February 12, 2008
Interestingly though, while Google grew by 40% year on year in Q4 that was down on their growth a year earlier. That made their market share slip by 0.5%, but they do still own over 23% of the market. Something to do with the coming saturation of search marketing perhaps?
IDC says a merged Microsoft-Yahoo would command 17% of the U.S. online ad market, so still not enough to topple Google from the top spot.
One wonders if the figures for Google include DoubleClick yet??
December 11, 2007
AJAX World Magazine, a decent site that looks into the newer web technology of AJAX has published an interesting list of questions on the subject. The questions come from various pioneers in the technology after they were asked to pose the conundrums that they think we should be answering next to take AJAX forward and ‘fix the web’.
Would love to know the answers if anyone has them!
December 7, 2007
Just in case you haven’t covered all the bases here’s an excellent reference for all you online marketers! It’s in the form of a mind map as well, so really useful!
December 4, 2007
Sometimes it’s good to sit back and have a laugh at the industry you are in. This one made me chuckle!
November 26, 2007
November 22, 2007
November 22, 2007
A PricewaterhouseCoopers report is confirming what I had surmised many months ago. Online travel agencies (the likes of Expedia and Opodo) are beginning to lose business in favour of the customers booking direct with suppliers.
They say that online travel agencies are losing their competitive edge and now that suppliers of travel products are maturing in their use of the internet it’s not all going their way anymore.
This has been coming for a while. The agencies have got so powerful that they’ve let their fingers off the pulse. Airlines and hotel chains are engaging online marketers themselves instead of purely relying on the distribution channels they used to use. They now control their own inventory and therefore their own destiny (and profits).
Loyalty schemes have a lot to do with this. Airline frequent flyer points are a massive draw and encourage direct booking, hotels now have similar schemes and the online travel agents can’t replicate these.
This trend is only going to continue unless the aggregators work out new ways to add value for customers.
The other issue which the report doesn’t mention is the impact tour operators may be having on the online travel agencies. Tour operators are getting more web savvy too, employing better quality people and better quality tactics to position their offering more effectively online. As tour operators websites improve and product offerings get more dynamic (through the introduction of new reservation systems, something that is going on at many tour ops) the online travel agencies are going to lose further ground.
November 20, 2007
Pingdom is a great little service which tests your website for uptime that I use on a number of sites and services. I was lucky enough to get a free account having beta tested it.
Anyway, they often have some quite good insight on their blog. The latest post is one that’s really close to my heart, it’s all about one of the most viewed pages on the web, the good old 404 error page.
In the post ‘23 percent of the top US websites have bad 404 pages‘ they discuss what a difference a well thought out and constructed 404 page can have on your websites usage.
404 pages are an inevitable problem for everyone. They can come about in a number of ways such as badly configured links, badly named files and links from search engines which point to old pages.
Of course, you can put some decent error handling in place if you want to to capture all 404 responses and redirect to the new version of a page or the best match for the page request. However there will always be occasions when you can’t avoid a 404 and can’t do anything to guess where to send the user so you need this generic page to present to users.
The biggest culprits are those which don’t have custom error pages at all and purely present the standard browser error page.
The next worst are those with unintelligible error messages and no links to any useful sections of their websites.
The way to do this properly is to make it light hearted and useful. Admit the error, don’t make the user think they’ve messed up. Offer a way out, provide useful links to the main starting points of your website, don’t make it a dead end. And most of all, make it a valuable page, if you’re selling something make sure users who find the 404 page know what you do, it can even be an opportunity to promote your products.
October 30, 2007
So online travel is motoring along as ever. Sales are rising and the number of participant websites is growing all the time. However, in the U.S. the word (courtesy the NY Times) is that 9 percent fewer people booked travel online this year than in 2005. This has come from a Forrester research survey of 60,000 U.S. web users. It is the first time since Forrester began tracking Internet spending a decade ago that a category (in this case online travel) has lost shoppers.
Another survey (results coming soon) from PhoCusWright shows that the percentage of travel shoppers booking online has dipped while the percentage booking offline has risen.
Is this something to be concerned about? Maybe. There’s a few reasons this could be happening. Perhaps customers are looking to book more and more complex trips, and therefore aren’t booking online as they feel the confidence instilled by a travel agent is necessary before parting with money for an adventurous trip. Or perhaps users are beginning to backlash against the standard online travel functionalities that haven’t changed much in the last ten years.
Henry Harteveldt, Forrester’s online travel analyst says “Customers are tired of spending two or three hours trying to find the airline or hotel or vacation package that meets their needs.” He says (like I do) that sites need to step away from asking for specifics in order to complete a search. He says “Nowhere can you say, ‘I have this amount of money to spend on a trip. These are my interests. This is where I live. Show me my options,’” he said. “Whereas online retailers have done a much better job of improving the shopping experience in recent years, the travel industry has been standing still.”
The NY Times article goes on to discuss the lack of innovation that is due to outdated reservation systems and mentions the Travelocity Road Trip Wizard I discussed earlier. Yes, lack of functionality in reservation systems is a major issue, also the technological complexity of querying multiple bed banks and GDS’ makes user intuitive searching almost impossible to create.
So, who is going to be in a position to benefit from this trend of user/customer decline? It could be the tour operators. Many of them are in the process of upgrading their systems to new dynamic package capable ones which will interface much better with intelligent search functionality. Also, they don’t need to query the bed banks as often as they have contracted bed stock so can cache availability and present it in a much more usability focussed manner than the likes of Expedia with their multi-connections to other suppliers. Of course the only problem is the lack of innovation generally at tour operators and also the desire they seem to have to become the next Expedia. That’s not the way forwards anymore. Rather than trying to emulate the online travel agents, tour operators should be trying to become the next big thing.
September 28, 2007
If you’ve ever wondered that, here’s your answer:
I've estimated the electricity consumption for the internet as follows:
US: 350 billion kWh per year
World: 868 billion kWh per year
These numbers represent 9.4% of total US electricity consumption, and 5.3%
of global electricity consumption.
The breakout of the data is as follows:
Annual Electricity Use for the Internet--US and World
Category..........................US Consumption.......World Consumption
.....................................Billion kWh........Billion kWh
(1) Data Centers (includes cooling)......45.................112.5
(4) Phone network.......................0.4...................1.0
TOTAL ELECTRICITY DEMAND ~350 billion kWh ~868 billion
OF THE INTERNET ........................U.S.................World
Crikey! That’s a lot of power! Time to look for better more sustainable power supplies for PC’s? Perhaps we could all sit at our desks pedaling while we surf…