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