Monday, May 5, 2008

Blogger Incentives

As part of my other blog about green marketing I've recieved a variety of sales pitches to promote companies through my site. I find this interesting because I only have a few loyal visitors, one of which is probably my mother. Anywho, a sustainable clothing company called Onno left a comment on my blog and I thus went to their site to return the favor. They have a plan where for every 100 visitors they get to their site through a referral from your blog, you get a free t-shirt. And... the icing on the cake? They are using Google Analytics to track this activity. Class knowledge applied in the real world, its fantastic. I thought I'd post the referral on both blogs just to increase my chances of getting a free shirt. I'll probably buy one anyway because they look pretty comfy.


Organic Clothing
bamboo, hemp & organic clothing


So if you don't mind. Click the link.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chirp Chirp. Tweet Tweet.

Behold the wonders of the Internet. . .

Held by Egyptian Authorities? Time to 'Tweet'

Friday, April 25, 2008

Case #4: Pure Volume

The relationship between music and the Internet has been very touch and go. While higher ups view the Internet as the single handed killer of compact disc sales, fans and artists feel that the web holds endless opportunities for promotion and recognition.

The web is knee deep in music sites of all kinds ranging from the multitalented MySpace to specifically functioning sites such as Project Playlist. The legality of sharing music through the Internet is a much larger separate issue, however, many of the popular sites do not promote illegal actions from their users. One of the longest running and most well know music site is Pure Volume. Before the rise of MySpace, many unknown and local bands relied on Pure Volume to share their craft with potential fans.

Pure Volume offers services completely free for "Listeners" and Artists. By registering as a member, users can mark certain artists as favorites and receive alerts about the activity of selected artists. As an Artists, bands can post tracks and information in attempts to reach a large audience. The site itself is split up into five main sections: Search, Charts, Videos, On Tour, and Albums. These categories are relatively self explanatory, but what is interesting is the way that the core values of the site come through in each of their services. There is a clear appreciation for both signed and unsigned artists on the site. When a user searches they have the option to search throughout all artist types or specify along many lines including signed/unsigned.

Pure Volume maintains much of its respect from the public by keeping the site clean and user friendly. According to Anderson's Free Pricing Strategies, while is seems unlikely that this would not be priced as Freemium, after looking through the site thoroughly, it appears that certain users do not pay more for a higher valued account. The bulk of revenue made from the site is through selling ad space. Pure Volume is actually a version of the Labor Exchange pricing strategy where in return for a free service and web presence, users are expected to maintain content and traffic.

Recently, Pure Volume has reached a major partnership with Live Nation and thus Ticketmaster. Numerous ads appear throughout the site that acknowledge Live Nation's sponsorship of Pure Volume as well as directing the user to the Tickermaster site for a currently touring artist. The organization of the site reflects the benefit of incorporating other subjects in relation to music with the overall site. The Live Nation connection gives Pure Volume a well grounded license to post information about touring and ticket sales. Similarly M-Audio and Gibson Guitars sponsor the Video section of the site.

A common scare in regards to music sites of today is the lack of authority and not knowing who is posting what and how legitimate it is. This site has made the wise decision to fill in its contextual gaps with other, more experienced, third party businesses in order to boost the value of the site. PV has also kept their integrity by only allowing few ads and embracing unknown artists. The future for the site is unknown with the state of internet business being so unstable, however, the fact that PV has lasted this long is important and hopefully representative of its future.

Images via Pure Volume.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Traffic Jam

Ranked as #90 on Alexa.com's 100 most trafficked sites in the United States, Pogo.com presents an online gaming company well versed in acquiring, retaining, and increasing user traffic.

I spent a large majority of my summer on Pogo.com, I had a particular addiction to Jungle Gin, and considering there was always a real life player to compete with, I was not alone. The question remains, how does Pogo get so many people to the site?

Start at the beginning, with a simple search on a pretty well known site called Google. Upon entering the phrase "online games" 123,000,000 results show up in 0.07 seconds. Pogo does not appear within any of the top 10 organic results but is number two on the list of sponsored links. If a user has heard of the site and Google searched "pogo" the number one paid and organic search result is Pogo.com.While Pogo utilizes both paid and organic search results, it appears that the paid results contribute more directly to the traffic.

Second strategy? Meta Tags! As shown in the screen shot below, Pogo.com uses embedded meta tags to build traffic by using some of the following words and phrases: online games, free games, solitaire, card games. Click on the image below to see the full tags. The title of the site also helps specify what kinds of users to attract.

This could be debated, but Pogo.com appears to be established as an experiential site. In this way Pogo offers users different levels on which to experience online games and by doing so, retains traffic. Free play is the first level but incentives and different opportunities are unveiled with paid memberships. Better prizes, better games, and no ads are offered the the paying customer. Once a membership is paid for, it is unlikely that the user will choose to use another site, at least until the membership expires.

I've never been one to pay for things that I can get for free due to advertising. If advertising couldn't offer that I'd be out of a job one day. But! This past summer a nice individual who shall remain nameless left their paid Pogo membership logged in to one of the computers I used. It goes without saying that working in a college computer lab in the middle of the summer for eight hours a day was manageable due to this slip up. Thank you tniquette1.

Images via Pogo.com and WebDeck Software.

P.S. Facebook is coming out with a new chat feature in a couple of weeks, so be prepared to never get any work done EVER.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

In The House of Brands: Analysis of Branding Strategy in Relation to Internet Marketing

The brands and companies marketed through Gap Inc. present a setup that is technically a house of brands, but is evolving into a hybrid branding effort. Gap Inc. consists of three clothing stores and one shoe store: Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and the exclusively online shoe store, Piperlime. The three clothing stores maintained by Gap Inc. are long established clothing stores that offer similar style products at different economic levels to reach a larger audience. Typically Banana Republic serves consumers with more disposable income, Gap serves the middle to upper classes, and Old Navy reaches younger, more price sensitive shoppers.

Historically, Gap Inc. had a standard house of brands strategy. Many consumers were unaware that Gap Inc. owned these other popular clothing chains. However, recently, with its online branding efforts, as well as the recent addition of Piperlime, Gap Inc. is starting to integrate its brands and offer cross-brand opportunities to customers.

All sites have a similar layout, with the main navigation at the top of the page, a standard search function and searchable categories based upon gender and age. They are identical in terms of functionality. The only differences among them are the colors and designs that range from high end professional to funky urban. All three sites are interconnected through hyperlinks, but each brand has its own domain name. Gap Inc. has multiple unique domain names associated with the corporation: GapInc.com, Gap.com, BananaRepublic.com, OldNavy.com, and Piperlime.com. The only portion of the Gap Inc. conglomerate that use domain combinations is the corporate Gap Inc. Web site.

The relationship among these four brands is beneficial and reveals a valuable strategy. In contrast to a house of brands situation where the individual brands potentially have no relation to each other, such as within Proctor & Gamble or General Electric, the sibling brands of Gap Inc. are all closely related. These brands branch out by meeting clients with slightly different, yet unique, clothing needs. None of the three clothing brands represent such an extreme that the commonalties are lost. A great strength of this situation is the interchangeability of the clothing. Consumers are able to make seamlessly matching outfits across brands and create price combinations that they can afford. This is more easily accomplished by syncing the online branding efforts between the labels. The incorporation of Piperlime shoes gives Gap Inc. the ease of a single shoe company to compliment the other three family brands. While all three sites advertise matching options on Piperlime, ads on Gap and Old Navy promote Crocs and Banana Republic endorse women's pumps.

The only clear weakness presented by this current house of brands arrangement is the possibility for increased awareness of connection between the brands, to cause cross-brand sentiment. This could be a strength, but in personal experience, clothing quality of one brand can create similar distaste for the other brands.

Overall, Gap Inc. is productively using the Internet to evolve its family of brands. The Internet allows it to keep exclusivity among the brand lines but allows them make up where the other brand lacks. Through this structure, Gap Inc. reaches a massive audience and is learning how to expand in an increasingly dense world through the opening of online storefronts and online partnerships.

Images via GapInc.com

Thursday, February 14, 2008