January 29, 2004
I guess this is a sign of the times. Here’s a capture of a message on the Globe And Mail site today, no doubt caused by MyDoom overload.
I’ve never been great a bookmarking stuff, mainly preferring just to redo the search. But lately I’ve been working on multiple projects all of which require lots of online research and collecting and synthesizing this information over time. After looking at a bunch of different bookmarking, archiving, and web page clipping options, I think I’ve found what I’m looking for in a service called Furl.
The service is free right now and it allows you to store, annotate, rate and sort pages that you’ve collected to Furl. Collecting links is simple because they have bookmarklets and a toolbar to facilitate this without leaving the page your capturing. And because it is online you don’t have to worry about losing them.
One suggestion for Furl: Let users add topics (categories) for filing directly in the pop-up for saving pages. Quite a few times I’ve gone to save a page and realized that I had not yet set up a proper topic to add the link under.
Suggestion for all free sites (Furl included): Make sure you tell people how you plan to make money. It is really disconcerting to find a product you like online without knowing if the company will be around for long, or if the service will start costing you at some point. People will pay for well thought out services like Furl, but you have to give us a chance to figure out what you are up to.
Jeanne Jennings provides a great overview of what compliance with CAN-SPAM entails. I would recommend anyone who uses e-mail as a marketing tool read this and comply. That goes for non-US e-mailers as well since you will no doubt have a few US subscribers that you may not even be aware of.
January 20, 2004
EDGAR Index is probably the most well thought through RSS-based company I’ve seen so far (other than the fee-based aggregators).
The site provides subscriptions to RSS Notification of SEC Filings via customized RSS Feeds. The site does a really nice job of explaining how this works and why it is the best way to do this.
I’m looking forward to some analysis within the community of how the custom RSS feeds work and whether there are any security issues.
January 13, 2004
InformationWeek’s Fred Langa has determined that E-Mail is Hideously Unreliable. While I could quibble with some of the methodology here (okay a lot of it) I think his point is well taken. You can’t assume that the mail is going through like you could a year ago. We may be on our way back to that early-days of the Net strategy of phoning people to say “did you get my e-mail?” Ugh.
January 6, 2004
Brian Klais has a great article on MarketingProfs called Google Optimization: E-Commerce @ $0 Cost (Part 1). The article is detailed and, after some good meta-discussion of the importance of search to e-commerce sites, he gets down to a solid overview of how to think about getting products found via Google.
I particularly liked this analysis of the importance of search to online product sales:
“This is a critical point. If consumers find e-commerce appealing because it helps them find and buy products easily and in less time, then your Web site is no longer the shortest distance between points A and B: Google is.
This means that the notion of an e-commerce site itself becomes entirely fragmented, as every page becomes a potential entry point and selling opportunity. In other words, an e-commerce site is no longer a collection of 10,000 product pages that users can linearly navigate. Rather, it becomes 10,000 “micro-sites,” each of which must be programmed to reach and sell its respective keyword market. The selling strategy has gone granular.
But this market teems with micro-competitors and commoditization. Compounding this new complexity is that the catalog and other marketing venues still play a role in stimulating desire and driving site traffic. Having no visibility at the stage when customers “Google” to compare prices or features raises a merchant’s susceptibility to vast amounts of leakage to competitors. “
Nate Elliott has a great article on Google’s problems with AdSense. The ClickZ article is called Google’s House of Cards and here’s a quote:
“The true reason Google refuses to budge is the program is built on a shaky foundation. To secure the large distribution network AdSense needs, Google must pay publishers good prices. But if advertisers make separate bids for contextual ads, most would bid significantly less than they do for paid listings. Publishers would see revenue fall dramatically. This, in turn, would lead many sites to either remove the AdSense tags from their pages or demand a better revenue share.
AdSense is a house of cards, built on a foundation that forces advertisers to overpay for contextual ads. If Google allowed separate bids, it would risk losing revenue on multiple fronts: from the lower bids, the loss of distribution, and the loss of revenue share. The company bet it could keep prices high and revenue shares low as it built this program. But with smart advertisers turning off their AdSense ads, it’s time for Google to give advertisers what they want.”