URL

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5882703/your-deleted-facebook-photos-still-arent-really-deleted

Your Deleted Facebook Photos Still Aren't Really DeletedThree years ago, Ars Technica discovered that when you “deleted” your photos, they were still kept on Facebook’s servers, and anyone with a static URL could still access it. Three years later, Ars Technica revisited the matter and found little has changed. But Facebook says that things will be different…eventually.

Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng got Facebook to comment on the matter, they’re developing a new one which will permanently wipe photo off their servers within 45 days of a user “deleting” the photo from the site.

“The systems we used for photo storage a few years ago did not always delete images from content delivery networks in a reasonable period of time even though they were immediately removed from the site,” Facebook spokesperson Frederic Wolens told Ars via e-mail.

Wolens explained that photos remaining online are stuck in a legacy system that was apparently never operating properly, but said the company is working on a new system that will delete the photos in a mere month and a half. For really real this time.

So if there’s some incriminating piece of imagery on Facebook you’re really dying to have removed once and for all, maybe all hope isn’t lost entirely. [Ars Technica]

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

My Horrific Experiences With Sony Customer Support

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/my-horrific-experiences-with-sony-customer-support-2012-2


Sony laptopI have a Sony laptop computer. It is less than a year old. It was not cheap. I bought the best components, memory and hardware components options available including 3-year in home support.

A couple of months ago the monitor developed a problem (a line of dead pixels down the entire length of the screen). I knew it was a hardware failure because I run a dual monitor setup and the line did not appear on the second screen.

I ignored that problem because it was relatively minor. However a hard drive failure cannot be ignored. 

Unfortunately I experienced a hard drive failure at the beginning of January and was dead in the water. I could not boot.

Please follow this chain of events (Mac users, please try not to laugh too loudly).

My Sony Support Experience

  1. I called Sony support and told them of my problems. They told me my computer was out of warranty even though it was less than a year old and under standard warranty. I told them I had a 3 year warranty. They told me I they had no record of it but gave me another Sony phone number to call to verify my warranty.
  2. I suggested that rather than me hang up and dial Sony, that Sony should dial Sony and verify my service contract. The technical rep said that was not possible.
  3. I called the service number at Sony the tech rep gave me and that service rep verified my date of purchase as less than a year old. The service rep also gave me my 3-year in-home service contract number.
  4. I called back Sony technical support and gave them my service contract number. The technical rep said they could not find that service contact and would not help me. The tech rep told me to call back the service rep and get the right number.
  5. I called back up the service rep, and I did indeed have the right number. The service rep agreed to call the tech rep and stay on the line to verify the number. Apparently service can call technicians but not vice-versa. Some of these calls took 20 minutes.
  6. The service rep informed the technical rep of my purchase date of the service contract (less than a year old), and that it was for 3-years. At that point the tech rep agreed to help me. The service rep hung up.
  7. The tech rep then took my serial number and other information but said before he could schedule a service call he needed a copy of my receipt. I did not have a copy of my receipt. Given the Sony service rep verified my purchase date and 3 year service contract I failed to understand why I need a written receipt. As you might expect I was quite upset and talking rather loudly at this point.
  8. The service rep said he needed to know whether the computer was to be repaired under the service contract or the 1-year standard warranty. As you might imagine I did not see why any of this mattered as my date of purchase was confirmed by Sony as was my 3-year warranty.
  9. Well this mattered to the technician who demanded a receipt. The technician gave me a Sony website in which I could look up my order and get a receipt. I said “If I can go to a website on Sony and look up my order, why can’t you?”
  10. As you can probably guess from what has transpired so far, the tech rep could not do that. It was now late in the day and I had company over and a backup PC was working but without a lot of programs I frequently use and need. I waited overnight to get the receipt.
  11. The next day I attempted to get a receipt but the website URL the tech rep gave me was invalid. 
  12. Once again I called the service contract rep and that person gave me the right address. I said why don’t you look up my purchase day and get it to the tech but this time the service rep was uncooperative.
  13. I go to the Sony website and find my order. I print out my order and fax it to the tech rep. I call the tech rep number and the tech informs me he has scheduled a service call and someone would call me shortly to arrange a time within three days.
  14. I was suspicious of that claim, so the next day I called up the service rep who indeed verified the tech rep did not schedule a service call. 
  15. The service rep put in the order noting they had received my fax and that everything was in order.
  16. I was told I would get a call within 3 days. I was actually shocked to get a call the next day but the pleasant surprise quickly ended on news they had to order parts and I would get a another call within 3 days when the parts would be ready.
  17. Two days later the parts arrive and I get a call and schedule a time.
  18. The rep brings out another monitor and another hard drive. 
  19. The monitor is bad. It has a line of dead pixels in a different spot. 
  20. The tech rep installs the hard drive and leaves me with a set of install disks.
  21. One might think that the on-site technician might actually load the disks they delivered but one would be wrong. These guys are 100% without a doubt strictly hardware only. They do not load disks. Even ones they hand deliver.
  22. It is late in the evening and once again I had company. The next day I run the setup disks and get an I-O error. I cannot tell what is wrong. 
  23. I call Sony and they suspect another hard drive problem and tell me someone will call me within three days to schedule an appointment.
  24. I am screaming at the top of my lungs at this point as I have had it. The rep agrees to do nothing but schedule another call. I ask for his supervisor and an transferred to a “national customer relations specialist” NCRS.
  25. I ask the NCRS to send me a new computer. He tells me that the computer I have is no longer available. That was a direct lie because in advance (in expectation of lies) I had gone on the Sony website and could order the exact computer I already had. 
  26. I informed the NCRS that the computer was still orderable and he said he did not have the authority to do what I asked. If a national customer relations person does not have that authority, one has to wonder “Do they have ANY authority?”
  27. I asked to be transferred to his superior and was put on hold. His superior (and the NCRS refused to tell me the title of that person) would not take my call but whoever that person was did tell the NCRS that if the next delivery did not work they would pro-rate a refund.
  28. I demanded to talk to the NCRS superior but the NCRS would not comply.
  29. At that point I had had enough. I had been without my computer for 11 days and had loaded trial versions of software I use on another computer to get by, but I was still running in limited mode in a number of ways.
  30. I do an online search for computer repair for my city at 4:30 PM. The first two places did not answer the phone or had a messages they were closed. The owner of a third local repair shop in Barrington Illinois did answer the phone. He was open until 7:00PM and Barrington is only a half hour away.
  31. He agreed to look at my computer. I brought in my computer, the install DVDs Sony gave me, and an external hard drive backup I had of my computer.  He took one look at the install disks and said “this one is bad” (it had a discolored spot on the DVD). He changed the bios on my machine to boot to an external DVD drive and fortunately the external drive was able to read the install disks. It was now going on 8:00PM and the owner had stayed an hour past closing to help me but the configuration was only 70% done.
  32. The owner had to go but the next day when I called in, he had reset my drive to the original Sony state, removed all the Sony bloatware including Norton. He loaded all my personal files from an external hard drive I brought in. Above and beyond the call of duty, he found every ICON on my computer and went out and loaded trial versions of every software program I had.
  33. Now that is service. I had my Microsoft Office Key as well as keys to the other programs I use.  I had no idea how to configure my POP account at SBC on to my Microsoft Exchange account but he did that off the top of his head. By accident, I found someone (a business owner) who not only understands computers but someone who also understands the value of a customer.
  34. Five days later (two over the weekend) Sony did come by and replace my monitor. It might have been done sooner but I was out of town on Friday.

Moral of the Story

  • Have file backups. I did.
  • Don’t count on Sony
  • I have had bad experiences with Dell as well so don’t count on Dell or any other mass producer either.
  • Instead find a local computer shop that understands computers and the value of a customer.
If you live in NW Illinois, the place I found that helped me isBarringtonComputer. The owner is Richard Zatek.

By the way, I left out one interesting detail.

Barrington Computer has the ability to access a computer remotely. Zatek gave me a way to see what was happening remotely to my computer. When I checked on it at midnight (from my backup machine  at home), Zatek was also dialed into my computer and we exchanged messages right on my computer remotely using notepad, at midnight. We could see what each other was typing. That is pretty cool as well as exceptional service.

One good thing came out of this. I am pleased to have found someone who knows computers and also understands the value of a customer. Sony sure doesn’t.

 
Addendum
 
I received many emails regarding this post. Here is one from attorney “BR” who says …

Dear Mish,

I’m a big fan of your site and it is pretty much required reading for me most days. I read your account of your travails with “Big Corporate Customer service” with great empathy. I encountered a very similar experience two years ago getting a burner part replaced on my natural gas hot water heater. It took six weeks, 7 separate “house calls,” at least 15 different phone calls, and nearly being divorced before the problem was rectified. And it was a parts problem for which the company had issued a “recall,” so it wasn’t a unique or unexpected problem.

I’ve become convinced that this type of customer “service” is viewed as being a “feature” and not a “bug.” And it crosses all lines of products and services, but especially those covered by “warranties.” They are actively discouraging you from insisting on your right to the free repairs and other services for which you have already paid when you purchased your warranty. In my judgment it represents a calculated effort by corporate types to maximize the profits they obtain under extended warranty agreements. It really is a form of fraud.

Lesson learned is that while P.C. stands for piece of crap, warranties are worth even less.

Very truly yours,

BR

Addendum Two
 
I received many comments about the poor quality of consumer products. I failed to mention a possible remedy.
 
I asked the store owner if he custom built computers and he said it would not be cost-effective. After all, he still would be using components straight from China.
 
Instead he said, never buy a computer from a normal retail store or through the “consumer division” of a PC maker. Sony only has a a consumer divi! sion. HP and Dell have business divisions.
 
Unfortunately, that may not mean support will be much better, but rather the components will likely be of a higher quality. Large businesses might buy hundreds of computers or more at once. To get repeat business, the computers need to be more durable and have no built-in bloatware (trial software and other garbage).

Addendum Three
 
I received many emails like this from Mac users but here is one from a person at VMC Consulting Corporation with a email address at Microsoft.

Reading your recent “Horrific Experiences” post, I just want to make a friendly suggestion.

Next time you want the best Windows machine money can buy, get a Mac.

No kidding.

The Mac is the best Windows machine you can buy, and the support is fantastic. I don’t know where you live, but if it’s a major city, I bet there’s an Apple store nearby.

You can either use “Boot Camp” and run entirely in Windows, or you can be booted into the Mac OSX, and run Windows inside of Parallels, which is a fantastic Virtualization program.

Cheers,

David


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Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 news No Comments

Affiliates Pining for Pinterest

Source: http://blog.compete.com/2012/01/05/affiliates-pining-for-pinterest/

AUTHOR: Lindsey Mark, Compete.com  — January 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

hot lips

Image from: akva / Shutterstock
Pinterest is the new popular kid on the Internet, getting featured in media outlets like celebrity gossip does on tabloids. What people aren’t talking about however is the opportunity that exists for more ‘behind the scenes businesses.’ Those amazing symbiotic or parasitic relationships where third parties benefit from Pinterest’s new hype, sort of like Entourage™ with a cast of publishers, affiliates, and merchants.

There are a few smart blogs out there talking about these trends, some are funny, like Regretsy.com’s compare and save section that features sellers that are ripping off buyers by reselling manufactured products for higher prices. Classic and often humorous examples of parasitic relationships.

Laughs aside, let’s take a look at one affiliate that’s been seeing some positive lift from Pinterest’s new-found fame. SkimLinks, an affiliate marketing technology with a “sweet twist” helps content creators and curators automate. Most publishers spend a majority of their time working on content and selling ad space. With SkimLinks, connecting affiliate links to content seems* like a snap and appears to be popular amongst monetized ‘pinners’ as a good option outside of the Amazon Affiliate Network. If November is any indication, the Pinterest & SkimLinks relationship is budding with Pinterest beating out Twitter as their number one inbound traffic referrer with a 9.47% Share of inbound traffic to the site. On the converse, SkimResources.com (a SkimLinks url) is ranked number 10 with 0.94% of outgoing traffic from Pinterest.com, just behind large networks like Etsy.com, Bing.com, YouTube.com, and Live.com. I anticipate that merchants that work with SkimLinks will have good things happen for them if Pinterest continues on the upswing, particularly as it’s often been framed in the context of wishlists & gifting.

Incoming Traffic to Skimlinks.com

Outgoing from Pinterest


drag2share – drag and drop RSS news items on your email contacts to share (click SEE DEMO)

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Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 news No Comments

Contextual Help Bubble – Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia, Amazon, Google Translate, Clip2Send

Dead simple, handy tool for adding contextual help to any web page or entire site. It is installed on this blog — so go ahead and select something with your mouse.

Then you can choose to look up the word(s) on the dictionary, thesaurus, wikipedia, or amazon. Or you can translate it, clip 2 send it, or Google it.

Install on any webpage or blog by way of 1 line of code:

<script src=”http://64.202.162.213/bubble/bubble.js“></script>

Select any text, contextual bubble appears, click Wikipedia to get more information about the selected text

contextual-bubble-wikipedia-1contextual-bubble-wikipedia-2

When more than 5 words are selected, other options are grayed out and clip2send is the link to click to send the selected part of the page via email. Type in the email address; the subject line is autofilled, but editable; the source URL is automatically cited.

contextual-bubble-clip2send-1contextual-bubble-clip2send-2

Select text, contextual bubble appears, click Amazon link to bring up results on Amazon.  For example if you select the words Samsung LED HDTV and then use the contextual bubble to choose Amazon, it will bring you to the page and execute the search for you using the words you selected.

contextual-bubble-amazon-1contextual-bubble-amazon-2

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Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 digital No Comments

The JKWeddingDance video was real; the viral effect was MANUFACTURED – Post 1 of 2

originally investigated and reported on Friday July 31, 2009 by Augustine Fou, with Tugce Esener @tesener

Several friends and colleagues had the same reaction when they found out about this video — that it was at such a high view count already and we were late to the party of finding out.  Then we did some more digging — digital forensics  :-)  And this is a case where a viral hit was indeed successfully manufactured.  There’s something to be learned from all this — how to successfully manufacture a viral video sensation and make viral profits.

Related: How to manufacture a viral video sensation and make viral profits – Post 2 of 2

Chris Brown is successfully tapping into the viral halo of a funny video that coincidentally used his song.

ReadWriteWeb article on how rights owners (Sony, Chris Brown) can make viral profits on other people using their work instead of suing them – http://bit.ly/KA3HI

The video was real. But promotional activities (possibly/likely paid) created the initial viral effect (led to the tipping point of the viral effect) which then got carried a further by people thinking they were simply late to the party, including myself (e.g. 440k bit.ly clicks and 3k detectable retweets out of the 13M views). The numbers don’t jive.

The viral halo has added 1 million more views to the video from August 1 – August 2.  (13.1 M to 14.5 M)


Ten ELEVEN TWELVE THIRTEEN proof points to follow, each with screen shot to illustrate.

1a. anyone notice that the “Forever” soundtrack is remarkably consistent throughout the video as if it were dubbed or added in after the original footage was shot. The sound is too consistent in volume and loudness to have come from a built-in, on-camera microphone. At the very end of the video, once it cuts back to the couple at the altar the sound quality goes back to the echo-y, tinny sound of an on-camera mic.

1b. The “TheKHeinz” user on YouTube was registered on July 19, 2009, the day the video was posted. We usually look for clues like this to detect “plants” by PR agencies.  This is an issue of trust — a user “CmdrTaco” on Slashdot has been around the forums for years, made hundreds of posts, and was rated by the community very highly. PR agencies trying to seed stories have to create new user accounts during the PR campaign (recent registration date) and have made no other posts or uploads before (no history).

thekheinz-user-info-on-youtube

2. The social intensity detected in all of the top social venues like Technorai, Delicious, Reddit, Digg, etc. indicate there was not enough organic sharing to support a view count of 13 million views in 11 days (updated: 14.6 million today August 2, 2009).

a) Bit.ly shows only 447k clicks on the shortened URL

bitly-statistics-on-jkwedding-video

“At Fortune’s Brainstorm:Tech conference Ashton Kutcher effectively took credit for boosting the views from – in his words – 12,500 views before he tweeted the link – to some 1.2 million views 12 hours later…”

Well, unfortunately he used a bit.ly link which provides public analytics on how many people clicked. Most tweets result in immediate traffic, which then tails off immediately after the tweet falls off the first page. In his case, look at the following bit.ly stats URL and click “past month” to see the peak clicks on July 23. All he can actually claim is that his tweet drove a peak of about 100,000 clicks on that day not 1.2 million :-(

http://bit.ly/info/Z7vMw

too bad Ashton. next time you make a BMOC claim, be sure to use a non trackable method, so analytics won’t “out” you so easily.

august-21-bitly-intensity-update

after only 3.5 days of retweets the twitter intensity died off to next-to-nothing; if this were a truly viral video, carried forth by real people (and not by paid PR support and paid media) the retweet intensity would remain high. As of August 21, there are over 21M views on the video and the 505k retweets does not show actual organic support for that number.

ashton-kutcher-promote-viral-video


b) Twitturly shows only 3 thousand retweets on the YouTube URL itself

updated-twitturly-stats-for-video

c) Delicious shows only 447 bookmarks of the video itself

delicious-bookmarks-jkwedding

delicious-bookmarks-jkweddingdance

d) Reddit only shows 673 thumbs up for the video itself

reddit-results-for-jkweddingvideo

e) Technorati shows only 277 blog mentions of the video itself — this could be undercounting if blogs used URL shorteners. But if you look at the blog intensity results (below) sorted by blogs with most authority the blogs have very little authority (i.e. influence or size of audience).

technorati-blog-posts-on-jkwedding

– these are real indications of interest by real people. The social intensity of the passalong for this video does not substantiate the huge number of views in 11 days.

What we are seeing now is the additional viral halo, as the momentum is sustained by large media outlets reporting on the story — even Google Blog blogged about it (boasting about the success of YouTube advertising in driving revenues). Of course TechCrunch is right that viral videos can be monetized: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/30/youtube-viral-wedding-videos-are-great-for-advertising/ )


3. Twitter shows nothing in the top “trending topics” related to this video – indicating few people are actually tweeting about it — if this video is SO viral (13M views in 11 days) then it has GOT to show up on a scan of social intensity. (see screen capture below)

July 31 (Friday)                 August 2 (Sunday)

twitter-trending-topics-455pm-july-31-2009August-2-trending-twitter-topics

4. The original video was posted July 19, 2009. The people from the video appeared on NBC’s Today Show and danced around Rockerfeller Center on July 25th (6 calendar days after posting). Today Show staff may be great at spotting news, but to get all the wedding party from the wedding to re-enact the dance on the Today Show in 6 calendar days — too good to be true?  Hmm…

today-show-appearance


5. Out of all the wedding videos on YouTube, how did Chris Brown detect this particular one that used his song. @glenngabe noted that there are song detection mechanisms  – ContentID – which detect the pattern of the copyrighted song and report that to the rights owners. We know there are hundreds, if not thousaands, or really funny wedding home videos — America’s Funniest Videos has been running for years and years on TV showing funny wedding blooper videos that people submitted to them.


6. ALL TEN of the top viral videos on AdAge’s Viral Video Chart took around 3 – 6 months to achieve full viral effect — not 6 days.  See all 10 videos’ stats, as reported by YouTube at the following link. This video has not shown up at all on the list of Adage viral videos.

AdAge Top Viral Videos all take 3 – 6 months to reach full viral effect



7. From @RedW0rm – YouTube Declares Wedding Video a Financial Success http://bit.ly/9ZUtu


8. also check the velocity of this http://twitter.com/#search?q=jkwedding or this http://twitter.com/#search?q=jkweddingdance notice the tweets are not seconds apart but hours apart. Something that achieved 13M views in the 11 days since posting would show far higher velocity or twitter intensity.

twitter-1-jkwedding

twitter-1-jkwedding

9.  For a top-trending topic on twitter, there is usually correspondingly high search volume that is detectable.  At first glance, terms related to this viral video like “jkwedding” or “jk wedding dance” all seem to spike.  But if you put it against even “Corazon Aquino” (one of the top trending topics NOW on Twitter) those JK wedding search volumes are dwarfed.  (see chart below).

corazon-aquino-search-volume

10.  Google only reports 366 links to the video and most of them are not even important websites (see Alexa blue bar)

google-in-links-for-jkwedding-video

11.  The video itself has no honors and no stats (yet); YouTube stats are conveniently turned off. Other videos have their stats graphs publicly available.

no-honors-for-jk-wedding-video

12. see the fine print in the YouTube description — For more information or to make a donation towards violence prevention please visit our website: http://www.jkweddingdance.com/ – why would a normal wedding video ask people to make a donation towards violence prevention? (see screen capture below), the WHOIS record shows the domain jkweddingdance.com was created 29-Jul-09 — today is 31-Jul-09

Updated: This was circumstantial evidence. A source confirmed that Jill is studying patterns of violence propagation for her PhD. Their choice of charity was their own choice. And the site was set up to help that cause.

violence-prevention-chris-brown

whois-jkweddingdance-part1

whois-jkweddingdance-part2

Conclusion?  The video itself is real, made by those nice people in the wedding. They may not even realize why or how their wedding video went viral (and the tens of thousands of other wedding videos on YouTube did not). On the Today Show, “The couple told Lauer they were surprised at the video’s popularity” (also see NY Daily News article – http://bit.ly/OA3iG )

Related articles:

ReadWriteWeb – Build Profit Not DMCA Suits

WSJ – YouTube Declares Wedding Video a Financial Success

PSFK – Co-opting Viral Hits to Sell More Music

TechCrunch – YouTube: Viral Wedding Videos Are Great For Advertising

Huffington Post – Viral Wedding on YouTube Drives Buyers to Chris Brown Music

ClickZ -http://blog.clickz.com/090805-160921.html

What Viral Videos Look Like

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Friday, July 31st, 2009 analytics, viral videos 40 Comments

so, you think you’re viral? here’s how to find out…

1. post your “viral” video, banner ad, etc.
2. tweet about it
3. see if any one of your followers re-tweets it
4. check twitt(url)y to see “twitter intensity” around you asset

this is a quick way to tell if what you think is viral is viral. If even your own circle of followers don’t retweet it, it probably isn’t viral.  What you think is cool may actually not be that cool.  And sticking it on YouTube and supporting it with a lot of paid media, doesn’t make it viral!

Agree with me?  Or tell me I’m stupid @acfou

using twitter intensity to determine if something is viral (or not).

twitturly2

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Friday, March 20th, 2009 analytics, digital, marketing No Comments

no, twitter will NOT be the next google

Every year around SXSW, there’s a surge in interest about twitter. This time around people have even gone as far as to proclaim twitter to be “the next google” or “the future of search” etc.  Bullocks!

Here’s why:

1) distant from other social networks – While we are seeing a massive surge in interest and usage of twitter, it is still a long way off from the number of users of other social networks; it will take a long time to get to critical mass; and this is a prerequisite for twitter to assail the established habit of the majority of consumers to “google it.” — Google’s already a verb.

2) no business model – It remains to be seen whether Twitter can come up with a business model to survive for the long haul. Ads with search are proven. Ads on social networks are not. And given the 140-character limit, there’s hardly any space to add ads.

3) lead adopters’ perspective is skewed – Twitter is still mostly lead adopters and techies so far; so the perspectives on its potential may be skewed too positively. As more mainstream users start to use it, we’re likely to see more tweets about nose picking, waking up, making coffee, being bored, etc….  This will quickly make the collective mass of content far less specialized and useful (as it is now).

4) too few friends to matter – Most people have too few friends. Not everyone is a Scott Monty ( @scottmonty ) with nearly 15,000 followers. So while a user’s own circle of friends would be useful for real-time searches like “what restaurant should I go to right now?” the circle is too small to know everything about everything they want to search on. And even if you take it out to a few concentric circles from the original user who asked, that depends on people retweeting your question to their followers and ultimately someone notifying you when the network has arrived at an answer — not likely to happen.

5) topics only interesting to small circle of followers – Most topics tweeted are interesting to only a very small circle of followers, most likely not even to all the followers of a particular person. A great way to see this phenomenon is with twitt(url)y. It measures twitter intensity of a particular story and lists the most tweeted and retweeted stories.  Out of the millions of users and billions of tweets, the top most tweeted stories range in the 100 – 500 tweet range and recently these included March 18 – Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 preview event; #skittles; and the shutdown of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News.  Most other tweets are simply not important enough to enough people for them to retweet.

6) single purpose apps or social networks go away when other sites come along with more functionality or when big players simply add their functionality to their suite of services.

twitter

twitturly

Am I missing something here, people?  Agree with me or tell me I’m stupid @acfou :-)

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Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 digital, social networks No Comments

last-ad accounting, last-ad-attribution model

Why the Click Is the Wrong Metric for Online (Display) Ads

http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=134787

There is a whole ruckus around ad networks getting too little credit for helping to drive customers’ awareness and clicks for advertisers. In the past, ad networks wanted to claim credit for type-ins (people going to an advertiser’s site by typing the URL instead of clicking on an ad). They called this “view through” and the ad networks wanted these to be attributed to their showing the ad somewhere on their network.

Now they claim that getting credit for only the last-ad is not enough — the ad the user actually clicked on to get to the advertiser’s site, the one that can actually be tracked and properly attributed.

What’s at stake is the relatively large piece of “direct” or referrer-less traffic. Analytics packages can only assign these to type-ins or bookmarks since there was no referring site to attribute them to, let alone ad creative version, etc.

But while there is demonstrable lift in click rates when display ads and search ads are running at the same time — i.e. they reinforce and complement each other — it does not mean that ad networks can or should claim credit for the lift. After all, advertising running on another network COULD also cause a lift in results of ads running on another network if they are run simultaneously.

So the bottom line is if the click or the visit is not directly attributable, it should not be attributed.

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Monday, February 23rd, 2009 display advertising No Comments

CCA – cost of customer acquisition

how do we judge the relative merit and effectiveness of different types of advertising? By finding a common parameter that can be used to compare “apples to apples.” We argue that cost of customer acquisition is a great candidate for such a parameter.

For example, if television advertising cost $50 million to produce and air, and 1,000 people came to the acquisition website, and 10 people applied for and received credit cards then the CCA — cost of customer acquisition would be $5 million ($50 million / 10 people who got the credit card). Of course television advertisers would claim that the “impressions” from TV would have “branded” millions more people and they would eventually get a credit card from the company. That’s possible. But for the purposes of this exercise, if there is no absolute end-to-end tracking, we don’t count it. Because, for example, many other possible scenarios can also occur, like the person saw this ad for a credit card but ended up getting a card from a different bank, they saw and remembered the ad but they already had several credit cards from the company, etc.

With “online” we can easily see lift in search activity around the time that brand/awareness advertising is in-flight. This is one of the best indicators of interest — the person saw the TV ad, and was inspired enough to go online to do more research to inform their own purchase decision. Modern consumers will typically search and then click through. In rare instances, they will type the URL, but it is usually the domain name, not the special URL — domain_name.com/special_url — just because of pure laziness or simply because they forgot the /special_url portion.

Now let’s look at a print example: a print ad cost $5 million to produce and traffic in targeted magazines. About 1,000 people came to the website and 10 people ended up purchasing the advertised product. So the CCA is $500,000 per customer acquired.  There may be more people who saw the ad and eventually came in to buy a product. But again, there is a problem of attribution.

Now a final example from “online” marketing.  Search ads were run using Google Adwords and a $1 CPC (cost per click) was paid. Of those people who clicked through 1 in 20 purchased a product. So it took 20 clicks at $1 each to achieve 1 sale – so the cost of customer acquisition is $20.

OK, so what about prodycts not sold online? We can use a proxy which has a known conversion to sales. For example, once a coupon is printed from the website, from historic data the advertiser knows that 30% end up using the coupon – i.e. redeeming with a purchase. So, again, if we used a $1 CPC and 1 in 20 ended up printing the coupon and 30% of those “converted” to an offline sale, the CCA would be $66.67  ($20/0.30).

So to recap

Television – $5 million CCA

Print – $500,000 CCA

Paid Search – $20 CCA

Paid Search + Offline Sale – $67 CCA

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Saturday, February 21st, 2009 digital, integrated marketing, marketing No Comments

Best Buy / Circuit City stores physically touching each other

IMG_6482-bestbuy-circuitcit

this is on Fifth Avenue between 43rd and 44th streets in New York City.

In thinking about retail … this helps illustrate the tremendous challenges they face.

– online switching costs are pretty much zero — just type another URL; these two stores are physically touching — just walk next door

– they carry much of the same inventory from plasma TVs to computers to home stereo equipment to software, CDs, DVDs, etc.

– they both sell Apple iPods; consumers have already decided to buy an iPod for Christmas (for some reason), which store do they walk into? what differentiates the store with the blue awning from the one with silver letters? they both have “black friday” discounts but the price ended up to be about $1 from each other; both have geeks on staff, one called Geek Squad and the other Fire Dog

– and then there’s Amazon.com which is tax free and offers free 2nd day shipping.

THIS is a challenging marketing problem for retailers such as the ones pictured!

 

UPDATED:  December 2013

best buy circuit city search volume

 

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Monday, November 12th, 2007 digital No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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