Category Archives: Online Business

Google Analytics Track Adsense

Bottom line up front: Create a new Google Analytics account for every website domain, unless you want to track your Adsense clicks in Analytics.

After attending Affili@SYD 2011 last week, I decided to review all my web properties.

I don’t consider myself an affiliate marketer, I’m more an e-commerce and traffic guy. But I’ve had moments of success over the years.

The first step of the review is to benchmark my properties and get a picture of their current state. Some have been sadly neglected over the years so I’m dusting them off and giving them a lick of TLC. Google Analytics provides some wonderful benchmarking tools for this.

Βest-practice is a one  Google Analytics account per domain. Any subdomains can then be set up as a filter or a profile under that account. My old web properties were created with a new profile under my main account.

Analytics profiles cannot be moved between accounts. A separate account for each property lets me sell a property and “unhook” its Analytics without losing all the historical data.

I also want to run  Google Adsense on the revitalized domains and track ad effectiveness through Analytics.

Unfortunately Google currently allows only one AdSense account linked to one Analytics account.

So for now it means the smaller properties must reside in my main Analytics account if I want to track Adsense with Analytics as I don’t want multiple Adsense accounts.

Once a property gets traction and significant traffic on it’s own I will then create a new Google Analytics account for it. I’ll disconnect the history and lose the ability to track it’s Adsense data in Analytics, but I’ll be better able to use the reports in Adsense with more traffic.

Five Key Reasons Why Newspapers Are Failing

Bill Wyman wrote a wordy, erudite and brilliant two-piece article at splicetoday.com entitled Five Key Reasons Why Newspapers Are Failing (and part 2). While I haven’t blamed editors and journalists in my post Business Model for News, I do agree with Bill’s assessment of their culpability.

Bill’s piece has received some play and is well worth a read to see what excess playing to Wall Street’s demands can get you.

The major take-home for me was his suggestions for the future. This part has been pretty much ignored in the discussion so I’m reproducing it here. I’ll remove it if Bill or Splice Today want, but it’s a great manifesto to build any business by.

If I were running a chain of papers, here’s what I’d do:

1)    Go hyper local; devote all resources, from reporting to front-page space, to local news. No one cares what the Pittsburgh Post-Dispatch has to say about Iraq.

2)    Redesign the websites to present users with a single coherent stream of news stories and blog entries. Create simple filters to allow them to tailor the site to their preferences.

3)    Tell the union you won’t be touching salaries, but that all work rules are being suspended, including seniority rights. Tell all reporters that they’re expected to post news if word of it reaches them in what used to be thought of as “after hours.”

4)    Get out of the mindset of “nice” coverage. Tell the reporters to find the “talker” stories in town—development battles, corrupt pols, anything with a consumer bent. Monitor web traffic to find out what people are interested in. If a particular issue jumps, flood the zone. Make each paper the center of every local debate, no matter how trivial, and make finding and creating those debates the operation’s prime job.

5)    Create chain-wide coverage of all areas where it can be done. It’s sad, but it means laying off a lot more film critics and dozens of other duplicated positions. For such positions, do this. Hire two people to cover the beat for the chain. Make them into sparring partners, arguing about each new TV show, movie, CD, traveling Broadway show, concert tour etc. Get out of the business of being promotional. Give your readers sharply argued opinions, something fun to read they can’t get anywhere else.

6)    Create local listings second to none. Create them from the users’ point of view. Don’t use abbreviations. Overwhelm users with insider information that only locals know; where to park, where to sit, when to go, etc. Get rid of all the site navigation levels no one cares about. Put the information people want front and center.

7)    Devote as much manpower as possible to creating must-read local news blogs. Tell the bloggers to work the phones and IMs, finding out about every personnel change, every office move, any tidbit. Support and cite local bloggers in the same areas. Yell at staff members if they are consistently being scooped by (unpaid) competitors.

8)    Create and maintain a wiki designed ultimately to function as an encyclopedia for the town, from neighborhoods and politicians to every retail establishment. Let it become the ultimate guide to the area. Like Wikipedia, it will inevitably contain information that is controversial. Cover the controversies with alacrity.

9)    Serve the community. Don’t publish crap. Tell folks stuff they might not want to hear. Grow a pair.

Bill Wyman is a cultural critic and author of the blog Hitsville. He can be reached at hitsville@gmail.com.

People+Company Connections

I’ve been playing around with the social web for a while now. One of the things I’m interested in is how people are connected through organisations. For examply take the Australian Stock Exchange, there are about 1800 companies listed on the ASX all of which have a board of directors. Many directors sit on more than one board. So how do I find out who sits on what board?

I’ve maintained a private database in the past but I’m thinking of making it publicly available, in which case I should then wiki-fy it so that people can update it.

One place to build it is Cogmap which lets you create and share organization charts in a wiki-like manner. Alternatively there is Jigsaw a collaborative people and business directory with social media elements (invites and points).

I’m not sure which way to jump, but I want to seed my data and then let the users improve it. Then open the data further with to allow interesting and unplanned uses to emerge – like draw a map of 500 most powerful/influential board members in a country ranked by the market capitalization of their companies. This is sort of like They Rule without the Marxist-Leninist slant. They Rule allows you to create maps of the interlocking directories of the top companies in the US in 2004.

I definitely will build this. If you have suggestions I’m all ears.

Entrepreneurs Should be Reading Anthill

If you are an entrepreneur of any age and any stage you should be reading Australian Anthill magazine. For 24 issues now,  this bi-monthly magazine has covered entrepreneurs, angels, VC’s  and the startup scene in Australia. They’ve grown readership and circulation and are entrepreneurs themselves.

Business is a crazy rollercoaster ride and there is a huge benefit to connecting with others who’ve trod a similar path.

And if you’ve got some experience, consider contributing an article. Read the style and submission guidelines.

OpenMoko everything iPhone should have been

OpenMoko powered Neo1973 from FICI’m awaiting my iPhone courtesy of working for a multinational. One of my coworkers travelling in the USA will hopefully pick it up. However since lusting for one, Apple has rained on the parade by turning iPhones into iBricks with their latest firmware upgrade. The consensus seems to be Apple didn’t need to be so draconian on fans who have unlocked their phones.

Still I’m going to get an iPhone and I’ll unlock it eventually to use it in Australia with a local SIM.

I’ve come across the OpenMoko freed phone. It’s open source (except for a few drivers for legal reasons). The entire phone is open an if enough developers get behind it, it will become everything the iPhone should have been. Cool apps written on an open platform. WiFi, quad-band, GPS enabled out of the box.

It’s not production ready, but it looks like the mass-market version will ship in time for Christmas 2007.

I think the Wireless Voice and Data phone convergence will be one of the most exciting industries over the next 20 years, so this may be a project I invest some time into.

Private Company Valuations

An unreal valuation is a price that a strategic investor pays because they have non financial objectives.
Fred Wilson A VC via twitter

That really puts the concept of the Strategic Sale succinctly. When the fit of the vendor’s business to the acquirer is so compelling, that traditional accounting based measures are not sufficient.

Sydney OpenCoffee Meetup

I went to the Sydney OpenCoffee Meetup this morning. I love the tagline: “Place for people who love startups to hang out and meet”. So I met a bunch of startup entrepreneurs, a few advisors and a funder or two.

I attended looking for two things:

  1. New Product Development ideas/team/products to put through the distribution channels I have built at work.
  2. Entrepreneurs, products or companies to invest in, either through my work or through the loose network of friends and associates who like startups.

Today’s meeting was mainly online startups, a few even show promise. Even better I got to chat informally with entrepreneurs who are pursuing their dreams.

 


Click here to check out
The Sydney OpenCoffee Meetup!

Email Confidentiality Notices

Many emails coming to me have default confidentiality or commercial-in-confidence signatures. I think privacy aware individuals or organisations see them and adopt them without thinking through the issues.

Firstly if I haven’t specifically solicited a confidential email why should it be binding on me. Here is an interesting point from the abuse.net database:

IF YOUR MESSAGE CONTAINED A NON-DISCLOSURE OR CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: We do not solicit or accept confidential information for the contact database since the contents of the database are available to the public. Confidentiality notices are legally meaningless in the United States, where abuse.net is located, so such notices are ignored. If you accidentally sent something that you do consider confidential, tell us nicely and we’ll consider deleting it.

So think twice about blindly grabbing someone’s signature file and using it in your organisation.

That also applies to Privacy Policies and Terms of Trade. The number of businesses I’ve seen that have obviously borrowed their terms of trade from another supplier without thinking it through. Terms of Trade has implications for accounts receivable, collections and insolvency. At least get an advisor’s opinion.

What sells online?

Militia 04 secret photo by Bartlomiej Stroinski Poznan, wielkopolska, Poland, http://www.stroinski.pl/ http://www.sxc.hu/photo/236495 Flemming Funch at Escape Velocity posted in Ugly sells? and challenged Mark Daoust’s Site-Reference.com post The Surprising Truth About Ugly Websites.

It is not fancy, it is not exactly beautiful.

It’s one of the best-kept online secrets (and worst-kept direct marketing secret). It is possible to be too well designed or professional. Especially if that award winning design eats most of your marketing budget.

Once, before I knew anything about search engines, online marketing, seo (search engine optimization), I let a business friend talk me into closing a website “better no website than an unprofessional website” he advised. This guy was a marketing professional whose clients were all the big end of town. Big mistake many years later I realised it was popular with our customer base and drive enquiries to our sales team.

Another anecdote. I was meeting with a client last Tuesday to finalise a web marketing campaign, One of his marketing team wanted input to the website I am designing for them. Specifically the objection was precisely about the elements I use to get the fantastic results my websites generate in so little time.

What sells online is whatever speaks to the target audience. Banks and finance companies are expected to have slick, modern award winning design.

Online marketing demands function over form. Once the website gets attention, then you can add pretty features. Make sure the function of the website is clear obvious!

How to Get Inbound Links for Online Business

quickdraws photo by Cristian Galletti Casalgrande, Italy http://www.webgriffe.com http://www.sxc.hu/photo/16065 linksI’ve had two interesting meetings in the last week. Both were with other fathers whose kids attend the same school as mine. Both also run online businesses.

They’d heard I’d been in online businesses for years; was in the top 3% of worldwide sellers on eBay (more in a couple of days on that); and knew a thing or two about getting traffic and search engine results.

To compare the two, one was aware he could do better, expected to learn and grow his business over time – essentially in for the long hall. The second guy was scattered over four or five different technologies and business models, chasing the next big thing.

My system suits the first way. And I advised my second friend to be patient.
Both however needed more links to their websites both directly from their friends, but also from relevant, non-competing sites. Reciprocal links (where you link to me and I link to you) are a bit tricky with Google penalizing people who build link farms. Relevance and quality of the linking site is more important that just getting any old links.

So while I am always looking for suitable link partners, I looked at fast alternatives. I found Link Vault a free, text-link advertising network. This is a high-quality ethical way of growing inbound links and getting a share of the web mindspace.

Link Vault has a good reputation for fast lasting results. I’ve already rolled it out on some of the sites I manage and expect to implement it here as well.

quickdraws photo by Cristian Galletti Casalgrande, Italy