Monthly Archives: February 2008

Wikipedia and 180,000 requests to take down depictions of the Prophet Muhammad

Wikipedia has received 180,000 requests to take down depictions of the Prophet Muhammad on the website’s entry, but is refusing to budge, the Observer newspaper recently reported.

It’ll be interesting to see how this story pans out given the sizeable number of requests. Note the website’s statement about why it won’t be taking them down.

Read the story in the Observer

Online activism and cinema sweets

A customer was allegedly asked to leave a cinema recently because he’d taken refereshments bought off-site into a screening (of Cloverfield if you’re interested).

He was then – again allegedly – approached by a security guard who asked him to empty his carrier bag.

After eventually deciding to leave the cinema (a good decision all round if you’re thinking of going to see Cloverfield), he then decided to take direct action and protest outside the cinema by handing out leaflets which compared the prices snacks bought outside the cinema with prices inside. This guy was – as you may have guessed – seriously annoyed.

We really, really hope this guy has a blog. Or a Facebook group. Imagine the following that this guy would get. HAAANG ON! Why doesn’t someone set one up for him?!

Read the full story as it appeared on Yahoo News.

How to attract users to a web page using copy

Want to capture the attention of a reader or get to visit a specific page on your website?

Then read this dusty web page on Effective Web Writing we found on a United Business Media website. It goes over basic journalism and sub editing techniques but they’re useful nonetheless.

Our favourite bit is the section dedicated to gimmicks. Because users skim and scan, the article says, headlines need to exploit gimicks used by magazine writers. These so-called gimmicks include:

  • Use quotation marks – because people prefer reading what someone actually said
  • Use questions – they make users seek the answer
  • Make unusual statements – because users love surprises
  • The promise of conflict – because ‘we love fights’
  • News pegs – tie content to the coattails of some big current event
  • Direct address – we love personal attention

So, there we have it. The next time you’re asked to re-write web copy, simply email your client the list of gimmicks, pull on your jacket, rub the bridge of your nose, do a big world weary sigh, and go home.

Read the full Effective Web Writing article.

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How to market a website: Your options, by a Forrester analyst

Need to know how to market your website but don’t know where to begin?

Read on for a comprehensive list of pretty much every (well, nearly) current type of online marketing approach available to you as a marketer.

The list includes: social ads, widget ads, SEO, SEM, invasive marketing, syndication, online massive multiplayer gaming advertising, mobile…the list goes on.

The content post appears on a blog by Jeremiah Owyang, a web strategist / senior analyst at media specialist Forrester Research.

PS. check out the post by Linda Zimmer who suggests adding some ‘pull’ marketing to this list of mainly ‘push’ executions.

Virgin Media website gets 8 million users a month?!

Is this like how Freeserve used to get millions – a sizeable volume helped by users who couldn’t be bothered changing their homepage after using the installation CD? Be interested to see their user session times.

Apart from email log-ins, why are millions of users returning? Can someone from Virgin tell us?

Read more at NMA.co.uk

rockfeedback revamped says Sonic

Music e-zine rockfeedback.com (no, we’ve never heard of it either) has smartened itself up with a new design we’re told.

Billed by their ad sales agency as “one of the most respected online music publications in the UK”, the site takes a “constructive approach to music” – different to the “build ‘em up, knock ‘em down style of reporting, senseless bitching and scene point scoring are rife in both print and online press”.

We’re mildly interested in this as the redesign has been timed to coincide with a second Channel 4 TV series (did you see the first?) starting on 24 March, featuring the likes of Iggy Pop. Given that the site currently has 70,000 unique users generating 600,000 monthly page impressions, it’s a modest but growing site.

We’re also writing about it because we were told about it via the Sonic Network, the site’s ad sales agency, who we like. They’ve got 40 sites on their books and focus exclusively on the young adult lifestyle sector – e.g. ‘lifestages’, teen, mobile, student, music and film.

Sites include: http://www.popjustice.com/, http://www.trustthedj.com/ http://www.originsmag.com/, http://www.clickmusic.co.uk/ (remember that?) and the nicely named http://www.thisisfakediy.co.uk/.

Expect more news from Sonic very soon wethinks.

UK Recession: a boost for price comparison websites?

Another day, another price comparison website goes up for sale.
Well, nearly. Credit checking firm Experian is said to be open to approaches as part of a review of PriceGrabber and its role in the business. It acquired Pricegrabber in 2005 for around £225m, before Experian was demerged from GUS plc, the owner of the also demerged Argos chain.
Forbes.com reports that a person close to the company said PriceGrabber is a strong division with growing profits and revenues and, therefore, Experian will either sell it at a good price or not at all.

The news comes at a time of increased activity in the price comparison market – not always for positive reasons. It looks like feast or famine for site owners, depending on when you got in and what sector you’re targeting.

The utilities comparison market, for example, is pretty much overcrowded. Daily Mail and General Trust revealed it was looking to close its SimplySwitch website in February 2008, 18 months after acquiring the business for £22 million. The Guardian put the move down to performance targets, after an unexpected fall in the energy price comparison market.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for financial and retail comparison sites. Last year Tesco joined forces with Royal Bank of Scotland to launch a joint venture called TescoCompare.com. FT.com reported that Yahoo was reviewing its Kelkoo comparison site in October 2007, three years after paying $575 million for it.

Expect more news from this sector soon wethinks.
PriceGrabber is in the news for another reason today – vnunet.com quotes PriceGrabber’s Consumer Behaviour Report and how the HD DVD ‘format war’ is holding back DVD sales while people wait for a winner. Is it true that Toshiba has finally given up the ghost? What fate now awaits the millions of Xbox 360 owners?