Daily Roundup for 2008-03-08

  • The U.S. Presidential race has reached a critical juncture. The Republicans have a confirmed nominee in John McCain; as for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton has bounced back, while Barack Obama retains a marginal lead in terms of delegates. How the presidential race evolves will be shaped in part by the increasingly worrisome state of the U.S. economy. Consumer prices are rising, oil has crossed $103 a barrel and gold is nudging $1,000 an ounce — suggesting that the economy could be entering a phase of 1970s-style stagflation. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, however, told Congress last week that he doesn’t anticipate stagflation, and he continues to indicate his willingness to keep cutting interest rates. What lies ahead for the U.S. and world economies? Knowledge@Wharton discussed these questions and more with finance professor Jeremy Siegel, author of The Future for Investors.
  • Last month I talked about blogging platforms and the value blogging can bring to ecommerce sites. When a website makes the decision to begin a blog and decides upon a blogging platform, it will then have to decide who will blog and how often. Time allotted to blogging is also a relative issue, as is subject matter. So why bother at all?  Relative to static ecommerce sites, search engines consider blogs more real and trusted because blogs tend to have fresh content and there is a less financial, more informational link between a blog and its readers. An ecommerce site should take advantage of this tendency by adding a blog to augment the overall site.

  • If you’re running an ecommerce store, you’ve probably heard of PayPal and Google Checkout. The following is a quick rundown of things you might not have known about the two.
  • When hiring a marketing professional, or evaluating an existing employee, it is important to evaluate their understanding of the following key marketing concepts: the marketing plan, branding, and ROI.  Seems obvious they should know these things right? Unfortunately, our experience shows that many marketing professionals only partially understand these fundamentals. In fact, the most common issue is that many do not define the concepts correctly, resulting in a marketing effort that never realizes its full potential (at best) or quite simply falls flat.
  • A new JupiterResearch and PayPal study revealed that consumers value payment security and payment choice more than rewards when making purchases online. PayPal partnered with independent research firm JupiterResearch to develop a series of survey questions focused on how the U.S. population uses payment methods when shopping online. According to the research, when consumers are confronted with two merchants who offer the same product at the same price, the two most influential factors when choosing where to buy are payment security and payment choice.  The study showed that security influences online shopping behavior more than typical merchant incentives like rewards and discounts.
  • Virtually anyone can edit an entry on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia. But its founder is finding it’s not so easy to cover his tracks after a messy breakup with a TV personality and a dustup over his expenses began playing out on the Web.  It’s not the first time that Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s de facto leader, has found his behavior questioned — especially since no subject appears too arcane for dissection by Wikipedia’s passionate community of users. The latest episodes, however, reverberated beyond the usual die-hards.

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