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Blog

AOL and retailers are rubbish at customer service

Wow, what a week for customer services. First we had the now-infamous Vincent Ferrari call to AOL. Then we noticed a press release on E-consultancy that painted a bleak picture of online customer services among retail companies.

Vince wanted to cancel his account and having heard “the nightmare stories” decided to record his phone call to AOL Member Services. Some 21 frustrating minutes later he finally managed to achieve his goal… not entirely helpful.

International fame followed after the AOL tape went viral – the combination of Digg and the New York Times channelled 700,000 visitors to Vince’s site in rapid succession, forcing him to temporarily remove the recording (still offline).

If you didn’t hear it you can watch him being interviewed about his AOL experience on TV via YouTube – the interview has excerpts from the cancellation call. Too funny, unless you're an AOL executive...

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eBay says no way to Google Checkout

Bang bang, eBay has - rather unsurprisingly - shot down Google Checkout, preventing people from using it to pay for auction items, according to a post on AuctionBytes.

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What MySpace means to Murdoch's space

It will come as news to few that MySpace is the social media phenomenon du jour . Picked up by News Corp for $580m, 90m members, and that oh-so juicy teen demographic to market to when no-one under 30 is buying newspapers anymore? Strewth, Rupert Murdoch's got a fair dinkum bet there.

So you may be perplexed by this suggestion Rupert should spin MySpace off on its own, from MarketWatch's wonderfully named Bambi Francisco:

"Clearly, MySpace -- if it were a standalone company -- would be the hottest kind of stock, one that every sell-side analyst would gladly hawk. It's very likely the thought has crossed the minds of executives as well as MySpace founders. Prior to the sale to News Corp., MySpace founders had considered an IPO, according to someone close to the company."

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Videoblogging star makes acrimonious exit from show

The nearest thing the videoblogging arena has to a superstar has quit her show in a move that leaves its future uncertain.

Amanda Congdon has cut a dash at the anchor desk of Rocketboom, helping make the snarky, daily net culture news roundup amongst the highest-profile video blogs in the world with around 300,000 downloads per episode.

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Google owes you nothing

The Guardian’s Jack Schofield has written a thought-provoking piece on the power of Google, specifically referring to the case of a website called sprayonmud.co.uk which was delisted from the almighty search engine in December 2005.

Jack asks whether it is ‘fair’ for Google to act as judge and jury in these cases, even suggesting that it should finance an ‘independent ombudsman’ to address complaints. He warns: “If Google’s management don’t find a way to temper the company’s power, legislators will eventually do it for them.”

The whole article seems based around the weird notion that Google owes you something. The fact is that Google owes you nothing, and everything you get from it is a bonus (either by accident or design).

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The 12 reasons why UK businesses don't blog

How many companies in the UK are blogging? Not many, it seems, according to a list compiled by Suw Charman . Not many at all. The list isn’t fully comprehensive, but it highlights the dearth of business blogs in the UK, compared to US.

So why is it that UK and European marketers / business folk are ignoring blogs? I reckon it comes down to one of the following reasons…

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Wanted: sexier name for web analytics

We have started to pull together our 2006 Web Analytics Buyer’s Guide and it’s clear that a lot has moved on in the last few months.

Should we re-name this topic entirely in the face of criticism that the title Web Analytics doesn’t do justice to its strategic importance and growing role in delivering valuable business insights?

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Blogging almost going mainstream?

If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ll probably feel that it’s old hat. The principle is simple – you talk about something that you’re interested and/or passionate about, and through that you find people that are interested in the same sort of things that you are.

Over time if you’re a good write or really passionate or you simply create / get hold of good content, you’ll rise to the top of that niche vertical interest, which in turn will result in more readers.

The problem is that until very recently blogging was kind of hard to do – you have to be at least a little technically literate to be able to use the blog software interfaces. The result being that until recently blogging definitely wasn’t part of the mainstream consciousness.

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PriceRunner teams up with 118118 to send price information to phones

The shopping comparison engine PriceRunner has this week launched a service which enables consumers to access pricing information from 118118 operators when they are out doing their shopping.

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Bid for London office space and ghosts on eBay

There have been some very odd things sold via eBay - it really is a website that seems to create demand for everything. Even 'a ghost in a jar' managed to find an owner, who spent more than $15,000 to acquire the bona fide gift of somebody else's lifetime, and a jar.

Seriously, you can use eBay to sell anything. A ball of aluminium foil sold for $3.10. A videotape with 'Death Tape: Do Not Watch' written on it sold for $18. Take a blowtorch to some cheese on toast and you can make a million...

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Pay-for-blogging market faces questions on disclosure

PayPerPost, a new service that helps advertisers pay bloggers for writing about their products, launched a few days ago to a predictable cacophony of protest.

"Get Paid to Blog", reads the blurb on the latest blog advertising network's front page. "Advertisers are willing to pay you to post on topics - search through a list of topics, make a blog posting, get your content approved, and get paid. It’s that simple.”

And PayPerPost tells its affiliated advertisers: "You provide the topic, our network of bloggers create the stories and post them on their individual blogs." Bloggers can earn $5 to $10 per post, writing about anything from loan sharks to bubble wrap.

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Nick Denton's Gawker Media sheds staff, awaits reversal

Nick Denton is hunkering down, it seems. The Daddy of Gawker Media is reducing headcount and offloading two blogs, having determined that “it is time for a perversely countercyclical move”.

What does he mean by that? He means it is getting harder to make money from blogging, which was never especially easy in the first place.

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