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Saturday, August 30, 2003
Looking for the Cockerdoodle post? If so, click here.
Friday, August 29, 2003
Pops are sometimes welcome
The much maligned Pop-up ad is not always as unwelcome as one would assume, despite many sites discontinuing its use and the popularity of pop-up blocking software. New research highlighted in BlogBytes, shows that if the timing is right Pop-ups can be seen as "providers of useful information, in which case they actually enrich the customers experience." The research was carried out by the Univeristy of Texas and makes interesting reading if you need to justify pop-ups in your line of business.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
Google is number 1 web property in Germany
According to the latest Ranking from ORM, Google now has the strongest reach in Germany, knocking the once mighty T-Online off top spot. This is an increase of 4.7% from the previous ranking. Ebay stays at number 3, however with growth of almost 5% they are not stagnating. The same cannot be said for Yahoo; despite holding on to the nr 4 spot, they have a slight reduction (0.7%). AOL is the only global player moving down the ranking (from 6 to 7 for the oline service, 9 to 10 for the portal aol.de), although this is due to strong growth from local players, freenet.de and gmx.de rather than any rapid reduction in reach for AOL.
HORIZONT.NET - Charts
Mine's Bigger Than Yours
The Search Engine Size War goes on - Google quietly announced yesterday that they have more pages indexed than alltheweb (part of Overture).
The question remains - who has the best quality? Overture also announced that as part of the recent enhancement and enlargement of the index, the launch also "features several significant relevance enhancements that will improve the ranking of URLs. These features include a new method of determining how authoritative a page or site is on a specific topic as well as overall page quality."
Now that is more interesting than the size issue.
Google to Overture: Mine's Bigger
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Yahoo to buy Userland?
There is fresh speculation by Rafat Ali over at PaidContent.org that Yahoo may soon buy a blog-hosting company; following in the footsteps of Google buying out blogger.com. Yahoo is looking to make a move into the blogosphere, with their Korean site having earlier this week released their blogging service, sarcastically dubbed Yahoo Blows. Userland is touted as a viable option for Yahoo by Rafat.
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Martin Shepherdly wrote me a great reply to my Labragoogle piece:
If Google and Lycos merged, would the new mascot be a "Labragoogle"?
"In that case, which one is the bitch and which one the dog?
We were thinking of crossing our Cocker Spaniel with a Poodle to get a Cockerdoodle, but we didn't want to keep stepping in Cockerdoodle Doo. "
T-Online's new Homepage
T-Online announced today a new redesign for their homepage. The only real change I can see is that the popular channels are now listed on the left, instead of the top. These are replaced by three tabs: Channels, Services and Shopping - thus segmenting the site into three main portions and highlighting the importance of their Shopping channel.
This shows us 2 things about T-Online:
1 - they have not yet realised that most users prefer channel navs on the right hand side.
2 - they are desperate to drive traffic to their Shopping channel.
Lycos to buy Classmates?
According to inside sources, Lycos is set to take-over Classmates.com. Allegedly a letter of intent has been signed to the sum of $150m.
SWF looking for companion to share smokes with
Smoking is getting more and more anti-social these days. Smoking is becoming underground, especially now that advertising for tobacco is banned in most European States. I guess it's now really hard for poor lonely smokers to find other people who don't mind sharing their smoke. They are the new beatniks, lonely and misunderstood by the mainstream.
German tobacco company Reemtsma has come to their rescue! Their West brand has launched a website for smokers (when you log in, you must swear to be a smoker), dubbed Flowergarden, where smokers can chat and flirt and make full use of a dating service. If you think this is a bit too off-key, don't forget that the same company has used buxom blondes and macho men in their advertising to portray smoking as sexy...
Google to buy Ask Jeeves?
Noo Meeja noticed a trend to the suggestions for what google should do. The idea is that Google should be omnipotent. Whoah....hold on there. Don't worry it's not as dramatic as it may seem. Omnipotence is merely that Google can be used to search for documents across the web as well as one's local hard drive and network. Isn't this what Microsoft is planning for Longhorn? Yes, you're getting there now, it is exactly that. The suggestions are that in order to combat the threat of Longhorn, Google should gain a presence on the desktop, possibly by partnering with Mozilla to produce a new browser. Whatever the means, one should be able to use Google to search for documents anywhere that the user has access to.
Sounds all fine and dandy, but I like the cuteness of MS wizards and the whole user friendliness thing. Isn't Google a bit thread-bare to really be like Longhorn - it needs a user friendly wrapper to get all users on board surely?
Yep, and that leads me to the suggestion from Peter Caputa that made me sit up and take notice:
"I’d also acquire Ask.com/Teoma.
Google already has an interest invested in Ask with a reserve to invest more..."
Interesting, must find out more.
"They would add a second strong, but underutilized brand, for their search and eliminate a very capable competitor. Google could drive traffic to Teoma and Ask and easily raise their awareness, hopefully stealing some marketshare from msn and yahoo. Teoma’s “suggested refined search queries” are also a powerful tool for narrowing down a search. "
In this scenario, Google could then run a user-friendly Q&A style site for those willing to be hand-held through their search, that would use the same index as the regular version. Thus Ask.com would complement Google.com to give massive market share.
Monday, August 25, 2003
The Great Ringo Advertising Challenge
Here's an idea: if you want to stop paying creative agencies so much for your ads, why not launch a competition to get users to design your ad? Ringo.com is going to give 1000 UKP to the winner of their competition, far less than they would pay in agency fees.
This is being discussed over at AdRants, where the whole idea is being touted as a new phenomenon, coined by the term: Reality Advertising. Even if Ringo get no decent ads out of this, the viral buzz around the idea will far outweigh their 1000 quid outlay.
What should Google do?
Seth Godin recently solicited for suggestions on the next steps in Google's business. You can now download these thoughts as an e-book - What Should Google Do?.
The sheer number of suggestions is enough to read for days. Regardless of the content its also a great new way of publishing. What a great idea - get a whole heap of thoughts from various people, and stick it into a book that will be spread across the internet like a virus.
Google and Lycos to merge?
Last time I was in Seattle I was told about the latest dog trend. Apparently fashionable dog owners are buying Poodles and Labrador mixes, more commonly known as Labradoodles. I thought my leg was being pulled, but in fact it is a developing breed.
This got me thinking. Lycos has a Labrador as its mascot. If Google and Lycos merged, would the new mascot be a "Labragoogle"?
The World's biggest Search Index?
Over at Search Engine Lowdown, Andy Beal makes the cynical comment that Overture's recent announcement that they own the world's largest index, while true, may not be so great a claim.
The old saying, "Quality is better than Quantity" comes to mind, as he speculates that Overture's FAST index is bloated by spam and duplicates.
Bayern Munich leads boom in European football traffic
Leading German Soccer club Bayern Munich is topping the league amongst European club web-sites. In pre-season July, Bayern accumulated 338,000 visits by Germans, almost double the amount clocked by the world's most supported and richest club, Manchester United.
In fact, figures from Nielsen//NetRatings picture a rapidly growing sports industry in Europe, with 13.5m users visiting sports sites in June, a further 4.5m access such sites at work.
T-Online in Germany has the strongest Sports channel of germanic portals, clocking 3 times the amount of its closest rival. This is hardly suprising, as they have a content partnership with Bild Online, the online arm of an extremely popular tabloid and sports magazine. T-Online also manages the Bayern Munich web-site. Deutsche Telekom, who spun off and maintains strong links to T-Online, is also the team sponsor for Bayern.
Other useful stats:
- Yahoo! is the market leader in France.
- Soccer sites now represent ~1% of all online traffic in the UK.
- 1 in 4 visitors to UK soccer sites are female.
- The most popular fantasy league site in the UK is dreamteamfc.com, with 29% of the Sports/Fantasy sector (good place to reach online gamblers methinks).
Bayern Munich leads boom in European football traffic
Friday, August 22, 2003
If you are sick of Flash Mobs, then I think you will find this one to your liking. How about a Flash Mop Instead? Here's the deal:
Here's the plan. Everybody meet up at the house at 11765 Parker st. N. (98101) on that Sunday morning. Then, at exactly 10:00 AM we'll completely clean the place! Hah hah! Talk about zany and unexpected! We'll go nuts: scrubbing the shower and cleaning the gutters and washing the cars and mowing the lawn and brushing the cats, etc. This is going to totally freak out the house owners (who I will trick into going to get French Slams at the nearby Denny's while this takes place)! And when we're done (making sure we clean behind the fridge, just to be extra-unexpected) we'll suddenly disperse. Poof!
Hah hah! This is going to be so wild we'll probably get in the paper and stuff. Just meet at the house on the morning of Sunday, August 17th (don't worry about how we are going to get in -- fortunately I have a key and will leave the door unlocked), bring cleaning supplies, and be sure to pass this message on to all of your friends. It's gonna be, like, so great! Flash mobs! Woo! Spread the word!
Google AdSense to support new IAB standard ads
This is interesting for the IAB's push for standardisation of their Universal Ad Package (UAP). Google announced new sizes for their AdSense program this week. These are the 728x90 banner and a 300x250 rectangle. Given the wide use of the AdSense program on small publishers, it should boost standardisation of the UAP.
Publishers still have the option to use the 468x60, but hopefully the 728x90 banner will give better results and eventually supersede. This take-up by small publishers will take a lot of pressure off the pioneers and early adopters such ac C|Net, Yahoo and MSN, sponsors of the new UAP.
Google AdSense - Ad Formats
French ad revenues sparking back into life
The IAB reported this week that ad revenue in France is growing at a strong pace, up 47.4% in the first quarter 2003, compared to Q1 2002. The total spend of €200m represents a 2.45% share of overall media spend - up from 1.6% in 2002. This positions internet advertising as a much stronger medium than cinema (just €74m), but way behind the big guns of Print (€2.8bn) and TV (€2.68bn).
Original text in French: Publicité: l’internet continue de séduire les annonceurs
Contextual Ad Debate Rouses Critics
More news from the SES conference: The debate over contextual advertising took a nasty turn Wednesday as researchers picked apart the latest moneymaking strategies by major search engine players Google, Overture and Primedia property Sprinks.
Contextual Ad Debate Rouses Critics
Thursday, August 21, 2003
Inside Search Engine Strategies, San Jose - Day Two
Andy Beal's coverage of the Inside Search Engine Strategies conference has some very interesting facts and comments. For example, did you know that:
"15% of Google visitors do not actually go there to search......many people have Google set as their homepage when they launch their browser. This registers a visitor for Google even though no actual search was carried out."
"While 96.9% of US searches are carried out on US search engines, only 56.6% of UK searches were done on a UK search engine. In fact, the US Google is more often used in the UK than Google.co.uk." ?
However what Noo Meeja finds most interesting are the comments from Danny Sullivan's Keynote speech. He suggests that the future may see Ask Jeeves position itself as the #2 Search Engine, employing the famous Avis tactic. Furthermore, Looksmart will "position itself as the most popular supplement to primary search results, continuing its current trend of being a provider to other search engines." Add this to his headline predictions, where he said, "MSN should also be ready to launch their own crawler in 2004, with the possibility of purchasing any of Ask Jeeves, FindWhat, LookSmart or even Google, to help speed up the implementation."
If Ask Jeeves did purchase Looksmart as speculated earlier, then the new entity could become an asset that MSN would like to own?
Flash Mob = Flash Buying
Noo Meeja spots possibly the first commercial Flash Mob. Viral Marketing site, TTR2 is organising a flash mob to go to a car showroom and attempt to get a bulk discount on purchases, with all 250 people buying a car at the same time. Another idea is to turn up at a major electrical retailer and simultaneuosly purchase a washing machine for a bulk discount.
The event will take place in England - if you are interested in taking part send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask Jeeves, the Dark Horse
In latest research from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI), Google continues to be the number one in customer satisfaction. However, Ask Jeeves, is moving up the rankings at a strong pace, coming in at #4, beating out AOL.
Ask Jeeves scored 69 point out of 100, only 5 points behind MSN, demonstrating an 11.3% increase in 12 months. Their reported search queries for the period of the survey rose 37%, well above the industry average of 10%.
Users Love Google, Ask Jeeves Gains Admirers
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
Yahoo ditches Google?
Yahoo Australia has just started testing Inktomi's search engine on their portal down under. According to Yahoo Australia Search Producer, Peter Crowe, Inktomi is being tested to see if it provides a viable alternative to Google, alongside other search providers. These options will be evaluated by all Yahoo markets on case by case basis.
Each market within Yahoo's global network of portals is going to make their choice based on how well Intomi produces results relevant to the market. Should Inktomi pass all criteria, it is not known what timeframe is being considered. The company said it would be "medium term". This path seems to be available for Yahoo to take ASAP, as their current agreement with Google (expiring end of 2004) has no exclusivity clauses, according to Crowe.
Spain is really surfing now
According to a latest report from Nielsen//NetRatings, usage of the web by users in Spain has risen from 25% to 33% in just 12 months. Nearly 50% of all web users access the web at least once a month.
Usage of retail sites is weak in Spain, but Careers, Education and Entertainment sites are on the up. Spain is one of the rising stars in the Euro market - with a total population of 40M, and a rapidly rising internet population, the potential is great. They also trade in Euros, which is a big plus to American businesses with operations in Spain due to current exchange rates. Business culture is very different to the time-based cultures of Northern Europe and USA and once one gets used to their people-based work ethics, there is a great opportunity there. Just remember: in people-based cultures such as Spain, the meeting starts when the previous one has finished, not necessarily at the scheduled time.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
Ask Jeeves to buy Looksmart?
Ask Jeeves recently remarked that they would like to use their current cash pile to look at aquisitions - Looksmart have a languishing stock price, and could soon be pushed out of its biggest partner's listings.
Does Ask Jeeves need Looksmart? The Wisenut crawler (owned by Looksmart) has a larger database than Teoma (Ask Jeeves' crawler). Looksmart is also a provider of directory listings to other sites, although it is more like a "Yellow Pages" listing than an objective one. These could complement the Ask Jeeves' consumer friendly brand. Food for thought for now, the jury is out on this one.
Search Engine Relations
Noo Meeja discovered today a useful reference to show all relations between the major search engines. This chart shows who powers whose results, directory or paid listings. It's as incestuous as the Global Agency Map I have on my office wall. DMOZ has links to a lot more Search Engines than I realised.
Search Engine Relationship Chart
Overture Rolls Out AltaVista Toolbar
Noo Meeja discovers that Overture will roll out a new AltaVista toolbar. "Big Deal", I hear you say, "Anyone who is anyone has a search toolbar these days, it ain't new and it ain't clever.", you really are cynical aren't you? What if I told you that it could help you read some of these german articles I write about? "Google does that" - yes this is true, but do they do it using a strong and trusted translator brand? Admittedly, Google's name is not synonomous with translation - its brand stands for search. Alta Vista's brand also stands for search, which is why Overture bought them out. In doing so, Overture inherited another strong brand - Babelfish. Babelfish has been used for years by surfers to translate text or web-pages, and is a recognised name. When people say "stick it into Google" to mean "do a web-search", similarly "stick it into Bablefish" means "translate the site". Google has over-extended its brand here, and that is why the new Alta Vista, or Babelfish browser will stand out from the rest of the pack.
MSN Search Tests Worrisome for LookSmart
MSN UK recently tested a new layout on their search results page, which omitted the Looksmart directory listing. Looksmart is now worried that if this layout takes off in other MSN markets, it could have a big impact on their revenues. Today, approx. 68% of their revenue is from MSN.
MSN Search Tests Worrisome for LookSmart
Monday, August 18, 2003
Should we create copy for Dogs as well as owners?
The Goverment in Vancouver seem to think so:
Sprechen sie canine?
Sponsorships easy for subscription products
Rafat Ali, over at PaidContent.org, notes that internet sponsorships are easy to fulfill with subscription services that have a cross-media spread. Times Online UK has realised this and are now in in the black, so its worth taking note of what they say.
Entertainment vs Results
Mark stevens has a great piece on the real life drama affecting many ad agencies - the struggle between being creative (entertainment) and effective (getting more moolah from the product).
This reminds Noo Meeja Ed of internet marketing agency interviews he made to discover what media publishers needed to do to help them be successful. Instead of "help me improve my ROI", or "increase sales" - it was simply "make me famous".
Google pulls AdSense feature after backlash: "Google was forced to withdraw a new 'Related Searches' feature from its AdSense contextual advertising product late last week, following a backlash from web publishers that use the product."
Ad firm 24/7 pushing for patent power
24/7 Real Media is pushing for patent power by winning patents for seemingly common features on ad-serving software. The latest win was a patent for showing ads sequentially on the internet, akin to a storyboard. So far the company has been pushing their patents so strongly that big players such as Doubleclick, Valueclick and Advertising.com have made licensing agreements with the New York based firm.
Ad firm 24/7 pushing for patent power | CNET News.com
Accipiter - back from the dead?
It seems the internet biz is really picking up when old companies from the heyday start talking about expanding again. Noo Meeja has witnessed this amongst the search engine news (Alta-Vista, GoTo, etc.), but what about in the ad-serving business? Surely the ubiquitous Doubleclick has this market all wrapped up? Not so, according to Accipiter (remember them?). After being swallowed up by Engage, they are running independently since December, and now have ambitious plans to expand across Europe. Should this be treated as a reflection of a pick up in noo meeja biz? In combination with a recent increase in hiring activity in the UK market, it seems that way - however Noo Meeja wonders whether this also reflects Old Europe, now that Italy and Germany are both in economic recession?
Ad serving firm plans European assault
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Consumers are not as confused about paid-for search as we thought
Jupiter reports that consumers are fairly savvy in distinguishing paid results from actual search results in search engine listings. Just 20% of the sample had some confusion over this. However senior users (over 55) are more easily led in this instance with over 80% not confident they are able to make the distinction.
The conclusion from Jupiter is that the search engine industry has made improvements here, and the issue is now "a minor problem at best". They also suggest a great opportunity for media owners and search engine marketing companies is to push forward with contextual targeting solutions.
Overture and Quigo Team up for Contextual Ads
Now there is another player to look out for on the contextual advertising scene: Quigo. Overture announced yesterday that they would be partnering with Quigo to improve their own contextual targetting offering. Another name to watch out for is contextweb, who applied for a patent on contextual advertising technology last year, before Google or Overture had launched their current products.
Up2Speed: Overture and Quigo Team up for Contextual Ads
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Consumers put their money where their media is, Advertisers don't
Noo Meeja points you to a great analysis in media post. In this, Joe Mandese looks at the relative spend on advertising per medium compared to the consumer consumption. Compared to the average per person hours spent consuming a particular medium, print is severely over-bought while TV, Radio and the Internet are undervalued.
The desire to consume a particular medium is not taken into account there and Print is convinced that the "want" of their medium is higher than others, hence the higher sales per hours consumed.
Yahoo! Stalked Overture for Over a Year - BizReport
Overture was being courted by Yahoo for over a year, according to details published in a shareholder prospectus. Bizreport's analysis makes interesting reading, in particular the detail on Yahoo's strong bargaining position, effectively locking out other potential buyers:
If Overture had been sold to another company, Yahoo could have dropped Overture's links from its popular site and demanded a termination payment of $5 million to $10 million in addition to 2 percent to 3 percent of Overture's stock, according to the prospectus.
Yahoo! Stalked Overture for Over a Year - BizReport
Gimme my brand back!
Noo Meeja learns that the AOL division of AOL Time Warner has requested the name AOL be dropped from the full company name. This is so that AOL can benefit from being a seperate brand synonomous with the internet, instead of shorthand for the world's biggest media company. Or is it really just pressure from the top, resulting in some spin to make a proposed AOL spin off look more like a logical evolution? Removing AOL from the fold could be seen as failure, but if the move is AOL-led then it could be positively spun in such a way.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Flash mob hits London
Noo Meeja reports on the latest internet craze - flash mobbing. This is where websites are used to organise large gatherings of people for completely random acts. Last Wednesday 200 "flash mobbers" turned up at a furntiture store in London to praise the beauty of the sofas on display. Previously flash mobbers have turned up to worship a giant plastic dinosaur in NY, or to storm a Rome bookstore asking for non-existent books.
Noo Meeja loves this wackiness, so should you.
T-Online gives Overture the cold shoulder
Noo Meeja learnt that German ISP T-Online has ended its partnership with Overture last thursday. T-Online will now carry seach results from Google and the contextual ads from Google will be used in place of Overture's. In fact, Google seems to be much stronger in Germany than Overture, as Lycos is also using Google contextual advertising in its latest release of the German Search Engine, Fireball.de.
Friends of Noo Meeja in Germany often claim the Google service to be much better than Overture (as an ad client). Perhaps this is one market that Google has a clear chance to dominate?
Thursday, August 07, 2003
Yahoo and T-Online to partner?
Noo Meeja has heard on the grapevine, that Germany's dominant (and Europe's largest) ISP T-Online has partnered with Yahoo to produce a joint broadband service to consumers. No further details known at this time.
Noo Meeja finds no mention of this on the net so far, but if true it could strike a blow to MSN's hopes of getting consumers to use the MSN 8 software with other ISPs as part of their BYOA (Bring Your Own Access) product. Likewise for AOL.
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
To Confirm Or Not To Confirm
Given the recent news about the "War against SPAM" - email list owners are becoming increasingly aware that email marketing lists need to be opt-in. In doing so, the user is considered willing to receive commercial mail.
I worked on a an email marketing programme last year, and I decided to not only to ask users to opt in, but also to send a second mailing to confirm that they were still interested in recieving the mails. Why did I do this? I did it because many users signed up long before we had critical mass, and had probably forgotten they were on the list. Also, clients were willing to pay a higher CPM if we did this. Some users dropped off, and the increase in CPM was able to cover the loss. However, we then built the lists after the initial launch, and of course, ended up with less users but more revenue than our original business plan, where double opt-in confirmation was not considered. More importantly the proposition to marketing clients was much stronger.
Does this work for all email marketing programmes? Ben Isaacson explores this in a recent story on Clickz. His point is open-ended, and hopefully will invoke a great deal of discussion in the industry. However, the SPAM issue with unscrupulous "opt-out" marketeers is threatening to overshadow all this.
Friday, August 01, 2003
Search Engine IPO News
Noo Meeja discovers exactly why Google is waiting until 2004 for an IPO. This article raises some interesting points, particularly the observation that "Being private gives Google the upper hand in preparing for Microsoft's entry into the search market."
Mercury News | 07/31/2003 | Observers drool for Google IPO, but it's unlikely until 2004
"Welcome to the 'Crappy Content and How to Monetize It' panel"
This has to be the best quote I heard from the Jupiter Ad Forum this week in NY. In fact here is a great off-key detail of events from the conference with many sarcastic comments:
Noo Meeja loves this report, so should you.
"That's Patently good Search Engine News"
Noo Meeja highlights a story fresh off the press at business week:
Microsoft hires top scientists and mathematicians in its quest for search algorithms that will allow Microsoft to compete directly with Google. Microsoft is patenting new search algorithms with the goal of replacing the Inktomi technology currently powering MSN's search with Microsoft's own.
Microsoft Brains Take On Google Brawn
Question is: are patents also being applied for the ROI Marketing style of Ad Products that Google has championed?
More News on Yahoo! News
Noo Meeja found an interesting analysis on Search Engine Watch this morning.
The article details how Yahoo is beefing up their news section. Interesting that they should do this, after the realisation that Overture contextual ads will be used in Yahoo! News. Surfers spend the most time searching for news, and investing in their service will improve user satisfaction and also help boost revenues. The biggest challenge to advertising in current affairs editorial is to make the advertising relevant - after all you cannot predict some of the major events and create a sponsor package in advance. With contextual targeting from Overture, Yahoo! may very soon realise this.
Overture sees Web search prices up
More ROI Marketing news from Yahoo:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Paid search listings on the Internet will likely grow more expensive in the next few years as the vehicle helps drive Web advertising, Overture Services Chief Executive Ted Meisel has said.
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