March 24, 2009

The Problem With Pay Per Click

Filed under: marketing and advertising — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:29 pm


Actually, the title of this article should probably be The Problems With Pay Per Click for there are many problems with paying for click-through advertising.

Ad Placement
Do you know where your ads will appear?

  • Do you know what type of content your ads will appear with? If a consumer sees your name associated with inappropriate material, it may do you more harm than good. Not only won’t the potential customer click on your ad, they may also attach a negative connotation with your brand, name or image.
  • What position on the page will your ad be placed? The effectiveness of an ad often depends on its placement within the content. Sometimes it is best at the top of the page. Other times, it is best at the bottom of the page. However, most often, it is most effective when placed within relevant content. Usually, it takes a trained professional to make this critical decision.
  • Will your ad be placed along with your competitors? Having your unique ad placement gives you a competitive advantage.

Variable Pricing Vs. Fixed Pricing
In most business decisions, a known expense is preferable to a variable expense. With pay per click advertising, the variable pricing creates an unknown expense. More than one company has found out the hard way by blowing their annual marketing budget on just one month’s worth of paying for click-throughs that a fixed expense is preferable.

Click Fraud
A recent study found that over 30% of clicks on pay per click ads were fraudulent. There is an inherent conflict of interest in paying publishers based on click-throughs.

“Each time a (believed to be) valid Web user clicks on an ad, the advertiser pays the advertising network, who in turn pays the publisher a share of this money. This revenue-sharing system is seen as an incentive for click fraud.

The largest of the advertising networks, Google’s AdWords/AdSense and Yahoo! Search Marketing, act in a dual role, since they are also publishers themselves (on their search engines). According to critics, this complex relationship may create a conflict of interest. For instance, Google loses money to undetected click fraud when it pays out to the publisher, but it makes more money when it collects fees from the advertiser. Because of the spread between what Google collects and what Google pays out, click fraud directly and invisibly profits Google.”

– Wikipedia

A Consumer’s Privacy
To date, there are no known ways to track pay per click ads without violating the viewer’s privacy. Is that the image your business wants to promote — unethical business practices? At the same time consumers are becoming more educated about their privacy on the Internet, pay per click advertising networks are becoming more invasive. In the name of achieving more relevant ad delivery, the networks are increasingly tracking individual’s consumer behavior. One marketing blog recently became so upset over Google’s ever increasing privacy violations that they developed and distributed software to automatically click on all Google AdSense ads that a web browser loads.

The Right Ad Delivery
You can find companies that can deliver your advertising without any of flaws associated with pay per click ads. Some companies specialize in optimizing your ad placement at a fixed price without the risk of click fraud nor privacy violations. Do your business and your customers a favor by conducting the right advertising campaign.

February 28, 2009

Who Is Advertising?

Filed under: marketing and advertising — Tags: , , , — admin @ 8:40 pm

“If I were starting life over again, I am inclined to think that I would go into the advertising business in preference to almost any other. The general raising of the standards of modern civilization among all groups of people during the past half century would have been impossible without the spreading of the knowledge of higher standards by means of advertising.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. President (ironically made during the 20th Century’s greatest financial crisis, 1932-1944).

During current economic conditions, who is advertising? It is true that many companies are cutting back on all expenses. In fact, many companies are going out-of-business. Organizations that depend on corporate sponsorship, such as NASCAR racing and professional golf, are seeing a huge decline in advertisers. However, when the economy is in a downturn, it is exactly the time to re-evaluate your marketing budget. You want to find the best return on your investment (ROI). Perhaps sponsoring a NASCAR team is not the best use of funds. The same holds true for almost all print advertising. That does not mean to eliminate marketing all together. Effective marketing is more important than ever.

The Internet can offer some of the best advertising opportunities for both the advertiser and the publisher. For instance, it is a great time for Employment Opportunities and Help Wanted Advertising. Because of the supply of people out of work, the company advertising for employees is going to find some of the best workers. Because of the demand for finding jobs, the publisher we reach a broader audience.

Find out more about the benefits of web-based advertising.

February 23, 2009

Accessibility: Fair Access To Information

Why should I care if our website is accessible to all consumers?

1) It might be the law. Depending on who you do business with, it might be the Federal (USA) law that your website is ADA compliant Americans With Disabilities Act). Also, it could be the law in the state(s) or foreign nations where you do business.

2) As a business ethics question, the answer might be — an accessible website is the right thing to do. That is to say, many people would consider it the “right” way to do business. Giving thought and appreciation toward your customers’ human rights makes logical business sense.

3) It might result in an increase in business. Maybe a better question to ask is: why wouldn’t I want my company’s website to be accessible to all consumers? If you have a ready and willing customer trying to conduct business with you, why would you want to shut the door on them?

Bonus: There are many hidden bonuses to a website that tries to be accessible to all consumers. For instance, making a website that most humans can access often makes it more accessible to non-humans that want to access the information (such as Google’s robots.)

Is it possible to make a 100% accessible website? Not that we have found. As an experiment, we started a project attempting to reach 100% accessibility. (see: http://membrane/free_for_all/ ) Though 100% accessibility has not yet been achieved, the side-effects of attempting to be accessible have been well worth the efforts. Cost savings due to not having to re-tool websites under Federal and State laws have been phenomenal At the same time, the increase in business activity has been through-the-roof due to the increase in traffic from both humans and robots.

February 20, 2009

Website Accessibility Facts & Laws

W3C stands for the World Wide Web Consortium. W3C is an international consortium that work together to develop web standards. W3C’s mission is:
“To lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web.”

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Website accessibility is an on-going project. WAI is related to the U.S. Government’s 1998 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act — Section 508. Section 508 requires U.S. government departments’ and agencies’ websites must be accessible to people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities.

On February 17, 2009 the W3C published a working draft called “Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0.” The document states: “This specification provides guidelines for designing Web content authoring tools that are more accessible for people with disabilities. An authoring tool that conforms to these guidelines will promote accessibility by providing an accessible user interface to authors with disabilities as well as enabling, supporting, and promoting the production of accessible Web content by all authors.”

ATAG is meant to support the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. WCAG “covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.”

Following is the W3C Web Accessibility QuickTips / WCAG 2.0 at a Glance:

WCAG 2.0 has 12 guidelines that are organized under 4 principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. For each guideline, there are testable success criteria, which are at three levels: A, AA, and AAA.

* Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
* Provide captions and alternatives for audio and video content.
* Make content adaptable; and make it available to assistive technologies.
* Use sufficient contrast to make things easy to see and hear.

* Make all functionality keyboard accessible.
* Give users enough time to read and use content.
* Do not use content that causes seizures.
* Help users navigate and find content.

* Make text readable and understandable.
* Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
* Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

* Maximize compatibility with current and future technologies.

Federal Laws and Regulations for Websites

Filed under: marketing and advertising — Tags: , , — admin @ 5:36 pm

The following list of Federal Laws was developed for government websites. However, anyone opperating a commercial website should be aware of these standards and try to comply.


If you manage a public website in the federal executive branch, you need to be aware of laws, regulations, Executive Orders, policies, and other directives that relate to your websites.*

This list is our best attempt to locate all the relevant resources. If you know of others that should be added to this list, please contact us. Each link provides a summary of the requirements and guidance on implementing them.
Laws and Regulations

* Access for People with Disabilities (Section 508)
* Digital Rights, Copyright, Trademark, and Patent Laws
* E-Government Act of 2002
* Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
* Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA)
* Government Performance Results Act (GPRA)
* Information Quality
* Lobbying Restrictions
* No Fear Act
* Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
* Priorities and Schedules for Posting Content
* Privacy Requirements
* Security Protocols to Protect Information
* Small Business Paperwork Relief Act
* Web Records

February 15, 2009

Internet Advertising And Marketing: 101

What are the basics for a business website?

The following 4 posts cover “what I need to know.”

Here we will go over some concepts of successful Internet marketing campaigns. These will include Web site optimization, what to embrace and what to avoid, accessibility concerns, growth plans, audience and traffic, and security and privacy. We will explore push versus pull technologies and the liability of making security and privacy claims. If you’re serious about succeeding in business, you must have an Internet presence. Learn how to go about doing it.

Website Optimization and Marketing

I. Hire a professional ISP who is “Customer’s Customer-Centric”

  1. Determine the extent of their experience
  2. Examples of results, NOT JUST LOOKS
  3. Don’t accept their “Bill of Goods” unknowingly
  4. Don’t compete on price
  5. Can apply past experience to learn about your business

Are There Website Rules or Standards?

Filed under: marketing and advertising — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:38 pm

Site Programming

  1. Avoid Bells and Whistles - Ask what program(s) the website will be written with
    1. HTML authoring programs to avoid
      1. Dreamweaver
      2. Microsoft FrontPage
      3. Adobe GoLive
      4. Automated website builders from hosting companies
    2. Website programming languages and tools to avoid - “Push” Technologies - Programming that the viewer may not desire and that could be infected, with potentially harmful results
      1. Java, Javascript
      2. Cookies
      3. ActiveX
      4. Active Server Pages
      5. Flash
      6. Frames
      7. Anything requiring a browser “plug-in”
    3. Security and Privacy - Can your website be seen with your webbrowser’s security settings on high? - “Pull Technologies”
      1. Website publishers should assume responsibility to your viewers.
      2. Businesses should comprehend the risks prior to “pushing” potentially harmful or malicious content on their viewers.
      3. Attempt to explain any download prior to viewers “pulling” it
    4. Re-tool and clean house if need be
    5. The best coding is done by hand
    6. Construct more than one website, e.g. one for marketing and customer lead generation, one for customer care and service

    Bells and whistles will NEVER help your page’s search engine ranking. In fact, it will hurt your site’s indexing or ranking in the search engines and will most likely eliminate some percentage of your viewers from properly accessing and utilizing your website. So, just don’t do it!

  2. Adhere to W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) Standards - “Official HTML Coding Rules”
    1. Web Accessibility Initiative -
      1. Test with images turned off
      2. Without using the mouse, use the keyboard to navigate through the links and form controls on a page (for example, using the “Tab” key), making sure that you can access all links and form controls, and that the links clearly indicate what they lead to.
    2. Viewers with Disabilities - Numbers in the tens of millions
      1. ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) -
        • Eliot Spitzer’s office -
      2. Text browsers
      3. Voice browsers
      4. Assistive technology
      5. Screen reader software
    3. Viewers with handhelds, phones, other mobile devices that have various levels of viewability
    4. Google’s Homepage - KISS
  3. Test and Validate the Code
    1. View Your Site in Different Web Browsers
      1. Internet Explorer
      2. Netscape
      3. Mozilla/Firefox
      4. Opera
      5. Text Based Browsers such as Lynx
    2. Website Validators for finding code errors
    3. Make sure the form(s) get processed properly and are easy to read

What Do I Need to Know About Website Content?

Filed under: marketing and advertising — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:34 pm

Site Content

  1. Content Development Plan - Must grab viewer’s interest
    1. Sales
    2. Service
    3. Marketing
    4. Promotions
    5. Photos/Images
    6. Geographic segments demographic segments, etc..
  2. Create Good Copy
    1. Important to have solid foundation
    2. On-going refinement
    3. Attention to keywords
    4. Learn from your viewers - Give the people what they want
  3. Assess Navigability
    1. Any page can be the first page that a viewer sees
    2. Easy to find one’s way around
    3. Easy to find contact information or a contact form
    4. Overall easy to find the info
    5. Not a lot of clicking required
  4. Assess User Friendliness
    1. Good crisp images
    2. Good product/service descriptions
    3. No broken links
    4. Clean lines
    5. Load times
    6. Spell checked

What Are the Basics for Advertising on the Web?

Filed under: marketing and advertising — Tags: , , — admin @ 7:18 pm


  1. Search Engines
    1. Most Popular
      • Google
      • MSN
      • Yahoo
      • AOL
    2. Complex Algorithms - Criteria used by the Search Engines to rank pages.
      • Copy
      • Accessibility
      • Keywords
      • Links to your site
    3. Submission Process
    4. Your entire website should be cataloged and available
  2. Integrated Marketing
    1. Part of something bigger
      • Industry leading sites
      • Established networks of websites
      • Connect to the website in other advertising, don’t just show the URL
    2. Ad campaigns
      • Statistics and analysis
      • Learn what ads work and what ones don’t
      • Internal ad campaigns
      • Be aware of “pay-per-click”
  3. Website Logs
    1. More statistics and analysis
    2. Traffic
    3. Viewer behavior
    4. Entry pages, exit pages, most popular pages, etc
    5. Can be dangerously misleading
  4. Interaction
    1. Customers
    2. Potential cutomers
    3. Past customers
    4. Your ISP
    5. Peers
    6. E-mail marketing
    7. Forms
    8. Competitor’s websites
  5. Legal Considerations and Crisis Management Plans
    1. Meeting current FTC guidelines for consumer privacy and accessibility standards
    2. Adhering to applicable federal, state and local laws
    3. Privacy and security policies
    4. Liability, class action lawsuits, insurance, etc.

February 11, 2009


Filed under: marketing and advertising — Tags: , , , — admin @ 9:44 pm


Gaining traffic to a website is a progressive process. When you start from scratch, it can take a long time to gain momentum. If you want to build traffic faster, it helps to work with a well established business network. For instance, if you place your information on a domain that has been in existence for many years, you will instantly boost your Internet presence. Inter-linking between domains that participate in a business network is also valuable. Similar to social networking, business networking is an important part of the Internet. Inter-network your network in the Internet!

But, remember traffic is not the important thing… lead generation and sales are what a business really needs. Get the full article.

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