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Intern Week - My Take on Mobile Advertising

Posted on October 3, 2008 by Interns

Welcome to our fourth installment of intern week, where we present blog posts written by our remarkable interns.  The following blog post may sound contradictory to what an eCommerce intern would believe, and trust me, we gave Jeff a hard time about it after we read it.  However, he brings up some good points and reminds us that not everyone is as internet savvy as those we are used to being around, which I think is a needed reminder.

- Vanessa

 

Online advertising allows businesses to reach their target markets through the internet and has become one of the core advertising formats for many companies.  However, with new technology always on the rise new forms of advertising may be leading the way and marketers will need to be prepared in order to take advantage of these new advertising formats.  One of the fastest growing advertising platforms is Mobile Ads. Companies that have already succeeded at online advertising are quickly moving in to mobile advertising, companies like Google for instance.  Google has launched Mobile Ads, its mobile complement to AdSense. This concept is not exclusive to Google alone; other companies like Yahoo! and AOL have their versions of mobile advertising as well.  Google however, is attempting to take mobile ads to the next level.  According to Google, their current advertising platform would sense when a user is accessing a website on a mobile device by connecting the user directly to Mobile Ads.

Mobile advertising spend as a whole is expected to reach $1.3 billion in 2008 and is expected to continue to grow.  Mobile Ads are comprised of mobile video, images, banners, text, or a combination. For now text is the main format sent for mobile ads, but video is expected to be the wave of the future.

Mobile Ads may sound good to some, but I feel that our society is too technologically dependent. For example Mobile ads would be more of an annoyance than a perk for people like myself that don’t typically shop online and aren’t constantly texting.  Not to mention these ads could potentially would be dominate text, picture, or video message allowances for individuals who don’t have unlimited text, picture, and video messages within their mobile plan. Also, regulations have not been established for mobile advertising yet.  This could be a problem for parents that already have to regulate the number of advertisements their children see on television and other traditional marketing formats. Another problem could be that with the increase in ads could come an increase in cell phone models, such that the cell phone technology would be able to keep up with ad technology.  I am sure some consumers dispose of their old cell phones properly, but those that don’t could potentially harm the environment every time they upgrade their phone. However, the one good thing that I do see about the concept is that it does allow eBusinesses to reach out to more customers and potentially new customers. Like I said though, when it comes to my personal opinion I prefer buying in store and viewing my advertisements on the good old fashion television, and not my cell phone.

- Intern Jeff

 

Intern Week - eCommerce 101 in Eight Short Weeks

Posted on October 2, 2008 by Interns

Welcome to the third addition of intern posts for intern week.  This post was written by Rochelle who's focus was in the marketing department during her time spent here.  She impressed us greatly when she showed up for work after having a tire blowoutI hope you enjoy her take on what she learned while she was here.

- Vanessa

These past 8 weeks have flown right by me. Oh, the knowledge I have gained while at the Gordian Project.  I have learned so much in my “crash course”, and my time spent at PlumberSurplus.com has been very rewarding and profitable for me.  I am grateful for the time that my supervisors spent in teaching me about eCommerce.  There were times that I got confused, however, I learned a great deal.

My first project was writing a buying guide for the OutdoorPros.com Learning Center.  I enjoyed the project very much because it enabled me to gain product knowledge. The information that interested me most was learning about Google AdWords.  I listened to automated lectures from Google that talked about AdWords, and was able to take quizzes to test how much I had learned from those lectures. I was also able to create keywords for organic search results for PlumberSurplus.com.  Another project that I was given was writing advertising text for AdWords. This task was challenging because it introduced the important aspect of ad copy writing for an internet retailer.  

I think one of my favorite projects was doing competitor and product research on comparison shopping engines.  I researched PlumberSurplus.com products on several different shopping engines such as Shopzilla, Google Product Search, MSN shopping, Nextag, Pricegrabber, Yahoo Shopping, and more.  I learned how these search engines are used as marketing tools to create brand awareness, and how these comparison engines compare different company's products and prices.  These engines are also helpful to consumers who are trying to make better purchasing choices.  

Affiliate networking was really great to learn about.  An affiliate network consists of merchants and publishers that get connected and find a relationship that is beneficial and complimentary. The Gordian Project websites currently use multiple affiliate networks to manage affiliates. I worked on recruiting new affiliates and reviewing the many publisher applications that came in daily.

The merchandising research project gave me the chance to analyze site search results sets so that merchandisers could improve upon the result sets that needed improving.  When searching for products on Outdoorpros.com most of the searches were good, however, some searches would have random, irrelevant products show up in the results.  Janelle (another intern) and I went through all the product categories on the website and gave synonyms and keyword recommendations to the merchandisers for the products on the site.

I thoroughly enjoyed the video project the interns got to work on.  I learned how valuable videos can be for internet retailers.  This was actually one of my favorite projects and it was great to actually see the videos live on the Learning Center.

These projects are merely a glimpse into what I have personally learned during 8 weeks as an intern here.  I have appreciated everyone's kindness at PlumberSurplus.com.  The employees are truly wonderful people that wish to see the interns through this short but valuable experience.  The Gordian Project program has been a pleasure to be a part of.  

- Intern Rochelle

 

The Building Blocks of eCommerce and Internet Retailing: 10 Basic Concepts I Learned as an Intern

Posted on October 1, 2008 by Interns

Our second addition of Intern Week posts is brought to us by Kelli.  You may realize this while reading the post but in case you don’t, she was the ornery one of the bunch.  I personally enjoyed having her around as I finally had another girl participating on the basketball court amongst the many guys that play.

- Vanessa

Why would one want to do free busy work for a company when another company could pay for the work to be done? This whole internship shindig isn’t all sunshine and roses. We get stuck in between the bathrooms with all the ants, and even the day to day Surplusers call the intern section of the office the “dungeon”. What good can come out of all of this?

 

These thoughts definitely crossed my mind when I took on this internship, but I quickly realized that it is probably one of the best learning experiences I have had to date. There is not one collegiate class that I have taken that has measured up to the amount of information that I have acquired through this internship. Here at the Surplus, there is probably about two years worth of information thrown at you in the time span of about two or three weeks. After I and my fellow interns felt comfortable with all the information thrown at us, we then have the opportunity to put it to work. Employees around the Surplus then ask us interns to help them, at which point, we let our knowledge shine. This helps us further understand the information we have been given, as well as giving us real life situations to utilize these different concepts.

Here are just ten of the many things that I have learned about at the Surplus:

 

  1. Keywords - Keywords are the words that individuals may use to search for different items on search engines and websites. When thinking of different key words we had to stretch our minds and think about all the different ways a user may search for the keywords we were targeting.
  2. eCommerce - Basically eCommerce consists of things that are bought or sold through the Internet and other computer networks. eCcommerce is important to understand, considering that in this generation more and more companies are getting started by establishing their business on the Internet.
  3. HTML - HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language. I found this concept especially difficult to understand, and implement successfully. From my perspective HTML is basically the matrix like gibberish that creates an internet page.
  4. Pay Per Click - Pay Per Click (PPC) is paid links that are placed on websites, mostly search engines, as advertising. Each time these links are clicked the site owner pays the website a designated fee. The websites that advertise for retailers gain money from the clicks and the advertisee gets increased traffic.
  5. Google Adwords - Adwords is the PPC Google advertising platform.
  6. Buying/How to guides - Too many websites have products that people know nothing about.  What better way to teach consumers about the products than with a buying or how to guide? These are exceedingly important for those who are trying something new. Buying guides tell the prospective buyer what they may need for different products they may be planning to buy as well as possible problems they may need to look out for. How to guides are exactly what it sounds like, they tell you how to do a certain activity, with simple, clear, step-by-step directions.
  7. Importance of Content - Good websites that are trying to sell things should have content that appeals to the prospective buyers. The website should not just be trying to fill in space and make their site look longer and more knowledgeable.  The content needs to be easy to understand yet contain specific information as it relates to the products or services offered by the internet retailer. Everything that is said on the page should be organized and flow. Pages with content that is all over the place are confusing to the readers, consequently this will shy away potential buyers from the website.
  8. Importance of Pictures - Pictures seem like such an easy thing for websites to master, yet almost every website has flawed pictures. Obviously when making a buying decision the images with the best colors, details, and views becoming increasingly important. Overall pictures can make or break a sale. Even after the sale, if a customer receives his or her product and is unhappy that the picture was different then the actual product received, the consumer will likely return the product and possibly never purchase from your website again.
  9. Food is Key - I have worked a few different jobs, never have I seen such a happy bunch of employees, the reason…FOOD! Hungry employees can lead to grumpy employees. Stuffed employees can lead to happy employees.
  10. Get the Food Fast - The people at the Surplus are savages. Consequently, when a new shipment of food comes in you have to run to get what you want.


For those that are considering starting an internship program, I have one tidbit of advice, it is better to not think of an internship as pro-bono work, but as a regular job, in which you get paid in knowledge verses money. 

- Intern Kelli

 

Intern Week - Putting Prejudices about Free Work to Rest: The Benefits of the Intern Experience

Posted on September 30, 2008 by Interns

School is back in session and our group of interns has moved on to their next project.  Some of them graduated, some went back to school and others are now working here.  We have a new set of interns this semester and we expect them to be as successful and helpful as our last group.  One of the last tasks we assigned to the interns was to write a blog post on their experience or what they learned about eCommerce.  As we usher in the new and say our goodbye’s to the old I wanted to share what they learned with our audience, who knows maybe they picked up a golden nugget that some of us “experts” have missed.
-Vanessa

My goal is to eventually start my own internet retail business, and like most entrepreneurial ventures there are a large number of unknowns.  I entered business school with the intention of learning all that I could about the retail business and eCommerce in order to give myself any advantage I could.  When the opportunity to participate in this internship presented itself, I saw it as a chance to just that. I have to admit, I was unsure that this was the best thing for me. With the ability to learn first hand the way an internet retailer operates, there was no shortage of reasons why I should participate, but there was one thing that bothered me: the pay, or lack thereof.  I understood that this was something that would benefit me greatly, but something about working for nothing bothered me to no end.  I’m not against volunteering, mind you, in fact I support it whole-heartedly; working for free in an actual business is something entirely different.

After much deliberation, I decided that I should push through my prejudices against unpaid work and participate in the internship. I was not disappointed. This internship provided me with a glimpse into the inner workings of an internet retailer, and while I was apprehensive about working for “free” this alone was worth every dollar that would have or could have been made doing some mediocre job over the summer. Not only did I get to see what happened behind the scenes, I got to participate. This is the most profound difference between working in a classroom environment and working in an actual business. In a classroom, a project has little value after it has been graded—I have a desk full of forgotten projects to prove it. One of the main tasks that I took on was content creation for the two internet retail sites that Gordian Project currently has.  Unlike the classroom experience, I was able to put all of the things that I learned into immediate use, and it was really gratifying.  In this practical learning environment, I was able to see the result of my efforts and take pride in the fact that my work was made for a purpose.

After having completed my internship, I see that intern programs provide benefits to everyone involved, not just the company receiving the free work.  I sincerely believe that most businesses should offer some form of intern program. The business would receive free labor, and the interns receive invaluable real world experience. The end result would be a more educated group of people that have the benefit of first hand knowledge. I can’t imagine a business owner denying the advantage of hiring employees that can hit the ground running.

In the end, the best part of my experience as an intern was the people. The employees were always available to offer advice and suggestions, and the interns formed a tight-knit group that made working fun and easy—even if it was for free.

-Intern Andrew