Category Archives: Alltop

#2160 on Amazon

Ahh, is this like egosearching for book authors?

Now that our book is actually out I’m finding that I’m watching Amazon’s sales figures every day. Today we’re at 2,160 and still have a five-star ranking. That’s out of hundreds of thousands of books.

Well, OK, that’s fun and all, but what we find interesting is how few people buy it by visiting our book blog and clicking on the link on the site. It used to be that having a link on your blog or Web site would bring a lot more direct sales. I wonder if people are starting to ignore anything on the sides of a Web page cause they know it’s probably advertising?

If so, that trend will impact the big advertising companies eventually (er, MSN, Yahoo, Google) and will mean that the industry will need to bring out a new form of advertising to grow revenues and profits.

Remember, we’ve been through this before. I remember in the late 1990s when everyone in the advertising industry assumed that banners were the way to do internet advertising. Remember what came next? Google.

Back to the book. Dan Gillmor, former tech journalist for the San Jose Mercury News, just endorsed our book. That means more to me than anything. Dan’s one of the main reasons I’m on this journey.

Advertisers must hate “accidense”

TDavid wins the “come up with a cool new word of the week” award for noticing “accidense.” What’s that? That’s what happens when people accidentally click on Google Adsense ads (he noticed that some Google ads have more clickable whitespace than others, which increases the chance they’ll receive “accidense.”)

Oh, I’ve seen people accidentally click on ads. I wonder if Google is able to discern how much of this goes on? Usually it’s accompanied by a very fast click on the “Back” button.

Shel and I are seeing a very similar behavior. Turns out if you search Google for “Naked” our Naked Conversation site is the 14th item on that list and it’s #3 on MSN Search. Almost every single one of those visits is a short term visit and people very rarely stick around.

This is an example of when picking a popular keyword isn’t exactly going to bring you the best results. I wonder how many commercial sites track their advertising effectiveness by how long the browser sticks around?

#54: Another phone-based advertising platform: Voicestar

I’m working backward through my day. It’s been quite a day with quite a diverse set of businesses crossing in front of me.

While I was hanging out in the cafeteria, Ari Jacoby, president of VoiceStar called me up. Remember Ingenio from the other day? Well, VoiceStar does a lot of that, but Ari claims his cost per signup is a lot cheaper. He also showed me features that I didn’t remember Ingenio showing me (things like you could record each incoming call).

Let me back up first. VoiceStar has an advertising platform. Let’s say you go to Yelp.com and search for Sushi in San Francisco, like this. See the ad at the top of the page? The one with the phone number? Well, if you called that number you would have kicked a few bucks over to the person/company that owns the Website you’re on.

Now, I don’t know how to validate their claims, but clearly these two companies are going to be interesting to watch as the online advertising world gets built out.

One place blogosphere is hypocritical: advertising

Remember last year when the blogosphere was up in arms about Marquis? Oh, if you weren’t around back then that company paid bloggers to write about its company. Some bloggers got paid almost $1000 to write about them. Seemed sleazy, right?

But no one complains about bloggers taking a similar deal from advertising companies like Google and Chitika.

The funny thing is that Marqui was giving 100% of its marketing dollars straight to bloggers without any intermediaries. Now they can buy the same kind of exposure by using an advertising system like Google, Chitika, Yahoo, but only a percentage of their dollar spent goes to the blogger. The rest goes to Google or Chitika or Yahoo or, soon, MSN.

One advantage to the AdSense model is that bloggers don’t need to change their editorial, although there is a subtle effect there too (if you write about topics, like Camcorders, that advertisers are more willing to pay for advertising for, you’ll make a lot more money, so if you’re in it for the money there’s a pressure to give the advertising networks what they want).

Anyway, I just noticed that the blogosphere looked very critically at the advertising Marquis was doing, but hasn’t looked critically at the other advertising that is now appearing on blogs (and will intensify over the next year — Google is even paying a referral fee for bloggers to get their blogging friends into using its advertising system).

Scott is confused by “Live”

Scott Hanselman, one of our best customers, is confused by Windows Live.

Shhh, Scott, don’t tell anyone, but this isn’t about just the portal. And if anyone at Microsoft thinks it is I’m gonna come and kick them in the rear.

It’s about a new advertising platform. It’s about giving users new services that can be docked on the live.com page or in other places. It’s about a new URL for search. Sorry, typing in http://search.msn.com was too confusing and convoluted. It’s a lot easier to say “go to live dot com.”

It’ll all make sense when the subdomains start popping in.

What opportunity is there for developers? Lots. See, you’ll be able to create a service box that’ll drive traffic back to your site or blog. Why would you do that? Well, on your blog you’ll have a monetization service that’ll give you a paycheck.

But, yes, they made this stuff too complicated. I see it clearly in my mind now. I’m going to get some videos now and make these teams simplify what they are trying to say.

We don’t know how to romance developers anymore (if we ever did). Sorry about that.

Oh, Joe Wilcox wrote a post about “what is live.”