Daily Roundup for 2008-04-08

  • Is it just me or has Google gone into overdrive? As a professional full-time online marketer I have to keep my mind firmly placed on what Google is doing. As much as I try not to because Google has probably driven more people around the bend than Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz put together. Like any professional marketer, I monitor my numerous keywords on a daily basis – especially my major targeted keyword phrases that bring in the most sales and subscribers. For years now, I have had top rankings in Google for my chosen phrases; they move up and down, but mostly they don’t leave the first page.
  • Recognizing that it is not much fun to watch movies on a tiny cell phone, a number of companies are racing to develop gadgets that project what’s playing on the small screen onto walls, table cloths and other handy surfaces. ”Pico projectors” that are small enough to carry around in a shirt pocket are expected on the market later this year. Eventually, the technology will be tiny enough to be built into phones and portable media players, the companies say.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-04-04

  • Can fewer clicks on its search ads lead to more revenue for Google? That is the question investors, analysts, and the company itself are trying to answer. The debate was launched after a Mar. 26 report from researcher comScore (SCOR) showed a decline in the number of clicks from the prior month on Google’s search-related ads. According to the research firm, clicks on ads declined 3% in February from the prior month and were up just 3% compared to last year. Some analysts cautioned investors against buying additional Google (GOOG) shares; Google’s stock declined 3% on Mar. 27, to $444.
  • Mashups–online applications that combine data and tools from different websites–are becoming increasingly useful. Although they started out as simple consumer programs, such as a tool that placed housing listings from Craigslist onto Google Maps, mashups have grown in complexity and are becoming popular with corporations, too. As a growing number of tools are released to help people easily build mashups, experts are also taking a look at how to head off the security risks.

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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.

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-07

  • When a small padlock appears in the corner of your Web browser’s address bar or the entire bar turns green, it seems like a powerful signal you’re safe to proceed.  But experts say the SSL certificates those green lights signify — digital stamps of approval that Web sites buy to prove they’re running a legitimate business and can send and receive encrypted data safely — don’t provide the safety they seem to.  "They instill some sense of security, but that could be a dangerously false sense of security," said Paul Mutton, a researcher with UK-based security firm Netcraft Ltd.  The site itself could still be riddled with security holes for hackers to exploit. And the certificate could simply be bogus: Criminals have been forging them to get the padlock icon and dress up fraudulent sites.
  • During the Web’s heyday, a profitable Internet company nearing $100 million in annual sales while luring a million new customers a month would have found itself on the IPO fast track. But that’s hardly the case for LinkedIn, a professional networking site that has cleared those hurdles and then some.  Instead, LinkedIn is hewing closely to the Web economy’s new motto on initial public offerings: Easy does it. Founded in 2003, LinkedIn may not sell shares until some time next year. Likewise, social networking site Facebook, worth $15 billion on paper, may not go public until 2010,

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Daily Roundup for 2008-03-03

  • By giving an audience widgets that provide a service and make their lives more interesting or convenient your brand will be on its way to far more free real estate than you ever expected.  In helping brands develop widget presences, I can say that for brand managers and agencies alike, the first time through can be an emotional roller coaster. Early in the process, brainstorming sessions are filled with far-flung, fantastic ways to bring enterprise information into the everyday lives of the audience.
  • Comparison shopping engines are an important part of the e-commerce channel marketing mix, Scot Wingo, CEO of e-commerce channel management services vendor ChannelAdvisor Corp., tells Internet Retailer. But they’re a better spend for some categories than for others, he adds.  Wingo says, for example, that comparison shopping engines are strong in categories such as consumer electronics, less so with products such as apparel and jewelry. That disparity is partially a function of how matching on the engines works. Consumer electronics products have a multitude of hard attributes that lend themselves to point-to-point comparison, for example, while jewelry and apparel selection relies more on a shopper’s subjective opinion.  That said, ChannelAdvisor customers spend anywhere from 15% to as much as 40% of their online marketing dollars on comparison shopping engines

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Daily Roundup for 2008-02-29

  • The relationship between the venture capitalists of Sand Hill Road and the securities firms and power investors of Wall Street has long been a cozy one. VCs hoping for a return on their investments will need banks eventually, while Wall Street needs VCs to nurture the most promising startups until they’re ready to go public.  Or do they?  Lately, some of New York’s biggest players have been cherry-picking the best pre-IPO investments for themselves.
  • Although the tiny, family-run Joy’s Spa and Nail Salon in Adams Morgan may never get a critique in a newspaper, it’s received 42 reviews on Yelp.com.  Reggie Tull, the owner’s son and a massage therapist, said he noticed an increase in traffic with every new review posted on the recommendation site. He’s also surprised by the time writers invest in each posting.

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The eMarket for Lemons at The Wharton School

I had the opportunity to speak at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania last week about an article that Dr. Eric Clemons recently authored for the Journal of Management Information Systems, "An Empirical Investigation of Third-Party Seller Rating Systems in E-Commerce: The Case of buySAFE".  My presentation was focused on marketplace economics and specifically about information asymmetry, signaling, the "Market for Lemons" concept, and buySAFE.  In addition, I was able to share a few thoughts about my entrepreneurial experience with buySAFE.

As always, I had a great time as the guest of Dr. Eric Clemons, and I enjoyed hearing the passionate questions, insights and feedback from the students.  One of the students posted an article about my visit on his blog, The Un-Wharton

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