Email still delivers sales at the lowest cost

A recent State of Retailing Online 2007 report from Shop.org provides some very useful information about the effectiveness of email in retail. Here are some highlights:

1) Emailing a house list is delivering orders for less than $7 each. This is a real bargain when compared to banner ads ($71.89), paid search ($26.75), and affiliate programs ($17.47).

2) 88% of the merchants surveyed indicated that email became a higher priority during 2007.

3) The average click through rate on house email is 11% with a 6% conversion rate.

4) The average retailer mails its list 64 times each year.

Facebook/Microsoft Plot Thickens

Monday, it looked like Microsoft was interested in buying 5% of Facebook for a sum of $300-500 million. The following day, the plot thickened as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Seattle—and Microsoft—according to CNNMoney.com.

Senior editor David Kirkpatrick hits on the reasons why Facebook is so attractive to investors:

Facebook is the closest thing the world has to a next-generation Internet, one structured not around Web sites but around people. In the Facebook topology, every data source or service is defined by who else is using it.

The company has, in a crude way, solved the critical problem of Internet identity. Each member’s profile is tantamount to their personal Web site, which defines who you are, who you know, what you are interested in, and what you are doing now.

Rumor Mill: IPO for AOL’s Advertising Platform A

Last week, AOL announced that it was restructuring its online advertising holdings to create a new ad division, Platform A. Ten days later, TechCrunch has rumors that Platform A will be destined for an IPO of its own:

One knowledgeable source tells TechCrunch that the decision has been made internally at Time Warner to try to spin off Platform A through an IPO sometime early next year. (AOL declines to comment). A lot needs to happen before that plan is put into action, but the writing is on the wall. . . . An AOL spokesperson confirms to me: “The introduction of Platform A marks a significant change in how we operate—putting AOL’s overall network in front of our advertising sales strategy.”

HackerSafe seal improves sales at Joann.com

According to Internet Retailer, Joann.com saw a 5.5% increase in revenue after implementing the HackerSafe logo into its site. They measured the increase with the use of a 30 day split A/B test.

This reminds me of a few things I have learned about HackerSafe and similar services.

1) Pricing is negotiable. Joann.com paid $15,000/year for this service, but I am not sure why. My guess is that the average site can get HackerSafe or a competitors’ service for $500/year if you negotiate. HackerSafe’s largest competitor offered us the service for free for a year at one point just because they were trying to take business away.

Pilgrim’s Picks for September 28 – iBrick Edition

How’s your iBrick iPhone this morning? I read that a lot of users are being locked out thanks to a new firmware update–and it’s not just those that bought unlocked phones either.

For those of you who didn’t jump on the iPhone bandwagon, you’ll have no problem reading these stories on your phone this morning! :-)

Google Buys Mobile Social Network Zingku

When I first read that Google had bought Zingku, I asked myself, what does Google want with a cartoon penguin? I mean, he’s cute and all, but how does that fit…huh?…that’s Pingu?…Zingku is a mobile social network, you say?…ok, never mind.

Ok, so Google has acquired another mobile social network–they previously bought dodgeball which is in mothballs right now.

What does Zingku do?

Google Video Home to Pirates!

We didn’t mention it (too many bad scraper experiences, perhaps?), but last Wednesday was Talk Like a Pirate day. According to the National Legal and Policy Center, Google’s taking it a bit far:

Earlier this summer, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) researched the extent of copyrighted material being hosted on Google Video and released a “Top 50” list of apparently copyrighted movies. In the latest “spot check” of the site conducted from September 10 to September 18, NLPC discovered 300 additional instances of apparently copyrighted films, including over 60 movies released this year.

Additionally, the copyrighted videos have been viewed over 22 million times. The NLPC provided a list of the movies they found, as well as screenshots.