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The Cutting Room Floor: Affiliate Watch September 2008

Posted on October 6, 2008 by Archives

Welcome to my third installment of Affiliate Watch. I've had some great help reviewing applications from the intern department over the last month while I worked on a large SEM project, but was able to pick out some affiliate websites that I thought we could learn from. Let's see what kind of sites applied...

Site 1: Surfin For Style - If your target audience is female and the products you sell are Coach Handbags at discount prices then this affiliate is for you; provided that you also sell on eBay. SurfinForStyle uses an aesthetically pleasing flash widget to show hundreds of eBay auctions for Coach Products. While eBay offers store referral credits for the seller when a sale is driven by this type of affiliate there are many reasons why I would steer clear from these types of affiliates.   The opportunity for branding is significantly decreased in this situation as the consumer will see the eBay brands and remember purchasing from eBay rather than one of our websites.  We prefer to have publishers driving traffic to our websites directly so that we have the opportunity to expose our brand.  It helps that eBay offsets part of the FVF (Final Value Fee) with the referral credit. I think it's a great idea that eBay and eBay to Go (in beta) has developed a tool that makes it easy for publishers to promote products listed on eBay.  I am pretty sure that the tool was aimed at having shoppers promote products and create their own "unique" content, but how unique is the content if the widget users just repost someone else’s listing?

Surfin for Style



Site 2: .../RealMoney - Repeat after me class, "A good affiliate site will not use auto generated banners or animated gifs". I chuckled out loud when I saw this website.  The lil guy in the lion costume is pretty cute. The site is created from a template and is not at its own domain but rather a subdirectory of the hosting company. I think the animated starry background is consuming my CPU usage as I type this... Links on this page go to a MSN group the affiliate created so not only were they not linking to products but the user group they did link to looked inactive.

Webhostmall Realmoney




Site 3: M/C Services - Images of bright orange MC Hammer pants flooded my mind when I read the name of the site and its description. They said they were working with Burger King (and others) for market research which made me think “wow these guys must be big”, but then I saw their site and quickly realized something wasn’t adding up. I tried to visit other pages of the site, hoping to find any type of evidence that they should be added to our program but found nothing.

M/C Services



Site 4: The Schlott Company - "Resource articles to get your business off the ground" is their tag line. I wonder if any businesses found this blog useful, as they stopped posting back in May. In all fairness I actually visited the company's real home page (which has no link or mention of their blog) and found their portfolio quite decent. They ought to update their publisher profile to the company home page not the blog. Once I saw this, I offered them a spot in our program.

 

The Schlott Company


 

 

Actionable take-aways for affiliates:

  1. Publisher Profile Information - always keep this up to date, in the example of The Schlott Company, they would have been declined had I not taken the steps to view their real website. Put your best foot forward, you only get one chance for a first impression (or your only impression).
  2. Don't use animated gif images - I may have mentioned this at least once or twice before.
  3. Don't get mad and irate at us when we decline your website - Unfounded, harassing phone calls and emails won't help your case.
  4. Get a real webhost - We can all tell when you are using a free webhosting service and it shows. There are many services available that cost less than a Big Mac value meal per month. I don't want to see long, hyphenated, multiple directory, unrelated domain names.

 

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

 

Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of September 26, 2008

Posted on September 26, 2008 by Vanessa

Google celebrated their 10th Anniversary this week, and announced “Project 10^100”.  Ryan was actually at Google during their anniversary celebration and told us about special anniversary sprinkle cupcakes, balloons, a 10k run, and nerf gun wars!  I am sure there is more but I’ll let him tell you about it.  I think it is really cool to see the 10 ton gorilla giving back, quite the opposite of some of the other stories that I want to touch on this week.

  • One of my favorite bloggers, Sarah Bird, Esq. of SEOmoz, published a blog this week and I am so glad that she did.  She brings great legal perspective to her posts that are therefore educational if nothing else, but this one really makes me want to campaign against the 10 ton gorilla.  The gorilla in this case is U-Haul.  The gist of the story is that U-Haul is suing HireAHelper.com for copyright infringement, but they are not only suing the company they are suing the founder and his wife personally.  I am sure that there is more to the lawsuit than what I am actually able to provide insight on, for multiple reasons of which I believe are too obvious to name, but I want to bring this up for revolutionary purposes.  I am sick of the Fatcats bullying the little guy.  The biggest players in Wall Street have run their companies into the toilet, and still think they deserve to walk away with millions of dollars in pension.  U-Haul has watched HireAHelper succeed, beat their website called emove (which I am referencing for purely journalistic value and refuse to provide any kind of linkjuice to the site) in organic rankings for highly targeted keywords, and then slapped him with a lawsuit.  From what Sarah knows about the suit she thinks he could win, if not for the fact that U-Haul has far more resources to come at HireAHelper with.  I think all of us self-starters, entrepreneurs, “little guys”, and forward thinkers should find a way to help Mike out, if not for principle alone, then for precedence as well.  Otherwise these suits are going to continue to happen, the industry Goliath’s are going to continue to monopolize the competition until we as consumers are left with inept products and services.  I for one am open to ideas on how the eCommerce community can contribute to Mike’s cause, and willing to help implement them, as I hope that my peers would do the same if I were in HireAHelper’s position.
  • The economy isn’t all doom and gloom.  Take digg for example, they just received $28.7 million in funds, and one of the areas they plan on expanding on is employees.
  • Who needs the police or a judiciary system if you are Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy?  Retailers such as the ones I have listed claim that their goods are stolen and then sold online and because of this they want to have the ability to send take-down notices without first reporting incidents to law enforcement.  They are acting like internet retailers are modern day pirates, come to think of it, I did see an Overstock employee wearing a patch and carrying a sword the last time I saw them, that must be the key to their online success.
  • A child advocacy group has campaigned against Google Street View on the basis that it’s use can be exploited by child predators was called out for their exaggerations this week by Larry Magid.
  • I have seen a lot of error messages in my day, but I have to agree with this blogger when they say that one of Gmail’s is the best. 

You havve reached the error page for the error page
 
 

Ryan's Randomness for the Week of September 19th, 2008

Posted on September 19, 2008 by Archives
Ahoy ecommerce mateys! Arrrrrrr you ready to stop talking like a pirate yet? Today is Talk like a Pirate Day in case you didn't get the memo. Looks like everyone at Bruce Clay showed some spirit. Oh yea, Tim was quite sure to inform me of UCLA's historical defeat last weekend (tosses face paint into trashcan) and how USC stomped the Buckeyes.
 
  • Vanessa suggests you read an article discussing the recent stock market activity and your online business. Hey! Since when was I classified as "cheap talent"?
  • One of the largest players in our vertical, Home Depot recently announced price cuts to gain back customers and help lift weak sales. What are leaders in your niche doing to combat slow economic times?
  • I want to give a shout out to my friend Nathan Decker of Evogear.com who is a new dad. Congratulations! Can't wait to see the little one on the slopes with you.
  • Hopefully all you expert SEM Managers out there noticed the new AdWords Quality Score changes go live. I was curious to see how well my keywords were doing relative to other advertisers. It doesn't appear that we were hurt at all, in fact I have lots of keywords with very high scores. Thanks to my AdWords Team for the tips on account structure! 

    Google AdWords Team and Ryan
     

 

  • In case you are directionally challeged, Google Maps for Mobile has just what you need! New features include street view, as if you couldn't just look up from your phone and see for yourself.
  • Maybe I talk too much on the phone and this is just a sign to save me from going over my minutes but my BlueAnt Supertooth Light bluetooth car speakerphone broke and now I'm on my third one. The product provides exceptional call quality, but there may have been some sort of production issue with the previous one's I had. Their great customer service shone bright when they sent me a new one via next day air with a prepaid return slip inside. That's how customer service should be done.
  • I thought about using more text messages but prices have been increasing year after year. See what our Senate is doing to help.
  • OutdoorPros.com was the first "copy and paste" to launch a new vertical for us. As we've shared with the folks at Internet Retailer we have been working to create additional websites for new product lines. Earlier this week I happened to run across this great comic from Drew at Toothpaste for Dinner and I couldn't help but worry about when we launch the next site or about Lisa Barone if she get's another cat... 

    Comic: More than 3 and you might be crazy


  • New Microsoft commercials (thanks Andy) are out. I couldn't help but think about my grandma using her PC to rent Netflix.
  • Excited about Chrome but don't want to leave your FireFox plugins behind? Matt Cutts put together some creative solutions for you to have your cake and eat it to, sort of.
  • "I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller" (to the tune of "I wish" by Skee-Lo), but really I wish I was a bigger blogger so I could go to BlogWorld Expo. If you're a blogger looking to make some cash as an affiliate, be sure to check out the panel with Shawn Collins, Tim Jones and Mike Allen titled Affiliate Marketing Secrets for Bloggers.
 
Whether you are watching football or going to the fair, have a great weekend everyone.
 
 

I Stand Corrected: Blogging is More Than Random Thoughts and Voyeurs

Posted on September 11, 2008 by Jeff

Several months ago, we, the staff of Gordian Project, set out to author a blog. Not that all of us immediately found the prospect as inviting as others, but we generally engage a team spirit; thus the eCommerce and Entrepreneurship Blog.

I understood the blog’s driving purpose to be sharing our personal experiences within our given area of discipline as it relates to all things eCommerce. After several months of participation, I thought I would review our blog.

Caveat: I’d never read a blog going into this project, nor had I any desire to. The actual thought of sitting around reading peoples random thoughts makes me feel a bit voyeuristic. After reading Wikipedia’s definition of voyeuristic, it certainly isn’t that. Still, to this day, I’ve had no desire to read blogs other than for the purpose of this review.

I’m not sure it counts as “reading” but the one key area I check out on our blog each month is the Authors section of the home page. The key here is to identify how many posts I have in relation to other staff. I’m not sure what about life turns everything into a competition. This post will launch me forward to eight posts, however, I know I’ve written a couple that haven’t yet made it past the cutting room floor so this number isn’t hard and fast. But going with eight puts me in a respectable position.

Vanessa’s an over achiever at 40, but in all fairness she administrates the blog. I doubt any of her posts have hit the cutting room floor. If light reading and interesting tidbits is your thing, Vanessa’s Variety for the Week delivers. She shares what’s going on around other blog spaces, here at the office, and perhaps her life more than any other contributor.

Matt is our Development Manager. We’re among the elders of the office so I’ve truly appreciated our friendship. I don’t read his posts. I don’t understand what he does beyond the fact that I know he can fix or improve just about any internal process. Any time I walk past his desk he has a monitor filled with gibberish. I simply figure I won’t understand his posts either. Nice picture of his son in his most recent post though.

You might also notice Zach has 11 posts as of today. I’d read his if you only have a few minutes each day. Scanning through his titles, (that counts as reading I don’t care what anyone says) I find his posts most on topic: They include Website Improvements: Test Basic Usability Before Advancing, Google Sitelinks: Capturing My Proverbial Moby Dick, and Google Search Engine Results Pages Illustrated.

As a partner of Gordian Project I have to say bang up job Brian! I particularly enjoyed your Soft Economy Priorities? Time to Paint Your Parking Spaces; that’s leadership.

I’d like to thank Josh for his most recent post, The iPhone 3G Saved My Life. It truly inspired me to write this post. All this time I’d banged my head against the desk trying to come up with another post showcasing the thrilling world of Supply Chain, when all I needed was an iPhone post. Below, the desk I bang my head on as taken with my iPhone.


Jeff's Desk Taken with iPhone


Over time, you’ll notice that Elizabeth stopped contributing as often. I have mixed emotions on this one. Elizabeth so desired to be a mother and now she is enjoying that gift with her daughter, Kara, as a stay at home mom. Congratulations Liz! However, Elizabeth also worked in Supply Chain and guess what that means, I’ve had to cover Supply Chain blogging without her. Thanks Liz!

I’ve actually loved reading Ellen’s posts for the first time as I prepared for this post. Ellen has taken the reins of a department that everyone loves to hate, HR. She sifts through all the big issues like food programs and political sensitivity. What a fun department to be in. Blog post ideas just shoot across Ellen’s desk, I’m sure. Ellen also manages Accounts Payable but I’ve yet to see a post with any real hard numbers.

Ryan takes his job seriously. He’s building a career, a future. He’s a smart guy who understands this isn’t just a 9 to 5 but an opportunity for him to build a foundation for his future. He’s always learning and looking for how to add value to the company. His posts are read as a “Where’s Ryan?” I just hope he’s not building his resume based on Ryan’s Randomness for the Week of June 20th, 2008.

Tim, as partner, bang up job! Please don’t break your run on providing an image in every post. No one does it better than you.

Our blog was launched just prior to Simon’s moving on to launch his own business. Nice work getting in a post you can use as a business cardSmile.

Before you jump to any conclusions about why Emily posted her first and, to this day, last post May 19th 2008, I dare you to read it (Dealing with Difficult Customers: Best Practices for Addressing Customer Complaints). She is right now over there fighting the good fight. Without her and her team keeping those customers happy there’s no need for this eCommerce and Entrepreneurship blog.

And finally I’d like to say welcome to Arianna. She brings so much to the table: customer service experience, multilingual, eye for detail and now she’s a vital part of Supply Chain. FYI Arianna…I’m going to need at least one post a monthSmile.

So those are my “collective of experiences, thoughts, processes and updates from people that are not only actively working in ecommerce but are also zealous about the industry.”


Internet Retailing Strategies: Niche Marketing v. Vertical Marketing

Posted on August 14, 2008 by Zach

Recently a fellow coworker sent me a blog about multi channel selling which was basically a "pro niche" piece.

"A highly effective strategy in ecommerce is multiple channel selling. This involves having several niche websites targeting different demographics, displaying specific product ranges. This allows you to create completely focused websites with a high sales conversion rate."

While I understand the niche v. mega site argument (and I also may have my mind set on which I like best both from a customer and retailer perspective) I thought this was an interesting article which highlighted all of the great things about niche websites and none of the bad. I know people say they are great because of the niche SEO value, the ability to really hone in on your marketing campaigns and the ability to focus on a particular product niche. And I agree, those are some great reasons to sell via niche websites. However, I see even more reasons to avoid buying or selling via a niche website. Developing niche SEO campaigns and polishing marketing strategies can be done on a large scale, in a similar fashion to that of niche retailers, by focusing on categories and product types.

I would even go so far as to say that I think that SEO, in particular, can go much further for larger sites.  I say this because a larger site can draw more links, have more authority within an industry and create a community built around an entire market instead of a niche. My next step in the conversation or thought process then usually turns to the ability to cross sell, up sell and convert repeat buyers which is much harder and far less effective on a niche website.  Think about it, how much harder would it be to convince a consumer to buy just one more barstool on a website that only sells barstools, as opposed to a website that sells outdoor furniture who can then up sell on the matching tables, chairs, accessories, and more?

The next thing that goes through my mind, or the next thing I would bring up in a conversation regarding niche v. vertical is operating costs.  Depending on the retailer's level of technological prowess, I also like to bring up the level of overhead with operating several websites v. one. Don't let me convince you, though; several retailers are moving away from niche websites. The Gap recently combined their web properties so that shoppers can simply visit the gap website and shop at all of their stores by means of one shopping cart. There are also several mega sites like, Amazon, QVC, etc. which continue to do well. So, while I lean on the anti-niche selling side of the fence, I believe it can be done in a scalable and profitable fashion. However, both as a buyer and seller, I prefer the larger non-niche sites.

This also brings up a nomenclature issue. I would consider "multi-channel selling" to be either selling through different means (i.e. as a physical store, catalog and online) or through different marketing channels such as shopping engines, marketplaces, and search engine marketing. So the verbiage of the article is also confusing in and of itself. I might consider the means through which products are listed and categorized on a site a "selling channel", but I would probably classify niche websites as a "selling strategy" based upon how the business has decided to sell online.

 

Google Product Search - My Shopping List

Posted on July 22, 2008 by Zach

I was pleasantly surprised today during my morning order audit process to see an order with http://www.google.com/shoppinglist as its referer information. I did not remember Google Product Search having a shopping list feature so I poked around to see if I could find a post on the Google Base Blog or someone else explaining when this feature appeared and how it worked. Disappointingly enough, I could find neither so decided to write a post of my own discussing this neat little feature.

As you can see by the screen shot below, all Google product Search listings now have the "Add to Shopping List" text underneath them which by clicking on it (assuming you have a Google account) lets you save it to a list of products which Google keeps track of for you.

 

Google Product Search- My Shopping List

On the upper right when using Google product search it now says "My Shopping List" which by clicking on it will take you to the list of products you saved to your list. At this point Shared Wish Lists can also be created and shared with friends or family, another neat, friendly, shopping feature.

 

Google Product Search- My wish list

All in all, this is a smart feature and one that I appreciate.  In an effort to keep my shopping list organized, keep a running tally of the great deals I find and a list of the products I might be interested in for the future, having the functionality via Google will save time and enable me to keep my list in one place rather than among multiple retail venues. At this point one of the only gripes I have is not being able to save non Google Product Search products to these lists (but Google Notebook is an alternative for that).  Another option would be to build a feature that allowed retailers who posted products on Google Product Search to let their users add products to the Shopping List directly from the retailer's site.

After talking with a Product Search Rep from Google I found out that these features previously existed in the Froogle search interface and were removed during the transition to Google Product Search. It has been slightly revamped and was relaunched late last week.

 

Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of July 18th, 2008

Posted on July 18, 2008 by Vanessa

Happy Friday readers.  Today is a special day for me, when I leave here today I am heading to the hospital to hold my new God Daughter and my best friend will be a mom.  It is surreal to me, but it was bound to happen sometime, so I thought I would share my excitement.  As you may have noticed I spent some time at Shop.org this week in Huntington Beach for their Merchandising Workshop, I hope my notations helped as I feel like I got a lot out of attending.  So let’s see what else went on this week….

  • Tracking the influence of online shopping and research, and the effect it has on in store purchases is becoming a hotter topic.  Multi channel merchants have been trying to analyze this and it seems that ShopLocal has come up with a way to do so.  According to the CEO, Vikram Sharma “The results are clear and the index strongly supports analyst forecasts of the rapidly growing use of the internet for shopping in-store.”
  • Pure play internet retailers beware:  “In one city (New York), a judge determines that an Internet retailer’s use of thumbnail product images, even those published by a manufacturer to sell its own products, is permissible “fair use” when used by the Internet retailer to sell that manufacturer’s own products, and hence dismisses a claim for copyright infringement by the manufacturer. In another city (Phoenix), that same fact pattern and the same statute results in a trial for copyright infringement!”  Read the full article here
  • eBay is slumping while other internet retailers are succeeding, um can I say duh here?  A few months ago they totally change feedback and best match search, essentially killing longtime loyal sellers.  Now they have struck a deal with Buy.com, which seems to be infuriating individual sellers.  Now eBay’s general manager of North America says “Frankly, we are challenging some of the core assumptions that we have made about our business…Instead of focusing on being an auction business, we are looking at what it takes to create the best marketplace out there.”  Really eBay?  I seem to recall you ostracizing a whole lot of your core merchants when you tried to kill them with fees in 2006, and a few months ago with the changes to how seller’s products are returned in search results.  Honestly I am not surprised that eBay is floundering, we are still trying to make it a viable marketplace, but with their outdated UI, poor reporting, and constant changes how are sellers supposed to invest their time, effort and other resources and still make a profit? 
  • If you are looking to hire a paid search marketer or agency make sure you familiarize yourself with this list of questions to ask before you sign anything. 
  • Watch out Hollywood, there is a whole new breed of celebrities, and guess what, they are nerds just like us.  Techcult just released the Top 100 Web Celebrities.  I was a bit jealous at first thinking to myself, I can’t believe I didn’t get any of the fantastic people that I work with on this list, but then I saw who was number one, and I am not joking it’s Tila Tequila!  When people like Seth Godin are at number five and Jeff Bezos at number 21, and Tila and Perez Hilton get numbers 1 and 2 respectively, it scares me to think of what this world is coming to.

 

 

Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of July 11th, 2008

Posted on July 11, 2008 by Vanessa

I can’t wait to let you all in on some of our new projects, but for now we must exercise patience.  Here’s this week in eCommerce.

  • I know it is the middle of July and thoughts of Christmas and the Holiday season may seem far off to many, but marketers should have the season on their radar and on their schedules. Internet Retailer posted an article this week claiming that marketers should have holiday campaigns ready by October.  Read the full article with figures from MarketLive Inc.’s recent study here.
  • The Small Business Mavericks have compiled a few lists that they believe can make or break a small internet retailer. 
  • Affiliates have been getting a bad rap at recent conferences, so The Rimm-Kaufman Group has provided a video featuring Shop.org’s Larry Joseloff explaining how to balance affiliate programs. 
  • Want your business teams to perform better?  According to this study one of the first things a company can do to increase performance is to not have one dominating team leader. 
  • Andy Beal has announced the 2008 SEM scholarship winner. 
  • Tell Marketing Pilgrim what you think the conversation went like for this picture….

A picture is worth a 1000 words Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Jerry Yang of Yahoo! and Google


This was my thought (hey it’s Friday, have some fun with it):
“Sergey: Jerry you gotta let loose a little bit man, you look like you are about to have a breakdown.
Larry: Yeah if you don’t have your sunglasses at least tossle your hair a bit so you don’t look so uptight.
Jerry: I know I know, it’s just, well you guys know what it’s like where I’m at, I mean I don’t even have a bean bag in my office.”

 

Vanessa’s Variety for the Week of May 23rd, 2008

Posted on May 23, 2008 by Vanessa

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone!  This weekend is normally blazing hot in sunny Southern California, but as you may have heard we were hit with hail, rain, and, no joke, tornadoes yesterday.  What’s great is the weather isn’t the only exciting thing going on.  Check out this week’s electrifying eCommerce events:

  • This week Linda Bustos graced marketers with an entire series on PPC advertising.  I don’t normally put multiple links to one blog in the Variety but I think these posts are really valuable to both new and distinguished SEM marketers, so I will just list them:
  • For those of you who read Seth Godin’s blog, you already know that he can be quite insightful.  I found a post that he wrote this week to be quite interesting because I think it really pertains to the eCommerce retailer.  We know from experience that conferences can be beneficial; we have experience in being the presenters and the attendees.  Yet, as we grow we have realized that the time and resources given to these conferences can be far greater an expense than the value reciprocated.  Seth offers some ways in which conference organizers can improve on this issue. 
  • If you read our blog, you know we love all that is Google, but even we can admit that Google has seen it’s fair share of, do I dare say, failures.  Tom Spring of PC World composed an article of the “Top 10 Google Flubs, Flops, and Failures”. 
  • Growth can be scary, especially when you are growing too fast.  Frank Adante has quantified the cost of growth for his company, the equation: Optimized for Speed = 30% Waste
  • According to Jackie Baker “Professional Looking Design Drives Conversions”.  She offers insights on color scheme, textual formatting and most of all explains that if you are going to want lasting results you are going to have to be in it for the long haul.  I happen to agree.  You may have seen the Internet Retailer article on our product detail page redesign, which explains how some simple improvements in design and functionality increased conversion, but I can tell you it didn’t happen overnight. 
  • Microsoft launched their Live Search Cashback this week, and TechCrunch took the liberty of analyzing the move for us.