Monday, June 25, 2007

bad [non-existent?] new-product development

Not strictly e-marketing, but I got it online, so ...

Yesterday I was killing time in Waterstones and came across a series of business books called 'essential managers:' which covered a series of subjects [eg marketing]. Being only small [and cheap] I wondered if I couldn't rattle off an e-marketing-related title. So today I went to the publisher's - Dorling Kindersley Books - web site to check them out. Now, normally on publishers' sites there is a section that tells you how to submit a proposal for a book. Or at least contact them to discuss a book. However DK - or their parent company, Penguin - do not want to hear from potential authors. No unsolicited manuscripts, they say. OK, fair enough, they do not want piles of fictional dross arriving at their office. But - and it is a big but - they also publish non-fiction. Whatever the subject, there must be an element of review, discussion etc before such a text is even OKed, let alone published.

So I went to the US site. On its site the rather blunt message re submissions is finished off with:-

"Different markets demand a different approach, and non-fiction, reference publishers such as DK require writers to be experts in their fields. However, we wish you the best of luck and hope you have every success in placing your work."

But I am an 'expert in my field' because I have already got my name on two academic texts [academic texts being some of the hardest to get published]. What about a simple line " ... but if you have a track record in publishing in a subject area we would like to hear from you" ?

Guess what DK / Penguin? This 'expert' takes your attitude as an insult to what I have already achieved. It is also presented in a somewhat rude fashion. I only wanted to create a dialogue about writing a book for them. Surely writing and publishing is mutually advantageous - one can't do without the other? Perhaps this explains why the
'essential managers:' series' latest title is 2003, with most being published in the last century?

I would normally drop this at this stage, but I am intrigued as to how DK recruit new authors [they have a lot of 'reference'-type books] so I am going to send some emails. I'll let you know the results.

And if anyone from DK reads this [yeah, 'cos I bet you monitor online reputation management software
] maybe you need at least one 'essential managers:' book - on social marketing [look it up in one of the books. Oh, no you can't - there isn't one].

Update #1 - I couldn't find any email addresses suitable, so I wrote a letter.

Update #2 - reply to letter within a week, inviting me to send in a CV.

Friday, June 15, 2007

poor-intellectual-property practice

I'm not overly sure of my legal basis for this one [if you know better, let me know], but I've always told organizations to hold the copyright over both their web site's content and the code used to write it. Although copyright automatically exists for web site content, I advise organizations to have 'copyright companyname' at the bottom of each web page [or at least on the front page with 'all content of ... ' ], just to be on the safe side. So when I saw the following at the bottom of every page on a web site, I was a bit surprised.

In case you are missing the point, the web site is that of HCA International [on hcainternational.com], the web designers are EHC. Who do you think should have copyright of the contents of the web site?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

bad-email-'from'-practice

This one might turn out to be embarrassing as I know the folk who run the organization concerned - I'll mention it next time I see one of them.

Like many organizations, the university where I work filters spam before it reaches my inbox. Part of that system allows emails that it is not sure about into a 'spam report' - which then lands in my inbox and offers me the chance to have those emails delivered. Today's spam report included the one below.

It was [probably] rejected for having 'cheaper' in the subject line, but more significantly, the system was unsure of the sender - not Newcastle Airport [from whom the message came], but c-f-1.com. If you put www.c-f-1-com into your browser then you are 'bounced' to the web site of Communicator Corp - and email marketing company. Which means the domain name c-f-1.com is simply a domain used to facilitate direct marketing through email.

Come on guys, I'm sure there is a valid reason for this practice, but is it worth while if your emails aren't reaching recipients' in-boxes?

Monday, June 4, 2007

bad-[or no]-landing-page practice

Now that I'm an established author [clutches sides with laughter] I've decided to set up our smallest bedroom as an office. As you may know, laptops are not overly good for your back/neck when used on a desk - so I thought I'd look into a getting cheap PC to use as a word processor. So I typed both 'cheap PC' and 'budget PC' into Google - both producing similar results.

As you would expect, there were several 'sponsored links', nearly all responding to the searched-for term by quoting low prices. Sadly, clicking on them all took me to the front page of the advertiser's web site. This meant I had to go looking for the 'cheap' PC deeper in their site. On one I couldn't find a listing for a PC at the price they headlined [see 'bait and switch' elsewhere on this site].

So, no naming and shaming - or even screen shots of the relevant pages - on this blog [to be honest, there were too many examples] but to all those concerned, look up 'landing pages' to see just how important - make that essential - they are to online advertising.