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Showing posts from October, 2006

Social Networking - On Second Thought...

No sooner had I posted about skepticism surrounding social networking than iMedia Connection comes out with this article, containing detailed reviews of 11 popular social networking sites and mini-reviews of 13 more. In fairness however, the problems noted in the last post here pertained mostly to B2B sites: of the 24 social networking sites reviewed by Kibibi Springs, only three -- LinkedIn, Ryze, and Spoke -- are B2B-oriented sites.

In the same issue of iMedia Connection, John Tawadros of search engine marketing firm iProspect makes the case for social networks being just another form of search marketing. He points out that "whether you like it or not, your brand is probably already a topic being discussed. What's scary is that you have no control over it. You can't run that online content through the creative department, or the brand team or the legal folks. You just have to grin and bear it. But you don't necessarily need to be afraid of unfavorable content," …

Social Networking may not be All That

The theory behind social networking, often positioned as a key element of Web 2.0, seems simple and powerful: instead of buying into "marketing hype" about a product or service, or the canned references of an individual, one can get honest opinions from independent, unbiased sources about the quality and reliability of a company, product, service, or person. Put another way, you might not select a plumbing contractor because he has a big ad in the yellow pages, but if Aunt Mabel recommends him, then he must be okay. Social networking is a way to get the opinions of a lot of Aunt Mabels at once.

But what if it doesn't turn out that way? What if the most -recommended contractors on Angie's List turn out to be the ones that already have the biggest Yellow Pages ads? What if the most highly-rated products on epinions are the ones already backed by huge national advertising budgets? What if the most commonly tagged blogs on del.icio.us are the ones written by "househo…

A Consensus for Inconsistency

Writing in standardized language -- terms that we can all agree on -- is important for effective communication, as well as to avoid looking like an idiot. Over time, standards are defined that enable us to communicate in a consistent fashion. For example, we'd all agree that "playhouse" is a noun while "play house" is a verb. Some standards in our language seem eminently sensible, while others are absurd to the point of becoming one-liners, such as "Why isn't phonetic spelled like it sounds?"

The Internet (internet?) has introduced a boatload of new terms into our language, many of which still aren't standardized. Since we've been online (not "on line" or "on-line") for over a decade now, I thought I might be able to discover and share some proper web writing standards. But it turns out there is still considerable disagreement over the correct way to capitalize and abbreviate several common terms, so the following is mer…

More Lessons from the Guru of Podcasting

I needed one paragraph on podcasting for a longer article I was working on for a marketing publication. Being that I know as much about podcasting as Wal-Mart knows about high fashion, I called on Albert Maruggi, head of marketing and PR agency Provident Partners, and increasingly famous podcasting guru. Here's a bit of his wisdom:

- Podcasts don't have to be short, despite what some people will tell you. Although they can be used as short "teasers" to get people to ask for more information, they can also be used effectively for longer format presentations such as multi-participant roundtable expert panel discussions or audio white papers.

- The name "podcast" is a misnomer - they should be called "netcasts," as many executives choose to listen to them at their desks. They don't have to be downloaded to an iPod or other MP3 player.

- That said, the podcasting format does give your content wings by freeing the listener from their computer. Once do…

Guaranteed Web Traffic

On behalf of an advertising client, I recently launched a campaign with one of those "guaranteed Web site traffic" services. We were initially going to try MegaWebPromotion, but reconsidered after reading this forum discussion. So, we opted for Blazing Traffic, which promised 20,000 targeted visitors for only $26 (I should have been suspicious when a $16 upcharge was required to get English language visitors; given the narrow niche-market nature of the site, the ability to read English is an awfully minimal requirement for "targeted visitors").

At about a quarter of the way through the test, here are the results: overall site traffic up a whopping 2% (within rounding error). Conversions: flat. Incremental revenue: 0.

In fairness to the folks at Blazing Traffic, a couple of measures of visitor quality (average time spent on the site and percentage of visitors adding the site to their favorites) rose slightly -- though it isn't really possible to tell if this is …