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Blog

The business case for site search

In 2004 we discovered that half of all onsite searches returned no results, despite the fact that products were actually available and could be found by clicking navigation links.

What did this tell us? Well firstly, it made us shudder. Half of all onsite queries returned NO results! Why was this happening? The main problem seemed to be related to poor quality metadata, but we also realised that some of the big retailers had site search tools that were perhaps not up to scratch.

Roll forward to 2006 and we figured that it was about time to investigate the site search market. What tools are available? What are the trends and issues in the marketplace? Why should site search be a priority if you’re selling online?

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MetaWeather aims to build a better forecast

Have you ever checked the weather online, only to find competing forecasts from different sites? Did Michael Fish's 1987 reassurance that a hurricane was not on the way leave you with a mistrust of meteorologists? If so, MetaWeather may be worth a shot.

Developed by two producers at British games content agency Ferrago, the site combines forecast data from multiple sources to round up the predictions to an average - and supposedly more trustworthy - outlook.

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London marketing students launch 1000wordpage.com

After the success of Alex Tew’s MillionDollarHomepage we’ve seen innumerable clones and a smattering of twists-on-a-theme. Now, we’ve spotted a new site that is gathering online and offline buzz. It allows you to buy one word as a link to your website, for a period of five years.

So how does it work, and will it work?

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New Google Sitemaps tools launched

The latest updates to Google Sitemaps have been rolled-out, providing more helpful tools and data for webmasters. These include more depth when it comes to crawl errors, expanded query stats and a robots.txt analysis tool.

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Web 2.0 is changing the content battlefield

It used to be that there was this top down content pyramid in operation (operated by traditional media and the big online players), where the quantity and quality of news / content was controlled by relatively fewer organisations. 

This is changing rapidly, becoming flatter and more diverse (we’re not really interested in the why’s right now), which can either be seen as an opportunity or a threat. Organisations that embrace this change are going to benefit (think Murdoch buying MySpace), so the question then becomes how one capitalises on the opportunity...

Let's look at some of the key strategic issues to consider.

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Using Digg for web PR is dangerous

There's an interesting piece of advice from Steve Rubel on using sites like Digg for PR . In short, don't!

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Google launches Cost-Per-Action adverts

In an interesting move, Google has started offering cost-per-action advertising to selected website owners on the Adsense programme. In short it’s aimed at getting around the click fraud that is becoming increasingly worrying for Google – where advertisers only derive an income when the website visitor completes an action.

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Is the end of marketing really nigh?

In an FT opinion piece today, Maurice Saatchi, of all people, signals "The strange death of modern advertising" - the headline of an obituary for marketing.

Changing consumption habits brought about by an explosion in digital content, the breakdown of communal media consumption and the resulting erosion of attention spans are killing off the old-style industry, says the ad agency founder.

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Web 2.0 startups in the UK – questions to consider

There’s a pretty great post on Particletree  about the kind of questions VCs ask when you’re doing a startup, so I thought I’d highlight them here as there seems to be a profound lack of 'noisy' UK-based Web 2.0 startups, and maybe finding finance is one barrier for entrepreneurs?

Where are all the UK web startups? Maybe everybody is just being very quiet (to fail in complete obscurity), or perhaps things are as dead as they seem to be (more than likely). The UK seems almost entirely barren compared with what's happening in the US.

It’s probably worth noting that local VCs seem to be a little behind their US conterparts (two local startups that I can think of off the top of my head have been approached by US investors – names of the innocent withheld). This too could be part of the problem.

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You know when you've been viralled

Ben Metcalfe reports British TV channels are now showing a Welsh spoof of the increasingly-infamous Sony Bravia commercial.

For the sunny slopes of San Francisco and an avalanche of bouncing balls, swap with the hills of Swansea and a cascading torrent of fruit, complete with that beautifully sleep-inducing Jose Gonzalez backing track.

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Web 2.0 and customer relationships

Web 2.0 isn’t all about rounded corners and social software – there are real benefits to leveraging the Web 2.0 philosophy and technologies in business, but the key is selecting the right entry points to start conversations with your customers, and then to grow from there, using the community you’ve developed as your sounding board.

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Bill Gates to quit full-time Microsoft role in 2008

Bill Gates is stepping down from his full-time role as Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect in July 2008, when he will hand over the baton to right-hand man and current CTO Ray Ozzie. Gates will thereafter concentrate on his eponymous charitable foundation. Woah…

Gates said he believes “the road for Microsoft is as bright as ever” and emailed staff to thank them for their efforts, making reference to the fact that they have helped create the success and wealth that has ultimately funded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which will allow him to pursue a new philanthropic role. The foundation has built up a war chest of around $29bn.

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