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Everything eCommerce

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Long Tail Effect Part 3

An update on Obscure Obtuse Geometry. Well it took 1 day, but my article on the Long Tail Effect Part 2 which mentioned obscure obtuse geometry is now #1 on Google for this search phrase. There was no doubt that my page would be able to achieve this ranking since the phrase itself is complete nonsense, but I was really surprised to see just how quickly Google indexed the site and incorporated the content.

And now on with the real juicy stuff. I thought of a buinsess today that perfectly illustrates the long tail effect of marketing. Cafe Press. For those of you that haven't seen this site, they are a print on demand company that sells tens of thousands of products from thousands of different websites. Each of these sites customizes the products with graphics and then promote it on their own site. The end result is that Cafe Press is able to print these products on demand, and capture a wide variety of customers.

I have begun to exploit the possibilites of long tail marketing further through the use of keyword buys on Google and Overture. These keywords are not your typical ones like Ecommerce or Site Design, but instead I have focused on extremely narrow keyword phrases that I think will bring qualified traffic very economically. I cannot see how companies can afford to pay $5.00 or higher for high demand keywords like ecommerce. Instead I am focusing on things like "improve my online business" this keyword phrase only will deliver 10 or so visitors a month for a grand total of $1.50, but each one of these visitors is much more likely to be interested in what I am offering. I'll keep you posted on the results although a few of you already know the result because you've followed a paid link.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Webpronews publishes an article by yours truly

I wrote a short article on my experience with the "Google Sandbox" and how at least in my case I don't believe it exists. Check out the article and let me know what you think.


The Long Tail Part 2 - Why Search Engines Love Blogs

This whole long tail thinking has really gotten me excited. If you have been studying search engine marketing and strategies, I'm sure you've come across the idea that search engines, especially Google love blogs. This was actually the reason this blog was started in the first place, as a way of capturing traffic. It was on blogs that things like Googlebombing first started. I think high ranking of blogs on search engines is caused by the long tail effect.

Each posting that goes up on a blog eventually moves off into the archives and is then found under it's permanent link. These postings can be pretty diverse and the home page of a blog might cover things from search engine positioning to what I had to eat last night. The permanent links though are where things get interesting. If I was suddenly to write a 5 paragraph piece on obscure obtuse geometry detailing out what obscure obtuse geometry means and how it relates to bridge building and fortune cookies, the resulting page would be extremely focused for the obscure obtuse geometry keywords. Maybe I'd even get lucky and have some other sites and blogs mention my page when they are looking for a way to explain obscure obtuse geometry.

Over time this focused page would eventually begin driving traffic to my site that is a completely different audience than the rest of the site. What I was doing is not blatantly trying to trick the search engines or other Black Hat SEO techniques, but is instead the natural development of content and linking that search engines love.

Will it work? Only time will tell but it'll be interesting to track search engine rankings for obscure obtuse geometry. To be continued.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Death to the 80/20 rule - The Long Tail takes effect.

I've been reading a bunch of interesting articles lately talking about the future of business is within niche markets instead of the mass markets that dominate today. While I think it will be quite a while before the Walmart's of the world go away, it is interesting to think about and does offer potential to online stores.

Here's an interesting tidbit.
To get a sense of our true taste, unfiltered by the economics of scarcity, look at Rhapsody, a subscription-based streaming music service (owned by RealNetworks) that currently offers more than 735,000 tracks.

Chart Rhapsody's monthly statistics and you get a "power law" demand curve that looks much like any record store's, with huge appeal for the top tracks, tailing off quickly for less popular ones. But a really interesting thing happens once you dig below the top 40,000 tracks, which is about the amount of the fluid inventory (the albums carried that will eventually be sold) of the average real-world record store. Here, the Wal-Marts of the world go to zero - either they don't carry any more CDs, or the few potential local takers for such fringy fare never find it or never even enter the store.

The Rhapsody demand, however, keeps going. Not only is every one of Rhapsody's top 100,000 tracks streamed at least once each month, the same is true for its top 200,000, top 300,000, and top 400,000. As fast as Rhapsody adds tracks to its library, those songs find an audience, even if it's just a few people a month, somewhere in the country.

This is the Long Tail.

Wired 12.10: The Long Tail
The Long Tail

Monday, December 27, 2004

I think this eCommerce thing might catch on.

SEATTLE (AP) - Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) on Monday said sales of consumer electronics surpassed book sales for the first time and was its largest sales category over the Thanksgiving weekend, launching the online retailer's busiest holiday selling season in 10 years.

The company also said it set a single-day sales record during the period with more than 2.8 million units, or 32 items per second, ordered across the globe.

Visitor traffic peaked at an estimated 700,000 users during a 60-minute period, according to Amazon.com's Holiday Shoppers tracking program.

Its top-selling electronics products include Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL)'s iPod media player, DVD players and digital cameras, Amazon.com said.

The retailer added that customers bought more than 1 million items from its music category during each of two back-to-back weeks this month. Its jewelry and watch segment sold more than one watch per minute since Nov. 25."

Thursday, December 23, 2004

2004 Year - End Search Trends

Google's 2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist gives a look at search patterns and trends for 2004. It covers everything from the most popular query (Britney Spears) to Popular Retail Chains (WalMart). This information is useful for ecommerce companies. The top sport and hobby searches was for "poker chips". I would have liked to have an online business properly optimized to take advantage of this search engine swarm.

Google Press Center: Zeitgeist

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Firefox is now used by more than 21% of visitors.

The browser wars are heating up again. Users, constantly under attack from spyware, security holes and bloat are switching to Mozilla's firefox browser in droves. Firefox is a standards compliant browser that features tabbed browsing, and extremly fast page loading. Microsoft has also announced in recent months that it is abandoning development of additional version of IE on the Mac, since Apple has it's own Safari browser based on the Konqueror open source project. What does this mean to you? More testing. No longer can site owners rely on it looking fine on IE, it'll be fine for eveyone else. In a lot of ways webdesign is moving back to times when sites had to be checked on Netscape 3.x 4.x 6.x and IE 5.x 5.5x and 6.x. Hopefully this increased competition will lead Microsoft to enhance IE beyond it's latest popup blocking update with XP SP2.

Browser Statistics

// UPDATE: I've been looking more at these statistics and I thought they sounded a little off. I suspect the site publishing the statistics is heavily skewed towards the developer/student community. Here are some stats from a broader range of sites.

  • 75% Internet Explorer 6
  • 13% Internet Explorer 5
  • 7% Mozilla (Netscape & Firefox)
  • 2% Safari
  • 1% Opera 7

Operating Systems

  • 94% Windows
  • 4% Mac
  • 2% Other

Screen Resolutions

  • 46% 1024 x 768
  • 32% 800 x 600
  • 9% 1280 x 1024
  • 4% 1152 x 864
  • 1% 1600 x 1200
  • 5% Other

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Webmonkey: The Web Developer's Resource

Webmonkey is back and is being updated more frequently. This site continues to be a great resource for all budding website developers.

Webmonkey: The Web Developer's Resource

Annoying Online Ads - a new usability report

I'm not a big fan of Jakob Nielsen. I think while some of his ideas may be sound he seems more interested in self promotion and being recognized as "the usability guy" than he is in actually improving the web. His own site at useit.com may be easy to use but it's also one of the most bland, amateurish looking sites that I have seen. It's almost like we're stuck back in the days of Netscape 1.0. Then again, the guy is selling reports to corporations for $248.00 a piece so whatever he's doing seems to be working for him.

One of his latest reports is on annoying advertising techniques, and just how bad they are. It's something to think about when planning your next online advertising campaign. The number one annoying method is the pop-up ad. I think this will go away as more and more people use pop-up blockers. My personal biggest gripe is against ads that make any type of noise, whether it's a voice, music or sound effects. Sites that use this technique have me running away just as quickly as I can click the close button.


Friday, December 17, 2004

Welcome to my new adventure in Blogging

Well, I've decided to setup this blog to report and advise on everything ecommerce related. I have been building websites for over 10 years, and building sucessful online stores for over 6. Through that time I've been able to come up with the knowledge of what works and what doesn't. Topics you'll see covered include the state of ecommerce, site design tips, search engine optimization techniques, and reviews of popular ecommerce software packages.

Web everything-ecommerce.blogspot.com