Category Archives: Web 2.0

It’s a buzzword, but an effective one.

Top Twitter Usage Locations and Tweet Types

twitter screenshot

I was one of the early adopters of Twitter. I was at SXSW in March of 2007 when Twitter had its coming out party and was the hit and buzz of the conference. I quickly signed up, understood what it was used for, but really didn’t use it much as I didn’t have many personal contacts using it. I essentially completely stopped using it.
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MyBlogLog Adds People Tagging

MyBlogLog has announced they’ve added people tagging to their widget. While I still think the general web isn’t hip with tagging yet, I think this will definitely fly in the Web 2.0/blog community that MyBlogLog has it’s following in today.

So far the tags showing up for me are pretty accurate:

  • Right Media
  • advertising
  • Web 2.0
  • google
  • blogs
  • blogging
  • funny
  • video

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Referrer Widgets Brought To Life

John Battelle posted today about his new search referrer widget he’s added to his blog. It’s simply some code that grabs the referring search string from a Google or Yahoo search and greets the user with a front and center box on the page that lets them know that John knows where they’re coming from and what they’re looking for, and that he has some additional posts they may be interested in.

First, I don’t really know if this classifies as a widget or not, but that’s mostly semantics. Lijit also has this already productized in their Wijit. In reality, what’s cool about this is that it’s an example of how analytics and smart programming can come together to create a better site experience for the user, and perhaps help marketers create more persuasive marketing funnels.

There are a ton of different things you can do to customize your site and messaging based on where users are coming from and what they’re doing. Some of the top ecommerce sites have been doing this for a long time, but it’s cool to see blogs and smaller publishers catching on to the technique. One obvious thing that bloggers could do is promote their RSS feeds or invite people to take part in the comment discussions. I also know of a blogging platform that only shows ads to users who come in through search engines and haven’t visited the blogging platform domain name before. They do this because they know the users are just searchers who are not likely regular users who might get annoyed with ads. Whether that logic is correct I don’t know, but at least this kind of implementation allows you to test and do those sorts of things.

Valleywag Declares Apple/iTunes the Podcasting Winner

As I posted a few weeks back, I don’t see anything relating to audio podcasting as being a winning and growing business today. The main players all appear to be flat in their growth, one of the leaders in Odeo is up for sale, and Valleywag now has a post pointing out that Apple/iTunes came late to the game but quickly won the fight to be the main place to find podcasts with over 50% of the market.
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Five Reasons Audio Podcasting Isn’t Going Anywhere

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Look at the graph above. It’s a selection of some of the top podcasting sites, and over the last year according to Alexa there is essentially no growth for any of these sites. Podcasting is flat.

First, let me clarify that those sites and many others are a mix of both audio and video podcasting, so I think they all have a future, but I think audio podcasting is not going to go anywhere and that the businesses around podcasting should be looking at video as their future.

Why do I think audio podcasting is flat and doesn’t have any future?

1. It’s hard to scan quickly.
How do I quickly scan a podcast to see if it’s worth listening to like I can skim an article?

2. It’s hard to link to a specific point in a podcast.
Technology can change this, and maybe it will soon, but if I want to directly link to a specific section of a podcast, I can’t do it.

3. Downloading and managing the files sucks.
I like RSS feeds, it’s a great way to consume content. But when I subscribe to a podcasting feed it sucks that my Ipod gets jammed up with files that I never end up hearing. Why don’t I hear them? See point #1 above.

4. Amateur podcasting is hard to take.
Sure, there is lots of amateur blogging and video that is enjoyable, but it’s easier to manage and consume. I don’t want to dedicate 20 minutes of listening time to a podcast to determine it’s as bad as I thought it was.

5. Audio advertising isn’t moving quickly.
I’m in the advertising business and work at developing and following new technology and initiatives, and everyone is talking about video, building out video solutions, and pushing video. There is very little talk and buzz about audio advertising solutions and sales of it. Even Google’s attempts after their acquisition of dMarc haven’t been successful.

As Mark Cuban pointed out back in 2005 by comparing podcasting to streaming radio, the big business model just isn’t there. There will be those who can make some cash and make it a labor of love, but it’s not a big business. As an example, one of the best audio sites, and as this blog post mentions one of the only ones to have any success in generating any growth, Odeo, is on the sales block because the company that created it is moving on to other things. If the site growing the most is up for sale, how are the other ones doing? Yikes.

Not to mention Google Trends seems to show podcasting queries declining.

Video podcasting on the other hand, which I’d just call video blogging (vlogging) or just creating themed videos like Ask a Ninja, ZeFrank, and Rocketboom, does have a bright future. Why is this? Video is more interesting. We like to see people why we hear them. It’s why people watch TV and movies now while sitting at home instead of listening to the radio. Video can be scanned easier. Video ads pay well and everyone is moving in that direction.

I hope the podcasting companies out there with flat traffic over the last year are working on video fast and furious.

Business 2.0 Releases the Next Net 25

Business 2.0 Magazine just released their 2nd annual hit article the Next Net 25. Featured in this year’s Net 25 are some of the darlings of the blog and new media world this year:

Social Media
StumbleUpon
Bebo
Meebo
Slide
Wikia

Video
Joost
Blip.tv
Dabble
Metacafe
Revision3

Mobile
Fon
Loopt
Mobio
Soonr
Tiny Pictures

Advertising
Turn
Adify
AdMob
Spot Runner
ViTrue

Enterprise
SuccessFactors
Rearden Commerce
Janrain
Logoworks
SimulScribe

I admittedly don’t know a ton about the mobile and enterprise companies on the list, but I’m not too surprised by any of the other ones. I think there are some very good companies missing, but when you’re cutting a list to 25 with multiple categories, it can be tough to get everybody worthwhile in there.

Last year’s list is doing pretty well, as Google itself bought YouTube, Jotspot, and Writely, and many of the other companies like Digg and Last.fm are doing really well.

Top 11 Publisher Ad Tools That Help You Make More Money

I always enjoy posts from bloggers where they mention the top tools or resources they use to master whatever it is they are an expert in. Along those lines, I thought it’d be a good dea to pass along the list of the top ad tools I use and know of to help web publishers and bloggers make more money.

The basic assumption for these tools to be useful to you is that you run a blog or website that uses advertising to make money whether that advertising is sold directly by you, through an ad network, or you use a contextual solution like Google Adsense or YPN. Some of them are very direct in how they help make more money, and some of them are helpful tools that provide information to help you make more money from your advertising. For the most part they are free tools with a couple of exceptions.

crazyegg logoCrazyEgg
Self-described as a visualization tool to improve, test, and track your site, CrazyEgg is best used for publishers to generate “heatmaps” of where people are clicking on their site. This data can be used to make better decisions on where to place ads to get more clicks and response from users. CrazyEgg allows you to set up tests so you can effectively test the difference between two different ad sizes in the same spot, two different color palettes, or totally changing an ad’s location.

It’s easy to setup, it just requires signing up for an account and placing some code in your page footer. You then create a test and start tracking clicks. The free version allows you to track up to 5,000 visits and track 4 different pages at once. There are paid plans if you want to do more in-depth tests.

RMX Direct LogoRMX Direct
If you’re working with ad networks, you should be working with RMX Direct. RMX Direct is a free ad network manager that helps you sell your inventory easily and for maximum revenue. It allows you to work with networks directly that are part of the Right Media Exchange, as well as auction your own ad networks like Google Adsense, YPN, Valueclick, Tribal Fusion, or anyone else.

Auctioning your inventory is the best way to maximize your revenue, and RMX Direct has other cool features that make managing ad networks a much better process. Check out a previous post about using it manage contextual ad networks.

feedburner logoFeedburner
If you run a blog or a website with RSS, you need to be running your RSS feed(s) through Feedburner. There are numerous benefits alone in the streamlining, analyzing, and optimizing of RSS feeds by using Feedburner, but if you have enough subscribers it’s an ad revenue stream as well. If I wasn’t consolidating and tracking my RSS subscribers through my Feedburner feed, I probably would have never bothered advertising within my feed. Feedburner makes it extremely easy to advertise in your feed once you hit 500 subscribers, so I’m now just making additional revenue without additional work. Bravo.

AdsBlackList
If you’re using Google Adsense, you should be using AdsBlackList. It’s a site that compiles user submissions of sites that are “Made For Adsense” sites and low cost per click advertisers. When you sign up for an account, it has you enter your site and some keywords about it. It then returns a list of “Made for Adsense” and low cost per click advertisers you can then ban from showing ads on your site. Besides probably helping increase the quality of ads, you’re also hurting the distribution of a lot of junk in Google’s system. I have not run specific tests on if the overall revenue per click goes up after banning their suggested lists, but other publishers have reported good results.

Google Analytics LogoGoogle Analytics
Yes, it has performance issues. Yes, there is a lag time before you get your data. Yes, it’s Google. However, Google Analytics is still the most complete free web analytics tool out there. For this article, the benefit of Google Analytics as it relates to ad revenue is that you need to analyze your traffic and find out what type of content is interesting to them, what keywords are they using to find you, what referring sites are there, and what geography your users from.

Armed with that data you can now make decisions. Can you identify an underserved area of your site that users are interested in? Interested users means more page views which equals more money! Do you have a lot of visitors from a foreign country? Perhaps it’d be good to sign up with an ad network based in that country and geotarget it to those users with a tool like RMX Direct? You can’t make smart decisions without data, and Google Analytics provides it for free.

amigo-logo-lowres.pngAmigo
For those of you who are still signing up users for email newsletters, Amigo operates much like an ad network except it’s a tool for email advertising. Sign up with Amigo and they’ll match ads and stick ads into your email newsletters earning you additional revenue. If you don’t have an email newsletter, maybe it’s time to start one?

Google Adwords Keyword Tool
I know this tool is meant for Adwords advertisers, but it can be a great way for publishers to find out what search phrases are paying a lot per click if they’re using Adsense or YPN. Click on the “Site-related Keywords” tab, and enter in the URL of a site in the topic you’d like to research. Check the “Include other pages on my site linked from this URL” box, then select “Cost and Ad Position Estimates”, and enter something large like $50.00. You’ll get a result that shows keywords along with an estimate of the CPC they require to get to the estimated ad position.

This is a rough way to find out what topics and terms are generating high revenue per click to focus your content. You can also get estimates of search volume and search volume trends if you’re curious as to how the keywords in the topic stack up there.

Yahoo/Overture Keyword Tool
The famous Yahoo/Overture tool returns keywords that contain the keyword you enter, along with the number of searches on Yahoo Search from the previous month. Many question the accuracy of this data as some strange terms sometimes have really high search counts, but regardless it can be a good estimate of search volume and provides a way to brainstorm additional topics to cover to get more traffic and ad revenue. It also provides a good counterbalance if you’re using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. If a keyword looks interesting to you in both tools, chances are it’s an interesting keyword in reality.

quantcast dataQuantcast
A newer and very cool data/ranking service is out called Quantcast. Quantcast “quantifies” publisher sites and provides an Alexa-like traffic estimate and ranking, but takes it a step further and provides demographic estimates of your audience such as age, gender, household income, ethnicity, and education.

It doesn’t stop there either, and shows interesting things like “Siteographics” which shows what entertainment the audience likes, what retail stores they shop at, and what magazines they check out. It also shows what keywords they used and what other sites are similar in audience. Here is the Quantcast data for YouTube.com.

Why is this cool? Well, once you start selling advertising on your site directly to advertisers, they are often interested in demographic data. The beauty of Quantcast is that they’ll get the data for you and you can point advertisers to this objective third party that has the data. If your site is big enough, they probably already have you listed. If not, you “Quantify” your site by placing a bit of code in the footer of your site template and it will start grabbing the data.

SurveyMonkey
If you don’t trust Quantcast or want your own specific data, you can use SurveyMonkey to create surveys you can show to your audience via popup windows or direct link. It’s a free service, and is pretty easy to use to setup surveys and distribute them.

Just like the benefits of Quantcast, this is great data to provide to advertisers about your audience, and SurveyMonkey results make a great addition to your online media kit or page that pitches advertising on your site.

Webmaster Forums
While not specifically a tool, I felt it necessary to point out some of the top discussion forums where there are web publishers talking about advertising and how to make more money. In no particular order here are ones that I’ve found value in on a consistent basis:

Conclusion
If you have additional tools to suggest, please list them below in the comments. If they make sense, I’ll add them to the list.

Maybe the YouTube Deal Won’t Be a Great One

When Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion many people questioned whether it was a great deal or a big mistake. Over the last few months as Google started to get deals in the works with the networks who originally created the copyrighted content on YouTube, people started to just accept that the purchase was a good deal for Google. There is even evidence that with YouTube and Google Video together Google owns over half the online video market.

However, the CBS deal fell apart, and now comes word that Google’s negotiations with Viacom have gone poorly and Viacom is demanding Google remove over 100,000 clips from YouTube. They’ve also complained that they have not shown them or delivered the copyright protection software that they’ve been promising.

Ouch.

If this is a sign of things to come for Google and YouTube things may get rough. Users don’t have a ton of loyalty for the most part, and there are sites like DailyMotion.com that are not located in the USA who have an easier time hosting content under a copyright because they’re harder to go after. If YouTube is spending time and resources removing illegal content will there be a slow drop in their traffic as users held elsewhere?

Is this another Napster where they are sued to death while users migrate to the next place they can find what they’re looking for? I think it might be. Viacom, CBS, and others aren’t going to let Google profit from their content. They’re going to want a fat piece of that pie, and so far it doesn’t sound like Google is willing to give that to them.

RMX Direct Has Launched

The web application I’ve been heading up this year called RMX Direct has now come out of beta and officially launched to the public.

It’s both exciting and a relief. However, it’s just the beginning as the job is far from done to continue to make it better as well as educating and supporting all the web publishers who are using it.

I’ll keep track of the blog posts and articles written about it during today’s launch here:

Add the NOFOLLOW Attribute To Your Wikipedia Links

Wikipedia has added the NOFOLLOW attribute to their outbound links to help fight spam link submissions to their user-editable encyclopedia.

Some are for this, others are against it.

Either way, I think if Wikipedia isn’t going to share link popularity/equity with other sites for whatever reason, why should others share it with them? Thousands and thousands of sites are linking to Wikipedia passing along link popularity, and Wikipedia is now basically saying “Thanks, but we’re not sending any link popularity back”. I get that it’s to thwart spam, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat Wikipedia like it’s going to treat us.