- Online Marketing
A study released today by a UC Berkeley research group revealed that for some Internet users on some ISPs, using a search engine and typing in a word such as “apple” or “bloomingdales” would redirect the user to websites for Apple or Bloomingdale’s rather than to a page or search results about the keyword in question.
The Berkeley project, called Netalyzr, was created to measure DNS behavior. However, over the past few months, the Netalyzr team noticed some unexplained and unexpected redirections across at least 12 ISPs in the United States.
In a blog post on the findings, the team wrote, “The affected ISPs use services provided by a company called Paxfire to monetize certain web search requests. Paxfire’s main line of business is DNS-error traffic monetization, i.e., the practice of presenting advertisements and search results to users who mistyped a website’s address in their browser.
“In addition, some ISPs employ an optional, unadvertised Paxfire feature that redirects the entire stream of affected customers’ web search requests to Bing, Google and Yahoo via HTTP proxies operated by Paxfire.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation helped the Netalyzr team investigate the matter. As EFF senior staff technologist Peter Eckersley told VentureBeat, “They knew the general category of false DNS responses might be possible and worth checking for, while the details that emerged about Paxfire and what it was actually up to were a bit more surprising.”
“We knew that some forms of malware would change DNS results locally on a victim’s computer, so it made sense to look for such meddling,” said Vern Paxson, one of the Berkeley researchers.
The research team found that around 170 specific, brand-related keywords would trigger interference by the HTTP proxies, causing users to be redirected to affiliate marketing landing pages. “We don’t have a comprehensive list [of keywords], just a bunch of terms we tried, such as the names of popular web sites,” said Paxson. Although the team was testing only for single-word search terms, Paxson also said, “It’s possible that other searches are redirected too, but we haven’t tried that.”
Through the redirection process, the researchers wrote, “The ISPs and Paxfire presumably earn commission payments for the redirected flows.”
Some of the ISPs involved are, according to data presented by multiple organizations involved in the investigation, Cavalier, Cincinnati Bell, Cogent, DirecPC, Frontier, Fuse, Hughes, IBBS, Insight Broadband, Megapath, Paetec, RCN, Wide Open West and XO Communication. Charter and Iowa Telecom claim to have recently stopped doing DNS redirects.
While it’s likely that ISPs had at least some knowledge of at least some of the DNS redirection, if not search traffic redirection, it’s less likely that the brands themselves were involved in the scheme. “There is probably a chain of several intermediaries in these affiliate marketing programs between the brand itself and Paxfire,” said Eckersley.
“We would find it surprising that so many brandholders would agree to this sort of redirection, so we expect that they are not complicit,” said Paxson.
In other words, it’s difficult to say at the outset where the buck stops in this scheme and whose hands are in the cookie jar. What we do know is that many of the ISPs involved are claiming a lack of knowledge about the search redirects and pointing to third-party vendors as the real villains in the scenario.
A Charter representative told VentureBeat today that when search traffic redirects were occurring across that ISP, “We were not aware of it. It was a third party, and in a sit-down with the vendor, we said, ‘You need to be more careful about putting us into this mix… Charter doesn’t think this practice is acceptable.”
Steven Crosby of Frontier Communications Corportation told VentureBeat, “In terms of Frontier’s practices, we do not hijack any search traffic. We have clear business rules in our legal agreement with Paxfire that allows them to monetize URL address bar errors (e.g., ‘www.abc.cmo’ instead of ‘www.abc.com’ or typing an actual word like ‘PC’ into the address bar). Paxfire is not allowed to touch any search traffic that originates directly from toolbars or search bars.”
While the Charter rep was not able to name the exact vendor involved, Paxfire is just one of many Internet marketing companies that are using technical architectures for commercial and marketing purposes. These firms, which include companies like Barefruit and Golog, engage in murky practices such as search redirects, practices that violate our expectations of how the web should work and that rob us of any trust we might have in our ISPs.
If you use one of the affected ISPs, the EFF recommends running a Netalyzr test and installing a browser plugin such as HTTPS Everywhere to use HTTPS for all your web browsing “With HTTPS, attempts by the ISP or a company like Paxfire to alter the results would cause a certificate warning,” said Eckersley.
Google has also recommended using Google Public DNS and is beta-testing encrypted web search for users who want to better protect their search traffic.
Amazon flew under the radar in late June when it announced it was entering the world of advertising by using its consumer data to deliver targeted advertising on third-party sites across the web, but it’s big news for online retailers and advertisers. Amazon will now use its huge supply of data to pool consumers into buckets based on the products they looked at or purchased on the retailer’s website. The company will help advertisers reach these consumers with targeted media, using behaviorally targeted display ads to drive them to any URL.
Amazon has more than a decade’s worth of sales and consumer shopping data, so it’s almost a surprise it took the company this long to capitalize on its data and enter the behavioral-targeting space. It’s a great idea that will help marketers find interested consumers, and other retailers are already trying to copy the model. Every online retailer is a media network, even if they don’t know it yet, and there’s plenty of opportunity for retailers of all sizes to copy Amazon’s model.
Merchants can function as both media properties and audience networks because they already posses a targeting criteria that actually matters: consumer behavior or brand-preference data that can power interest-based advertising across the web. Retailers know which brands consumers interact with on their sites, and that is indicative of consumer desire.
Amazon will compete with most behavioral-targeting networks right off the bat because of the scope of its data. Consumer ad networks or vertical-related networks are often selling contextual advertising, and Amazon has an immediate advantage because it is using proprietary data.
Is your current advertising pulling a good Return on investment?
The truth is most companies would love to be able to track their traditional media ROI, but for most businesses it’s more of an educated guess than anything when talking about return on investment or even tangible data. Having conclusive proof one way, or the other, will allow businesses to make educated decisions on their marketing spend. Often time’s yellow pages companies will offer “tracklines” to their larger customers and generate reporting that will show the number of calls, but how many of those calls are solicitors? How many of those calls are wrong numbers?
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Search Engine Land has published a great article that I have been preaching for years. Often times it’s not the SEO or SEM that isn’t working…it’s your landing page.
Landing pages are frequently pushed to the back burner when creating digital marketing campaigns even though they can often have the single greatest impact on the campaign’s success. This is particularly surprising considering landing pages have been a frequent topic that’s been written about and discussed for years.
Whether due to a lack of understanding about how to measure landing page performance, a lack of knowledge about how to create and test landing pages, or a general lack of awareness of the benefits of good landing pages, the fact remains that many marketers are running campaigns that are performing significantly below their potential.
Even when marketers are fully aware of the importance of landing page testing, the testing plans that get implemented are often lacking. A main reason for this is the narrow scope of testing that occurs.
When a digital marketing campaign launches, it often includes search advertising, display advertising, and social advertising – yet each medium tends to use the same landing page. Unfortunately, this leads the landing page testing down a path that will optimize for the largest segment instead of optimizing each segment individually.
The result is a campaign that doesn’t maximize the return on investment.
In order to have a robust landing page testing strategy, each segment that is targeted in the campaign needs to be accounted for and a testing plan needs to be implemented for each. The reason is that the behavior and needs of each segment are not the same, so focusing on one segment essentially ignores the needs of the others.
In the campaign example given, the three mediums used as part of the campaign are search, display, and social. Given the different types of activities being performed by users when they are exposed to each type of ad, you’d expect the behavior and response rates to differ.
For example, when a user conducts a query on a search engine, they are actively looking for information that your ad and subsequent landing page should be able to provide. With display advertising, you only know that the users may be interested in your offering based on how you’ve targeted the ads. They are not likely, however, to be actively looking to make a purchase at the time of their exposure to the ad. The same is true for social ads that drive users to your site with the hope that they will convert. They tend to be engaged in other activities and so a purchase decision may not be an immediate step that these types of users would take.
The calls-to-action tested for each segment should vary.
Even within a particular target segment you will likely see significantly different user behaviors. Search, for example, will likely have early shopper keyword groups as well as keyword groups that tend to close the purchase. Having a single landing page for both groups will not allow you to realize the maximum return on investment.
The rumors have been circulating for months now about Superpages closing the Denver office and not printing the already sold Denver Metro yellow Pages. I was by the office their office this morning to find out if it was true. The door bell is completely removed from their Greenwood Village office. They still have 4-6 people that are going to continue running the superpages.com online end, but they confirmed that they would no longer be printing phone directories in the Denver market.
This is great news for Dex One, the only real competition in the Denver are will be Yellow Book, and anyone who has seen that directory understands that Dex is back to being the only real book in the Denver market. I will continue to probe in to the Superpages.com investment in the Denver market.
The most affordable promoting accessible nowadays is PPC, shell out per click on, and search engine advertising. As a flourishing organization PPC search engine advertising was anticipated to $eight billion in revenue by 2008. The complete concept guiding PPC search engine advertising is producing sales opportunities. When carried out proficiently creating leads aids buyers in locating the specific site that delivers the products or service they are seeking for.
That is not to say that PPC advertising is the conclude of the method. While research engine advertising and marketing will deliver a site prospects these folks must discover some thing of use on the website when they get there. Good info is a essential part of PPC search engine advertising and one particular that is disregarded typically by web site builders. Remember people are more inclined to purchase merchandise or service from a web site that offers them at minimum the pertinent details they have been searching for in the initial spot.
Convertible Targeted traffic from Search Motor Advertising
Maybe the greatest benefit of PPC advertising is the simple fact that the visitors is specified. The people clicking on the ads are these who are actually searching for a product or services associated to the lookup. This does away with random clicks from individuals who are not intrigued in the products, reducing costs and growing profits. PPC promoting is a fantastic way to get a return on your expense.
The price of a specific key phrase is established by means of a bidding process. PPC search engine advertising budgets can variety from $a hundred – $a hundred,000 relying on the phrase and number of search phrases searched. The value for a certain keyword or search phrase can rapidly improve and a lot more companies bid on them.
Shell out per click adverts are exhibited with related research motor results, which are appropriate to individual searches. The person willing to spend be
st bid for a term or phrase will have their ads displayed at the leading of the results page. This placement puts the advertiser in the greatest position for obtaining the PPC advertisements clicked by an fascinated searcher.
There are three fundamental factors concerned in lookup engine advertising and marketing these are constant monitoring, refinement and response analysis. All these components are crucial to the campaign. You will only see huge revenue when you effectively control PPC search engine advertising.
You will be capable to keep an eye on the productiveness of all your PPC adverts. This is useful simply because you will have the alternative to discontinue any ad that is not returning on your expense. This is 1 of the good reasons PPC search engine advertising is a extremely value successful way to promote on the internet.
The amount of clicks you obtain on a Pay Per Click advertisement establishes your value from PPC search engine advertising. These clicks will be totaled and subtracted from the original amount you compensated to the research engines for advert placement. You will have to frequently check these numbers for each and every PPC search engine advertising campaign you launch in buy to reduce price and maximize your revenue.
One backlash of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) revelation that its online services business lost $2.6 billion in the last fiscal year is that it had financial pundits calling for not only CEO Steve Ballmer’s resignation, but for the Redmond, Wash., software giant to dump the main culprit: Bing.
Reuters Breakingviews columnists Robert Cyran and Martin Hutchinson July 24 called for Microsoft to shed its search business for cash. Cyran said:
Microsoft needs to concentrate on a different kind of search: finding a buyer for Bing, its online search business. Bing is the industry’s distant No. 2 after Google. It has become a distraction for the software giant—one that costs shareholders dearly. The division that houses Bing lost $2.6 billion in the latest fiscal year. Facebook, or even Apple, might make a better home for Bing. A sale would be a boon for Microsoft’s investors.
This prompted a public relations reaction from Microsoft, which quickly seeded The New York Times with an insider’s piece on Bing. Microsoft granted the Times rare access to Bing leader Qi Lu, whom the software giant lured from Yahoo three years ago to power Bing. Lu talks about the need for a decision engine to make search more intuitive for users.
Analyst David Card, who recently became GigaOm Research’s director, said ridding itself of Bing would be a bad idea for Microsoft.
“Microsoft must have a credible search-engine business to defend its core platforms and APIs, as well as keep its biggest rival, Google, honest by forcing Google to create sustainable business models in competitive markets like applications and mobile,” Card wrote. “And a somewhat more successful search engine would solidify Microsoft’s own ad business and open emerging revenue streams.”
In other words, without Bing, Microsoft lacks the necessary firepower to counter Google online. Facebook enjoys a growing social display-ad business, but it hasn’t quite taken off the way experts believe it should or will. There really are no other formidable challengers, not only to keep Google “honest,” but also to keep the dominant search engine from resting on its laurels. That’s prone to happen in the Internet era; see Yahoo for reference No. 1.
Indeed, Google has accelerated its pace of innovation. Perhaps Google’s biggest search innovation since Bing formally launched in June 2009 came in the form of Google Instant predictive-search technology in September 2010.
Instant was first used for search results, but is now also employed for actual Web pages for which users are searching. The idea is to speed up the pace at which users search for and land on information they are seeking. Google believes this will save its 1 billion Web searchers countless hours of time.
IDC analyst Hadley Reynolds also said that Bing is better for Google, Microsoft and the rest of the world. Reynolds suggests that the reward for success—new business in software and services for social, mobile and local territory—could be bigger than Office for Microsoft at some point in the future.
With budget season around the corner, is your social media marketing on track to achieve its business objectives? Your social media marketing assessment should be done in the context of your overall marketing mid-year checkup.
Here’s a five-point social media marketing checklist to assess how you’re doing so far this year. Bear in mind where your firm is on the social media adoption curve as you answer these questions.
Twenty years ago, a British computer scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, posted a short summary of a project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup, and also designed a crude website (http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html), with a few hyperlinks and some text to describe a project he christened the ‘world wide web’, or W3.
“I wrote the programme using a NeXT (a Steve Jobs company) computer…there were all the software parts to make a ‘wysiwyg’ (what you see is what you get—direct manipulation of text on screen as on the printed, or browsed page) word processor. I just had to add hypertext, (by subclassing the text object),” reminisces Berners-Lee on the W3 website. The W3 idea was conceived in March 1989 when Berners-Lee wrote a proposal, referring to a database and a software project he had built in 1980. With help from Robert Cailliau, he published a more formal proposal (on November 12, 1990) to build a hypertext project.
Thus, what initially started as a project to help CERN, the European organisation for nuclear research, physicists communicate without cumbersome systems, helped bring the power of the internet to the fingertips of users, quite literally. People started flocking to browsers like Mosaic, Netscape Navigator, and Internet Explorer (IE) to browse the new sites. Anyone with hypertext mark-up language (HTML) know-how could make a website. The phenomenon turned into a rage. In February 2009, an internet monitoring company, Netcraft, reported there were 215,675,903 websites with domain names and content on them in 2009, compared to just 18,000 websites in August 1995.
Yet, many users think the terms internet and world wide web are the same. However, while the internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks designed in the 1960s, W3 is one of the services that run on the internet, albeit a very significant one. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of web users doubled and currently, the number is over two billion, according to Internet World Stats. India alone has a little over 100 million internet users. Mosaic is now Firefox, while the Netscape browser is history. IE remains the market leader, but with a dwindling marketshare, while Google’s Chrome browser is gaining ground and Apple has a steady Safari browser following.
Now, websites not only have text, images, podcast and videos, but also help users transact business online, buy goods from sites like Amazon and eBay. Search engines like Google and Bing and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are changing the rules of online marketing, branding and rankings. Location-based offerings from the likes of Google and FourSquare, while augmenting reality (melding real-world data with that of cyberspace) are simultaneously raising privacy issues on the internet.
Web 3.0 OR 4.0?
While there’s no clear definition of Web 3.0 (or Web 4.0 for that matter), there’s a broad consensus that semantic web and personalisation are two major trends for the web in the next few years. Semantic web comprises methods and technologies to allow machines to interpret the meaning of the information on the world wide web. It is a collaborative effort led by W3C, with participation from a large number of researchers and industrial partners.
The term was coined by Berners-Lee and the technologies involved include the resource description framework and the web ontology language, which are aimed at providing a formal description of concepts, terms, and relationships within a given knowledge domain. However, the semantic web as a global vision remains a work in progress. For it to become successful there’s a need for more semantic data on the web.
The semantic web makes it easier for search engines to understand the exact meaning of any information published on the internet. In June, Google, Yahoo and Bing announced schema.org, which introduced a new standard for semantic ‘markup’ that makes it possible for search engines to make better sense of web content and online information. With semantic technology being adopted by all major search engines, it is becoming increasingly important for brands to comprehend the effect this has on their search ranking and the way information is displayed on search engines. However, the world wide web contains a little over 24 billion pages, and some of the challenges for the semantic web include vastness, vagueness, uncertainty, inconsistency, and deceit, according to Wikipedia.
Personalisation, on its part, involves using technology to differentiate web pages based on the characteristics (interests, social category and context) of an individual. It implies changes are based on implicit data such as items purchased or pages viewed.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA–(Marketwire – Aug 8, 2011) – Elance, the leading platform for online employment, released its quarterly Online Employment Report today, revealing strong momentum in online work during a tumultuous summer for the U.S. and global economy. With a current run rate of 600,000 jobs posted per year, demand for talent from companies ranging from startups to enterprises have increased over 61% year over year. Online contractors earned a record $34.3 million, up from $30.7 million in the previous quarter. Businesses hiring online and freelance professionals sparked a 23% increase in a single quarter in both the population of contractors and employers working online.
“Companies are gaining agility by hiring in the cloud and working with contractors anywhere at any time,” said Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance. “At the same time, professionals who work online are finding more opportunities to follow their passion while remaining independent.”
The record setting amount of work completed was fueled by increasing demand across the board, including content creators such as Illustrators, Designers, Writers, Content Moderators and Programmers with hot skills such as Android, WordPress and Magento. To review the full Elance Online Employment Report, please click here.
Notable hiring trends this past quarter include:
It’s High Tide for Content Creators
The proliferation of digital businesses, in social media, search engine optimization and online marketing, continues to drive demand for high quality content that increases customer acquisition and engagement. The demand for Business Writers is peaking this summer with a 21% increase, jumping 9 spots on the charts to #23. Blog Writing also saw a 9% increase in demand as businesses look to keep customers engaged in unique ways.
Infographics are the New Black
Demand for Infographics jumped a whopping 148% in one quarter. This growing trend of visual representation led Illustrators to a 27% increase in demand, causing a 9-position climb in Q2, and Photographers saw a 30% growth in demand.
WordPress Presses its Lead in the Content Management Race
More people than ever are turning to robust Content Management Systems (CMS) as their platform of choice when creating a new website for business. While demand for Drupal and Joomla! Programmers both saw a 5% increase in demand, WordPress Programmers accelerated their lead with a very strong 11% growth and maintained the #2 slot on Elance for the third consecutive quarter.
Gearing up for the Holiday Season
Even though the summer heat still lingers on, some businesses already have their sights set for the holiday season and are now expanding their online stores by hiring a multitude of Ecommerce Experts. Magento, recently acquired by eBay, is one of the fastest growing, open source Ecommerce platforms in the market. On Elance, Magento Programmers moved up 10 slots to #48 with a 21% jump in demand in Q2.
Casual gaming has accelerated its popularity, causing a surge in the number of Game Development and Game Programming jobs posted on Elance. Demand for Game Developers and Programmers jumped 29% in Q2.
Mobile Battleground: Apple on Fire
Demand for Android skills rose by 15% while the demand for Blackberry skills increased slightly by 3% and Windows Phone declined by 37%. However, the big winner this quarter appears to be Apple, as demand for iOS Programmers and Xcode skills showed impressive increases of 20% and 35% respectively. It’s possible that the recent announcements at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) contributed to the increase in demand.