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Shopping Down, But Online Research Up

Econsultancy has the results of a survey by Channel Advisor (PDF) on online shopping in the US. The semi-annual survey shows that online shopping is down overall—but there is some good news for the Internet.

Spending online shopping is down overall, with fewer people reporting monthly purchases of over $76 (down by 9% to 25%), and more people reporting monthly spending of $0-$20 (up by 11%, now at 27%). However, they’re devoting more of their time online to product research—with growth in shopping search queries and time spent on retail sites. 51% were influenced by product reviews or ratings, but free shipping was most influential in purchase decisions.

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Internet Fraud is Internet Fraud, Right?

fraudAs online marketers most are concerned about click fraud. The endless battle to make sure that when you are buying a click it’s a real click and not something else. Marketers lose sleep over this every night but ht economy may have created a whole other category of fraud called “friendly fraud”.

First, I am not sure where we are headed when we can call fraud “friendly fraud” like we find in an article over at the Wall Street Journal. Sounds too much like “friendly fire” and there is nothing friendly about that. So what exactly is it? According to the article

Online merchants are fighting a surge in so-called friendly fraud, as more consumers try to get out of paying for their Internet purchases in the recession.

Online Sales Up in the US for Some

In a report from eMarketer there is a mixed bag of news for onlineshopping-bag sales from Q1. The study that was done by Forrester Research and Shop.org shows an overall increase in online sales of 11%. Nice number for sure considering the daily doom and gloom that seems to dominate the economic news of most days.

Digging into the findings just a bit reveals how that increase is not something that appears to be felt across the board. Overall, 58% of those using the online sales channel experienced an increase in sales. When you put it that way it seems to say that the increase may be more a result of some areas showing bigger increases which were offset other poor performers. The chart below reveals the weak spot.

Classic Battle for eBook Reader Market

While Amazon makes the big splash with Kindle 2 and fends off potential lawsuit regarding its technology, sony-ereaderSony has cut a deal with Google that is a classic.

As reported at cnet, in a partnership with Sony, Google will provide over 500,000 titles whose copyrights have expired which include literary classics like “Sense and Sensibility” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. This move takes the number of titles to that the Sony offering has to 600,000 vs. the 250,000 for the Amazon offering. These include German, French, Spanish, Italian and other language translations as well.

SEO, Usability & 15 Stupid Things You Can Do to Your Website – SMX West

Michael Stebbins—Market Motive

Whilst not technically a session I was fortunate enough to hear Michael Stebbins of Market Motive present a little mini-presentation in the Expo hall, which grabbed a lot of people’s attention. I was away from my laptop but managed to type up notes on my iPhone.

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His presentation was titled: 15 stupid things you can do to your website:

1. Using lots of JavaScript menus so search engines can’t crawl your website properly.

2. Using stupid keywords—ones that are too competitive or no one is searching for. Michael suggested picking mid-range keywords and work your way up.

E-tailers Rank Highest for Customer Satisfaction

E-consultancy reports that a recent study conducted by the UK National Customer Satisfaction Index scored retailers, e-commerce reported a stunning score of 82 points for Q4 2008 (out of 100). Why is this news so interesting? Because the average retailer customer satisfaction score is 74.8.

Amazon and Play.com helped e-commerce separate itself from the rest by posting 85 and 87 satisfaction scores. I had a feeling Amazon would be ranked high on this list, but I’m really surprised to see Play.com achieve such a high customer satisfaction level. I haven’t personally played around with their site too much, but hopefully this will give them some much deserved attention in the conversion-world for their great work.

Yahoo Starts to Include Images and Video in Search Ads

According to the New York Times, Yahoo plans to announce today that they will be including video and images in their paid search ads. Traditionally, Yahoo’s main source of ad revenue came from display ads but the shift in that market had an effect on them in the 4th quarter of last year when display ad revenue was down 2% but search was up 11%.

We all know that Yahoo is looking for a piece of the pie that Google has at the parent’s table while Yahoo is left at the kid’s table looking for scraps regarding paid search revenue. This effort shows that there is still some fight in them. Will it work? Who knows these days.
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Below is an example cited in the article for Pedigree dog food.