For the past several years, telcos have looked on in horror as their cell phone owning subscribers - particularly younger ones - decided landlines are purely optional. Inevitably consumers are making the same shift with their television and DVD viewing habits.
No one has the exact figures, but it's estimated some 1.1 percent of US households are TV-free, some one percent of the market. Certainly the current economic climate isn't helping as consumers look for ways to pare down their monthly expenses. Electricity may be mandatory - but cable, satellite and daily newspaper delivery? You can get all that stuff free online.
As viewers shift to YouTube, Hulu, and streaming services offered by television networks, not to mention streaming video provided by the leading online DVD rental companies such as Netflix, global entertainment conglomerates such as Disney and Time Warner are seeing an impact to their bottom lines that will likely last well beyond the current economic climate.
A visitor to a web site is just that: a visitor. Not a unique visitor.
Anyone using a web analytics package is doubtless familiar with thedifference, but now it's legally official. A New York Surpeme Court judgemade the ruling in favor of WebMDwhich has been embroiled in a $350,000 lawsuit with RDA over the subtlties of the terms.
Seems RDA had placed several insertion orders with WebMD, including one that guaranteed WebMD would send 36,000 "visitors" to an RDA-run site.
RDA insisted what the contract actually meant (as opposed to what it actually said) was "unique visitors."
Social marketing, Web 2.0 - whatever you call it, proponents and gurus of the forms on online marketing that involve consumer-generated media and user participation constantly stress the conversational aspects of marketing in Web 2.0 channels. Some have gone so far as to dub this "conversational marketing."
All those drop-what-you're-doing news bulletins that begin, "The blogosphere is buzzing about..." are so 2005. The latest channel to attract attention is the first one that's literally a conversation: Twitter.
Slews of marketers are jumping into Twitter with both feet to participate: to show off domain knowledge, create promotions on-the-fly, to publicize upcoming events and sales - the possibilities are endless.
But what very few marketers, advertisers and brands are listening to Twitter - they're reiterating the same mistakes they made at the very beginning of Web 2.0.
A three year project, The Retail Search Presence Study, finds (not altogether surprisingly) that online retailers are winning over their traditional counterparts when it comes to visibility on the Big Three search engines.
The study, conducted by Internet-Engine, entailed visiting and categorizing over 6,000 web pages found via search during the holiday shopping season. Online retailers easily dominated returned results on all the engines, with over 30 percent of the listings. Bricks-and-mortar retailer results appeared in a mere 12 percent of searches.
Given consumers are performing over 10 billions searches each month, and that 24 percent of all offline purchases are influenced by the Internet (Forrester Research), the study's findings point to a serious gap in offline retailers' commitment to and investment in Web marketing -- particularly at a time in which online shopping is growing at the expense of Main Street and big box retailers.
Yahoo just went where other search engines have gone before. It just introduced a new tool called Search Pad that allows users to save links, type notes, copy and paste web content and to share all that information via email, if that's the user's wish.
In limited release, the tool rolled out to some users today, but won't be broadly available for a few months.
Yahoo's announcement comes in the wake of Google saying it will mothball its own notebook feature. Other players, including Evernote and Zoho, have similar offerings, as does Ask.com. Oh, and Microsoft is testing Thumbtack. It's a trend!
You'd think downtimes would be good times to make shoppers happy. Heck, even New York's toniest restaurents are getting downright obsequious with the customers they once very nearly snubbed.
Yet the e-tailing group's 11th annual Mystery Shopping Study, conducted in Q4 2008, found the overwhelming majority of online retailers are falling flat in nine critical areas of customer service.
To qualify as "top performing," 100 online retailers were ranked on specific benchmarking criteria. The survey eliminates sites that don't possess the following "must have" criteria, in order of importance:
1. Toll-free telephone number present
2. Keyword search
3. Four or fewer days to receive package
4. Adequately and correctly answer e-mail question within 24 hours; provide a specific answer
5. CSR product knowledge when calling toll-free number, 2.0 or higher on a scale of 3.0
6. Six or fewer clicks to checkout
7. Email shipping confirmation sent
8. Email order confirmation sent with order number included
9. Real time inventory in shopping cart or product page
The $3 million dollar media buy on the Super Bowl, the ad featuring MC Hammer bought Cash4Gold....a reputation management disaster?
The blogosphere is ablaze with negative stories about the business that buys gold, jewelry and valuables from cash-strapped consumers. In fact, those stories started months before the big game when blogger Rob Cockerham of Cockeyed.com provided extensive documentation that the online service offered only one-third the cash for his gold as a local pawn shop.
The post was picked up by A-list blogs Boing Boing and the Consumerist (the latter has run a slew of negative posts about the company) with predictable results -- the negative stories shot up to the top of Google's search results for the company's name.
If you haven't already had to grapple with whether or not you should friend your Mom, you may well be facing that conundrum soon.
Women over 55 are the fastest-growing demographic on the social network, their ranks swelling a jaw-dropping 175.3 percent since late September, according to InsideFacebook.
Overall, users over 26 comprise the fastest-growing segment on the social network -- originally geared at college students, remember? Forty-five percent of Facebook's 45.3 million active US users are 26 years old or older.
Teens, meanwhile, comprise less than 12 percent of registered users.
While registration rates continue to rise in all demographics, there are almost double the number of 55+ women on Facebook than their male counterparts.
At least it invites repeat viewings. Which is how GoDaddy's "Enhanced" spot starring Danica Patrick and her pet beaver, ranked #1 as the most-(re)viewed Super Bowl spot on TiVo.
Ms Patrick and her beaver beat out the bells-and whistles contender, the first-ever 3D TV spot for "Monsters vs. Aliens," which didn't even crack the top 50. The ad did require consumers to snag a pair of free 3D glasses to get the full effect.
Beverage spots are always big on game day, and usual suspects Coke and Pepsi made the top 10 list, but Bud Light did so an impressive two times.
Do online retailers have a better chance of beating the global recession than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts?
It's no secret that consumers are cutting back big time. Frugality is the new chic. Tight budgets and high fuel prices are leading to an increase in cocooning that can't be wholly attributed to bitter winter weather. Even New York City is reporting subway ridership has scaled back to levels not seen since the 1950s, as workers lose jobs and shoppers don't leave home to shop.
Hard to find bright spots in such scenarios, but grim economic times could bode better for online retailers than their beleaguered meatspace counterparts. A recent Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates survey finds 26 percent of consumers saying
they'll shop more online if their personal financial situation
worsens in the coming year.
These so-called "recession shoppers" aren't just buying online to save shoe leather and tire treads. They're hunting for rock-bottom prices, deep discounts and solid deals.