Net Marketing - news and strategy


Saturday, June 29, 2002
The Spamdemic Map

This map is unreal - absolutely incredible in terms of detail.

criteria for inclusion on the Spamdemic Map are extremely broad... Some domains, companies and even individuals included here have not spammed me. The purpose of the Spamdemic map is to show relationships among spammers and other entities — legitimate or otherwise — and to illustrate the potential for abuse when and if irresponsible policies are followed — as when addresses are shared among mailers/marketers without the recipient's knowledge/permission, or when permission for mailing is not actually obtained through closed-loop opt-in confirmation.'



New Overture Auto Bidding system allows you to hurt competition

'If I understand this new auto bidding system well, you can really screw your competitors...

If you are satisfied with the #2 slot, just set your "max bid" to one cent less than your competitor's max bid. Now, you come in #2 and pay 1 cent more than #3. But, #1 pays 1 cent more than your max bid, not your actual cost.

i.e.
#3 Max Bid $1 - Actual CPC $1
#2 Max Bid $2.99 - Actual CPC $1.01
#1 Max Bid $3 - Actual CPC $3'

Related: New auto bidding system = Fools Gold



Worldwide Exclusive - Overture UK wins Yahoo.com

I received the following via email.

'I would like to announce a deal with Yahoo.com! When a user searches on Yahoo.com and is identified by their IP address as a UK user, then Overture UK listings will appear on the Search Results page. As with our Yahoo deal in the US, there will be three results at the top of the page under the Sponsored Matches section, and then two more at the bottom of the page.

This is superb news for all our UK Advertisers and you can expect to see an approximate increase in traffic of 20%. This launched last night tonight so you will see the increased traffic very soon ! '

The odd thing about this is that Espotting is meant to have an exclusive deal for the UK market. Or so it would seem. However, looking at this more closely, the reality is that the Espotting deal only covers serving ads on Yahoo.co.uk, whereas Overture's new deal covers serving ads on Yahoo.com, for IP addresses located in the UK.

I also learnt, after contacting a few associates, that Overture only sent this email to their larger clients. There is no mention of this deal on either their US or UK website, and no mention of this in the press. Whatever the reason for is the low key nature of this announcement, one things is for sure, this move is very cunning. The reality is, that in effect Yahoo is double selling the UK audience, in the sense that Espotting can no longer claim exclusivity to Yahoo's UK users. If I ran Espotting, I wouldn't be happy. In fact I'd be concerned that this may signal intent by Yahoo to switch provides when their contract with Espotting comes up for renewal.



Friday, June 28, 2002
I have a rather absurd problem

'I have been trying to reach a live person to purchase advertising from
MSN for almost 3 weeks, to no avail. I have a client who wants to
immediately spend $100k to advertise with them (and only them!), but
no one from MSN will call me back, and I'm starting to look bad!

I need the name and phone number (not just email address, please) of a contact PERSON in MSN Advertising Sales, ideally for the West Coast, but I'd be willing to accept anyone at this point.'

LOL. Now that is very funny. I found this whilst having a quick gander at Google Answer.



Board The Weblog Bandwagon Now, Please

A very good piece by Steve Outing, commenting on why newspapers should start utilising the potential of blogging. From the perspective of this publication, the following suggestion was of particular interest:

'Also interesting is the concept of hosting weblogs for local businesses -- and charging them a higher fee than is charged to individuals and non-profit groups. Publishers can think of hosted local-business weblogs as alternative forms of advertising -- which can be publicized on the news Web site and in the print edition.

An example of a local-business weblog would be a travel agency that maintains a blog featuring tales and photos from its customers' travels -- interspersed with marketing messages and special offers from the agency.'



NPR Retreats, Link Stink Lingers

'In response to furious criticism of its online linking policy, National Public Radio will no longer require webmasters to ask permission to link to NPR.org.'



My Monopoly

I started this thread earlier today on MetaFilter, to discuss a new product offering that allows you to create a customised version of a Monopoly game, where you get to name the properties, stations, set the rules, and generally customise the game. Interesting.



Googlesque Ads in AltaVista?

'I was working with AltaVista last night, and I noticed that they're now showing ads on the right side of the page. As far as I can tell from the URLs, these are Overture ads, just like the ones that appear on the main page. They're just set up like Google ads -- in text boxes on the right.'



Pink Floyd - The Wall

An audio tour, about the album.



Business Plan Archive

'The Internet boom and bust of 1996 to 2002 was the most important business phenomenon of the past several decades. In the wake of this historic period, we have an unprecedented opportunity to learn from our past mistakes and successes.'

Surely Boo! didn't have a business plan ;-)



Thursday, June 27, 2002


Overture matches Google's ad bidding

'In the past, the company (Overture) let advertisers enter "fixed bids," which allowed them to pay any amount for a keyword in search results--a system that did not make allowances for overbidding. For example, a company might pay $3 for a listing when a Web surfer searches on the term "books." However, its next closest rival might only pay $1.50 for the same.

Under the new system, an advertiser will only pay a penny higher than its nearest competitor. The advertiser also can set a maximum amount that it will pay into the system for any keyword.'



Puncturing Web Ads Before They Pop Up

A NYT article slamming popups, and giving advice on how to combat them. Now it may be because I'm penning this post from outside the US, however I certainly found it somewhat ironic that as I begun to read this article a popup was launched.

'Most have turned to advertising — and not just the sissy banner ads that sit demurely in a strip across the top of the window. As the economy declined, Webmasters and their advertisers huddled in shadowy labs, dreaming up ever more creative means of making the ads noticeable.

Today, the Web exhibits the fruits of their brainstorming: a proliferation of advertising with features like pop-up windows, pop-under windows and self-propagating, unclosable windows.

Ah, but technology giveth, and technology taketh away. If you want to fight back, a huge number of inexpensive ad-filtering programs await. Each is designed to suppress these aggressive ads, leaving you to read in peace — and, by the way, speeding up your browser by up to 40 percent (because your browser doesn't have to download the ad graphics).'



Publishers Sue Gator Over Web Ad Tactics

'A group of Web publishers filed suit in federal court this week against the scrappy Internet ad network Gator Corp., charging that Gator sells ads on their Web sites without authorization and pockets the proceeds.

Among the most confusing ad tactics are pop-ups, in which a browser window suddenly opens to display a commercial message. Often consumers can't tell where the ad originated; they assume it came from whatever page they are viewing.

The publishers charge that Gator takes advantage of this confusion and offers to sell ads that appear when Gator users visit specific Web sites, even though those Web sites haven't authorized the ads.'

It will be very interesting to see how this case turns out. The publishers arguement certainly hold some validity.



Wednesday, June 26, 2002
The fat lady is clearing her throat - Salon Auditors Doubt Company Can Stay in Business

'During August and September 2001 and March 2002 Salon raised approximately $3.7 million in a private placement of Series A and B preferred stock. Even though Salon has eliminated various positions, not filled positions opened by attrition, implemented a wage reduction of 15% effective April 1, 2001 and has cut discretionary spending to minimum amounts, due to a weak U.S. economy in general, and a weak advertising market in particular, it is unable to predict if and when it will reach cash-flow break even. Salon therefore needs to raise additional funds within the next three to four months. If Salon raises additional funds by selling equity securities, or instruments that convert into equity securities, the percentage ownership of Salon's stockholders will be reduced and its stockholders will most likely experience additional dilution. Given Salon's recent low stock price, any dilution will likely be very substantial for existing shareholders. Salon cannot be sure that additional financing will be available on terms favorable to Salon, or at all. If adequate funds are not available on acceptable terms, if at all, Salon may be unable to continue as a going concern and its ability to react to competitive pressures and take advantage of unanticipated opportunities will be substantially limited. In addition, Salon's business could be significantly adversely affected.'




Very cool





Britney Exposed



Internet users still not buying online

'The proportion of Internet users buying products and services online has failed to grow in the last 12 months, according to a new ecommerce report from Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS).

While global Internet usage rose by three percent to reach 34 percent from early 2001 to early 2002, the proportion of users making an online purchase in the past four weeks remains at 15 percent, the same as in 2001.'



Reality check: Does adware work?

As unpopular as this may be, if I was asked to promote a new online product I would seriously consider using adware. It may be the telesales of the online world, breaking endless principles of basic privacy etc, but the fact is that whilst it continues to be an effective market entry tactic, it can not be ignored.



Why SpamNet is the only anti-spam app on my PC

I haven't got around to trying it yet, but will. E-mail marketers be warned, the introduction of this type of spam control could be very good news, or very bad news. One thing is for sure, the industry must evolve with this development. Opt-in will now have to move in the direction of more openness. It must be appreciated that all advertising emails will now get blacklisted unless they contain an explanation for why they were sent, detailing where the initial sign up was. This really could signal the beginning of the end of buying and selling email lists as we know it.

Related reading: Hitting spam below the belt



Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Link to any article, and it will link back to you

OK this is very cool. I've just come across this courtesy of discussion on it at MetaFilter . Although this system has been around for a few months now, it has only been adopted by a few sites. Read about it on O'Reilly.

'Last week, a new mutation brought backlinks into a more prominent role. At Disenchanted, inbound links were automatically reflected outward.'

Tony Pierce, attention whore of the highest ilk, has recently adopted a similar system, offering a link back to anyone who gives him a permanent link on their site. His 'goal is 100 new links before 7/9/02,' and with 58 already it looks like he is going to walk it.

Just for good measure, I'm going to link to a story: Voodoo e-conomics

The article is actually very interesting - particularly the comments on micropayment.



Monday's are more interesting in the UK.



Pop-ups slowly being tolerated by Web users

This article debates the future of pop ads. As I've said before, for a new company breaking into a market pop ups are tragically very effective, and therefore will continue to be utilised, at least whilst publications allow. That said if I was a brand manager for an established product I would fight tooth, nail and arm, to prevent pop ups entering our marketing plan - it is just not worth risking the negative downside, unless your brand has little to loose.

I personally believe that pop ups will eventually disappear, however I'm not certain that their death is anything like as imminent as many would hope.

Update - related article: Is it time to stop the pop-ups?



Problems with cobranding online

'Multiple brand messages will muddy a user's experience and kill sales if you aren't careful. Many cobranded services turn out poorly, primarily because they fall short in two areas: technology and strategy.'



Rodeo Wars - DMC launches first lycos-sponsored viral campaign

'We've produced the first online viral marketing campaign to be sponsored by Lycos UK, pitting a racy video clip of model Emma B against the Lycos Viral Chart's top-scoring digital clip of pop queen Kylie Minogue.


The Lycos Viral Chart aims to showcase the best, most thought-provoking and witty digital video clips which their users then vote for - giving a true indication of what's hot online and what's not. Having received a huge demand for the Kylie clip, which therefore hogged the number one spot for weeks, Lycos decided it was time to see if anyone could dethrone her.

"This campaign is also an opportunity to test the power of viral marketing with our own brand," said Nicole Morse, Marketing Director for Lycos.'





Monday, June 24, 2002
The End of Free has opened a discussion board - cool

'this board is open to people who are interested in creating and growing fee-based online services that work, and want to discuss and share strategies and tactics that work (or not!)'



Build your own South Park Character - I'll justify posting this by claiming that it is a good example of viral marketing.



IAB uses the web to showcase online ad success stories (NYT registration required)

The Interactive Advertising Bureau 'plans to roll out an ad campaign today on some of the most highly visited Internet sites, including Yahoo, MSN and CBS SportsLine.com. The campaign will label online advertising "the active ingredient" and include success stories from BMW, Palm and the Dove Nutrium soap brand of Unilever, with the tacit message to competitors of these companies that they should spend more online.' (read press release here)



FilmFour uses SMS to back internet dating film

'Mobile agency Flytxt has created the campaign, which it claims is the first of its kind. The creative, which asks recipients to reply to a personal ad from a sexy Russian woman or create their own ad, mirrors the theme of the film, which stars Nicole Kidman as a Russian internet bride.

Ivan Wormley, creative services manager at FilmFour, said: "We want to get people to have fun interacting with one of the main ideas behind the film - meeting people online - a week before it opens, and we also want to drive traffic through the two-for-one offer."

FilmFour has also created a microsite in partnership with The Sun newspaper online. As well as promoting the text campaign, the site contains features such as a vodka-drinking game and a lonely hearts gallery.'

I like this campaign - it is a great example of convergence marketing - even if it borrows heavily off the Russian Brides website ;-)





Interactive ads play big role in the movie "Minority Report"

'With the help of contemporary advertisers like Lexus, Reebok, Nokia, Guinness, Bulgari, and Pepsi-Cola's Aquafina, Spielberg and his team paint a fascinating picture of what advertising might look like in the future -- complete with interactivity and personalization. The vision grew out of a "think tank" of MIT futurists that Spielberg asked to imagine what the world would be like in 2054. From that team's work, and from the mind of production designer Alex McDowell, grew a panoply of ads that appear throughout the film.'


Ads: How the Web can learn from TV

Whilst I disagree with the conclusion, the general premise of his argue seems reasonable. Something has to happen to make online advertising more effective. On a personal level I'm becoming more and more of a fan of rich media advertising. However I do not agree with the author of this piece that adverts should become more intrusive in terms of time. The web isn't TV, users should not be completely halted for ad breaks.



Sunday, June 23, 2002
Stanford-Makovsky Web Credibility Study

Preliminary results from a 'study (pdf file) to explore how more than 50 web site elements affect perceived credibility.'


Lesbian imagery in marketing


Cool Homepages


New to my Blogroll

  • Opt-in news
  • Emerging Interest


  • Saturday, June 22, 2002
    Asia to Retain Net User Lead

    By 2004, eMarketer expects the proportions of internet users within the major geographic regions to stay approximately the same, with Europe gaining slightly on North America, but with Asia-Pacific still comprising about one-third of the world's internet users.




    Internet Radio, RIP

    Dan Gillmor comments on the decision by the Librarian of Congress that web companies should pay 00.7 cents everytime a song is played to an individual listener. To put it mildly, Dan is not impressed.

    Related article:
  • Feds cut Webcasters a break on fees


  • Thursday, June 20, 2002
    I wouldn't bother turning up here tomorrow. England are playing Brazil in the World Cup, starting at 7.30am London time - and therefore I'm having the day off everything - except football, drink, and women. It could be a truly magic day, if our boys do the business. I'll be in a bar in Piccadilly from 6.00am (I'm not a drunk, I'm just turning up early so that I get a good seat, alright) - and if all goes to plan I should be dancing around Nelson's Column by 10.30am.

    If the day goes completely to plan, I'll be consoling some Brazilian beauty by lunchtime. Possibly a challenge too far, but I'll certainly do my best.






    Thinking' robot in escape bid

    'Scientists running a pioneering experiment with "living robots" which think for themselves today said they were amazed to find one escaping from the centre where it "lives".'


    Yahoo gives net marketing lessons

    'MARKETERS and advertisers do not understand the potential of the internet, says Yahoo (Australia and NZ), which has launched an online marketing solutions centre resource to educate them.

    The site includes information on research tools, targeted banner advertising and home-page stunts, that give an advertiser all the ad spots on a heavily viewed page for one day. Internet case studies on the site include the launch of Coca-Cola's summer advertising campaign, a Valentine's Day promotion for Fiji and promoting Dstore as a premier supplier of the Xbox games console.'

    A similar site has been running in the US for sometime now, so hopefully American marketers are up to speed on Yahoo's vision of online marketing. There doesn't appear to be a UK version yet so I'll have to wait a while longer before receiving my Yahoo marketing education.

    Sarcasm aside, I do get their point. Studies in the US suggest that the internet consumes around 11% of our media time, yet attracts less than 2% of media spend. That is the imbalance that they wish to address - I wish them luck :-)

    Related news: Yahoo say - Net Has Become Ultimate Mass, Direct Marketing Vehicle


    Wednesday, June 19, 2002
    Cloudmark Unveils P2P Anti-Spam System

    OK now this is cool. More innovation from the co-founder of Napster - Cloudmark announced today the 'immediate worldwide availability of SpamNet, the first, easy-to-use Microsoft® Outlook® add-in that stops spam immediately.' This announcement comes hot on the heals of a recent Spam Conference failure, where it was basically concluded that the problem could not be solved. Cloudmark however believes that there is an answer - fight fire with fire and then some. Actually I remember John writing about this a couple of months ago, but I wasn't expecting the solution to be quite so sophisticated.

    'The system works by asking members to report any spam messages that they receive, which they can do via buttons that appear in Outlook when the add-on is installed. A report then makes its way back to a server running a program called Vipul's Razor. That server then passes the word to other servers running the program. The result is that end users are protected from receiving any spam messages that have been reported by other network members. The messages are filtered into a spam folder on Outlook, so people can ensure that e-mail isn't being filtered incorrectly.

    Similarly, users can report legitimate messages that mistakenly end up in their spam folders, using the same buttons that appear in Outlook. The company says this feature helps legitimate marketers distinguish themselves from spammers, because users can indicate that they opted-in for something that was erroneously filtered into their spam folder.

    Another safeguard against false reports is Cloudmark's "Truth Evaluation System," which follows up on spam reports and begins to assign individuals with a reliability score, based on their propensity to issue true -- or false -- spam reports. That reliability score is taken into consideration when individuals make future reports.

    "It works a lot like eBay's reputation system or rating system," said Jacob. "It watches people over time and sees whether other people agree that what's reported is actually spam." '

    Read today's press release in full.

    Further reading:
  • Slashdot: SpamNet: Razor for the Masses
  • Exec. Summary: Can Cloudmark Handle Spam Hackers?
  • The Register: Cloudmark takes Napster model to spam blocking
  • CNET: Start-up wants your help to fight spam


  • More consumers are making their online purchases from work

    'Nearly one-quarter of online consumers (22 percent) now engage in online shopping while at work, compared with only 12 percent in 1999, marking the third consecutive year of increase in the activity.'


    Webby Award Winners


    Salon CEO talks bollocks again

    "We successfully introduced Salon Premium in fiscal year 2002 and proved that readers were willing to pay for high quality content from Salon. While we're pleased with the numbers to date, we're continuing to aggressively market to Salon's large base of approximately 3.6 million monthly readers, trying to convert a significant percentage to Salon Premium," said O'Donnell.'

    If Salon has 3.6 million regular/monthly readers then I'm presently sleeping Anna Kournikova. My question is - why the hell doesn't the media question this obvious lie? Salon closed off 75% of their content last year - is it really likely that this draconian policy only led to a fall of 200,000 in their monthly readership?

    Why is this critical you may ask? Well in O'Donnell's own words -

    '"Advertising will be our largest revenue source going forward, with the ad market showing signs of rebounding in 2002 and 2003, and traditional advertisers shifting more budgets towards the Internet, we're excited about the potential to increase our sales going forward and achieve profitability."

    And what will that advertising revenue be dependent on - that's right folks - the size of Salon's audience, hit rates, page views etc. Personally I would be stunned if the present readership is anything more than 2 million, and if pages viewed haven't fallen by at least 50%.

    Am I wrong Mr. O'Donnell? If so explain to me why Salon's Traffic & Audience Profile hasn't been updated for over a year? Come on, tell us the truth - I dare you.


    Tuesday, June 18, 2002
    How to Sell More Online Ads and Please Partners: Kelly Blue Book Uses Site Metrics to Raise Profits

    Interesting case study highlighting the importance of understanding how users experience a website.


    Five well-known online publishers are banding together to pitch their combined audiences to advertisers seeking to reach consumers at work.

    CBS MarketWatch.com (NASDAQ:MKTW), NYTimes.com, USAToday.com, CNET Networks, and weather.com will begin selling not just inventory on their own sites, but will also participate in an daypart-based ad sales consortium that the publishers call "the At-Work Brand Network." '


    Sunday, June 16, 2002
    Google Zeitgeist

    'For both breaking news and obscure information alike, people around the world search on Google at www.google.com. With a bit of analysis, this flurry of searches often exposes interesting trends, patterns, and surprises.

    On a monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily basis, this Google Zeitgeist page will be updated to reflect lists, graphs, and other tidbits of information related to Google user search behavior.'


    Friday, June 14, 2002
    The Revengers

    'Raw Films announces the launch of The Revengers: a campy, irresistibly sexy, action-packed television series for the next generation. But don't just wait to see the show on TV. Get involved now!

    From story lines to actually casting the characters, Raw Films wants to get the public involved from the very start.

    If you dream of becoming a star then you've come to the right place! Get ready to enter the most democratic casting call that television has ever seen. Upload your headshot and begin your journey to becoming a Revenger. Or watch the thousands of people as they strive for stardom.

    Do you have what it takes to be a Revenger?'

    I suggest that you have a good look at this site. There is some interesting viral stuff going down here.. not least of which being the castings - which pretty much follows the 'am i hot or not' mantle.


    Holy cow batman! Google Adwords Appearing At Top

    Previously Adwords only featured on the right hand site, with Google Sponsored Links given exclusive rights to the top of the screen. This is a very significant change..that may suggest that their Sponsored Links option is heading for the scrap heap. I have to say that I'm somewhat surprised that this story hasn't been featured elsewhere..well not that I can see anyway.

    'It's official: The first Adword Select ad will be displayed on most keywords when there is one Premium Ad. In other words, they need to fill both top slots, so if there is only one premium advertiser for the keyword computer, the first Adwords select ad will be displayed on top. I confirmed this with my Premium Adwords rep today. This began TODAY. I like it a lot!'


    Thursday, June 13, 2002
    Mazda viral web only video

    'This is the first time Mazda has used these online marketing techniques, which aim to increase brand awareness and demand.

    DMC is managing, seeding and tracking the viral campaign. It uses a humorous digital video film created by Mazda's advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson (JWT), specifically for the Internet - the film will not be seen on TV nor made available anywhere else.'

    It is very encouraging to see a company investing so significantly in a web only campaign. By combining email and online video in this way their goal is to generate excitement in their new product prior to the official launch in July. To my mind this is a very appropriate way of utilising the power of the web, and I expect to see a serious growth in this form of campaign over the next year or so. Remember that Kyle Erotica video that we discussed previously..that reached the no.1 spot in the UK viral charts weeks ago, and still hold that position, well this Mazda video has already achieved the no.5 spot.


    Blowing $840 Million For What You Believe In

    Bill, as always, telling it like it is, and gives us a first hand account insight into the down fall of eToys.

    'The point of all of this is, is that I hear all sorts of people pontificate about why eToys failed, yet none of them even have the slightest clue of what eToys was about. No, I am not drunk on the eToys Kool-Aid but when people talk about a failed business model they have no idea that eToys was one of the only online toy retailers who sold items at a profit.'


    Wednesday, June 12, 2002
    Marketing study shows email value

    'Digital Impact released its “Trends in Direct Marketing Study,” a report based on interview responses from senior marketers in Fortune 1000 companies. Among this group of marketers, findings showed that email is viewed as a highly strategic aspect of their overall marketing and communications and will be more tightly integrated with other forms of direct marketing over the next several months.'


    Disney, ad buyer make $1.2B deal

    'Analysts were left scratching their heads Tuesday as Walt Disney and ad buyer OMD USA confirmed plans to unveil the biggest-ever media-buying deal.

    Details were scant about the $1.2 billion pact. OMD will put spots for such clients as McDonald's, Nissan, Visa and PepsiCo on Disney's ABC network, cable channels such as ESPN and Lifetime, its TV and radio stations and Internet sites.

    "There has never been a deal of this size and scope," says ABC spokeswoman Julie Hoover.'


    Helping Businesses Evaluate Their Internet Presence

    'To ensure that their Web sites are conveying the intended image, a growing list of businesses, including Avis Rent A Car System, McDonald's, Staples and Holiday Inn, are turning to companies that test usability and brand opinion for help. These companies conduct surveys and focus groups and even use high-technology eye-tracking devices to uncover how customers use a Web site and how their experiences affect feelings about the parent company.'


    Web Sites Still Fail to Recognise the Importance of User Satisfaction - Survey Findings

    'The international study, carried out across 14 countries*, shows that word of mouth is far more important than search engines or links for attracting regular users. Nearly twice as many regular users of a web site say that they first found the site through friends or relatives, than through a search engine.

    Furthermore, 98 per cent of satisfied users say they would recommend a site to someone they know, compared to only one per cent of dissatisfied users.'


    Tuesday, June 11, 2002
    The Power Of Search Engines

    'According to Jupiter Media Metrix & NPD (March 2001), users looking for products are far more likely to type the product name into a search engine's search box (28 percent) than browse shopping 'channels' (5 percent) or click on ads (4 percent).'


    Creating Traffic With Creative Branding

    Some excellent points are made in this article - one of which being that - 'Generating traffic - The idea is crucial. Develop an idea that not only generates attention but also generates appropriate attention -- attention that enables people to remember the information that engaged them and to act on it.'

    Pull marketing on the net should be a winner, however few companies have developed ideas, concept etc. that warrant much attention. There are a number of reasons for why this is presently the case, probably the most obvious being the lack of current investment. Mark my words - brand managers will look back on this time and wonder what the hell they were doing - they talk about connectivity - don't they understand that the net can truly give them what they desire - give them that deep intertwining relationship that they seek?


    Comparing Websites to Print, TV Media in UK

    'According to a study conducted by NFO WorldGroup for the Periodicals Publishers Association, over one-half of British adults, ages 15 and over, find commercial television advertising to be annoying, compared to 23% who say the same about commercial radio and just 18% who say the same about ads on websites.'


    Monday, June 10, 2002
    BMW to tune up Web film campaign

    'BMW is preparing to restart its online marketing efforts this fall, bringing back a popular campaign that features digital films starring its cars.

    BMWfilms.com said Friday that it plans to revive its digital movie series, "The Hire." The new trio of films will reprise with British actor Clive Owen, who will tackle a host of dangerous situations--from behind the wheel of a BMW, of course.'

    The initial series was an excellent example of what can be achieve with this medium if proper investment is forthcoming.


    Words Are Worth a Thousand Pictures

    'The Poynter Institute and Stanford University have research data to show that web page text gets more attention from readers than graphical content. Using a method widely used to observe newspaper reading habits, precisely tracking the eye movements of a web site visitor, an accurate record is created of what a person actually looks at on screen. This often differs from what people say they look at.

    Using news-reporting sites, the Poynter-Stanford study found that readers looked at full articles first 92 per cent of the time and at news briefs first in 82 per cent of cases. Photos on the pages were viewed first 64 percent of the time, banner ads were viewed first in 45 percent of cases and other graphics were seen first in 22 per cent of instances.'


    Interview: i-traffic Steps on the Gas


    World Cup 2002 - The Digital Collection

    'The web has no memory - unless it is created.

    This was the beginning of The Digital Collection. On September 11, 2001 Norbert Specker of Interactive Publishing started to collect screen captures of online news sites around the world, often the only recordings of this day in the newsrooms. The collection has grown and served many visitors since.

    This then, was a similar enterprise. We wanted to make sure that many different views on how this worldcup developed were accessible and preserved.'

    Every Ad Agency in London appears to have commissioned some form of World Cup related project. The scale of this bandwagon surfing is extraordinary - it's nature shameless. It was therefore nice to come across this very special project, that has actually been developed to serve a worthy purpose, and not simply flog a product.


    Thursday, June 06, 2002
    The Positioning Statement: Why To Have One Before You Start Communicating

    'One of the most profound statements made on the subject of positioning comes from Louis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland. When Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which path to take, he responds, "if you don't care where you're going, it doesn't make a difference which path you take."

    Too true. Ask the average dotcom 3 years ago where they were going, and at best their response might have been 'to IPO.' Fucking clueless :-) Personally, when it comes to marketing I find that 'too many cooks' often screw the whole thing up. Someone once said that 'It is better to have 1 average general that 2 great ones.' With marketing you've got PR people fighting with Ad Agency people fighting with Marketing departments, etc. etc. Too many egos, too much bollocks, and not enough clear direction. It is no wonder that CEO's rarely allow these territory obsessed procrastinating spoilt kids to make any real decision. God I'm in an arsey mood :-) Still it's my birthday tomorrow, and I'm getting far too old, so I'm allowed to be.


    Building an E-Commerce Community

    'While community-building efforts cannot be assigned a specific ROI (return on investment) formula, analysts said sites that pull users into a community definitely reap financial benefits.

    A recent study by McKinsey & Co. and Jupiter Media Metrix (Nasdaq: JMXI) found that at some sites, regular users of bulletin boards and feedback areas generated two-thirds of sales, although they accounted for just one-third of all visitors.

    Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) reported similar findings, noting that 94 percent of sites that use community features said they boost repeat traffic and help generate nearly one-quarter of all site traffic -- without adding significant advertising or marketing costs.'


    Amazon Gold Box

    Cool....Clever!


    Wednesday, June 05, 2002
    Spam threatens to choke internet

    'While the cost worldwide is impossible to quantify, a British MessageLabs survey of 200 companies found the average worker took 10 minutes a day to clear spam.

    That's £470 (NZ$1534) a year in lost time for someone on a salary of £25,000 (NZ$81,618) - so for Britain alone, the bill runs into the billions.

    The European Commission estimates that spam costs European consumers US$8.6 billion ($19.5 billion) a year.'



    Tuesday, June 04, 2002
    Anyone who is here to see Claudia

    Why not educate yourself while you are at it. Perhaps go and see Tony Pierce - a close friend of Anna Kournikova's, or Ken Layne - a king amongst critics. You could even pop over to see Elizabeth Spiers - she used to be a cheerleader you know.

    However if you insist, ignoring my suggestion to forget Claudia and seek true fulfillment elsewhere, then visit Snoopy's he has the pictures you seek.


    Pop-under ads may hit publisher wallets

    'ExitExchange, an ad-technology provider that is claiming rights to the invention dating back to 2000, had its patent application published by the U.S. Patent Office last week. The filing broadly covers any systematic delivery of a window launched after another, including those on devices such as cell phones. If its application is approved, ExitExchange will have rights to collect royalties on the use of pop-under ads.' Ummmh!


    NYTimes.com Debuts Dayparts

    'The new ad format, dubbed "site sessions," enable NYTimes.com to feature a single advertiser in exclusive placements across all of its major ad positions for a specific period of time. The format's inaugural advertiser, American Airlines (NYSE:AMR), will appear from 9 a.m. Eastern time to 10 a.m., from Monday through Wednesday.'

    Time is a very important part of advertising delivery mix, it amazes me that it has been ignored for so long. As the article points out, with the introduction of such schemes now the net will be able to work along a similar basis to TV and radio, making cross media ad buying more likely. In fact, not meaning to blow my own truppet or anything.....I did in fact write this post a month or so ago:

    '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.'


    Monday, June 03, 2002
    Penthouse Sued Again Over Anna Kournikova "Nude" Pics

    The Internet Movie Database is reporting that 'Florida lawyer Reed Stomberg has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of himself and every other male who purchased the June issue. Stomberg explains, "The sole reason I paid the $8.99 was for the alleged Anna pictorial. I bought it for a friend of mine (ed. of course you did), not to say I didn't take a quick peek at the pictures."


    My new favourite site - Google Weblog


    Is Mesothelioma the most expensive word on the net?

    At the time of this posting the top 3 bidders for the word Mesothelioma on Overture (the sponsor matches on Yahoo) are paying $35.18, $35.17 and $35.15 per click respectively. It should come as no surprise to anyone that 2 of the companies involved in this bidding war are law firms (The Mesothelioma Web that is currently in the no.1 spot is not a law firm).

    I have to admit it is a somewhat carming feeling clicking a mouse, knowing that you just cost a lawyer $35 :-) not that I'm recommending anyone do that or anything. Now some may point out that these lawyers are helping people with cancer, fight industry negligence, and therefore should not be subject to my personal therapeutic exercises. Fair enough, but my guess is that their motivation is greed not compassion, and therefore I am still capable of finding it relaxing to cost them cash, without feeling guilty. Anyhow, it is Overture's job to screen for false clicks, and at $35 a pop one thing is for sure, their system better be up to scratch.







    Britney exploits zebra

    'PETA spokeswoman AMY RHODES says, "I can promise you that whatever was done to have this zebra walk up stairs was cruel. Britney shouldn't exploit animals." '

    The question is will Britney now do the right thing and finally lend her celebrity to help Peta. They have been hoping to get Britney involved in the 'I'd rather go naked that wear fur' campaign for sometime. In fact it was announced that she would go naked for fur, only for that story to be denied. This is not the first time that Britney has been in trouble with Peta, there was also an incident with a Cheetah and a snake. Surely now Britney will have to follow the likes of Kim Basinger, Pamela Anderson and Dominique Swain (see photo below), and take her kit off for fur.

    Whatever you think of Peta (evil revolutionary fascists or animal lovers) one thing is for certain - their use of the internet as a PR medium is exceptional. In fact the same is true of most activist type organisations, many of which have for years utilised the nature of the web far better than most businesses.





    Online Ads: What Works, What Doesn't

    'What's most interesting are the reports on online media formats. Banners were slammed, plummeting from 48 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2001. Sponsorships took a hit, dropping from 28 percent of the mix in 2000 to 26 percent in 2001. Interstitials went down a point. Email pretty much stayed the course at 3 percent of overall spending.

    The biggest increase was in two often overlooked categories: keyword placement and classifieds. Between 2000 and 2001, keywords jumped from 1 to 4 percent of spending, superceding email! Classified ads leapt from 7 to 16 percent of ad spending -- the biggest boost of the bunch.'


    Next Internet advertising arena: online games

    'As more people turn off their TVs and turn to gaming, it's a way for advertisers to keep reaching a young audience.

    "We definitely see this as a method to tactfully carry an advertising message to the gaming community," Beth Larson of Electronic Arts Inc. told other game developers during a workshop at the Electronic Entertainment Expo video-game trade show in Los Angeles.

    Larson's company is preparing for the largest advergaming venture yet. "Sims Online," an Internet version of the PC game series "The Sims," will incorporate brand names for cell phones, restaurants and food companies into the game.'


    Sunday, June 02, 2002
    Weighing In On Spam

    'I propose the REASN (Registered Email Advertising Server Network) database.

    In my model, the major players in the email marketing world would get together to create a centralized database of mail servers from which "legitimate" email marketing would be sent. These players would agree to a set of rules for inclusion in the database. Adherence to the rules would guarantee acceptance into the approved email marketer database.

    I suspect the major debate in implementing such a system would involve whether to forbid all opt-out or unsolicited mailings. Personally, I lean towards allowing providers who send opt-out or unsolicited mailings to participate in the database. Forcing them to conform to rules that provide consumers with information on the source of the mailing (who sold their personal data) and simple mechanisms to opt out of further messages would be sufficient to stem the tide of email abuse.''

    Scott Brew, President & CEO of Adtegrity.com, appears to be saying that spam is OK as long as it is clearly labeled and properly regulated. Here's a novel idea, how about introducing such a system as he describes, but banning spam from it entirely. Isn't that what the user wants?



    Spam News:

  • Alleged spammer on hot seat again
  • ING switches to fax spam
  • Farewell to a Net Freedom Fighter
  • EU whams spam with ban
  • Australian firm sues over spam complaint
  • US senator turns unwitting spam mailer
  • Spammers might be exploiting a server near you



  • An Overture Pay Per Click Search Engine Marketing Guide

    A pretty good rundown, although I'm not certain that I necessarily agree with the following advice - 'start by realizing that Overture is the largest and most used system available because it is the most effective. If you are going to start using any PPC system, I would advise using Overture.' I personally think that Google Adword Select can be a far better option, dependent on who you are targeting. The more sophisticated the audience, the less appropriate Overture becomes as an option.

    Related article: A Guide to the New Pay-Per-Search Scene


    Saturday, June 01, 2002
    Follow up: Claudia Schiffer topless / nude photos published

    'Various entertainment sources reported that supermodel Claudia Schiffer has issued legal warnings to European magazines which bought pictures of her swimming topless. The ultimate Teutonic tootsie, who hid from the cameras under a blanket on her wedding day last Saturday (25 May) to protect a lucrative deal with a glossy magazine, has reacted angrily to the pictures taken of her at a swimming pool at the Sandy Lane Motel in Barbados.

    Most of the magazines have heeded the warning, but not so the Milan-based Novella 2000, which not only put the half-naked model on its front cover but also remarked that her prime assets were fading in comparison to their former glory.'