Net Marketing - news and strategy


Thursday, May 30, 2002
Our girl sends Anna home

Gloating...there really is nothing worse. In all truth, whilst little miss Ozzy might think she is a bit special now, the reality is that Anna Kournikova's early exit from the French Open was actually more to do with her dress than her opponent.





THE AD AGE ANNUAL INTERACTIVE AGENCY REPORT

'Cost cutting, layoffs, office closings were 2001 strategies' Top 100 Agencies Ranked By Revenue from Interactive Marketing Operations.


Press warned off Schiffer topless pictures

'Publications in the UK and around the world have been warned against printing topless pictures of Claudia Schiffer. The photographs are believed to have been taken at the exclusive Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados.

Several titles were planning to use the pictures until Schiffer's lawyers pointed out they were taken on private property so any publication could be prosecuted for using them.'

I'm certain that someone will print them....although the recent pornikova case may make them think twice.




Scooby-Doo, Where Aren't You?

'"The object is to broaden our reach," says Don Buckley, senior vice-president for interactive marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures. The obligatory Flash-enabled home page (www.scoobydoo.com) was launched in March, but the marketing isn't just about site traffic. "I'm happy to lose a unique visitor if they end up making the same decision and buying a ticket," says Buckley.

NOT SITE-SPECIFIC. To that end, much of the virtual blitz takes place apart from Scoobydoo.com. The film's advergame -- an online promotional game featuring characters and plot elements from the movie -- goes live first on movie news sites like Moviephone.com, not on the film's home page. The trailer made its debut on America Online (AOL Time Warner is the film company's parent). Specialized content, including Scooby trivia games and nostalgia stories about the original cartoon, will also be posted on AOL -- both in the entertainment and the auto sections (for fans of the groovy Scooby van).'




Tuesday, May 28, 2002
The potentional of weblog marketing: Why was my Anna Kournikova Penthouse stunt so successful? (photos here)

The answer can be found by using Overtures Search Term Suggestion Tool. Type in Anna Kournikova and you get the following list stating the number of times a particular Anna Kournikova related phrase has been used on Overture during the last 30 days.

358004 anna kournikova
34593 anna kournikova nude
17735 anna kournikova penthouse
13913 anna kournikova pic
12888 anna kournikova picture
7861 anna kournikova naked
6099 anna kournikova wallpaper
4033 anna kournikova in penthouse
3843 anna kournikova fake
3339 anna kournikova photo
3147 anna kournikova gallery
3130 anna kournikova nude pic
3012 nude anna kournikova
2973 anna kournikova topless
2722 penthouse anna kournikova

For 15 days I held the no.1 spot on Google for the term 'Anna Kournikova Penthouse,' the 3rd most popular search term. Obviously Google traffic is many times large that Overtures. Whilst that traffic was useless to me, imagine what a site selling Anna Kournikova posters could have done with my 40,000 plus Anna Kournikova Penthouse related visitors. Using a blog to jump on news stories, and then redirect traffic, does appear to me to be a feasible net marketing tactic. Bloggers will hate me saying that, but hey, I didn't invent the technology, or decide how Google rates weblogs.





20 Tips and Traps of Internet Marketing

I don't normally post to articles that start '50 best ways to advertise on the internet' et al, however I felt this piece warranted inclusion. Though fairly basic, it does act as a very good check list.


Interview: Viral Marketing

An interesting discussion with Tom and Shane of 'Yours Is A Very Bad Hotel' fame.


Monday, May 27, 2002
Selling Subscriptions to Internet Content Summit: a quick report

I suggest that you go over and read this immediately. The key points that Oliver noted were:

  • Selling online subscriptions is all about direct marketing.
  • Research is ok, testing is better, tracking and measuring is best.
  • Retention is key.
  • Selling content, as opposed to giving it away, drives service quality.
  • Some lessons apply for everyone.
  • Convert from free to fee first, then worry about upselling.
  • Handle free trials with care.
  • Just auto-renew subscriptions!
  • Shared accounts: risk or opportunity?


  • Supporting Multiple-Location Users

    'About half of the users now access the Internet from more than one location. Despite the implications of this for service design, many systems assume that users remain bound to a single computer.

    In only three years, Internet use has changed from being overwhelmingly a single-location activity to being a multiple-location activity for almost half of all users. Given that the census data is already six months old, I wouldn't be surprised if the percentage of multi-location users had increased to more than half by now.'

    One such system, from a web marketing perspective, is a typical affiliate system. If I find a product through an affiliate whilst wasting time at work, and then later buy that product from my home computer, said affiliate will not get the commission because the require cookie will be sat elsewhere. Are companies like Commission Junction doing anything to combat this situation?


    Sunday, May 26, 2002
    Answering Ms. Spiers

    When I initially changed the emphasis of this blog to cover Anna Kournikova (plus the Penthouse fiasco), there was a valid reason behind it - I wanted to see what level of traffic could be achieved by jumping on the back of a breaking news story (namely the Anna Kournikova and Penthouse story). The results were substantially better than I'd ever expected, hitting a peak of 6,900 visitors in 1 day coming here to see the photos of Anna Kournikova in Penthouse. I even got to do something constructive with this traffic, sending visitors over to see Tony Peirce, who had Penthouse photos that my new Kournikova visitors sought. Encouraged by the success of that, I also used the opportunity to send a good level of traffic over to Oliver Willis's pad to help him with his shameless self promotion.

    Now there is the arguement that Anna Kournikova related traffic is of little relevance to me, and whilst that is true, this little Kournikova stunt has provided me with invaluable knowledge on how Google Search is presently operating, whilst also getting me some decent coverage in more relevant quarters.

    So in conclusion, yes Elizabeth I am a sly bastard, but there is reason behind my Kournikova related actions. Well that is my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it. I suppose there is the possibility that I've just become obsessed with Anna Kournikova, although I would always deny that, using the defense that anything that helps promote Tony is a service to mankind, and thus can't be quesitoned ;-) After all he knows Anna Kournikova intimately. Who else can boast that?






    Top Google Ranking in 24 Hours!

    Decent advice. I got a Top Google Ranking for the words 'Kournikova Penthouse' in less that 24 hours, but then again I'm very talented ;-) That said, other sites have recently cottoned on to this particular Kournikova Penthouse bandwagon forcing my site a long way down the Kournikova search list. You will be releaved to hear that I am fighting back, and this site will once again soon rule Kournikova and Penthouse.


    Saturday, May 25, 2002
    Anna Voted World's Sexiest Woman

    'Tennis beauty Anna Kournikova has aced a bevvy of pop princesses to be named the world's sexiest woman.Men's magazine FHM voted S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens was second to take the accolade of Britain's sexiest woman.'

    After the controversy surrounding the Penthouse photos, that were so clearly not her that a blind pygmy could have told you they weren't, it is good to see the young temptress on top of the world again.





    New Rules for the New Advertising Economy

    'Effective advertising must be intrusive. But intrusive ads must be used sparingly to avoid ruining the medium. From this axiom comes a host of surprising implications - the new rules for the new advertising economy.

    1) Shallow is good. The key metric in Web advertising is unique users, not minutes per site. "You want users to come to your site every day - and then go away," says Roy de Souza, CEO of Zedo, a leading ad-serving network. Web publishers should hit each new user with a big, lucrative ad on arrival, but after that pageviews probably cost more to create and deliver than they can earn in banners. Front pages rock; inside pages stink. From this core observation, other corollaries emerge:

    2) Forget stickiness. Web sites once bragged about their lingering users. Now a site is better operated like a fast-food joint: no loitering. Loyalty is still good, but only when it means being a brief part of a daily routine. Think cats, not dogs.

    3) Real time is risky. What could be worse than a stock-quote site, which users check and recheck constantly? Better to focus on less-ephemeral content that rewards a single visit - sports scores, weather, or newspaper headlines.

    4) Communities are overrated. Do you really want to encourage hours of chat in your expensive online salon? Same goes for webmail. Free Internet service providers, such as NetZero, are already limiting users to just two hours a day - when the law of diminishing returns kicks in hard.

    5) Chase dilettantes, not obsessives. Just ask the game sites. Gamers spend hours reading hints and cheats; from an ad perspective, that makes them parasites. A passing interest in, say, movie listings is, economically speaking, a lot more desirable. '

    My opinion on this - What a load of bollocks. Now I am not saying that there is no merit in what is being voiced above, just that you can not generalise like that. Whilst it is true that it might be effective for new brands to attack in the most intrusive manner possible, it is not necessarily advisable thing for established brands to do so. If I were to write something on the 'New Rules...new economy' I would certainly struggle to do so without mentioning Direct E-mail marketing, Google Adword Select and Overture. A better title for this piece might have been "Unoriginal Overly Generalise Dribble For The New Economy 2 Years Ago"


    English is not the Net's first language

    'Non-English speakers outnumber native English speakers when it comes to using the Internet, according to new research from Global Reach.

    Around 59.8 percent of the total world online population are from non-English speaking zones, compared to 40.2 percent from English speaking zones. This is equivalent to 338.5 million non-English Internet users and 22.8 million English speaking users.'


    Votes for new M&M color boost Web site traffic

    'Traffic on the official M&M Mars Web site skyrocketed 145 percent during the week ending May 19, as surfers logged on to participate in the Global Color Vote for the newest M&M candy color. MMS.com attracted 336,000 unique surfers at-home this past week as compared to 137,000 visitors the week prior.

    Purple took the top spot as the most popular color choice, as the voting page for purple captured 30 percent of the total visitors to the site. Nineteen percent of the site's audience logged on to the aqua color voting page, while the pink voting page drew 9 percent of surfers. "The recent online ad campaign by M&Ms is a great case study in how Web advertising can build brand awareness and drive site traffic," said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research, NetRatings.'


    Thursday, May 23, 2002
    Yahoo shuts European auction sites

    'The internet firm Yahoo has announced plans to recommend its rival auction website Ebay to its users ahead of the closure of its own auction sites in Europe. Yahoo referred to its decision to pull out of the online auction business as a multi-year, multi-million euros "marketing alliance" with Ebay.'

    I have to confess that I am somewhat astonished by this news. Ebay rules the US, however Yahoo auctions were not dead and buried in Europe. Yahoo does after all dominate the Japanese auction market, demonstating that they can compete. Even though Ebay is significantly ahead of the game in Europe, Ebay Europe is not anything like the dominate force that it is in the US. That said, now that this deal has been done, I can see the logic and merit in it. As things are now, I would be stunned if some sort of S.E. Asia deal was not announced shortly between these players.


    Wednesday, May 22, 2002
    Penthouse pays up after Kournikova pictures error

    'The ailing magazine Penthouse reached a last-minute out-of-court settlement late on Monday with a woman who sued for $10m after it published topless photographs (available here) of her claiming that they were of the Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova.

    Judith Soltesz-Benetton, the daughter-in-law of the Italian fashion designer Luciano Benetton, did not reveal how close the settlement was to the amount she had initially demanded after the magazine printed the photographs in its June 2002 edition.'

    I insist that Penthouse are lying bastards who were fully aware that the pictures were not Anna. If Penthouse object to me saying that, then I'm more than happy to have my day in court. This whole fiasco was nothing more than a last gasp attempt to reclaim readership after seeing their company battered by the flood of free internet porn.


    The Web as a Way of Life

    'The Internet has infiltrated everyday life for most Americans, and has had a serious impact on major life decisions, a survey by The Pew Internet & American Life Project finds.

    Internet users have come to rely on the vast amount of research and information content available, and often consult the Web before making dramatic life changing decisions. The survey showed that notable numbers of Americans turn to the Internet as a basic reference tool to gather information, and, in some cares, to compare alternative courses of action.'


    Monday, May 20, 2002
    Seven Things Marketers Want From Vendors

    1. Banners are on the way out.
    2. Direct is in.
    3. Search engine optimization is hot.
    4. The time to build is over.
    5. Marketers understand the value of research.
    6. Content continues to be a big issue.
    7. CRM remains an enigma.

    Bottom line? Results, results, results. We're long past the days of pie-in-the-sky speculation and wild ideas. Today's clients want to get people to their site, convert them to customers and keep them coming back. They want efficiency, measurability and ROI. They want more value from lower budgets. They're done building. Now, they want to reap the promise of the Internet.'

    Whilst all of that is very nice, it does beg the question 'what about what the impoverished online publishers want?' Still, I get the point.


    Consumers Want More from E-Mail Marketing

    This has to be the most warped survey that I've come across for a while, or at the very least the most inappropriate headline. Spun differently, exactly the same story runs under the heading - Americans delete unrecognised email. Someone has clearly set out to prove something that isn't reality, for their convenience, and unsurprisingly managed to do so. What's that saying....'There are lies, damn lies, and then there's statistics.'


    Sunday, May 19, 2002
    Mini Motty, your World Cup desktop commentator

    Designed by Turtlze this gadget is a little bit special. Sat on your desktop min Motty (aka John Motson in RL) it will give you commentary on any match that you choose. This is yet another example of a company attempting a World Cup online viral marketing campaign, however I must say that on this occasion, I am very much a fan. It is clear to see that serious effort has gone in to creating this little gem.


    Blog marketing

    Following Oliver Travis's post on marketing blogs, I've decided to include links to other Marketing Weblogs on my Blogroll. What this means to my readership is that on occasions, such as recently, when I decide to take my site off on a tangent, you will still have access to decent online marketing intelligence. If I've missed any good marketing blogs (I know I have) please let me know.

    To be honest, I write this site for myself, and therefore am not overly bothered with what my readership (30,000+ in the last 3 weeks) thinks (much that I love you all). I find writing this a useful way of forcing me to keep up to date with online marketing news/trends. However, I also find writing continuously on the subject of online marketing a little dull, so I will be interjecting more random stories on other stuff. Anna will always have a presence here, in one form or another.


    PENTHOUSE APOLOGIZES - (Anna nude? pictures here) The following message appears on the top of their home page.

    'It has come to our attention that the photographs we published in the June issue of Penthouse, which we described as being of tennis star Anna Kournikova sunbathing topless on a public beach, are, in fact, pictures of another woman.

    We deeply regret this unintentional error and offer heartfelt apologies to both women. Prior to making the decision to print them, we had examined the video of this young woman in painstaking detail and compared it with numerous known photographs of Ms. Kournikova. We also interviewed the photographer at great length who described in depth the circumstances of his shooting the film. The fact is that we were totally convinced that the video and his story were genuine. We were wrong!

    In over 30 years of publishing this magazine we have never made an error of anything approaching this magnitude. We can only say, "We're sorry" to the two women.'

    What a load of bollocks. Tony Pierce still has the pictures up, so you can judge for yourself whether this was a genuine mistake or not.....Amazingly Tony has not been asked to take the Anna nude? photos down by either Penthouse, Anna, or the Italian bird. I'm hoping that he gets sued ;-) He probably is too.



    I'm presently involved in a search engine battle with Penthouse for the number 1 Google spot for the terms "Anna Kournikova Penthouse" and "Kournikova Penthouse." Although struggling to remain so, at the time of this post I am still no.1.


    Retailers lead in online advertising, a new report says

    'The top10 online spenders, according to Competitive Media Reporting in 2001 were:

  • Retailers: $533.3 million
  • Media and advertising: $450.5
  • Financial: $327.2
  • Computers and software: $251.1
  • Local services and amusements: $238.4
  • Travel and lodging: $126.3
  • Automobiles and accessories: $107.5
  • Government: $89.7
  • Telecommunications: $79.2
  • Insurance and real estate: $67.2


  • Internet's Tangled Web of Sports Memorabilia

    'A wad of gum chewed by Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez was auctioned on the Internet for $10,000. A few weeks later, clippings from the goatee of Oakland Athletics pitcher Tim Hudson fetched $75. And earlier this week, at the urging of a local sports talk radio host, Seattle Mariners pitcher Jeff Nelson put bone chips from his surgically repaired right elbow on eBay. After 124 bids in about 24 hours pushed the price to $23,600, eBay ordered the chips removed, citing a rule prohibiting the auctioning of body parts.'


    Saturday, May 18, 2002
    Way Beyond the Banner

    'a look at the new ad types and what's working.' This study appears somewhat wrong to me. They give 'text ads' a 5 star rating for effectiveness. Why? Whilst it is true that CPC (cost per click) text ads are relatively effective, the same can not be said for CPM (cost per 1,000 impression) text ads, which they are referring to here. In fact Google somewhat reluctantly changed emphasis from CPM to CPC because advertisers were unconvinced of its effectiveness.


    Thursday, May 16, 2002
    5 Reasons Why 2001 Was the Best Year Yet for Online Advertising

    I'll probably comment on this at some stage. I would do it now, but unfortunately my site remains on loan to The Anna Kournikova World Promotions Group. I'm still getting 1.500+ Anna related visitors each day (down from a peak of 6,900), so the powers that be won't let me return to my usual business. BTW, in case you care....god it was a beautiful day in London today. When the sun deems to come out London really is very special.


    Sunday, May 12, 2002
    Anna hits the top 10

    All this searching for Anna Kournikova Penthouse pictures has propelled Anna to no.6, down from no.30 on the Lycos Top 50. Britney Spears, the 'secret smoker,' is still 1 ahead at number 5. If you happen to be here in search of Anna Kournikova's topless, naked or nude Penthouse photos I suggest that you go and see Tony Pierce. His relationship with Anna is so special that I dare not even attempt to describe it. One thing is for sure, he has the photos that you seek. Incidently, ignore the dodgy italian claiming that they are her - go and see Tony and judge for yourelf. I also strongly recommend a visit to Oliver Willis's gaffe. There you will find both enlightenment and Britney. BTW if you want a site like this (better than this if you have any talent at all) then go to Blogger- you can be up and running in 5 minutes, and it is free.





    eBay, AOL renegotiate marketing pact

    'Under the companies' new agreement, eBay will pay AOL $18.75 million for online advertising for the contract year ending March 23, 2003.' And in other/related news 'eBay plans to test out pop-up ads.'


    More marketing blogs

    Oliver Travis has a good post on weblog marketing. Only a few companies have cottoned on to using weblogging as part of their communication mix. I find it someone surprising that this is the case, but expect that to change dramatically over the next 12 months. Whilst on the subject of marketing weblogs, Affisch is certainly worth a mention.


    Top Ten Guidelines for Homepage Usability

    'Following are ten things you can do to increase the usability of your homepage and thus enhance your website's business value.'


    Thursday, May 09, 2002
    NewsFlash

    A blind pygmy who has never encountered civilization said today that 'the Penthouse pictures are clearly not Anna Kournikova, even a blind pygmy that had never encountered civilization could tell you that.' Penthouse refused to comment.


    Wednesday, May 08, 2002
    US Internet traffic doubles in 2001

    'According to RHK, US Internet traffic now stands at around 100 petabytes, (100 million gigabytes) a month. This is more than twice the equivalent long distance voice traffic for the whole of the US.'


    Tuesday, May 07, 2002
    LookSmart Broadens InfoSpace Deal

    'The move will see LookSmart's paid search listings being extended to Bellevue, Wash.-based InfoSpace's new meta-search product. On Monday, the company began distributing meta-search to the Excite Network's excite.com and WebCrawler.com.'


    Monday, May 06, 2002
    Internet penetration doubles

    'The number of Russian internet users hit 18m by the end of last year, double the number for the year before, according to the Russian IT public centre (ROCIT).'

    God knows what the significance of this story is, I just posted it to keep the Russia theme going. Looking at my stats, over the last week 1,000's of people have visited this site to pay homage to their favourite Russia temptress. In recognition of my sites new status, I've changed the title to 'Anna Kournikova Penthouse nude photos - previously a marketing weblog.' Not only should this make my new readership feel more at home, it should also help keep my name high up in the Google rankings. I recently noticed that a few webmasters have started to muscle in on my turf. Some are even attempting to benefit financially from a high Anna Kournikova Google ranking, without providing directions to Anna's pictures. Fortunately I am prepared to fight back, and now that I've 'Anna Kournikova Optimised' my site, I expect to see my ranking rise back to the no.1 spot as soon as the Google Robot next passes through these parts.


    Direct marketing on steroids

    'Unlike blast-it-out brand advertising, pay-for-performance affiliate marketing, in which a retailer posts a promotion and a link from an affiliate partner’s site to the retailing site then pays the affiliate a commission on every sale or other designated action the link produces, leverages the Internet’s interactive capacities. It lets online sellers cast a wide net without overspending, paying to acquire new customers only when the customers click through a link to buy. It can bypass consumers unlikely to buy a retailer’s products to zero in on better prospects.'


    Yahoo! Service Offers More Advice Than Expertise

    'First Google started an advice service with Google Answers, now Yahoo! has stepped into the arena with Yahoo! Advice, which is offered through a partnership with LiveAdvice. Is this a new trend in search engine offerings or just a way for these two companies to generate revenue?'

    Very interesting and detailed article on this industry subsection. I'd personally like to see MetaFilter launch some hybred form of 'Advice Service.' I think that could work very well.


    Sunday, May 05, 2002
    Lawrence Lessig: The "Dinosaurs" Are Taking Over

    'Who should control the Internet? If Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig is right, the Internet will soon belong to Hollywood studios, record labels, and cable operators -- corporate giants that he says are trying to cordon off chunks of the once-open data network. Lessig's mission is to stop them.'


    Boom times have passed for online porn

    'If someone does get an original idea for adult content, it's likely that their photos or video will be downloaded and available for free on newsgroups or on Napster-style file sharing programs.There's also growing tension with credit-card companies whose blessing is necessary for the industry to exist.'


    SonicBlue ordered to track ReplayTV users' viewing choices

    'Last October, the studios and networks accused SonicBlue of permitting copyright-infringement with its latest digital video recorder. The machines work like a VCR but record to a hard drive instead of video tape.

    The plaintiffs asked SonicBlue to turn over information on how individuals use the recording devices. SonicBlue said it does not track that information. The magistrate, who is supervising discovery, ordered the company to write software in the next 60 days that would record every ``click'' from every customer's remote control.' This is certainly a contender for the Big Brother Awards.


    Thursday, May 02, 2002
    Study: Traditional Advertisers Using Rich Media

    'Rich media ads may represent only a fraction of all online advertisements, but they've found favor among highly sought-after offline advertisers, according to new research from Nielsen//NetRatings (NASDAQ:NTRT). The Milpitas, Calif.-based firm found that nine of the top ten rich media advertisers during the first quarter were made up of traditional brands.'

    Recently I've been having a very close look at rich media advertising. Although my 'study' is far from complete, I will give you a glimpse into my thinking so far. One area that I've been evaluating is dynamic adverts; the type where butterflies flutter across your screen for no apparent reason, or aliens start attacking cars. Generally, whilst 'effective', I tend to think that many are too intrusive. However, what I was somewhat surprised to notice was that a small number of the many dynamic ads that I reviewed, were to my mind entirely acceptable. They did not annoy me, on the contrary, they blended well into the user experience, allowing them to be both effective and bearable. What it demonstrate to me was that perhaps at least some ad creators/online marketer, were beginning to come around to the idea of positively involving the user in the overall marketing experience. If so, this is certainly not before time.


    Overture & Inktomi Out, Google In At AOL

    I apologise - I'm going to pop back on topic for a second, but I assure you that I will return to posts about Anna in due course.

    'Google said it won the AOL partnership due the quality of its search, the high recognition of its search brand and the ability to help AOL monetize its search listings. "We were the underdog, it's true, but the major factor was the search we were packaging with our paid listings. It will be a very good user experience," said Sergey Brin, Google's cofounder and president, technology. "Secondly, when we sat down and looked at all the metrics, we had very competitive monetization," Brin added.'

    It appears that my earlier prediction that AOL and Overture would continue their partnership was well out. From Overtures perspective, although this is bad news, they've still got Yahoo for 3 more years. Given a choice between keeping AOL or Yahoo, the later would have won any day of the week.