Thursday, November 20, 2008

spelling and typo opportunists

It is common practice to register domain names that are similar to those of popular websites or well-known brands in the hope that bad spellers or fat-finger typists might arrive at a site in error. Here are a couple of examples I have come across:

The first is pretty blatant - see how searching on "wasyjet" instead of "easyjet" turns out in the SERP
This one is a bit puzzling. It is the website on the miss-spelt name of a German car manufacturer:
I find this odd because I would expect the Volkswagen-audi Group to frown upon this practice, and yet the guilty party is a Volkswagen distributer.
[PS, don't ask how I managed to land on the volkswagon.co.uk site]

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Friends re-advertising?

I've been with Friends Reunited for some time, and so get regular emails from them promoting something or other. This one arrived today:Now call me cynical [because I am], but are any of my friends from 40 years ago likely to remember my birthday and so search on it? And if they know my postcode they know where I live, and so are hardly likely to have lost touch.

Or is it more likely that FU want to build my profile so that they can use that information in their advertising?

I'm going for the latter - which I don't really mind, but they should be up-front about what they are doing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

the key to email marketing ...

... is to make the message relevant to the receiver. This one landed in my in-box this morning:Yes, I do have an MBNA credit card. Yes, I did [I think] agree to accept emails. BUT ...

... I don't have an outstanding balance, so this competition is of no interest to me whatsoever.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

not quite joined-up thinking

As you can tell from the two previous entries - I am going on holiday next month. The trip is booked with Thomson Holidays - no problems there, we've been away with them for the last four years. Like most [all?] airlines they offer seats with extra legroom at at extra cost, so I thought I would ring up and see what was available.

Now this has never been available online with Thomson [why not, KLM have been doing it for years?], but there did used to be 'maps' of the aircraft seat configuration so that you could at least see where the seats were. But no, these have disappeared from the website.

So I rang the number - and at 10p a minute listened to an announcement [call monitored for quality etc] that included the message that I could "... manage my itinerary online .... including flight details ... and seats".

So I put down the phone and went to the website. And guess what, there is nothing on the website where I can perform this function. Or if there is a link to such a section, I couldn't find it [I think you can assume I know my way around a website]. The relevant page is shown below, I clicked on every one of the links - and many links on those links.
So I rang back, and pressed the option for talking to a person to book the seat. When they answered I asked for details of the 'online management' - but the mere mention of that new-fangled geek-only interwebbysuperhighnetty thing threw the call-centre operative into a tizzy which resulted in some confusing stuff about websites which was, well, rubbish [again dear reader, you can assume I know a little about the Internet] before I was informed that the facility was only for 'scheduled' flights, not package bookings. Strange, the phone number is the same - and how did that pesky website know that I was a 'package' traveller and so not show me any links to the seat choice section?

To cap this all off - the 'system' was down and the operative could not book my seat and "could I ring back tomorrow"? Hmmm, another eight minute call at 10 pence a minute. This holiday gets more expensive by the [10p] minute. Haaarrrumph.

email - [still] the poor relation of customer service?

Still on the subject of travel insurance [see previous entry], on the ASDA site there was no listing of which countries that were covered in 'Europe' and 'world'. Hey, stop laughing, I can read a map - my problem is that I am going to the Canary Isles - part of Spain [EU member] but just off the coast of Africa. So which box do I tick?

That is not the reason for this entry, however. No ... take a look at the message I received after completing a contact form asking for clarification on the above issue.And now take a look at this:Yep, they can supply folk to answer phones 14 hours a day, but it can take 2 days to answer an email!

Footnote: the reply arrived some 16 hours after I posted the question - and to be fair, that was only 7 of their working hours. But still, it is 7 hours online vs minutes offline.

Saga - [opting out of] doing things properly ?

I was getting some online travel insurance quotes for my Christmas holidays. Some - like ASDA - give you a 'quick quote' for minimal details, followed by completion of a full application if you like the price. Saga, on the other hand, require full personal details before they give you a quote. That, however, was not my main problem - it was this message after I had entered my address:
You notice how there is no 'opt-out facility'? In the USA this would break the law - in Europe I'm guessing that the phone qotation option gets around the relevant section of the EU Distance Selling Directive. But legal or not, it is just plain bad marketing practice.

Guess which company didn't get my travel insurance business. Furthermore, I already have my car insurance with Saga - so why not have an 'existing customer' button so that I didn't have to enter all my details? [data base technology is a fabulous thing]. A bit of joined up thinking required, me thinks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

know your customer - or not(ts)

OK, so you may think I am being picky about this one - but in a marketing context I have a valid point.

This ad appeared on a newspaper's website where I was reading a match report on my team - Nottingham Forest. Now we all appreciate that Nottingham is a long-ish word and an abbreviation is often necessary - and the shortened version is Nott'm. Notts, on the other hand, is the abbreviation of Nottinghamshire - the county of which Nottingham is the capital. The county has its own football team - Notts County.

And here is the marketing issue:
  • Forest fans - realistically - represent the only segment of the market that is likely to buy the club's memorabilia
  • Forest fans HATE the term Notts when used in context of their club
  • So if you are trying to appeal to that segment you should use text that endears them to your ad and your organization
  • So don't use Notts in those ads

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

miles away with this email & landing page

I got this email from the Airmiles people - and before you ask, no - I didn't have my image facility 'disabled'.
There was, however, a link that said 'click here to view a web version'. Trouble is, clicking on it landed this page in my browser. Harrrruuumph

Friday, October 31, 2008

why is this my problem?

I was listening to the BBC online, and got this message:
If something - I'm not sure what, there was no 'movie' on the page - is causing problems then the publisher's techies should get it sorted. I clicked on the 'yes' to abort the script, but I have no idea what might have happened had I not seen the message - which was likely as I was using a different application while the radio was playing.

gone - but forgotten, apparently

A significant advantage that the web has over other media is the ability to have its public message changed [almost] instantly - unlike, say, the printed media. The BBC know this well and use it on their 'news' pages. So why have they forgotten the fact with regard to their published listings for up-coming shows.

One of the main news stories in the UK this week was the Brand/Ross telephone prank. By today the storm was passing after a couple of resignations and a suspension. As the presenters would not be available for tomorrow's radio show it seems odd that the Radio 2 website still lists that show on their listings.

Monday, October 27, 2008

ads on your own site - noooooooooooooooo !

I was looking for a book, and came across this site. It is the web presence of a publisher - How to Books. It would seem that times are hard in the publishing world, because they have decided it is a good idea to host ads on their pages.
Oh dear, who thought that was a good idea?

Now I would accept the argument that if the ads are producing an annual income that is in four figures then perhaps it is worthwhile. However, I would still point to the damage it is doing (a) your brand image, and (b) your sales - many of the contextually-targeted ads [naturally] link to self-help books and websites, and so take potential customers away from your site and onto another. Can you imagine wal*mart/asda having ads in their shops for Tesco? No, of course not - so why do it online?

Note that hosting ads as a business model on [say] a blog or content website is perfectly acceptable. Having ads on an organizational site is not.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

they're called domain NAMES for a reason

I was looking for something else when I came across this site for an organization called Countax - though you wouldn't be able to tell that from the URL that shows in your browser window when you are on the site.I also noticed the message saying that the site was last updated shortly after midnight on the first of January 2008 - in other words, [probably] when '2007' was changed to '2008'.

I have always considered 'last updated' messages a waste of time. Consider (1) if your website is updated frequently then the actual content will reflect this and it will be obvious to the user; eg a current affairs website, or (2) like this one, your website is rarely changed - and you don't really want to be advertising that fact.

And what is all that grey around the page all about? Note that I put the lines in to hi-light that it shouldn't be there.

I had a quick look around the site whilst I was on it, and look what I got when I clicked on 'site map' ...
Yes, that's not an error on my part - the 'sitemap' is blank. Kind of sums up the effort/expertise that has gone into this site doesn't it?

Friday, October 24, 2008

not so smart

My wife has a Smart car, and I was looking on the Smart website to see how much a new one would cost. Trouble is, I couldn't use the 'build your Smart' feature because I was using Firefox - and the numbskulls who designed the Smart website used a protocol that doesn't work on Firefox.

And if anyone at Smart who might be responsible for hiring those numbskulls reads this, I'm now off to the Fiat website to look at the new 500.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

you say region ... I say language

This organization came to the university where I work to demonstrate one of their products. Naturally, I took a look at their website - and found this on the front page:Now, as is my wont, I am being pedantic on this point - but I make it on behalf of all those folks who are [a] not English, and/or [b] don't speak English.

You see, French, Spanish etc are not regions, they are languages. If you click on each 'region' you are presented with a regional site [eg each lists 'local' clients]. So, people who manage Wimba's site, either change the terms used to France, Spain etc, or translate your site to the languages shown - and stop annoying me and all those South Americans/Americans who speak Spanish, Canadians who speak French etc etc.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

form wins out over function

Let's get this straight from the beginning : I am no fan of 'Flash' - or flashy - websites that seem to be more about the designers showing off their skills than actually achieving some marketing objective or other. Yes I admit there are a few good ones out there, I just don't see them very often. So when an article in the ClickZ Today newsletter included an article called 'using video to evaluate luxury marketing online' I went to see what it was about. Now the article was about online video, and to that end the article was good. Sadly, the site in question - luxury brand Tods - was not.

In fact, it is a perfect example of what I don't like about this kind of site. The navigation is appalling - if you can work out how it is supposed to work [try finding a store], going 'home' kicks the whole Flash thing off from scratch again, one part wouldn't let me in [I didn't have the latest software], the background video on every page slowed things down [OK on my T1 line at work, but it hung up on my standard broadband at home], poor product descriptions [just the words 'supple suede gloves created by expert glove makers for a perfect fit' on a $445 pair of gloves], no persuasive copy [a 'register' link and form, but no text to describe what I might gain from
doing so] - and finally, a typo on the front page [see below], let's hope the glove-makers are better at quality control.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

getting the SERP text right

The text that appears on the SERP is controllable - at least to a certain degree. Taking my name as an example, look at these two returns that appear together on a Google SERP for "Alan Charlesworth".Now, if you were looking for me, I think it is obvious which one is my site - but what about the other one? Is it me? The only way you would find out is by clicking on it. Now take a look at the text on my web page that linked from this SERP.Notice how the text in the SERP is the first line of the text on the page? Think that is an accident, or that I just got lucky? Think again. Now look at the homepage that links from the other Alan Charlesworth's SERP.
Sure, there is some text there, but it is not on the SERP - why? The answer is [I think] that the site is in frames and the search engine cannot read the text in the right hand frame. Just one good reason for not using frames. Notice also that the text I use in the first line gets across the message that I want it to do - again, no accident. I do the same for my main .eu site. Below is the listing from the same SERP as those above. As a footnote, whilst I might laud it over the other Mr Charlesworth in this regard - he still got one over on me by registering alancharlesworth.co.uk before me. Indeed, the reason I registered the domain name alan-charlesworth.co.uk and put up a single page on it was because when someone searches on 'pages from the UK' on the name, my dot eu domain loses ground because it is not a 'uk' domain.

Update on last paragraph Jan 2013: Google no longer offers searches on geographic areas [eg pages from the UK] but does this automatically by considering the IP address of the searcher. For example, if you search on 'electrician' the SERP will list electricians local to where you are.



Friday, August 22, 2008

BBC.co.uk - why the hero shot?

Over the years I have often pointed at the BBC for examples of good online practice. Their recently revised home page, however, has become [for me] an example of questionable practice.

Sure, the new page features personalization in content and colour - buts that's pretty standard now. My big complaint is that although I can choose my content, I'm always stuck with this - for me - useless 'hero shot' wasting so much space.
While I was on the site I was presented with three other 'pictures' and none of them had any interest to me whatsoever. Seems to me that it is a waste of prime online real estate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

nice holiday message

For my hols this year I booked one hotel through Expedia - and a week before leaving I got this email.OK, so it could have been a little more friendly - but this is what permission marketing should be about.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

[still ] no parkin' integration

I raised this issue last winter - when offline ads promoted a special offer for parking at Newcastle airport that wasn't matched online. Well, they've done it again this summer. My local newspaper and radio stations have constantly run an ad promoting 2 weeks' parking for £44 - with a contact phone number. Yet online the cost is not too far off double that fee.

And yet phone contact requires a human response - incurring additional costs for the car park operators - and the website would be free [the site and software already exists, there is no 'unit cost' online].

Hmmmm, a reversal of what is commonly perceived as best practice that runs contrary to the ethos of e-commerce.

good, bad & could do better for pub chain

Lat weekend a made a quick visit to the area in which I grew up. Whilst there we stopped off for a meal at the Farmhouse pub in New Waltham. The suroundings, service and food was excellent. That is not the 'good' of the entry, however.

No, the blog is about Internet-related marketing, and clearly displayed near the door was an offer of a chance to win £1000 by completing an online survey. So that's the good.

The 'could do better' is that the online questionnaire could have been better. Is was far from being bad, but a little thought would have broght it up to the same standard of service I received in the pub.

Several of the questions were poorly worded and there were a couple of grammatical errors, but what annoyed me was the form's refusal to accept a phone number as two elements ie the area code - space - number. Nope, I had to close the gap for it to be accepted. Two points: (1) it would be easy to set up the field to accept all variations of the phone number, and (2) this was on the first page of the form and it was how I identified the pub I had visited. It actually said that I should 'enter the telephone number on the survey invitation' [which I had collected in the pub] - and guess what? Yep, on the card the phone number was presented as two 'numbers'.

And now the bad. As is my wont - hey, it's my job - I had a look around the Vintage Inns website. And I tested the 'find a pub' search facility. And that's when I found out the Farmhouse is listed as being in Yorkshire.

Ermmm, no - it's in North Lincolnshire. Or - as when I was growing up - just plain Lincolnshire. Rubbing salt in the wound is that in the description it mentions 'South Humberside' - the maunufactured county that the government put us in during the early 1970s, but was done away with a number of years ago.

It's a small point Vintage, but if you want local custom, try pampering to their prejudices.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

do you really want the data?

I often get emails like this one ....... asking me to complete online questionnaires - which I usually complete to help develop my 'subject knowledge'. This one offered only the possibility of winning 500 Airmiles in a draw - in itself hardly a significant inducement for 10 minutes of my life. After a few control questions I was asked in detail about my newspaper-reading habits, and then came across this:
Well, I'm sorry Aurora, that's where I stopped - for a number of reasons, not least:

(1) I'm completing this as a favour to you [my chance of winning the prize is extremely limited] - so don't ask me to sign your version of the official secrets act.
(2) If I did 'agree' - how far does this go? Would it mean I couldn't tell my wife I had completed the questionnaire?
(3) If I did work for a competitor, or thought I could sell any information, wouldn't I just tick the 'yes' box?
(4) If this information is indeed confidential - what are you doing making it available to the general public
and finally, perhaps I am just too cynical, but
(5) Although I re-read it a number of times, "... may receive information ... " sounds to me like I am signing up to receive permission-based mailings - if this is the case, shame on you Aurora,this puts a new slant on 'covert'.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

let's play hunt the tax office

I needed to post a letter to my local tax office. I know where the office is - I pass the building [virtually] every day. But I did not know the correct postal address and post code [zip code], so I went online to hmrc.gov.uk and looked on the home page for a pertinent link. Surely one of the reasons someone might visit this site is to find a physical location of a tax office - but nothing jumped out at me, so I clicked on 'contact us'. From there I was taken to the page shown below, where I clicked on 'tax offices for individual enquiries'.
From there I was presented with this page:

Hmmmmmmm.

'Contact my local tax office' - yes that's what I'm looking for.

'... telephone number can be found on any recent correspondence'. Errr, no - I've had no recent communication, I just want to send them a letter.

Then under 'Tax Office locator' - yes, I'm trying to locate a tax office - 'Please enter one of the following:'

'Employer Reference' - now, I have every wage slip since I started with my current employer nearly 10 years ago ... and I cannot see anything that resembles an 'employer reference'. It also advises me to contact my employer for this - if I rang our payroll dept I dare say they would have the address of the local tax office - it is about a 100 yards away!

Or I could input the 'three-digit office code' - hello! I'm trying to find its address, why would I know its office code - surely an internal numbering system?

I then spent around 10 minutes trawling the site and putting various term into the site's search box, including "Gilbridge House, High Street West, Sunderland" - the office's address minus the post code. As this gave only one return [apparently the office is to be closed in the near future] I assumed that the full postal address was not on the site. So I went downstairs and looked it up in the telephone directory ... and the plot thickened.

I looked up 'Inland Revenue' - and the entry [on page 459] referred me to 'Government Offices'. The entry for 'Government Offices' referred readers 'Inland Revenue' on page 459 ! So I tried 'tax' ... nothing.

Despite the fact that I could have actually have walked to the office and handed over the letter in the time it had taken me to find the address [no comments on global warming, health etc please] this had become a personal challenge. So it was back to my files to find my last P60 [it's the tax form that tells you how much you have paid in the previous year] - and low and behold, it included a three digit number under 'HM Revenue and Customs Office name'.

Hallelujah - searching on that number gave me the address I was after [in case you are thinking in the same way as me, I did try the Yellow Pages for both 'HM Revenue and Customs' and 'Revenue and Customs' ... nothing].

So if you are out there and you want to know the post code of the Sunderland tax office on High Street West it is ... SR1 3HL [I must remember to check if this page comes up in a Google search for the address in the future].

Sunday, August 3, 2008

preaching - but not practicing

Whether or not this email constitutes spam is not the point of this posting - nor is the issue of the organiztion's name [rip2it] being different from its domain name [riptwoit.com]. No, this is say to Armand Morin and his agants that if you are trying to sell places on an e-marketing seminar then you should really practice it properly when sending emails [though the spam and domain name issues are also aspects of e-marketing]. Yup, the technology will put the recipient's name in the greeting - but make sure you tell it to do so.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

They wouldn't lock the doors of their shops ...

... so why lock me out of their online store? I would rate this practice one of the worst in web design.

American discount store Marshalls - or more specifically, their web site developers - have decided that they cannot possibly display or sell their products without the use of the Adobe Flash player 9. What rubbish. Just use the last version that more [potential] customers might have. Or even the version before that. Or just don't use Flash.

I have said this repeatedly elsewhere - but I do not have 'administrator' access at work, so must call in tech support to download new software [so I can go shopping !?].

At home I can download stuff - but if it was my wife rattling at the virtual doors of Marshall's online store, she would not know how to do so.

County-less in Sunderland

I was filling in an online application form and was required to indicate which county I lived in. So I clicked on the drop down menu and got this ...

For those of you that aren't from these parts, Sunderland is in the county of Tyne and Wear - which isn't listed. In itself this would be bad practice - but sadly, the form was on the web site of the UK's post office. Oops.

Bonjour, hallo, hola, ciao ... I'm English

Airlines again, and it's Brussels Airlines again. Do I need to say anything about this email?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Duke of URLs?

I was just checking up on what some of my employer's competitors were up to, and clicked on this ad from the University of Liverpool:
Clicking on the link gave me this landing page:Which is not a good example of a landing page [but that's another subject] - so I checked the URL to see if there had been a mix-up, and this is the URL of that landing page:

http://www.liverpoolonlinedegrees.co.uk/2/prequal2.jsp?&CCID=8554203049143&QTR=ZZf20050707102342Za8554Zg171Zw0Zm0Zc20
3049143Zs3086ZZ&CLK=472080623020320922&ac=003&ai=96FFA7F4C34F96456D2BDD3DCDA37C44438920C9&ad=727690405&sp=&fb
=masters%20degree%20online&redirected=Index&CLK=472080623020320922&CCID=8554203049143&QTR=ZZf200507071023
42Za8554Zg171Zw0Zm0Zc203049143Zs3086ZZ&ZN=ref&ZV=ZZf20050707102342Za8554Zg171Zw0Zm0Zc203049143Zs3086ZZ&KY_T=

Yep - that's an incedible 439 characters. Seems a tad excessive to me.

Not only that, but I didn't want to fill in the form to continue [hello web designers at Liverpool Uni, ever heard of the sales funnel and/or persuasive architecture?] so I deleted everything in the URL with the exception of http://www.liverpoolonlinedegrees.co.uk and pressed 'enter' and was presented with the same page, only with a [mercifully] shorter URL of:

http://www.liverpoolonlinedegrees.co.uk/2/prequal2.jsp;jsessionid=Uy0x5NBHrl2E9EIQOuVLfQ**.app2-all2?redirected=Index&
CLK=0&CCID=&QTR=&ZN=&ZV=&KY_T=

So it would seem that the 'questionnaire' page is actually the 'home' page of Liverpool University's online degree web site. Hmmmmm, nice.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

not very professional domain name practice

On the radio this morning I heard an ad for Fiat vans. At its end the voice over advised listeners to go to 'fiatprofessional.co.uk'. OK so far, special mini-site for an ad, that's good. My problem is this:

When I was at school there were certain words that the teachers used in spelling tests because they were tricky. Things like; achieved, successful and ... professional. With this word it is an issue of how many Fs and Ss there are. Naturally, being the smart chap that I am, I can spell 'professional' [thank you, grammar school education], so I typed in the domain and got this page:
However, professional is a tricky word - so I tried the obvious misspellings, and this is what turned up:
So here's the thing: Considering how much this entire ad campaign must have cost, registering these three would have been a drop in the ocean [less than 50 GB pounds]. They could all have been redirected to the 'proper' site so that anyone who did misspell the word found themselves on the right page. That is reason one for registering those domains. Reason two is to stop any nefarious folk registering them and putting other sites on those names - sites that might not be complimentary to the brand.

On the plus side, fiatprofessional.com takes you to a 'global' page where you can select 'your' country [but, oh yes, misspellings on the .com haven't been registered either].

I've got more advice on registering the right domain name on my web site.

Friday, May 30, 2008

KLM : listening?

If you've spent any time on this blog you will have seen a lot of comments aimed at airlines that don't appreciate where I live. Well maybe someone at KLM reads this blog [unlikely, they probably just employed someone who knows what they are doing] because the latest email I received was promoting flights from my local airport.
So, well done KLM, better late than never.

Footnote I : if you're from KLM and you do read this blog ... free flights as a reward for pointing out your errors?

Footnote II: if KLM used consultants to review their email marketing strategy - and one of the recommendations was to tell customers about flights from their local airport [ie relevant to them] - I wonder how much KLM were charged [I bet it would have made giving me a couple of free flights a very cheap option]


Footnote III to self : you're in the wrong business!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

they are called domain NAMES for a reason ...

Well done Countax, you registered the .com domain name. Now take a walk to see whoever is responsible for your web presence. Now hit them with a wet haddock. The reason for this assault? Take a look at what appears in your browser location when you are on their web site. There is absolutely no good reason for this - it is an appalling practice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

trust is important ...

... in any affiliate partnership. So would you have faith in these folks? I was researching affiliate management, so I put the term in Google and got the following SERP ...So I clicked on the highest 'organic' listing, and got this ..

Click on the image and you get an email contact form. Hmmm, not an example of how to build online credibility.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

you on the right site cobber?

I got an email message from Friends Reunited advising me of a new feature - standard stuff, good marketing. Problem was that when I clicked on the link I was taken to the Australian version of the site [.com.au] - as you see from the email's status bar, below.

Mistake or server/hosting issue? Not sure. On the positive side, the link worked and I could access my profile on the Aussie site. Another thing I liked, but I suppose there are security implications : after I clicked on the email link and arrived on the site I was logged in - which [I assume] meant the site recognized that the email was sent to particular member and it would be that member who clicked on the link, so why make them log in? Not sure I would be so impressed if it were my bank, however.Footnote: The next email in my in-box was from AIRMILES informing me of my points total - and when I clicked on the link to the web site ... I had to log in.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

an airline again, I'm afraid ...

Brussels Airline this time. Note the message on the email I received below. Note that I live in Great Britain. Note that they already know that as [a] I completed a registration form, and [b] my email address is that of a UK university - .ac.uk.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

not spam - but poor practice

As this email has a postal address and opt-out included, I doubt it is spam. However, it does nothing to tempt me to click on the link to 'view my invitation'. Points to note:
  • there is nothing to suggest what the invitation or offer is
  • there are two email addresses for prof Kothari
  • the sender couldn't be bothered to capitalize his/her name
all in all, a waste of time sending it out, I wonder what the open rate was?
Footnote: out of curiosity, I did click on the link - it was for some kind of personalized search engine. It looked a bit dodgy, so I did not click on the link that looked as though it might have downloaded something.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

historic review?

User generated content is perhaps the element of the Internet that has had the most significant impact on buyer behaviour, and so marketing.

One of the issues with customer reviews on sellers' web sites is the question of independence - in other words, have the reviews been 'reviewed' before they are published?

Now, as a holiday company, I have no great problem with Thomson - I've been away with them on a number of occasions ... however, while looking for a holiday for this Christmas I came across the following hotel review:
Note that it is the latest of a number of reviews - yet it is nearly two years old. Two points:
  1. Things can change in 24 months, for good and bad. A new building blocking the sea view or new owners with lower standards. Ageing facilities or a recent re-fit?
  2. No published reviews from after that date could mean that there were simply no newer entries [seems strange] - or maybe they weren't too good and so they were deleted?
Either way, it's poor review practice.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

not just KLM ...

KLM crop up frequently in this blog, so just to show:
  • I'm not picking on them, and
  • They are not the only airline that can't get its Internet marketing act together
... this is an email from Brussels Airlines. And yep, the flights on offer are all from Brussels - hello Brussels Airlines, that's not even in the same country as I live. Harrrrumph.