Net Marketing - news and strategy

Friday, August 30, 2002
Google searches for exposure--overseas

'Google is quietly expanding advertising sales efforts in several European markets and Japan, potentially setting the stage for a renewed turf battle with rival Overture. The Internet search company recently introduced its ad-buying program, called AdWords Select, in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Japan, according to the company.'

The article goes on to examine the battleground, highlighting Google position against its rivals. Astutely, Danny Sullivan chips in stating:

'If Overture wants to go into Spain, they have to line up the partners and advertisers. But Google already has plenty of people using the search engine--they don't have to build up a network in countries around the world, they already have people around the world using them. If Google gets partners in international countries, it's just the icing on the cake. For Overture, they need to bake the cake from the very beginning."

The unbearable lightness of being online: How do you prove, once and for all, the value of Internet advertising?

Insightful commentary, giving advice on how online publishers can improve their chances of attracting advertising dollars. She also reviews supporting research, highlighting what industry bodies are doing to improve the overall situation.

Personally I think that more should be done to win over client companies, rather than simply pampering to marketers. Trying to persuade advertising agencies to shift emphasis to a medium that rewards them little on both the creative and buying side, isn't ever going to be easy. On the other side however, pursuading major companies that they are missing out on a serious opportunity by not fully utilising this medium, should be an easier sell - especially when substantial evidence exist to support this claim.

You just missed my newsletter

If you are not a subscriber you will have just missed my "Week in Review' newsletter - which included links to Selected News, Opinion/Analysis, and Research. As if that wasn't enough (ed. clearly that wouldn't be enough) there is also Campaign of the Week, Worst Article of the Week, and Site of the Week. For those that still want more, I have the Final Comment, giving my thoughts on a particular subject. This week I ranted on about Viral Platforms.

Kraft launches Dairylea Lunchables film campaign

'Kraft Foods has launched an online make-your-own Flash movie campaign for children that has attracted over 1,000 submissions in its first week. is designed to promote Kraft’s Dairylea Lunchables snack brand and allows kids to produce and submit their own movies online. '

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Ganging up on pop ups

Last week Earthlink announced that their new software would hunt and kill all rogue webpages. Unsurprisingly everyone is jumping on this bandwagon.

'Panicware Inc., a developer of PC software solutions, announces the launch of the Pop-Up Stopper(R) ISP Distribution Program. This program combines Internet pop-up control solutions into an easy-to-use program that functions as a toolbar within Internet Explorer. Pop-Up Stopper gives Internet control back to the consumer.'

Spam hits 36 percent of e-mail traffic

And in related commentary - How to Avoid the Email Black Hole

Wednesday, August 28, 2002
Kyle and Evian

It has been hot in London today.

Feeling a bit dehydrated I just bought a bottle of Evian, only to notice that Kyle is now the official sponsor.

On visiting the Kyle/Evian website, I found out that it is not only UK Evian bottles that are blessed by her presence. Indeed Germany also got lucky. The site offers this explanation:

'Many celebrities swear by Evian to keep healthy and hydrated and now Kylie has become Evian's first official endorser in the UK and Germany. The 220,000 limited edition 50cl bottles made especially for fans attending the Fever Tour concerts went down a storm. They have even been changing hands on for around £30.

From the success of the tour, Evian have now complemented the association further by producing 10 million special 1.5 litre bottles graced with a Kylie image- it's the first time Evian have ever used a celebrity on the back of their labels.'

This novel, and seemingly effective venture, is the brain child of Cake Media - a somewhat different marketing company:

'What do you call a company that does adverts, puts on gigs, designs clothing, generates radio and TV ideas, pulls off stunts, gets media coverage, puts on sports events, handles journalists at music festivals... the list goes on...? You may call us a creative agency, or a marketing agency or an advertising agency, or a PR agency, or a guerilla agency, but it wouldn't strictly be true. It's really not that important, so we just decided to call this mix of ingredients Cake. '

Ad Expenditures Drop Only 0.2 Percent in First Half of 2002

Yippie - internet advertising for the last 6 months was up on the same period last year..wait for it - by 1.9%.

Getting out my calculator - remembering how to use it - ah right - that's it - This means that 2.85% of all advertising spend in the first half of this year was directed at the internet. The fact that the internet accounts for 12-15% of total media time, and around 33% of work media time, appears to have escaped the ad industry yet again.

Net-Influenced Sales Will Reach €172.4 Billion In 2007, According To Forrester Research

'Many retailers futilely pursue online sales but ignore the influence of cross-channel shoppers on their offline sales. To thrive and capitalize on the potential of €172.4 billion of Net-influenced sales in 2007, retailers must right-channel and focus their Web sites on online sales or on driving sales offline, according to a new report by Forrester Research B.V. (Nasdaq: FORR).

"To become successful across multiple channels, retailers will have to adopt right-channeling -- getting consumers to use the right channels for the right transactions and interactions," said Forrester Analyst Hellen K. Omwando. "To do this, retailers need to focus on three principles -- understand cross-channel shoppers, know where to close a sale, and prioritize technology investments for 2005.'

Anyone still not see the value in search engine optimisation, usability, cross channel promotion and online branding?

Blazing to No.1

I mentioned last week that 'East West Records is partnering with online virtual world Habbo Hotel to push the debut release from pop band Blazin’ Squad.'

Well yesterday the band hit No.1 in the UK. Knowing as much about teen pop music as a turnip, I have no idea how much this this Habbo promotion should be credited for this success. I've made token gesture to find out, with no luck.

Measurability of On- and Offline Marketing

'A Reveries survey finds that only 3% of marketers believe online marketing is difficult to measure, whereas 34% say the same about mass-media advertising.'

Interesting. I personally think that the effectiveness of internet marketing is reasonably difficult to measure. Yes, the effectiveness of PPC and SEO marketing is easy to evaluate on certain levels. However what about the studies that show that people do research online and then buy off line? No system exists that perfectly tracks this behaviour. And then there is viral and email marketing, both of which are only partially trackable. If that is not enough to get you into the 'difficult to measure camp' what about straight advertising? - banners, rich media etc. Yes, most hosting systems track both direct action and branding, but only the stupid would claim that the results are anywhere near perfect.

Click and Complain

"Rating the Best Corporate Complaint Web Sites"

Clearly a company hasn't arrived until they have there own 'you suck' site. One notable site missing from Forbes's list is Earthlink Sucks, a fine example of customer fight back. It is always fun to watch how companies attempt to deal with negative feedback; some fight it, some embrace it. For instance, earlier this year, and I can't remember for the life of me who it was (please email answers to one company actually bought their official 'you suck' site and integrated it into their customer services department. Perhaps more should consider this option.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Instant weather reports, instant messaging

'Want a little weather with your chat? Custom Weather, a provider of syndicated global weather data, is providing personalized weather information for more than 58,000 locations into the Jabber instant-messaging product.

The weather information is provided as part of Jabber's Extensible IM product, where a CustomWeather tab will be integrated into custom-built clients. The same model can be used to integrate other custom HTML and XML data into custom clients.

"Combining desktop access to relevant weather information with something as real-time as instant messaging is a natural fit," says Geoff Flint, CEO of CustomWeather.'

Back to Me: Why You Should Talk About Yourself

'There’s a little Web secret that can help you kick off relationship-building with a visitor’s first stop at your site. Tuck some personal stuff in the nooks and crannies of your site.'

Ah ha - Well, what I like most in the world are tigers. Ummh.. A great day for me starts in a warm climate, with a pot of coffee, coissants, and a decent newspapers. A great night has to include a meal with a group of friends, a few pints of Guiness, and a chat with a beautiful women. When I was a kid I wanted to be a pilot..OK, I'll stop..This 'talk about yourself' lark is clearly overrated. Or is it that I'm just crap at it?

Anyway, the articles worth a read, even if my drivel isn't.

Microsoft puts privacy policy on display

'The newest beta, or test, version of Windows Media Player 9 Series prominently displays Microsoft's privacy policy for the program and offers consumers options for controlling just how much information they share when using the product. Unlike competing products, Windows Media Player 9 Series presents consumers with these options the first time the program is used. The Privacy Options panel offers users four controls for setting how much information is retrieved or sent via the Internet'

I wonder if something like this is transferable to online marketing. I'm one of those funny people that is actually delighted to receive advertising as long as it meets certain criteria - it is relevant, and it entertains/informs me. With that in mind, I would happily hand over more information about myself if it meant that I would no longer be hit by an endless stream of irrelevant message.

Ummh, I wonder, is there some form of publisher network that could be formed to faciliate this? Perhaps one that interacted with a user's browser. Or maybe it could be a webservice? A component of .Net/.Mac/.Sun perhaps?

Regardless..I'm begging you - please stop flooding my conscience with irrelevant message. It has got to be doing me damage on some level ;-)

New anti-spam company raises $5 million

'Software company MailFrontier said Monday that it raised $5 million from a group of investors and launched a test version of its anti-spam technology, the latest in a string of new products aimed at fighting unwanted e-mail.'

-- Matador's unique patent-pending Smart Select™ technology automatically sorts email using white lists, black lists, machine intelligence, and the community to determine messages that could be junk, and then verifies them with a challenge. --

Yet another hurdle for email marketers to jump over. It can't be long before the industry brings out its own anti spam solution - Everyone else has :-)

Monday, August 26, 2002
Off Topic: My Buddy Tracker

Scary wireless service that allows you to track where you friends are, providing you with a map location - apparently it is useful when organising events ?!? (read, spying on your spouse)

There is also Kid Tracker, which could be useful without being sinister.

Eyeblaster Partners with EyeWonder to Offer Streaming Video Content
in Window Ad and Floating Ad Formats

'Eyeblaster, Inc., provider of the leading rich media ad management platform, has partnered with EyeWonder to offer playerless streaming video. EyeWonder's streaming video content is immediately available in Eyeblaster's floating ad format and window ad (interstitial) format.

The Eyeblaster platform allows users to create, manage and track multiple rich media ad formats all through a single online tool. Now, combined with the broad usability and high quality of EyeWonder's playerless streaming video content, agencies, advertisers and publishers can easily manage unique rich media ads with unparalleled branding impact.

EyeWonder instantly delivers streaming video and audio content that seamlessly reaches more than 90% of Internet users -- significantly more than other technologies, including player-based. EyeWonder reports that over 80% of viewers watch the entire play of a 30-second spot.'

Here's an example of it in action - Diet Coke Floating Ad

DoubleClick Settles with States On Profiling

'Under the settlement, DoubleClick said it would make its online tracking activities more transparent by giving consumers access to their online profiles through a "cookie viewer" that it's developing. DoubleClick also said it would work with its publishing clients to ensure their privacy policies adequately inform consumers that the company's technology profiles visitors.'

This could be very revealing/interesting/bizarre - being able to see how an advertisers profile you. Almost spooky. I wonder whether others will follow this example? Gator for instance?

It's an Ad, Ad, Ad World

A very detailed examination of stealth marketing, looking across many mediums. The author does touch on the online environment, although some of the examples he gives aren't really stealth - BMW Films, advergames. However he does mention the ELLEgirl Active Buddy which was blatant stealth - the bot pretended to be a friendly trendy Manhattan girl, whilst what it was really doing was promoting an endless array of products.

I have to admit that I don't know the answer to this, but I do wonder how much stealth promotion actually happens online? The potential is significant - bulletin boards, chat rooms, community weblogs, personal weblogs, cam girls/boys, and IM - to name a few potential buzz vehicles.

One thing is for sure, it does happen. For instance, I was once approached by a very large company requesting my help in getting them a story on Slashdot. Good money was on offer.

Friday, August 23, 2002
Marketers to increase use of email newsletters

'Around 65 percent of marketers say they plan to increase their use of email newsletters, according to Internetmarket Group.

Almost two-thirds of B2B marketers and more than one-half of B2C marketers also claim that they plan to increase their use of email newsletter sponsorship.'

With that in mind, make sure you sign up to my newsletter. I've finally decided on the format for it - A weekly roundup of news, articles, campaigns, case studies and research. It could actually be very useful if I manage to do it well, something which is far from guaranteed ;-)

Ford creates online-only video ads

'Motor manufacturer Ford has launched a range of online-only video advertisements as part of its ongoing 'Ford Journey' campaign. The one-month campaign, which has been planned and bought by m digital UK, is running across, and

Each site is running a range of video banner ads, skyscrapers and pop-ups using streaming specialist Flashtalking’s technology.'

Target marketing at its very best

'Marital strife web site Divorce-Online is to target potential users through bars in London.

Over the next month, the site will target ads at both men and women through ADMEDIA’s A3 screens in more than 100 bar, pub and health club toilets in London’s West End and the City. The ads will be placed above urinals, hand-dryers and on the back of cubicle doors, where Divorce-Online hopes it will have a captive audience.'

As a single person, I find this very funny. It's just so beautifully cynicle.

Thursday, August 22, 2002
Let's get Viral

Viralbank and Viral Monitor are both good resources for tracking viral campaigns. The Lycos Viral Chart is also pretty good. If you know of any others please drop me a line at Cheers.

Lawsuits Seek $2.2 Trillion over 'Junk' Faxes

'A coalition of California activists filed a jaw-dropping $2.2 trillion set of lawsuits against facsimile marketer Thursday, saying millions of "junk faxes" are clogging the nation's fax machines, jamming communications and possibly endangering lives.'

Seems reasonable ;-)

Olivier Travers calls me out

Olivier disagrees with my recent claim that 'Apple has been either very clever, or very lucky' with its Ellen Feiss video ad.

'Robert, you should know better. The goal of advertising is to drive sales, and I have yet to witness even a blip in Apple's marketshare against the PC world (since it's the goal of the "switch" campaign.) What a gratifying role model. Who wants to identify with a stoned dork? "Hey, I got so much brain I bought the same computer as Ellen Feiss the slouched teen."

Last time I checked, Apple was still pretending to be in the computer business. Now if they're repurposing as a casting agency dedicated to finding new talent for teen movies, I might reconsider my opinion about how effective this ad is.

Marketers don't get paid to generate hype about their products, their one and only job is to increase sales. Buzz that doesn't translate into cash is useless. Hello people, this is 2002, not 1999.'

Of course, he's right.

One in Four Employees Addicted to the Web

'The survey - conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Websense - polled 305 employees and 250 human resource managers from companies with up to 38,000 employees. The report found that workers spend more than one entire workday each week surfing non-work-related Web sites. In addition, 24 percent of workers reported that shopping sites are the most addictive online content. News (23 percent), pornography (18 percent), gambling (8 percent) and auctions (6 percent) followed on the list of most addictive Web categories.

Perhaps most importantly for employers, the survey found that many workers access addictive Web sites at work. For example, 67 percent of workers access news sites for personal reasons, and 37 percent access shopping and auction sites at the office. '

These findings are consistent with an earlier study that found that the internet represents 34% of our work media time, more than any other channel. The inference of these 2 studies is seemingly obvious - that 'day parts' should play a major part in any internet campaign. These figures certainly highlight the potential of this medium - employees are spending 1/20th of their work time on the net, yet advertisers are spending less that 1% of their budget trying to hit them. Does that make any sense?

Wednesday, August 21, 2002
Ellen Feiss's 15 minutes ain't over yet

My comments earlier on Oliver Willis's post about the viral effect of the Ellen Feiss Apple video were picked up by Google, putting this site in the No.14 search position for her name. According to my stats this has equated to around 150 unique visitors in the last 24 hours. OK let's do some maths - the traffic received by a no. 14 position probably represents around 1% of total. Assuming that's right, then that would mean that there have been 15,000 searches for Ellen Feiss on Google powered sites during the last 24 hours. Then add to that MSN, Lycos, Ask Geeves and the rest, and you can probably double that number. Conclusion - Ellen Feiss is now a serious cult figure, and Apple has either been very lucky, or very clever.

Update: A couple of opportunistic individuals have taken out adverts on Google for the search words Ellen Feiss. One reads 'Smoke Different - Ellen Feiss t-shirt promoting marijuana awareness.' You know you've arrived when people start using your name in advertising.

btw: If you've got no idea what any of this is about, read the NYT article - "Out-of-It Eyebrow Lift Gives Apple a Superstar"

New ad format, combining video and skyscrapers

If you look on the right of this front screen you'll see the Nokia ad I'm referring to - a flash skyscrapper with with a TV style ad implanted in it. To my knowledge this is a new format, and pretty cool one at that.

A word of warning - You've got to be careful when putting skyscrapper ads on a front page. For instance in this example the Nokia ad is in fact off screen to anyone with a screen resolution of 800/600 or lower. With an estimated 42% of people using 800/600, that's a big % miss, especially when you are paying for it.

Reuters, Multex in Joint Ad Deal

'Through the agreement, financial terms of which were not disclosed, Multex's sales force will represent inventory on both companies' consumer sites, and Advertisers on either site, then, will be encouraged to also purchase ads on the other, and vice versa.

The companies also said they planned to work together to develop new, combined advertising products.'

The State of Search Engine Optimization - Part I

Excellent interview with Fredrick Marckini, Founder & CEO of iProspect, discussing where search engine optimisation (SEO) fits into ROI strategy. In light of recent reports suggesting that the rise of PPC advertising will spell death to SEO, Marckini hits back explaining why SEO will remain a critical part of the overall mix. This is definitely worth taking time out to read - he is highly insightful, and in my not so humble opinion, absolutely right.

EarthLink's Pop-Up Market Strategy

EarthLink's announcement that it would include anti pop up features in its latest software has received seriously wide coverage. It was picked up by Reuters, and was consequently featured in countless publications.

However, what I'm interested in is not so much the story, but the strategy behind it. They are basically launching a 2 pronged attack, largely aimed a AOL.

1. Respecting the user: Becoming anti pop ups, whilst AOL and Yahoo continue to deliver pop ups.
2. Broadband not Slowband: Their new 'Why Wait ' campaign plays on user frustration with the internet experience. What they've worked out is that in the mind of the user AOL represents the dial up experience. Their intent with this campaign is to rub that in, differentiate themselves, and in turn grab a health share of the broadband market.

In combination this plan is clever. They are playing to the choir, getting only adopter/influencers on side, whilst also blasting the masses. AOL better watch its back.

Related: AOL gets long-sought cable deal

'AOL Time Warner will spin off its cable unit as a separate company later this year and will offer broadband service over AT&T Comcast's cable systems (to be called Time Warner Cable), under a deal the companies announced Wednesday.'

Spam fighters shouldn't tread on the innocent

This is war, collateral damage is to be expected ;-)

Dan is right, this battle is reaping untold havoc on many legitimate operations, and often unfairly so. I've heard complaints from all over.. legitimate email marketers suffering, quality newsletters experience 20-40% bounce. This is a serious problem for many. All of that said, email marketers aren't doing themselves many favours, with them still insisting, for instance, that opt out mail and list rental is legitimate practice. Well here's news for them, the users don't agree.

The fact is that whilst marketers continue to fly in the face of general opinion, spam activists will continue to challenge them. I for one hope they do. The email marketing sector really does need to wise up, and agree on some sensible policies. If they don't they may not live to regret it. Anti spam software is getting increasingly sophisticated, shifting power closer and closer to the user. Email marketers better wake up to this reality - the threat is significant.

Related: Haiku'da Been a Spam Filter

'Refined poetry and ruthless legal prosecution have been brought together in the latest effort to stop spam.

A hidden scrap of copyrighted poetry embedded in e-mails will be used to guarantee that any message containing the verse is spam free. And if spammers dare to hijack the haiku, they will be aggressively sued for copyright infringement.'

Tuesday, August 20, 2002
East West Records to push band on Habbo Hotel

'East West Records is partnering with online virtual world Habbo Hotel to push the debut release from pop band Blazin’ Squad. Released this week, the band’s debut single, ‘Crossroads’, will be supported by an online competition to meet the band. Planned features include streaming the video from interactive ‘flyers’ on tables in Habbo’s Massiva club.

East West will target 12- to 16-year-old girl members through a campaign on Habbo’s instant messaging console, which will link users through to the band’s web site ( '

I thought that there was something quite interesting about this, the way that they are attempting to create first level buzz through community chat. What is slightly disappointing is that they didn't go to the next logical stage and create active buddy agents for the band members. Now that would have been truly innovative.

Monday, August 19, 2002
Oliver Willis has a sinister thought

'Increasingly, I am thinking that rather than just being a video of a pot-smoking teenager - the Ellen Feiss video (ed. Apple "Switch" promotional video featuring people explaining why they switched to Mac's) is one of the most succesfull bits of marketing ever on the web.'

He goes on to state that marketers would be wise to follow such examples.. I agree, the viral spread of this video has been incredible, although probably accidental. (if you have no idea who Ellen Feiss is then here's some background)

I personally think that "post reality marketing" is very much on its way to the mainstream, although no one has quite decided what it is. In fact I don't think that the term even exists. That is how cutting edge this site is.

A Time To Compare Numbers

Detailed discussion on the predicted shift in online advertising measurement toward reach and frequency.

'A key ingredient that has been missing from online advertising measurement is the ability to discover the reach and frequency of an online audience -- the building blocks of traditional media audience measurement. If reach and frequency is measured across the medium, the result opens the door to cross-media comparability and seamless multimedia advertising campaign planning and management.'

I have to confess that the jury in my mind is still out on this one. There is definitely a need for better measurement criteria than click through rates, pages viewed, unique monthly visitors etc., however is reach and frequency the answer? I'm not sure, I mean call me naive, but is it ever a good idea to compete with something on its own terms?

Baby Buggies - the new advertising platform

OK, nothing to do with internet marketing, but still, I felt compelled to post it.

'Nytmedie, started giving Danish parents of newborns free use of a top-quality baby carriage if they agree to push it around Copenhagen with a corporate sponsor's logo on the buggy's side.'

Whatever next? Will we be able to hire out our foreheads soon? If you are bald you'll make a killing. (update: reader Todd points out that this has already been done.)

Friday, August 16, 2002
Good ideas key to viral success, not just incentives

Great commentary from Justin Kirby, giving examples of why he feels that 'good ideas' rule this particular jungle and not incentives. I added my thoughts:

'I have to say that I agree entirely with this thinking. Anyone that thinks that incentives are the key to creating a viral spread simply doesn't understand how the internet works. Yes incentive can be good as part of the mix, but unless the content is compelling you won't get anywhere. has 1,191 incoming links, creating a viral network around them. That's before you consider the IM/email spread, or the syndication of their movies on other sites. There was no trick incentive there, they just decided to invest in compelling content.'

Worldwide Internet population grows slightly

'According to Nielsen-Netratings, the US has the largest Internet population, accounting for 30 percent of the global access universe.
Around 166.4 million Americans have Internet access, compared to 32.6 million Germans, 29 million in the UK and 22.7 million in Italy. Europe accounts for 24 percent of the global access universe, while Asia-Pacific accounts for 14 percent and Latin America, three percent.'

Thursday, August 15, 2002
Video of Sony's new prototype robot

I want one :-)

Is Lack Of Spending Really The Problem?

'So the question remains, why is it that this fine industry of ours does not get the respect (read: MONEY) it deserves? Why is it that no matter how much research we pump out, research demonstrating how effective the medium is as an ad vehicle, it doesn’t see more of the ad dollars that are allocated towards getting a brand’s message out there?

So, let me lay out some of the barricades preventing this fine industry of ours from singing like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

  • We need to make this business more efficient
  • Accountability
  • Identifying just what online media actually is
  • A lack of “tangible” experience '

    It is worth reading this article in full - as it makes a lot of sense. Of all the reasons cited his comments on Agencies strike me as being most prevalent:

  • Agencies themselves don’t do much to draw spending to the medium because they don’t really incentivize their talent to work in the space and create their best product for it. The margins aren’t there for creative, and the margins aren’t there for media. Management of a top ten shop isn’t going to motivate their staff to suggest online media when they can get a much larger budget for broadcast. If I can accomplish the same thing online with 10% as much as it would take to impact an audience offline, why is a public holding company of an agency going to allow for it? They got investors to please. Now, if instead they thought about their clients… '

    He'll soon be on The Royal Society For The Protection of Nails's 10 most wanted list if he continues to hit their members so squarely on the head.

  • New Yahoo IM pushes video, 'emoticons'

    'The new Yahoo Messenger 5.5 will allow much higher transmission quality for Webcam users with broadband connections. The new feature will allow people to transmit video at 20 frames per second, just shy of the movie industry standard of 24 frames per second. That's an improvement from Yahoo's current Webcam resolution of just 1 frame per second, which is geared toward people with dial-up connections.'

    I think that this is hugely significant. Genuine one to one visual communication for the masses. The question is - how does this development fit into the online marketing mix. Answers please on a postcard to

    Buyers Discuss Marketing Online Versus In-Person

    'The July 2002 Industrial Purchasing Barometer from Thomas Register finds that 32% of buyers say direct sales have had the best influence on ROI, compared to just 15% saying the same about the net.'

    Personally I'd say that these figures are pretty encouraging with the net beating trade shows, advertising and direct mail in the ROI stakes.

    Wednesday, August 14, 2002
    DoubleClick, IMS in Deal for Reach, Frequency

    'In a move that illustrates online advertising's efforts to incorporate traditional media measurement standards, industry giant DoubleClick will integrate reach and frequency tools with its MediaVisor campaign management software.

    The debate about reach and frequency arose because of a perceived need to speak about Internet media in the language that traditional media planners understand. Until traditional agencies can think about Internet media in the terms to which they are accustomed, the argument goes, they won't give online campaigns a substantial role in their media plans.

    "[Online media] are only getting the experimental dollars, and [they] will only get the experimental dollars until [they] start acting like a traditional medium that [media planners] can compare them to," said George Wishart, president and chief executive officer of IMS.'

    It is funny (funny scary) that you still have people saying 8+ years into this game that online media is still only getting 'experimental dollars.' What is more scary is that this guy is probably right. The internet accounts for between 12-15% of our media time yet attracts less that 1% of ad spend. That to my minds adds up to a lot of missed opportunity.

    How to make web ads work

    'Ask the consumer for permission to communicate with them by showing them adverts and listen and respond to their comments. Make sure you show them things they are going to be interested in, at a time and in a format they are happy with. Finally the successful advertiser recognises and rewards the consumer for their attention.

    This can be remarkably successful online. Take a simple site like where players specify their interest areas and play a free £1m lottery every day in return for seeing ads and special offers on their selected subjects.'

    I'm not certain how this idea fits in with a publishing business model. Regardless the content of this piece certainly fails to live up to its bold title.

    I was a little confused as to why the BBC might be publishing such a lack luster piece, so I decided to do some investigation. Surprise surprise, is actually owned by PDV, the company that the author Derick Hill is managing director of. So where is the disclosure?????? & IAB denies press passes to advertising related publications

    From the ever informative Adbumb Newsletter

    'On October 21-23, Jupiter/IAB is having what they are calling the "Premiere Event for Interactive Advertising." I recently inquired about getting a press pass for this event, and was rudely denied. The reason given was that I have a "competing publication" with the official publication of this event, and their plethora of advertising-related sites. According to several other writers and publishers, they have denied almost every advertising related publication access to their events, and this has been their unspoken policy for a while. This is unacceptable for an event co-sponsored by an industry group, the IAB to have this policy, and is a blatent attempt at censorship of opposing ideas.

    I could expect this type of attitude in perhaps communist China, where they don't want anyone to express any opposing opinion or attitude. But this event isn't being held in Beijing, its being held here in NYC.

    This also raises some serious issues about the independent nature and reliability of the publications, including ClickZ, the Internet Advertising Report and ChannelSeven. If they are co-sponsoring events, and then denying press passes to publications, including MediaPost, we can only assume that it is because they are attempting to control press coverage on the events. But as a press publication themselves, we would hope they would be independent in their coverage of this event, and the products involved. But this raises some serious questions whether the can ever be taken seriously as an independent publication in this industry. Can we seriously trust to ever say anything truthful or independent when they have proven themselves to be supporters of blatant censorship? If you read ClickZ next time, think about this - maybe what they are telling you isn't true, but instead part of a cleverly written press release.'

    I await their response :-)

    Tuesday, August 13, 2002
    Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger

    Good analysis from the ever insightful Meg Hourihan. To be honest I can't understand why it is taking so long for e-commerce sites, charity sites, in fact all business websites, to jump on this particular bandwagon. Why not give pop unders a miss for a couple of months, and let a blogger try and get your company some attention. I can assure you of one thing - the strength of consumer relationship that they are likely to create will be a lot more constructive than that gained from most forms of online promotion, in fact any promotion.

    Godzilla attacks harmless blogger

    'The Davezilla blog site (site down at time of posting) is under threat from humourless owners of the Godzilla trademark, Toho Ltd., for using the venerable *zilla name and having a goofy cartoon lizard in their graphics.

    Among the more absurd claims against the blogger is the likelihood of consumer confusion over his "reptile-like character."

    "Please be advised that your use of the Godzilla mark constitutes a trademark infringement and confuses consumers and the public into believing that your 'Godzilla' character originates from Toho, which it does not," the nastygram says.'

    It struck me whilst reading this tale of lunacy that there's certain potential in basing a marketing tactic around breaking (or kind of breaking) someone else's trademark. Time and time again, someone has infrindged on someone's trademark, their humourless lawyers have reacted, the media has picked the story up, blogs and message boards have posted the story, the site has taken the offending material down, the lawyers have backed off..with the only tangible end result being that the 'trademark violater' got a lot of free publicity. (Let me state that in this case I don't think that was in any respect Dave's plan; No one could have anticipate such a stupid Trademark claim.)

    I don't know, seems like a good plan.

    Art Zine Stands Test of E-Time

    'Link exchange for exposure: A new viral marketing concept comes from a published poet who wants to help more authors reach more readers. Bookshelf News, a monthly zine, will feature three to six book titles accompanied by reviews and promotional copy garnered from other sources. In exchange for getting exposure, authors are asked to help market the newsletter to more readers, any way they can, and put a link to Bookshelf News on their websites.'

    I once suggested a similar concept to a community site owner. The idea was to get people in the community to market the site, with a reward on offer to those that came up with the most inspired/innovative/effective solutions. Basically it was just going to be a bit of a laugh/experiment to see how far the media/society could be manipulated by a large group of people hell bent on getting exposure.

    OPA Disputes Gloomy Ad Picture

    The Online Publishing Association has countered a recent study that claimed that online ad reveneue had fallen by 8.4% year on year, by stating that these 'figures mask the important trend we're witnessing, which indicates that advertisers are seeking out strongly branded media sites for their online ad placements."

    'The group found year-to-date revenue growing an average of 34 percent, compared to 2001. Total revenue among member companies increased an average of 36 percent in the second quarter compared to 2Q 2001, with year-to-date total revenue jumping 34 percent.'

    OPA members include,, the Wall Street Journal Online, and

    Weird advertising: Forfeit your identity, sell a video game

    'Wanted: Adventurous video game fans willing to change their identities. Must be willing to live for a year as dinosaur hunter called Turok.

    Hoping to push back the frontiers of advertising, a British marketing firm said Monday it would pay nearly $800 each to five people for the right to transform them into human billboards for a fantasy superhero.

    Acclaim UK is seeking applicants who will legally change their names for one year to promote the latest installment of its video game series about Turok, a time-traveling American Indian who slays bionically enhanced dinosaurs. '

    Monday, August 12, 2002
    Sign up on the web for free diesel fuel

    'Farmers are always looking for a good deal on any purchase. Well, Farm & Ranch Guide is about to make them the best deal ever for diesel fuel. Through an on-line contest, Farm & Ranch Guide will be offering $500 worth of diesel fuel.'

    Great to see that online marketing is alive and kicking in the rural community :-)

    Ad Outlays Rose 2.3% in Half, With Continued Woes for Web

    'Ad outlays for the first half of 2002 rose 2.3% to $46.5 billion, compared with $45.5 billion a year earlier, according to a study by a New York research firm, Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

    Not all ad-supported mediums are celebrating. The much-maligned Internet sector saw ad outlays slide 8.4% to $3.4 billion from $3.76 billion.'

    Lycos to Develop Own Paid Placement Listings

    'Web portal Lycos is looking to join the paid listings flock in a move to boost its income from search.

    The site, a unit of Terra Lycos with offices in Waltham, Mass., is teaming up with New York-based paid listings provider to add auction-based pay-for-placement keyword advertising to its suite of search engine-based products.'

    It's Not About the Technology

    'So how can marketers effectively tap into this urge to communicate? If you look at the examples of "viral" successes in the "real world" (the examples mentioned earlier), three simple rules become clear:

  • Information must be of value to more than one person; the virulence of the information increases proportionally with the number of people who find it valuable.
  • Information must be timely.
  • Information must be easily portable and transmittable.'

  • Sunday, August 11, 2002
    How we're spending our time at Pyra

    It's good to hear that progress is being made.

    Saturday, August 10, 2002
    Banners Still Dominate in Europe

    '60 percent of tagged advertising in Europe last month used the 640x480 standard banner.

    Skyscrapers, large rectangles and similar large-style formats espoused by groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau, on the other hand, accounted for less than 2 percent combined. Conversely, in the U.S., Jupiter Media Metrix found in March that the formats introduced by the IAB in February 2001 comprised about 9 percent in total -- a year after their formal adoption by the trade group.'

    Friday, August 09, 2002
    Why ads on the net don't work

    This is probably one of the poorest pieces of analysis I've ever seen. Why on earth are the BBC printing such garbage?

    If you are going to make such a bold statement then you are obligated to back it up with at least some form of research. All this guy does is look at the medium from a one person perspective..namely his.

    The One EyeWonder of the Web

    'EyeWonder's video ads average 70% to 95% play-through rates, whether they appear in banners, pop-ups or e-mail. CEO John Vincent explains why Coke, American Express and others are using EyeWonder to build their brands.'

    Interesting interview.

    Thursday, August 08, 2002
    Fear of the Unknown Get Advertisers Over It Already

    'Here's a question based on a true story. Three marketing companies pitch a large project from a Fortune 500 company. The first marketer has the smartest people. The second has the most creative ideas. The third will do the project for $250,000 less than the other two. Which one got the project?

    The answer: the one with the largest office.

    In these uncertain economic times, clients are less likely than ever to go with solutions that aren't tried and true. It's not their job to figure out how your online marketing technology will help them. It's yours.'

    He goes on to state what he considers to be the key ingredience of a successful pitch:

  • Broaden Your Definition of the Competition.
  • Define Your Unique Value Proposition.
  • Don't Sell a Service. Solve a Problem.
  • Don't Say It. Show It.
  • Go the Extra Mile.

  • The Agency of the Future

    I have to say, I think that this guy has stolen my mind.

    'I believe a new breed of “agency” will emerge and take over from where the stumbling Goliaths of Madison Avenue stuttered, stammered and stumbled. The Agency of the Future will have become known for one of/or two core competencies: Generation (ideas) and Integration (execution).

    The Agency of the Future will take over the mantle of Brand Guardian – responsible for the process of generating ideas, solutions and paths to consumers’ hearts and minds.'

    Smile, You're on In-Store Camera

    'Johnny Q. Consumer walks into a national chain store, picks up diapers, pays in cash. He does not walk alone. One store camera captures his face, while another network of cameras traces his stroll through the aisles. The pressure-sensitive floor panels note how he lingers and nervously shifts his feet while browsing in the diaper section.

    At the store's national headquarters, perhaps a thousand miles away, a machine quietly notes in Johnny's file that he may be a new father. That bit of data goes into an algorithm that a few days later cross-references birth records and finds that, indeed, Johnny has just become the proud father of twins. A card is sent out and special discounts will be offered the next time he enters the store.

    The technology exists and its implementation could level the marketing playing field, letting traditional businesses do what Web shopping portals already do: follow their customers through the entire process. '

    Scary stuff!

    Internet Projections for 2002 - My view of the future

    Decent insight.

    Wednesday, August 07, 2002
    Lego launches six-figure integrated campaign

    'Toy company Lego is supporting the launch of its Lego Spybotics product online as part of a six-figure integrated campaign.

    The promotion was developed by online marketing agency Digital Outlook, and targets nine to 12 year-old boys. Spybotics involves interactive and virtual gaming, with players becoming agents for the Secret Mission Agents Robotics Team (SMART). They must use their ‘Spybot’, which can be programmed through a PC and managed by a remote control, to complete their missions.

    The campaign includes interactive ads and characters in the online world of Habbo Hotel, with branded billboards featuring alongside SMART ‘bots’ that answer questions and drive kids through to the Spybotics site. '

    Spyware, Pop-Ups, TiVo, and Spam

    'Spyware, pop-ups, TiVo, and spam -- all are signs of a crisis for marketing. Legitimate marketers -- those with value to provide -- need to start figuring out what type of communication landscape will balance their interests with the growing power of the consumer... before it's too late.'

    If not 'crisis marketing' at the very least they are examples of crap marketing. Marketing is more that simply playing a numbers game.

    Tuesday, August 06, 2002
    Online New York Times gets Googled

    "In its latest move to derive revenue from new sources, New York Times Digital, the digital publishing arm of the New York Times Co., on Tuesday announced it had hired Google as a complementary Web search engine to its existing navigation system for news archives, developed internally. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google will provide Web results and deliver sponsored links related to search terms, sharing the marketing revenue with New York Times Digital. The results already appear on and will show up on this fall.'

    I think that this is certainly a move in the right direction. Why though hasn't Google or Overture come up with a publication specific service that allows advertisers to buy key word text ads across a network of publications?

    Design for Community: An Interview with Derek M. Powazek

    'Derek has worked on community features for Netscape, Nike, and Sony, along with creating the community sites, {fray}, Kvetch!, and SF Stories. Here is what he had to say about creating effective communities:

    UIE: We hear the phrase, "Virtual Community" thrown around all the time. How do you define "Community"?

    Derek: I advise clients to never call their sites "communities." Instead, I tell them to provide adequate tools for your members to communicate with each other, plenty of relevant material to talk about, and an elegant structure that encourages conversation. If you're successful, your members will start calling it a community on their own. But since community is a personal business, I'll give you my personal definition of the word: "Web communities happen when users are given tools to use their voice in a public and immediate way, forming intimate relationships over time." I think that covers all the bases. Really what it's about is power: As the site owner, I'm giving away some of my power to my audience, to give them a voice on the site. And that's really a leap of faith sometimes. But when it works, the benefits can be astounding. '

    Compare & Contrast: Ad Guidelines At Overture & Google

    Meet The Kings Of Spam

    'It's an easy job, the way Cowles and others describe it:

    You get hired by a client who wants to sell a penile enlarger or an antenna booster. You write a zesty sales pitch. Then, with the help of some cloak-and-dagger software and a massive database of e-mail addresses, you deluge the planet.

    If one in a thousand recipients buys it, you're rich. '

    E-Mail Does Branding Right

    'And while marketers send e-mails more often for direct-response goals than for branding, certain types of e-mails work exceptionally well to position a brand and enforce the four steps of the AIDA marketing process: awareness, interest, desire and action.

    Regular e-mail newsletters contribute greatly to branding aims, as they consistently keep a company’s name in the eye of the consumer and, by giving the reader something of value, increase customer loyalty. Consistency and loyalty both enhance the AIDA process. '

    Interview with Google founder Sergey Brin

    Monday, August 05, 2002
    Traditional media planning goes online

    Adage stating that there is going to be a wholesale change in the way online advertising is measured. Impressions are out, reach and frequency are in. The idea is to make the internet easily comparable to other mediums. For that to happen new tools and measuring standards are required.

    '"Marketers have shown by their actions the past six years," says Jim Nail, Forrester Research senior analyst, "that unless they have comparability, they're not going to spend money [on online advertising], period."

    Now, Internet backers are beating the drum to get traditional advertisers to spend more of their ad budgets online. They believe reach and frequency tools are one way to do it.

    "If I want to make a big noise on the Internet, I don't know how loud I have to shout," says Doug Weaver, president of Upstream Group, which provides ad sales training to online publishers. "If I say I'm going to spend $2 million and I throw those pebbles in the ocean, did I make a huge impact or did I reach half of 1% of the audience? We don't know." '

    Who's the Bad Guy?

    'Buyers. Sellers. Clients. Just who is responsible for inhibiting or slowing the growth of Interactive Advertising?

    I’d like to suggest that the "bad guy" is perhaps the last entity we ever thought it would be. It's as shocking as the season finale climax that ends on an unexpected cliffhanger. Luckily for you, you don't have to wait very long for the reveal.

    The bad guy is perhaps not the client, who might demand planning parity in terms of a GRP-based methodology, but at the end of the day relies on his or her agency to represent the road ahead and the way forward. The bad guy is not even the frustrated publisher, often chastised for going direct to the client.

    Which leaves us with the least likely suspect – the agency. While it’s not what you would expect, it is my view that the agency is quite possibly the bad guy in this eclectic mixture of players.'

    He goes on to say:

    'When I ask clients the question, why aren’t you spending more money online?, I’m not really convinced with their responses. Their citation of the lack of standards or the inability to compare offline to online reach is, quite frankly, a cop out. It is an act of bravado, guised to cloak the fact that they just don’t have an answer to this question.'

    So why is it that agencies don't push interactive advertising. I'd open with the following reasons (there are more):

  • They are afraid to get stung again
  • They don't understand the medium
  • They make a lot more cash if they place advertising on other mediums

    Think about it. Most agencies have 10, 20 , 40 years experience successfully marketing on other mediums. None of them have had any consistent success using the internet, and most have screwed up majorly on it. Agencies want to play to their strength, and maximise income. The internet doesn't allow them to do either.

  • Delighted to Receive Your Ad!

    'Advertising failure rate: 97 percent.

    The Solution

    Rethink media strategies. Which allow you to engage in permission-based transactions? To facilitate customer-driven experiences?

    Opt-in email marketing is an obvious choice. "Seventy-three percent of media buyers that [sic] currently use opt-in email marketing feel it is the most responsive form of marketing available producing better results than television, radio, print and direct mail," says Opt-in News.

    Opt-in messaging works. It's personal, relevant, and effective. Email is simple for everyone. It's interactive, not passive. People can sign up quickly and easily, then receive information conveniently, on demand, at their own pace, in their own place.

    Adopt a proven model for relationship building in your campaigns, and keep your actions and messages aboveboard. The ABC equation is a good start:

    (A) Respect + (B) Relevance = (C) Response'

    I'll buy that. Along similar lines, if you can get people to interact with your brand through choice, that is without doubt the best way to break through the noise. Consider IM buddies, consider branding competition, consider games, consider high end content. Whatever the vehicle, make sure it is bloody good/highly original, as that is what will make it viral.

    Disney Channel goes interactive to back band search show

    'Disney Channel is to launch a range of interactive products to enhance its children’s pop band search show, Star Ticket. The applications, which will cover the web, SMS and iTV, are designed to increase interactivity by allowing viewers to vote for the show’s contestants.'

    Can Fun Still Sell E-Commerce?

    'Online retailers have learned that buyers are much more serious about e-commerce these days and are less likely to be induced to purchase anything advertised online with gimmicks, trumped-up promises or wild graphics. "People are looking more at what's the deal," Yankee Group analyst Rob Perry told the E-Commerce Times. The emphasis is "more on price and less about the experience."

    Online retailers are channeling their efforts into differentiating themselves from competitors with pricing and improved customer service. And customers have responded with not a single mention of the "shopping experience" among the top three reasons they make purchases at a particular site. "Service is the number three differentiator, behind quality and price," said Giga Information Group analyst John Ragsdale.'

    Kronenbourg backs relaunch with web and viral

    'Kronenbourg 1664 has unveiled a new web site and embarked on a viral marketing campaign to support a £15 million relaunch of its brand.

    The viral marketing campaign, called ‘Guillotine’, poses the question: “In 1815, Britain defeated Napoleon, but what if he hadn’t? Whose heads would roll?”

    Users can then choose to watch a series of celebrities having their heads ‘virtually’ chopped off, including Graham Norton, Gareth Gates, Lady Victoria Hervey and Liam Gallagher.'

    Saturday, August 03, 2002
    Spamming Gets Expensive in Utah and Ohio

    Slashdot commentary on Ohio's law that allows internet subscribers to sue spammers for up to $50,000 and ISP's for up to $500,000.

    Online Advertising Effectiveness: Interview with Rex Briggs, Marketing Evolution

    Interesting interview. His comments on return on investment are particularly insightful.

    Friday, August 02, 2002
    How To Write Little Tiny AdWords Ads That Bring Giant-Sized Profits

    'I think Mark Twain said it best. “If I would have had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.” The point… it takes much more skill, and much more time to write short copy than long copy.

    Let’s go through the process together and I’ll show you a few tricks of the trade that have brought me AdWords click through rates of 7.1% and 8.0%.

  • Step One – You would be very wise to either use a benefit or an end result in your headline.
  • Step Two – Know what your customers are looking for.
  • Step Three – Work in your keywords.
  • Step Four – Start big and narrow it down.
  • Step Five – Test, test, test! '

    I'd add a couple of things to that list. First, track what your competitors ads are saying, and try and differentiate your ad from theirs. Whilst that might seem obvious, a lot of the time top ads are almost identical. Basically all I'm saying is don't look at your ads in isolation - compare them to your competitors, and compare them to the search listings.

    I'd also suggest copying as a good strategy. Surf around, and have a look at what other advertisers are doing. Consider their techniques, and what made one ad stand out from another. Some people have been in the PPC game for sometime now, and know what works, so take advantage of their knowledge. When researching/cheating, pick high cost words/phrases, as they are the most likely ones to be administered by pros.

  • Sue IT

    Forward thinking at its best.

    'The USAILC is a successful corporate law firm preparing to specialize in another area. We expect to be at the forefront of suits featuring the invention, Segway or Ginger, widely known as "It."

    In E-mail Marketing, Consumers Weed Out the Weakest Links

    What this article is basically saying is that users are getting increasingly sophisticated at grading email marketing message:

  • From the good >> personalised (to needs/wants) full optin email.
  • To the bad >> 3rd party optin, and opt out email.
  • To the Ugly>> Total spam.

    This article seems to support my thinking on this - that there is a huge gulf of difference between the 'good' and the 'bad' in the mind of the receiver.

    Is this the present attitude of the receiver? - "anything that isn't full optin and relevant is spam."

    Related: The meaning of spam

  • The Web Services Scope

    'While major CRM vendors have announced almost unilateral support, web services are just a technology standard. They will not solve every integration challenge facing the enterprise. Nor will they will not solve business process issues. CRM is not simply an issue of application or data integration or simply exposing components of a packaged CRM application as web services. In fact, web services alone provide little business value to customers. '

    Thursday, August 01, 2002
    FujiFilm launches Panda website

    'Piggybacking a marketing promotion on the wild popularity of the pandas at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, Fujifilm USA has launched a special photographic Web site about the animals.

    Also featured is a graphic of the panda's special habitat -- a zoo structure built with a $7.8 million donation from Fuji. '

    The site also features viral panda-gram cards, as well as linking photos to Fuji products.

    AOL Revving Up for Rich Media Ad Dollars

    AOL will soon join Yahoo and MSN in being able to offer a full range of Rich Media ads. Not before time.

    Forbe's Five Best Companies

    'In compiling our list of the world's top five best-marketed companies, we looked at only the boldest, most daring and freshest companies. We purposely excluded old, established brands.'

    1. Dell Computer
    2. Sony
    3. Harley-Davidson
    4. Virgin
    5. Southwest Airlines And EasyJet '

    Classic Comic Book Ads :-)

    Google Nets Lloyds TSB for Seven-Figure Ad Deal

    'Lloyds is paying Google roughly $1.55 million to boost sales of insurance products on its Web site,, in one of the single biggest online advertising deals struck in Europe recently.

    Lloyds is paying for more than 1,000 insurance-related keywords as it targets Google's 7.5 million British users over a one-year period.'

    Why is this interesting? Well because it demonstrates a shift of emphasis by Lloyds towards direct marketing and away from brand marketing, online. For certain products (research intensive), such as insurance, this approach definitely makes sense.

    China has the second largest online population

    'For the month of July 2002, China accounted for 6.63 percent of all global Internet traffic.

    Japan, which has the third largest online population in the world, accounted for 5.24 percent of global web traffic, while the UK and Canada accounted for 3.9 percent each, and Germany, 3.64 percent. The US still has the largest online population with 42.65 percent of all global Internet traffic.'

    Any thoughts on how Western online companies should/can exploit this? Please send in any ideas you have on this, however warped, and I'll publish them.

    Verizon Adds Video to SuperPages

    'Verizon's unit is looking to add another extra for advertisers, by introducing streaming video ads to its online yellow pages.'