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FTC to Update Dot Com Disclosures

Posted May 31, 2011 by admin @ 5:33 pm

dot com disclosures

The internet’s come a long way in a short amount of time. At the turn of the 21st century, online marketing was in its early stages. While the web wasn’t an ad free zone, marketing platforms were fairly basic. Smartphones, social networks, and Youtube loomed in the distance; banners and email solicitations reigned supreme. The total number of users hovered at around 361 million, which accounts for a small fraction of global web activity today. As the online audience increased in size, digital marketers came up with a variety of ways to get their messages across. Although the industry underwent dramatic changes, the laws governing its behavior stayed the same. The federal Dot Com Disclosures emphasized the need for appropriate disclosure, but failed to address unforeseen contemporary concerns.

The Federal Trade Commission plans to reissue the Dot Com Disclosures with help from the public. Consumers, brands, and advocates on both sides are encouraged to share insight into the current legal and technological issues surrounding this issue. The FTC traditionally represents consumer interests, but they specifically requested input from advertisers as well. This signifies a willingness to draft a reasonable compromise. Advertisers should definitely make their voices heard. Submit comments here! You also have the option of sending feedback via snail mail.

Some may be skeptical of the agency because of its anti-business stance, but there’s no reason to fear the FTC at this time. They’re at least open to hearing alternative viewpoints, which give marketers an opportunity to explain the necessity of controversial tactics. For instance, watchdog groups often question behavioral targeting tools. Anyone familiar with this type of data collection knows it’s a completely benign method of combining anonymous geographic information, browsing history, and available demographic characteristics. Besides, there are lots of resources for those who want to block ads entirely. There’s no cause for drastic action when the responsibility truly lies with the viewers. It’s also important to note that internet advertising is one of the only thriving fields during this period of economic recovery. The FTC doesn’t want to implement job killing regulations in a time of high unemployment; however, they might be tempted to so if the response appears one sided. Consumer lobbyists tend to capitalize on these opportunities to influence legislation. This is a chance to finally educate people about staples, such as tracking cookies, retargeting, and location based services. Set the record straight by commenting today!

Filed under: Company Headlines

JC Penney Reclaims Search Throne

Posted May 24, 2011 by admin @ 5:12 pm

black hat tactics

JC Penney found themselves in hot water back in February as a result of a large scale black hat SEO debacle. The New York Times divulged the details about JC Penney buying massive amounts of links in order to dominate Google’s organic search results. The well known retailer cornered the market on an array of highly competitive as well as perplexing keywords, which raised instant red flags. Their actions violated Google’s policies, and they were officially placed on a 3 month time out period as punishment for attempting to game the system.

Now that enough time passed, analysts decided to check back on the company’s progress. Surprisingly enough, they’ve regained many of their devalued positions without modifying the associated URLs. In fact, most of these links now redirect to the site’s homepage, which renders them essentially useless. These points likely sound irrelevant, but it illustrates the fact that the ranking isn’t coming from Google’s spider crawling the pages in question. SEO experts believe Google simply lifted the penalty without bothering to follow up on the matter. Google’s been accused of issuing empty threats when it comes to high profile brands, and this incident attests to the validity of such rumors.

Credible evidence demonstrates further foul play. For instance, onlookers observed little movement from the other top 10 listings for JC Penney’s high performance keywords. It appears as though Google merely laid out the red carpet for JC Penney to return to its pre-penalty places. Google doesn’t make any promises about what happens once someone returns from the time out box, but this strikes some as unethical behavior. Overstock.com suffered a similar fate for their own link scheme, but they made their path to redemption public knowledge. Google refuses to comment on the current JC Penney scandal, which is a far cry from their Twitter post about the previous incident. There’s no definitive proof to go on, but it’s fair to say that a less prominent business would still be stuck somewhere around page ten for engaging in this type of behavior.

Of course, some argue that there’s really no reason to punish people for exploiting flaws in the algorithm. Businesses need to increase their visibility, especially online. Google must not take this offense very seriously and JC Penney’s profits actually went up despite the bad press. As the saying goes, no harm, no foul.

Filed under: Company Headlines

The Science of Advertising

Posted May 23, 2011 by admin @ 5:48 pm

human mind

Outstanding ads definitely leave an impression on the audience. Opinions vary as to what constitutes a remarkable marketing achievement. For instance, an ad’s stickiness may be an accurate indicator regardless of the emotions it elicits. Consumers often recall jingles with amazing accuracy, although they report that they consider the same tune annoying. Repetition undoubtedly plays a role in retention rates. At the same time, people tune out when they feel totally disengaged from the message. Memorization signifies some level of identification though the viewer may not want to admit this fact. Marketers wield tremendous power over the psyche, and a new study finds that copy essentially implants false memories.

Researchers studying the relationship between advertising and cognition gave subjects detailed descriptions of fake products under familiar brand names. Some of the participants ended up sampling the snack food whereas others never got a chance to dig in. Another group read relatively bland pitches without the ultra sensory language; only a portion of these folks munched on the treat as well. Subsequent interviews illustrate the provocative ad’s ability to alter the actual events in people’s minds. A significant number of those who read the flowery diction reported eating the item even though they never did.

The academics hope their findings encourage vigilance on the part of consumers, but they will likely inspire industry insiders in the process. A lesser known discovery involved the role of branding in the whole ordeal. When subjects were given the same ads without a recognizable brand name attached, they didn’t recall instances that never occurred, at least, not as much anyway. While the scientists note the distinction between manipulating thought patterns and instigating buying behavior, their story demonstrates the importance of brand identity. Basically, unknown companies don’t penetrate into the dark recesses of the human mind. Established names, on the other hand, produce intense recollections of an imagined connection. Obviously, there’s a strong emotional undercurrent going on that’s difficult to measure. In all likelihood, it’s possible to replicate this data using close friends instead of admen. It would certainly be interesting to find out what happens when people hear a vivid account of a meal from a friend as opposed to a total stranger. They will probably remember their friend’s tale and claim it as their own. At the very least, they will be able to repeat their friends’ stories without remembering the strangers’ words. Perhaps a brand’s strength lies in its ability to inspire feelings of kinship.

Filed under: Company Headlines

Say No To Content Farms

Posted May 10, 2011 by admin @ 2:44 pm

Quality content is essential to successful monetization. Compelling commentary engages the audience thereby decreasing bounce rates. Interested users demonstrate a willingness to interact with brands and “share” information through social networking platforms. Online marketing professionals know the value of superior copywriting, but it’s difficult to maintain consistency without a dependable in-house staff. Content farms fill in the gaps, although most of these companies aren’t very selective about their authors. They’re also notorious for offering low pay rates, which frustrates the truly talented folks. As a result, publishers often settle for lackluster articles that fulfill keyword requirements alone. These types of posts undoubtedly affect an advertiser’s performance because readers tend to ignore poorly written pieces. This means users don’t click on relevant banners or respond to in-text ads. In this sense, copy yields revenue albeit indirectly.

Fortunately, publishers don’t have to tolerate mediocre text anymore; Webfruit.com steps up to the plate connecting skilled copywriters with full time positions as well as freelance gigs. The agency caters to advertising firms, so they go beyond simple SEO techniques. Jobs aren’t limited to marketing alone as the site supports numerous creative formats, including script-writing, journalism, social media, editing, and translation. There are no upfront costs for writers or recruiters. Employers may post a listing on the jobs board for an open pool of applicants or opt for a large list of recommendations based on expertise and availability. Those with in house human resources personnel might want to find the ideal candidate via a profile search. Webfruit operates internationally, and writers bring consummate experience from almost every field imaginable.

Copywriters enjoy the service because it simplifies the process of finding paying clients. Other popular classified sites, such as Craigslist.org, provide resources for lots of different careers. Wordfruit concentrates on perfecting a single craft, and delivers viable employment opportunities on a regular basis. The highly selective system narrows down the author’s pool, so writers aren’t competing over scant resources in a cut throat environment. While the site doesn’t vet its clients, there’s no need to worry about unfulfilled payment obligations. Financial transactions take place through Paypal or bank transfers for security reasons. Wordfruit will not tolerate scammers and refuses to allow postings that demand tons of content for next to nothing.

Filed under: Company Headlines

Facebook Faces Social Advertising Lawsuit

Posted May 3, 2011 by admin @ 5:24 pm

Facebook Social Ads

Facebook finds itself confronting yet another lawsuit. This claim alleges violations of relatively obscure New York laws involving the privacy of minors. The Plaintiff seeks class action status as well as a portion of the site’s advertising revenue. Apparently New York law demands that marketers obtain parental permission prior to utilizing a minor’s name or likeness for commercial purposes.

Facebook’s “social” advertising platform inserts friend’s names into ad copy to achieve higher click through rates. These displays don’t feature profile pictures; however, the site incorporates the names and profile pictures of users who “like” business pages. Users may access these fan lists at any time. The suit alleges that since there’s no opt-out mechanism in place to disable this function, parents have no control over their children’s information or image.

While the monetary reward seems small at this point in time, class action status would likely increase the financial stake exponentially. Before passing judgment on the social networking giant, remember that social ads are restricted to users’ friends lists. Consequently, social ads stem in part from user generated content. Instead of worrying about these promotions, concerned parents should keep track of the individuals their children communicate with online. Kids should not be talking to strangers in the first place; their cyber circles ought to consist of peers, relatives, and select trusted adults. As long as their preferences remain age appropriate, there’s no harm in teens letting their classmates know where they buy clothes at the mall or which gaming system they’re addicted to.

It seems as though these parents are missing the point of joining Facebook altogether. Part of the allure comes from sharing personal preferences with others, especially for young people. Tweens and teens view brands as integral aspects of their identities. In essence, becoming a “fan” of a page is akin to self expression. These likes collectively form a unique persona that reinforces offline interaction. Becoming a fan of a band, movie, store, or clothing company solidifies a teen’s place within a particular clique, such as jocks, skaters, preppies, etc. Though disabling public proclamations of allegiance compromises the delicate nature of teenage social status, parents can always control their kids’ clicks. In the end, parents, not Facebook, must take responsibility for their children’s behavior.

Filed under: Company Headlines

Favicons Alleviate Cyber Security Concerns

Posted May 2, 2011 by admin @ 5:36 pm

AdMedia

Advertisers Enhance Listing Legitimacy Through Branded Search Results

AdMedia.com integrates Favicons across an array of products, services, and brands. Associated advertisers gain instant brand recognition by presenting the familiar logos consumers know and trust alongside sponsored text ads.

Los Angeles, CA (PR WEB) May 2nd, 2011 –– Consumers often avoid online shopping for fear of falling victim to cyber crimes, such as identity theft and fraud. Online advertisers confront this problem on a daily basis. Many customers browse through their inventories without ultimately converting despite enhanced security measures. AdMedia’s introduction of Favicons into search results promises to lend advertisers the credibility they need to turn digital window shoppers into satisfied customers.

When users search for products and services on AdMedia brands (admediabrands.com), such as Cheapstuff.com, or publisher sites within the company’s network, they now see advertisers’ logos alongside sponsored links. The logos solidify an advertiser’s authority in the consumers’ minds, which increases click through rates and boosts sales. Favicons also bolster branding efforts at no cost to the client. Other leading search engines currently rely on general related images.

Users appreciate the ability to instantaneously verify a link’s trustworthiness without having to navigate away from the results page. This improves their browsing experience while protecting them from scammers and spammers. Naturally, the aura of advertiser authenticity benefits AdMedia Publishers as well. Users are more likely to return to sites that obviously partner with reliable marketing professionals.

For more information contact: Allen Steinberg, SVP of Business Development Phone: (800) 296-7104 Email: allen.steinberg@admedia.com

Live Favicons on Cheapstuff.com

Filed under: Company Headlines

Persuasion Profiling & The Future of Advertising

Posted by admin @ 4:27 pm

Internet marketing affords advertisers a host of opportunities for creating content designed to appeal to specific individuals. This kind of targeting exposes the limitations within other mediums, such as television, print, and radio. While demographic data exists with regards to viewership, these broad trends reveal little about particular audience members. As such, it’s difficult to measure a campaign’s effectiveness. Online ads deliver instant data with respect to user response i.e. clicks as well as conversions; however, improvements in this arena are always welcome.

Most e-commerce sites currently rely on users’ browsing and purchasing patterns when it comes to recommending additional products. This model typically yields mixed results. It’s fairly easy to spot the gaping holes in this method. For instance, shopping for gifts skews the proposals towards someone other than the visitor in question. That renders this form of solicitation essentially useless in terms of initiating subsequent transactions. The problem resurfaces when multiple people utilize the same device. A family of four may own a single PC for the entire household, and each person likely seeks out different material.

Research suggests that instead of relying on browsing history, marketers should focus on psychological weaknesses. Advertisements generally pose a kind of persuasive argument, and the pitch’s power hinges upon the viewer’s vulnerabilities. Some find discounts difficult to resist whereas bandwagoning appeals to socialites of all ages. In the future, advertisers will be able to apply this kind of knowledge to achieve substantially higher CTRs. Of course, this analysis will prove invaluable in a variety of contexts. The political implications appear a bit disturbing to social scientists whereas privacy advocates decry this potential threat to anonymity. These naysayers envision an Orwellian nightmare, but this scenario bears little resemblance to reality. Persuasion profiling will be yet another tool for marketers to employ. Besides, over-exposure to a certain type of campaign would lead to desensitization. Marketers need engaged listeners, so they have no reason to exploit this technique ad nauseum. The idea that political candidates will be able to manipulate voters in this manner seems equally preposterous. Generating a large scale campaign capable of reaching millions of voters on a personal level would require an enormous budget. Additionally, drawing a parallel between online shopping and voting behavior represents a huge leap of logic. Political ads aim to influence actions months before they actually take place; banners induce short term participation via an immediate call to action. The distinction here cannot be considered subtle by any stretch of an overactive imagination.

Filed under: Company Headlines

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