poelog: Commentary, thoughts and opinions on the web, ebusiness and marketing -- a web log by Rob Poel
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Friday, December 21, 2001

Merry Christmas and God's blessings during this holiday season!

Motley Fool: Appleholics Anonymous - The sad tale of one man's struggle to hide his Apple addiction from his wife. It isn't pretty.

Business 2.0: The Who's Who of E-Business - 23 core e-business technologies. 56 companies that provide them. How much they cost..

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

E-Commerce News: Retailers Discover Leap to Web's a Doozy - Guess what - The world's best retailers aren't plundering the e-commerce market. Instead, they're licking their wounds and rejiggering online operations. Meanwhile, pure e-tailers like Amazon.com, which were hemorrhaging cash last year, are edging toward profits and -- in the case of eBay and online travel sites -- raking in cash and drawing a record number of visitors. Over the past few years I've gotten so sick of all the articles that said that once the Walmarts and Targets of the world got their online act together, Amazon would be run out of business. Yeah right. Guess their is more to etailing than meets the eye.

Things slowing down a bit at the office as the holidays approach? Try your hand at saving the moon at MoonDump.com, another fine product from my friends (and former colleagues) at Fusionary Media.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Great gift idea: the Ceiva internet-connected digial picture frame. So grandpa and grandma moved to Florida and miss seeing their dozen grandkids? Buy them a Ceiva digital picture frame. The kids and grandkids can upload digital photos to the Ceiva web site and they'll (almost) immediately be available to Grandpa and Grandma's internect-connected frame (it downloads the photos over the phone line in the wee hours of the morning for a $5 per month service fee). In reading the reviews at Amazon it sounds like some folks have had some hardware problems but overall the product gets rave reviews.

CBS MarketWatch: PayPal moves closer to IPO - This one could bring us back to the raging IPOs of 98' and 99' (remember the 600%+ single day rise of theglobe.com?!!) In all fairness though ... although the P&L is a bit scarry (loss of $170 mill on $14.5 mill in revenue for 2000), I think PayPal has some longterm potential. Can anyone get me access to some shares at the $12 - $14 offer price?

ConsumerMarketingBiz.com: CASE STUDY: Overstock.com Hits $100 Million Profitably with Email Marketing - I enjoy case studies like this that provide great explanations of how success was acheieved (even has a few links to sample email campaigns). Pretty impressive stat: Overstock's new customer acquisition cost is now under $10 per customer. The company routinely makes a profit on the very first order a customer places with it.. While I was at iBelieve.com our customer acquisition cost was just outlandish. Sadly, it was a number we should have been focus on from day 1. But I digress ...

Dan Mitchell relays his experience with his newly purchased iPod. What's interesting is that he's already found it valuable not only as a way to play his 25 hours of MP3 music, but also as a 5GB removable hard-drive (see ya later Iomega) for transfering files to and from work (via Scripting News).

Friday, December 14, 2001

Came across the Blogdex social network explorer while reviewing my site stats this morning. Pretty cool.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Doc: Earth to Yahoo: go intrude yourself - For their part, the Yahoos of the world have always been in a good position to help introduce pleasurable relationships between advertisers and new customers. But doing that would take original thinking. It would take listening to clues. It would take siding with both users and advertisers. For a while there Yahoo tied. But they apparently associate those now-discredited efforts with dot-com failure in general, and are turning to the tried & true methods of a medium that bears only superficial resemblence to the Web. If they keep it up, it will kill them. Sad but true. As I mentioned in a 12/3 post that referenced a ClickZ article, Yahoo has had a difficult time expanding its revenue stream beyond advertising and into eCommerce and/or direct marketing. And as they focus on advertising even more ... their advertising approach is becoming more in-your-face and annoying. More focused on interrruption ... than personalization and relevance. More like TV.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

37signals > Design Not Found - Online frustration lurks at every click. "This isn't what I searched for." "Did my order go through?" "How do I get out of here?" "Where is the page I clicked on?" Too often surfers wind up feeling lost, confused, or helpless. Contingency design, a field pioneered by 37signals, is the solution. Design Not Found displays real-world examples of good and bad contingency design. It's the perfect way to learn more about how various sites communicate with visitors when things go wrong. Great stuff. Has 39 snapshots in their Snapshot Library. I wasn't surprised to learn that this site is a Featured Hotlink at Jakob Nielsen's Useit.com.

DaveNet: Dave Winer on a Segway - They have some serious applications in mind, but I don't think they get the big app, the killer app for this product, which is that it is fun.

Monday, December 10, 2001

Jeneane Sessum of Reading Gonzo--Engaged fame, has started her own blog: allied. Love the cry for help post. I haven't ever quite had the blog addiction that Jeneane speaks to. Instead, I often get this feeling of oblogation (sorry, that was lame) that kicks in whenever I go more than a day or two without blogging. I feel like I'm going to get dinged on my performance review for not performing my job according to the responsibilities succinctly described in my blog job description.

Friday, December 07, 2001

Business Week: eBay - The People's Company - eBay is run like a democracy, with customers playing a major role. The more I spend time on eBay and the more I read about this company, the more I'm impressed. More than ANY other business out there, they have truly harnessed the unique capabilities of the internet to create a "Built-to-Last" enterprise. This article reveals how well they listen to their community and can often, due to their size, turn on a dime and respond to customer needs/wants. And this is great:

It doesn't hurt that Whitman [eBay CEO], despite her traditional top-down marketing background at Disney, FTD.com (EFTD ), and Stride Rite (SRR ), became a convert to the eBay way shortly after she joined as CEO in early 1998. Indeed, she's a top seller among the company's 2,500 employees, with a positive feedback rating in the hundreds. In May, she auctioned some $35,000 worth of furnishings in her ski condo in Colorado to understand the selling experience--and immediately required fellow execs to sell on eBay so they, too, can detect problems firsthand.

It's also interesting to read about their long term strategy which one could clearly see coming, and that's to become the operating system for e-commerce ... by moving its e-commerce system outside the borders of its own Web site. It will be interesting to continue to watch eBay and Amazon duke it out over the coming years for the eCommerce throne.

NY Times: Interface Design Is Trickier Than It Seems (via CamWorld).

Thursday, December 06, 2001

E-Commerce News: Apple's Just-In-Time Innovation: Can It Last? The big question is whether Apple's ability to see where the industry is going and time its product introductions impeccably will lead to greater market share.

Monday, December 03, 2001

ClickZ: Direct Marketers and Brand Advertisers Just Don't Mix - More fuel on the branding versus marketing fire. It highlights Yahoo's troubles in expanding its revenue stream from advertising/branding to also include direct marketing.

E-Commerce News: What Makes Google Good - So what makes Google so good? Reasons include: brainposer, does one thing well, no intrusive ads, innovation, the Google Tool Bar, humor and style, and language support.

Fast Company: How EDS Got Its Groove Back - Before Dick Brown took the reins at EDS, people wrote the company off as slow, stodgy, even uncool. By focusing on the soft stuff -- the company's culture -- he's turned EDS into the leading example of an old-economy company that gets it. "Most business leaders are afraid to talk about culture," says Brown. "They're far more comfortable with numbers. While I am very numbers focused, you can't change a business with numbers. Numbers are the end result. You change a business by changing the behavior of its people."