good marketing is about getting people to positively engage in the process. If you piss them off, they turn off. I genuinely think that if things continue as they are it won't just be e-mail marketing that gets hit, but the fall out will effect other area too.

    World Cup Flag

    This publication will be keeping a close eye on viral marketing. To kick off the link above is a Football (not soccer, you peasant) World Cup centric promotion. They are attempting to get 1 million people to sign up. The thinking behind it seems to be pretty good.