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Is It the End of the eCommerce World as We Know It?

By Brittany Thompson

The New York Times stirred up a bit of controversy today by publishing an article claiming that the eCommerce industry is slowing down. Referring to the current state of online sales as “the Dot Calm Era,” the article uses current trends, research statistics and even word-of-mouth to back this theory.

“Growth in online sales has also dropped dramatically in diverse categories like health and beauty products, computer peripherals and pet supplies,” the article states. “Analysts say it is a turning point and growth will continue to slow through the decade.”

Advertisers Start Your Widget Engines!

The WSJ has a report (sub) on comScore’s latest study on the growth of web widgets.

Nearly 177.8 million people world-wide viewed Web content in April made with online tools from companies that let people post photos, videos and music on other Web sites, according to data that Web-tracking firm comScore Inc. plans to release today.

The comScore study reveals that photo-sharing widgets are the most popular, with Slide dominating the widget market. However, Jeff Jarvis asks why YouTube is not included on the list…

I don’t understand why Brightcove is on the list but YouTube isn’t; they must be limiting the definition of the widget. As far as I’m concerned, it’s YouTube that spread embedding–thus, widgeting–across the web. I’d define a widget as any embedded content or functionality.

Wake-up Google, the World Thinks You’re Big Brother!

There’s a lot of buzzing in the blogosphere right now (you can read Jordan’s coverage here), as it appears Google is under fire again for its privacy policies. AP reports that London-based Privacy International has issued a study of 23 internet companies, with Google coming out dead-last. In fact no other company studied, received the same low rating.

None of the 22 other surveyed companies — a group that included Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. and AOL — sunk to that level, according to Privacy International.

While a number of other Internet companies have troubling policies, none comes as close to Google to “achieving status as an endemic threat to privacy,” Privacy International said in an explanation of its findings.

Tips for Increasing Retailing Results

As I mentioned earlier in the week, MarketLive released a very interesting white paper at Internet Retailer 2007 about how you can generate more orders from your traffic. Normally, we would refer to this effort as working on improving your conversion rate. However, the MarketLive position is that monitoring the conversion rate is of little value because it is so broad. Instead, they recommend focusing on small pieces of the shopping experience by themselves.

There is a lot of information in the report and I recommend that you download it and study it. However, here are some tips that I found interesting:

Metasearch Offers Best Results, Study Shows

By Brittany Thompson

Those looking for the most accurate search engine results pages should stick to metasearch – at least according to a study that was released on May 31st by InfoSpace.

Different Engines, Different Results was the title of the study (word doc), which was a cross-continental collaboration examining overlap and differences in rankings between industry leaders including Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live and Ask.

Some of the information contained in the study echoes what we’ve known for years. The fact that searchers still don’t always find what they are looking for online is more of a burden (both to searchers and to e-business owners) than a surprise.

Survey Shows 39% of Bloggers Publish Sensitive Company Info

E-consultancy has details of a new study by human resources firm Croner, suggesting that up to a third of bloggers risk getting fired due to posting damaging material about their employer.

Croner commissioned YouGov for a survey of 2,000 people which found 39% of bloggers admitted to publishing sensitive or damaging posts about their workplace.

Some companies are now issuing guidelines on employee blogging policy to safeguard against unwelcome disclosures, but the recent case of Petite Anglaise, an English secretary fired from her job as a PA in France for writing about her employer in her own journal, underscores the need for a structured approach.

Does your company have any guidelines about personal blogging?

IAB: Search Doing Well, Metrics Meeting Outcome

The Interactive Advertising Bureau seems to be trying valiantly to stay at the top of the news this week. They’ve released their 2006 Internet Advertising Revenue Report and the results from last week’s closed meeting with Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore.

2006 Internet Advertising Revenue Report: Search is Looking Good
The IAB’s report for last year says that search is looking good: 40% of online ad revenues came from paid or natural search. Search advertising revenues came to $6.8 billion, which is higher than 2005’s $5.1 billion, even though search dropped off an entire percentage point (gasp) from 2005.

Other areas they looked at: “Display advertising, Classifieds, and Referrals accounted for 32 percent, 18 percent, and 8 percent of 2006 full year revenues respectively.”

The full study is available in PDF form.