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The Web Week in Review

From more Yahoo drama to a big money investment and rumoured acquisition to the news that the mobile phone may be great for brain tumours, the tech news that interested me this week was diverse.

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Would a Cost-Per-Engagement model attract advertisers to spend more online?

Over the past few years, CPM has become the common currency for online advertising. But is the model still relevant?

Should we be buying online media based on engagement rather than just passive consumption?

In the current tough financial period, would advertisers be willing to commit more budgets online if customer engagement was guaranteed?

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Outsourced DNS hosting providers

An often overlooked factor in maintaining a high level of website uptime is having a reliable DNS service.

If your DNS fails or is slow to resolve, your uptime will suffer - even if your website itself is technically "up".

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SEO: best bang for your buck for generating online leads

E-consultancy’s recently published online lead generation report shows that natural search, email marketing and paid search are still the most commonly used methods for generating online leads.

However, PPC claims the larger proportion of the budget, even though natural search is seen as the most effective method for lead generation.

Given that search engine optimisation provides the most perceived value for money, why aren't more marketers investing in natural search over and above other methods?

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Is Web 2.0 changing the entrepreneur-VC dynamic?

In Web 1.0, a considerable amount of startup activity was centered on the notion that the internet was a "commercial" medium.

It wasn't uncommon to see an e-commerce startup raise an eight figure round of funding early on in its lifecycle.

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How much change does your site really need?

In an online retail market expected to double in size to £78 billion by 2010* the potential rewards for e-commerce businesses are huge. Equally, so is the pressure to stay ahead of their competition. 

The desire for online businesses to become bigger and better inevitably affects their approach to redesign. There’s a huge temptation to introduce the latest whiz bang functionality and super cool design which will appeal to a whole new generation of customers.

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Why don't we invest in new digital talent?

Chinwag's Digital Skills Survey at the end of 2007 proved yet again what we all know, that our industry is struggling to find and retain the best candidates which is leading to spiralling wage inflation in our sector, undermining growth and restricting profits. The figures, afterall, speak for themselves:

  • 97% of respondents find it either difficult or impossible to attract the right digital staff for their businesses
  • 57% of respondents reported that the digital skills shortage impeded the growth of their business in 2007
  • 75% of businesses are planning to increase the salaries of digital staff

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Contact details - best and worst practice examples

Providing contact details is a very basic requirement for etailers, but it's surprising how many either fail to provide a range of options or make users hunt around the site to find them.

Indeed, a survey last year found that the UK's online retailers were struggling on this issue, with 60% failing to provide a contact telephone number on their websites.

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Online and offline - the customer voice reigns

We all know that customer ratings and reviews, or user generated content, help drive more traffic to a website, increase sales conversions, make merchandisers smarter and more.

But did you know that customer reviews are changing the way consumers shop and the way companies market their products?

Brett Hurt writes that this is a unique time in the history of advertising, because companies are literally using their customers’ word of mouth as a digital marketing asset to create entirely new forms of multichannel campaigns.

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Website monitoring services

It's 3 a.m. Do you know how your website is behaving?

If you run an online business of any kind, you should, because downtime and poor website performance not only causes lost revenue, it also can lead to a loss of reputation and loyalty.

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comScore: Facebook surpasses MySpace

According to comScore, Facebook has overtaken MySpace as the world's most visited social network.

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Visual book browsing with Zoomii

Zoomii, launched last week, is a virtual bookstore that displays books from Amazon.

Zoomii

The site is built on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud and uses the Amazon S3 hosted storage service. Buyers are directed to the online retail giant via an affiliate link.

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