WHSmith

15+ of the worst things to happen to the internet in 2013

Because it can’t all be sunshine, lollipops, rainbows and Google Hummingbirds.

We at Econsultancy consider ourselves as promoters of best practice. ‘Achieve Digital Excellence’ reads our brand new strapline in the big red dot up there, and with this modus operandi we carry a great responsibility.

The responsibility of wading through the darkest digital waters (confusing and potentially dangerous metaphor alert) and remaining constantly poised to spear the very best of the internet. We do so in order to bring you the most considered insight, through research, practice, good old fashioned investigation and occasionally asking Twitter for help.

Of course for every tasty salmon we catch, we also have a net-full of bottom feeding suction eels too. We don’t really know what to do with them and they’re piling up around the floor of the boat.

So let us unburden our unpleasant haul upon you, with this round-up of the worst things to happen to the internet in 2013:

WHSmith: how will taking its site down impact on sales, PPC and more?

As many of you will be aware by now, WHSmith took its website offline on Sunday after it discovered that pornographic eBooks were available through its Kobo e-reader.

While the material was undoubtedly unacceptable and needed to be taken offline, it did seem like an over-reaction to pull down the entire website. What’s even more surprising is that two days later the site still isn’t back online.

Yesterday we published a post discussing WHSmith’s decision, including the impact on its SEO, alternative courses of action and what it says about the business’ understanding of digital marketing and ecommerce.

And as the site is still offline there’s more to be said in terms of the wider implications for WHSmith’s digital marketing initiative and the long term impact on the brand.

WHSmith’s decision to go offline shows little understanding of digital

WHSmith took its entire website offline yesterday after it found that pornographic eBooks were available through its Kobo e-reader.

Customers trying to access WHSmith.co.uk are greeted with a holding page which states that the retailer is “disgusted by these particular titles” and is taking immediate steps to have them removed.

While this process is on-going the site has been taken offline ‘to best protect our customers and the public’. It will come back online once all self-published eBooks have been removed and WHSmith’s is sure that people can no longer access the material.

There was understandable anger that shoppers were exposed to explicit content when they typed ‘daddy’ into its on-site search tool, however it does seem something of an over-reaction to take its website offline in order to fix the problem.

Amazon and Waterstones were also found to be stocking similar titles, and while they’ve expressed shock that the situation has occurred they haven’t taken the same drastic steps as WHSmith.

Argos launches a separate entertainment site

Argos has decided to launch a standalone site selling just CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs, though confusingly, DVDs can still be purchased through the main website.

WHSmith announced a similar move a few weeks ago, moving its entertainment range to a separate site after already reducing the number of DVDs, CDs etc sold in its stores. Like the new Argos site, it was designed and operated by The Hut, which also took over the Zavvi website recently. 

Argos Entertainment

I’ve been seeing how the new site shapes up…

Site review: WHSmith Entertainment

WHSmith last week launched a stand-alone website, selling DVDs and CDs, as well as its range of electronics and computing online, leaving everything else to be sold on WHSmith.co.uk. 

The move also reflects the retailer’s strategy of reducing its presence in entertainment offline. Sales in this category had fallen by 18% in the year to July 2008 and it has been removing such products from its stores.

I’ve been having a look at the new site…

WHSmith Entertainment