Monday, June 25, 2007

Why the iPhone will not Change the World

There has been so much buzz about the release of the iPhone on June 29th, that it is sure to be an instant success. However, I think it will be a let down for customers who are looking for a device that will enhance their mobile web surfing experience. The phone looks slick and of course the built in iPod is always a winner.

The televisions commercials look great! The web pages look just like web pages on my PC, as opposed to a "mobile" formatted page. Unfortunately, the problem will be the wireless network. I recently purchase AT&T/Cingular's 3G wireless card for my notebook. Certainly at time the connection speed was very fast. However, most of the time I received zero connection speed. It was so terrible that I returned the card after one week of usage.

AT&T/Cingular is the exclusive service provider for the iPhone. As you are aware the iPhone utilizes the EDGE networks which is orders of magnitude slower that 3G's 2.4 Mbps. I can only imagine what it will be like to surf the web let alone download large itunes files over this wireless network. Steve Job's , Apple's CEO would probably respond to this potential bottleneck by stating that the device also has WiFi functionality. The problem with WiFi is it isn't everywhere. At least it isn't everywhere in the US. My prediction is the most reliable way to download songs on the iPhone will be the same way it is down on the iPod, through your PC.

I hope I'm wrong, but those of us who are eager for a mobile internet device that will provide an experience similar to a PC will have to wait a little while longer.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Clever Search Engine Optimization

Last week I participated in a conference call hosted by The purpose of the call was to review the findings of the 2007 Ecommerce Benchmark Guide 2007. The topic of the complexities with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was discussed and I was extremely impressed with a technique that was utilized by a Jewelry Blog website. Often we optimize search based on the product, such as Manufacturer, Category, Type, Model, etc., but the Jewelry blog site utilizes what I call "clever association." Since celebrities wear jewelry and famous celebrities have high search volume why not leverage celebrity fame to sell products on your site. This blogger/ecommerce site was very successful with this technique. They took a picture of Misca Barton wearing an outfit that would look good with a necklace from their website. The site was optimized for Misca Barton and sales went from relatively zero to $50,000 during the Christmas Shopping season.

The moral of the story is to think "beyond the product" when optimizing your website for search. It is easy to get pushed passed the first results page if you optimize only for standard product parameters. Think about who or what can you leverage to bring traffic to your site. Of course be mindful of copyright laws. Do not create a site that implies that a celebrity endorses your product. Make sure that you have permission to use a particular image and use wording that does not imply that your have paid the celebrity to use your product.
Lastly, do not not ignore the standard search optimization association. "Clever association" should be used in addition to standard associations.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Improve Online Ad Conversion by 127%

Marketing Experiments has posted a very interesting study about Ads that "Stand Out" from a website versus those that "Blend In" and found that Ads that "Blend In" perform significantly better.

Here is the link: Improve Ad Conversion

Monday, March 26, 2007

Privacy Policy Tips

In October 2003, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) served pet supply retailer PetCo a "Civil Investigative Demand" seeking information and documents on how the company protects customer information on the e-commerce website. The FTC request was a follow-up to an e-commerce security breach that left as many as 500,000 credit card numbers accessible from the web.

A web site's privacy policy is the document which informs visitors how sensitive information will be protected by the owner of the website. Following a few simple steps when creating a privacy policy can help prevent the situation that was experienced by PetCo.

Ensure all stakeholders help draft and periodically update the policy.

This includes Middle Management, Marketing, Legal and most importantly IT. Often a business will outsource portions of the development. The IT department will be the liaison between your organization and the third party organization and can help insure that your privacy requirements are meet by third party vendors.

Understand that each word and phrase is legally significant.

The privacy policy watchdogs communicate in legal terms and will be vigilant about false claims made by your privacy policy. Make sure that the policy does not make legal promises that can't be kept.

Support the privacy policy with company wide procedures and training.

Take a close look at the departments that "use" the customer sensitive information and make sure that individuals in those departments are trained to follow proper procedures when handling the sensitive data. This will help reduce the potential for employees to create the "hole" that could place your company at risk.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Web 2.0 Best Practices - IBM

IBM's Tactics

- Lotus Connections: IBM offers software to its corporate customers that transforms internal and external communications into a social computing format. IBM has used social networking technologies internally since 2003.

- Podcasts: During its first six months of podcasting there were 72,000 downloads.

- Wikis and Blogs: More than 20,000 IBM employees currently use wikis. 2,500 IBM employees publish internal blogs.

- InnovationJam: In 2006 more than 150,000 members of the IBM family participated in an online brainstorming event. Over the course of the two 72-hour sessions, 46,000 ideas were posted online. IBM will invest $100 million in the 10 best ideas.

US Mobile Video Advertising

Interpublic Group's media-buying agency, Initiative, last year surveyed the U.S. and found that out of 213 million cell-phone users, only 12 million watched video clips, 6 million watched live TV, and just 3 million signed up for some kind of video-subscription service.

In the U.S., thanks to the spread of broadband, home PCs, and other factors, we have a PC-based culture. That's why Web video took off here: Moving pictures on a TV-size screen are a familiar entertainment media.

However, mobile video is a whole new beast-the ill-fated Sony Watchman mini-TV from the '80s aside-and small-screen video was unknown before the advent of the Video iPod. Exactly how huge it will get remains uncertain. Exactly how ads will get placed around mobile video is even fuzzier, which is why some big marketers are approaching Mobile Video advertising cautiously.

Web video is not yet a huge part of the media mix. According to eMarketer, advertisers in 2006 spent $775 million USD on Web Video, while the total U.S. ad market is approximately $280 billion USD.

In some form, video on the cell phone is an obvious development. However, something spectacular and bizarre will have to happen before a true and robust mobile medium is closer than several years away.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Microsoft Search is Losing Ground

In February, 2005, Microsoft's MSN Search accounted for nearly 14% of all Web searches, compared with a 46% share from search leader Google, according to research firm Nielsen//NetRatings. Just 2 years later, Microsoft's rebranded Windows Live Search has a 9.6% share compared with Google's nearly 56%. That amounts to nearly 300 million lost searches per month.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Do-It-Yourself Websites

A growing number Internet companies are helping small business owners establish a professional presence on the Web. They'll also help you set up a blog on your site, or you can register on an independent blogging site.

For example, is a one-stop service dedicated to providing small businesses with affordable, easy-to-use tools and services-from hosting to publishing their own Website. It offers toll-free support from its Web experts at any time. Basic prices start at $4.99 per month and go as high as $49.99 per month. Users design their own Website by choosing from 2,000 template designs created for 100 different industries. is another do-it-yourself Website service that offers the support of a dedicated designer. You can choose from a gallery of designs for $49.95 per month (plus a $399 one-time design fee) or a custom site for $59.95 and a one-time design fee of $999.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Business Social Networking Tools

At the office, Web collaboration is flourishing. Companies are using social media to connect with customers, find talent, and develop products.

Here are the social networking tools that matter most, and the percentage of companies that rely on them.

Message/Bulletin Boards 33%
Online Video 24%
Social Networking Sites 27%
Blogging 19%
Wikis 17%
Podcasting 11%