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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.

Adjust Your Rankings with a Few Clicks

If you could influence or manipulate your search ranking, would you? Of course you would. That’s our main goal as search marketers. Sproose, a search engine that allows users to vote and rank the listings in their index, has just launched their voting technology for their video search.

Sproose delivers a “human popularity voting” model where each user may influence the ranking of the index creating improved search results. The more users that vote a site the further up in the ranking it moves. The same voting technology is now being applied to the Sproose video search index.

So basically, here’s how it works:

Evolution of the Personal Homepage

Yesterday Frostfire announced the launch of Frostfirehive.com, a personal homepage application that’s initially designed to target Internet and technology users. Much like the way you can customize your Google homepage, Frostfirehive.com allows users to create personalized start pages. But, it also takes things a few steps further, making it easy to organize your news, websites, videos, games, photos, search engines, email and much more.

“We will see a move away from generic start pages as niches need guidance with their content. Single page aggregators are too rigid and generic customizable pages offer little help to users. The Frostfirehive.com default start page consists of basic instructions that can be removed once a user is familiar with the site,” said Chris Frost, Frostfirehive.com’s chief executive.

Eyetracking Shows Web Audience Ignores Ads

A newly released eyetracking study by usability guru Jakob Nielsen shows that online banner blindness is worsening. Nielsen says that banner ads (indicated by green outlines in his heat maps below) didn’t even receive light focus from skimmers, scanners and readers—and neither did non-ad content in the same areas.

eyetracking heat maps by Jakob Nielsen show complete blindness to banner ads and banner-like elements in web pages

Nielsen concludes, much to his own dismay, that the best way to get people to look at your ads is to make them look like actual content—much like advertising in magazines and newspapers masquerades as editorial content (gotta look for that tiny little ‘advertisement’ notice at the top). That doesn’t mean, however, a 300×300 AdSense block as the first thing in your blog’s text will trick people into think that it’s content and clicking on it. That’s just annoying. (via)

The WAA Standardizes Web Analytics Terms

Analytics software can be confusing, and it is often difficult to decipher what you really need to pay attention to. Comparing data from multiple sources can be even more complex because of inconsistencies in reporting techniques. Yesterday at SES, the Web Analytics Association (WAA) offered a potential solution to these issues.

The WAA announced the availability of their new report that will provide standardized definitions for 26 of the most widely used terms in analytics tools and software. WAA members, agencies, vendors, practitioners, and thought-leaders have collaborated for the past 11 months to create these definitions.

The Association’s previous release of web analytics definitions in 2006 focused on three of the most important metrics across all analytics tools and software—unique visitors, page views, and visits/sessions. These terms were defined by the industry and agreed upon and now the WAA has expanded their attention to the other metrics that rely on the original three definitions.

67 Percent of Searchers Driven by Offline Channels

And 39 percent of offline-influenced searchers will go on to make a purchase.

Both of these fascinating figures have been uncovered by an Online Search Behaviour Study commissioned and released by Search Marketing firm, iProspect.

Conducted by JupiterResearch in June 2007, an online consumer panel of 2,322 randomly selected individuals were quized over 25 questions about their behaviours, attitudes and preferences as they relate to games, digital imaging, portable devices, and service bundles.

iProspect President, Robert Murray, was amongst the first to express surprise over the results:

We figured we’d see an even split between those influenced to search by offline and those not

In the firm’s press release, Murray goes on to discuss the implications of the findings and elaborates on the current incoherence of online / offline messaging, saying:

Widgets for Tracking Internet Trends

Hitwise, a company that offers their clients from around the world insight on how customers interact with competitive websites, has just launched a new widget called Hitwise To Go. This new widget is the first in a series of widgets to be launched by Hitwise, and its RSS-based service will provide information about user behavior for the US, UK, and Asia Pacific markets.

“Releasing our data via desktop widgets makes it easy for digital enthusiasts to stay informed about key online trends as they happen. They also serve as a gateway to access a full archive of online statistics and other publicly available Hitwise data sources such as the Hitwise Analyst Blogs and our Data Center.” said Tessa Court, chief marketing officer for Hitwise.