Category Archives: Online Marketing Cock-ups and SEO History

Email Marketing Mishap (Chelsea FC)

As an avid Chelsea fan, I didn’t have a very good Sunday as the team I support lost out to rivals Manchester City in a crushing 3-0 defeat. However, I had only a short time to recollect my thoughts after the game, when to my surprise I was sent a marketing email.

This wasn’t just any ordinary marketing email it was an e-newsletter from Chelsea. Originally I thought this might have been a commiserations email or something to do with the match as I had received this a few minutes after the final whistle.

But it was an email to buy training equipment from Chelsea, with an offer of free delivery on orders over £60! As it was sent so soon after the defeat this made me seriously question the timing (as surely they wouldn’t knowingly send out the email after a crushing defeat).

Although I have considered the following cases which may be how this e-marketing mishap occurred. The first is that they may have scheduled the email completely sure of a victory, so fans may purchase, after a victory over their rivals. With the only other alternative being that they sent the email without even considering the match timing.

In the first case the newsletter creator could perhaps be perceived as naive, in the second case it would be an unfortunate blunder where the timing, of all things, should be highly important. Both cases are more likely to annoy fans, rather than encourage them to buy.

From my knowledge of working in the e-marketing field, to stop this type of mishap happening in the future, I would set-up two email campaign’s, one for each possible result. With someone monitoring how the match result went (in the case of a draw, the most relevant newsletter could be sent) and then sending the relevant campaign, this may mean fans get the newsletter slightly later after the match, but it would be better than the campaign sent out Sunday immediately after a defeat.

Another way to have this completely avoided is to send the newsletter before the game. As this would make the newsletter relevant at the time of sending. Through either of the methods I have mentioned, the newsletter will most likely gain more and have a more positive impact on the fans.

To summarise, the situation for these emails being sent out immediately after the match needs careful review by the Chelsea marketing team, as their e-newsletters are wholly dependant on how the football team are doing and therefore the newsletter sending schedule must be entirely focused around this (especially for the UK Subscriber Base).

HMV Collapse – Administrators Useless Money Wasters!

OK, so four years on nothing has changed. From web point of view insolvency administrators of huge chains still waste money with their first decisions!

Four years into the crisis, four years after our Silverjet and Woolworth articles where published and we have this same approach from appointed administrators – money wasters!
Apoined administrator is someone who should take extra care when it goes to value of the collapsed business.
How about taking care of assets value? We know operations created profit opposite to the rest of the group. Administrator’s task at this point is to make sure that people are not only informed about company administration status but also be aware of the value of assets managed during administration.
Making shareholders and companies to whom HMV owns money aware about administrator’s action to make website wiped out from search engines within few days wouldn’t go well as it is irresponsible also in respect of the people who work in this part of HMV group!

World with little competition – Royal Mail Web experiments

The Register informed on Monday what was already broadly known – Royal Mail Website services are down. Over the weekend we experienced problems with RM service which was simply down.  A lot of our e-commerce customers couldn’t process parcels as Royal Mail decided to upgrade the system.

Royal Mail

Web Postage Order Down due to new system implementation scheduled during the highest sales season

Everyone knows on approach to Christmas online sales jump up and Royal Mail is extremely busy with all extra staff employed. Unfortunately someone decided to upgrade their system in the middle of the high season usage! – effect thousands of  angry people on twitter and a lot of lost business.

Someone from Royal Mail should think about this – why not make large changes to important parts of your site during off-peak seasons?


The two points to take away are clear:

1) If you run an organisation as big as Royal Mail – Ignore your customers ;-) if you fail this same people will be asked to pay from their taxes for your services anyway. Look no further than banks.

2) If you’re a reliable and trustworthy company who cares, make sure whatever your marketing effort is your company may suffer if you do not consult changes on your internal system with your customers or community.

The highest sales season is the worst to go for implementation. Check your stats and make sure you upset the lowest number of people in the process.


The Independant’s URLs can be changed to anything! (Warning: Contains Swears)

Google has indexed almost 30 fake URLs for a story by The Independent about a Jelly Bean which resembles a vague likeness to the princess to be Kate Middleton.

The flaw in The Independant’s CMS allows you to put anything in the URL as long as the article ID is at the end of it.

Some of the URLs Google has indexed are:

I think you get the gist of it, but if you want you see a full list of fake URLs simply Google “site: inurl:2269573″ (with out the quote marks).

Andrew Marr’s Rant Against ‘inadequate, pimpled and single’ Bloggers

Andrew Marr, who represents BBC1′s flagship Sunday morning show has adorned himself in controversy by an  extremely prejudiced comment against bloggers. In an interview with the Cheltenham Literacy Festival he said:

“A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people”.

“OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk”.

‘Andrew Marr’, Twitter Trending Topic

As I write this blog article, Andrew Marr has become a hate figure amongst avid Twitters users, most of whom not Tweeting from their mother’s basements. The internet is a close knit, highly media savvy community, and Andrew Marr will surely not forget how his comments have been taken.

I can understand Andrew Marr using the “inadequate, pimpled and single” cliché to lambaste certain individuals who cause childish arguments on message boards across the internet, but some of the most influential & trusted people use blogs. Stephen Fry is the most respected scholar and TV personality in the British public, and is a well documented ‘Tweeter’. Many actors like Simon Pegg use blogging as a means to connect to fans about their current projects.

Andrew Marr is simply deluded to the own importance of his opinion, and if he conducted a little more research he should see how the most informed, and current knowledge is currently on social media.

Backlash Against ‘Edgy’ University Marketing Decisions

Drake University ‘D+’ Marketing

To set itself apart from other American Universities, Drake University in Iowa has decided to market itself as a ‘D+’ University. The D+ apparently represents the Drake University ‘plus’ advantage you would receive. All their direct marketing and their website display the rubbish school grade type. Many bloggers and former students have criticised the obvious devaluation of the institute its attempt to be edgy creates. At least all this attention has given the University much more attention.

Those who should be intelligent enough to grace a University campus shouldn’t fail in looking through the marketing. The marketing may of worked as they have had significantly increased interest from potential applicants over the previous year.

On a lighter note, in 2008 the American University in Washington decided to use the slogan ‘American Wonk’ to promote itself. It’s an American term used for overly studious nerds. Literally ‘Know’ spelt backwards. Commenters have made light of the term ‘wonk’, making similarities between it and a cartoon sound effect, or a sexual act.

All in all if you are a small institute with no reputation to speak of, creating something radical to get people talking about your University could be a good way to get attention, but I would advise against larger places with an already established reputation to go this route as they have more to lose than gain.

Another Travel Company Bites the Dust

If you’re planning to go on holiday anytime soon you won’t be able book with Flight Options Limited, who traded predominantly as Kiss Flights. The London based travel company has ceased trading on the 17th August 2010 and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has stepped in to protect the remaining holidaymakers. The CAA will allow the 13’000 still currently overseas to return home, with the other 60’000 who plan to make a trip in the future still able to claim a full refund.

This is a worrying time for the British travel industry as the recession recovery stalls and other travel companies go bust. On the 11th August 2010 Sun 4 U Limited left many sun searchers stranded as they too went out of business.  The highest profile travel company to recently go under is Goldtrail Travel Limited. Goldtrail specialised in cheap trips to Greece and Turkey, and had gone into administration, leaving an estimated 16,000 people overseas. Some of those trapped in Turkey have even been extorted for more money by Hotel Mangers –who have been advised by Goldtrail to recoup their losses from those who have nowhere else to go as Goldtrail can’t pay the hotels.

Goldtrail were previously the source of many complaints on the BBC show Watchdog and it comes to no surprise that they went out of business.

These were businesses struggling to compete with larger, more established travel companies. All three business’ that went bust were ones I have personally never hear of. If they had spent more time increasing their online presence, they may have generated more business and still be around today.

Daily Telegraph D-Day headline cock-up

As most of you will know it was the 66th Anniversary of D-Day yesterday. Not the 65th as some very confusing headlines suggest.

So which one is it? And we thought D-Day was all about Remembrance... Tut

So which one is it?

It was not the first time the Daily Telegraph have cocked-up their headlines. But let us not bring up the large hadron collider again, shall we?

And we thought D-Day was all about remembrance? Silly us!!

Airlines Tough Times – – Administrator’s victim

Who is the biggest Online Advertising spender? Travel industry of course. Margins in travel are high enough to create great advertising budget. Of course everyone goes on holiday so it is main stream business too.

What is easy to sell on internet? – Tickets of course - bit of paper or even just a code and automatically generated text message or e-mail and you have done it – simple and clean job.

These are two main reasons for airlines to have a strong well managed websites. In this case they can sell directly to the public their own product without agency charges and put some additional and after sales services on the front of their customers. To do it so of course they need a lot of online marketing to make their website well visible. Of course they invest thousands of pounds in SEO, Online PR, PPC and all other techniques to keep Google happy and to produce more ad more traffic on their websites.

What happens then when all goes wrong? We have operations shut and before they start think website gets replaced by one flat html which says “home” in the title and a lot of legal admin non sense. We understand legal obligation to inform public about company status but this doesn’t mean you need to destroy website listings.

The thing is non of the Aministrators treats websites like assets – Incredible but true. they only see domain as potential asset but not search engines listings. These things are capable of producing valuable traffic all the way long what is the problem with setting up redirections or partnerships, affiliates programs. Administrators please just simply let the website sell for someone else and earn money from it for your Administration purposes.

It looks like opportunity has been missed and is another victim insted of beeing sold with its good PR, great linking structure is going to die slowly – money wasted.

Administrators wasters flush good SEO and online marketing job down the drain