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Netizens Trust Each Other for Product Recommendations

Nielsen has released a survey of 26,486 web users from around the world and discovered that we all prefer the recommendations of others over advertising. Shocker! ;-)

  • 78% of survey respondents trust recommendations from other consumers.
  • Newspapers came second with 63%, and online opinions third with 61%.
  • Search engine ads (34%), banner ads (26%), and mobile text ads (18%) made up the least trusted.
  • American’s trusted blogs more than any other country, with 66% of us trusting blogs for product and service recommendations.
  • The countries most likely to trust advertising? The Philippines (67%), Brazil (67%) and Mexico (66%).
  • Meanwhile the Danes don’t trust any advertising (28%).

Read the full report for more juicy stats.

Hat-tip E-consultancy.

Online Sales Up this Holiday Season

It might not be an especially cheery holiday for retailers this year – at least offline retailers. TNS Retail Forward, a company that conducts research on the retail market, says growth in holiday sales will be the slowest it has been in five years. The forecast? Fourth-quarter growth in 2007 will slow to 3.3% – it was at 4.6% in 2006. But it is still growth. However, their projection for online sales is rosier. They expect online sales to bring in nearly $42 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. That’s up 7 billion from last year when it sales were at $35 billion in the fourth quarter.

Get $150 for Participating in a Blogging Study

I received an interesting offer from the folks at Goodmind. They offered me $150 to take part in a study that would take about 90 minutes of my time. I don’t have the time, but Goodmind agreed to let me pass on the offer to Marketing Pilgrim readers, so here it is:

My name is Darrin and I work for Goodmind, a market research company in NYC.  We?re currently looking for participants for a study on bloggers and social media writers.  Participants must be active bloggers and post their own blog, blog for a company, or blog for business reasons.  Participants will be paid a $150 incentive for the study, there is no purchase or sales involved, and it is entirely anonymous.  Those that qualify will be asked to log into our software twice a day, for three days, each session comprising of about 15 minutes, or 90 minutes total.  If you would like to participate, please reply to this email (darrin.lusk AT, or call us at 212-660-0110.  If you?d like more information about us, you can visit our website at  Thank you, and I look forward to heading from you!

Affiliate Marketing – High Growth in the UK

By Janet Meiners.

According to a report by E-consultancy retailers in the UK are seeing positive results from affiliate marketing. The research group surveyed 239 merchants this year and most of them have both online an offline presence.

A full 95% of brands said that affiliate marketing is ‘very cost-effective’ or ‘quite cost effective.’ The next most effective ways to acquire a new customer is paid search and then email marketing. On average the retailers spend 18% of their online marketing budget on affiliate marketing.

Retailers like affiliate marketing (also called CPA or cost-per-acquisition) because they only pay an affiliate when a sale is made.

Kevin Cornils, CEO of explains, ‘Affiliate marketing has proven itself as the most cost effective online channel to drive incremental volume. It works for marketers because they only pay for activity that generates genuine sales?” He even went so far as to say that affiliate marketing “is a guaranteed positive ROI if managed correctly.” You can’t get much more glowing than that.

31% of Social Network Users Enter False Information

A new survey by emedia suggests that 62% of social networking users are concerned about the security of their personally identifiable data. The fears run so high that 31% of social network users have already entered false information to protect their identity.

There’s lots of other interesting data, including respondents thoughts on how social networks can be used in business:

…87% of all respondents think social networking sites can be used for business purposes including networking (65%), exchanging ideas (58%), getting advice (44%), recruitment (43%), research (35%) and selling (31%).

But, be warned. Half of the users found advertising on social networks to be “intrusive.”

Fred Thompson’s Election Site Most Visited

Fred Thompson is barely a week into his official presidential election campaign, and he’s off to a flying start, according to new data from Hitwise. was the most visited site among presidential candidates for the week ending September 8, 2007, claiming an impressive 34.73% market share. Obama was second (13.49%) with Ron Paul claiming third with 12.88%.

While Fred Thompson’s numbers out of the gate are impressive, it’s hardly surprising that his site was the most visited–considering he had just announced his candidacy. Perhaps more impressive is that Ron Paul is still in the running, thanks in part to his social media efforts. Paul lead the pack in most web site visitors from sites such as MySpace, Facebook, YouTube & Flickr.

Email Marketers Need To Know SPF

According to a study conducted by email marketing experts Lyris, there is “an increasing reliance on the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) authentication method” to determine the legitimacy of inbound mail.

SPF is an open standard method to prevent sender address forgery. The solution to combat fake email works via a delivery policy specified in the domain’s DNS zone records. The receiving server can check whether a message has complied with the domain’s stated policy before conducting further checks.

The study, which monitored almost half a million messages, shows that permission-based email is delivered roughly 75 percent of the time to major ISP inboxes. Further examination showed a decrease in image spam and an increase in spam using PDF, PowerPoint or Excel files.