Website Analysis Tools

Alexa & comScore

In present day online industry there are numerous players such as companies, agencies, individuals, consultants & others who are coming up with innovative ideas technical as well as commercial in the online medium to make an impact to the end user’s life.

However, the one area where the online industry is lacking & the community needs to put its act together is creating a strong, robust, reliable, widely accepted analytic system which gives the both the end user as well as the community a benchmark to measure & evaluate the effectiveness of a website in the online market.

The presently available tools such as Alexa and comScore are both unreliable as sometimes it is found that they contradict each other while rating a website

1) Matt Cutts on Alexa
2) Peter Norvig on Alexa
3) Business Blogs on Alexa
4) WebmasterWorld on Alexa
5) Alexa can be injurious to your wealth
6) Can you trust Alexa?

There are numerous instances where Alexa and comScore ratings have been doubted by various people:

The point is the main motive behind installing an alexa toolbar is to drive up the ratings. The comscore figures are also seen are far away from the real numbers.

With use of new technologies such as AJAX, calculation of page views becomes even more complicated for the analytical tools.

My belief is there is enough room for any new company to enter and provide real value to end user, companies & other players in the online industry.

Why Search Engines are Acquiring Agencies

Google has acquired DoubleClick for $3.1bn, Double click is an Ad company working with Advertisers and Publishers in Ad business. They developed a DART product respectively for Advertisers and Publishers to help target and manage campaigns to meet their respective goals.

Google is already a leader in Targeted Advertising both Text Ad/Image Ad display. They have great products such as Adwords & Adsense for Advertisers & Publishers respectively; this technology is for anybody and requires little or no human involvement from Google’s end.

The main question is why did Google Acquire DoubleClick? Some of the reasons I can think for are:

1) Google took inspiration from Overture to build an Ad system to display relevant text ads based on search terms. They built a system and revolutionized it in a big way. Now they might be thinking of repeating the history again with DoubleClick. DoubleClick has DART, which Google might want to make it enormously scalable for anybody to just plug and play. They might want to keep the human intervention to the minimum level and let technology work the maximum, mainly to reduce cost which ultimately benefits the end user.

2) The Ad business is growing at a rapid rate, with internet overtaking Radio and competing with Print. Ad Agency business is really on the rise. Google wants to have a share of that pie too. It not just wants to be a medium to offer and manage inventory, they would also want to actively work with advertisers and publishers to meet their end goals & take major share of the pie.

3) Most Agencies managing Ad business apart from few good ones do not have long term satisfied customers. Most companies are looking for more accountability and reliability from Agencies. Google is more trusted than anyone in the online industry.

4) Google being the leader in the Online Ad selling; its move towards vertical integration is very natural.

Google would be using its technological expertise in combination with DoubleClick’s business acumen & client servicing capabilities to reach it goals.

Yahoo has in acquired Right Media to be able to compete evenly with Google.com. To state another interesting acquisition is Google acquiring Performics, since Performics is a part of DoubleClick. Performics is a company that sells SEO services to its clients. So, formally Google has acquired a SEO Company, I am sure its business would increase whether Google actually supports it or not.

What will Google do with Performics is yet to be seen….

Online Advertising Agency

There has been in a surge in new advertising agencies in India especially in past 2 years. The number has increased to more than 100%, primarily targeting overseas clientèle as well big Indian companies. Due to low cost factor or other reasons most online marketing agencies outsource their projects to India, being one of the largest English speaking young populations.

Many online marketing agencies & companies abroad find it advantageous to outsource their work to other agencies and companies in India. This is possible mainly in online industry where geographic location is of slight importance

Agencies in India target 3 main entities for business.

A) Agency client, typically another agency abroad looking to reduce its cost of operations by outsourcing part or entire amount of work to agencies in India. This is profitable for agencies as they only have to manage the client while the backend operations are taken care of by outsourcing partner.

B) Companies: These are primary advertisers who are looking to advertise across various channels across online media. They would be totally willing to outsource their work to agencies here in India, but since physical presence matters while negotiating deals, the agencies in India have difficulty in closing deals with big companies. But companies which are active online are aware of methods of outsourcing their online work to agencies worldwide. These agencies may have experience in the past or are aware of channels like forums and sites where people selling services can be contacted.

There are also companies in India who are interested in online marketing arena. These companies need to be convinced of the ROI on investing online. However most big companies are aware of online industry growth and advantageous of advertising.

SEO SEM Agencies

In the online marketing industry the services offered by agencies are performed in a predefined set of processes. Every service is offered in phases like:

  • Phase 1: Analysis
  • Phase 2: Activities 1
  • Phase 3: Activities 2 etc…

The agencies assign an account manager or a client representative who is in constant touch with the client regarding updates and changes etc. This client representative would be dealing with numerous clients of that agency. The agencies provide you a standard set of reports and documents sent at regular intervals of the campaign.

The agencies mainly have clientele who are unaware of technicalities and knowledge of the industry, the campaign management activities cannot be performed by them due to lack of expertise or necessary resources.

However the most important thing to be noted is that the agencies have very little knowledge of the business of the client. The company which runs the business knows exactly who its target audience is and what their needs are hence would be able to reach them with the right communication. This is especially true in B2B marketing on

Pay Per Action Fraud

Google has started inviting advertisers for its affiliate network model. This a entry into the affiliate market, Google will definitely take a share of the total market revenue. This is a good opportunity for advertisers looking to pay only for the incoming leads.

However we have to wait and watch how effectively Google can monitor and prevent fraud in the CPA model. Some issues or concerns which arise out from the PPA program are:

1) The publishers are totally unaware of the business model of the advertisers. So it is up to Google to display Ads in relevant sections of the site.

2) For B2B advertisers, where leads generated are very low in quantity & high in value, publishers would be unwilling to display PPA ads as revenue maybe uncertain, inconsistent & less attractive.

3) Publishers have to really work hard to maximize their revenue through referral ads by testing & displaying Ads in the right sections of the site. Many publishers might be unwilling or incapable of doing so.

4) More MFA sites for referral ad revenue would increase… These spam web pages would make promises of advertisers’ product which may not be real.

5) Advertisers have to pay for junk leads. In traditional affiliate model there can be higher control of quality of leads from the affiliate sites.

How Youtube can Increase Popularity

Youtube has recently run into series of Copyright issues from CBS to Viacom. Dr. Eric Schmidt in many occasions says Youtube user who views videos (copyrighted material) is a fan, word derived from the word fanatic. Hence companies can sell anything to these fans as they are at high interest and willingness level to accept anything from the advertiser. My belief is this argument is just to defend the usage and distribution of copyrighted material; however his point still holds credibility.

Here are some of my suggestions on how Youtube can win both companies’ as well as users popularity.

1) Discriminate the content on Youtube as User generated, Copyrighted.

2) Make deals with TV channels to publish Youtube’s user generated videos on TV program’s such as Top videos of the week. Top funny videos etc.. This would encourage people to post personal videos as viewer ship increases.

3) Ask big brands to purchase users videos which become popular. For example Nike could copyright popular user videos on football etc…

4) Reward the users whose videos get selected for TV broadcast or get Branded. These videos will be of course original videos

5) Distribute & publish popular Youtube videos across various other sites on Internet

From Advertisers Perspective:

1) Display Image Ads & Text Ads beside videos of similar theme.

2) Advertising costs are higher for Ads showing alongside videos that generate high volume of traffic

3) Upload advertiser’s videos which are displayed alongside popular videos of similar content.

Copyright Issues in Internet World

Internet is a medium of expression. It is also the highest growing media for communication & source of information. Being the most sought after source for information means attracting the attention of legal & copyright community.

New issues surface and attract attention every time any company finds new ways to generate revenue or traffic by creating innovative business models. Some of the latest limelight grabbing incidents is:

1) Viacom Sues You tube: Says You tube’s main business model is to distribute video content without any consideration about copyright issues.

2) Internet Archive Sued By a Woman: Internet Archive was sued for spidering a website which had a notice saying Copyright Act. Only it was in text not in image Format. So now spiders would have to read that as well…

3) Microsoft Sues Cybersquatters: Cybersquatters were registering Internet domains with names similar to brand names of micrsoft.

4) Microsoft Attacks Google: MS says Google violates copyrights of enterprises for its own gain.

5) Publishers Sue Google Over Book Content: Apparently Publishers were in rage over Google scanning copyrighted material for online search.

6) List of News where Google was sued: Webmasterworld covers all the cases that mentioned Google was sued.

7) More Such News:

Legal & Copyright community is new to such situations and obviously has not anticipated these happenings beforehand to form a law & order for everyone to abide it.

Companies on the other hand come up with innovative ways taking the advantage of the antiquated legal system to create popularity & generate revenues

By looking at this, my take is there is a bright future for anybody who is aspiring to pursue a career in copyrights & legalities on Internet, cyber security, Internet Laws & disputes etc…

Social Media Marketing

Social networks have recently found increased importance & popularity among internet users. Mostly because they are only classification of websites through which people can connect to other people effortlessly, which otherwise would not have been so easy to connect.

Most Social Network community generally has following options:

1) Anyone can join / Moderator regulated
2) Forum Postings ? anonymous / non- anonymous
3) Messages ? Allow /Disallow members to send messages to each other.
4) More the number of people joining the group higher your community appears in search results.

Advantage Users: Ability to connect to interested people, share all forms of content. The users can join communities or create communities and invite other users & interact with them.

Advantage Advertisers/Marketers: Find group of similar interest people and find their target audience in one single location. The people on the network are at high interest levels therefore would increase the chance of generating prospective leads.

The Useful tips for Marketers for promoting their websites and brands on social networks are.

1) Create Communities Online related to your industry and company. But remember to keep it general & non profit as a social contribution and not at all as marketing & promotion technique

2) Invite people to join your network.

3) Offer help, advise, technical assistance and guidance to people. Even if it means acknowledging the advantages of your competitors products/services.

4) Ensure that you maintain your reputation in the community & network online

5) Communicate with the aim to increase your target audience’ awareness, & knowledge.

6) Join Other Communities and Groups. Ask their members to join your community.

7) Publish the Top messages, discussions on blog, website etc?create a RSS feed and ask users to subscribe.

8) Distribute Viral to community members

9) Tag your community with the right keywords, synonyms

10) Communicate you target audience with good enriching content.

11) Identify & be aware of your target audience. Send specific high interest messages to specific audience. Give individual attention & listen to your audience. Do not copy past a standard template and send it across to everyone..

12) Be an active blogger.

Top Social Networks

1) Yotube
2) Linkedin.com
3) MySpace.com
4) Orkut.com
5) Facebook.com (Most College Students from Top Universities worldwide & Professionals from Companies)

Yahoo Pipes a Useful Tool for Webmasters

Yahoo Pipes is definitely the most innovative product to be released in major scale in recent times.

This is a tool using which you can generate customized content by mixing RSS feeds in any order. You could send the output of one feed as input source into another.

For example you could create customized Pipes to suit your users needs and generate content that can be very useful to your audience. Hence can be a great value addition to your auidence.

Create a new section in your website where you can extract data from various related websites and create mashups and throw results to users. This data can be published on new web pages. This will help generate new unique fresh content not available anywhere on Internet and getting refreshed regularly.

Another way is to send these mashups again as RSS feeds which can be subscribed by users. These can be tracked and monitored to know its performance.

This is a wonderful tool for bloggers, webmasters who are constantly looking for fresh content to be published on their sites.

If you own a huge sites having traffic in millions you would definitely have an idea of the exact needs of your end users. These can met by creating mashups to generate most popular data users are looking for on your site. Hence you could increase the stickiness of the website.

This would be of major help to Technology NEWS sites, Real Estate Sites & all major Web 2.0 sites.

Yahoo Search Marketing in India

Yahoo Search Marketing is very new in India after it parted ways with MSN in sometime June 2006

Yahoo launched its Ad program In India with new Interface for Advertisers to manage their campaigns and track/monitor results performance.

The Main features of YSM are:

1) Users add mainly Ads in YSM not keywords. This means that campaign is sorted by Text Ads

2) There is Advance Match (similar to broad/exact/phrase match in Adwords) & Content Match for every Text Ad.

3) Set Maximum position 1 for all Ads, this would automatically increase your CPC to give your Ad #1 on search results

4) Gives our your competitor bids and Top 3 bidders for your keyword

5) Generate daily, monthly, weekly reports on keyword performance.

6) Campaign Settings, Activate/Deactivate Campaign, Url, Category of Campaign.

7) Billing Report on predefined this month & last month stats.

The above are the main features on the YSM system. For more latest info you could visit the YSM blog

My personal opinion is that a company that is looking to compete with Google has to come with a system that is comparable by benefits & features vis-a-vis competitors.

As an Google Adwords user the main things that are visibly lacking in the system which catches your attention are:

1) No Conversion Tracking. How does yahoo justify users expenditure on their network without being able to track campaign effectiveness. This shows Yahoo is concerned about earning their revenue more than caring about users money.

2) No Advance Keyword/Ad Text editing. You cannot track down poor performing keywords & remove them. Similarly Text Ads.

3) No place for Image Ads. With content targeting options, having a Image targeting is a necessary feature.

4) No way to generate customized reporting tool. There is only a standard reports that can be generated.

5) If there are more than 1 campaign then there is no provision to find cumulative costs, clicks, bills etc..

6) There is a need to create an Ad every time your add a new keyword. This increases the time of the advertiser.

These are main features that are clearly visible in the account and definitely not helping the advertisers.

Impact of Budget Proposal on Indian Internet Industry

The Indian Internet Industry is still in its infancy & its present contribution to Overall Indian Economy is negligible. Therefore considering the present scenario the budget proposal put forward by the Ministry is quite but natural.

However my opinion is that the Indian government must be keen in helping & encouraging emerging Industries which have the potential to grow large enough to contribute growth of Indian economy.

You can get a lot of information of how budget was helpful or not helpful to the DOTCOM & Internet Industry on Alootechie & Content Sutra.

Internet Industry is a knowledge intensive industry, only knowledge workers succeed in this industry. Therefore having fringe benefit Tax, MAT, dividend distribution tax looks natural by a developing country, but country must develop a budget plan with the future in prospective. However government encouraging broad band industry would have been a step that is required for development of this industry. Leving taxes on broadband & telecoms industries will only hamper & slow down its growth as the taxes would again be passed to the end user. Telecommunication & broadband is as essential as electricity, which is a lifeline to growth of Internet Industry.

Overall the Indian budget is not very encouraging to the Internet Industry, however this is test for all the new ventures that promises great services, products to the end users. Only those businesses survive that have minimal impact from changes in government & market risks.