Archive | September, 2011

Your Mom Smells :-)

19 Sep

On this day in 1982 the joke/smiley face emoticon is born.

From Wired :1982: At precisely 11:44 a.m., Scott Fahlman posts the following electronic message to a computer-science department bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University:

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman ūüôā
From: Scott E Fahlman

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use:


With that post, Fahlman became the acknowledged originator of the ASCII-based emoticon. From those two simple emoticons (a portmanteau combining the words emotion and icon) have sprung dozens of others that are the joy, or bane, of e-mail, text-message and instant-message correspondence the world over.


Is Google Monetizing Google Product Search through Paid Search Ads

9 Sep

In an article by Frank Kochenash Vice President Performance Services, Mercent, Frank thinks that Google is monetizing Google Product Search through Paid Search Ads and has the numbers to back it up.

Really fascinating stuff and when I combine this post with what a little birdie at Google shared with me….well, if you don’t listen¬† you could be left behind the curve. It’s time to stop looking at Google PPC, PLA and GPs as distinct channels and start looking at blended metrics to get a better picture of performance.

“What‚Äôs going on with Google Product Search (GPS)?‚ÄĚ is a question I‚Äôve received a lot lately. ¬†GPS was a smoking hot channel for most of the last 18 months. ¬†But traffic and sales comps since about March 2011 have been down, in some cases substantially. ¬†Well, several things are going on, but I think a major one is that Google is starting to more aggressively monetize GPS by shifting traffic away from Google Shopping results and toward its revenue generating programs – Adwords (paid search ads) and Product Listing Ads (PLA). ¬†This is a hypothesis of mine, and I have no inside or other information from Google confirming or denying this. ¬†Below I share why I think this is happening and some of the implications for retailers.

First, some very brief history on GPS performance:

  • 2010 January-September: ¬†GPS performed awesomely. ¬†We were realizing YOY comparable store sales well over 100%. ¬†In addition to great work by us and our clients, this was due to easy comps against the 2009 recession and some tactical missteps Google made on GPS in 2009.
  • 2010 October-December: ¬†Q4 2010 YOY comps got harder because (among our client base) the consumer spending recovery started in Q4 2009. ¬†Also, Google changed some aspects of the user experience that negatively impacted GPS traffic. ¬†In particular, in mid-October they made changes that emphasized local results and, we believe, larger stores. ¬†We saw a dramatic downtick in traffic and sales, but Google acknowledged the mistake and corrected it before the brunt of the buying season. ¬†Short story is that GPS still put up very impressive numbers in Q4, but not like earlier in 2010, meaning comparable store sales were in the 20-50% range. ¬†(In hindsight, their experiments in October and November 2010 look like initial forays into monetizing GPS that had too much of a negative impact on GPS traffic.)
  • 2011 January ‚Äď June: ¬†The comps started declining further. ¬†Declines accelerated in April, May, and June. ¬†By late spring we were seeing comparable same store sales for GPS in the single digits and lower. ¬†Median account yoy sales growth for GPS only, went negative by late spring. ¬†Essentially, Q1 2011 was still pretty good for GPS in terms of YOY growth, but Q2 was poor to very poor.

Several things are probably affecting GPS results, but I believe one of the biggest is that Google is monetizing GPS by shifting traffic away from GPS and toward its revenue producing channels. ¬†The industry has speculated about whether and how Google would monetize GPS. ¬†Some have speculated that Google would eventually make GPS a CPC program like other comparison shopping engines. ¬†This is a legitimate option, but I think what we‚Äôre starting to see is that Google will stick to their tried and true revenue generator, paid search ads, as the vehicle to monetize traffic that comes to Google for shopping. ¬†PLA, in this perspective, is a mere experimental riff on paid search ads.” Cocktail Party, Dinner

9 Sep

Get your drink and feed bag on at the Mercent, FiftyOne and SLI hosted event¬†at in Boston next week. I’ll be there all next week so expect minimal new postings. Try not to miss me too much.

If you are going to be at the show, look me up at Mercent’s booth #830.


Top Ten Things to Do @ Shop.Org in Boston Next Week

8 Sep

While we’ll all have to wander the exhibit hall trying not to make eye contact with pushy vendors pushing yet another stress relief ball and abusing our livers at after parties. Here is a top ten list of things to do on your free time:

TD Banknorth Garden

100 Legends Way
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 624-1050

Since its grand opening in 1995, more than twenty-four million people have come to the TD Garden to see the arena’s famous tenants, the NHL’s Boston Bruins, NBA’s Boston Celtics, and NLL‚ÄôS Boston Blazers, as well as world-renowned concerts, sporting events, family shows, wrestling, ice shows and so much more. The state-of-the-art Boston tourist attraction is a year-round, 19,600-seat arena, fully equipped with three (3) private restaurants – Banners, Legends and The Premium Club restaurants, 90 executive suites, 1100 club seats, a multi-million dollar video scoreboard (Garden HDX) and complete 360-degree LED technology.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

4 South Market Building 5th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02109
(617) 523-1300

In the heart of Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is adjacent to historic Faneuil Hall and is bordered by the financial district, the waterfront, the North End, Government Center, and Haymarket. It is a well-traveled part of Boston’s “Freedom Trail” and essential component to your list of things to do in Boston. The Marketplace is a five-minute walk to the New England Aquarium, The Children’s Museum, The Old State House, and Paul Revere’s House.

New England Aquarium


Founded in 1969, the New England Aquarium is a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation and family fun Boston attraction. The Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston, with over 1.3 million visitors a year, and a major public education resource.

Boston Common

145 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 426-3115

The starting point of the Freedom Trail, Boston Common is the oldest park in the country and ideal for Boston sightseeing. The park is almost 50 acres in size. Today, Boston Common is the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, a system of connected parks that winds through many of Boston’s neighborhoods. The “Common” has been used for many different purposes throughout its long history. Until 1830, cattle grazed the Common, and until 1817, public hangings took place here. British troops camped on Boston Common prior to the Revolution and left from here to face colonial resistance at Lexington and Concord in April, 1775. Celebrities, including Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, and Gloria Steinem (advocate of the feminist revolution), have given speeches at the Common.

Museum of Science

1 Science Park
Boston, MA 02114-1000
(617) 589-0300

The mission of the Museum of Science, Boston is to stimulate interest in and further understanding of science and technology and their importance for individuals and for society. To accomplish this educational mission, the staff, volunteers, overseers, and trustees of the Museum are dedicated to attracting the broadest possible spectrum of participants and involving them in activities, exhibits, and programs that are available at this attraction in Boston.

Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile red-brick walking trail that leads you to 16 nationally significant historic sites, every one an authentic American treasure. Preserved and dedicated by the citizens of Boston in 1958, when the wrecking ball threatened, the Freedom Trail today is a unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, a ship, and historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution and beyond.

Paul Revere’s House

19 North Square
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 523-2338

On the night of April 18, 1775, silversmith Paul Revere left his small wooden home in Boston’s North End and set out on a journey that would make him into a legend. Today that home is still standing at 19 North Square and has become a national historic landmark. It is downtown Boston’s oldest building and one of the few remaining from an early era in the history of colonial America.

Harvard University

Massachusetts Hall
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-1000

Harvard University, which celebrated its 350th anniversary in 1986, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Founded 16 years after the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, the University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 18,000 degree candidates, including undergraduates and students in 10 principal academic units.

Boston Children’s Museum

300 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 426-6500

Founded in 1913 by a group of teachers in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, Boston Children’s Museum began a “hands-on” tradition long before that phrase became commonplace. Today, after 90 years, Boston Children’s Museum exists to help children understand and enjoy the world in which they live.

Bunker Hill Monument

The 221-foot granite obelisk marks the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. Completed in 1842 and dedicated on June 17, 1843, in a major national ceremony, the monument is open for climbing, unless deterred by bad weather. The exhibit lodge was built in the late nineteenth century to house a statue of Dr. Warren.


ps Red Sox suck.

Ben & Jerry’s New Flavor for the Holiday: Schweddy’s Balls

8 Sep

Getting ready for the holidays can be a stressful time. That’s why I like some nice Schweddy Balls in my hands and in my mouth. Nothing is quite as relaxing as enjoying Shweddy Balls in the privacy of my own home or even out in public. Vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered rum balls and malted milk balls…sounds good to me.

You Stay Classy Yahoo: CEO fired over phone

7 Sep

Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz was ousted with more than a year left on her contract. She will be replaced in the interim by CFO Tim Morse.

Carol sent an email to all employees at Yahoo saying:

“To all,

I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s Chairman of the Board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.


Getting fired over the phone? Didn’t she have Yahoo Messenger installed? You stay classy Yahoo.

Amazon’s Match Low Price Feature; is it a merchant killer?

2 Sep

One of the real geniuses¬†in the ecomm space, Eric Heller, has a chilling look at Amazon’s new pricing tool (Match Low Price).¬† For those of you who aren’t familar with this tool, it allows sellers to sort by product that aren’t price competitive and then have Amazon reset that price. Sounds good, right? But there are a number of huge caveats including nit including margin into pricing and unable to change the price if circumstances change.

At Marketplace Ignition, Eric warns of, “there are thousands of overlapping businesses.¬† If each of those tries this new feature just once to see what happens, the resulting impact could be massive.¬† Death by a thousand paper cuts.”

Please read his short, but hugely important artice!

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