THE RKGBLOG

2006

We’re migrating our corporate site to Wordpress. In this technical post, we discuss using static pages in Wordpress, breadcrumbs, contextual nav, and helpful plugins.

Can blogging really increase sales? Hugh Macleod tells the story of South African winemaker Stormhoek.

Call me old fashioned, but I agree with Godin’s purple cow thesis: the right way to capture attention, mindshare, word-of-mouth, buzz, and links is by having a remarkable product or service.

From Mack Collier of the Viral Garden, a list of marketing blogs both large and small for consideration.

We live in the age of phishing. Use DNS to keep visitors seeing your domain whenever possible. Flipping them over to strange URLs creates fear and doubt.

In a play for ad revenue, Google is making the world’s information slightly less universally accessible and slightly less useful. On December 5th, Google quietly stopped accepting new sign-ups for the Google SOAP Search API.

User testing shows search is the most important navigation path for online shoppers. Poor site search is inexcusable in 2006. So why is search so poor at Amazon? They own A9, for goodness sakes!

On October 18th, English writer Sharon Jacobsen writes a blog post called Collecting People.
Fast forward sixty-seven days: “blog tag” has gone viral, with 15,000+ posts across the web.
Could you or your business create an idea so good it spreads like a virus?

Why do early hubs like Yahoo have a tremendous advantage? How can later entrants like Google ever sieze share? Why is the internet robust to random damage but vulnerable to terrorist attack?
Why did AIDS spread so rapidly? Why are a handful of hub genes
involved in so many traits? Albert-Laszlo Barabasi uses scale-free network theory to answer these questions in “Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means”.

DonorsChoose is website which allows teachers to request mini-grants from donors, and donors to help fund those grants, though gift certificates and additional donations. Kudos to Yahoo for supporting this non-profit group, and in turn, supporting schools across the country.

Last week we predicted Monday December 18th would top Monday December 11th as the largest sales day for our clients in aggregate for sales driven by paid search. Looks like that prediction was wrong.

We’re migrating our corporate brochureware site to Wordpress. A few days into the project, we discuss project scope, plugins, url structures. Progress is slow due to the holidays but no major bumps in the road so far.

Google has made Google Checkout free for all 2007. The sheer weight of money Google is pushing onto this product will make Checkout cross the tipping point, network effects will kick in, and the bulk of merchants will choose to support it to stay in the game.

Interesting riff last week from Robert Scoble on Google’s adopting a more MSFT-like approach to monetization, and what that means to site owners, to the public, to Microsoft, and to Google.

Estimating your “off-web revenue multiplier” correctly is important for multi-channel merchants. Set it too low, and you leave opportunity on the table, ceding share to your competition. Set it too high, and you advertise recklessly, burning ad budget needlessly.

During January, we’re going to migrate our public website to WordPress, and we intend to blog about this migration process as we do so. We’ll describe the “whys” and the “hows” of this migration. We’ll share any pitfalls we encounter, as well as the solutions we devise to escape them. And we’ll post the plug-ins and custom code we use to make the site do what we want. Our hope is this series is relevant for larger sites planning migrations to any new platform.

Here’s an assortment of some interesting links recently encountered: Google quality score, trademarks, and bidding; time zone detangling; image cropping; postal mail scanning; patent searching; & online scribbling.

Three questions from Artie Isaac to ask clients or customers: What, if we stopped doing it, would make you love us more? What, if we stopped doing it, would make you leave us forever? What would you tell your best friend about us?

Great New Yorker article by James Surowiecki titled “In Praise of Third Place.” He’s analyzing the video game console wars, but his points are wise and generally applicable.

I have three requirements for books about creativity: they have to be fun, they have to be actionable, and they have to contain a rush of new ideas. Here are three books which do: Jump Start Your Brain by Doug Hall, What a Great Idea by Charles Thompson, and Circle of Innovation by Tom Peters. Did you know if you breathe through your non-dominant nostril your ideas will head off in an entirely fresh direction?

Looking at sales driven by paid clicks, the biggest sales day we’ve seen this holiday season so far was Monday, 12/11, up almost three-fold since October’s base rate. Cybersource predicts the biggest day of the season will be next Monday, December 18th.

Kudos for the FTC stepping in to regulate word-of-mouth advertising. When someone is paid to promote a product, they have a ethical obligation to disclose that payment — and now they will have a legal obligation as well.

Google Checkout revenue had been “invisible” to retailers who use a pixel to track sales. As of last Friday, Google now offers a XML spec tell Checkout how to generate a tracking tag on their checkout confirmation page.

Hilton squandered an opportunity to use a follow-up survey to enhance their brand. Make sure your surveys are fast, polite, typo-free, include an open-ended comment, are handled quickly, include Reichheld’s Ultimate Question — and please, keep them short!

As bot-nets drive down the cost of sending spam and as spam filtering programs improve, some spammers moving from CPM to CPC pricing. The resulting emails have no links or tracking, just a jumble of text to fool the filters and an image to carry the marketing message. Like all spam, these image emails are unwanted and annoying, but also poetically surreal. The takeaway? If the CPM drops low enough, brand advertising becomes attractive even to direct marketers.