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2 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Inside WM
Cover Story:
Mobile Web
Has the mobile Web finally arrived? There are many arguments to support
the usefulness of the mobile Web and to detract from it. We take a look at
both sides of the debate and get some expert advice along the way.
26
6 Exploring the Semantic Web
It’s being called Web 3.0 and promises to change the way we search and
how consumers find our websites. The Semantic Web attempts to make
sense out of users’ search language and deliver even more meaningful
results.
8 Anatomy of a Datacenter
Datacenters are truly a modern marvel. Take a
look behind the scenes and see how the world’s
information is being stored and delivered.
12 The First 10 Seconds
You work hard to drive traffic to your website. Learn how to leverage the
first 10 seconds of a visit for the best chance of turning browsers into
consumers using personas, wireframes and a little common sense.
18 Press Release Optimization
The press release is an age-old promotional
tool that has adapted well to the Internet
age. Effective distribution is the name of the
game. Explore your options and choose
what works best for your business.
33 Web Design Agreements
Whether upgrading your existing site or creating a brand new one, you
need a good design and a talented designer. Find out what should be
included (and avoided) in a proper design agreement.
34 Podcasting 101 with Audacity
Adding rich media to your website is always a good idea, especially when
it’s easy. Step-by-step instructions show you how to add podcasting to your
site with free software from Audacity.
’Net Briefs
38 Insurance 2.0, Bacn, Increasing
Website Stickiness, SEO vs. PPC
and more.
Departments
15 Top 50: Domain Registrars
16 Who’s Who: Patrick O’Keefe,
iFroggy Networks
17 SEO Corner: Proper Link Requests
23 Conversion Cache: The Decision
Making Process
43 Commentary: Microhoo,
Yahoocrosoft and You
44 Website Magazine Marketplace
NEXT ISSUE:
E-commerce is always on the minds of
Web professionals. And it’s never too
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2008. The upcoming issue of Website
Magazine will address the challenges
and opportunities present today, and
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Long anticipated, we are clearly entering a new era when the mobile
Web moves from a curiosity to a part of our daily lives. As technolo-
gies are rapidly evolving, what remains unclear is just what the mobile
Web will bring in real value and on what timetable. It is clear that inno-
vative applications are absolutely necessary. Developers, designers and
entrepreneurs are scrambling to find ways to take advantage of the
possibilities, or brace for another year of letdowns.
The feature article of this issue shines a virtual spotlight on the
hope the mobile Web brings, while providing an equally critical look
at the hype that has plagued the mobile Web and its proponents for so
very long. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic of the mobile space
as a legitimate business opportunity, it’s hard to deny that the Web is
truly on the move. Preparing your business and your personal life for
this seismic shift will allow for greater efficiency and connectivity in
the future.
As always, Website Magazine features in-depth content about a
wide variety of topics that are essential to website success. It is my
firm belief that this issue of Website Magazine is the most extensive in
terms of general knowledge. From practical advice on leveraging
semantic marketing and deploying user experience design, to the ins
and outs of data centers, search engine optimization for press releas-
es and podcasting with open source tools, our expert writers have
truly exposed every corner of the Web.
This issue also fits nicely into our mission at Website Magazine —
that it’s important for our readers to be well versed in all aspects of the
’Net, not just specific niches. We believe that the more knowledgeable
you are in all fields, the more success you will have in all endeavors
you undertake.
Best Web Wishes,
Peter Prestipino — Editor in Chief
Peter@WebsiteMagazine.com
Website Magazine
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*CONTRIBUTORS:
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Josh Ewin
Joseph Kirby
Charles Kreitzberg
Milind Mody
Dante A. Monteverde
Deborah Sauter
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4 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Things are About to Change … For the Better
Our website has served our readers well for quite some time.
But WebsiteMagazine.com is about to get a whole lot better
with a redesign that will follow in the footsteps of our print
publication as the premier destination for Web professionals.
Feature-rich and socially focused, Website Magazine online
will invite readers to collaborate and communicate with greater
efficiency on their path to Web success. Stay tuned.
The Semantic Web, or Web 3.0, is about meaning — understand-
ing the context of a word or concept to offer relevant resources, there-
by making it easier for people to find what they seek. In the example
at left, my son was the user and I was the search engine, having trou-
ble understanding the context of his query.
As the Web and its available resources continue to expand, it is
becoming increasingly difficult to find what you want efficiently. It’s
like stocking the shelves of your local grocery store with nothing but
6 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
By John-Scott Dixon
What can be done today
and how do we prepare
for tomorrow? Here are
five suggestions:
1. Connect with the right people. Imagine your com-
pany has a product that takes advantage of mobile
telephony for use in automobiles. And, one of your
most promising conversations was with an execu-
tive at an automotive company who previously
worked in the telecommunications industry. With
technology like ZoomInfo, you might be able to
build a list of executives who meet that profile. That
hasn’t been possible before. Available Today.
2. Make industry data available for public inquiry.
Using the power of ENTH or a similar technology
enables people to find relationships in your data
that you might not have otherwise found. The
benefit is the association of your brand as the
source of helpful information. Available Today.
3. Educate semantic search engines by defining your
commercial space to ontology engines like WordNet
from Princeton University (WordNet.Princeton.edu).
As an example, Fender Guitar Company may want
to teach the semantic search engines that Fender
manufactures acoustic and electric guitars, and
within the electric guitar category is the Stratocaster,
Telecaster, etc. The idea is when somebody searches
for “Best Electric Guitar,” the search engine might
find a blog where a guitarist claims his Stratocaster
is the best guitar ever made. A semantic search
engine, like Powerset, would understand a reference
to a Stratocaster as “best” is related to the search
for “Best Electric Guitar.” It would know the
Stratocaster is an electric guitar and a user says it’s
the best. Available Today.
4. Create landing pages to welcome visitors who
represent market segments most likely to visit
your website. A common example is a competitive
shopper — someone visiting the websites of your
competitors and, more importantly, browsing
specific categories, products or services. If you knew
they were comparing your product or service to a
specific competitor’s, how could you greet them to
be more persuasive in the sales process? Detect
visitors that match those specific market segments
when they arrive and display the corresponding
landing page. Available Today.
5. When Twine launches this spring, companies will be
able to create “twines” around commercial topics.
This puts them at the heart of conversations about
their commercial space. It will also be important to
establish a Semantic Graph for your company. I
am seeing Semantic Graphs as a form of digital
fingerprint. It might be the new way to express your
brand. So people with certain attributes are attracted
to companies that cater to those attributes.
Available Summer 2008.
My five-year-old son recently asked me,
“What is ground?” I responded with, “It is the
surface of our planet. ” He said “No, ground. ”
Puzzled, I pressed on with, “Well, when they
make hamburger, they put steak into a
grinder, then it is ground into hamburger
meat. ” Frustrated, he said, “No Dad, ground. ”
Finally, I replied with, “Are you talking
about ‘grounded,’ like when kids get in
trouble?” He said, “Yes, what is ground?”
We were dealing with semantics.
The
Semantic
Web
Understanding Web 3.0 and
Preparing Your Business
generic brands and expanding it to the size of five city blocks. We need
help making choices.
The Semantic Graph
When I search, the list of results can be daunting — a search on
Google for “ground” returned over five million results. Over the last
few years, we have also been able to expand our searches to images,
podcasts and video as well as websites. With proper syntax, we can
structure searches that give back information only — like how many
cups in a pint? But for anything other than weights and measures, the
search engines are often lacking.
For example, if you want to find the earned run average (ERA) for
major league pitcher Randy Johnson for every season he’s played, it
would take a massive effort on Google. Search “Randy Johnson ERA”
and Google will direct you to websites that might contain some of the
information you are after, like ESPN.com, SI.com, the Arizona
Diamondbacks’ website or BaseballLibrary.com. Those websites will
certainly contain data about Randy Johnson and his ERA, but you will
have to do some more digging to find a list of his ERA from the begin-
ning of his Major League Baseball career through last season. Recently,
I spent some time with John Grace — CEO of ENTH, a next genera-
tion search engine (Enth.com). We performed the Randy Johnson
search, and the result was an ordered list of his ERA from 1988
through 2007, rather than a list of websites that might, or might not
have the information. ENTH is only making sense of Major League
Baseball, the National Basketball Association and College Football for
now, but their mission is to apply their technology to every database
that exists. And there are other semantic search engines changing the
way we retrieve information, well beyond the sports arena.
Each of us has a unique set of things that we value — people,
places, experiences and objects we deem important. And although our
interests are personal and unique, there are countless others who may
share some of these interests, or have interests related in some way to
our own. That creates common themes across categories, and people
who share common interests in each of those categories. There may
be relationships that we’re unaware of that exist, like people interest-
ed in visiting Kauai who are also interested in vegetarian diets. This is
what Nova Spivack, founder of Twine, calls a Semantic Graph. By
using the Semantic Graph, a new brand of search engines and Web
applications can make suggestions based on our unique combination
of interests and the interests of people in our networks.
What Semantic Search Means
to Your Business
So why aren’t we seeing much in the way of semantic search from
Google? A likely theory is that it would hurt their core business of
advertising. Russell Glass, general manager and senior vice president
of advertising for ZoomInfo says, “if their search results were perfect,
who would click on the ads?” That’s a valid point, and one that pres-
ents an opportunity for new search engines. The challenge is creating
a business model where contextual advertising is less powerful.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 7
Continued on page 32
©2008 Quova Inc. All rights reserved.
Why do the top 3 search engines trust
Quova to geolocate their advertising?
Call us today to find out.
Leading ad networks, search engines and e-tailers
trust Quova to geo-target their web content and
advertising.
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Location Matters.
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8 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
As designers and developers,
our scope of work and our field
of view rarely go beyond our
screen and the client’s website.
Seldom do we think about
our hosting, except from when
installing a script or the server
starts lagging. The mechanism
that makes our jobs possible
in the first place needs to
be studied carefully; not only
because our livelihoods depend
on it, but also because…
it is amazing in its design.
by Josh Ewin
Datacenter operations have evolved over the
past two decades and now the design and
operation of these facilities have become
highly standardized. The land rush of the
90s, which fueled the rise of the Internet as
we know it, was supported by the expansion
of network communications and infrastruc-
ture like the hosting datacenters that dot the
world and the fiber optics that connect them
to the Internet.
The Nuts and Bolts
Datacenters vary widely in size from one
small room to a multi-floor facility. But
regardless of size, planned design is para-
mount to successful operations. Datacenters
need to be built with white space and avail-
able annexation areas for growth, access to
network providers and ample power.
Design standards were set to create effi-
ciencies in operation of hosting facilities;
however they also assist in defining the cal-
iber and reliability of a datacenter. “Tiering”
is a method to grade datacenters according to
their design and redundancy. Below are the
four specific tiers of datacenters:
• Tier 1 – 99.671% uptime
Tier 1 datacenters are basic computer rooms
that require a full shutdown for preventative
maintenance. Annual downtime is 28.8
hours.
• Tier 2 – 99.741% uptime
Tier 2 facilities have some redundancy but
still have a single path for power, requiring a
shutdown for preventative maintenance.
Annual downtime is 22 hours.
• Tier 3 – 99.982% uptime
Tier 3 datacenters have sufficient redundan-
cy in place to allow for planned maintenance
without downtime (N+1 redundancy.) Tier 3
datacenters are required to have at least 13.2
KV (kilo volts) of power. Annual downtime
is 1.6 hours.
• Tier 4 – 99.995% uptime
Tier 4 DCs are the top tier. They are built
with multiple paths to power and AC and are
designed to cope with a worst-case scenario
with no critical impact. Tier 4 datacenters are
required to have at least 26.2 KV of power.
Annual downtime is 0.4 hours.
Today’s DCs are designed with redundan-
cy, security, disaster recovery and expansion
in mind. If the power goes out, redundant
power or battery backup and a diesel genera-
tor should kick in. If a network provider goes
Anatomy of a Datacenter
Continued on page 10
down or fiber is cut, redundant connectivity
needs to pick up the slack. If a piece of equip-
ment fails and catches fire, fire suppression
needs to be designed to quickly eliminate the
threat and minimize the damage involved.
Datacenter security covers both physical
security as well as network security. Closed-
circuit TV and keycard access set the mini-
mum for datacenter security. Many facilities
also employ biometric access, log facility
access, and catalog equipment for entering
and exiting the facility.
There’s good reason for these high secu-
rity measures — a single piece of network-
ing equipment within a datacenter can cost
more than $100,000. Add that to the com-
puter hardware housed within the network
operations center (NOC, synonymous with
datacenter) and you’ve just begun to
scratch the surface of the overall value held
within a facility. But beyond the monetary
value of equipment is something priceless
— the data. Protecting that data and equip-
ment from threats like fire requires elabo-
rate extinguishing systems. These systems
are designed to detect fire early, at the first
sign of smoke particles in the air and extin-
guish the fire with as little collateral damage
as possible.
Network Infrastructure
Every datacenter, in order to provide connec-
tivity for its clients, must connect its internal
network with the rest of the Internet. Just as
there is a difference in the redundancy and
security of datacenters, network infrastruc-
ture between facilities varies significantly.
Why is network infrastructure impor-
tant? For starters, visitors to your website
probably come from all corners of the earth –
that means they will be coming from differ-
ent networks. More network providers peer-
ing at your datacenter means shorter routes
between your visitors and your data, and
faster connectivity.
Like datacenter tiering, networks are
tiered as well. Network tiering, however, is
dependent on peering and transit. Larger
networks, like Verio, Sprint and Global
Crossing are known as Tier 1 networks.
Smaller networks, such as local ISPs and
some datacenters are known as Tier 4 net-
works.
• Tier 4 — most data centers are tier 4
networks. They have their own internal net-
work but they pay other networks for IP
transit outside of the facility.
• Tier 3 — tier 3 networks are regional
providers. Larger datacenters are typically
tier 3 networks and build redundancy
through redundant POPs (points of pres-
ence) outside of their facilities. Past the
POPs, these providers pay for IP transit.
• Tier 2 — tier 2 networks have a nation-
al or international footprint, but still pay
IP transit to reach some portions of the
Internet.
• Tier 1 — tier 1 providers do not pay IP
transit, meaning they have a global presence
and don’t pay other providers for any
portion of their connectivity.
A datacenter’s connectivity, its network,
needs to be redundant. At the POP or NOC
level, a datacenter connects with its network
peers through core routers. Redundant net-
works will carry multiple core routers to
ensure connectivity during maintenance
periods and in the event of broad network
outages. Should one router experience hard-
ware failure, a redundant router is available
to route the traffic to the appropriate switch
and ultimately to your website.
Staffing
To ensure maximum uptime, constant con-
nectivity and support for equipment and
management of any infrastructure issues,
you need people. As the industry has
matured, standardization, competition and
years of price wars have essentially com-
moditized the hosting industry. These days,
what sets competitors apart, more than their
network or hardware, is staffing.
A top-tier hosting facility needs to have
24/7 onsite support, no exceptions. If a hard
drive in your server fails at 2 a.m., you need
10 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Josh Ewin:
Company: DedicatedNOW
Established: 1997
Employees: 30
Servers Managed: 3,500
Network: 99.99% uptime
with redundant connectivity
to six Tier 1 providers.
Facility: Tier 3 facility with 13,000
sq. ft. of raised floor space and
55,000 sq. ft. of annexation space
available. Controlled environment
with eight 20-ton Liebert AC units.
The facility is protected by smoke
and heat detectors and secured
with security badge entry/exit on
all doors. DedicatedNOW uses
two 225KVALibert UPS units,
one 160KVAPowerware UPS
and a 1-megawatt Caterpillar
generator for power backup.
Services Offered: Fully managed
hosting, load balancing, clustering,
high-availability, backup solutions,
grid hosting and monitoring.
Location: 100 Delawanna Ave.,
Clifton, NJ 07014
Phone: (973) 572-1078
Website: dedicatednow.com
160KVA Powerware UPS battery backup –
designed to provide immediate power in the
event of power failure.
Continued from page 8
someone there to swap it out for a fresh one —
someone with experience using the hardware
you happen to need. In addition to the folks in
the trenches, a full administrative and man-
agement staff to support overall operations
and planned company expansion is needed.
Choosing a Datacenter
Selection of a datacenter should be a well
thought out process; due diligence up front
can save you many precious man-hours and
ensure that you find a facility and pricing
structure that best fits your organization’s
needs.
While your datacenter doesn’t need to be
in your backyard, physical proximity is help-
ful. When trusting your company’s online
presence to a particular facility, you’ll proba-
bly want to see their operations. Ask your-
self: Is the facility well staffed? Is it free of
clutter and are the racks organized and well
maintained? If you are shopping locally, any
datacenter in your area should welcome you
with open arms for a tour.
One thing to keep in mind with regard to
hosting — and this is relatively simple — is
that not all hosts have datacenters. A large
part of the hosting market is reseller hosting.
Essentially, value-added resellers resell and
provide support to the hosted website. This
doesn’t mean that your experience with a
reseller will be unfruitful. Many resellers add
significant value for customers with hosting
support and add-on services like domain
names and scripts. However, as your compa-
ny grows you’ll need to start dealing directly
with a datacenter at some point to save cost
and gain control.
So, as you shut down your PC for the
night, as you upload that file to the server,
think about the complexity, capital expense
and the dedication that support the massive
global infrastructure needed to make your
website accessible.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 11
A well organized datacenter. 1 mega-watt Caterpillar generator; provides
sustained power in the event of power loss.
Inside the Dedicated Now Datacenter.
12 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Through a combination of brilliant marketing and careful SEO, you
finally got your targeted user to your site. Now your visitor is about
to see your landing page for the first time.
Online, you have just seconds to capture a visitor’s interest before
they hit the back button and find your competitors. While there are
no hard and fast rules to guarantee success, approaching the design
carefully can help create the stickiness you need.
When users come to your site for the first time, their goal is to
understand what you are offering and how they can benefit. So the
landing page must convey that information in a format that is easy
to comprehend.
As with all Web design problems, the best place to start is by
understanding the user. What is your best guess of who will come to
your site and what are their expectations?
PERSONAS FOCUS YOUR DESIGN
A good way to get a handle on your visitors is to create two or
three personas that describe the main user segments you expect to
visit. A persona is a brief fictional biography that captures the
essence of the individual you are targeting. Creating personas can
be a complicated process. Large companies spend a great deal of
effort researching and creating personas. But you can benefit from
simple, quick personas based on your knowledge and best guess-
es. I call these “assumptive personas,” because they are based on
assumptions rather than data. But even without hard data they
can be surprisingly helpful in focusing your design.
As simple as these personas are, you can see how they make the
users more concrete. When creating personas, it’s always best to talk
to actual customers or prospects. If you can’t do that, try talking with
secondary sources — people who know the actual customers well.
In our example, good secondary sources might be travel agents.
Once you have created the personas, show them to knowledgeable
people who can help you refine them.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
When users first encounter your site, they will form an immediate
first impression. Some of the factors include:
The visual design — does the site look interesting? Are the
graphics appropriate for the audience? Bob and Sandy, for example,
are unlikely to appreciate a grunge style. (see box below)
The information architecture — is the information organ-
ized so that its structure is immediately understandable or does it
take too much effort to figure out what’s important?
The site’s mission — does the site proclaim its purpose or does
the user have to figure it out?
The goal for the first 10 seconds is to orient the users, make them
feel that the site is worth exploring, and get them to click on a link and
go deeper in the site. An exciting visual design will get you a few sec-
onds of initial attention but unless your visitors engage with some-
Susan, age 24, engaged
Susan is getting married to Greg in a few
weeks and would love to honeymoon on
a cruise ship. Susan and Greg are on a
budget so she wants to find a fun cruise
with interesting ports of call at a reason-
able price.
“I want to able to find a romantic cruise for
my honeymoon that we can afford.”
Lisa, age 50, single
Lisa is an adventurer. She wants to cruise
to interesting and unusual places. She
would prefer to be with many other sin-
gles so she will have a choice of people
to talk to.
“I love seeing new places. I like nature a
lot and I’m an avid photographer. I’m still
friendly with some of the people I met on
past cruises.”
Bob and Sandy, age 66, married
Bob and Sandy are newly retired and are
looking for long cruises at a bargain price.
Because they are not working, they can
take advantage of last minute discounts.
“We’re retired now and want to spend
time vacationing with each other and
occasionally with our friends. We prefer a
cruise with others like us.”
Imagine we are creating a site for people looking to find bargain vacation cruises.
You might come up with these three personas:
10 SECONDS
THE
By Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D.
thing on the site, they’ll soon move on. So creating engagement is the initial
design goal.
WIREFRAMES
Many designers produce wireframes in a highly schematic form with no
graphics. There is a good argument for doing this. If you are not a skilled
graphic designer people you show the pages to may not get the full picture.
In addition, when you pass the wireframes on to a visual designer, your ini-
tial attempts at graphic design may bias the designer and you might end up
with a less creative design.
Despite these arguments, I generally use some graphic elements in my
wireframes. There are two reasons for this:
1. I need to see the site with graphics so that I can gauge my own reaction to
it and refine the design. The visual design affects the user’s behavior and I
want to understand what elements are important for the particular site.
2. Customers and others I show the wireframes to may not be able to visu-
alize how the design would look without some graphics.
I use clip art because I’m not an artist. Then, as soon as I have a first-draft
wireframe, I get a visual designer to work up two or three treatments. Once
customers see a professionally produced “comp” of a page or two, they are
reassured that the site will look good and that gives me more leeway on the
wireframes.
Another technique that I sometimes use is to create a few pages with
the customer’s input. Since we are working together, the customer sees and
helps select the clip art. However, many good designers are not comfort-
able with this approach, finding it too hectic and without enough time for
reflection.
THE LANDING PAGE WIREFRAME
Remembering that our goal is to create engagement within 10 seconds, at the
top of this page is a wireframe that I created for our fictitious discount cruise
company.
It’s not very exciting from a visual perspective — that will be the job of a
visual designer. In selecting visual designers, I look for highly talented artists,
often with training in the fine arts who also understand how to create usable
design. It’s important that the visual design make it clear which elements on
the screen are interactive. For example, I’m fine with the artist replacing my
ordinary but easily recognized underlined blue text links with something
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 13
Continued on page 14
A wireframe is a first draft that sets positions for all the engaging elements and
serves as a guide for the designer, who will take it to the next level.
more interesting — as long as it remains
clear which text is clickable. It’s also impor-
tant that all buttons or controls are obvious
and that all text is readable (including by
people with less than perfect vision –— a
group that includes everyone over 40).
Other design elements in the wireframe
that I want to preserve in the visual design:
1. Initially the visitor will probably focus on
the area below the main menu, because
the background picture is visually
stronger than the header. Because the
background photo presents a single, easi-
ly recognized scene, the visitor does not
have to interpret a lot of small visual ele-
ments but can focus on the text.
2. The phrase, “Fabulous cruises at discount
prices,” positions the site’s mission in one,
easy-to-comprehend phrase. On another
site I might have chosen to make the
phrase more descriptive but that can
make the screen busier, competing for the
user’s attention.
3. The most obvious visual element on the
page is the group of three buttons offering
three types of cruises. These buttons, of
course, were derived from the personas I
created at the outset. This is where I want
the user to focus in the first 10 seconds. If
the personas are correct, there is a good
chance that visitors will click on the but-
ton that reflects their interest.
Because of their importance, I have made
these buttons brighter and more visually
intense than other elements that might com-
pete with them. Their shape, size, and
arrangement create a cohesive visual group-
ing for the buttons. I used faces to decorate
the buttons, because the human face is visu-
ally compelling and tends to attract atten-
tion. Hopefully, my visitor will identify with
one of the faces, and this will improve the
chances of a click.
Because not all users are looking for
cruises that fit what three buttons offer, I
have provided a secondary area with text
links. It is designed to be a bit less obvious
than the three buttons so it doesn’t compete
with them. My intent is to capture visitors
who are not engaged by the main offer and
who go on to scan the remainder of the
screen. Note the simple and large text so the
visitor won’t have to work hard to find a link
of interest.
As you can see, a great deal of thought
went into the design of this landing page. I’ll
make sure that the design works as intended
with some simple, informal usability testing.
The wireframe is a first draft and while it is a
solid and usable design it’s neither exciting
nor innovative. Getting to the next level will
require more thought and more work. As
design is a team sport, not a solitary activity,
I will seek input and ideas from others to
make the site really stand out and increase
my chances of keeping a user on the site for
more than a few seconds — ultimately lead-
ing to a conversion.
Charles B. Kreitzberg, Ph.D. is founder and
CEO of Cognetics Corporation, a company
that, since 1982, has created award-winning
interactive designs. Charlie has designed user
interfaces for such diverse products as auto-
mated teller machines, medical software, and
knowledge systems as well as served on the
national boards of the Usability Professionals
Association and the Society for Information
Management.
10 SECONDS
THE
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Continued from page 13
web
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 15
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TOP50
Website Magazine’s
Ranking of Domain Registrars
rankings
There’s been a lot of movement in the world of domains
over the past few months. Thirty-three million new
domain names were registered in 2007 according to
VeriSign’s March 2008 Domain Name Industry Brief. This
brings the number of top-level domain names (TLDs:
.com, .net and .org) to 153 million worldwide — a 27%
increase over Q4 2007.
Along with this growth has come a virtual explosion
of services to help professional domainers maximize their
portfolios. February saw the official launch of Fusu, the
world’s first domain stock exchange. The online service
uses the concept of a traditional stock exchange and
applies it to the Domain Names industry by providing a
trading platform for owners, shareholders and investors.
It’s not all rainbows and unicorns in the domain business
though. The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse
released a study on drop catching — when expired
domains are released into the pool of available names and
are instantly re-registered by another party. Historically,
drop-catching is the first step to more serious abuses such
as domain tasting, domain kiting and typo-squatting.
But one thing hasn’t changed. In the competitive
world of the Web, you need a domain and a good one at
that. That’s why Website Magazine is proud to present its
Third Annual Ranking of Domain Registrars, featuring 50
of the top providers online. While you may or may not see
the registrar that you used to purchase or manage your
domain, keep in mind that the following is a sample of
one portion of the Web’s traffic and does not represent
how successful, ethical or economical one solution is
compared to another.
Research for this report comes courtesy of
Ranking.com, the Web’s largest provider of website popu-
larity metrics and detailed website information for more
than one million online destinations. To suggest a Top50
category for consideration in upcoming issues of Website
Magazine, please visit our online forum or send an email
to Top50@WebsiteMagazine.com.
Buying and Selling Domains on eBay: These registrars
and resources may be the 50 most active, but many Web
professionals are turning to eBay to buy and sell domains.
Website Magazine’s digital edition features the first in a
three part series on Buying and Selling Domains the eBay
Way. Visit www.WebsiteMagazine.com to see this valuable
step-by-step guide outlining how any Web professional
can leverage the world’s largest auction marketplace for
domain profits.
For many Web professionals, forums are little more than places to
drop a few links and boost search engine rankings. As one that bases
his earning power on the legitimacy of forums, O’Keefe has a much
different, much more valuable perspective. So why have forums
remained an active venue on the Web?
“Social interaction is a big part of the Web,” says O’Keefe. “The
most common form of this is talking with another person or group
of people. This is what forums are. You can discuss the latest news, a
topic of interest or a hobby; you can organize a group behind some
sort of effort; you can receive help with a problem you are dealing
with or a difficult period in your life, and more. Forums are simply
people talking and interacting around a focus of some kind. It's hard
for me to see a time when people will not want to do that online.”
As beneficial as forums can be, there are also many challenges.
O’Keefe cites several which every forum and community administra-
tor should take to heart. “Some people don’t realize that you don't
just put a community online and then come back once a week. It
doesn’t have to be time consuming, but it's something best managed
if you pay it a little attention every day,
rather than trying to pay it a bunch of
attention on one day of the week. It can
be challenging to maintain your vision
and your goals as your forums grow. But,
having a good set of user guidelines that
are actively and fairly enforced goes a
long way to ensuring that you do so.”
With 21 forums in the iFroggy net-
work, O’Keefe has learned quite a few
valuable lessons that he’s sharing in his
new book “Managing Online Forums,” a
comprehensive and thoughtful look at
creating new stand-alone communities
and taking over existing ones. What’s
the most valuable lesson O’Keefe has
learned? “There are so many things you
pick up through experience. But I think
one of my favorites is to worry about
yourself, not so much what everyone else
is doing. It’s fine to recognize competi-
tors, learn from them and want to be bet-
ter than them, but if you get too wrapped
up in what someone else is doing, you
can fail to focus on yourself and you can
lose valuable time that you should be
using to improve. Steve Jobs said some-
thing that I think covers it well. He said,
‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it liv-
ing someone else’s life.’”
Who’s Who:
Patrick O’Keefe, iFroggy Networks
webprofile
16 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Almost every Web user has been on a forum at some point during
their Internet experience. They cover every conceivable topic, from
Photoshop to Karate and everything in between. Some are thriving
communities in which to interact with others, get advice and net-
work your way to success.
Forums can also be an excellent way to add value to your website
and build a community around your brand. The challenge for those
administrating these bustling Web environs is that much like real life,
users often need to be led (sometimes kicking and screaming), and
difficult users (and spammers) need to be dealt with quickly and sen-
sitively. Toss in legal restraints and technology exploits and the sheer
thrill of building something of value can quickly dissipate.
With the right guidance however, operating a forum can be much
more than a hobby; it can become an outright passion and even a full-
time career. One such forum master is Patrick O’Keefe, owner of the
iFroggy Network, an Internet network featuring content, communi-
ty and e-commerce sites covering various interests in what other
than…forums.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 17
Developing good content as a means of baiting others to link to your website is a proven way to
generate quality inbound links. And other viable means still exist — mainstream media relations,
affiliate programs and even distributed widgets. But the older and time-tested method of simply
requesting a link directly from another website is still in use and, when done well, remains a viable
option.
It’s easy to dismiss many link requests as spam, and rightly so. Unfortunately many less-than-
honorable website owners will send huge email blasts in the hopes of gaining a few links, even if
they are completely unrelated to the website. But many times a closer look through your inbox is
warranted. There are plenty of professionals out there making a concerted effort to gain and trade
valuable links — and you should too.
Link Request
Anatomy of a
Dante A. Monteverde
is a Search Strategist
specializing in Search
Engine Optimization. He
founded SpiderBait.com
in 1996 and has over 10
years of SEO experience.
SEO
Corner
With Dante A. Monteverde
Do Your Homework
The days of sending thousands of direct link requests
all at once in the hopes of generating a few incoming
links are over. Even if some websites do end up plac-
ing your link, the probability of sending traffic on its
own is often low and the value passed is even lower.
To ensure you get quality inbound links, you need to
get the right links.
The first and perhaps most important steps are
investigating the audience and traffic depth of the
sites from which you would like a link. Take advan-
tage of resources such as Quantcast, Compete, Alexa
and Ranking.com to determine those websites’
standalone strength, and therefore their ability to
drive visitors to your website. If they stand on their
own as a valuable asset to your promotional cam-
paign, pursue them for your SEO needs.
Check to see if the site is diluted with dozens or
hundreds of outgoing links. This will reduce the
value of the incoming link, especially if the site’s out-
going links are unrelated to its own content.
Finally, is the site using “Nofollow” tags on their
outgoing links? If so, you might get some traffic but
the link itself won’t hold any value with the search
engines or your SEO efforts.
Personalize Your Request
If your link strategy has been trying to attract hun-
dreds or thousands of loosely-related incoming
links, then it's time to shift to targeting high quality
links related to your website and its content. Those
carry the potential to more positively impact your
SEO efforts. As you might have guessed, the high
quality links are the hardest to obtain. An authorita-
tive site will get a slew of link requests every day —
so it is important that your link request stand out
from the rest.
Thorough research helps determine who might
actually be in charge of SEO and link building. Use
resources such as LinkedIn to get prospects’ names
and email addresses, even their phone numbers. Once
you start building relationships within your chosen
networks, you can begin the process of requesting
links from them. When you have those connections,
don’t be afraid to use them. However, never engage
another without being prepared with the many rea-
sons why someone should link to your website. Be
clear that you are not selling them anything but
adding value to both of your websites and therefore
increasing traffic and hopefully conversions.
If you have made some deep connections,
remember that a personal touch still goes a long way.
One phone call or meeting could lead to long-lasting
partnerships and business opportunities between the
two website owners.
Link Building is a Long-Term
Commitment
By targeting the right websites, properly researching
and personalizing your link requests — with the end
goal of deeper business relationships — your success
rate will justify the amount of time and effort required
for a successful link campaign. In the end, personal-
ization and persistence are the key.
Finally, link requests are just one phase of your
link building strategy. It takes time, but think of it as
an ongoing project and a larger part of your overall
website promotion strategy. It should not replace but
rather augment your other link building practices
such as directory submissions, writing compelling
content and participating in forums.
Rescuing your website from obscurity and vault-
ing to the first page of search results — and large
amounts of traffic — can be achieved with hard work
and a good strategy. While the link request is not dead,
it has most certainly changed. A good SEO will adapt
to these changes and get the quality links required to
continue to rank well.
Visit SpiderBait.com’s SEO Experts blog: www.spiderbait.com/seo-expert for more useful resources on a variety of search topics.
18 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Wire Services and an Online
Distribution
Wire services distribute press releases to tradi-
tional media outlets like newspapers, magazines,
radio stations and news agencies like Reuters
and the Associated Press. If your main objective
is to target journalists, then use a traditional wire
service.
The other option is online distribution —
targeted to journalists or bloggers who sign up to
receive emails from a particular industry, catego-
ry or sub-category. Popular news aggregator
websites like Google News and Yahoo News are
also targeted. Additionally, many bloggers sub-
scribe to distribution and news feeds. Chances
are one press release from a good online distribu-
tion service will get you multiple listings spread
across Google News, Search and Blogsearch. For
the widest reach, consider both wire services
and online.
The difference in distribution methods can be
summed up as push vs. pull. Wire services push
press releases to media outlets, while consumers
pull information from online services like PRWeb
through email alerts and RSS feeds.
Press Release Basics
Most wire distribution services charge by blocks
of 375 or 400 words. That includes title, a brief
summary, body of the release and contact infor-
mation. If the release is more than the word limit,
you will be charged extra per 100 words. Images,
video, documents or podcasts are also charged
extra. But many online PR distribution sites do
not have the typical 400 words limit. Image and
document attachment is also commonly provid-
ed with the basic service.
Before turning loose your press release, decide
where you will make the most impact. Wire dis-
tribution services classify a press release into:
1) National Release: Targets all national media
outlets for a particular industry like Automotive,
Consumer, Sports, Technology or Travel.
2) Regional Release: The four main regions are
Northeast (includes New York and New Jersey),
Southeast (includes Florida and Virginia),
Midwest (includes Illinois and Ohio) and
West/Southwest (includes California and Texas).
3) State and Local Release: New York State and
New York Metro can be two different options. In
general, New York-related distribution is expen-
sive, because of the high number of media outlets
in the region.
4) International Release: Again, there are many
classifications and sub-classifications of an
international release based on countries and/or
continents.
Apart from the above categories, some wire
services also target Hispanic, African-American
and North American Chinese media outlets.
Top 5 reasons to write a Press Release
1) Organic Traffic: With their Universal Search protocol, Google has started
showing press releases in organic search results. If your press release is
well-optimized, it can rank for two to three days in Google organic results. The
press release can also get traffic from Google News and other news aggregator
websites.
2) Link Building: You can use your important keywords as anchor text and link
them to relevant pages on your website. When the press release is distributed
these links will be picked up by distribution partners. Links from many of these
sites will not be counted, but some of them will.
3) Reputation Management: If someone has criticized your company, one sure
way to get the criticism off the first page of Google Blog Search or Google search
results is to issue multiple press releases. Of course, if you want to do a profes-
sional job, then you need to get external links to your press releases and bookmark
and tag these releases.
4) Bloggers and Web 2.0 Audience: Many bloggers subscribe to online press
release distribution services like PRWeb. If your press release interests them, they
might blog about it and give a link to your press release or your website. If you
consistently reach out to this audience, you can get significant links, traffic and
sales from them.
5) Traffic from Traditional Media: If your press release interests journalists, they
will follow up with you and write a story about your business. This will most
certainly lead to a short term boost in your website traffic and sales.
Effective Press Releases
and Distribution Channels
It is widely believed that the first press release was issued over 100 years ago by Ivy Lee
on behalf of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which had just suffered a tragic accident. The
press release was issued to prevent alternate versions of the accident from being spread
among the press. And, 100 years later the intent of a press release hasn’t changed. It
remains a valuable resource in any marketer’s tool kit. But its importance in the
Internet age and the world of search engine optimization has never been greater.
By Milind Mody
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 19
Distribution Services
PR Newswire:
PR Newswire is the biggest name in press release distribution service. It is also the
most expensive. A 400-word national release can cost $680 and $185 for additional
100 words. A 400-word release with a photo will cost $1,325. Regional distribution
will cost less. The national release includes SEO, but for other distribution options,
add $255. If you don’t want a national release, search for PR Newswire partners
like WebWire, which offers a 15 percent discount.
Business Wire:
Business Wire was taken over by Warren Buffet’s Hathaway Berkshire last year. In
general, Business Wire costs 8-10 percent less than PR Newswire. Business Wire
has partnered with Vocus/PRWeb which powers their Enhanced Online News Text
optimization tool. Through PRWeb, Business Wire can produce SEO-friendly press
releases while PRWeb can now provide traditional wire service to their clients.
Marketwire:
A 400-word national release on Marketwire costs $460 with $150 extra for addition-
al 100 words, less for regional and state/local distribution. Additional photos cost
$50, SEO enhancement costs $75 and audio/video links cost $75 each. Customer
service is good, making Marketwire is a nice option if you are price conscious.
PRWeb:
PRWeb is not a wire service, but an email-based service. Journalists or bloggers
who signup with PRWeb receive a daily email from PRWeb based on their prefer-
ences. The release is also distributed to other websites that subscribe to PRWeb
feeds. The basic service at PRWeb starts at $80 per release. Their SEO visibility
service starts at $200 and there is a podcast interview option for $100, where one of
PRWeb’s staff will conduct a four to five minute interview with you. This is a great
option for business owners who want their press releases to stand out but don’t
have time or energy to produce their own podcast.
Free Distribution:
Apart from these main services, there are some free online distribution services
like openPR.com and PRLog.org. These websites are regularly crawled by Google
News. But a word of caution: These free sites make money by displaying Google
AdSense ads alongside your press release. It’s entirely possible that your competi-
tor’s ads are shown alongside your press release!
Keep in mind that you should draft and submit
your press release two days in advance, because
most wire services will call for a verbal confirma-
tion before distributing.
With online services you can specify 5-10
industries to target. By default, the region is set to
global but if your release applies to a specific city
or region, you need to choose the appropriate set-
ting. Any journalists or bloggers who have sub-
scribed to releases for that region will then receive
your release.
Now that you have decided what type of dis-
tribution service you will use and where you will
target your audience, it’s time for the most impor-
tant part — creating effective, compelling press
releases.
Seven Tips for Writing a Press Release
1) Unique Value Proposition: Instead of writing
a press release for simply the launch of your prod-
uct or service, create a press release around your
unique value proposition. This should include
those special attributes making your service better
than the competition.
2) Avoid Hyperbole: Keep your language natural
and tone conversational. Nothing is more count-
er-productive than a jargon-filled sales pitch.
Report facts.
3) Optimize your Press Release for Search:
Include your most important keywords in the
press release title and first paragraph, but not at
the cost of important information. Hyperlink
important pages with suitable keywords as anchor
text.
4) Create an Online Press Room: Because only
limited information can be included in a press
release, it’s a good idea to create an “Online Press
Room” on your website. It should list your media
contact with an email address and direct phone
number, contain a high-resolution logo of your
company in various formats (JPEG, PSD, CDR)
and high-resolution photos of key people in your
organization. Point links to important products,
case studies, client comments, press releases and
media coverage. Provide a link to this page on all
press releases.
5) Create Google and Yahoo Alerts: Create
Google and Yahoo alerts with your company or
individual name. This will help you see which
websites are covering your press releases.
6) Decide your objective: If the primary objec-
tive of your press release is online reputation man-
agement, then you might want to go for a service
like PRWeb. However, if you think there is an
angle in your press release which can appeal to
journalists, use a wire service that also has SEO
options.
7) Use Stock Tickers: If your company is not
publicly listed, but associated with a listed compa-
ny (i.e. if the listed company is your client) you
can ask their permission to include their stock
ticker in your press release. This will help you get
visibility across all journalists who will be search-
ing for the listed company.
Press releases can be extremely valuable for
both short- and long-term purposes. If you are
not yet convinced or feel that you need some
practice, start with a free service, then move on to
professional service. However, a single press
release will not give you much exposure. Try to
write at least six press releases a year that will
cover your unique value proposition, good cus-
tomer experience, and awards and recognitions.
Milind Mody is founder CEO of SEO firm eBrandz
Inc. Part of eBrandz’s service performs search
marketing for a division of United Business Media,
parent company of PR Newswire.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 23
Landing page optimization and testing are com-
plex activities that require knowledge of many
fields — usability, copywriting, math and Web
design are a few. But at its core, we are still try-
ing to influence the behavior of people, and
human nature does not change.
In 1898, Elias St. Elmo Lewis pioneered a
framework for describing stages of consumer
interest and behavior. In effect, he created the
modern concept of the sales funnel. All people
were thought to progress through four stages
covered by the acronym AIDA.
Awareness — Someone realizes that some
number of possible actions is available to them
Interest — They actively self-select and show a
preference for a particular course of action
Desire — Their enthusiasm grows as they
investigate the course of action
Action— They are moved to act and reap the
benefits of the course of action
The key to properly applying this model to
landing pages is to ensure continuity and ease of
flow through each of the steps. All four steps
must be completed in order and none of them
can be skipped. That is not to suggest equal
emphasis should be placed on each within your
landing page, nor that visitors will spend an
equal amount of time in each step. But there
should be a clear path and proper support to
keep them moving forward toward your conver-
sion goal.
In his book Submit Now: Designing Persuasive
Web Sites (New Riders Press, 2002), Andrew
Chak closely follows the AIDA model and
applies it specifically to website visitors. He cor-
rectly suggests that the website or landing page
should be designed for four main types
of users corresponding to the mind-set of
each stage:
Browsers: May not know exactly what they
want, but have an unmet need
Evaluators: Know enough to compare the
available options and are looking for detailed
supporting information
Transactors: Have made a buying decision
and need to quickly go through the mechanics
of the actual transaction
Customers: Have completed their transac-
tion and need to sustain their satisfaction level
until their next transaction
It is also helpful to realize that AIDA applies
to different scales of tasks and different time
frames. If I am a consumer researching a new
computer, I might take days or weeks to make
a decision. And over the course of that process,
my interaction with your website may be only
one of dozens. I may have long ago forgotten
about your website by the time I make my ulti-
mate decision — depending on when I visited,
the intervening research that I have conducted,
and the uniqueness of your company and its
selling proposition.
At the other extreme, the Web supports
small-scale and short-duration micro-tasks.
Sometimes a desired conversion — or, a user’s
task — is to simply click through to another
page on your site. Yet the same four steps must
still happen during the visit for the conversion
action to occur.
Ultimately, you must answer two questions
for a visitor to pass through all of the AIDA
stages.
• Do you have what I want?
• Why should I get it from you?
This process may not happen during a sin-
gle visit or interaction. The ultimate goal may
be weeks or months away. But you must pro-
vide a clear path to that goal. If your conversion
action typically has a long delay, try to provide
mechanisms to record your visitors’ progress,
and restart them in the most recent and relevant
state upon their subsequent visits to your land-
ing page.
The typical time spent in the Awareness
and Interest stages on the Web is very short.
Most of the question “Do you have what I
want?” is answered during the Desire stage.
However, without attention and interest,
Desire does not happen. Similarly, although the
bulk of “Why should I get it from you?” is
answered during the Action stage, it cannot be
reached without passing through the other
three stages in order.
Taking some time to consider AIDA and
how it relates to your unique selling proposi-
tion, along with some creative landing page
optimization will provide a solid framework to
creating effective pages. When you facilitate
known consumer behaviors, chances are good
you will have success converting visitors into
customers.
Conversion Cache:
With Tim Ash
Landing Pages
and the Decision Making Process
Tim Ash is the President of
SiteTuners.com, a performance-based
landing page optimization and testing
company that specializes in large-
scale tests with its non-parametric
TuningEngine
SM
technology. He is the
author of Landing Page Optimization:
The Definitive Guide to Testing and
Tuning for Conversions
(LandingPageOptimizationBook.com).
Tim can be reached at
Tim@SiteTuners.com.

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26 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Cover Story
When was the last time you turned off your mobile phone? Do you
feel vulnerable when you leave the house without it? Have you
ever used your mobile screen as a flashlight to find something in
a dark room?
If I were to ask, who is the largest manufacturer of digital cam-
eras, would you say Canon? How about the largest manufacturer
of music devices? Apple? The answer to both questions is Nokia.
The point is the mobile phone has become as essential to our
daily lives as getting dressed in the morning. Our mobile devices
are with us at all times and rarely out of reach. For
many, the thought of losing a mobile device
instills a level of panic greater than losing
a credit card or an entire wallet or purse.
A February article by Joel Garreau in
The Washington Post cites this statistic:
“From essentially zero, we’ve passed a
watershed of more than 3.3 billion
active cell phones on a planet of some
6.6 billion humans in about 26 years.
This is the fastest global diffusion
of any technology in human
history — faster even than the
polio vaccine. ”
Mobile Web
By Mike Phillips, Senior Editor
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 27
Mobile Web Usage
The single most popular application to date for mobile devices is SMS
text messaging — over six billion were sent in the U.K. alone in
December of 2007, according to the Mobile Data Association. That’s
more than 193 million per day. In February, research firm Research And
Markets predicted over two trillion will be sent worldwide in 2008.
But there are plenty of other, more advanced applications for the
mobile Web, ranging from the quirky to the practical. Vodafone’s Otello
is a search engine that works by sending a photo taken with your mobile
device, then receiving relevant information regarding the image that was
sent. GeoPedia uses an iPhone’s positional data to find your approximate
location and then sends Wikipedia articles about points of interest
around you at that moment. GyPSii uses GPS, user-generated content,
social networking capabilities, photo and video sharing and geo-tagging
to instantly connect and track people all over the world. Twitter has
already seen wild success in the mobile space by answering the question
“What are you doing?” It’s essentially a way for people to follow each
other’s daily or even hourly activities through a network of friends. Some
swear it’s a great networking and marketing tool, while others see it as
an enormous waste of time.
Clearly the mobile Web is growing into an everyday utility. But is it
a viable business opportunity?
Google seems to think so. They have set aside $10 million for a con-
test for outside developers to create mobile applications. And Google is
hardly alone. In February, AOL announced plans for a mobile develop-
ment platform using an SML-based markup language with the intent
to run on any mobile device. Even traditional media are getting in
the game. Hearst Publishing (Cosmopolitan, Esquire, O., et al.)
joined Nokia’s ad network, essentially giving advertisers access to
more than 100 million subscribers. Research firm Gartner pre-
dicts that worldwide mobile advertising revenue will balloon
from $1 billion in 2007 to $11 billion in 2011.
But there are some serious questions surrounding the via-
bility of the mobile Web. And the biggest of all is, when? It seems
that every year is proclaimed as the year of the mobile Web. But it
has yet to happen. Slow (if any) connections, lagging load times, tiny
screens, unrealistic business models and most of all, lack of user inter-
est have plagued the industry from day one.
HOPE or HYPE?
Cover Story
28 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Mobile Expectations
What are Web professionals to do? That depends on what users are
prepared to do. Is it realistic to expect consumers to make purchas-
es or transfer money through a mobile device? Security remains a
top concern among mobile users. Something about sending impor-
tant, personal data over a wireless connection through something as
easily misplaced as a telephone doesn’t sit right with many con-
sumers.
Also not to be overlooked is the personal connection between
users and their mobile phones. People have come to embrace the
mobile device as an extension to their everyday lives. It’s no surprise
that surveys consistently show users don’t take kindly to advertise-
ments invading their mobile space. This has made many advertisers
wary of entering this uncharted territory.
For Web professionals, the mobile Web presents some chal-
lenges, along with serious potential. It has become more critical
than ever to have your company and website listed prominently in
local directories – where one of the top utilities for mobile Web
surfers is searching for local businesses, directions, hours of opera-
tion and telephone numbers. Included in many of these searches is
critical information about your business. With Google Local, for
example, users can read reviews and leave comments, in addition to
getting directions and telephone numbers, all from Google Maps. In
the same way, it’s important for your website to rank highly in search
engines — perhaps even using paid mobile advertising to draw traf-
fic. The reason is that the third screen is still small for most mobile
users, meaning a limited number of results will show on the first
page. And mobile users rarely go beyond the first page of results.
Emerging technologies present some other interesting opportu-
nities. 2D bar codes allow a company to print a UPC-like image on
virtually any surface — a poster or magazine page, for example. In
response to some enticement, users
snap a photo of the bar code with their
mobile device, send the photo to your
website where it is decoded and the
appropriate information is sent back
to the user. The idea is to engage users
into a “pull” initiative, where people
are drawn to request more informa-
tion, rather than having it forced upon
them — a very useful tactic for a per-
sonal device.
So is the mobile Web finally upon
us? And will it become the next great
business avenue? There are plenty of
arguments for and against it. Read on
to explore a few of them.
Evolving Devices and 3G
These days, just about every mobile device can connect to the Web, but
speed and overall usability vary widely. Third generation (3G) technolo-
gy aims to up the usability factor for all mobile devices — promising
faster connections and the ability to transfer large amounts of data in
order to bring the mobile experience closer to browsing by PC.
According to a January report from Forrester Research, three in five
mobile users will have signed up to 3G by the end of 2010. The same
report found that the UK and Italy will lead the way with 3G penetra-
tion rates of 68 percent and 72 percent, respectively.
Along with 3G technology we’re seeing major advancements in
mobile devices and therefore, usage of the mobile Web. Of course, no
discussion about mobile devices and the Web is complete without men-
tion of the iPhone. Love it or hate it, the iPhone has changed the game
— both in mobile Web usage and the standard by which all future
mobile devices will be measured. In March 2008, M:Metrics, a leader
in mobile media measurement released the findings of a survey show-
ing a staggering 85 percent of iPhone users regularly access content on
the Web, compared to 58 percent of smartphone users and just 13 per-
cent of overall mobile phone users. The same study found 59 percent of
iPhone users visited a search engine, compared with 37 percent of
smartphone users and a miniscule 6 percent of overall mobile phone
users. This corroborates information Google released in February that
saw on average 50 times more search requests coming from Apple
iPhones than any other mobile handset.
These numbers and the fact that the iPhone has quickly become one
of the top-selling mobile devices in under a year of circulation suggest
that consumers are ready to start connecting to the mobile Web. All
they need are a proper connection and the right equipment.
Manufacturers are now scrambling to release iPhone competitors, and
some are already finding success. A joint effort by Sprint and Samsung
has resulted in Instinct, a new device that recently won Best in Show in
the Emerging Technology Award competition at CTIA Wireless 2008 in
Las Vegas. Instinct has many of the same features as the iPhone and
even a 2.0 megapixel camera. In the meantime, Apple is set to release
the second generation of the iPhone this summer, which promises
greater capability, memory and a high price tag — inevitably one of the
factors keeping new devices from expanding usage of the mobile Web
even farther.
Hope factor:
Google Maps for Mobile
Google Maps for Mobile shows some of the best the mobile
Web has to offer, and also some problems. Read a full
review in Website Magazine’s Consumer Corner,
www.websitemagazine.com/consumer.
A 2D barcode used by
mobile Web surfers to
retrieve information on a
given product or promotion.
Mobile Tip: Design
Graphics and advertisements slow down load time
and force users to navigate a page before seeing use-
ful content. Mimic the colors and select key elements
of your normal website, but strip graphics and
complex navigation. More clicks may mean more ad
impressions, but at the cost of the user experience.
Remember, you're dealing with an audience that has
limited time, patience and bandwidth.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 29
Limited Devices and Slow Development
Third generation, fourth generation, fifth generation — technology is never going to stop evolving, so it might end up that the devices that we carry
everywhere with us will end in their current manifestation as we know and understand them – mostly used for simple communication and the
occasional weather forecast. What users do with their mobile devices should not surprise anyone, and it hasn’t changed much in the past several years.
A 2007 M:Metrics study of overall mobile phone users found that while 73 percent sent text messages, only 7 percent had browsed news
and information on the Web.
The strongest argument for the mobile Web has not changed: when the owners of the world’s mobile phones get online their numbers will vast-
ly outweigh the number of mobile PCs accessing the Internet; therefore, the market will tilt in the direction of mobile. The problem is that these users
have not yet connected to the Internet in big numbers and, for those who do it's only on occasion and for very specific reasons and very limited
amounts of time. For example, in the past week, how many times have you searched Yahoo on your mobile? Compare that with how many times in
the past week you searched Yahoo from your PC. Take into account proxy data charges and slow speeds today and you start to see the clear picture
of why genuine adoption has been so slow. Users have not yet become accustomed to using their devices to their current but
limited potential. Even when they do, the overall experience leaves much to be desired – both from the connections and the limited capabilities
of the overwhelming majority of devices in circulation.
Smartphones are a reality and the advent of the iPhone did open up new possibilities and show consumers the potential of the mobile Web. But
technology keeps us continually moving forward and you can bet that there will be casualties. The openness of Android will take years to be real-
ized and the same goes for the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK). Developers are only starting to build applications that will bring the mobile
Web to fruition. Let's just hope that happens before another device comes out that changes how we think about the mobile Web ... again.
Hype Factor:
Mobile Markets and Sheer Numbers
Numbers can be deceiving, but sometimes hard to ignore. When it comes to mobile statistics, some
of the data are simply astonishing.
According to Gartner Research, mobile phone sales topped 1.15 billion units in 2007, contribut-
ing to a total of 3.3 billion handsets worldwide – or half of the world’s population. Of course, a frac-
tion of those are suitable for mobile Web use. However, if iPhone sales are any indication of mobile
Web adoption, the stage is set for a virtual revolution. Over 4 million iPhones were sold within the
first six months of production, 2.3 million of which sold in the last quarter of 2007 alone.
As the Web is truly a global presence, it is important to look at mobile adoption as a whole.
India is the fastest growing mobile market and has claimed second place next to China as the
world’s most mobile nation. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), more
than 8 million subscribers were added in October 2007, bringing the total to more than 250 million
— and that number is expected to double by 2011.
Of course the mobile Web doesn’t exist without proper coverage. Increasingly, networks are
providing coverage at major community hubs (yes, Starbucks included) and some U.S. cities are
still attempting to provide free WiFi access across the board. Many mobile carriers have started to
introduce flat-rate mobile packages, including unlimited data transfer essential to widespread mobile
Web browsing. The Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) is the current, and
for some the only method of connecting to the mobile Web and has a reported coverage of around 80
percent. According to the GSM Association, mobile penetration is expected to reach 90 percent by
2010.
Developing countries present an interesting dynamic. Reaching these populations presents a chal-
lenge for marketers and advertisers, even though they represent some of the fastest growing markets.
While many of these regions may lack the technology (or resources) available to much of the mobile
world, they also represent one of the most captive audiences. Many developing nations’ residents
don’t have access to a PC, leaving the mobile device as their only way to connect to the Internet. Such
is the case for MyGamma, a social network run by BuzzCity. Based in high-tech Singapore, they draw
most of their 2.5 million users from developing nations in Asia and Africa.
In the end, the mobile space is seeing unprecedented growth and penetration. The numbers are
enough to catch anyone’s attention and the opportunity is simply too great for marketers, carriers,
manufacturers and developers — and yes, website professionals – to pass up.
Hope factor:
Who is using the mobile
Web and what sites are
they browsing?
The chart below shows five top genres of
mobile-accessed content and the top five
mobile search portals in the United States.
Total mobile subscribers: 226,000,000
Top browsed Genres:
Accessed Web Search: 14,800,775
Accessed Weather: 14,235,817
Accessed News: 13,581,158
Accessed Sports Information: 12,142,079
Accessed Entertainment News: 10,084,300
Search Brand Reach
Google: 9,329,940
Yahoo: 5,267,956
Current Mobile Network: 3,712,454
MSN/Windows Live Search: 1,509,919
AOL Mobile: 844,864
Data courtesy of M:Metrics, and averaged over
a three-month period ending in February 2008.
30 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Cover Story
Mobile Applications
If there’s a current battleground for the mobile Web, the arena is in the applications.
Developers are rolling out new applications as fast as they can generate ideas. Everything from
mobile social networking and GPS-enabled services to music downloading, mobile games and
video streaming are vying for users’ attention.
However, it seems that some of the most widely adopted mobile applications are the sim-
ple ones. Several manufacturers including Blackberry, Nokia and Apple have the ability to place
a Google search box directly on a user’s home screen, negating the need to open a browser,
navigate to Google, then enter a search query. Some of the most visited sites on the mobile
Web are quick hits — like CNN.com for news headlines, ESPN.com for sports scores or
Accuweather.com for weather updates.
Yahoo jumped head-first into the mobile fray, forming several strategic partnerships with
carriers and recently superpages.com, while working hard to make a strong first impression
with the mobile audience. "Just like they were a Web 1.0 leader, now they're a mobile 1.0
leader," says Canaccord Adams analyst Colin Gillis.
Perhaps one of Yahoo’s most promising applications is voice-enabled search and com-
mands with OneSearch 2.0. A recent demo at CTIA Las Vegas showed a voice command of
“British Airways 287” returning arrival times, “March Madness” retrieved college basketball
scores and “3600 Las Vegas Boulevard” led to a street map and driving directions. That’s the
kind of usability perfectly fit for a mobile device. Nokia has already committed to offering the
Yahoo service on its Series 60 phones.
The biggest hurdle of mobile apps is the disconnect among devices, carriers and develop-
ers. Some apps work on some devices and not others, while other apps don’t work at all or
have no foreseeable business model. Most applications take some level of tech literacy to even
implement on a mobile phone, disqualifying an enormous segment of the population.
Google is attempting to resolve the issue through Android and the accompanying Open
Handset Alliance. These efforts hope to stabilize the mobile application marketplace by setting
standards that will allow apps to work on any device and with any carrier. However, until that
day, the mobile application space remains highly fragmented and limited in reach.
Hope factor:
The Current Mobile Web is Not the Future
One cannot argue against the pervasion of mobile devices and technology into all corners of the world. It’s theoretically true that a farmer in rural
Bangladesh is able to access the mobile Web in the same way as a teenager in Tokyo. However, the mobile Web represents two very different things
for its respective users.
While the teenager might be watching video, snapping photos of 2D bar codes or downloading a new hit song, the farmer might just as likely be
simply checking the week’s weather, reading email or looking for the day’s closing numbers on rice futures.
One of the dangers this presents is a mobile digital divide. Those with the resources to obtain the latest devices and the data packages needed
to run them will see a version of the mobile Web consisting of advanced functionality – streaming video, social networking, e-commerce functional-
ity, etc. It’s less likely that a rice farmer will purchase merchandise from Amazon.com or order theatre tickets from his phone. Therefore, marketers
and investment dollars will funnel to early adopters and high-end consumers, leaving a neglected and archaic mobile Web to the rest.
Adding to the problem are the devices themselves. The iPhone has shown that the familiar PC-based browsing experience can translate to a
device without the need for specialized pages and websites. And what we’ve seen is only the beginning. As devices improve, the need for a sepa-
rate, mobile Web begins to disintegrate. That’s significant, as the millions of dollars currently pouring in for mobile applications and websites will one
day no longer be necessary.
While the lucky owners of advanced devices will be accessing a ubiquitous Internet, those without the latest technology will likely see special-
ized mobile pages and services slowly disappear, increasing the divide. Developers will certainly create applications better suited to developing
nations and their users, but that runs the risk of creating an entirely separate mobile Web and mobile economy, making trade and commerce difficult
between the two mediums. In short, the current iteration and projected omnipresence of one mobile Web and its applications are not sustainable.
Hype Factor:
Love it or hate it, the iPhone has
changed the game — both in
mobile Web usage and the standard
by which all future mobile devices
will be measured.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 31
E-Commerce and Wary Consumers
Perhaps the greatest challenge to total mobile Web domination is e-com-
merce. Moving from an environment which acts as a communication tool
and forcing that same device to become a transactional tool has been chal-
lenging to say the least. As Web media companies such as Yahoo and
Google and large e-commerce vendors pour millions into the mobile Web,
consumers remain leery of buying products or services through a mobile
device.
Those who have genuinely tried to purchase products through their mobile
devices often become frustrated with the entire process, including page after
page of confirmations and user ID and password entries. When a motivated
shopper finds she has to type in 16-digit credit card numbers, expiration dates
and CVV numbers, she may just walk away from a loaded shopping cart. In
many cases, she might have avoided the aggravation with a five-minute phone
call or a drive to a local retailer using directions provided, ironically, through
her mobile device.
Surpassing logistical difficulties, the top barriers to mobile e-commerce
consistently cited by consumers are privacy and security. Wireless Transport
Layer Security (WTLS) actually offers more encryption than traditional trans-
actions, but it is and will continue to be challenging to convince users of this
fact. In a study released by Gartner in February, polling 2,000 U.S. and U.K.
consumers, U.S. consumers were twice as likely to check for prices on a
mobile device (24 percent) than to actually purchase something (12 percent.)
Numbers were similar in the U.K.: 18 percent check prices and just 11 per-
cent buy. Those numbers don’t bode well for mobile e-commerce in 2008 or
even 2009.
Promotional challenges for businesses persist as well. Coupons have
been presented as one possible solution. Leveraged by Bluetooth proximity
services and even SMS, a business could deliver a coupon to a consumer
just as they enter a certain proximity. For example, the message could be,
“bring this message to Dave’s Deli in the next 30 minutes and receive a free
drink with purchase of a sandwich.” But success could lead to big problems,
of course, if consumers find their mobile devices overloaded with offers and
consider mobile coupons an invasion of privacy. In addition, savvy users
might find holes in these promotional opportunities and begin faking their
way to significant, undocumented discounts.
The best-case scenario is a happy medium where consumers are gently
coaxed into action while businesses effectively promote their services. Of
course, there is a worst-case scenario. As many mobile promotional offers
and coupons are stripped of images and identifiable branding, there are
plenty of opportunities for scams. One widespread mobile e-commerce scam
could do major damage to the entire industry.
Hype Factor:
What do the experts think about the
mobile Web and its potential?
We asked Laura Marriott, President of the Mobile Marketing
Association a few questions. The Mobile Marketing
Association (MMA) is a non-profit association dedicated to
stimulating the growth of mobile marketing and its associat-
ed technologies. The MMA is a global organization with
more than 500 members including agencies, advertisers,
manufacturers, retailers, developers and more, representing
over 40 countries.
WM: The mobile Web has been predicted to take off
for several years, but it has yet to happen. What is tak-
ing so long?
Marriott: The mobile Web is happening - and we are seeing
adoption rates climb faster in the last six months than ever
before. Faster data networks, better handsets and more com-
pelling services have certainly helped. However, I believe the
biggest change and driver for adoption has been the unlimited
flat-rate data plans that have been deployed by most carriers.
Consumers are no longer left wondering about the costs of
their data packages and can now spend one amount for
unlimited, anytime access.
WM: Is the mobile Web a real opportunity for small
businesses? What can they do to prepare in 2008?
Marriott: Yes, absolutely. The new consumer is always on,
always on the go. Mobile Web allows the small retailer to con-
tact and engage with the consumer wherever and whenever
they are. Small businesses should, at the very least, establish a
very basic mobile Web presence that includes mobilizing their
existing site, or creating a new mobile presence. Costs are
reasonable and providers like Crisp Wireless, Volantis and
Quattro Wireless are offering these services to companies of
all sizes.
WM: What are the major hurdles to widespread
mobile Web adoption?
Marriott: Perhaps the largest hurdle is consumer education
and consumer awareness of the more advanced data function-
ality on their device(s). One method to address this is to pro-
vide greater access to more compelling content and services,
hence driving more consumer interactions and interest.
WM: Has your position on the mobile Web changed
in the last few years?
Marriott: Yes. The WAP 1.0 experience was very text heavy
and fairly boring. Mobile Web pages were purely functional
and addressed a desire to communicate with simple informa-
tional services. Fast forward to today, and we have graphic-
rich, highly compelling services that beg consumer interaction
and engagement. Interactive and highly entertaining - these
new mobile Web applications are easy to navigate, easy to
understand and help to drive more engagement and longer
usage cycles than in years prior. So yes, I am absolutely a fan
today! Personally, I use the mobile Web at least once a day,
seven days a week (up from 1 time per month less than 3
years ago.)
Mobile Tip: Navigation
Mobile screens are small. When a user clicks on a link,
the content should be delivered immediately, at the top
of the page. Keep navigation at the bottom of the content,
or small navigation links at the top. Don’t force users to
scroll down to find the content they are looking for.
ZoomInfo offers a $99 annual membership to perform people search-
es for sales and marketing personnel building prospecting lists. ENTH
will charge businesses a premium to mash internal databases with
external public databases. As for PowerSet, it is still unclear how they
will monetize semantic search.
More on Semantics
ZoomInfo (ZoomInfo.com)
This search engine is very business focused, allowing us to drill down
on companies, people and jobs through Q&A-based searching. The
results are better organized business information for sales and market-
ing purposes. As an example, you can search “Technology + Arizona”
and get over 100 profiles of technology companies located in Arizona. A
link to each of their websites is just a part of the information provided.
Powerset (Powerset.com)
The Powerset service will launch in a few months. It is able to extract
meaning by reading documents like website pages, sentence by sen-
tence. So, if you’re interested in finding a list of swimsuit manufacturers,
Powerset would have already examined every website out there that
discusses swimsuits, bathing suits, bikinis, etc. It also has combined
those words with others like manufacturer, maker, designer, etc. So, the
result is a comprehensive list of swimsuit manufacturers. While Google
will return websites that list swimsuit manufacturers, the results are
intermingled with less meaningful results as well.
Semanticator (Semanticator.com)
ThougtLava’s Semanticator enables marketers to translate their
target markets or market segments into semantic personas which
can be detected moments before arrival. Each persona or profile
represents a combination of attributes like geographic location,
operating system, day of the week, search keywords, targeted websites
visited, etc. By detecting market segments before arrival, marketers
are able to introduce visitors matching a particular persona to their
products and services in a more meaningful way.
Twine (Twine.com)
This is a product of Radar Networks designed to help us discover our
world in ways that we’ll find interesting. As we organize and share
interests, we’ll discover new information within those interests and
people who are equally as passionate. As an example, I’m interested in
Arizona travel. So, I might post references to articles about places I’d
like to visit, like the Grand Canyon. Others on Twine may find me
because of my Grand Canyon post — and we may choose to connect
in order to share additional Arizona travel information directly. As my
relationships grow, I can immediately alert my Arizona travel group to
any new information I've found. As the library of content around
Arizona travel grows, newcomers will find it when searching.
John-Scott Dixon is the Founder of ThoughtLava. See a demonstration of
their patent-pending technology at www.Semanticator.com.
The Semantic Web
Continued from page 7
32 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Below are five important issues to
consider for every webmaster entering
into a design agreement:
Issues For Web Professionals
1 – The Payment Terms
Pay special attention to the payment terms. The services provided can
be limited, for example, to a number of hours or pages. The terms can
authorize the designer to perform additional work over and above the
contract price and bill you for it. Any extra work should be subject to
your approval only.
2 – Scope of the Assignment
Be certain that your agreement clearly and accurately states what you
expect from the designer. Consider specific references to the number
of pages, any special coding (flash etc), services that you expect to be
included and any promises that have been made by the designer.
3 – Completion Date
Define a clearly stated completion date. Watch out for complicated
terms that allow the designer to delay completion indefinitely.
4 – Final Approval
Make sure that before final payment is due that you have the oppor-
tunity for final approval of the website. Ideally, this approval should be
given throughout or in stages so that you remain involved with the
project. If the design or any component thereof does not meet your
approval, promptly notify the designer of your exact concerns. Be cer-
tain that there is no penalty to you or requirement to pay until the site
meets your approval and functions the way it is supposed to on your
selected hosting provider or server.
5 – Copyright
This can be a complicated issue. In general terms, you want to be cer-
tain that you own the completed site. Rights less than ownership
including a license to use the site are limited rights and may not allow
you to use the site or all of its components the way that you want and
could subject you to additional fees or costs. An unfair license agree-
ment could force you into an ongoing relationship with the designer.
Language such as “work for hire” can drastically change the nature of
the rights vested in either party. Seek legal advice when you are not
absolutely clear as to your specific situation.
Jeffrey Cohen is a Partner in the Law offices of
Chapman, Glucksman & Dean apc in Los Angeles,
California. He chairs the firm’s Internet & Technology
Practice Group and represents Internet companies
nationwide on all business law issues. He is also the
director of InternetLitigators. This article neither constitutes legal advice
nor creates an attorney client privilege with the reader. Mr. Cohen can be
reached at jcohen@InternetLitigators.com.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 33
This month InternetLitigators has been presented
with several issues involving website development
and design. We represent both designers and
webmasters regularly so our experience and
comments on this issue are intended to address both
sides of this deal.
While the examples here are presented from the
website owner's point of view, a good agreement
protects both parties.
Put it in Writing
This may seem obvious but we have been presented with many situa-
tions when work was done without a written agreement, or an agree-
ment existed but was never signed. The process of negotiating the
agreement is an excellent way to ensure that all parties involved
understand what is being promised.
Be sure that the agreement is signed by all parties. Keep a copy for
your reference in the event that you should ever need it during the
course of the project or at any time afterwards.
Read, Understand, Negotiate and THEN Sign
Typically, the designer provides the form of agreement for Web
design services, usually drafted by an attorney. As would be expect-
ed, when a designer hires an attorney to prepare such an agreement,
the terms will most likely favor the designer — sometimes strongly
and sometimes unfairly. An astonishingly high number of agree-
ments we have seen, particularly those that appear somewhat infor-
mal are filled with terms that should send a website owner running.
It is not uncommon — particularly for smaller projects — to have
people tell us that they simply didn’t read the agreement and instead
relied upon what they were told by the designer. This is a poor prac-
tice for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that
many design agreements contain a standard provision stating that any-
thing you have been told in negotiations by the designer is irrelevant
— that the written agreement terms are all that matters.
By way of illustration, we recently were provided with an agree-
ment filled with unfair (and in one instance unlawful) provisions. We
made significant changes for our webmaster client, making the agree-
ment fair and forcing the designer to take responsibility for his work.
We expected the designer to flatly refuse the new terms but, to our
surprise the designer signed the agreement including all of our
changes — it seemed as though he didn’t bother reading it!
The point is that when there is a term in an agreement that you do
not like, don’t be afraid to make a change. Remember that you are the
customer and the designer needs your business. If a sticking point
arises, be certain that you understand the explanation. If the explana-
tion does not make sense do not sign the agreement. If the designer
offers an explanation of the term, put it in the agreement or ask that
it be put in another writing.
Web Design Agreements
By Jeffrey Cohen
Learn more
Read a list of issues for
Web designers online at
www.websitemagazine.com.
34 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Audacity Software
Audacity reproduces recordings — ranging from voice memos to arias
and compressed business podcasts — making them ready for posting
online.
You can download, install and use Audacity without any associat-
ed costs or licensing problems. As is common with open-source soft-
ware, there exists a loose-knit community in cyberspace offering help
and adding improvements.
Audacity is an ideal utility for use in growing businesses with lim-
ited budgets, by moderately experienced techies who have no new
software phobias, and is particularly fun for people who are not afraid
to delete first efforts then try again.
Audacity Applications for a Website
Audacity allows you to create, compress and post a variety of online
audio podcasts to tell your organization’s story, explain how to use
products and services, describe how to find your place of business and
detail how to take advantage of special offers of the week or month.
Such product demonstrations, how-to podcasts and simple repair
advice audio can enrich a site immensely.
Interviews with happy clients, advance notice of new services,
offers of qualifying for free delivery and directions for how to place
orders can also act as positive shopping reinforcements for customers.
The podcasts may also be added to various pages and may feature dif-
ferent voices, in addition to your own.
Getting Started
Audacity records the podcast to an AUP file extension, and as long as
you stay in the AUP file extension format, you can continue to edit the
file you have created. When you are satisfied with the final product,
export the AUP file using the option under FILE. The LAME software
encodes it, and it becomes an MP3 compressed file. More on this later.
For now, the two download sites are:
1. Audacity 1.2.6: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
2. LAME MP3 encoder: http://lame.buanzo.com.ar/
The Audacity installation file is only 2.1MB, so the download
should be painless.
Step 1: Download Audacity and LAME MP3 Encoder
In your browser, navigate to http://audacity.sourceforge.net/. Click on
the “Download Audacity 1.2.6” link. After the new page loads, go to
the recommended download link and click “Audacity 1.2.6 installer.”
Choose SAVE FILE when the download window pops up.
Next, navigate to a location where you would like to save your
files. At this location, create a new folder in which you will store your
new file. Type in a name for your new folder— something like “POD-
CAST TEST”— and ENTER. Then, double-click the folder, give your
first test file a name and SAVE. After completing these steps, close any
open windows
To complete the download process, you must download the LAME
MP3 encoder. This file is linked from the Audacity Web page, so
return to the sourceforge site.
After navigating to http://audacity.sourceforge.net/,
click on the “Download Audacity 1.2.6” link. Go to
the “Optional Downloads” area and select
“LAME MP3 encoder.” On the new page,
choose to go to the “LAME Download Page”
under the Windows subheading.
Next, choose to download the file
libmp3lame-win-3.97.zip, and click OK to
save the file to disk. Store the file in the folder
that you created earlier, (where the Audacity
file is already stored) and SAVE. Finally, close any
open windows and prepare for the next step.
AUDACITY 101:
Free Podcast Production for Your Website
If you are the least bit intrepid you can add value to your website with a podcast in a matter of
minutes. The tools you need include free, open source Audacity software and a good headset
microphone costing less than $30. If you have these items, then you’re ready to go.
By Dr. Pat LeMay Burr and Joseph Kirby
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 35
Step 2: Install Audacity
Both software files are now downloaded, but neither is yet
installed. So, in this step, we will complete the Audacity installation.
Go to the location where you saved the file and double-click “audac-
ity-win-1.2.6.exe.” Then, in a sequence of three clicks, choose NEXT,
then (after reading) I ACCEPT THE AGREEMENT, then NEXT.
Continue to click NEXT until you get to the INSTALL option then
choose INSTALL to begin the installation of the main files.
After you complete the step above, uncheck the box for “Launch
Audacity” and click FINISH to close the installation program. Finally,
delete the installation file that is no longer needed and go to the next
step.
Step 3: Extract the Lame MP3 Encoder
Note: This section assumes that you have WinRAR, an extraction
utility, installed. This utility, or one like it, is needed to extract the
LAME MP3 from its ZIP format. WinRAR 3.71 is recommended and
may be downloaded from http://www.win-rar.comdownload.html.
Now that Audacity is installed, extracting the LAME MP3 encoder
is next. This encoder “exports,” or converts the AUP file extension
sound recordings into a compressed MP3 format.
Go to the location where you saved the LAME MP3 encoder zip
file and double-click “libmp3lame-win-3.97.zip.” Close the purchase
box window that pops up, then double-click the “libmp3lame-3.97”
folder.
Highlight the “lame_enc.dll” file that sits within the zipped
archive, and then click EXTRACT TO in the menu bar area. Select the
location where you would like the extracted file to go, click OK to
begin the extraction and close any open windows.
When you have completed the above steps, the “lame_enc.dll” file
should be in a folder called “libmp3lame-3.97.” This folder will be
located in the storage location that you specified earlier. Remember
where this file is located, because you will need to access it later.
Step 4: Set up Sound Properties
Now is the time to set up the speaker and microphone sound
properties. This involves first checking the sound properties in
Audacity, then checking the sound properties in Windows.
First, start the Audacity program by double-clicking its shortcut
on the desktop, then check the audio settings in the menu bar to
ensure that speaker and microphone volumes are set at the desired
level. Before testing your settings with a recording, ensure that
Window’s sound properties are also correctly configured.
To audit Window’s sound properties, right-click the speaker icon
located in the Taskbar, and select “Adjust Audio Properties.” Ensure
that the “Mute” box under “Device Volume” is not checked and that
the volume-slider is positioned to a level that is audible.
Click the “Audio” tab at the top of the window and ensure that the
proper “Sound Playback” and “Sound Recording” devices are select-
ed. Next, click “Volume” in the “Sound Recording” area of the win-
dow and ensure that “Mute All” is not checked and that the micro-
phone is at an audible level. Close the top window and click OK.
Test the recording and playback volume by doing the following:
• Press RECORD (the red icon at the top) and say a few words
into the microphone.
• Press STOP (the amber square icon) to discontinue recording.
• Press PLAY (the green arrow icon) to listen to the recording.
If you like what you hear, continue on to the next section. If not,
experiment to adjust your sound properties settings.
Step 5: Ready Set, Go!
Finally, Audacity and LAME are ready for use. Start the Audacity
program by double-clicking its shortcut on the desktop. Press
RECORD and read from a prepared script that tells online customers
where your business is located and how long you have been in busi-
ness. Press STOP. During this test, users often like to use the built-in
microphone on their computer, but production for a finished MP3 file
depends upon a dedicated headset microphone for quality.
As you are speaking during this initial test, you will see sound
waves — measurements of your own voice being recorded. If you see
a flat line, nothing is being recorded, so press STOP, then EDIT,
UNDO RECORD, then RECORD to start over.
After you have recorded this test podcast, click PLAY and you will
hear your first podcast recording in its AUP uncompressed format.
The Final Export to the MP3 Compressed
Podcast Format
Now, just for fun, step through the process of exporting the AUP pro-
duction file (meaning converting and compressing it to a smaller size
file) into an MP3 file format.
A major purpose of this export and compression process is to
decrease the file size. In Audacity, three file extensions are possible —
AUP, WAV or MP3. The largest file size is the production mode of AUP,
and the smallest is MP3. If you remember the many times you have
abandoned a website that took too long to download because of large
file sizes, then you know why you always want to compress the fin-
ished podcast to an MP3 format before posting it online.
To export the AUP file, click FILE in the Menu area and select the
EXPORT AS MP3 option. Navigate to the preferred storage location,
type in a name for the file and SAVE.
Read the box and click YES to help Audacity locate the
“lame_enc.dll” file location. Then, navigate to the location where you
stored the file — the location you wrote down earlier.
Select the “lame_enc.dll” file and click OPEN. Type names in the
title and artist prompts, then click OK. Your AUP file just became an
MP3 podcast!
The last task in Audacity 101 is to save the podcast file containing
all aspects of the sound clips into a master folder that might be labeled,
for example, WEBSITE PODCASTS. This master folder is your per-
sonal reminder that while any files still in your Audacity folder named
PODCAST TEST are in production mode, the files in your WEBSITE
PODCASTS folder are the finished products.
Go to FILE in the menu and select the SAVE PROJECT AS option.
Navigate to the location where you want to store the now-MP3 file,
type a name for the project, and SAVE. Congratulations, you now have
completed your first professional podcast, and you did it with free
software!
Dr. Pat LeMay Burr teaches podcasting in the MBA program at University
of the Incarnate Word, where she is building a volunteer group to help
institutionalize the XO Laptop (One Laptop per Child Program) in
developing nations.
Joseph Kirby completed his BBA in Information Systems at University of the
Incarnate Word in May 2008, where he was named an HEB International
Peace Scholar, served as president of several organizations, and wrote numer-
ous columns for The Logos campus newspaper. See a complete online video
tutorial about Audacity produced by Joseph at http://blip.tv/file/671694.
36 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
When all you could really do on the Web was access basic informa-
tion and communicate with friends and colleagues, you couldn’t get
into too much trouble. But since then, we’ve seen the Web go from 1.0
to 2.0 and now 3.0. And as quickly as the Web and the applications
progress, so do the risks involved.
There are plenty of people on the Internet with malicious intent.
Everyone has heard stories of hackers gaining access to websites,
obtaining private information, and holding companies hostage.
Identity theft, cyber extortion, viruses and worms — these were all
inconceivable just a few generations ago.
But it’s not just hackers causing damage. The Internet has also cre-
ated a new venue for companies and individuals to easily make care-
less but costly mistakes. Protecting yourself — from yourself — has
always been a key component of liability insurance. It’s an essential
safeguard in a world where a simple point and click can expose a busi-
ness to any number of dangers.
Internet liability insurance covers very specific wrongful acts as
defined by the policy forms. Here are some examples of such coverages:
• Infringement or unauthorized use of any advertising material, copy-
right, slogan, trademark, etc., through the Internet.
• Failure to protect private or confidential information of others from
unauthorized access on or through the Internet.
• Making known to any person or organization material that violates
a person’s or organization’s right to privacy or publicity right.
• Plagiarism or unauthorized use of a literary or artistic format, char-
acter or performance through the Internet.
• Failure to prevent the transmission of a computer virus to author-
ized users of a website or any private communication networks
such as customers, suppliers or supporters, on or through the
Internet.
Take a second to digest that last bullet point. As protection software
advances and viruses become more sophisticated, there may be an
instance when a company could get sued for not properly updating its
virus protection — thus causing everyone who legitimately uses the
site to download a computer virus. Can you ever be 100 percent sure
that a hacker will not install a virus on your site?
Viruses are not even the biggest threat hackers pose to your client’s
network. Identity theft is big money. Data breaches hit mainstream
news all the time, including recent breaches from the Veterans
Administration and TJX. We know the banks deal with it every day —
as famed bank robber Willie Sutton said, “…because that’s where the
money is.” However, many of your websites also store personal infor-
mation that can be used to access money outside of a traditional bank
heist. Think about the multitude of smaller companies whose systems
may be hacked and the potential profit for the perpetrators. It’s the
long-tail of theft.
So who needs Internet liability? Any company using the Internet
could benefit from the intellectual property protections and virus secu-
rity. But the real need is network security liability for those companies
conducting transactions over the Internet.
When considering an Internet liability policy you should ask a few
questions. First you need to know the policy’s definition of “Territory.”
This is where your policy protects you. The Web is worldwide, and so
should be your territory. Second, you should know the insurance com-
pany’s rating; one standard rating institution is A.M. Best. Third, you
need to make sure that you and your agent understand exactly what is
covered and what is not. All companies write their Internet liability
policies differently, and there is typically not a standard policy form.
Ask for a copy of the policy before purchasing, and go over it with
your agent.
As an Internet company, a good liability policy could be the most
important protection you have. It’s as essential as a condo’s building
coverage, a construction company’s workers compensation policy or a
doctor’s malpractice insurance.
As a Web professional, you are moving up in the world. You are accessing new markets,
selling to old, established industries and providing them with new technology. However, being
on the cutting edge doesn’t mean you’re not exposed to age-old liabilities. In fact, it’s quite
the opposite. It’s time to start protecting your companies and your unique liabilities. It’s time
for Insurance 2.0.
INSURANCE 2.0
by Andrew L. Cohn
chicago
august 5-6, 2008 | navy pier
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38 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
Yahoo Launches
Live and Shine
Seemingly unthreatened by a
looming Microsoft takeover,
Yahoo unveiled several services
the past quarter that could
highlight the strength of its user
community. The Yahoo Live
service enables anyone with a
Web camera to create their own
live video stream (similar to
BlogTV, Mogulus and UStream.tv)
and broadcast, lifecast or webcast
until their virtual hearts are con-
tent. Yahoo has also created a net-
work for women in Yahoo! Shine,
dubbing it a “smart, dynamic
place for women to gather, get
info, and connect with each other
and the world around them.”
10 Billion Videos And
Nothing To Watch
comScore released December 2007
data from their Video Metrix
service, which revealed that U.S.
Internet users watched more than
10 billion videos online during the
month, representing the single
heaviest month for online video
consumption since comScore
initiated its tracking service.
Top-ranked video property
Google Sites saw substantial
growth and extended its video
market share gains, now account-
ing for nearly one out of every
three videos viewed online. In
late March, YouTube launched a
free Web analytics tool dubbed
YouTube Insight. The solution
enables marketers to see the pop-
ularity of videos over time and
how often
a video was viewed in different
geographic areas, as well as its
relative popularity to all videos in
a market over a period of time.
Shoppers Not Receiving
Needed Information
It's no secret that the vast majori-
ty of online shoppers (74.5%
according to ServiceXRG) visit
company websites to get informa-
tion about a product or service.
But it seems that less than half
(44%) feel the information meets
their expectations, according to
the study, “Influencing the Online
Experience.” Around 1,000 com-
panies and shoppers were sur-
veyed. Some findings: Shoppers
were three times more likely to
become repeat customers after a
positive experience, compared to
those that had a negative, or
even a neutral experience. They
were four times more likely to
recommend a company after a
positive experience. Of the busi-
nesses surveyed, just 38.9% said
they offered an advanced search
function for customers
Ebay and CJ Part Ways
Ebay shocked many in the
affiliate community by dump-
ing Commission Junction and
ValueClick — opting instead to
promote their affiliate program
independently through the
eBay Partner Network. The new
in-house program will allow
eBay to more closely align the
program with the needs of its
publishers and the eBay
Community, and will eventually
engage all of eBay’s assets to
create one of the most robust
affiliate networks in existence.
The eBay Affiliate Program has
more than 100,000 members
globally and continues to be
one of the most successful tools
for driving buyers to eBay.
Let's Hear It For
Engagement Mapping!
Microsoft announced that it would begin testing a new
way to measure the effectiveness of Internet advertis-
ing. Engagement mapping, currently in beta, takes into
account all Internet interactions that lead consumers to
purchase products, giving advertisers a more accurate
assessment of how to plan their online marketing
campaigns and better convey how each ad exposure
(display, rich media, search — seen multiple times on
multiple properties) influences eventual purchases.
Website Magazine Blog Briefs
AROUND THE ’NET
Website Magazine Consumer Corner
Mobile Browser Opera Mini Gets Big Upgrade
Good news for mobile Web users — Opera Mini 4.1 was launched in early
April in beta. The Opera Mini browser has long been touted as one of the best
for mobile devices — it’s been downloaded by more than 40 million people
worldwide — and now looks to make some significant improvements. New
server upgrades claim to make the browser 50% faster. Some other new
features include URL autocomplete (wherein the browser will suggest a URL
as you type, saving time) and “find-in-page” which lets users search for
specific terms on a Web page and highlight it for you. Users of Opera Mini
can also save pages for offline viewing and even upload photos to Flickr or
their weblog, making for an excellent development in photoblogging.
TV On Your Mobile Device
MobiTV is pioneering mobile television offerings and their service just keeps
expanding. They’ve recently added Blackberry support for Sprint, Alltel and
Verizon. You can add MobiTV to Windows Mobile devices, a slew of mobile
phones (subscribers to Sprint, Alltel, AT&T, US Cellular and a few others
including many of the most popular devices), Palms and your PC. There are
more than 35 channels available, including NBC, Fox News, ESPN, TLC,
History, A&E, Discovery and more. And it all comes for $9.99 a month...not too
shabby. Now, along with talking on your phone while waiting in line or on
mass transit, there's an entirely different way to annoy those around you.
Subscribe
Subscribe to the Website Magazine Consumer Corner at:
www.websitemagazine.com/consumer .
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 39
Most Internet professionals are in constant pursuit of the latest and
greatest Web solutions. Along with the endless list of products and
beta invites, however, comes a new trend. The impact for some is
greater connectivity to their online endeavors, while for others it’s a
nuisance. It's called Bacn (pronounced bacon) and it's already
become a popular and powerful marketing tool.
You may not yet know about Bacn, but you’ve probably received
some in your inbox — an electronic message sent by a service that
you subscribe to and receive notifications from. Common examples
include news alerts, messages from social networking sites and wiki
watch lists. It’s not considered spam (hence ‘Bacon’) because you
originally signed up for the service. Bacn is often referred to as “email
you want, but not right now.” Many messages are not read immedi-
ately, if at all, and users can become quickly inundated with them,
making it hard to keep up. But, taking some time to review these
messages can reap significant rewards, especially in the social net-
working scene.
Web users may find that filtering or setting handling rules within
your preferred email client is the best way to handle Bacn. Powering
through these notifications when you have time to do so is a useful
practice. Doing so means greater organization and gives your social
networking an extra push as you are able to handle your social busi-
ness quickly and without interruption.
Creators of Bacn would be savvy to test these transactional
marketing messages, analyze the results and advise their clients on
how to best maximize the information contained within them.
Unfortunately, little information is currently available for best prac-
tices with Bacn. If website owners look to transactional messages
from the e-commerce family, however, a good list of must-do’s can be
established.
Integration Relevance: The best Bacn is seamlessly integrated
with back-end processes and features dynamic, relevant content.
Focusing on the system processes enable Bacn purveyors to trigger
timely, customized messages that ensure a consistent experience for
users while driving them to act on specific recommendations unique
to their community. However, relevance does not stop at the message.
Developing dynamic landing pages (directly into an account for
example) is a good way for companies to facilitate action within the
system. Including information such as most commented upon infor-
mation, most recent and most frequently viewed or shared content
helps users discover what others are doing on your site and compels
them to take similar actions.
Delivery and Visibility: The risk that most Bacn-centric servic-
es run is that these messages could potentially damage the value of
their brand, should users feel they are being spammed. And,
although far from a business-critical communication, most marketers
would agree that Bacn does provide a clear path into the mailboxes
and mindshare of consumers. Ensuring these messages are delivered
and acted upon is essential. Requesting white-list status for these
messages directly from the consumer and actually tracking the deliv-
erability rates will ensure the highest return on your investment.
While real-time tracking is difficult to implement on an individual
message basis, aggregate open-rate statistics offer insights into how
well these transactional messages are performing.
Flexibility: To be successful with any marketing effort, website
owners need the flexibility to test creative approaches and quickly
adjust notifications accordingly. Getting locked into a static and for-
mal process or one that’s costly to change will render you powerless
to take advantage of what you learn from your delivery and visibility
analytics.
Bacn is most likely here to stay. Web users would be wise to start
managing their consumption to maximize their online relationships,
while Bacn purveyors would be wise to focus on the how these
important social and transactional messages are served — focusing
on value for the end-user before these messages get relegated to the
spam bin.
Peter Prestipino is the Editor-In-Chief of Website Magazine.
Bacn and
Social Media
Transactional Email for Social
Web Marketers
By Peter Prestipino
40 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
10 Ways to Increase
Website Stickiness
By Deborah Sauter
Not only are users browsing your website looking for a reason to
engage, but they are speaking to a coworker, watching TV, holding a
conference call...you get the point. Internet users are notorious for
multi-tasking and, in addition, there are many options out there for
users to find the same information on your Web pages. Increasingly,
people are looking past a company or brand as a lone source of infor-
mation. They are looking to competing websites, message boards,
forums and each other.
So how do we compete and keep the users on our sites?
The best ways to capture a users’ attention and keep them com-
ing back are to strategize and plan your content architecture, lever-
age technology to assist in the effort, and incorporate the user’s voice.
Here are 10 ways you can start improving your
website’s stickiness today:
1. Make Initial Site Interaction Seamless
The initial interaction with your site is critical. By limiting bottlenecks
(e.g. forced flash intros and slow load times) your users will see the
content quickly and not bounce directly off your site.
2. Make Initial Site Interaction Relevant
The main door to your site no longer needs to be the home page. This
all-encompassing uberpage gives a great overview of site offerings but
does a poor job of presenting user-specific content. Look at your site’s
top referrers, search terms and campaigns and make sure you have
relevant landing pages. If a user is referred to your site from Google
after searching “iPod skins,” the landing page content should be
highly relevant to “iPod skins” and not a general page that does not
speak to the need.
3. Make it Easy for Them to Find Their Way
A little known fact is that internal site search converts three times
better than traditional global navigation. A
prominent search box providing relevant
results is essential. Spend time each
month mining your internal search data
for failed searches and misspellings to
continually optimize your internal
search engine and ensure that users
are finding what they need.
4. Serve Dependable,
Fresh Content
Get your users addicted to what
you offer and serve it to them in a
consistent place on your site. Utilizing
an advanced CMS system will ensure that
you are able to serve content in an efficient
and consistent manner. Less time will be spent administering the site
and more time can be spent planning and creating new content.
5. Produce Exclusive Content
Driving consumers to exclusive Web content is a great way to keep
users coming back. The World Poker Tour, for example, does a great
job of publishing exclusive Web content to drive users from their
TV show to the site, creating a more robust brand experience for the
consumer.
6. Reduce Ad Clutter
There are creative ways to reduce visual ad clutter on your site without
hurting your bottom line. Sponsorships and higher CPM ad place-
ments can reduce the visual clutter of advertising while increasing
inventory and ad revenue.
7. Start a Conversation with your Users
Users need a place to voice their opinions about your content, servic-
es or products. If you don’t give them the option, they will most
certainly go somewhere else to do the same. One of the most success-
ful examples I have seen is KPBS (KBPS.org). The San Diego-based
broadcaster leverages blogs to drive online discussions about on-air
content. About 60 percent of website visitors leave comments or blog
on a daily basis, keeping discussions active and KPBS visitors loyal to
the site.
8. Leverage User Feedback
Listening to users’ likes and dislikes helps you to keep your site
optimized for your user. Using a survey platform such as SurveyGizmo
will allow you to inexpensively and creatively capture user feedback
on a page and site level. Other options include SurveyMonkey.com,
SurveyPopups.com and Vovici.com.
9. Create and Optimize your Website’s Support Section
The support section is typically one of the most ignored areas of a web-
site and typically consists of an antiquated anchor-linked FAQ. By
leveraging technology, you can bubble up relevant support topics, have
users answer each others questions and foster discussion about com-
plex topics. Vizio, a top-10 North American flat panel television brand,
uses new website support section methodology to help to reduce
offline call volume.
10. Leverage Innovative Technology
With the abundance of new technology avail-
able, creating sticky sites is easier than ever.
Creative video content, mashups and site-
based media players will keep your site
sticky and fresh.
Deborah Sauter manages the analytics
team at Digitaria (www.digitaria.com), a
full-service digital marketing and tech-
nology firm headquartered in San Diego.
Digitaria is the only interactive agency to
have in-house consulting practices for both
Omniture and Visual Sciences. Deborah can be
contacted at Deborah.sauter@digitaria.com.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 41
Proponents of SEO cite the ability to send
large amounts of organic traffic without
paying for each visitor. PPC advertising
networks and agencies alike decry the
complexities of SEO while touting the
high level of control and qualified leads
through paid advertising.
Whether you choose SEO, PPC or a
combination of the two, it is important to
understand that visitors from both sources
of traffic have different motivations,
behaviors and buying characteristics.
Marketers need to understand how best
to maximize the value of each visitor
based on how they arrive at the site.
Engine Ready (EngineReady.com) recently
announced the results from a two-year
study of 27 companies which measured
visitor metrics by traffic source in order to
1) gain an understanding of how visitors
behave based on how they arrive at a web-
site, 2) provide insights into customizing
the visitor experience based on traffic
source, and 3) offer insights on how to
leverage budgets among the four main traf-
fic sources of SEO, PPC, inbound linking
and branding.
Three primary areas related to ROI and
brand awareness for these traffic sources
Web Promotion Cagematch:
SEO vs. PPC
Internet marketers have a number of ways to promote their websites.
Engaging in social networking, email marketing, display advertising and
affiliate programs are proven methods of acquiring new visitors and
ultimately sales. But these methods pale in comparison to the top two
online promotional opportunities of search engine optimization (SEO)
and pay-per-click advertising (PPC.)
by Peter Prestipino
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Website Magazine.
Continued on page 42
42 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
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w e b c a s t s
were analyzed including the likelihood to convert a customer,
amount of spend by the visitor, engagement and visitor behavior.
Specifically, the metrics reviewed were average order value, bounce
rate, conversion rate, value per visitor, average time spent on site,
average number of page views per visit and the average length of time
spent on each page viewed.
The results of the study were truly intriguing. The most produc-
tive visitor arrives through direct access (type-in traffic or book-
marks) which makes a great deal of sense. Since the visitors must
have accessed your site previously, they were familiar with the com-
pany’s product or service offerings. What this shows us is that repeat
visitors are more valuable than new visitors. In fact, according to the
study, measuring an average sales dollar value per visit, Engine Ready
found this group of visitors was over four times as valuable ($5.69
spent per visit) to those coming from an organic listing ($1.35 spent
per visit.)
So what about SEO versus PPC? The research revealed that visitors
from PPC ads outperformed those from organic listings in every cate-
gory except average number of page views per visit. The average sales
dollar value per visitor arriving from a PPC ad was $1.91, or 41 percent
higher than that of a visitor from an organic listing. In fact, paid traffic
converted at a 20 percent higher rate and experienced an average order
value 18 percent above that of traffic from organic listings.
What you may want to take away from this research is the impor-
tance of tracking and analyzing site metrics when formulating market-
ing strategies and establishing budgets. Doing so will yield a clear
understanding of which visitors are most effective to meeting your
goals and result in an opportunity to maximize the value of each cus-
tomer.
Website Magazine Readers Speak Out:
PPC or SEO?
In April, we conducted a survey asking our readers “If you were
forced to choose between SEO or PPC, which would it be?” A total
of 248 Web professionals responded and the results may surprise
you. We also received several valuable comments. Mike Garland of
SensibleMarketing.net said, "The real question is what is the right
strategy overall for the client? If immediate revenue is critical, and
site traffic is low, PPC may be the way to go. In addition, the lessons
learned from PPC will assist in SEO development. Obviously the
longer term value of SEO, with rated linking strategies will build
value into the site.”
SEO vs PPC
Continued from previous page
PPC = 57
SEO = 191
23%
77%
See the final poll results and reader comments on the daily
weblog at www.websitemagazine.com
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.COM | 43
wmcommentary
What was the first action you took after
hearing that Microsoft made an unsolicited
bid for Yahoo? If you’re a Web analyst, it was
probably off to cavort with other analysts
about how this would change “everything”
for everyone. Or maybe you joined in on the
seemingly never-ending and often innocu-
ous stream of remarks in the blogosphere.
It’s been dramatic (or melodramatic,
depending on your perspective) to say the
least, with every capable suitor being called
out and called on to help fend off the
takeover. Speculation is running rampant
and every professional is offering up their
opinion on what it means to the future of
their industry.
Does it really matter?
It’s hard to deny that this is a big deal. In fact,
just look at the numbers. comScore’s Top 50
Properties (which analyzes unique visitors
from home, work and university locations)
reveals that a combined Microsoft and Yahoo
would garner enough unique visitors to
make Google look like a Silicon Valley
startup. The same holds true for a Yahoo
and AOL merger. But don’t start digging
a grave for Google just yet — a combined
Microsoft/Yahoo would not even come close
to matching Google’s impressive 60-plus
percent search market share. But what does
all this mean for Web professionals?
To those working day in and day out
within the digital trenches of the Web creat-
ing content, building applications, leverag-
ing relationships and utilizing their own
insights to move towards profitability, the
proposed takeover elicits little more than a
shrug. For Web professionals it’s not about
where you obtain visitors (Yahoo, Google,
MSN, Ask or even Sneaky Pete’s Discount
Web Traffic Depot) or how (display adver-
tising, email advertising, PPC advertising,
affiliate programs) but what you do with
visitors when they arrive.
In the end, the company which acquires
or merges with Yahoo (if it happens at all)
matters little in comparison to how Web pro-
fessionals will leverage the opportunity in
that new environment. As it has always been,
it comes down to users and how to reach
them. Yahoo and Microsoft have secured
massive email databases, so display advertis-
ing might play a much larger part in our
minds and budgets. And because of the huge
amounts of data they have acquired from
their users, behavioral marketing might
become a much more valuable and realistic
marketing opportunity.
We don’t regularly cover industry news
or mergers and acquisitions in Website
Magazine, which explains why, as regular
visitors to our daily blog, you haven’t read
much about the proposed buyout. The rea-
son is simple — while it’s important where
we invest our promotional dollars, it’s more
important to learn how to gain traffic using
SEO, email marketing campaigns, establish-
ing a viable e-commerce presence, leverag-
ing affiliate marketing, deploying the princi-
ples of exceptional website design, explor-
ing the depths of analytics solutions and of
course building, buying and learning to sup-
port the software that makes everything
come together. Should a merger happen,
you can bet the farm that these companies
won’t throw away the billions they’ve invest-
ed in offerings that force users to rethink
their business models. You are more impor-
tant to them than you might think. In the
end, users always pay the bills.
So while mergers and acquisitions are
exciting and entertaining, until something
actually happens and these companies (who
are vital to the Web economy) announce a
shake-up in their Web operations, Web pro-
fessionals should stay the course. This
means not shifting your pay-per-click adver-
tising budgets, not abandoning engine-spe-
cific optimization, and not avoiding the
social communities managed or supported
by these organizations. In the end, what is
important is your success; continue focus-
ing on the proven tactics and techniques
that have made companies successful since
the inception of the commercial Web and
you will secure your long-term success.
Peter Prestipino is the Editor-In-Chief of
Website Magazine.
Yahoocrosoft,
Microhoo &
The Importance
of You
By Peter Prestipino
44 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE.com | MAY 2008
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Digital
Supplement
May 2008
4
9
11
15
18
21
24
27
28
29
Contents
Buying And Selling
Domains The Ebay Way
Building an Opt-In Email List
Marketing to the Online
Nascar Enthusiast
Forum & Conversational
Marketing
SEO Interview: Bob Thripathi
Mastering Local Search
Event Based Social Media
In Review: SproutBuilder
In Review: VisualCalc Adwords Dashboard
Internet Madness vs.
Collective Wisdom
ONLINE ONLY! LEARN HOW WEBSERVERS WORK
2 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 3
4 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
main owner justifes the price? It’s not a good investment for a
buyer – which forces us to ask an important question: why are
these domains being listed if no one ever buys them? Te ques-
tion stumps many but it may be due to user activity on eBay
– the traf c that a website receives from a listing is well worth
the nominal listing fees.
While my wife has forbidden the purchase adult-related do-
mains, there are many creative options available. So if you’re
considering a venture into this niche, eBay can be a good place
to fnd a few good domain branding opportunities.
Buying a Domain on eBay
Tere is simply no better way to get familiar with buying do-
mains on eBay than to jump right in and start bidding. You
may even fnd that some of the domain listings support your
current Web enterprise.
Tere are two categories at eBay where prospectors can fnd
domains for sale. To locate the frst, use the search term “es-
tablished websites” – this will display entire Web properties
for sale, not just the domain names. Te second is the query
“domain names” (also available in the “Web Domains and Ser-
vices” category) where the majority of individual domain names
can be found.
Consider sorting the list by time left in the auction, fnding
those newly listed or leveraging the “best match” sorting tool.
For example, use the best match sort and append a keyword
such as “education” and you will fnd domain names that are
listed with that keyword in the title of the eBay listing. Once
you have found a domain name that appeals to you, conduct a
query at your preferred search engine for some cursory research
on the number of inbound links that are present, its current
t any given time, there are thousands of domains for
sale on the Web’s largest auction marketplace. Some
are listed by individuals looking to unload domains
for a quick buck, while others are professional do-
mainers with thousands of Web properties – this is their busi-
ness and by all accounts it’s working, as there is no lack of activ-
ity within this venue for buyers and sellers.
So, should you try to buy or sell domains on eBay? Tere are
positives and negatives for both buyers and sellers so it is impor-
tant to understand not just how eBay works, but how we can
maximize our investment of time and money when considering
building or optimizing our domain portfolios.
Te upside is that you can fnd many good domains if you
know how to use the service. Tere are often many keyword-
rich domain names available twenty-four hours a day, many
three- and four-letter domains and, of course, many misspelled
domains that aspiring professional domainers can pick up for
seriously discounted prices.
Te downside is that if you know a thing or two about domains,
you might see the eBay auction as gathering place for the seri-
ously delusional. In fact, it is not uncommon to fnd domains
listed in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. While meaning-
ful three-letter domains are in short supply, I doubt that anyone
in their right mind would plunk down the $20 million that the
owner of MRX.com was asking back in early March.
But it is not just three letter-domains on eBay that are known
to be listed for exorbitant amounts. HouseDownsize.com and
InfationSurvival.com (by all accounts interesting sounding do-
mains) were listed for tandem sale at a staggering $200,000.
You might be asking yourself, why would anyone in their right
mind think this would be a good investment or how the do-
A
continued on pg 6
Buying and Selling Domains
the eBay Way
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 5
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continued on pg 6
6 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
Google PageRank and even consider uti-
lizing Archive.org to see how that web-
site was being used in the past.
Since this article is about buying do-
mains on eBay, what better domain to
bid on than SelectingDomains.com? Te
following is Website Magazine’s attempt
to purchase the domain. Did it work?
Did we win? What are we going to do
with it? Read on.
On March 6th we placed a bid on Se-
lectingDomains.com. Te initial bid on
the domain was $11.97. I performed
some cursory research which revealed
virtually no inbound links outside of the
eBay listing and a few alternative domain
auction sites. Since time was of the es-
sence, I entered a maximum bid of $14
instead of spending the next few days in-
crementally increasing the bid by $0.50
or $1.00. I kept an eye on the domain
listing for other bids and bidders by set-
ting up an alert.

March 13th – Domain Won: What oc-
curred was shocking even to me over the
next few days – no bids were placed and
the domain was won without any addi-
tional bidding. I would be the frst to
admit that this is not the standard series
of events in purchasing domains on eBay.
In fact, other domains I have purchased
in the past had a bit of competition in
the bidding, which gives a sense of what
others see in the value of the domain.
While this domain may simply have
slipped under the radar, it’s still a good
one in my opinion and it’s a good addi-
tion to the portfolio. ■
Due to constraints related to transferring
a domain name more than once within a
period of 60 days, the next issue of Web-
site Magazine’s Digital Edition will feature
the next installment of this article, “Selling
Domains Te eBay Way,” where we will list
SelectingDomains.com for sale and docu-
ment the results.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 7
8 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
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browser_six.indd 1 4/11/2008 3:56:21 PM
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 9
nce you have managed to create a
stream of steady trafc to your web-
site, you may fnd that you want
to or, more likely, need to contact
those that have purchased from you
in the past or even dropped a line to you to initi-
ate a relationship. Tere’s no better way to do this
than email, but getting started can be tricky with the
infnite number of options available. Add in the perceived
complexity of how to actually begin and most Web profession-
als become paralyzed with fear.
Tere are only a handful of steps necessary to building an opt-
in email list. If you are not using a service that automates the
process for you in a soup-to-nuts manner, look no further than
your preferred search engine to fnd noteworthy vendors.
But building an opt-in email list is not for the Johnny Come
Lately’s of the Web world. Doing it right takes an immense
amount of commitment, not only in terms of creating content
but being creative with your list’s recipients. Te more adven-
turous you become in building an opt-in email list, the higher
chance you have of success. While it’s not possible to list all of
the possible content ideas for everyone, what we can do is high-
light a few of the simple, yet aggressive ways to generate not just
a list, but a large and active list.
Identify Touch Points
It takes work to create an email customized for you readership,
but it should not take any work at all identifying touch points
on your website. Tese are places to promote subscription to
your email.
Whether you have designated a high profle section of your
sign-up form or feature such an area on every page of your
website, there are many additional places to efectively promote
your emails. For example, if you fnd yourself participating in
quite a few social networks (i.e. LinkedIn), consider creating
a custom landing page specifcally for the purpose of generat-
ing subscriptions for those in your future network. Tere are
truly a whole host of opportunities to recruit new members
to your list including transactional emails, shipping forms and
even outside or away from your site at trade shows, speaking
engagements, even your business card. Just because you build it
doesn’t mean they’ll come, so get creative in where these signup
requests are placed.
Barriers to Acquisition
In today’s Web environment, consumers are inundated with in-
formation. When you have a surplus of sources that can ofer
virtually the same thing, it’s important not to knowingly imple-
ment barriers to the acquisition of subscribers.
Privacy Policy
While you may not spend time checking out the privacy poli-
cies of the various newsletters you sign up for, many do and
take it quite seriously. Obtaining permission with a double opt-
in method to keep track of contacts and user preferences will
provide great value when those same consumers complain that
they are receiving unwanted email. Consider including a brief
sentence or two of your privacy policy located near the submit
button on your form, as well as a link to the full policy.
Value Proposition
Most of us are willing to share our email address, especially if its
means that we’ll receive something of value in return. Growing
an opt-in email list requires that you carefully determine if you
should incentivize subscriptions. For example, if you are an on-
line retailer, why not consider giving subscribers a discount on
their next purchase? If you’re a blogger, why not give something
away – a free link perhaps if your audience consists of similar
bloggers and Web professionals. Selling electronics? Why not
give away one item each time an issue of your newsletter is sent?
Building an
Opt-In
Email List
By Peter Prestipino
O
10 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
Some of the more creative uses of this technique/approach in-
clude placing the winner’s name at the end of the email, forcing
recipients to scroll down to the end to see who actually won.
While incentives do generate a fair share of sign-ups, there are
some drawbacks. A number of people will sign up only to get
the incentives. You still have a large list to work with, but the
response rate tends to be lower.
Channel Noise
Te volume of spam most users receive increases the challenge
of building an opt-in list. Channel noise downgrades conver-
sions and compromises your deliverability rates, as your mes-
sages are more inclined to be identifed as spam. But the fact of
the matter is that email ROI has remained high. When people
decide what they want and are willing to hand over their email
addresses, you get a highly qualifed audience. A nice, tight dou-
ble opt-in campaign will produce the best results long term.
It’s imperative to know that one-to-one marketing is an ongo-
ing process. Marketers need to know that cleaning their lists
is equally important. If there are underperforming segments,
separate them. Te message has to get out there that this is a
subscriber medium and that you have to respect what the sub-
scriber wants.
Analyze Everything
Marketers need to measure performance of everything in tan-
dem. It often comes down to integrating solutions which help
you understand how people are interacting with the informa-
tion you are sending out. You need to ask how your email ser-
vice provider (ESP) is going to help you measure. You can look
at metrics like open rate or click rate, but they only tell you
about the vacuum of email. It does not tell you email leads
to search which leads to conversion. A lot of the impact is the
ofine purchase. Email is a direct channel but it’s also an infu-
ence channel. ■
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 11
tretching from February through October is the NA-
SCAR season. Te sport attracts fans from all walks of
life and has emerged as a powerful community, captur-
ing the intense interest of Republicans and Democrats,
men and women and marketers of all stripes, vying to
harness this active and savvy group.
But who is the NASCAR fan? Are male fans diferent than fe-
male fans in their online consumer behavior? Can their Web
surfng habits be used to support or enhance your brand? With
approximately 75 million NASCAR fans, and about 40-45 per-
cent estimated to be women (Sports Illustrated/ESPN), they
are a large group with core behaviors that provide insight in
how to market to them.
At frst glance it may seem that car-racing fans are no diferent
than the general population in their online habits — how they
access the Internet, the number of times they go online weekly,
and their use of broadband or dial-up.
But dig deeper and distinct diferences begin to emerge. It
probably comes as no surprise that they research car purchases
online, but there are a number of other behaviors that are of
interest to marketers. For example, they are more likely to:

• Read sports news online
• Keep in touch through instant messaging and chat rooms
• Research family genealogy
• Play games online across all categories (fantasy sports,
arcade, board, casino gambling, puzzles/trivia, multi-
player console, sports/simulations)
• Exhibit an ease at various types of online buying, from
gift registries to online wallets
• Actively listen online to streaming music, politics/public
afairs, sports, business news, and live concerts
With this background in car racing, let’s look specifcally at NA-
SCAR fans. Tey comprise about 17 percent of a representative
online population – that’s about 32 million fans with a balance
online between the under-35 crowd and those 36-54.
Online NASCAR enthusiasts are represented equally in all
geographical areas and at diverse income levels, though there
are more earning less than $37,000 per year, and fewer earning
$100,000 or more.
Tis is also a group that likes to share their experiences. Tere
are more than 326,000 NASCAR hits on MySpace, including
individual videos of racing, discussions of favorite drivers, and
Marketing to the
Online NASCAR
Enthusiast
By Carol Setter
S
12 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
personal accounts about memories of attending NASCAR rac-
es. It’s apparent in reading the posts that NASCAR is a family
event, and many individuals follow NASCAR with great emo-
tion and afection. A passion for NASCAR is evident and expe-
riences are portrayed with great enthusiasm and energy.
What does this information tell us about
attracting this group?
• Focus on their relationships with family and friends –
they like to be connected.
• Leverage their interest in reading and listening to sports
and events – they clearly want to be “in the know”
• Integrate their enthusiasm for gaming into your
campaigns – it’s a pastime they engage across many types
of single and multi-player games and having fun is
important to them.
In what ways are these strategies
illustrated online?
In focusing on their relationships with family and friends, St.
Jude Children’s Research Hospital (in their site RacingtoSave-
Lives.org) has a unique way of targeting NASCAR enthusiasts
and working with them to support their favorite driver while
giving to a charity by forming “pit crews” (full disclosure, St.
Jude is a WhittmanHart client).
In leveraging the NASCAR enthusiasts’ interest in all sports,
one of the most efective tools is to use media that trafcs in
stats. For example, Yahoo! Sports ofers ways to engage in the
NASCAR conversation with stories and threaded discussions.
Additionally, there is a wealth of opportunities for product
placement, sponsorship and word-of-mouth marketing using
NASCAR games. Tere are a number of fantasy games online,
including sites like Dream Racers.
Tese illustrations showcase the variety of ways the NASCAR
enthusiast can be acquired. However, an interesting insight re-
lates to the number of women who are following NASCAR
events. While the number of men who follow NASCAR ex-
ceeds that of women, the ratio between the sexes is much closer
when the groups compared had followed NASCAR more than
a year.
Consider brands who are courting the NASCAR woman en-
thusiast, including such diverse brands as Tide and Harlequin
books. Tey know the female audience is there, that she is in-
volved in NASCAR as a family event, and will respond enthu-
siastically to the opportunity to have her own sources of NA-
SCAR information tailored to her other interests. Tus, these
brands fnd ways to connect with her.
Tide, for example, has a special site with racing updates, infor-
mation on the Team Tide charity, wallpapers, and NASCAR
buddy icons for instant messaging. All are aimed to help her
incorporate NASCAR into her life.
Harlequin Romance Novels, realizing that racing and romance
was a natural bond, started with 3 books in 2006. Tis jumped
dramatically to 16 books in 2007, and there are already 8 books
online for purchase in the frst half of this year.
Harlequin is also extending the relationship beyond books and
into online sweepstakes. In partnership with Ofce Depot, a
man or woman can enter a sweepstakes to put a proposal or a
renewal of vows on the back of the Ofce Depot Ford Fusion
car during the 2008 NASCAR Sprint All-Star race (getyour-
heartracing.com). Tis opportunity lets men and women en-
gage in a romantic way to build emotional ties with NASCAR.
Already, Best Western has launched their NASCAR April 1st
contest, aimed at having families, friends, neighbors and co-
workers upload humorous pictures. As with Harlequin, the
winner will be featured on a car, this time at the NASCAR race
in Phoenix in April (bestwestern.com/aprilfools).
Tese illustrations show that forward-thinking marketers are
beginning to understand that the NASCAR audience is active
online and can be acquired and engaged by integrating NA-
SCAR with their interest in family and friends and having fun.
Additionally, attracting women who are NASCAR enthusiasts
is in its infancy and has a large upside, as Harlequin has found.
Targeting women has the potential to be a lucrative pathway for
marketers if they understand how to integrate into her daily life,
provide her with engaging opportunities to share with family
and friends, and bring racing top-of-mind through campaigns
and sweepstakes.
While there are numerous ways of attracting NASCAR fans of-
fine, the online venue provides a fertile opportunity for mar-
keters to focus on fans’ specifc online attitudes and behaviors
and intertwine those with their passion for racing.
By reaching out to NASCAR moms, companies like P&G and
Harlequin have transformed their marketing messages into a
kind of social currency within the family, pulling family mem-
bers together around their brands. ■
Carol Setter is National Director of Strategy at WhittmanHart Interactive (www.
whittmanhart.com), a full-service interactive advertising agency. Carol leads the
company in Strategy, Analytics, Brand Experience, and eLearning. Contact her at
csetter@whittmanhart.com
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 13
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MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 15
ince the very beginning of social media, this bright, new
and exciting avenue for online marketing has exploded
all over the Web and is on the minds of almost every
Internet marketer. First categorized as leveraging sites
like Digg.com for traf c and links, social marketing has
matured. And with it comes a broader scope of Internet market-
ing. If it has something to do with being social or conversational
and there is a marketing aspect behind it ... it can be categorized
as social media marketing. Tat being said, forum and blog mar-
keting are some areas within social media marketing that have
been used for a while but not as efectively as they could be.
Forums have been around since Alta Vista was hot. Tey are
places where people can post questions and get answers, share
comments and concerns and the search engines love them.
AskJeeves, before it was turned to just Ask.com used to pride
itself on allowing the searcher to ask a question and return a
relevant answer. Tis is often how users decide to search, and
now that Google and other popular search engines are more
adequately indexing and ranking results they can provide this
service to the end user. Often times, search results contain a large
number of forums. A Google search for “looking for a good af-
fliate program” returns a slew of forums and answer sites. And if
we expand the defnition of forums to include user reviews, rec-
ommendations and social conversations the list grows longer.
Tese studies show the market is engaged in a constant discus-
sion. Tis means putting your company in the middle of those
discussions in a positive manner can greatly infuence buyers.
But getting involved in forum and conversational marketing
requires some research, tact and plenty of time to be an active
member of the community.
Finding Your Audience
Because I am an Apple computer fanatic I will use Macs as an
example through the diferent areas of forum marketing. If you
are marketing for Apple and you want to fnd your audience,
start by fnding keywords that people are using.
>> Google Keyword Selector: Tis tool provides a look into
the search volume for related keywords in Google. Knowing
this, you can better target the current most active forums.
>> KeywordDiscovery.com: Tis site allows us to fnd key-
words related to a phrase we enter as well as the search volume
of these terms.
>> Google’s LIVE: search keyword suggestion: Tis is a great
tool for Internet marketers. It allows us to see other searches
that might help us fnd what we are looking for, therefore fnd-
ing relevant results and more of them.
>> IceRocket.com, Boardtracker.com & Boardreader.com:
Tese sites allow you to type in a search term like “iPhone re-
views” and get a list of forums that are discussing this topic, in
order of freshness.
>> Purchase Sites: Diving into sites that sell these products
and posting reviews is a great way to get involved into conversa-
tional marketing. For example, check out the comment section
for a particular product on a popular retail site like BestBuy.
com.
S

of online shoppers read reviews before mak-
ing a purchase. (Forrester Research Group) 71%
report higher satisfaction and
higher loyalty from online reviews (Foresee
Results Study, January 2007)
21%
18%
of 2,000 shoppers surveyed deem customer
reviews as “extremely” or“very” helpful.
(eTailing Group)
92%
of consumers indicate they are more likely to
purchase from a site if it has product ratings
and reviews. (CompUSA & iPerceptions
study)
63%
of respondents say they would trust a
friend’s recommendation over a review
by a critic, while 83.8% say they would
trust user reviews over a critic. (Market-
ingSherpa)
86.9%
of adults say they regularly or occasion-
ally research products online before
buying them in a store. (BIGresearch)
92.5%
of search results link to consumer-generated
content (Nielsen BuzzMetrics)
26%
Forum & Conversational
Marketing
By Joe Whyte
16 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
Flying Under the Radar is the Key
When you are doing any type of forum and conversational
marketing the frst rule is to stay under the radar. If you get
called out for openly promoting your company, the conversa-
tion is going to get ugly. And because these are third-party sites
you won’t have control over what is said.
Do not over promote. Add valuable feedbackon threads and,
where appropriate, give your two cents on product reviews. If
you are marketing on a Mac forum I would not suggest going
to 30 threads and saying “the iPhone is wicked awesome!” In-
stead, fnd threads that talk about the iPhone but also the iMac,
G5, iPods and other topics. iPods too outdated? Comment that
there are ne wer iPods out there and that the iPod shuf e just
had a price decrease. If someone is slamming G5s for being to
expensive say “Tey are expensive but I have one I use for video
editing and I wouldn’t want any other piece of equipment.”
Just be careful to not oversell. Also for forum marketing, if all
you do is go around to diferent threads and talk about one
topic you will get banned – its important to also write posts on
unrelated topics or a diferent vertical than what your company
is working on.
Forum Marketing for Link Building
Link building within forums can be a great way to get new
links. Te best part is that there is a cornucopia of forums out
there. Tis means that you will be able to obtain one-way links
with specifc anchor text not only in your signatures but also
embedded within your content. Te key here is fnding sites
that allow “dofollow” links. Try the “search status” Firefox pl-
ugin – it shows you which sites allow “dofollow” links.
Added Benefits from Forum Marketing
An added beneft of forum marketing will be search engine re-
sult pages pulling up your threads that you started or in which
you contributed. We have successfully built backlinks to forum
threads we have started to help in two areas. Te frst is to in-
crease the positioning of our positive comments in the search
engine results pages for a particular term like “iPhone user re-
views.” Te second is to increase the power of our backlinks
on these forums by building backlinks to these threads which
increase the power and efectiveness behind this technique.
When administering the forum and conversational marketing
technique for your clients you will often fnd negative com-
ments about a product or service. Tis is a great time to use
your accoun ile appears to have been active before fnding and
commenting this specifc post. Tis shows that you are an active
user, not just a marketer doing damage control.
With these guidelines you will fnd success with forum and
conversational marketing. If you’re using forum marketing for
your clients, you will want to be able to show a return on their
investment. Choose an analytic system that shows your engage-
ment marketing and viral marketing stats. ■

MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 17
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Website Magazine is pleased to announce an ongoing series of
interviews with the top search engine optimization and Web
marketing experts in the business today.
We hope our readers will learn from those directly responsible
for successful SEO campaigns. As much as by practice, it is
within the digital trenches that we learn the most valuable
lessons about how to create search and social optimization
campaigns that work to generate new business, develop mind-
share among consumers and secure long-term relevance to our
companies. Our inaugural interview is with Bob Tripathi, Dis-
cover Card’s in-house search and social marketing strategist.
Tripathi manages enterprise-wide SEO and PPC campaigns
and sets SEO Strategy, providing education to build SEO
best practices into the workfow of numerous business groups
across Discover Financial Services.
WM: Traditionally, search marketing does not come natu-
rally to a fnancial services organizations compared to, lets
say a technology company. How do you drive this behav-
ioral change and get these organizations to build in-house
search marketing expertise?
Tripathi: In non-technology companies search is a hard sell
– not just in terms of budget allocation but establishing an in-
house search marketing practice. I have been very lucky that
my management believed in me and my passion for search
and, most importantly, they believe in search marketing. As
such, when you get your executives to “buy in,” your job is
half done. Search is a whole diferent world for people outside
our search industry and when I talk to them everyday I realize
that, most times, search marketers are speaking a diferent
language. So for in-house search marketers it is important to
start educating your internal stakeholders in a simple language
that is easy to understand. I spend a lot of time just educat-
ing diferent groups about search. I am a strong believer that
as an in-house person education is the best investment you
can make. Every company operating in this 2.0 world should
leverage search. It is amazing what search and social marketing
in general can do for businesses, regardless of the industry.
WM: How is the search team structured? Are some focusing
on search analytics, others on PPC, and others engaging in
social media?
Tripathi: Organizations have to structure their teams in a
way that is appropriate to their business. For example, brand-
centric companies do not need to structure their team the
same way a B2C company does. I have tried to position
our team on a center of excellence model, where we are the
thought leaders on search marketing and consult diferent
business units on search marketing best practices; educating
and ensuring search is ingrained in the overall project manage-
ment process. Te advantage to this center of excellence model
is that each team continues to meet their individual business
unit goals. Very few people are needed to handle enterprise
wide projects and this does not require you to hire an army of
SEOs or SEMs. I have seen companies hire so many SEM’s,
they become an agency in itself.
WM: Is there ever an instance when certain SEO/SEM
functions should be outsourced?
Bob Tripathi
Bob Tripathi is Discover’s in-house
Search & Social Marketing Strategist.
Bob manages enterprise wide SEO
and PPC campaigns. Bob also sets
SEO strategy and provides education
to build SEO best practices into the
workfow of numerous business groups
across Discover Financial Services.
SEO INTERVIEW
>>
Di s c o v e r Fi na nc i a l Se r v i c e s
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 19
Tripathi: Absolutely! Since I do not have an army of SEOs or
SEMs at my disposal, it is essential that certain functions get
outsourced. I follow a hybrid model of search where we man-
age all SEO in-house and outsource certain bid management
functionality to agencies for paid search.
If you are an in-house marketer thinking of transitioning from
agency to in-house, I would suggest bringing it in parts rather
than everything at once. SEO can be the frst part to bring in-
house, as lots of diferent factors go into SEO. Paid search, on
the other hand, requires keeping up with bids, writing creative
copy and other practices, so it makes sense to manage it along
with an external agency. Tat being said, diferent models will
work for diferent companies.
WM: How do you measure success as a company for SEO/
SEM eforts within your organization?
Tripathi: At the end of the day, how much revenue your
SEO/SEM programs generate is always going to be the Holy
Grail. But there are many intangibles – like educating your
internal stakeholders, getting search marketing a place on the
board room table, getting search inserted into the process and
the list goes on.
Tere are also numerous architecture issues where SEO can be
of great value, like domain migration, internal search, business
planning and marketing budget allocation to name a few. In
all, SEO eforts should be viewed in totality and not just by
rankings. Te same is true with paid search. Even though you
may have outsourced paid search to an external vendor you
simply cannot let the agency run the program at its will. Tere
are numerous instances where you can save your organization
some money simply by helping manage it well.
WM: What unique challenges has Discover Card faced as
a larger enterprise that you do not feel you would face in a
less competitive industry?
Tripathi: Large enterprises always have their own challenges
and as a company grows in size, the nimbleness of a start-up
is lost. A good analogy is that of the elephant that grows into
size but loses fexibility.
Larger enterprises have processes and multiple stakeholders
and, as such, each stakeholder must to approve any new or
change request. I guess that is where the fun also lies, to work
through the system. It has its own joys. As far as the industry
goes, when the stakes are higher the competition naturally
builds up. With search marketing, size does not matter much,
so the playing feld is leveled for the big and the small players
alike.
Tere are advantages related to a certain brand. After all, in
PPC it takes only $5 to start competing, right? In the credit
card market, there are many afliates who are fghting for the
same spot as the credit card issuers, so it has become a great
battleground. Do all of them provide value to the visitor? It
depends. Financial services are some of the fercest market-
places online, mainly due to the stakes involved. ■
©2008 Quova Inc. All rights reserved.
Why do the top 3 search engines trust
Quova to geolocate their advertising?
Call us today to find out.
Leading ad networks, search engines and e-tailers
trust Quova to geo-target their web content and
advertising.
º updaled daily wilh deuographic aud uelwork
characlerislic dala dowu lo a cily block area.
0M^ aud zip code iuíorualiou wheu available.
º Resulls are 99.9% accurale al lhe couulry level
aud 96%* accurale al lhe uS Slale level.
º Easily iulegrales iulo your exisliug web
applicaliou. Act now lo receive a copy oí 0uova's Couleul Localizaliou Brieí
www.quova.cou/websileuagaziue
Contact us today at sales@quova.com or 877.737.8682
Location Matters.
IP: 81.158.191.203
Continent: europe
Country: gb (20)
US Region: north west US Region: north west
Timezone: +0.0
State / Province: Manchester (5) State / Province: Manchester (5) State / Province: Manchester (5)
DMA:
MSA / PMSA:
City: manchester (5) City: manchester (5) City: manchester (5) City: manchester (5) City: manchester (5)
Lat. / Lon: 53.44222221 / -2.24083333 Lat. / Lon: 53.44222221 / -2.24083333
Area Code: Area Code:
Postal Code: M4 Postal Code: M4 Postal Code: M4
ASN: 2856 ASN: 2856 ASN: 2856 ASN: 2856
Carrier Org: btnet uk regional network Carrier Org: btnet uk regional network Carrier Org: btnet uk regional network Carrier Org: btnet uk regional network
Top Level Domain: com Top Level Domain: com Top Level Domain: com Top Level Domain: com Top Level Domain: com
2nd Level Domain: btcentralplus 2nd Level Domain: btcentralplus
AOL Flag: 0
Routing Method: anonymizer Routing Method: anonymizer
Connection Type: dsl Connection Type: dsl
Connection Speed: medium Connection Speed: medium Connection Speed: medium
Anonymizer Status: active Anonymizer Status: active
IP: 81.158.191.203
Continent: europe
Country: gb (20)
US Region: north west
Timezone: +0.0
State / Province: Manchester (5)
MSA / PMSA:
City: manchester (5) City: manchester (5)
State / Province: Manchester (5)
©2008 Quova Inc. All rights reserved.
Quova to geolocate their advertising?
Call us today to find out.
Leading ad networks, search engines and e-tailers
trust Quova to geo-target their web content and
º updaled daily wilh deuographic aud uelwork
characlerislic dala dowu lo a cily block area.
0M^ aud zip code iuíorualiou wheu available.
º Resulls are 99.9% accurale al lhe couulry level
aud 96%* accurale al lhe uS Slale level.
Why do the top 3 search engines trust
Quova to geolocate their advertising?
we Cau Jell You WHERE
Your web \isilors ^re Localed.
www.quova.com www.quova.com www.quova.com
* 0uova is lhe ouly geolocaliou veudor who's uelhodology is
audiled auuually by Pricewalerhouse Coopers íor accuracy.
20 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
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speed up your success with print, digital, online,
and interactive advertising.
Past Issues
FPspeed.indd 1 4/14/2008 2:23:16 PM
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 21
ocal search is the favor of the
day. But what is it? What is the
buzz all about?
At its core, local search is simply un-
derstanding today’s consumer, their be-
havior and their needs, and providing
a product or service where and when
they want it. It’s exciting because local
search works equally well for small- to
medium-size businesses trying to get
found, as well as big regional and na-
tional brands.
First, understand that in a search driv-
en world there are two types of user
searches: 1) consumers who are looking
for your brand and 2) consumers who
are looking for your type of services. For
consumers, it’s all about being in control
and having choices.
Brand Seekers
If users are looking for your brand, they
will most likely look for you on your
corporate website. But the trend is mov-
ing towards consumers entering in your
brand name and a local qualifer (city
or zip code) directly into a major search
engine to fnd the nearest location: for
example, “Red Lobster locations in NJ”
or “Coupons for Red Lobster in Illinois.”
Te worst-case scenario is if it doesn’t
show up at all. Te second worst case is
that it shows up, but takes them to your
corporate website home page, meaning
they have to do the search all over again.
Tat’s not very user friendly.
Service Seekers
If consumers are looking for your type of
services (a restaurant, ofce supply, gro-
cery store, sporting goods) then they will
most likely start their search on a major
search engine. Te trend is going towards
consumers entering in your generic ser-
vices and a local qualifer directly into a
major search engine to fnd products and
services: for example, “Crab legs Lewis-
ville TX,” or “Seafood Luzerne PA.”
Worst case is that you don’t show up but
your competitors do.
Traditional marketing methods include
print yellow pages, TV, radio, billboards,
direct mail, email marketing and refer-
rals. But to ensure success in today’s
highly competitive market, advertisers
must embrace not only the major search
engines, but increasingly an array of oth-
er relevant and efective new media plat-
forms such as local directories, corporate
websites, mobile devices and even por-
table navigation devices. Casting a wide
net will ensure customers fnd you any-
time or anywhere they are ready to buy.
Major Search Engines
Tere are three distinct areas on a search
engine results page (SERP.) It’s very im-
portant to show up in at least one of
them if not all three, called the Search
Trifecta.

By now most of you know about Search
Engine Marketing or SEM. It refers
to the paid search or sponsored listings
that show up on the top and right side
of most search results. Most of the ads
are Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Pay-Per-Ac-
quisition (PPA.) Te top search engines
that businesses set up campaigns with are
Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask. You can
try to manage it in-house but there are
third party companies that can manage
it for you.
Local search is a widely-used term, but
when referring to search engine results
it’s the section that’s associated with a
map when a local qualifer is used.
Organic listings, (SEO, also referred to
as free listings) show up after the paid
and local results. If someone searches
your brand, then you will most likely
appear. But if they use a local qualifer
then you might not. Tere are many
companies jumping into the SEO/SEM
bandwagon who want to help. Make
sure to do your homework before hiring
anyone who wants to convince you that
it’s too complicated to explain what they
will be doing for you.
Local landing pages or micro sites are key
in helping out businesses with multiple
locations.
For businesses with multiple locations it’s
important to have local landing pages to
drive this online search trafc. If a con-
sumer searches for a local location, they
won’t want to be directed to your corpo-
rate website home page. Tey will want
location specifcs. Tese landing pages
can be used for paid search, local sub-
mission and organic search. Reporting
should be set up in order to track where
your trafc is coming from (what search
engine and what area of the page) and
call tracking to evaluate ROI.
It’s important to get listed in local
directories that include Citysearch,
Yellowpages, and Superpages as well
as Google Local, Yahoo! Local and
MSN Live since they attract signifcant
amounts of trafc.
Continued on pg 23
HOW TO GET FOUND IN A SEARCH DRIVEN WORLD - By Manish Patel
L
MASTERING LOCAL SEARCH
Where Are Consumers
Searching?
Up Your Success with Website Magazine
The Magazine for Website Success
Call Us Today!
1-800-817-1518, x6919
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Past Issues
FPspeed.indd 1 4/14/2008 2:23:16 PM
22 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 23
More and more consumers are using
Internet search to fnd local businesses
and offers - and Darden Restaurants,
owner of Red Lobster and Olive Garden
restaurants realizes the importance of
driving online traffc to their local restau-
rants.
“We are excited about the opportunity
to work with Where 2 Get It using their
new Search Locator solution to help us
maximize our organic SEO efforts and
drive qualifed local restaurant traffc.”
Michael Friedman
Director Interactive Marketing
Services
Darden Restaurants
Darden and Where 2 Get It
Darden has been using Where 2 Get It
locator technology since 2003
►Restaurant “Business” Locator:
•Red Lobster
•Olive Garden
•Bahama Breeze
•Season’s 52
► Search Locator
•Organic Search
▪Search Engine Optimized (SEO)
landing pages for every Red
Lobster location so that Google,
Yahoo!, MSN and Ask can crawl
the data and display it in the
organic search results
•Local Submission
▪Details on every Red Lobster
location have been submitted to:
• Major search engines to
show up in the local search
results/ sites
• Internet yellow pages (IYPs)
• GPS in-car and portable
navigation devices
► Mobile Locators
• Mobile Browser
• Local search results on web-
enabled mobile devices
• SMS Text Message - Send to
Phone
• Send location information
directly to their mobile device
from their PC
Corporate Websites
In this day and age every business has
a corporate website. But you may not
know of all the diferent ways to increase
your foot trafc or online sales.
For retailers, it’s important that users
can quickly and easily fnd your loca-
tions and the specifc details of each.
Interactive maps and driving directions
(preferably without the user needing to
leave your site) is a must-have these days.
With Web 2.0 capabilities it’s the user
experience that counts. Content such as
store hours, menus or fyers, credit cards
accepted, brands carried and reviews can
help consumers with their search and
items such as coupons or local events can
add a call to action. You can also engage
visitors with registration for e-newsletters
or club discounts. Send to Phone/Email
is a good way to track location trafc as
well as provide driving directions. Re-
member that locator functionality is the
top decision-making tool consumers use
when visiting a retailer’s website. A cus-
tomer who uses a locator is most likely
going to walk into your local business.
For manufacturers, embracing the new
shopping trends of “Buy Online” and
“Buy Local” will give you a business
edge. Compared with customers who
shop only at stores, multichannel shop-
pers buy 12 percent more often, and
spend 32 percent more every year. Tat’s
good news, if you ride the trend. Product
locators, for example, will help you tap
into multiple sales channels, increasing
opportunities for additional sales and ex-
panding your brand recognition. For buy
online, you need the ability to show mul-
tiple online retailers (etailers) complete
with inventory and pricing, as well as the
ability to take the consumer directly from
your product page to an etailer product
page so that the user doesn’t have to do
the search all over again. For buy local,
you need the same features mentioned
above for retailers.
Regardless if you are a retailer or manu-
facturer, your corporate website needs to
be SEO-friendly in order for the search
engines to crawl and fnd the data in or-
der to have the links show up in the or-
ganic listings.
Mobile Devices
Tere are now over 255 million mobile
devices in the US with more than 69
million people using mobile browsing
and 125 million people using text mes-
saging. Users are going to be searching
for your products and services, so it’s
imperative that you enter into this arena
soon. Around 80 percent of phones are
WAP enabled (versus smart phones with
full internet access), so they will need
reduced text for their smaller screens for
fnding a location. SMS text can be sent
to a phone from a PC (1-way SMS) or
text (for example a zip code) can be sent
to a common short code (CSC, mysbux)
to get locations text-messaged back. In-
teractive Voice Response can also be used
to reduce overhead costs. For example,
call an 800 number, enter in your zip
code to hear an automated response of
the locations near you.
What are Consumers Searching For?
From Retailers
• Where is the closest location?
• Can I fnd locations along the way?
• What hours are they open?
• What credit cards are accepted?
• Do they ofer any discounts or
coupons?
• Do they have wi-f?
• Do they have RV parking?
• Can I send the driving directions to
my mobile device?
From Manufacturers
• What products are ofered?
• Can I buy it online?
• How does the price compare
between retailers?
• Is it in stock?
• Can I buy it locally?
• Where is the closest retail
location?
• How do I get there?
Remember, today’s consumer likes to
research online, demands choices and
wants to control the buying process. It
doesn’t matter if you’re Seiko, Darden or
John’s Catering, every business must un-
derstand who they are and the needs they
fll. Mastering local search is not rocket
science but it’s an ever-increasing skill set
required for marketers in today’s search
driven world. ■
Manish Patel is founder and CEO of Where
2 Get It, Inc.
24 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
How to Leverage Event–Based Social
Media to Generate Web Site Traffic
and Brand Awareness
By Christopher Smith
T
oday’s online culture is about participating in conversa-
tions and creating communities where people can share
ideas. Similarly (and more traditionally), conferences
create conversations between people with similar inter-
ests and common goals. As marketers, we spend a lot of time
attending conferences – it seems logical that we should connect
these two like items together. Tere are many ways to create
and leverage event-based social media to generate Web site traf-
fc and brand awareness long after the conference has ended.

Over the years, I’ve found that there are various types of confer-
ences, tradeshows and events. I like to break them down into
two categories:
1) Shared learning events, where education and
knowledge transfer are key, and
2) Vendor-saturated events, where the show foor
consists of companies introducing you to their
products.
Te key to any social media marketing strategy is to frst have
a keen understanding of your market and its tie-in with the
event you plan on attending. For example, the recent South
by Southwest (SXSW) Conference held each year in Austin,
Texas – this conference brings together an extremely diverse
audience from the music, interactive and flm industries. While
an audience this diverse may seem advantageous, it can create
a challenge for a marketer trying to start a conversation with a
targeted portion of these folks. Terefore, before you get start-
ed, its important to understand how your marketing objectives
align with your conference goals. Once you understand this,
you are ready to start planning your event-based social media.
ESTABLISHING YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Since social media marketing takes advantage of the combina-
tion of technology, social interaction and rapid dissemination
of your message, you have to get it right the frst time. Te frst
step is research.
Te role of a social media marketer is very much like that of
an anthropologist, using the evidence of a culture’s history to
predict future behaviors. So, after choosing an event that you
feel would be of the most interest to your audience, begin by
researching past events.
I believe that the best starting point in your research is to es-
tablish a perspective or point of view that will be compelling
to your audience and will capture their attention, interest and
imagination. Social media marketing is about being social, so
any successful campaign needs to be able to mingle with the
community; generating insightful, unique and newsworthy
dialogue at each event.
Second, establish a perspective that supports the mission of
your brand. For example, at SXSW, attendees might be artists
that would like to increase the level of control they have in
expressing, monetizing and distributing their content online.
Once you understand your audience and their objectives cre-
ate a campaign that will empower them while driving trafc to
your website. A smart idea could be to interview artists on their
passions and post the interviews exclusively to your site. In or-
der to do this, you need to schedule time with these artists.
CHOOSING YOUR WEAPONS
In order to execute your campaign onsite, it pays to engage
with attendees before the conference begins. At SXSW, attend
Continued on pg 26
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 25
Continued on pg 26
26 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
ees were connecting to each other through Facebook, Twitter
and even company blogs weeks before the conference began.
Te discussion had started, and companies that engaged in so-
cial media were already sending people to their websites and
promoting their brands.
GET IT TOGETHER
Since a large portion of the SXSW conference focused on in-
teractive media, it was an efcient use of eforts to look at the
supporting website for clues as to what technologies were in
play this year. We discovered that one of the key platforms this
year was sched.org. Te team at Sched had imported the entire
SXSW conference schedule including panels, flm times and
parties into their platform. After creating a simple username,
attendees were able to create individual and group schedules,
and could view the list of others that had selected the same ses-
sions. Attendees could export calendars that could be shared
to keep track of our meeting schedules, panels to attend, and
parties where we thought the next set of interviews might come
from. Efective, yet fexible scheduling is a key to any social
media marketing campaign. Use scheduling methods such as
this to fnd ways to locate your audience.
THE SOCIAL GPS
In 2007, Twitter made an enormous impact from SXSW and
emerged as the leader in micro-blogging at events such as this.
So it makes sense to include a Twitter component in social me-
dia campaigns. Employees can use existing Twitter accounts
to broadcast interview plans for SXSW and invite our Twitter
community to follow our interactions. Post messages to boards,
blogs and other social platforms that include a call for inter-
views, and ensure that your Twitter name is included. Tis year
at SXSW, Twitter continued to be the social GPS of the event
with tweets like “Billy Bob Torton is in the Dell Lounge right
now” or “@groovemonkey We are in line for the Rock Band
Party. Password is drum solo.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT TUBES
Once the interviews are scheduled and conducted, fgure out
your initial method of distribution. Tubemogul provides a
video distribution platform to over 15 diferent video sharing
websites, as well as a rich set of metrics to help measure the
success of your campaigns. Users can publish once or distribute
widely, and then spend more time interacting with the com-
munities that inspired you to generate high-quality content in
the frst place.
ONCE YOU CAPTURE IT, SET IT FREE
Te fnal piece of every social media campaign is the wide-
spread distribution of the conversations that you have gath-
ered. It is not enough to just capture insightful interviews or
well-positioned marketing pitches. Campaigns must be seen
and heard and interacted with in order to be successful. Tools
such as Digg, StumbleUpon, and del.icio.us are great examples
of social bookmarking. Video sharing platforms such as Blip.
tv, YouTube and Veoh continue to be used as a way to integrate
user-generated video in social media campaigns. Facebook will
continue to be an excellent place to provide and disseminate
your campaign, as well as the host of blogs, websites and plat-
forms that your audience follows. Leverage the research you
did upfront and use the communities that helped defne your
campaign goals. Tey are likely the ones that will be the most
useful in disseminating your piece of the conversation.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE
Using social media in your marketing execution is about mak-
ing the most of technology, perspective and interaction, in or-
der to capture the attention of the end-consumer and relate to
them in a meaningful and relevant way. Tis helps build rela-
tionships and connections with your brand. If your point of
view for the campaign is relevant to your audience it will be
engaging, insightful and valuable.
Te platforms and tools that you select must also be relevant to
your audience or your message will be missed. Facebook, You-
Tube and MySpace are all established platforms for your social
media campaigns. Blogs and other micro-publishing platforms
such as Tumblr and Twitter will continue to grow in popular-
ity. Social Bookmarking sites will also continue to expand and
show value in the tool box of the marketer that uses social me-
dia to participate in the conversation.
Te fnal key to social media marketing is that there really is no
end to the conversation. Fresh voices will emerge, additional
perspectives will be added to the mix and new technology will
surface that will continue to push the notions of social media.
Tis will continue to challenge the marketer to fnd efective,
relevant, noteworthy events and tools to engage their consum-
ers in the conversation. Te question becomes, will you be
ready to participate? ■
Over the past decade, Christopher Smith has helped companies
build brands online including Apple, Disney, Nextel, Phillips
and Quicksilver. Christopher is currently the creative director for
MediaTrust, an ecosystem of online media properties. Visit www.
relevantlyspeaking.com to see how MediaTrust leveraged social me-
dia at SXSW to generate Web site trafc. Please direct questions to
csmith@mediatrust.com.
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 27
he transition from the static Web to one rich in in-
teractive multimedia has been swift and signifcant.
Tere are hundreds of sites that give website owners
and marketers the tools necessary to include function-
ality to improve the experience of their users. Take YouTube for
example, which enables anyone to share videos with others and
even integrate them into a website.
Leveraging video and audio and making this content interac-
tive gives websites a signifcant edge. Realizing this shift is im-
portant and understanding how to incorporate interactivity on
your own site through applications is essential to your success.
Tis is why SproutBuilder, a solution dedicated to help anyone
add rich, sophisticated and yes, interactive multimedia Web
content, is such an important resource in the Web landscape.
Building Sprouts
SproutBuilder provides dozens of pre-built templates and even
ofers users the ability to start from scratch. Drag-and-drop
shapes, text, images, video, and include components such as
slideshows, jukeboxes, and countdown clocks, even interactive
services such as chat (Meebo), phone (Ribbit), and fundraising
(ChipIn).
Publishing Sprouts
Publishing your “sprouts” couldn’t be easier. Cut and paste
sprout code into a Web page or use the “quick post” feature
to place the freshly-built application into blogs and social net-
working sites. Sproutbuilder even allows for publishing on its
distribution partners, including Clearspring, Gigya, and Spring
Widgets.
Sprouts Are Viral
Te beauty of Sproutbuilder is that these applications have a
tendency to go viral quickly. Site visitors can spread the ap-
plication to their own Web pages and into other communities,
providing an evangelical force for your creations. Sprout build-
ers can also track usage stats, such as number of copies made,
number of times a sprout was viewed and more.
SproutBuilder in Action
Tere is no better way to see the power of SproutBuilder than to
throw caution to the wind and create your own. Website Maga-
zine has done just that. In an efort to promote our Replace
A Tree Foundation (ReplaceATree.org), our staf has created a
SproutBuilder widget (based on one of the examples provided
by SproutBuilder) that promotes forest conservation and ac-
cepts donations through PayPal. You can see an image below of
that Sprout and in action at www.WebsiteMagazine.com. ■
>>
Reviews
SproutBuilder:
in Review
An Interactive Application Maker for Everyone
T
28 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | MAY 2008
eaders of Website Magazine’s May issue were treat-
ed to an article that provided insights into which
worked better: pay-per-click advertising or search
engine optimization? Te Engine Ready report
cited in that article noted PPC as the trafc source yield-
ing the best results. To fnd the reason why many fail or
become discouraged with the performance of their PPC
campaign we often need look no further than our own
expertise with analytics. Tere are solutions available that
can make understanding the performance of paid adver-
tising campaigns much easier – one such solution is the
VisualCalc (VisualCalc.com) AdWords Dashboard.
Te VisualCalc AdWords Dashboard (other PPC provid-
ers are supported as well) is a Web-based analytics solution
that presents complex data into interactive, elegant and
understandable graphs and charts to explore key perfor-
mance indicators such as clicks vs. impressions, keyword
CTR and more. And when the data changes, so do the
charts and graphs with no reporting lag-time. Tis real-
time access to key metrics reveals the performance of cam-
paigns and answers important questions, such as which ad
groups perform best, how impressions, clicks, conversions
and sales are trending over time, and even causal factors
behind changes in account performance.
Advertisers that use the system (pricing starts at $50 per
month or $500 per year) are able to identify potential
problems and act on opportunities that may arise for the
beneft of their online business ROI and the efectiveness
of PPC programs.
But don’t Google and other PPC providers ofer detailed
account reporting already? Of course! Te problem is, this
raw data is often cumbersome to get through and often, by
the time you’ve mastered the ins and outs of PPC analysis,
you have already used up your budget. Exploring alternate
solutions, especially if you are just getting started, may be
the way to go and VisualCalc makes it easy. ■
VisualCalc
AdWords
Dashboard:
Elegant and Understandable
PPC Reporting
R
>> Reviews Continued
MAY 2008 | WEBSITEMAGAZINE DIGITAL SUPPLEMENT | 29
wiseacre sportswriter in the Tribune once said,
“Never go with public sentiment.”
Although he was talking about the University of
Memphis and March Madness, his advice sure fts
the New England Patriots and the Super Bowl this year and all
those lost wagers in Las Vegas.
In your opinion, it fts success on the Web, too. Place your
bets on public sentiment about the Internet today, and you’re
betting on mobile Web to be the next big thing. How do you
like the odds for your own website? Or are you ready to bet
big on social networking?
At Website Magazine, we’re always listening to the buzz
on the Web, aka, Internet Madness. At the same time, we’re
focused on what makes sense – the next steps to improve and
grow your own website(s).
Tat’s why in our survey last month, we asked you to tell
us: What’s the public perception on how to improve and grow
the Internet? More important, what’s next for you to improve
and grow your own website? Tanks to all 787 of you who
responded. You said the public perception is:
- Mobile Web’s the big thing.
- If not mobile Web, then the big thing is social networking.
- Te next, next big thing is defnitely search engine
marketing.
Tat’s where public perception intersects with reality.
Te collective wisdom of our real-world survey responders is
focused on improving and growing professional websites. You
said for your own website:
- Search engine marketing’s the big thing.
- In addition to SEM, website design and content
management are big, too.
- Social networking’s going to be big, right after we get done
doing six other things really well. And after we get social
networking done, and four more things, we’re going to take
on mobile Web.
Te collective wisdom of 787 Website Magazine subscrib-
ers doesn’t cover the experiences of 132,223 other readers to
whom didn’t send this survey invitation or who were slammed
with work that Tuesday.
Still, this is real research, albeit loosely interpreted here.
Odds are, you agree with our survey crew: To improve and
grow, we need to manage good content well, to design and
redesign websites to invite new customers and delight favor-
ite users, and to market websites efectively through search
engines. And while all those get done, simultaneously, we’re
putting top priority on besting our practices in email market-
ing, online advertising, and e-commerce.
And why not? Not only are you all champs at multi-tasking,
you have a dedicated staf, a charged-up users group, and
a couple of social networks – plus your mom – collectively
advocating that all these priorities are essential right now. And
don’t forget blogging, CRM, and online video – top priorities
for one in eight of our survey crew.
So where do you place your bets – on focused fundamen-
tals, or on public sentiment?
Betting on the Super Bowl is so American, it’s about to
turn up in a Chevy commercial. Betting on the brackets in the
ofce pool can make anybody look like a genius. Betting on
the Cubs? Hey, this could be the year.
Likewise, when it comes to betting on Internet trends,
public sentiment has had some winners. Plenty of people
bought Google stock, and there’s nothing evil in that. Fa-
cebook now lets friends sell stuf to each other. Okay, not
everyone wants to buy three pieces of ABC gum for $7.50.
Somebody soon is going to fgure out how to monetize all that
trafc, and Google stock is on the rise again this week.
When it comes to the success of your website(s), setting
priorities and betting on real potentials are not a game. Te
choices are up to you. ■
Susan Whitehurst is the publisher of Website Magazine
Internet Madness
vs.
Collective Wisdom
by Susan Whitehurst
Join the Collective Wisdom
To add your wisdom to Website Magazine’s survey of web
professionals, visit www.websitemagazine.com/survey. For
more information on survey results, contact susan.white-
hurst@websitemagazine.com.
A