Archive for October, 2006

it’s not you, it’s Yahoo

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

For those of you who are not on the email deliverability front lines, you may have been wondering why your email to Yahoo addresses hasn’t been getting through all that reliably recently.

As it turns out, the folks at Yahoo Mail apparently changed their spam filtering system sometime mid-October. Here’s a great blog entry detailing the Yahoo issues.

Of course, I’ve been hearing that mail admins haven’t been getting helpful responses from Yahoo about this, in addition to the complete lack of documentation about the problem.

Personally, I’ve seen emails sent during the past few days take around 24 hours or so to reach the Yahoo mailbox I was sending to.

[tags]Email deliverability, Yahoo, Yahoo mail, spam filtering [/tags]

Ad Tech

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Are any of my readers attending Ad:Tech NY next week?

[tags]marketing, conferences[/tags]

Rutgers 8-0

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Rutgers 24 - Connecticut 13. Good game. That blocked punt was excellent.

Now, who would have ever thought Rutgers would be *leading* the Big East at 3-0?

[tags]Rutgers, Rutgers Football, Rutgers Alumni[/tags]

Web 2.0 review - Webwag, MacScour, TagFetch and MyBlogLog

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

I do believe it’s time for another Web 2.0 review…

First things first, I revisited webwag (previous cleverhack posts here and here) yesterday and I am pleased to say that the service is muchly improved since I last reviewed it.

The improvements include webwag user instructions on the main page, instructions on how to add a new feed and widgets, better labeling of the page tabs, a Yahoo search box front and center (heh) and an intuitive way to add and rename page tabs.

Moving on, while messing around on the Web yesterday, I happened to find an Apple news and Mac software updates page called MacScour. The black background reminds me of popurls. The design works (xhtml markup with alt tags even!) and the page renders nicely even though it’s pulling feeds.

MacScour will be entered into my bookmarks.

TagFetch happens to have a neat idea behind it - in this case searching certain Web 2.0 services for a particular tag, but the execution is half-assed. Aside from the page markup, which should be updated, I tried searching tagfetch for a few tags - including a favorite band of mine, a new browser I recently installed and a certain demographic. My searches, at least, timed out on some of the services.

While having a cute dog in your logo will always grab my attention and creating a static page for the tag search is a good idea, I think TagFetch needs some more work in order to be actually usable. I’ll look again in a few weeks to see.

Ending on one very highly addictive note, MyBlogLog happens to be the thinking person’s Orkut, if you could imagine that. I joined MyBlogLog not too long ago when it was still in beta and thought it was going to be yet another blog directory, but new services have been added in the meantime, and now the service offers a way to build a community around your blog. I stumbled upon MyBlogLog yesterday, not realizing that it had already gotten some sweet publicity this week.

Once I updated my profile and added an image on MyBlogLog last night, I started seeing traffic from my profile page and the cleverhack community page. In addition, I added the MyBlogLog widget you see all the way toward the bottom of the sidebar.

We’ll see how much traffic MyBlogLog actually generates for this blog. I will report back on that later.

[tags] Web, Web 2.0, Webwag, Start Page, MacScour, Apple, Mac, TagFetch, Tagging, MyBlogLog, Blogging, Blog Community [/tags]

Sunday morning

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Good grief, the wind. If you haven’t seen the news reports, on the east coast we’ve had some massive rain and subsequent howling gusts of wind this weekend. I mean the kind of wind that makes it miserable to be outside. While it didn’t rain where I live, this wind is just nuts. The conditions outside seem worse today than yesterday.

There is a tree outside my window, and the top of it is leaning at a good 20 degree angle. And my lights have been flickering this morning.

One thing to look forward to — 70 degree weather on Halloween.

e-commerce update 10-28-06

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

An e-commerce update…

  • Halloween is almost here and that means the day after Halloween we will see e-commerce sites making Christmas front and center. Some retailers already have mentions of their holiday season promotions on their home pages.
  • Talking about holiday promotions, don’t forget the lure of free shipping. This study from the Wharton School of Business quantifies what many of us have suspected - that consumers are lured by the words “free shipping”, even if the “free shipping” saves the consumer less than a percentage off discount.

    One interesting takeaway from the study is that a higher price point for your free shipping offer often translates into customers buying more in order to qualify for the free shipping.

  • Is it just me, or have Google AdWords keyword bids gone up recently?
  • Last but not least, I’m hearing a lot about deploying microsites to promote a product or product line. The idea behind a microsite is to direct a customer (through a marketing campaign) to a cluster of pages that have limited navigation and to basically funnel towards the desired conversion. A microsite differs from a landing page in that a landing page usually has navigation to other pages of a parent site.

    While I get the idea of a microsite, what I don’t like about them is the idea of not giving the customer a choice to see more information about you or your products or services prior to conversion. Of course, I’m hearing about microsites by a certain kind of marketer who places all of their faith in their copy. If you deploy a microsite, you have to make damn well sure that you give the customer enough information about who you are and why you think they would want the product.

    Also, microsites seem to depress SEO, so if you’re dependent upon them, that’s another reason to be wary.

Firefox 2.0 for Mac OS X- Can’t import bookmarks from file

Saturday, October 28th, 2006

Well, I got all fired up about using Firefox 2.0 as my main Web browser on my PowerBook. I went and downloaded it, and when I tried to import my bookmarks from Camino (after exporting those bookmarks into a nifty html file), I couldn’t.

Why? Because the File > Import menu on Firefox 2.0 for Mac OS X does not have a file import capability. It only imports bookmarks from specified browsers such as Safari, Internet Explorer and older versions of Mozilla based browsers.

[tags]Mozilla, Firefox, Firefox 2.0, bookmarks, browser, Web, annoyances [/tags]

Death Cab For Cutie - Philadelphia, Fall 2006

Friday, October 27th, 2006

Death Cab For Cutie came to the Philly area (again) and since they literally were playing just down the street by about 30 minutes from where I live, I had to go tonight. Unfortunately, since I waited so long to get tickets even though I could have gotten them presale, I was in the second to last row of the venue (in this case, the Tower Theater in Upper Darby) and it wasn’t sold out.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists were the opening band. They definitely rocked out to an audience that really was waiting for Death Cab.

This was Death Cab’s first official show of their Fall 2006 tour and it was readily apparent - some forgotten lyrics and a few goof ups on stage. They opened with “405 (Acoustic)”, which didn’t provide for a dynamic opening. In fact, a few songs in, Ben Gibbard had to implore “This is a rock show, you can stand up.” Once they brought in all of the instruments, there was a problem with the bass drum as the reverb was overpowering on some songs - to the point that after the concert, I overheard a few different people mention that there was something wrong with the sound tonight.

Basically their setlist contained songs from Plans, Transatlanticism, The Photo Album, You Can Play These Songs With Chords and The Forbidden Love EP. (The mix of songs could have had more energy.) They played “The President of What?” from You Can Play These Songs With Chords and instead of the voiceover, they used some weird electric keyboard chord progression (there were more than a few puzzled looks in the audience). They played “Start Again” (I have it as a bonus track from an iTunes download of Plans), which Ben said they hadn’t played live before. There was a solid rocking out with a guitar and drum solo towards during “Transatlanticism”. I didn’t recognize one song at the end of the main part of the show.

I expected them to play “World Shut Your Mouth” but they didn’t. Also, I found out that I am not the only one who really doesn’t care for “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” - the audience seemed not to care for it either.

In sum, if you dig Death Cab and can sing along to their lyrics because you know them by heart (which many of us did in the audience), you’ll enjoy seeing them this fall. However, if you’re looking for something new from Death Cab, this is not the tour.

[tags]Death Cab For Cutie, DCFC, Death Cab, Ben Gibbard, Tower Theater, Philadelphia, Philly, Plans, Transatlanticism, The Photo Album, You Can Play These Songs With Chords, The Forbidden Love EP, alternative, black plastic framed glasses [/tags]

on search engines and trust certification authorities

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

First, Didier Stevens has posted an update on the bogus SERP pages serving badware (Didier calls this method spamdexing). In this update, he reveals the overall number of spamdexing sites and analyzes the AOL search data and finds that roughly 1% of AOL users clicked on these spamdexing sites.

Previous cleverhack posts about these sites can be found here and here.

Not too long ago, Ben Edelman posted an article examining the trustworthiness of sites certified by site certification authorities - most notably TRUSTe. His methodology included cross-referencing TRUSTe’s ratings with the findings of SiteAdvisor - and finding that TRUSTe certified some sites that SiteAdvisor did not rate as trustworthy. These findings should be considered when thinking about purchasing a site certification seal for your site or using a site with a certification seal. (And yes, I will admit my bias - of being on the Web for so long to dislike anything trying to show “trust” - against these seals…)

[tags]SERPS, Google, search engines, traffic, spyware, adware, badware, viruses, trojan, dialers, spamdexing, site certification, site trustworthiness, TRUSTe, SiteAdvisor [/tags]

two unknown search tools

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

An easy peasy post to start off the morning about two unknown search tools I’ve been seeing in the logs.

First is which basically acts as a proxy between you and Google. The cachet is that Google can’t track you if you use the service. I see less than 10 referrers from there every few days. Also, scroogle dot com, uh, redirects you to a very not safe for work search engine. You have been warned.

Gridwell is a beta search engine based in the UK. The search engine appears to be a consultancy project and it looks like they’re just getting their feet wet trying out site SERP design ideas such as showing site favicons with results. Their results, as of this writing, are from Yahoo. Here’s the about page for the gridwell search service.

[tags], gridwell, Google, Yahoo, search engines, SERP [/tags]

Rutgers Football 7-0

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

Rutgers 20 - Pitt 10. Now Rutgers is 2-0 Big East.

Awesome. And Campbell really did catch the ball in the 2nd quarter, despite the stupid ref’s call.

[tags]Rutgers Football [/tags]

Holiday 2006 - First USPS shipping deadlines

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

While I’m not quite living the active e-commerce life anymore (serving as an advisor this holiday season), I wanted to note that the USPS 2006 Military and International Holiday Shipping schedule has been released.

The first major shipping deadline for Holiday 2006 is November 13th, 2006 for Military Parcel Post Mail.

Have fun, my e-commerce friends!

[tags]e-commerce, ecommerce, online shopping, holiday shipping, USPS[/tags]