Business issues - a general catchall for all seo business related discussions

Woot.com - Ecom at It's Simplest - And Damn Profitable

Thread Title: Woot, Here It Is Thread Url: http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/04/12/wo_hellweg120604.asp?trk=nl Thread Description:

Woot.com is a word of mouth marketing buzz bomb of simplicity and gimmick, and it's making a STACK

The all-things craze hit ecommerce too, and Amazon went from selling books to hawking everything from Stairmasters to BBQs. But now, an ecommerce site is gaining ground by following Google's go simple strategy, and if its early revenue numbers are any indication, it's found a winning strategy.

The site is called Woot, and offers visitors a simple choice: It sells one item, usually something electronics-related, for one day. At midnight central time the new product is announced, and usually within a few hours, it's sold out.

So, is going as simple as possible the best way forward for Ecom sites? It's certainly an approach that has worked for Google in Search and there is a lot to be said for simpicity i think...

Google Shares top $200 Mark - Charitable Foundation to Launch

Thread Title: Google Cracks $200! Thread Url: http://google.blognewschannel.com/index.php/archives/2005/01/03/google-cracks-200/ Thread Description:

InsideGoogle inform us in the threadlink above that Google shares have topped the $200 mark. John Battelle has the reason via Reuters:

Google gained as much as 5.15 percent and Yahoo rose as high as 3.3 percent in Nasdaq trading after Goldman Sachs increased its forecasts, citing strong Internet advertising trends. In a report, Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto said that his firm's recent talks with media buyers demonstrated that "the strength in online advertising demand did not appear to abate" in the quarter.

Charity

We're also told of the imminent launch or the Google Foundation where 1% of all equity and profits will be donated to charitable causes.

Google on 60 Minutes - Some Contraversy

Thread Title: Defining Google Thread Url: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/12/30/60minutes/main664063.shtml Thread Description:

For those of you outside the United States, "60 Minutes" is a well respected television news magazine. The story above is a transcript of a show

(CBS) Has there ever been a brand name like Google? Non-existent six years ago, it’s now a part of the global language, as in, “I Googled this,” or “I Googled that,” or “I Googled you.” To Google, a verb, is to get an instant answer by using the company's super-computer to look up anything on the Internet.

What began as a school project is now worth about as much as Ford and General Motors combined, thanks to a stock that has roughly doubled in price since the company went public last August.

And for the first time since then, Google has opened its doors, to let "60 Minutes" Google them. Lesley Stahl reports.

added by Nick: these urls need to be in there but the quotes are in the comments below - wanna make sure they get their trackback if they have it on :-) http://www.kottke.org/05/01/60-minutes-wrong-again http://www.marketingshift.com/2005/01/google-scandal-on-60-minutes.cfm

Bezos gets Slapped for Losing Money at Ad Age

Thread Title: AMAZON.COM: A CHAMPION ONLINE MONEY LOSER Thread Url: http://www.adage.com/news.cms?newsId=42224 Thread Description:

Paid content points out the threadlinked Ad Age article by marketing legend Al Ries who slams a recent BusinessWeek piece titled "The Wizard of Web Retailing"

In the decade since its founding in 1994, Amazon.com has racked up $17.5 billion in sales. Currently its stock market value is $16 billion. And according to Business Week’s annual survey of the world’s 100 top brands, Amazon.com is No. 66 with an estimated value of $4.2 billion.

$3 billion loss Not bad, except for one thing. Amazon.com doesn’t make any money. In the past decade, the wizard of Web retailing has managed to lose $3 billion. That works out to an astounding 17.1% loss on each dollar of sales.

A retailing wizard? When you look at the numbers, Amazon.com looks more like Kmart than Wal-Mart. As a matter of fact, in the last decade, Kmart managed to lose only 1.8% on each dollar of sales and Kmart went bankrupt.

Staci at PC notes:

I just got off the phone with a VC who says that analysis is off base and assures me Amazon is a thriving business with plenty of cash in the bank. I'm not sure that cancels out Ries' efforts to look beyond the myth but it's worth remembering.

Is Amazon all brand and no cash?

RSS Abuse - or - More of the Same for Most of us...

Thread Title: RSS Abuse: What’s fair use and what’s abuse. (or Skweezer gets it wrong). Thread Url: http://calacanis.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000450025233/ Thread Description:

Seems like blogging star Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc is getting a taste of the old "they copied my website!" routine. It appears that RSS is paving the way:

It’s one thing to take an excerpt—like the good folks at Google, Topix.net, Feedster or Technorati do—to help people navigate.

It’s a whole other thing to take your entire feed, wrap your own ads around it, and try to sell a service on top of the content!

Jason, this is quite common, trust me.

RSS does make it ever so easy to do though. I've not put any kind of license on Threadwatch's own feed as of yet and am in two minds as to what, if any kind of license to give it. I really dont mind people posting my (our) entire posts on their websites but if anyone tried to pass it off as their own doing and make $$$'s from it I'd be a bit narked...

Search Engines Battle with Agencies for Client Cash - Business or War?

Thread Title: A scandal surfaces in the world of search marketing: Publishers are not our friends. Thread Url: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/4839.asp Thread Description: "Soul-less Cash Mongers who couldn't Care Less About You"

Kevin Ryan posted an interesting article threadlinked above over at imediaconnection about the business of search publishing and the relationship between publisher, agency and advertiser. And more specifically, how engine reps have been trying to bypass agencies in a bid to deal with the client directly.

Getting the point that Search is a business and not a public commons to some thickheaded marketers is tough but maybe some of Kevin's war stories will enlighten the rose tinted spectacle wearing brigade.

For the most part, search engines are public entities. Despite the pretty façade and love-in style introductions, they are soul-less cash mongers who couldn’t care less about you.

I remember going to a search party the last time AD:TECH was held in Los Angeles (frankly, there were no other parties). While boozing it up, my rep enjoyed telling me how much fun it was to go out and sign up my client’s biggest competitor to drive up bid costs.

Now that’s nice, isn’t it? True story folks, I am not making this up.

The argument from the search engines is very simple and effective. “Agencies don’t understand search and specialized SEM shops don’t carry enough weight to be effective in the marketing world,” one search provider told me on condition of anonymity. “If we can’t get a direct introduction, we’ll try to get the agency to get us in so we can then move around them.”

Danny Sullivan posted on the article also. He says:

I also see the search engines -- the publishers as Kevin rightly calls them -- fighting the wrong battle if they think they can replace what agencies provide. The search publishers know their own publications, but it is extremely rare for an advertiser to want to be on only one network. People want both Google and Yahoo/Overture, to have as much reach as possible.

Blogs - You can Run, but you can't Hide

Thread Title: Why There's No Escaping the Blog Thread Url: http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,1011763-1,00.html Thread Description:

Much of the blog evangelism out there just bores me to tears but here's a relatively well informed and thought provoking piece on the power of blogs and how companies are, or need to be, monitoring and using them.

Some of it is pure waffle, the stuff about Scoble being particulary funny. It is a good read though:

It all used to be so easy; the adage went "never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel." But now everyone can get ink for free, launch a diatribe, and—if what they have to say is interesting to enough people—expect web-enabled word of mouth to carry it around the world. Unlike earlier promises of self-publishing revolutions, the blog movement seems to be the real thing. A big reason for that is a tiny innovation called the permalink: a unique web address for each posting on every blog. Instead of linking to web pages, which can change, bloggers link to one another's posts, which typically remain accessible indefinitely. This style of linking also gives blogs a viral quality, so a pertinent post can gain broad attention amazingly fast—and reputations can get taken down just as quickly.

Hey, what was that new fangled way of linking again? hehe...

It's facinating to watch such momentous change happening in the way we communicate and do business. Blogs are a big part of it but certainly not the only component in the "web communications boom"..

Craigslist Chews up Millions in Newspaper Ad Revenue

Thread Title: Craigslist Costs Newspapers Millions In Classified Ads Revenue Thread Url: http://www.internetweek.com/allStories/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=56200498 Thread Description:

Social classifieds site Craigslist is eating up millions in ad revenue that would have otherwise gone the way of newspaper classifieds:

The non-profit site has also cost newspapers millions of dollars more in merchandise, real estate and other traditional classified advertising businesses, Classified Intelligence LLC said in a recent report on the self-service site's impact. Craigslist, which is a quarter owned by EBay Inc., has grown to a billion page-views a month.

"Craigslist has created an extremely important and valuable marketplace, and perfectly illustrates the changing nature of the classified advertising industry," Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of Classified Intelligence, said in a statement.

Eljefe: Lives in Phuket with Tsuanmi...anyone heard from him?

Has anyone heard from ElJefe? Jeff lives in Phuket, Thailand where the Tsuanmi disaster is. I'm curious to know if he and his family are ok.

More on Search Marketing Consolidation

Thread Title: Search Agencies Ripe for Picking Thread Url: http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3452161 Thread Description:

Kevin Newcomb in the threadlink above has some interesting quotes and a little further speculation on Search Marketing consolidation:

Just about any SEM of significant size has been approached as a potential acquisition. Suitors include publicly traded holding companies, traditional and interactive agencies, and also ESPs, direct marketing and database marketing firms. According to various SEM executives ClickZ News interviewed for this story, performance-based ad networks, like ValueClick and FastClick, are among the most likely acquirers, outside the big three holding companies.

There are hundreds of SEM firms, but most industry watchers agree less than a dozen are large enough to have developed the practices and technologies to make them worth acquiring. SEM firms Did-It, Fathom, Impaqt and the foundering DoubleClick top the list of attractive targets.

What's more interesting to me is the unasked question: What will this mean to the small SEO/SEM?

Gotta like that guy Ellison

""His forte has never been as the grown-up running the company," he said. "He's the unpredictable mad genius behind Oracle. His life is an adventure, and Oracle is part of the adventure -- but not the whole thing. It's an old joke that they used to call it an Elvis sighting when Larry was actually in Redwood Shores. It's understood he's the company visionary and an itinerant CEO."

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/12/14/BUGADABB8U1.DTL

"Benevolent or paternalistic aren't words that have ever been seriously associated with Oracle or with its founder and CEO, Larry Ellison. Business is business..."

http://nevon.typepad.com/nevon/2004/12/thinking_time_f.html

Google working on video search

Thread Title: Google working on video search Thread Url: http://www.neteconomie.com/perl/navig.pl/neteconomie/infos/article/20041222162637 Thread Description:

In a recent interview with Mats Carduner (general manager of Google France) he revealed Google was working on Google Video search

Dodgy translated version:

For the multi-media one, the mission of Google remains to organize information and to make it available. One aims at the Web in all his forms: the text, images and tomorrow the audio-visual one. Googles Labs work besides on this concept of indexing of the video.

Click the linked title to read the interview

Revenue Leakage on Mobile Content

Thread Title: Revenue Assurance for Mobile Content Thread Url: http://www.billingworld.com/archive-detail.cfm?archiveId=7636 Thread Description:

As the market for mobile content grows the potential for revenue leakage does aswell. Threadlinked above is a look at the problems facing mobile content providers outlining the major business aspects and potential pitfalls for revenue leakage in an emerging industry:

Some figures:

he Yankee Group predicts that the U.S. mobile data market alone will represent $15.6 billion by 2008. QPass, for one, has seen tremendous growth in mobile content usage among its customers. The average transaction value for subscribers of QPass customer providers is $2.28. In September, QPass mobile operator customers achieved an average of $7.55 per purchasing subscriber, with an average spend of $36 to $42 per year for mobile content services.

Key problems:

To remain competitive, mobile operators often will roll out these content services before they are able to bill for them. When one U.K. mobile operator decided to roll out MMS, it offered the service free as a customer promotion, according to Megisto Chief Technology Officer Joel Halpern, but the promotion was free simply because the operator didn't know how to charge for it.

By far, mismanaging the relationships between all of the various entities is one of the greatest leakage points for mobile content. The process of revenue sharing and settling with third parties increases the need to accurately track revenue, and it only heightens the impact of potential leakage for both the content provider and mobile operator.

Just determining who is actually suffering the leakage—the mobile operator or the content provider—is a challenge. Often, neither player has the visibility needed to manage the transaction from start to finish.

It's a fairly detailed article but a skim through the key points gives a good overview of the industry itself and some of the problems it currently faces.

FastClick to go Public

Thread Title: Fastclick Files with SEC for $92 Million IPO Thread Url: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/nm/20041222/wr_nm/tech_fastclick_ipo_dc Thread Description:

Word comes in via staci that FastClick plan to raise $92M in their planned IPO.

Isobar Aquires iProspect - Search Marketing Industry Consolidation?

Thread Title: Isobar Acquires iProspect to Create World's Number One Search Engine Marketing Entity Thread Url: http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/041222/sfw009_1.html Thread Description:

Threadwatch member toprank points out that Isobar Aegis have bought iProspect - possibly making the worlds largest search marketing outfit.

Here's a little PR drivel for you:

"This is a major move in the development of Isobar's global vision," said Nigel Morris, Worldwide President of Isobar. "Our clients now have access to iProspect's world class tools, best practices, and outstanding management team. We believe in their philosophy of how search fits within the context of marketing, and look forward to creating the future of digital marketing together."

Earlier we raised the question of whether SEM companies would drop like flies in 2005 - consolidation would seem to be a part of such a prediction.

Q. Is this the start of search marketing industry consolidation?

Got a Ringside Seat for Google vs Yahoo! 2005?

Thread Title: Google/Yahoo Rivalry Moves Into 2005 Thread Url: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041221/ap_on_hi_te/ye_portal_wars_1 Thread Description:

Google and Yahoo! have had a fun year, we've seem all manner of innovations in technology and services from both companies. What's coming for 2005?

The AP story threadlinked above looks at just that:

Mountain View-based Google devotes significantly more of its budget to research and development, with more than $300 million — about 30 percent of its operating cash flow — earmarked for capital expenditures this past year. Meanwhile, Sunnyvale-based Yahoo is expected to spend $215 million to $235 million on capital expenditures, or about 20 percent of its operating cash flow.

Schachter believes the capital expenditure gap will widen in 2005 when he projects Google will spend $450 million while Yahoo allots about $250 million. If those estimates pan out, Google's capital expenditures, broken down as a percentage of operating cash flow, will be similar to such technology leaders as Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp.

link via gary

So, what will we see in 2005, and more importantly, how will affect marketers?

SuperBowl .Coms are Back! - Godaddy and CareerBuilder

Thread Title: Why Are 'Net Execs Buying Super Bowl Spots? Thread Url: http://www.threadwatch.org Thread Description:

Fox is charging a rumored $2.4 million per 30-second spot for the Super Bowl this year. Two Internet companies, CareerBuilder.com and GoDaddy.com, bought a piece of that game, casting their lots in with Budweiser, Ford, Visa and the other usual suspects.

I really hope to see some sockpuppets myself.

Amazon: Giving Away The Store ~OR~

Thread Title: Amazon: Giving Away The Store ~OR~ Thread Url: http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/01/issue/roush0105.asp?p=1 Thread Description:

...There Goes The Neighborhood: Datafeeds, Love 'Em or Hate 'Em

Publishers to Butt Heads with Retailers Online?

Thread Title: As Sales Flag, Publisher Eyes Retailers' Turf Thread Url: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/20/business/media/20book.html Thread Description:

The largest publishing house in the US, Random House has voiced plans to enter the retail market and sell books directly to the public online.

Barnes and Noble are not happy, and I shouldn't imagine Amazon are either. From the NYT story threadlinked above:

Last week, Peter W. Olson, the chief executive of Random House Inc., the nation's largest publisher, disclosed the company's tentative plans to sell books directly to consumers through its own Web site. On Friday, Stephen Riggio, the chief executive of Barnes & Noble Inc., the country's largest bookseller, said that he was "deeply concerned" by Random House's plans to enter into his business, raising the possibility of a growing rift between the publishing companies.

Could be quite a mess if B&N/Amazon dont bully them out of the idea...

Elvis Mania Returns - Elvis Presley's Estates and Rights Sold for $100M

Thread Title: Elvis Presley Themed Advertising to Explode Thread Url: http://www.adrants.com/2004/12/elvis-presley-themed-advertising-to.php Thread Description:

Heaven help us all, the rights to Elvis Presley's name and image have been sold to SFX Entertainment - Get ready for brand mayhem...

The Elvis estate, along with rights to his the rock legend's name and image, has been sold for $100 million to SFX Entertainment. Lisa Marie Presley agreed last Thursday to sell 85 percent of the estate's assets. Presley will receive $53 million cash, be absolved of $20 million indebt and get shares in the new company expected to be worth $25 million.

More details at the threadlink above and this ABC News Story