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December 12, 2007

Scrolling Ads, Word of Mouth, Email Spam & Fun Stuff

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Scrolling AdSense Ads? Why Not a Ticker?

News broke today that Google is testing a new scrolling ad format that allows users to scroll through ads by using little up and down or left and right arrows. gSpy has screenshots and a video detailing how the whole thing works. Go check it out and then come back (don’t forget to come back!).

Good? Sweet.

I just have a question for Google. What planet are you living on that you think people want to scroll through ads? Fine, some people don’t mind ads and will click on one when it seems unusually relevant or interesting. But that’s very different than having users manually click on more ads. Why would they search through ads when they have a fresh search results page staring them in the face? I’m just not sure how successful this is going to be.

It would be interesting to get some numbers on how many click-throughs the "See More Ads" link that Google places at the bottom of AdSense text ads get. Does that button see much traffic? My guess would be that no, it does not.

I get that Google is always looking for ways to increase advertising and encourage people to interact with ads. However, I’d much rather see them do what Quigo was doing where there’s a block of ads and then every few seconds one ad drops off and a fresh one comes on. At least that does a good job of attracting eyeballs thanks to the slow movement. Also, it allows Quigo to run more ads without relying on users to take any type of additional action. To me, that makes much more sense. Or maybe they already do that and I just haven’t seen it?

Do People Care About Blogger Opinion?

The findings of a soon-to-be published study are said to prove that old fashioned word of mouth is more effective than having the backing of "highly-connected influencers" like bloggers.

I was suckered in by the title but, unfortunately for me, the little press teaser contains no actual statistics or data to back up that assertion in any way. It would interesting to know what criteria they used to come to this conclusion. Did they ask people who they trust more, their friends or Robert Scoble? Did they track how quickly information was passed along? Or did they test how many people heard about X from Y and then converted in some way? I’m hoping it was something more in line with the last option.

It makes sense that people would trust their friends and family more than Jason Calacanis or Mark Cuban, and therefore be more inclined to convert. I’d still like to see some data on how exactly the study was conducted. I guess I have to check out this month’s edition of the Journal of Advertising Research. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be online.

Really, though, all this "study" does is prove what we already know – that consumers trust information more when they hear it from someone they know. Good. Take that information and design your product to make your customers happy, all of them, not just the elite. Pamper everyone. Ask for feedback from everyone. Make every opinion count. Do that and you should have no problem gaining some positive word of mouth, regardless of who it’s coming from.

All Email Is Spam!

Okay, maybe not all, but according to Barracuda Networks, as much as 90-95 percent of email is spammy and it doesn’t look like that number is going to die down any time soon. Yikes! The Barracuda Networks study is said to be based on an analysis of more than 1 billion daily e-mail messages sent to its 50,000+ customers worldwide.

Can that really be true? Is 95 percent of your email spam or is Barracuda, "a leader in email and Web security" trying to be sensational for their own good? I’m not sure. It’s worth nothing, though, that Symantec estimates the amount of spam to be more like 71 percent, which seems considerably more likely.

What does your inbox look like? Once you take out all the Twitter notifications and Facebook friend requests, is there anything left?

Fun Finds

Scott Karp explains why he stopped using Twitter. And then the blogosphere went nuts. W00t!

A super, super post from Chris Garrett on How to Generate Post Ideas When You Are Stuck. This post is filled with great stuff!

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