Archive for the ‘internet’ Tag

Berners-Lee ‘sorry’ for slashes

Tim Berners-Lee, AP

Tim Berners-Lee started the web to help scientists communicat

The forward slashes at the beginning of internet addresses have long annoyed net users and now the man behind them has apologised for using them.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, has confessed that the // in a web address were actually “unnecessary”.

He told the Times newspaper that he could easily have designed URLs not to have the forward slashes.

“There you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time,” he said.

He admitted that when he devised the web, almost 30 years ago, he had no idea that the forward slashes in every web address would cause “so much hassle”.

His light-hearted apology even had a green angle as he accepted that having to add // to every address had wasted time, printing and paper.

Sir Tim is currently director of the World Wide Web Consortium and he is also working with the UK government to help open up access to government data.

Source

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Google leaves the rest behind by pressing Fast Forward

Google has partnered up with Wharton University (Pennsylvania) to create a little slice of marketing heaven for the masses on You tube called Fast Forward. The dedicated page is making a splash in the marketing world as they discuss marketing techniques, providing a valuable insight into marketing best practice.

The partnership explores the evolution of marketing in the world today,

“Google and The Wharton School have partnered to gather and provide quick perspective on managing the change in the marketing landscape. As we explore what will define success through marketing’s continual evolution, we aim to share ideas and lessons learned to help keep us all better informed and effective as the game – and conversation – rapidly progresses”.

It’s not surprising that Google have gotten invloved in an area they excel in. But the resource is just that, a resource, we would have thought in light of modern internet trends they would have created Fast Forward as a more community orientated space. Speaking to, and with the marketers of the world. Definately worth casting your eye over though!

SA pigeon ‘faster than broadband’

Winston the pigeon

Winston the pigeon was allowed no “performance-enhancing seeds”

Broadband promised to unite the world with super-fast data delivery – but in South Africa it seems the web is still no faster than a humble pigeon.

A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country’s biggest web firm, Telkom.

Winston the pigeon took two hours to carry the data 60 miles – in the same time the ADSL had sent 4% of the data.

Telkom said it was not responsible for the firm’s slow internet speeds.

The idea for the race came when a member of staff at Unlimited IT complained about the speed of data transmission on ADSL.

He said it would be faster by carrier pigeon.

“We renown ourselves on being innovative, so we decided to test that statement,” Unlimited’s Kevin Rolfe told the Beeld newspaper.

‘No cats allowed’

Winston took off from Unlimited IT’s call centre in the town of Howick to deliver the memory stick to the firm’s office in Durban.

According to Winston’s website there were strict rules in place to ensure he had no unfair advantage.

Kevin Rolfe with Winston
Winston is over the moon
Kevin Rolfe

They included “no cats allowed” and “birdseed must not have any performance-enhancing seeds within”.

The firm said Winston took one hour and eight minutes to fly between the offices, and the data took another hour to upload on to their system.

Mr Rolfe said the ADSL transmission of the same data size was about 4% complete in the same time.

Hundreds of South Africans followed the race on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

“Winston is over the moon,” Mr Rolfe said.

“He is happy to be back at the office and is now just chilling with his friends.”

Meanwhile Telkom said it could not be blamed for slow broadband services at the Durban-based company.

“Several recommendations have, in the past, been made to the customer but none of these have, to date, been accepted,” Telkom’s Troy Hector told South Africa’s Sapa news agency in an e-mail.

South Africa is one of the countries hoping to benefit from three new fibre optic cables being laid around the African continent to improve internet connections.

Source BBC

This blogging business really does pay!

Keen London blogger Paul McCrudden is cashing in on the success of internet blogging. Blogging is becoming ever more popular and is a great resource for keeping people up to date and informed with the latest news. With companies fighting each other for customers, now more than ever, any coverage and reviews they get are a big bonus.

McCruddon’s blog, Six Weeks, details the time he has spent sitting, viewing, queueing and waiting in restaurants, the Post Office, on the Victoria Line, watching TV and in sandwich shops over a six-week period.

According to his calculations, he is owed more than £6,000 for time lost. McCruddon has now written to more than 50 companies, and invoiced them for the amount of time he has spent with them.

Pret A Manger is the first company to have paid McCruddon – the sum of £62 – while the managing director of the fruit and nut stall Cranberry is now demanding McCruddon pay him for time spent reading his letter and blog.

McCruddon claims to have engineered the scheme in order to examine how he spends his life as a consumer as well as to challenge the general assumption that consumers are subservient to brands. (quoted from campaignlive.com)

So while Pret have noticed the power of letting its customers advertise the company through word of blog! And have grabbed the coverage for being the first company to appreciate its customers voice, we wait to see if any other companies jump on the bandwagon and cave in to McCruddons claims.

Zugara : NEW online shopping experience

Zugara launches online shopping app utilizing augmented reality and motion capture

“Here at Zugara, we’re proud to announce the launch of our newest application, The Webcam Social Shopper. Coupling the functionality of both Augmented Reality and Motion Capture, this application will allow anyone with a webcam to shop online right from within their video feed. We like to think of it as “Augmented Reality meets Utility”. This app allows you to seemingly hold articles of clothing up in front of yourself to see “how they look”. And the Motion Capture allows the app to track your movements so you can interact with the site (e.g. cycle through a product’s various colors/styles or take a picture of yourself so you can get immediate feedback from friends on Facebook) while standing several feet away from your computer’s controls. No extra downloads, no new plug-in, no consumer headache.

To see the application in action, check out our video below.

(UPDATE: If you’re having trouble accessing the embedded video – here is the direct YouTube URL)

Now that you’ve seen the application in its “Alpha State”, think about the potential an app like this has as we partner with brands to allow their consumers to do things like:

* Livestream their webcam’s feed to friends and loved ones, and get comments and feedback right next to the application in real time.
* Receive “clothing care packages” from loved ones who might be somewhere else in the country and set up times to “shop together”… online.
* Enter their measurements into the app and get a “fitted image”.
* Match entire outfits at the same time, both top and bottom.
* Shop right within a branded Facebook application.

It’s not a secret that friends/family recommendations influence a consumer’s purchase decision and beat any other “consumer touchpoint”. Now, we can help brands empower their consumers to integrate their friends and family into their online shopping process like never before. The thinking is that this application will help bridge the gap between how people like to shop offline and how they are forced to shop online, subsequently providing an enhanced interactive shopping experience for the consumer and increased sales for the brand. So, what do you think? Please, feel free to share this post with anyone and everyone, or embed the video above in your own blog. And, as always, we’d love to know your thoughts below…

About Zugara

Zugara is an interactive marketing agency with a passion for emerging media and technologies. Unlike most agencies, we don’t claim to do everything: Interactive Video, Social Media, Mobile Marketing, and Website & Application Development are our core competencies. Since our doors opened in 2001, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the world’s best brands such as Reebok, Sony Computer Entertainment Of America, Toyota, Activision, Jelly Belly, Casio, The Air Force, and Lexus to create strategic interactive campaigns that focus on accomplishing their business objectives. Based in Los Angeles, we’re currently in the process of expanding, and opening our second office in New York (www.zugara.com) (www.zugarastudios.com)”.

For more information on The Webcam Social Shopper or ZugMo Technology, please contact ar@zugara.com. For all other inquiries, please contact info@zugara.com.

Source

Widgets are changing our world

“Today, online retailers are looking for ways to extend their reach to social networks, desktop and web widgets, blogs, and mobile applications to connect with customers,” says Worklight’s David Lavenda. “But the real question is not how to capture customers’ attention, but rather how companies generate sales and enhance customer loyalty via such popular tools as Facebook, iPhone, iGoogle, Adobe Air and others. Secure retail widgets represent a new and exceptional channel for convenient shopping and always-on customer service, one that generates sales for retailers and saves customers time and money.” “Online sales are becoming an increasingly critical element of multi-channel retail sales, especially as people become highly selective in where and how they shop,” Lavenda added. “Retailers that are able to monetize this migration to the online channel, with successful widget marketing and sales efforts, will quickly stand apart from the rest.” • Allow customers to search and shop directly via the widget, without being redirected to the retailer website. • Engage customers by providing personalised widgets with highly-granular, individualised offers to improve conversion rates, lower marketing costs, and increase lift. Enable customers to respond to offers within the widget, without being redirected. • Provide social networking tools to let customers share experiences regarding services and products with their friends. Then let friends order products directly from the social networking sites. • Experiment with marketing messages to quickly and cost-effectively select the most effective messages for micro-market segments. • Monitor response and conversion rates to gauge the success of widget campaigns and improve performance. • Compare the costs and returns of secure widget-based offers against traditional marketing channels or even non-secure widgets

Internet World event review; Earls Court, London

Just attended the show, its impressive to see the diversity to some extent, of the operations that are developing. However what is slightly alarming is how when you dig below the surface there are so many companies with a similar offering!
CMS, email, web design… Everyone is doing it, the battle is to shout loudest.

What is differentiating all these companies?

I have seen more than 12 simply selling their unique, all conquering cms!

So how do these shows really work? At the end of the day anyone in web should have an impressive site anyway, that’s why I find them and then their content has to be good otherwise otherwise I scream deception, fraud, they are not living up to the promise, its a sham!

So what did I get out of it, well a lot of uncomfortable surreptitious badge staring, as people try to figure you out, some trumpet blowing and plenty of desperate sales guys, many just hired for the day!

However I was about to make my exit when I noticed that Scott Seaborn from Ogilvy was giving a little insight into mobile media, totally intrigued and a little naïve in this sector I had to attend!

Blimey if nothing else that was worth being there for! Far to short of course as they kept it to a mere 25 mins and how Scott managed to keep it to that I will never know, he managed to cram in such an thorough insight. I would have thought for many in that theatre it was truly mind blowing, it certainly was for me.

These guys at Ogilvy have certainly got their eyes on the ball and they have been tinkering with this stuff for a few years now.

From the Guiness Rugby Sevens tour widget to the latest Fanta teen game, its awe inspiring to see just what the mobile medium can actually achieve.

This medium really does make the current multi-channel approaches to marketing seem fractured, through deploying exciting interactive  and often useful apps (applications) from web to phone, the brand that is assigned with the app, not only gains credible exposure but actually achieves the ability to be constantly in view to the user. This ability to develop an intrinsic relationship with the user is so fundamentally powerful, not only can the brand provide a useful function, thereby promoting many integrity and added value messages, but the app can actually generate enhanced conversion to sales.

The difference as Scott put it, is moving from the typical Push marketing approach to the more appealing and effective Pull.

By understanding then utilising the vast array of features and functions a mobile phone can offer, in conjunction with every day actions such as shopping or playing games or travelling, the mobile app ‘creators’ can effectively convert the phone from a primary use tool into a complete ‘personal assistant’.

I hear you say, ‘well isnt that what the Iphone does?’ Now I know that Apples Iphone has obviously provided a relatively open platform for some incredibly innovative and pioneering mobile applications, however firstly the majority of apps currently promote the developer or Apple and secondly this access is obviously based on having an Iphone.

Its taken some time for the UK to really start noticing the possibilities of Mobile and for me today was an impressive wakeup call, keep an eye out as to what Pomegranate will do next!

Duncan Thomas

Do you harness the power of a good review?

Customer-written content, in the form of product reviews, community Q&A and shared stories, can both drive down search acquisition costs and improve natural search results, says Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice

In analysing online retailers with customer reviews, Bazaarvoice has found that more than 97% of the search terms used to find the review content are unique; in other words, without the user-generated content, the retailer would not have received search engine referrals for those ‘long-tail’ specific shopping terms.

The more specific, obscure terms are more valuable — though harder to pre-determine — to the retailer, and this is where customer-generated content comes into play. The more content that exists on your site about a particular product or brand, the more likely it is found by these long-tail searchers. Also, the more specific term mentioned above brings up more products that feature fresh, user-generated content. Our analysis has shown that searchers who land on Bazaarvoice-generated review landing pages use 3.5 to 4 words, while Google’s average search is 2.5 words.

Whats your view, or experience with customer reviews? Any major stats to report, what about the negatives policing etc we would love to know.

Source: Internet Retailing

Competing in a recession

While budgets are restrained in a recession, contrary to what may seem logical, it’s time to invest wisely to get your website in order. Not only does this provide your business with an edge and may well ensure survival but it also puts you ahead of the game when the economy turns round and things pick up.

Recent research shows that lowering prices isn’t necessarily the answer and may end up doing more harm than good. Customer service and client relationships on the other hand, are a great way to distinguish your business from your competitors’. Understandably service levels are improving in the UK and possibly worldwide during this period of hardship.

The big question is can you create a good user experience (UX) without breaking the bank?

Know your audience and their goals

‘Who’s coming to your site?’ is the first question to ask. This may sound simple but it’s surprising how many organisations aren’t aware of this information. Run an online survey on your site to find out more about who your customers actually are. This can then be broken down into a clearer segmentation to give you a basic view of your audience. Tools like SurveyMonkey make this easy and are reasonably priced.

Also find out why people are visiting your site. What are they looking for or hoping to achieve? Only by discovering their needs can you check if the site meets them. And if it doesn’t, you’re armed with this valuable data to direct your efforts in ensuring customer needs are fulfilled.

Check your navigation and search

Browsing and searching are the 2 main ways of accessing information on a website. The online population is split 50:50 in terms of preference for one or the other so both need equal attention and care.

When considering your navigation, think about how your content’s structured and classified. Is it meaningful to your users or is it mired in internal intricacies? Card sorting is the technique to create a user-centred navigation. This doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise requiring a huge investment. Automated tools that minimise the facilitation required and extend the reach can help keep the costs down.

Ensure your site search is clearly identifiable, consistently placed in the top right and forgiving of common typing errors. Are your search results presented in a logical manner? The value of a good back-end search can’t be underestimated as web users now expect the efficacy of Google wherever they encounter search.

Considering a new feature or even a re-design?

Does the proposed change meet site visitor needs? Before embarking upon a change, find out from your customers whether it’s what they want and need. Needless to say, if ever there was a time when ROI needed certainty this is it. User interviews are your best bet here. Make sure the resulting user needs are incorporated into the other requirements that may have been gathered.

The most cost-effective way of making sure the new design is along the right user experience lines is to create low-fidelity, throwaway wireframes and test these with your target audience. These blueprints can be as basic as paper sketches.

Resist the temptation to skip testing and go full steam ahead in creating something that’s nearly finished because the earlier a design’s validated, the cheaper it’s to fix faults and the less effort you’ve wasted.

Free SEO keywords and analytics

Good usability and good search engine optimisation (SEO) go hand in hand. Tailor your site to what your audience is thinking and that’s what they’ll type into the search engines! Want to find out what your site visitors are searching for? Try the Google AdWords Keyword tool – it shows what’s been searched for on a given URL in the previous month.

Another valuable addition to your toolkit is Google Analytics, which lets you analyse website statistics. This allows a strong tie-in of the UX changes to demonstrable ROI, which in turn can only promote buy-in of the user-centred philosophy throughout your organisation.

www.mad.co.uk
Mrudula Kodali, Senior Consultant at user experience consultancy, Webcredible.

Google Streetview in the UK

Google have recenly launched ‘Street view’ for the UK! It looks as though here in London someone, or something has been watching us for some time!  It has ‘attack of the smart cars with cameras attached’ all over it. But it is quite a thing to behold. Here you can see where we are.

Unfortunately they took the picture before we got our door vinyl up! Sorry about that!

There are people left right and center complaining about concerns over individual privacy (see article from Digital Bulletin), perhaps they have a point. But for now it is here to stay! Well I mean if you are called Christine Boring, it’s going to be hard to have anyone take you seriously on a project such as this! So get on it and look up your own house! Visit google street view here