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Posts from September 2006

September 29, 2006

Reporting From CaseCampToronto 3

What a night. CaseCampToronto 3 was a riot. Once again "Eli Singer":http://www.singer.to/ organized a great event at the hip Fifth Club. This is third one under his belt with others spawning off in Montreal and Vancouver. The "CaseCamp":http://www.casecamp.org concept is proving to be no flash in the pan. Hats off also to the folks at "Cundari":http://www.cundari.com/ and "Microsoft":http://www.microsoft.ca/ for supporting the event financially with no strings attached (i.e. no boring product pitches). Cundari also graciously picked up the food and bar tab as well. Having attended the previous two CaseCamps as a member of the peanut gallery, I decided to step into the line of fire and present the "Greatest Escapes campaign":http://www.searstravel.tmcontest.com that "we":http://www.searstravel.ca are currently running. The questions, comments and feedback from the audience were great. For example, one person suggested adding a sense of urgency to our campaign to drive higher conversion. And the beauty is that I didn't have to pay a consulting fee or run a test group to get feedback. Excellent ROI for a 15 minute presentation.

Continue reading "Reporting From CaseCampToronto 3" »

September 28, 2006

DigitalEve Toronto Calls It Quits

I'm sorry to see that "Digital Eve Toronto":http://www.digitalevetoronto.com/ has decided that it can't continue. The organization has done good work from its roots in Webgrrrls to Digital Eve. There are hints they may still reformulate in some new fashion. We'll keep an eye out. Here's the announcement from the Board: bq.. To all DigitalEve Toronto Members: It is with deep regret and sadness that we make this announcement. Due to the our training facility being now too expensive to maintain a proper training schedule, and interest in training too low to fill the classrooms, the training has had to be put on hold indefinitely. The last several events have not been met with the interest needed, and therefore the revenue stream from them has dwindled to a crawl. Since Training and Events were the organizations only source of income, we do not have the required income to run this organization. It has been decided by a unanimous vote by the board members to officially close the Toronto Chapter due to lack of interest and income. We would like to redirect our members to one of several Women in Technology groups around the city that we hope will fulfill the need that we don't feel we are capable of anymore. NOTE: The list managers are working on moving the lists to a new domain, and are investigating the option of evolving DigitalEve into a new format. We have survived through Webgrrls, into DigitalEve, maybe we can do it again. There will be more information coming regarding this as it is available. We would like to take this last opportunity to thank everyone for their support over the last few years. It has been a good run, we have made many friends. It is time to say goodbye. p. In the meantime, maybe "Wired Woman":http://www.wiredwoman.com/mc/page.do?sitePageId=1733 can take up the slack. (Thanks to Bill for pointing this out.)

QotD - How Much Visitor Information Can We Share?

Today's QotD is directly related to you, our esteemed reader, and me, the publisher of One Degree:
Through the email addresses of our subscribers and the IP addresses of site visitors we can create a list that reads like the who's who of Internet marketing agencies and clients in Canada. I'd love to publish these to show potential sponsors the quality of our readership. But I hesitate because the information, while general and aggregated, seems like something people might consider sensitive. For example, I could say "people from FedEx and BlastRadius visit our site weekly." Is that an invasion of privacy and inappropriate disclosure?
Discuss. BTW, the feedback here will largely make the decision for me on what I do in fact publish - so make your case if you feel strongly one way or the other!

September 27, 2006

Why I Include My Feed in My Sig File

One Degree: "Jordan, can you tell us about your .sig file and what the pros and cons of your approach are?" I use the animated headline feature from "Feedburner":http://www.feedburner.com/ in my .sig file, to publicize my blog. It is a very cool feature that I think everyone should try (provided they have a Feedburner feed associated with their site). The response to it has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have to agree that it does give my messages an extra bit of credibility than a static text "siggy" or even a company logo would. Here's a peek at what we're talking about here: Jordan Behan www.telltenfriends.com 778.840.TELL (8355) Tell Ten Friends by Jordan Jordan Behan: I opted to list just my url, and not a full company name and title, in exchange for less content to have to look at. I'm still pretty convinced this was a good decision, as it shouldn't be too busy, in my opinion. When people first see it, it's not out of the ordinary for them to say "Wow, I want one of those!" But here is where I start to list the cons of this method. I do web marketing and PR consulting, specializing in small business. Many of my clients and prospects discover what an RSS feed is when I explain it to them, and not before. If you're not already familiar with the use of feeds, then you might not understand the content that you see when you click the link in the animated .gif. I have yet to have anyone ask about the "site" they get linked through to when they click, but I have to guess that for some it is a bit confusing. They might have expected to be linked to my site, not the Feedburner feed.

Continue reading "Why I Include My Feed in My Sig File" »

Is Podcasting the New "Plastics"?

In the seminal 1967 film "The Graduate,'' college student Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman), is offered some career advice by an older businessman:

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

It is my personal opinion that were this conversation to take place today, Mr. McGuire would be tipping Benjamin off to podcasting. I know I would.

Continue reading "Is Podcasting the New "Plastics"?" »

MobileMonday Toronto Builds Momentum

Normally we don't quote press releases at length but I thought this one for "MobileMonday Toronto":http://www.mobilemondaytoronto.com/ did a pretty good job of summing up what's happening with this newly minted organization here in Toronto: bq.. With its inaugural launch in June this past summer, the newly formed MobileMonday Toronto chapter is starting to attract a loyal following. Set up as a networking group for mobile industry professionals, the goal of the group is to ultimately spread knowledge and opportunities in the mobile space. "We felt that Toronto would be a great location for a chapter of MobileMonday based on the proximity of venture capital, communication companies, programming talent and universities" said co-founder Alexander S. Bosika. Mr. Bosika along with MobileMonday Toronto's other co-founder Jim Brown are both veteran hi-tech professionals that felt the timing was perfect for monthly meetings of this nature. Since the launch, Jack Zidaric and Jolon Craw, two other industry professionals have joined to help manage the monthly networking events. The events have drawn people from all parts the mobile industry to network, share ideas and interact with discussion panels. Speakers for the events have included Canadian executives from Research in Motion, Palm, the dot Mobi initiative, including US-based executives from Singlepoint and July Systems. The upcoming October 2nd session will probably be its most widely attended event with speakers from Google and Yahoo! participating in a moderated discussion panel around mobile search. Roger Skubowius (Google Canada) and Kristy Cook (Yahoo! Canada) each plan to answer some of the pressing questions surrounding mobile search for MoMo Toronto attendees. p. You can find out more the organization and the event at "their web site.":http://www.mobilemondaytoronto.com/

September 24, 2006

5 Questions For Ken Schafer, Tucows & One Degree

kenschaferoutside.jpg Ideas, connectivity and community. Those elements are the essence of One Degree. When Ken me to Five Questions about a year ago, I was honored to be included on the list. I was the eighth person to be interviewed, only four removed from marketing guru Seth Godin . (That's is likely as close to 15 minutes of fame as I will probably get.) The roster of individuals for Five Questions has become a who’s who of the digital industry - a huge accomplishment in just over a year. But there is a glaring omission on the list. It dawned on me that no one has interviewed Ken Schafer. So, after becoming a One Degree contributor myself recently, I told Ken that my next contribution would involve rallying up five industry leaders (also One Degree contributors) and turn the table on him - interviewing the brains behind it all. So, without further adieu, here are Five Questions for Ken Schafer, one each asked in order by Michael Seaton, Kate Trgovac , Sulemaan Ahmed , Mitch Joel Bill Sweetman . Seaton: "Ken, what are two major changes you have witnessed in the digital world since launching One Degree that you believe will change marketing forever, and why? Two major changes in the last 18 months, huh? I know online marketing changes fast, but I'm not sure it changes _that_ fast. :) The two things that weren't on my radar a year ago were the importance of social media sites and video. 18 months ago when we launched I would have cited "LinkedIn":http://www.linkedin.com/ and "Flickr":http://www.flickr.com/ as my prime examples of social networking. But the concept has now exploded and we're seeing community, communication, colloboration, and shared wisdom flowering all over the place. I've been expecting this for ages but now that the "hive mind" is starting to emerge it is truly exciting. Video has been on the Net for ages of course but the ascendence of "YouTube":http://www.youtube.com/, "Google Video":http://video.google.com/ and video content via "iTunes":http://www.itunes.com/ has reshaped the online landscape this year in ways I wouldn't have expected. My guess is that we're seeing an acceleration in adoption of new services and business models that will make business that much harder. How do we keep up when sites go from not existing to the top ten most trafficked on the net in a year or two? Trgovac: "What is your career-planning advice for a high school grad that comes to you and says "I want to get into marketing."

Continue reading "5 Questions For Ken Schafer, Tucows & One Degree" »

How Strong Are Your Web Pages?

Recently the kind folks over at SEOmoz developed a slick new tool which allows you to calculate what they refer to as your "Page Strength".


According to the creators of the Page Strength Tool (Matt Inman and Rand Fishman):

“SEOmoz's Page Strength tool is intended to serve as an alternative to Google's PageRank score in the toolbar, offering insight into how valuable, important and popular a site or page is as compared to others on the web...The tool is designed to satisfy the curiosity of webmasters, surfers and web marketing professionals seeking a better metric to quickly assess a site/page's relative importance and visibility.”

What will the tool tell you?

  • The relative importance and visibility of a webpage
  • The potential strength and ability of a page to rank in the search engines
  • Data on popularity, links, and mentions of the page across the web

How does it work?

Simply enter your URL and let the tool do the rest. You will receive a calculation of your overall page strength along with a report card outlining how well you are doing in each of the areas that contribute to the score, including:

  • Number of links pointing to the full URL
  • Number of links pointing to the domain
  • Position at Google for the first four words of the title tag on the target URL
  • Age of the Domain
  • Number of links from domains with .edu TLDs
  • Number of links from domains with .gov TLDs
  • Alexa Rank and Google PageRank of full URL and Domain
  • Domain name visibility
  • Internal link percentage
  • Number of search results for a URL search at del.icio.us
  • Number of Listings in DMOZ (ODP)
  • Number of links found in Wikipedia

After trying it out - I think this tool is great! It supplies you with a nice snapshot of your SEO efforts and helps you identify the areas that need improvement. You can also use the tool to strengthen your competitive analysis (apply it to your competitor’s sites to see how you measure up) and to rate potential link partners within your industry.

Continue reading "How Strong Are Your Web Pages?" »

QotD - Is Digging Your Own Site Astroturfing?

Today's QotD is:

Is digging your own site on digg.com a form of astroturfing?

Add your thoughts below...

September 20, 2006

HBC Shares Key Business Intelligence Learnings

The "Hudson's Bay Company":http://www.hbc.com/ (HBC) is in the process of deploying a common business intelligence (BI) sales reporting system across its major retail The Bay department stores, "Zellers":http://www.zellers.com/ discount stores and "Home Outfitters":http://www.homeoutfitters.com/. In this article on ITbusiness.ca, they openly share their implementation difficulties for this large integrated project, which involves over 5,500 end-users. Kudos to HBC for sharing. I suggest you "read the full article":http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=40609, but here are my three major takeaways. The first takeaway is that the days of defining functional requirements and handing these over the wall to the Information Technology (IT) department are gone. For complex, integrated projects, business people need to bring IT into the loop early in discussion so that the tradeoffs between business and IT requirements are worked together, not as salvos fired back and forth about what business can and can't have. A major cultural change on both parts, this is easier said than done.

Continue reading "HBC Shares Key Business Intelligence Learnings" »

GM's Pontiac G5 Contest Needs a Boost

On the theme of "major corporations missing the boat":http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/09/10/kraftca-the-20-character-home-page - I received an email promotion for a "GM Canada":http://www.gmcanada.com/ contest this morning that is a terrific example. The "email itself":http://gmcanada.4kci.com/2006/pontiacG5/en.html wasn't bad once I downloaded the images but it was all downhill from there. pontiacg5.jpg The email encouraged me to "Feel Energized" by entering to win a Pontiac G5. Heck, I'm as happy to win a new car as the next guy (or gal) but when I clicked through to the contest site I was treated to three distinct flash movies before I even had the chance to enter: * First, a "feel energized" presentation that encouraged me to use my mouse, keyboard and speakers to "feel energized" but doing those things had no effect on the movie, just distracted me from what was on my screen. I wasn't energized - I was bored and frustrated. * Next I had the opportunity to "build my G5". The process was cool once I figured out the somewhat obscure interface but I don't know what it had to do with the contest - I don't think that's the G5 I'll win. If it is, that wasn't made clear. * After I'd built my G5 I was taken to a photo gallery of G5 images that had nothing to do with the car I had just finished building. * FINALLY I was taken to the contest entry page. The entry page required me to scroll down one full screen before I could find the actual form. And then, to add insult to injury, there was no opt-in anywhere. I was very courteously asked what language I'd prefer to receive further communications in, but not given the option to decline those communications. There was a line buried in the brief privacy statement at the bottom of the form stating that I could change my preferences simply by letting GM know – but no instructions on how I might do that and no, the phrase "let us know" doesn't link to anything.

Continue reading "GM's Pontiac G5 Contest Needs a Boost" »

QotD - Are Conferences Dead?

The increased access to timely, rich, insightful information on the Internet and the rise of "unconferences" like CaseCamp and BarCamp will soon have traditional business and tech conferences on life support.

ThinData Announces ZenData

ThinData CEO (and past Five Questions interviewee) Chris Carder, just sent word about an interesting extension of ThinData's business:
Last Thursday, we announced a joint venture in equal partnership with Montreal-based e-relationship marketing expert, René Godbout to form ZenData Marketing. René, previously Director of Marketing with Montreal-based Aeroplan, brings his 30 years' experience in marketing and CRM to the venture including consumer marketing experience with Bell Canada and Radio-Canada television network. ZenData will provide e-relationship marketing services to Quebec brands. The relationship between companies extends ThinData's commitment to providing permission-based email marketing nationally. The presence of ZenData does not change our existing client relationships in any way. It does, however, increase our ability to service Quebec based accounts.
The full press release announcing ZenData is on the ThinData web site and the bilingual Zendata.ca site is now live.

Defining Success Metrics for Corporate Blogs

I was recently asked to help someone define success metrics for a corporate blog. I thought this was such a great topic that I'd share my answer with a wider audience.

Many of the success metrics for blogs are similar to those that might apply to a Website, since blogs are a variation on a Website.

These 'shared' success metrics include:

Blog/Website Traffic

  • Unique Visitors
  • Unique Visits
  • Repeat Visits
  • Page Views
  • Page Views per Visit
  • Average Time Spent on site

Blog/Website Brand/Content Interactions

  • Content Page Views
  • Content % of Page Views

Blog/Website Responses (if applicable)

  • Number of Desired Responses
  • Conversion Rate from site visitor to Desired Response
  • Cost-Per-Desired Response

Continue reading "Defining Success Metrics for Corporate Blogs" »

September 18, 2006

5 Questions For Ross Rader, CIRA Candidate

Ross Rader Ross Rader is Director of Research and Innovation at "Tucows":http://www.tucows.com/. A long-time contributor to the ongoing governance of the domain name system, he has made substantial contributions to CIRA, ICANN and many of the predecessor organizations that define the way the internet operates. In a former life, Ross was the Director of Marketing for one of Canada's first successful ISPs, Internet Direct. Ross is a mostly-devoted blogger writing on a variety of topics at byte.org . Note that I work with Ross at Tucows so I'm not completely unbiased here. *One Degree: Does domain name governance impact marketers? My guess is many of our readers will do a "whatever" at the mention of the topic but I sense this might be short-sighted.* "CIRA":http://www.cira.ca/ sets all policy related to how internet users interact with and register dotCA domain names. For example, CIRA is in the process of implementing new privacy policies that have a direct impact on how much domain name information is available to and can be used by marketers. In the past, similar policies have been implemented outlining who qualifies to register dotCA domain names (which is of a high level of interest to companies who operate as subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies but want to be accessible on the web using a dotCA domain). CIRA has also been responsible for raising the awareness of the availability of dotCA names to Canadian internet users. All of this comes from CIRA's governance mandate. Fortunately, CIRA involves its membership when it makes these decisions, so being involved really has its advantages if you are doing business on the internet in Canada. *One Degree: What is the role of the CIRA Board?*

Continue reading "5 Questions For Ross Rader, CIRA Candidate" »

Behavioural Targeting - "Smart" Marketing or Dangerous Privacy Violation?

Is the application of online behavioral targeting through the portal players an example of "smart" marketing, as a recent One Degree interviewee suggests or a "hornet's nest" of potential privacy issues as Cyber-lawyer Eric Goldman suggests. You decide. "Yahoo!":http://www.yahoo.ca/ Canada's Hunter Madsen stated in Ken Schafer's latest "5 Questions interview":http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/09/14/5-questions-for-hunter-madsen-marketing-director-yahoo-canada that: bq. Most advertisers are dabbling in BT [Behavioral Targeting] these days … but the smartest players dived right in more than a year ago, and they're pulling results that would surprise you. Leaving aside Mr. Madsen's objectivity in deciding which "players" get to be considered the "smartest", I find it interesting that he is the second employee of a major portal to pitch me on "BT" in the last 2 weeks (albeit Madsen's was an indirect pitch). Clearly, BT is all the rage in the portal community and it's a race to see which portal player gets the most companies onto their proprietary system. But, before we all run out and sign deals with the portals in an attempt to be one of these "smartest" players let's do a quick review of what exactly is being proposed so we can make a marketing decision that is best for our companies and not for one that is best for the portals.

Continue reading "Behavioural Targeting - "Smart" Marketing or Dangerous Privacy Violation?" »

CaseCamp Toronto 3 Is September 27

Are you a Toronto-based marketer or PR flack who is intrigued by the unconference movement, but is worried that "BarCamp":http://www.barcamp.org/ and the like are a little too geeky? Well, come out and test the waters at the third "CaseCamp Toronto!":http://www.casecamp.org/home/show/CaseCampToronto3 Hot on the heels of the very successful "CaseCamp Toronto 2":http://www.casecamp.org/home/show/CaseCampToronto2, "CaseCamp Montreal 1":http://www.casecamp.org/home/show/CaseCampMontreal1, and "CaseCamp Vancouver 1":http://casecamp.org/home/show/CaseCampVancouver1 the latest Toronto instalment will be Wednesday September 27th at the Fifth Club. "Check out the cases so far confirmed, add your case, or just signing to attend at the CaseCamp wiki":http://www.casecamp.org/home/show/CaseCampToronto3

September 15, 2006

5 Questions For Hunter Madsen, Marketing Director, Yahoo! Canada

Hunter Madsen Dr. Madsen recently joined "Yahoo! Canada":http://www.yahoo.ca/ as head of marketing programs, to accelerate Yahoo!’s growing momentum in the Canadian market. He previously headed product marketing for Yahoo! Marketing Services, as well as product management for the company’s industry-leading advertising delivery system. In his previous position, Madsen drove Yahoo!’s innovations in advanced ad targeting, analytics, rich media ad formats, and promotions services for advertisers. Originally a social scientist, Madsen received his doctorate from Harvard University and subsequently lectured there before beginning his marketing career with J. Walter Thompson, the advertising agency. *One Degree: Yahoo! Canada has gone through several different phases since it was launched. Is there a renewed emphasis on serving the Canadian market at Yahoo?* According to ComScore, three out of four Canadians online each month use Yahoo!, so Canada has long been a big and important market for us. But over the years, we have taken varying approaches to how we manage and develop our business. The approach we've been taking in recent years puts a strong team in charge here and keeps it well integrated with functional teams back at our headquarters. *One Degree: You've just recently moved to Toronto from Yahoo's head office in Sunnyvale California. What are your early impressions of the differences between the Internet industry here and in the valley?*

Continue reading "5 Questions For Hunter Madsen, Marketing Director, Yahoo! Canada" »

QotD - The Last Banner I Clicked On Was...

The last banner I clicked on was...
Complete the sentence below...

First Thoughts On Toronto's WiFi Network

One Degree: "Patrick, how do you think Toronto Hydro has done with the launch of the first phase of the Toronto WiFi blanket, and "have your initial thoughts":http://www.onedegree.ca/2006/03/08/the-impact-of-torontos-wifi-blanket changes since the March announcement?" Patrick Dinnen: I would give Toronto Hydro Telecom a qualified thumbs up for their launch. It remains to be seen, but I suspect that THT may find that they need to work on managing customer expectations. The "THT website":http://www.thtelecom.ca/one-zone.html uses phrases like 'blanket of WiFi coverage in the downtown Toronto core' and 'ubiquitous WiFi coverage zone', but "the experience on the ground":http://wirelesstoronto.ca/blog/?p=50 may be somewhat different. Technically what THT are trying to do is very ambitious and really stretches the technology a long way, so the fact that there are some dead spots in the coverage is no surprise, but you need to make sure your customers understand the limitations. This becomes particularly true once the initial six-month free trial period is over. I may not mind moving to another table in the cafe to get a signal while I'm not paying for the service, but at $29/month my perception changes. I don't think my thoughts on what needs to happen to make this project a complete success have changed since launch. To recap, THT should be: * consulting with the public * working to address the needs of underserved communities and small businesses * considering providing free Internet access in public spaces on an ongoing basis. There are some signs that thought is being given to these issues by various people. For example, "Wireless Toronto":http://wirelesstoronto.ca and THT have had some initial conversations about the possibilities for community related initiatives and there was "a piece in the Star":http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1157536268534&call_pageid=968256290204&col=968350116795 last week, which asked whether the network would provide more value to Toronto if it remained a free service. So, I'm still hopeful about the potential of the THT network but don't think it's being met quite yet.

September 14, 2006

Steve Jobs Stole My Traffic!

Tuesday mid-afternoon I decided to take a few minutes out of the work day to check out "all the buzz":http://www.techmeme.com/060912/p49#a060912p49 about the "Apple Special Event":http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/sep_2006/event/index.html where Steve Jobs rolled-out the "latest iPods":http://www.apple.com/ca/itunes/. Little did I know that while I was doing this, *everyone else on the palent was doing the same thing!* Turns out almost *no one* came to One Degree during the peak of the event and post-event reporting. Check out our hourly stats: Steve Jobs Stole My Traffic The yellow line shows the average Tuesday traffic over the last few months and the blue bars show actual traffic. Instead of over 250 visitors at 2:00PM we had less than 40. I'd be interested to hear from others what happened to _their traffic_ Tuesday afternoon. I know that Apple and Tech sites like "Engadget":http://www.engadget.com, "TUAW":http://www.tuaw.com/, and "Gizmodo":http://www.gizmodo.com/ were hammered by traffic but it never occurred to me that the _lack of traffic_ would be pronounced enough to see!

5 Questions for Mike Burns, CEO and CCO, Fuel Industries

Mike Burns Mike Burns co-founded "Fuel Industries":http://www.fuelindustries.com/ in 1999 and has since led its evolution into one of North America’s most advanced online branded entertainment agencies. Fuel has created console-quality online games, worlds, viral campaigns and digital toys for major brands throughout Canada and the U.S., and has partnered with some of the world’s largest advertising agencies to help them navigate the branded entertainment landscape. Burns has been recognized numerous times for his creative approach to game development, and has been the recipient of several industry awards, including being named one of the Top 40 Entrepreneurs under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal. Over the past year, Fuel has doubled in size to over 85 employees, and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. *One Degree: Fuel Industries has managed to build quite a reputation for high impact web sites and viral campaigns - Can you tell us a little about how you got to where you are now?* When we started Fuel seven years ago, we wanted to deliver the web applications and interactive sites that most other Canadian firms weren’t able to. We knew that web-based gaming was going to be huge in the future, and we started developing that side of our practice about five years ago. In the past few years when technology had caught up with consumer demand, we were ready to capitalize on it while other agencies were playing catch-up. Advergaming is only a part of what we do, but it’s been a major part of what has driven our reputation over the past few years. *One Degree: What comes first - the technology or the insight?*

Continue reading "5 Questions for Mike Burns, CEO and CCO, Fuel Industries" »

What Is Astroturfing?

James, what's astroturfing and why is it so bad?
Astroturfing gets a "wikipedia entry of its own":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing that does a pretty good job of summarizing the metaphor. My $0.02: astroturfing is when someone who is interested, such as someone working in a professional capacity representing a company / brand / service, portrays themselves as disinterested or neutral - as just another member of a community. This lack of transparency is almost always fairly evident to community members, who tend to have very good bullshit detectors. It almost always backfires too because online environments can work as time machines or outboard memories, searchable in the past with new information that comes to light in the future.

Continue reading "What Is Astroturfing?" »

Deconstructing Yellowpages.ca

The Web has overtaken almost all aspects of my own personal information gathering. I haven't been to a library in years, the white pages sits in a closet, and I just don't own any maps anymore. But the Yellow Pages still gets well thumbed. For some reason, finding local resources online can be frustrating. Even with resources like "Google Local":http://local.google.com/ and "toronto.com":http://www.toronto.com/, if I need to find a plumber in Toronto the Yellow Pages is better than the Web. But now "Yellowpages.ca":http://www.yellowpages.ca/ has redesigned and so "Ken":http://www.onedegree.ca/category/ken-schafer asked me to take a look at the experience. The home page is clear and concise allowing for multiple ways to search. Yellow Pages Home The first search field allows you to enter a business name, category or phone number. What's nice is the system figures out what you are looking for. That means searching for "2 Brother's Plumbers", "Plumber", "drain repair" or "416-XXX-XXXX" will get me good results. I can search geographically by entering city, province or postal. What is nice about this, is the system handles the complexity, you enter terms that are natural to you and the system figures it out. Too many sites hoist complexity back at the user. Results are great. Yellow Pages Results It allows you to easily browse listings. Listings have graphics, typically company logos, and some replicate the ad from the Yellow Pages. This allows for good visual recognition and comprehension. That is one of the benefits of the paper version of YP, when I look at a page I can scan it for a listing that fits my needs. They haven't replicated that experience but have brought the right aspects of it over to their site. When you are in a listing it gives you all the information you would need (address, phone, description map etc.). Yellow Pages Listing It also gives you a screenshot of the home page of the company's Web site (if available) which is a great idea. I was able to evaluate if I wanted to visit the company's site before leaving Yellowpages.ca. A few search engines like Yahoo and Ask.com have begun doing site thumbnails as a way of finding search results and it works well.

Continue reading "Deconstructing Yellowpages.ca" »

September 13, 2006

QotD - Should One Degree Hit Hard?

Here is your "Question of the Day":http://www.onedegree.ca/category/qotd for September 13th:

Do you want One Degree to call companies out for online incompetence (as we did with Kraft earlier this week) or should we look for the good?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments. And feel free to call us incompetent if you like! :)

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