Increasing online registrations

Patricia Hursh wrote a good blog entry at SearchEngineLand.com about online registrations and downloadable asssets. Online efforts are designed to generate leads and a good way to generate those leads is to give an incentive to people to enter their contact information. Most of the time, the incentive will be a downloadable eBook, or white paper, or report; call it whatever you want.

Patricia presents 3 proven method to increase registrations:

  1. bundle information – you may want to mix what you’re offering. It can be a white paper plus the recording of a webinar. Or a report with a podcast. By doing so, you create a much higher perceived value.
  2. offer multiple media formats – you want to leave people the choice to either read, watch, or listen. Various formats can be, video clip, podcast, webcast, product demo or a simple text document.
  3. test names and descriptions – you can improve response rate by testing names and descriptions. By doing so, you might find out that “product demo” generates much more registrations than “virtual tour”

CraigsList sues eBay

A few weeks after being sued by eBay, CraigsList is now suing the auction giant, alleging eBay had used its minority stake in Craigslist to steal corporate trade secrets.

Craigslist’s complaint alleges a plan by eBay to use its position as a minority shareholder in Craigslist and its position on the Craigslist board to gather competitive information that led to the launch of eBay’s rival classifieds business. The suit claims eBay code-named Kijiji its “Craigslist killer” in internal strategy discussions.

MySpace disappointing results

MySpace has missed its financial targets, showing that social networking is struggling to earn its keep – even as part of Rupert Murdoch’s globe-spanning media empire.

News Corp said yesterday that the site will fall short of its annual revenue target of $1bn by 10 per cent. Third quarter revenues actually fell to $210m from $233m in the preceding three months.

About a third of MySpace revenues come from a guaranteed three year deal with Google, signed in 2006. The search giant has already started complaining that it’s not seeing a decent return on its end of the tie-up, however.

What News Corp has in MySpace is an endless supply of page impressions. Despite the magical life-affirming properties of social networking, the laws of supply and demand still apply, and so those pages are worth little more to advertisers than the web’s bottomless midden of spam blogs.

Microsoft online branding issue

LiveSide took a look today at all the different bits of Microsoft’s Live.com search universe and found that it doesn’t provide a common, unified experience. LiveSide found four different search boxes, two different Live.com “orb” logos (in four different sizes), and six different header backgrounds. While the slight differences in design may not be a very substantial issue, it is indicative of the confusion Microsoft has created around their Live brand.

MSN Hotmail vs. Windows Live Mail vs. Windows Live Hotmail…. Many names for the same service. It seems they have settled on Windows Live Hotmail, but there is still a lot of overlap in the Windows Live family that makes it confusing for consumers.

The design differences across the Live Search sites highlighted today on the LiveSide blog may be minor, but taken as a whole they’re a good metaphor for the branding confusion that Microsoft has created across its collection of online sites and services.

The multi-billion dollar online pizza order business

In the past seven years, Papa John’s has made a lot of dough from online ordering — more than $1 billion to be exact.

Other chains in the fiercely competitive pizza industry are tapping into the technology craze to give customers ways to order pies other than through the standard phone call or trip to a restaurant.

Dominos Pizza put its own twist on online ordering early this year by introducing a “Pizza Tracker,” which lets customers keep tabs on the progress of their orders. Consumers can find out when their pies are in the oven, when they’re on the way, and even the first name of their delivery person.

Pizza Hut, the nation’s biggest pizza chain, also allows customers to order via text messaging and mobile Web. The unit of Yum Brands Inc. soon will unveil a new method for ordering pizzas, dubbed “Pizza Hut Shortcut,” that it says will be the fastest in the industry. Customers will be able to download a “widget” onto their computers that will let them place their favorite pizza orders with just one click.

Microsoft feeling FaceBook!

Microsoft gauged Facebook’s interest in a possible acquisition after the software giant’s failed takeover attempt of Yahoo, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

The newspaper reported on its Web site that Microsoft’s bankers put out subtle signals to Facebook, the social networking Web site, to see if it would be open to a full acquisition.

Microsoft going the independent way…. Really?

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said Wednesday the company isn’t pursuing other deals following the withdrawal of its $47.5 billion takeover bid for Yahoo.

He said in Tokyo that the company put “a lot of effort” in the talks with Yahoo and has decided the two should pursue “independent paths.”

Microsoft’s intense pursuit of Yahoo was widely seen as an acknowledgment of weaknesses in Microsoft’s solo Web search and advertising strategy, and the software maker now needs to prove it can innovate without Yahoo as a partner.

Possible partners for Microsoft in the future might include large Internet companies such as Time Warner Inc.’s AOL and News Corp.’s MySpace and promising startups such as Facebook Inc. (Microsoft already owns a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook) and LinkedIn Corp.

Google Adsense For Search

adsense for searchYesterday, Google officially announced the availability of AdSense for Search for use in combination with the powerful Google Custom Search service, something not possible until now and potentially very welcome to both small and large professional web publishers looking for further ways to optimize their content monetization opportunities while helping their readers find more easily the information they are looking for.

Overview of AdSense for Search Integration With Custom Search:

  • Create a custom, personalized search engine in no time at all
  • Customize the appearance of search results and ads
  • Tune results and ads to your site’s content and audience
  • Get more comprehensive site search results with improved indexing
  • Earn revenue while helping your users find what they’re looking for

Here is a short video that tell you all about it…

8 Press Release Tips

Rebecca wrote a good post over at SEOmoz about online Press Releases. The post is quite lengthy so I just picked what I think are the key points:

  1. Spend a lot of time on the headline. It may be your only chance to sell the news to your audience. The subhead/summary should enhance the headline.
  2. The body should answer who/what/where/when/why.
  3. Include 2-3 quotations from principals. The media and bloggers are attracted to these.
  4. Use a journalistic voice (just the facts).
  5. Don’t sell—this isn’t an advertisement.
  6. Know which keywords and phrases you want the press release to rank for, and only focus on 2 or 3 keywords/phrases per release.
  7. Use the keywords in the headline, subheader, and early in the body of the release.
  8. Link back to the relevant pages in your site using the keywords as anchor text.

Read the full post here.