Woot, Here It Is
Woot.com is a word of mouth marketing buzz bomb of simplicity and gimmick, and it's making a STACK
The all-things craze hit ecommerce too, and Amazon went from selling books to hawking everything from Stairmasters to BBQs. But now, an ecommerce site is gaining ground by following Google's go simple strategy, and if its early revenue numbers are any indication, it's found a winning strategy.
The site is called Woot, and offers visitors a simple choice: It sells one item, usually something electronics-related, for one day. At midnight central time the new product is announced, and usually within a few hours, it's sold out.
So, is going as simple as possible the best way forward for Ecom sites? It's certainly an approach that has worked for Google in Search and there is a lot to be said for simpicity i think...
UPDATED for Danny's benefit: As well as the widely reported outage in the US, there are widespread reports circling the blogosphere right now including SEW Blog of a slightly longer outage in Australia
Reports are coming in that the West coast and Alaska are a Goolge Free Zone right now - please confirm / deny stating where you are and what you see....
Added: All seems well now, but when Google goes offline, even for a few minutes my AIM starts lighting up like a xmas tree heh...
Mobile equipped ski jackets are just about the only thing that would pursuade me to buy a motorola. Plus a bonus of proper amounts of music through the same headphones.
Now if they could geotarget the ringtone advertising for cheap gluwhein, send me text vouchers for beer at the local bar, and put the pockets somewhere I definately won't land on them I'm a guaranteed early adopter :)
Microsoft Readies 'A1' Security Subscription Service
No, don't laugh, it's true...
Mary Jo Foley reports in the threadlink above that M$ are "rumoured" to be prepping for a fee-based anti-spyware and anti-virus solution according to loose tongued developers:
Publicly, Microsoft continues to be cagey about packaging and pricing plans for its anti-spyware and anti-virus solutions. But privately, Microsoft has begun informing partners of its plans for a security subscription service code-named "A1," according to developers who requested anonymity.
It's Like Google Suggest, Only As A Dictionary
Now this is cool, type in words and have the text box suggest completions of your partial text based on dictionary terms. Copywriters may get a lot out of this and it's certainly going in the Nick W toolbox!
Matt Cutts On Google Suggests
Jason Dowdell publishes a transcript of his conversation with Google engineer Matt Cutts about Google Suggest the new beta tool that predicts what you're searching for as you type it into the text box.
Here's what he had to say:
"I don't have much extra information on Google Suggest, but I know that suggestions aren't based on personal search history, according to http://labs.google.com/suggest/faq.html . I wouldn't be surprised if the order of the suggestions is determined by how often searches were queried at some point in the past. I'm basing that off this quote from the FAQ: 'For example, Google Suggest uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers.'"
Practically nothing, heh...
I think Matt knows a fair bit more than that, after all, it's not that tricky to see how it works now is it?
Come on Matt, we know you can do better than that mate! :-)
The threadlinked YPC article above by Dick Larkin essentially extolls the virtues of Pay Per Call over Pay Per Click from a Yellow Pages biz perspective. As well as pointing out the major players and making a relatively new concept understandable Dick manages to halfway convince me that he's rigt :)
It would certainly present a challenge to click fraudsters if PPCall become the norm wouldn't it? Though the piece does have to be taken as coming from a classified ads perspective - roofers, accountants etc rather than retail - i cant imagine Amazon wanting to do PPCall...
Here's a quote explaining the basic concept. It's a worthwhile read so go check out the rest. Thanks Danny
How Call Measurement Works
Here's a brief call measurement primer. The directory publisher provides a unique phone number for an advertiser. This number doesn't appear anywhere outside of the publisher's directory, so calls to this number will accurately measure the directory's effectiveness. Calls to the metered number route through a call measurement service (CMS) that records details such as how many times the phone rang before it was answered, how long the call lasted, and what time the call was placed. The CMS is often able to track the phone number where the call originated, the owner of the phone and the phone's address. Some CMS combine this data with demographic information to provide an insight into the neighborhood.
The caller is unaware that the number is routed or metered.
Any opinions or thought on the impact of Pay Per Call when it enevitably hits the big time?
Gary and toprank both point to the threadlinked New York Post article above that points out that Crispin Porter & Bogusky may have a shot at the title based on previous low key work on billboards to hire techies.
Hiring an ad agency of record would mark a strategic change for Google, which has become one of the world's most recognized brands simply by word of mouth. With "googling" now part of the global lexicon, the company's name is synonymous with online search.
But Google is engaged in fierce competition with the likes of Yahoo! and Microsoft for consumers. The company has been rolling out new products right and left, betting it can innovate faster than rivals.
Known for being ultra-secretive about its plans, Google has declined to comment on an ad review. A Crispin spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny that the agency had worked for Google.
After the resignation of Cindy McCaffrey last month it would be very interesting to see if Google would move away from their long held tradition of low-key word of mouth and jump into the mainstream media jungle...
Threadwatch member notepage aka Sharon Houseley of notepage.net has posted a nice set of links to tools that can be used to ego surf or get notification of topics you follow - such as mentions of your company or bits and pieces of interest about competitors and so forth. The list inludes:
Google News RSS
Ebay keyword RSS
Amazon keyword RSS
and some useful resources for monitoring tools. The links are followed by nice concise descriptions so do check out the full details at the threadlink above.
A Question for Threadwatchers
How do you monitor those keywords and topics that matter to you, and what do you use to do that?
Personally i use G Alerts and that's about it. It's lame, and as a result of Sharons article i'm going to try to fix that :)
Newsmap as a Model for Smart Aggregation
Mike Davidson who works in media product development for Disney initiates an interesting discussion on information overload and how a smart aggregator could be the answer to the enormous amounts of data we will (and some are already) be processing in the next few years.
The idea is that a desktop smart aggregator would filter your email, and learn from your habbits using adaptive learning technology as Mac does now but, also on your IM and news consumption. It's a purely speculative post, but an informed and quite plausable one - here's a snippet:
The key to our information gathering lives is all about smart aggregation. The days of media companies deciding what’s on your “front page” are numbered. Within five years, I believe customizable newsreader technology (whether client-side like Net News Wire, or server-side like Bloglines), will be as prevalent as the web is right now. The web will still be there for viewing entire bodies of content like full stories and video, but the web will not be the notification source that this content is available. Instead, it will be simple aggregators like we have today, and then eventually, creative ones like Newsmap… albeit in a much more effective form.
This follows on nicely from the conversations we recently had here on the excess effect and coping with infomation overload.
You can see from the discussion that there's a large amount of work to do just on the theory let alone an actual application but Mike speculates that one of the big players if not several are already working on it.
Do you think Google or M$ et al could pull such an app off and could it be the media app of the decade? I think they could, and it might...
BURST! Media Launches Blog Ad Channel
Rob McGann has the scoop at the threadlink above on BURST Media's new blog channel:
Ad network BURST! Media has launched a new blog-focused sub-channel, landing Kyocera Wireless as its first advertising customer. The service allows interactive marketers to place ads on the more than 20 blogs on BURST!'s 2,000-site network.
BURST! currently represents 22 blogs that together generate 9 million monthly pageviews. In addition to the group of Gawker Media blogs, that stable includes BlueLemur, 2WallsWebzine, and CelebCourthouse. However, with new applicants applying regularly and some existing member sites opting to reclassify themselves, BURST! expects the number of blogs on its network to change on a weekly basis.
Third-party app name change points to Apple iWork suite
Here's one to watch from Macminute threadlinked above via Tech Knowledge:
IGG Software today quietly changed the name of its flagship application, iWork, to iBiz. Rumors have been circulating through both the Mac Web and mainstream press about a possible Apple productivity suite--named iWork--to be introduced at Macworld Expo next week. It is not known whether IGG was forced to change the name of its software by Apple, or whether it simply believes the speculation and wants to differentiate its software in advance. IGG's Ian Gillespie offered a simple statement on the matter.
All eyes on Mac right now, as TK note in the link above M$ and Dell et all must be green with envy over the excitement Apple seem to generate so easily these days...
Google Cracks $200!
InsideGoogle inform us in the threadlink above that Google shares have topped the $200 mark. John Battelle has the reason via Reuters:
Google gained as much as 5.15 percent and Yahoo rose as high as 3.3 percent in Nasdaq trading after Goldman Sachs increased its forecasts, citing strong Internet advertising trends. In a report, Goldman Sachs analyst Anthony Noto said that his firm's recent talks with media buyers demonstrated that "the strength in online advertising demand did not appear to abate" in the quarter.
We're also told of the imminent launch or the Google Foundation where 1% of all equity and profits will be donated to charitable causes.
Man i gotta move out of Denmark, i need to live in a place where kit like this could be useful to me! From the Engadget post threadlinked above:
Wouldn't it be hot to type "Law & Order" in the search field, then page through results that included PVR-recorded shows, ripped DVDs, live TV, on demand streaming media, and downloaded videos that live on your PC's networked storage? This MediaPortal box can't do all of that (the DVD ripping and the downloaded movies part might be trouble), but it can do everything else, plus stream your home content to a mobile device. Who knows how well it'll all work together, but it holds a lot of promise.
and from this eWeek post
The new service will center on a set-top box that integrates satellite television, digital video recording, video on demand and Web content such as Yahoo's photo-sharing and LaunchCast music services, SBC announced.
As part of the service, users can access and share online Yahoo Photos and listen to Yahoo's LaunchCast Internet radio through home stereos and entertainment systems, according to SBC. Inside CES 2005
The set-top box also will provide storage for digital photos and music, and users will be able to access photos and music and to program digital video recording remotely through the SBC Yahoo interface on the Web.
I'd say that Battelle's prediction that TV and Search will merge is getting just a little closer...
IOError threadlinked above have released a SpamAssassin plugin for WordPress - I use this tool for my spam filtering on email, which is it's primary use and it's not bad. Not great, but not bad.
Apparently it can do more than just email and WP users will enjoy playing with this to see if it's up to the job of fighting comment spam:
SpamAssassin is a nice program designed for ISP mail servers that immediately rejects incoming spam before it ever gets anywhere near your inbox. However, it also has its own wire protocol, so you can write custom programs to speak to it. And that’s exactly what I did. It’s far from perfect, I’m sure, but I’m also sure it’ll improve given time and feedback.
I shouldnt think that would bother some folks for 5mins but it will raise the bar a little when targeting WP installs im sure...
This Monday, Google reacted to the problem almost 72 hours after heise Security had informed the company of the problem; all of the ads and sites in the full text index that were listed in the heise online ticker report were removed.
Why on earth did it take 72hrs to react? and are Google liable for damages?
For those of you outside the United States, "60 Minutes" is a well respected television news magazine. The story above is a transcript of a show
(CBS) Has there ever been a brand name like Google? Non-existent six years ago, it’s now a part of the global language, as in, “I Googled this,” or “I Googled that,” or “I Googled you.” To Google, a verb, is to get an instant answer by using the company's super-computer to look up anything on the Internet.
What began as a school project is now worth about as much as Ford and General Motors combined, thanks to a stock that has roughly doubled in price since the company went public last August.
And for the first time since then, Google has opened its doors, to let "60 Minutes" Google them. Lesley Stahl reports.
added by Nick: these urls need to be in there but the quotes are in the comments below - wanna make sure they get their trackback if they have it on :-)