Is Facebook the New Face Time?

According to the Silicon Alley Insider and comScore, Facebook has taken over as the place where people spend more time online than even Google sites. This is a first apparently for Facebook who now seems to make a habit of reaching new milestones on a regular basis. Here’s the picture.

My question is what Google sites are we talking about? If it is all Google’s sites in aggregate that would then include YouTube and Gmail which then makes this chart really quite fascinating.As for Yahoo, well, the good news keeps rolling in huh as it appears that boatloads of minutes online are shifting away from them even more.

How much time do you spend on Facebook these days? Is it more important to your life (business and personal) than the use of Google sites, which are not really social (at least not today)?

Publishers Clearing House: Deceptive or Simply Good Marketing?

As you’ve probably seen everywhere else on the web, Publisher’s Clearing House has agreed to pay out 3.5 million in damages after being accused of deceptive marketing practices. In addition to the money, Publisher’s Clearing House is being tasked with a new set of rules in regard to how they run their business and here is where it gets sticky.

The claim is mostly based on the fact that people, particularly seniors, were left with the impression that the more they bought from PCH, the better their chances would be of winning the big prize. Now, I haven’t seen one of their letters in a long time, but I’m pretty sure it says right on there that buying will not increase your chance of winning. Okay, I get that not everyone reads the not-so-fine print and that not everyone understands what they read, but how is that PCH’s fault?

New Report: Making the Most of Transactional Emails

According to a new Experian Marketing Services report, transactional emails that include relevant and related products and services have 20%  higher transaction rates than those without.

Blown away, aren’t you? Okay, probably not. It’s no big marketing secret that suggestive selling and cross-promotions work, so why doesn’t everybody do it?

Let’s go back to basics. A transactional email is one that a customer expects. Could be an order confirmation, a shipping notice or information on returns and exchanges. Experian analyzed more than 1,800 emails of this type that were sent through their CheetahMail system and found that more than 100% of the time (how is that possible?) these emails are opened by the recipient. You won’t find anywhere near that kind of open rate on bulk emails.

The NFL Kicks Off Tonight: Do You Know Where Your Sports Fan Is?

Marketers like well-defined groups of people. They like people who are passionate about something and who are dedicated to following whatever that is until the bitter end.

Why? Because if that group makes it that easy to pin them down and their particular likes and dislikes can be discerned then you have the captive audience that could really help your bottom line.

Sports provides those kinds of audiences in ways that many other activities and interests cannot so they are very attractive to the right marketers. Tonight the NFL kicks off the 2010 season (which could be the last one for a while unless a new collective bargaining agreement is hammered out soon) and sports marketing both online and offline are brought into the sharpest focus of any time of the year.

Location Based Services and Advertisers Playing Together More

Aided by the introduction recently of Facebook’s Place pages (so original on that name, huh?) location based services are getting a lot of attention. As the word spreads among the mobile smart phone base there is a lot of room for growth and advertisers are taking heed by speaking with their money and not just in blog posts.

ReadWriteWeb tells us

“It’s huge and it’s increasing,” said Michael Becker, a director at the Mobile Marketing Association. “Location is going to play an increasingly critical role in enabling successful consumer engagement through and with the mobile phone.”

For advertisers, the growth of real-time location data felt like an explosion that “blew up overnight,” Becker said.

How Google Instantly Made the Long Tail More Important for SEOs

OK, random thought time.

Yes, we’re sticking with Google Instant.

Yes, it’s focused on SEO.

Yes, it ties back to my post about using Google Suggest for keyword research.

Yes, I’ll get on with it.

The long tail is about to become super-important for your search engine optimization efforts. Why? Because, despite our concerns that Google Instant is headache inducing, I think Google knows better. Google knows that using Google Instant–for the average searcher, not you or me–will be a whole lot of fun.

Take for example a search for “San Francisco Hotels.” OK, so the old Google still used Google Suggest, but that required the user to hit “return” or click “search” and commit to a set of search results. Pay attention to that, they had to commit to the search results.

Are Social Media Ghostwriters Bad for Business? Maybe Not.

Is it ethical to hire a ghostwriter to post updates to your social media accounts? Take a quick turn around the internet and you’ll find the majority of the people crying “no!” Words like authenticity and transparency get thrown around along with trust and honesty.

The American Marketing Association recently published a report titled, Social Media Ethics Shades of Gray: GhostTweeting and other Dilemmas. In it, Wayne Hurlbert, host of Blog Business Success on, says that hiring a ghost is a grievous error.

“If you’re pretending to be someone else or pretending to be an organization that you’re not, then all trust is lost.  People prefer to do business with those who they know, like and trust and if you remove those factors from the social media world by trying to shade it into gray areas, you will not succeed.”