Monthly Archive for September, 2002

Banner results in a B2B Marketplace

I don’t know how I missed this, but B2BMarketingBiz (a sherpa newsletter) published some interesting statistics from a recent B2B campaign that ran on Forbes.com last week.

The article details the planning and creative process for RedSherrif, a global web analytics firm, as well as the results of their recent test campaign on Forbes.com. There are some interesting statistics like, hover rates, day of week response rates, and conversion rates, that are probably worth taking a look at if you’re in the planning, or evaluating mode of a B2B campaign.

Good stuff. Oh, and sign up for their newsletter if you haven’t already ;)

How-to do popups right

youngpup.net: How-to do popups right

I don’t like IE 6 on Win2K

I loaded this website up today in IE 6 on my Win2K box at work (for the first time), and guess what? It doesn’t display over half of the site… I have no idea why this happens, but its pretty annoying to know that this might have been happening since the day I launched. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that this site is pure XHTML and CSS, but it works fine on a Mac, in all of the browsers I can find… Why wouldn’t it work on IE 6 on a PC?

If you’ve been reading, and don’t see anything in the content area of this site, below the “Powered By” tag on the right sidebar, then you’re missing a lot of the content of this site. If you care about that, then read the archives… they seem to display in full … or when you come here, drag the IE window just a little wider or skinnier than it was when the site ‘fully loaded’ to get the rest of the site to display. I hate Windows sometimes (and yes, I realize this may be entirely my fault and not IE’s at all).

If you’ve got a suggestion on how to fix it, let me know via comment.

On email and keeping it straight

gotta love the furAt work I use a PC, with Outlook, to manage my email. I hate it, but only becuase I can’t make myself like it, not for any quantifyable reason.

So, with that in mind, I realize that the FuzzyGroup has just released Inbox Buddy 0.9, a ‘plugin’ for Outlook. I’m downloading it right now, and hope that it does a better job than Six Degrees did for me. (read the Buddy Blog for a quick update on where it’s at in development)

(Btw, ZOË still kicks ass on my Macintosh)

being a professional

Just read an excellent rant about what it means to be a professional by Jill Whalen.

There also happen to be a couple of hidden SEO tips in the rant, so read between the lines.

Keep email templates out of the B2B realm, please.

I pretty much disagree with almost every point in Brand-Aid for Everyday Email, by Barry Stamos, especially for B2B communications.

I deal with about 100 clients on a weekly basis, and get probably 1,000 emails on average each week. Only one of them sends me email in a branded HTML form. You know which client I hate to receive email from? Yep, you guess it, that one.

Why you might ask?

Because I’m busy as shit, basically. I’ve got three things on my mind when I get an email: 1) who is it from and 2) what do they need/want and 3) how do I contact them to learn more about their request?

I can get all of this from a plain text email, as long as they provide it with a simple greeting, quick body, and a signature line. Nothing more is needed in the business world. I know who they are, or I don’t. I don’t need a ‘branding message’ to clog up my email inbox.

What was it Mark Twain said? “If I had more time, I’d have written a shorter letter?” There is some wisdomin that I think.

Also, I personally use two or three email clients, and some support HTML and others don’t. Why risk the chance of having your message displayed horribly to me, if you don’t know what kind of email client I’m using? Isn’t the real message more important than your damn logo? I mean really? If you’re emailing me for a reason, then it’s probably important to you that I get the message quickly and easily, right?

I hate getting email from that one client that has his logo at the top, and a back ground image, and uses colored text… nothing to me say “I don’t get the internet” any louder than that (and this client is an interactive only agency… egads).

Do I read these emails that I hate? Sure, they help pay the bills, but do I enjoy it? Absolutely not.

In the B2C realm, email templates with branding message would probably work just fine, as the number of times a customer contacts a company are infinitely smaller (percentage-wise) as the B2B contacts are made. Individual customers need that branding re-inforced, and I can see the template system greatly improving this communication, as long as they’re done right. At the same time, a good company wide template can help the entire company communicate with their consumers better, and with a more seemingly personal message, as well as provide a billboard of sorts for non-personal messages to the consumer.

Whatever you do, please keep this out of the B2B world, and be ready to piss of some long time customers that aren’t ready for the change if you decide to start using company wide templates.

Customer Service – and sleezy policies

Steve Hall wrote this weekend about a letter he received from the Boston Globe that was sent to him to explain a new customer service policy. Steve’s letter basically changes the policy of getting a refund for underlivered products to receiving a credit for those products that will be honored in the future (which has nothing to do with customer service as we think of it today). I agree with Steve that this new policy is bascially crap, but also think that he can only let the Globe know he feels this way by cancelling his subscription. Vote with your dollars… they’ll listen. Some people only learn when they loose money. (actually a lot of people only learn when they loose money)

The lesson for publishers, and companies in general? Don’t try to hide a change in policy in a customer service statement. Do what credit card companies do, and call it what it is, a change of service terms, or something similar. Be honest about it.

UseIt: Great points about Email Newsletters

Do you publish a newsletter? Are you thinking about it?

If so, read this article from UseIt: Email Newsletters Pick Up Where Websites Leave Off

You’ll find some great information, and gain a better understanding of what’s important in a newsletter by today’s standards.

[via Netmarketing]

When you’re done with that one, go read this one about writing headlines.

URLs and Search Engine Optimization

red background, skimpy dressUser-Centered URL Design by Jesse James Garrett is a great article on the merits of ‘human-readable’ and ‘human-guessable’ URLs in today’s CMS laden techno-world.

My new company has been dealing with this issue, but not because of a real desire for human readability, but because of a thought that Google uses URLs in its PageRank calculations. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Search Engine Optimization, and one thing I’ve learned is that SEO matters, no matter what your company does, what your website says, or what you think about SEO. It matters.

Search engines in general, and Google in particular, are becoming (that should probably read ‘already are’) the way people find new information on the internet. Sure, some people go to About.com or MSN.com or AOL.com, but they invariably ‘search’ those sites, instead of browsing them, and they almost always find what they’re looking for at a site external to where they started looking.

Thus, SEO is extremely important to anyone looking for web traffic, and I think almost everyone with a website that is powered by some form of content management is looking for at least some search engine referrers. Anyone with an income producing website is surely looking for search engine traffic.

Google may or may not use URLs in their results ranking, but I’d take a penny for every time I get a referral from Google, and it can’t hurt to use smart, readable URLs, if that’ll help Google find my pages more easily (or better, rank those pages it finds higher). You’ll see that I’ve changed the URL scheme for this site from some cryptic ‘number based’ url to a more readable, albeit longer sometimes, word based url. It works for me, and I think it’ll work for Google. And the content management system I’m using does it for me… and it really wasn’t that hard at all to turn it on.

Look for more information on SEO in the future on this site.

[article via Adrian Holovaty who uses a decent url scheme]

Load test anyone?

A British firm, Nectar, launched a new loyalty scheme online last week, with seemingly no load testing. Their marketing included about £50m in online advertising. Their website crashed horribly many times during their first week of the ad campaign.

They’ve had to pull the ads, and are trying to regroup.

What’s interesting to me, is that if you’re going to spend £50m on advertising, why not spend £1m on load testing?

legal recourse for small publishers

Here’s a great resource for small publishers that might someday receive a cease and desist order from any large corporation with more lawyers than that publisher has staff (and extended family members, probably).

Lots of Apple activity today for me

adriana. mmmm.I finally signed up for .Mac today (the deadline is October 14th for the 1/2 price deal, so I figured why not). Something tells me Apple released iSync Beta this weekend, just to try and convert those last remaining iTools members that hadn’t upgraded to .Mac yet.

After I gave my required credit card information, and updated my address (I hadn’t actually used my iTools account for anything other that webpage hosting in at least 2 years) I downloaded Backup 1.2 for Jaguar, and MacAfee’s Virex 7.1 (I’m not really worried about getting a virus, but I figured why the hell not, I did pay for it). I then installed these apps, as well as iSync Beta.

I read this in the iSync ReadMe file and just about fell out of my chair laughing:

Important Information:

This software is beta software. You should back up important data before you install and use it. To back up your data, you can use the menu command in iSync.

Haha. Luckily, Backup worked well enough to backup my data to my .Mac account.

The coolest thing about iSync is that I can now easily (very easily — as in two clicks) syncronize my iCal calendars, and address book on my home iMac, my iBook and PowerMac G4 at the office. Totally cool, and easy, that’s the key for me. For a while I was thinking of setting up an LDAP server on my home iMac, and using that for my address book, but that’s not neccessary. I also didn’t want to ‘publish’ my iCal data publicly, so I couldn’t easily sync them across all computers…

I activated my free 100 free photo credits from Kodak (which is really the main reason I went ahead and paid for the .Mac account, to be completely honest)

Apple’s done a good job of making this service attractive to their core customers, the question is whether or not it’ll actually help them sell more hardware (which is where their bread and butter is made. It’s also funny that .Mac is here, and has actual applications, whereas .Net is still under development in many areas, and has no really big applications that I know of. Also, I doubt very seriously that Microsoft can make .Net work as well as Apple can make .Mac work… we’ll see.

I also just picked up a used 5GB iPod, that I’ll end up using as my personal music device, and local ‘sneakernet’ solution. This will also likely make me want a 20GB iPod sometime in the near future.

Next thing I need to buy is a Bluetooth/iSync compatible cell phone, I guess.

Oh, you can now email me at [email protected] but don’t be surprised if I don’t get back to your right away (I have enough email addresses at this point to keep track of).

Branding, and the effect on the populace

Today’s most effective brand campaign (in my opinion) has got to be Starbucks. I mean, ten years ago, depending on where you lived, when you thought ‘coffee’ you thought ‘columbian beans’ — or the store on the corner — if you thought anything at all.

Today, people don’t say “I’m running out to get coffee, what do you want?” They say “I’m going to StarBucks, do you want anything?”

Complete penetration of the psyche. That’s what real branding is all about. When you think ‘coffee’ you think StarBucks. Period.

Rob Poel does a great job of describing his most recent experience (and first) with Krispy Kreme, and he’s right about their brand. They are poised to do, with donuts, what Starbucks has done with coffee. Thanks for giving me one more stock to watch Rob. ;)

TV and the real world intersect at Soy

I just read about adding a self installed, vegetable oil + diesel, dual fuel conversion kit to your diesel engine, and one one hand I was amazed at how easy the conversion looks, and on the other hand I was reminded of last week’s season opener for The West Wing. (In the episode, Toby, Josh and his assistant are all subjected to a ride in the back of a soy-truck that runs out of gas, I means diesel.) During the course of one week, I’ve been exposed to two examples of automobile engines running on something other than petroleum. Pretty neat, if you ask me.

Developing the backend of a website: use a professional consultant

swimming?Ok, so, just a little more information on what my new business is doing… We’re launching a new website, and we need a content management system. Instead of using one of the many open-source or commercial solutions available, we turned to a friend to have it custom built.

The benefits of using a friend were that we were getting someone who can do the work cheaply, and has a lot of experience in the same tools that we have experience in (PHP, MySQL, Linux, etc…) and that’s willing to put up with our incessant ranting.

The first thing we did was develop a draft of our ‘specs’ or our guide to the developer on how we wanted things done. We revised these a couple of times, and finally thought we had a working spec.

A few problems have evolved in the building of our backend, but those all seem to be related to the fact that we turned to a ‘good friend’ and it turns out that this friend isn’t interested in making his living as a developer/consultant, and thus doesn’t seem all that interested in finishing the project according to our timeline, or that the person that’s supposed to be managing this consultant isn’t doing it well enough… I haven’t decided which yet.

They still have a little time before we reach our deadline, but it’s getting pretty annoying. I haven’t ‘seen’ any progress being made in about a week, but then again, I’m not looking at the inner workings, just the final picture, and it’s not beautiful like I want it to be. I’m trying to reserve judgement until I know more, but that’s tough…

I did read this article on A List Apart this week, and it was a great read, even if it’s a little too ‘tool’ centered on one particular technology… it’s still a good read to anyone that has to deal with writing specifications, or has clients that are forever changing their specs.

The new website should be coming out in a couple of weeks… I’ll let you know when it’s live. Wish we’d have used a professional.

Books on the ‘to buy’ list

I may not have the time to do read all the time, but these books just got added to my ‘buy soon’ list:

Small Pieces Loosely Joined

Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

Just so I can say that I reported it first

Apple has just released iSync Beta.

There, I reported it first ;)

What do these packages have in common?

Apache 2.0, Perl 5.8.0 PHP 4.23. and MySQL 3.23.53 ?

All running on my little iMac (bought in 1998) with Mac OS X 10.2 ‘Jaguar’. Thanks to Apple for moving to a Unix-based OS, ServerLogistics for making the packages available and to More Like This for telling me about them.

ensuring knowledge levels of consultants

Make sure your developers know what they are doing by Natrak is a great post about how development taken outside can be hampered by a lack of specific knowledge in a field (though it’s written with the insurance market in Scandinavia in mind). This lesson can be applied to virtually any field, be it development, marketing, or just plain business decisions.

Something I’ve learned from working with consultants is “If you need an outside professional, make sure they’re knowledgeable about the field they’re going to be working in, or that they have the time and energy (and forsight) to learn about that field.”

the prodigal Rick returns — with notes

lovelyRick Bruner is back from his mid-week conference (glad he found it) and shares quite a bit with us in his MediaPost Forecast 2003 Write Up / Self-Important Rantings post.

Basically, the conference sucked, and he tells us a little of why that is with this story of one of the more idiotic points during the conference:

“The most clueless moment I witnessed came from the COO of YesMail, who smugly noted (on the spam panel) that he himself got very little spam, because he was very careful giving out his email address online. The logical implication was that spam is the consumers’ fault for giving out their email address too recklessly. (“Well, what did she expect, going out dressed like that?”) Bear in mind, the guy works for YesMail.”

Rick also shows why he’s the master of all internet marketing with this statement:

“The value in such conferences in almost entirely in the networking. Anyone who actually walks away having gained great insights clearly couldn’t have known much about the industry to start with.”

Which to me says two things really, the first being that ‘Rick is pretty confident that he knows the internet marketing world’ (I’d tend to agree) but it also says that marketing agengies and marketers aren’t sending fresh and new employees to these conferences. Why not?

Are these conferences really not worth learning anything from? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or are we all just so damned busy working that we can’t share a little insight now and then with others in the industry? At least Rick does give something back in his ‘list of Panel Topics We’d Love to See.’

Thanks for the summary Rick. Have one on me.

Winstar reps Sony

Winstar is now repping Sony’s SoapCity. If there is any one Rep Firm that I can say I’d be proud to be associated with, as the employee of a publisher, it’d have to be Winstar. They’ve always impressed me from day one, by taking the time to think about what it is they do, and how they’re going to do it. I’m also impressed that Sony decided to concentrate on what they do well (producing content) and is out-sourcing their ad sales — smart move Sony.

Kudos to Winstar.

TiVo? Nope, PS2.

I’ve wanted a TiVo for way too long, but upon reading this story on news.com, I’m thinking that I don’t want a TiVo, I just want to upgrade my PS2. Less boxes in the entertainment cabinet is good, and a great marketing angle for Sony. Too bad that the first US release of this technology would probably come 6 months to a year after the Japanese release.

[via Marc's Voice]

Sometimes I wish I were british

liz hurleyThe female voice with a great British accent can be a great pick me up at noon.

Telemarketers should all sound like sexy little british vixens. I bet they’re sell more stuff.

Mac OS X Tips from Ken

Ken Bereskin, Mac OS X Product Manager at Apple, is finally back from Europe and posting new tips for Jaguar users (and if you’re thinking about switching, it’s a great way to learn more about the finer details off the new Mac OS X.)

Interview with Watson Developer

Derrick Story has posted a terrific interview with Dan Wood of Karelia Software, and chief architect of Watson:

I think Apple has a long way to go in terms of developer relations. Apple has helped some companies build themselves up, but others they have harmed greatly. From stories I’ve heard from other developers, the Sherlock/Watson issue is just the tip of the iceberg. I respect Steve Jobs’s desire to make the Mac the most useful tool it can possibly be, to win over converts from the Windows side, but instead, Apple seems to be nibbling at their own developer community. Perhaps there needs to be a better agreement that both parties enter to avoid these situations. Apple should be thinking win-win in terms of developer relations–helping companies build great software so that both Apple and those companies will succeed–but the reality seems to be “We’ll provide you some help to make a product, but we might just bundle your ideas into our OS or our next iApp.”

If you’ve ever wondered about Apple’s relationship with their developers, but haven’t been able to get close enough to a developer to ask about it, go read the interview. It’s an amazing insight.

Great music for mellowing out

blue skiesI love this tune:

Snowing On Raton by Pat Green on the album George’s Bar.

It’s a kick ass song by Pat, and Mindy Maines (from the Dixie Chicks) sings with him on it.

Great tune.

Apple iPhone article laughable

Yes, Jim, you’re right. This Apple iPhone report is laughable on so many levels, the best of which is that MacNN picked it up as if it were news… (copying the MacNN report, in case they change it … which they’re prone to doing)

Apple cell phone in the works?

Thursday, September 26, 2002 @ 5:30pm

An ePrairie article talks about a rumored Apple cell phone, pictures of which were obtained by ePrairie. “It would fit with Apple’s whole digital universe strategy in which the PC is the hub of your digital universe and the iPod (Apple’s mobile MP3 player) is a peripheral,” said Kevin Hunt, a research analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners. “Apple has been very vehement that they wouldn’t get into handhelds because they think handhelds will go away and blend into a cell phone, so it would make more sense to come out with a cell phone.” Both Apple and Motorola refuse to comment on the rumored device.

And who the hell is ePrarie?

[disclaimer: I worked for MacNN for a short period (of 4 years, or so) till I woke up to how idiotic the owner was and decided to move on.]

Absolut, Nike and NASCAR — common thread

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has published a great report that summarizes some of the successes, and the reasons for those successes, that Absolut, Nike and NASCAR have had in building their brands.

It all seems to come down to “Continuity and Passion.”

Doesn’t it always?

Advertising Tracking with Technology on the Rise

i love brownDuh. Show me one marketer that’s figured out the internet.

Just one.

Can’t do it can you?’

The internet is such a trackable market, and yet, Forester Research is telling us all something we already know, but they’re doing it in a round about way:

Not one marketer really truly ‘gets the internet‘ yet. (yes, that includes me).

We’re all spending more on software and solutions for tracking data, and I think that’s because they realize that they don’t get it.

“The survey revealed that 83 percent of ANA members found it difficult to measure the effectiveness of campaigns across different media — but 81 percent also agreed that technology could be useful in solving the problem.” – IAR

“…half of the firms surveyed in the Forrester/ANA study plan to spend more than $750,000 this year on marketing automation applications.” — Forrester

“More data, processing power, and analytical tools have emerged that allow marketers to monitor actual consumer behavior, not just attitudes. These tools also enable marketers to track effectiveness of media, promotion, and advertising programs, and stick only to initiatives with proven results.” says Jim Nail @ Forrester

My comments on that statement: No Shit Jim™.

The IAR cover’s the report quite well, telling us a little more data than the Press Release does. The most interesting tidbit I see in the IAR’s coverage is that people seem to be bringing things in-house more in the future, which sounds good to me from a ‘job market’ perspective, but has to scare the ASPs out there.

Also, Media Buyer’s Daily is covering this report too, but it costs $4 to read the article.

Quick Windows XP tip

HOW TO: Quickly Lock Your Desktop by Clicking a Shortcut on the Taskbar in Windows XP

Summary

You can create a shortcut on your taskbar that immediately locks your computer. When you click this shortcut, it is the same as pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE, and then clicking Lock Computer.

Create a Shortcut on the Taskbar

1. Right-click the desktop, point to New, and then click Shortcut.

2. In the Type the location of the item box, type %windir%\system32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation, and then click Next.

3. In the Type a name for this shortcut box, type lock computer, and then click Finish.

4. Drag the new shortcut to the Quick Launch toolbar that is located next to the Start button.

NOTE: If the Quick Launch toolbar does not appear, right-click an empty area on the taskbar, point to Toolbars, and then click Quick Launch. If you right-click an empty area on the taskbar and you do not see the Toolbars command, click Lock the Taskbar.

(ed. site looks like ass in Mozilla 1.1 on a Macintosh… just wanted to point that out — not really sure that I expected it to look good, but at least to be readable)

[via Robert Scoble]

I love the Motley Fool(s)

Just read some great quick tips on TMF:

Got Debt? Get Busy – quick read about facing your debt daemons er, demons.

Owners and IPOs — Q. When a company issues shares of itself in an initial public offering (IPO), how do the people who owned the company retain ownership? Do they quickly buy up a lot of shares? [Go read it for the answer -- hopefully, I'll have this sort of problem some day]

And the fools have unveiled their new The Motley Fool Credit Center which looks quite interesting.

Q&A with Business 2.0

Ben Silverman, editor of DotCom Scoop, published a quick Q&A with Josh Quittner, editor of Business 2.0 (one of my personal favorite magazines ). [subscribe via Amazon]

It’s a fantastic interview, and a very easy read. And, I agree with Ben and Josh that this has got to be the best quote I’ve ever read in a magazine:

“I have balls like atom bombs, two of them, 100 megatons each. Nobody fucks with me.” – Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury in Yogis Behaving Badly.

Go subscribe to the Dotcom Scoop email newsletter, if you think you’re interested. I just did.

Child Abuse.

Heavy Stuff:

Just read CHILD ABUSE: Invisible Scars.

Thanks Dawn.

consequences of a flash only website

why even wear the t-shirt?Earlier today, I was doing some research on potential clients, and I decided to learn a little more about Jamison McKay Advertising and Marketing. I hopped on over to their website at jamisonmckay.com and found a wonderfully done flash website… however, there was no option at all for an HTML version, in case I didn’t want to view the flash site.

What are the consequences of an all flash website?

I really didn’t want to visit this flash site for more than 15 – 30 seconds. All I was looking for was a client list, and it took at least 15 seconds for the site to load completely, and that was over a broadband connection. After the site was done loading, I clicked on the ‘clients’ button, and was the subjected to a 10 second intro about their clients… I have absolutely no idea what that intro said, because I was too busy being pissed that I had to watch it to read it.

When I clicked on the ‘contact us’ area, I was presented with a very beautifully laid out informational page, that I can’t copy/paste at all… What if I wanted to send a card, or letter to these folks saying ‘congratulations’ or something of the sort? Can I do that easily? Nope, gotta manually type their address into my contact manager… bullocks.

I’m sure that Jamison McKay is quite capable at what they’re doing, but what if I just want some information from their website, instead of a sales pitch? Can I get that info? Nope… not quickly at least.

Lastly, without some HTML on their website, they’re never going to show up under a search in google, or any other search engines, unless the person searching is looking specifically for ‘Jamison McKay‘. All of the meta keywords in the world don’t mean anything without some content to back it up.

Some of their keywords are ‘brand+development‘, ‘presentation services‘, ‘Jamison Cawdrey‘, and ‘Brandfusion‘. You’ll be hard pressed to actually find Jamison McKay in any of these results, except for the last one… and do you know why they show up under ‘brandfusion‘? That’s this same agency’s old name, and they still own the URL, it just points to the same website as jamisonmckay.com.

Bottom line: flash only entry points are really really bad, but only because the technology that drives the web still doesn’t really support flash (I mean google).

The Power of Google — now harnessed

palms anyone?I have now harnessed the power of news.google into my RSS Aggregator of choice: NetNewsWire Lite.

Thanks to Bruce for setting up the RSS Feeds for news.google.

The Power of Google

Google rocks, and Adam Kalsey’s example is a great one. I’ve found myself in this same sort of situation before, and Google came to my rescue too. I think I was looking for drivers for a Brother Printer (and Brother’s website is quite impossible to navigate most of the time).

Monopoly anyone?

Monopoly is my favorite game, but I haven’t played it in years ’cause my wife hates it.

Jeremy’s played it much more recently than I have, and he lost. Man, that really sucks.

I hear where he’s coming from. My cable’s been out for a week, and the funny thing is, I haven’t called to investigate, just spliced into my neighbor’s feed.

Favorite Blog of the week: Netmarketing

i love grapesI know, it’s barely Wednesday, but I’m so super impressed with Robert Loch’s NetMarketing weblog, I’m calling it my favorite blog of the week (heck, Scott did it last week, so I figure I can get away with it too).

I have never, repeat NEVER, found a good source for online marketing information until I started reading Netmarketing. Adweek is a joke, AdAge is too flashy for me, and well, honestly, the other options don’t even deserve a mention… except maybe one. The AMA’s Marketing Power ‘personalized’ newsletter is total BS, as is their website (you’d think that a marketing association could design and run a great website, what with all the paid members trying to make a name for themselves).

In one day I was able to turn to one source to learn the following:

1. At-Work internet users biggest online spenders

2. E-Mail Marketing: CTR down, Bounce-Back Rate up

3. Email marketing most effective tool for lead generation

4. Survey Shows Online to Be the Most Cost Effective Advertising Medium at Driving incremental Sales for Prescription Drug Brand

5. Unicast to Nix All But “Standard” Units

6. E-Mail Still Killer App in US

I found these ‘links’ as well as quick synopses of each… sort of an executive summary (sorry Rick) of each article, and a link for me to follow if I needed to find out more.

Best of all, Robert has started a weekly summary newsletter that highlights the important developments of the week, and so much more than that. I’m copying one of his articles from last week’s email into the ‘more’ block so that you can read a small part of it. Then go subscribe [little block in the top left of his page]. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.

ps. it’s all free too… not a lick of ‘browser bloat’ on this website.
Continue reading ‘Favorite Blog of the week: Netmarketing’

Comments on news.google.com

news.google.com

I love it, personally. For one reason. It seems unbiased (unlike most American news sources — see this previous post), and at the same time, it gets me past the NYTimes.com registration pages.

Read here for some excellent commentary on news.google.

How do advertisers plan their budgets?

According to Steve Fajen, media buyers budget much like you and I do in our homes.

When most of us try to determine how much to invest in the future we go through the same drill. Based on how much we make, we deduct our monthly and special expenses, put a little emergency money aside and the rest gets invested (if anything is left over). We invest sometimes for a quick return, but for the most part we are looking assure our future with equity. Marketers do much the same thing to arrive at advertising budgets, since they represent an investment in both the short and long-term future of their brand.

This telling piece of information is invaluable:

Latest research shows that advertising prompts 9-10% of an immediate sale and roughly 5% of future sales, within the context of brand equity.

I wish he named his source.

It’s a great article to read, if you’re involved at all in advertising sales or planning — at any level.

How much should a small business owner pay him/her self?

lauren wide angleWhile my new business is still totally in its infancy, I found this article from the AP today quite an interesting read.

While the article doesn’t answer the critical question of pay scales and appropriateness, it does lend some great tips to business owners, small and large, but particularly to the small guy. Small business owners are always trying to perform the jobs of people that just don’t exist outside of a large employee base, thus these sorts of answers are usually misguided, if the question is ever asked in the first place.

I think it’s interesting that the IRS is concerned that C-Corps are paying their executives too much, while S-Corps might be paying them too little. As if you read the tax codes, and understand how those two types of entities are taxed, it only makes sense to pay too much or too little (depending on the type of corp.) so that the business [owner] can avoid the taxes involved.

If the IRS really wants people to quit ‘cheating’ on their taxes, they really ought to make the tax code easier to understand, which in turn should produce less loopholes. I’m not a proponent of a flat-tax, but it would save a lot of money each year in tax preperation (which is generally just designed to save everyone involved as much as it can in taxes). The whole U.S. tax code is really quite silly if you ever look into it too deeply.

a question about HTML entities – quotes and apostrophes

I just posted this as a question on Matt’s weblog post about his mtcurly script, but I also want to as it here as I’d like to make sure the question gets seen:

Why don’t we use these HTML entities for the apostrophese and quotes?

‘ for ‘

’ for ’

“ for “

” for ”

and these for the prime and foot marks?

′ for ′

″ for ″

It it based on browser support for those entites or something?

success with curly quotes — finally

Ok, curly quotes are now part of this weblog. Woohoo!

And I’m not writing any instructions, because these instructions by Matt are so easy to follow, it’d be a shame to try and steal them from him.

Get yourself some “curly quotes” today.

in search of curly quotes — still

A while back I tried to use Daring Fireball’s curly quotes scripts and templates, but it wouldn’t work for me at the time (for reasons I still don’t understand.

Today, I read this post by Todd Dominey, and am in the process of trying to get them to work. (If I get it to work, I’ll post a quick ‘how-to’ on it here).

I’ve experimented with replacing the quotes and apostrophes manualy using BBEdit and AppleScript, and while it works, it’s a bitch to do it across machines (when I haven’t copied the scripts across machines) and that lends itself to inconsistency, so I haven’t continued trying to by typographically correct.

Hopefully I’ll get it to work soon within this Moveable Type installation, so that the code will be ‘transportable’ across platforms long into the future.

Sad experience with Real.com

Real Bad is an article detailing the experience of David Lidsky, a writer for Fortune, trying to listen to his favorite ball team play baseball over the web.

When I look at David’s experience from a marketing sense, I can only imagine the slimy bastards at Real thinking ‘heh… this guy actually downloaded the software, paid for the service, and now has to cancel.’

I don’t se a company like Real being good to the consumer, or frankly good for the consumer. Reading through to the end of the article you’ll find this:

I can hardly wait to cancel now. I find the option in my account settings.

Click on cancel, though, and after you are forced to furnish a reason, you get a page that says, “We are sorry you want to cancel. Please call us at 1-888-768-3248 to cancel your subscription.” Why go through the charade of making me think I am getting out, only to pull away the football when I am ready to punt? This should be real easy–sign up online, cancel online. Real? Nope. Phony as they come.

FYI, Quicktime is completely free, and so are the channels.

Derrick Story comments on Ballmer

Good ol’ Derrick:

O’Reilly Network: You Can’t Buy Community

Derrick’s remarks are always on target. I agree, you can’t buy community.

WTB: An old iMac…

I’ve got a buddy that wants to buy an old Bondi or maybe Flower Power iMac. If you’ve got one you wouldn’t mind selling, please leave me a comment and I’ll get in touch with you about price/shipping/conditioning, etc…

He wants to buy one so that his daughter (13) has something in her bedroom that looks cool (her words) and he can maintain really easily (and that’s cheap).

Magazines adapting to the current economy

Great commentary from the NYTimes on how magazines are trying to adapt to today’s economy.

New Microsoft Hardware – MN500

(Doesn’t that title sound pornographic? It might be construed as such in some circles.)

ZDNet’s commentary on the latest offering from Microsoft is pretty good.

“It comes as no surprise that Microsoft jumped on the 802.11b bandwagon. With the company’s Xbox push into online gaming, the addition of home entertainment functionality into Windows XP, and upcoming products such as wireless smart displays, it’s clearly to Microsoft’s benefit to make wireless networking as easy–and prevalent–as possible.”

Duh, Apple pioneered the ease-of-use in wireless a long time ago with their first Airport, and have done nothing but improve it since then. The one thing you can’t do easily with an Airport is configure it from anything but a Macintosh.

The neatest thing about the MS Wireless Base Station is that you can (seemingly) configure it with a Macintosh, which to me is in Microsoft’s favor, as their pricepoint is much nicer than Apple’s Airport.

“… if you need to configure the base station from a Macintosh or other non-Windows PC, you must use the Web-based management tool.”

Looks like a cool appliance, though it doesn’t neccesarily stack up to the Airport in my opinion, and bravo to Microsoft for [finally] making one. I’m actually quite impressed with their hardware offerings to date, as I only use their mice on my Macintosh, and have been thinking about buying an XBox in the future… though my PS2 is quite enough for me right now.

[via Gizmodo]

cracking the travel nut (round 2)

On Sunday, I wrote about Dave’s experience with CheapTickets. Today Doc reports his most recent experience with Hotwire. Sad, indeed.

Here’s a guy that’s pretty much embedded in the inner workings of the uber-geek, and Hotwire manages to piss him off. That’s just plain stupid.

So, now I can’t use CheapTickets.com, cause I can’t trust them. I can’t use Hotwire.com cause I can’t trust them to get it right, or at least right in a timely manner. Who can I trust?

(BTW, I’ve recently booked a vacation package for the family to go to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving through America West Vacations, but I haven’t tried to alter my tickets yet, or anything spectacular. I’ll let you know the results if I do).