Category Archives: Online Marketing News

How much Publicity is too much?

If you listen to the Radio in England you have probably heard about the Street-level crime map site.

The site allows users to see what crimes have been reported in their local area. Check it out here.

I decided to try it out myself…

The interface seems to have some bugs and there appears to be very limited functionality, but for a site made for the minimal sum of £300, 000 you can’t really have very high expectations :P .

I then discovered that since it went live this morning millions of users have accessed it and the site has since gone down. The Home Office reported on their Twitter that they were receiving approximately 75, 000 hits per minute.

So what is the moral of this post?

Sometimes you can have too much publicity. If you intend to create a service that thousands (or in this case millions) of users will want to access you need to take into account volumetrics, bandwidth and other limitations.

Whenever a new site is launched and will definitely have an immediate large following there are going to be those who are legitimate users and those who are just browsing or curious about the site becuase it was a trending topic on twitter,  google or any other social media or search site (if you ever see your site as a trending topic I suggest you upgrade your hosting plan!).

Even if you over estimate these figures it’s best to have a site live and the ability to catch potential visitors and customers than to greet them with a server error.

Make Money Off Your Facebook Fans!

Facebook has announced a new advertising feature, Sponsored Stories.

These are brand related stories which appear in your news feed normally, however if the company is willing to pay any of their brand related activities will appear in this new ad format.

So every time you check in somewhere or like something brand related you could find yourself in a sponsored story on one of your friend’s Facebook page as well as part of their news feed.

This raises (even more) privacy concerns with Facebook. Do you want your actions to appear in ads? Should users be allowed to opt-out of this feature?

There is currently no opt-out option, however if we stop telling our friends exactly were we are and everything we like we are a lot less likely to be exploited by these brands. Does anyone really care if I check into my local Wetherspoons seven times in a day? Will it make my friends go there too?

The most it is likely to achieve is an intervention!

It’s estimated that Facebook took in over $1.8 bn (£1.1 bn) in ad revenue during 2010. This new advert format is sure to be another lucrative venture for the social networking company.

So the question we really should be asking ourselves is not about privacy or opt-out options but Does Mark Zuckerberg really need more money?

Apologies for my terrible Photoshop skills

Mozilla Proposes a “Do Not Track” Feature in Firefox 4

You maybe able to stop tailored ads showing up when you browse with this new feature in Firefox.

If the feature is enabled in the user’s browser, the HTTP header will send a “Do Not Track” message to all sites which request their data for behavioural advertising.

The image below shows how the system might work.

Mozilla Firefox do-not-track tool

The feature is still in proposal mode, however Mozilla hope that all browsers make this an industry standard.

This would be a huge step forward in obtaining user privacy, however if sites do not adopt this standard it will make no difference to web browsing.  If it is accepted by behavioural advertising sites it could give Firefox a great increase in market share!

Online Christmas Shopping in the UK

Christmas in 2010 saw 44% of us increase our online shopping budgets according to a survey by market research company Tealeaf.

Reasons for this were said to be Convenience, Less Stress, Cheaper Prices (even after postage costs are added on) and Faster Shopping Times (the average time it takes to complete a simple transaction is about 21seconds).

According to a study by eDigitalResearch on Christmas and Boxing Day almost two thirds of Britons went online to get in on the Post-Christmas sales and beat the VAT rise.

It seems that now more than ever companies are realising the impact online shopping has on their business.

The Tealeaf survey also showed that over 5.3 Million British users abandoned their shopping carts due to errors on sites. This figure alone may seem high, but in a Social Media savvy society the knock on effect could be tremendous.

If your friend posted a status or tweet stating a site was full of errors or timing out would you shop there, especially when there are hundreds (if not thousands) of alternatives at your fingertips?

With smartphones and other smart devices becoming more and more prevalent our demand for 24 hour access to online stores and services increases. Even a down time of 2 minutes could lose you 50 customers even if only one person tries to access your site in that time.

Myspace Axing 500 Jobs

Despite having major redundancies last year which saw the Social Networking Company’s total employees drop by 700 to just 1,130 Myspace is having further redundancies across its US and International offices again.

There are currently only three offices outside the US in Sydney, Berlin and London which employ about 130 personnel.

While there nothing has been confirmed the UK offices which employs around 50 people, will be largely folded into Fox Networks, also a News Corporation-owned business, in a new partnership deal. The majority of UK employees will be leaving the company, with only a skeleton staff remaining to work with Fox on the commercial side of the site.

MySpace chief executive Mike Jones said: “Details about Australia and Germany are currently being finalized. MySpace will retain a core, dedicated international team to work with partners in order to ensure users, content partners and advertisers continue to be served.”

Employees in the US offices aren’t safe either about 400 jobs will be lost of their 1,000 current staff.

This set of cuts is most likely due to a loss of $US156 million (£99 million) in its most recent quarterly financial statement.

Great Year for Google

The past year has seen a great success for Google. With Chrome’s market share reaching 9.98%, over 100% increase since January 2010 when they had only 4.63% market share.

However this was not good news for IE, losing over 5% of their market share over the course of the year.

Google Android OS has also see a significant Rise in new users of the Smart phone OS. In the US over the past 6 months, over 40% of new smart phone users choosing Android OS over iOS or Blackberry OS phones. However iOS is still the most popular phone OS with 28% overall market share Android OS is close behind with 25% overall market share.

With the release of Chrome OS and their Netbook the Cr-48, Google is looking to have another very prosperous year in 2011.

Christmas Shopping Hit Badly By WikiLeaks Cyberwar “Operations Payback”

First figures from today’s trade analysis show astonishing results. Hackers attacks during WikiLeaks Cyberwar brought to hold most of the online operations on payment gateways in UK and Europe. PayPal, MasterCard and lately Visa’s online payment operations suffered badly.

Up to the moment we analysed 12 online operations with payment gateways and we found 52% decrease!!!! in transactions on year to year basis during last 24h while traffic didn’t change. For 7 websites this is the highest trading season and the difference between average from last 7 days and today’s transactions is edging 70% downfall. Some of the businesses went from the highest to the lowest figures within 24h

In this light late MasterCard statement is the biggest scam possible as they mention there is no difference in service for customers payment processing. We experienced today these problems ourselves from both customer and trading organisation point of view. Which clearly shows how incompetent they are under simple attack. I wonder if Paypal is going to address these reviewing monthly payments from their customers – no – of course not you silly. Try to imagine any of these organisation say yes we were unable to process few of your payments today this is £1 back :-)

All payment processing organisations looks like they try to cover up the fact they simply useless and are growing overconfident lately. Obviesly millions of businesses worldwide pay substential amounts of money towards online payments processing they may wonder now where their fees are going to? “Anonymous” group attacks are one of the most common type of attacks on servers (DDoS). My instant question is why my business suffer so badly while the fees are so high and should. Question is simple money are not reinvested on the correct level in infrastructure and services get easily struck by bunch of guys (something about bonuses – maybe).

The whole situation simply looks like another cock up from financial sector. They aren’t helping businesses to get loans but they also now block businesses ability to make a business. – Great

These are main services affected (3D Security unable to cope with requests)

3D Verified by Visa and MasterCard Secure Targets for WikiLeaks Cyberwar Operation PayBack

3D Verified by Visa and MasterCard Secure Targets for WikiLeaks Cyberwar Operation PayBack

There is no need to panic as there is no indication “Anonymous’” attacks created breach of security.

I believe we will be back tomorrow to analyse Operation Payback and its impact on Online Marketing in detail.

Fake Reviews of Your Business on Google Maps

If you were to go to Google Maps today and type in ‘Mt Everest’, you will see a list of not so positive joke reviews of the highest point on Earth. The current reviews complain about the cold weather, lack of Wifi, no Starbucks and “lack of amenities” at the summit.

One man claimed to have climbed Everest on horseback: “Road a horse to the summit had a blast!?”.

Another man said his mate climbed it in trainers, but you should have “some smokes and red bull for the trip down”.

I decided to join in the fun myself by adding my own review:

“I made it to the top in a couple of hours via the cycling route. The holiday rep told me to avoid the sherpas just there to rip you off, so I stuck with the Thamas Cook tour guide instead. My runners kept getting soaked from the snow. I suggest going in Summer if you have to go”.

This is all well and funny, but serves as a very good lesson that anyone can publish content and reviews about your business online. Competitors and disgruntled employees could fake a review about your service to get one over on you.

If you see a fake review on Google Maps of your business you can click ‘Flag as inappropriate’, then give a detailed message as to why. A Google employee should take the fake review off the site for you. This is not a fool proof way to solve the situation, as I have heard about mixed results from people doing this.

Some of the reviews get pulled off from other sites as well, which you will need to contact to get any false content removed. Good luck if your business has been affected by unscrupulous reviewing.

New Twitter: Day Two

Twitter is anticipating great things for itself very soon. It has been positioning itself at a worthy social networking competitor to Google by introducing very subtle changes to how it works over the last month or so.

I don’t know about you, but I currently have the very latest version of Twitter at my disposable fulltime. I had a go on it yesterday, but Twitter took it away from me as I was having WAY too much fun with it. You want to read how I first got to grips with the newest version of Twitter.

It all runs very smooth and satisfyingly. When you click on a Tweet in the timeline, a panel slides open with all the latest tweets from the ‘Tweeter’ of the post. The layout is far easier to use and I have learnt where everything is now.

I implore everyone to adopt it with open arms.