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Archive for September 2008

Youth and the Web: The Political Campaign Game-Changer


It’s hard to dismiss the role of the Internet in this year’s elections. Both political parties are using online strategies to an extent never seen before in a political campaign. From daily candidate blogs with updates on issues, to made-for-YouTube commercials, to the use of technologies such as SMS to announce vice presidential selections, to — perhaps most discussed — the use of online tools for fundraising, the Internet has become a dominant force in this election.

In fact, young voters in particular have come to expect that they can gather information about candidates and issues online, and a failure by candidates to address this expectation may negatively impact their campaigns and their fundraising.

Results of a recent election survey indicate that while TV ads are still considered the most effective way to reach voters, e-mail and Web sites are now ranked higher than phone or radio campaigns. Furthermore, among young voters (18 to 24 years old) less than 5 percent say that direct mail is effective. (Visit the E-Voter Institute for more information.) Meanwhile, a recent Quibblo.com survey indicated that a full 36 percent of quiz takers didn’t watch presidential candidates’ acceptance speeches on TV during the recent conventions.

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Cloud + Client

This week two giants spoke to the technology wave known as cloud computing. Larry Ellison called it a new label on what everyone is doing already. He acknowledged he was going along with it to keep his marketing and sales guys happy, but basically he called bullshit on it.

Steve Ballmer talked at a deep level about intelligent caching between the cloud and the client. Over an hour of snappy questions by Ann Winblad and Obamaesque nuance from the Microsoft leader let some significant cat out of the bag. No longer software plus services, the net of Ballmer’s signals was cloud + client. If you believe as Jason Calacanis does that we’re on the brink of a startup depression, the technology industry should be very very afraid.

Bill Gates has been thinking so far out ahead for so long that we’ve grown complacent in understanding how long it takes for Microsoft to reposition itself. Most observers still think the company is caught in an intractable wedge between the revenue of the Office group and the release cycles of Windows. The forthcoming Windows 7 announcements at the Professional Developers Conference just before Election Day in Los Angeles can already be understood as a point evolution, more like a service pack from the old Windows NT days when Redmond was trying to absorb consumer Windows into the IT server stream.

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Why Position Bidding Wastes Money

It’s remarkable that in 2008 there are still many bidding systems in use by SEMs and in-house PPC managers dedicated to “finding the right position” for each keyword. These position crawling systems guarantee inefficiency and lost opportunity; to put it concisely: they’re playing the wrong game. Here’s why:

  1. The value of traffic doesn’t vary by position. Careful study on our part, confirmed by University Statistics researchers, has proved that the conversion rates (orders per click), average order sizes, and margin percentages do not vary by position on the page. In other words, the people who click on ads at the top of the page behave the same way on their visit as the folks who click on the same ad in the middle of the page or at the bottom of the page. The quantity of traffic is much greater at the top, but the quality is almost exactly the same. In fact, the quality in position 1 tends to be slightly lower than position 2, and the quality improves slightly as the ads get lower on the page — these are small effects that can be ignored for practical purposes.
  2. Value of traffic times the percentage of value the advertiser can afford to spend on marketing = the bid. Maximizing the top-line within some efficiency constraint — what we’re typically asked to do — is “simply” a matter of measuring the value of traffic on each ad and bidding according to the above formula. That will place the advertiser’s ad as high on the page as they can afford to be, capturing the most traffic for each ad within their efficiency needs. If that bid places an ad in position 1 — that’s great, position 6? Okay, position 15? Oh well. The position is what it is, and is determined by what your competitors choose to do at any moment.

How do position crawlers work?

Largely, trial and error through the following steps:

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RealScoop Tells You When Politicians And Celebrities Are Lying

RealScoop

Have you ever wanted to know when politicians are lying? A startup called RealScoop thinks it can nail it down for you in real-time with the help of voice analysis technology that it claims, is used widely in law enforcement and fraud prevention.

Dubbed the Believability Meter, RealScoop’s analysis technology analyzes over 100 vocal elements of the human voice and performs over 1,000 calculations per second to find out if a politician or celebrity is telling the truth.

The site itself features a bunch of videos collected from outside sources that are played in its own player. The player features a meter that changes dynamically as it analyzes what’s being said. If it believes the person is lying, the meter turns red and moves towards the “highly questionable” area. If it believes the person is telling the truth, the meter stays green and in the “believable” section.

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Social Network Marketing Benefits

You have recently set up your business organization and deciding on a proper marketing strategy to add brand value to your organization. However, your resources are limited and this is restricting you form any sort of capital investment in this regard. Amidst a highly competitive market, how would you advertise and add proper brand value to your products? The answer in this fast-paced technology aware world is quite simple and intriguing: Social Networks.

For those of you new to this philosophy or rather a concept, a Social Network is a social structure which links individuals and organizations on common grounds of interdependency and areas of interest. These interests may include friendship, kinship, values and visions, or even financial exchange and trade; just to mention a few. There are a plethora of websites that offer you services that allow you to Social Network. However, the question is, How do you utilize this offering?

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The Quality of SEO Matters

The quality of SEO matters now more than ever. With constant revisions to dated algorithms, search engines are savvier than ever in discovering sites that lack the proper quality to rank competitively.

In the not so distant past, obsession with the home page, tons of off-topic links bullied their way past search engine algorithms, now, those days are drawing to a close.

Search engines, like people have become fussy readers with a preference of what they consider as a top caliber website that offers educational or beneficial information based on co-citation and engagement.

No amount of SEO is going to pull the wool over the eyes of advanced artificial intelligence like search engine algorithms that look at link clusters (the time stamp and proximity or link velocity of inbound links), search volume click-through data as well as the quality of the sites referencing your own. To be clear and direct, quality is the cornerstone of a successful online presence.

We have known all along that relevant content strategically organized in a way that fundamentally supports information retrieval such as (theming and siloing), has strong internal links and has persuasive and compelling content and usability was the objective.

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