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=> Intro. <=

It's much more of a featured guest than writer for this issue. And in keeping with other issues, once again, I find myself in the company of a talented, pretty girl (this job does have its perks ;-)

During the Summer, Nori and her family spent some real leisure time on the Carribean island of Anguilla. When she returned, she decided that a web site about the beautiful beaches of Anguilla would be a pretty cool idea. For most teenagers, that's where the idea might end. But Nori's father is legendary online marketer Ken Evoy, and she's certainly inherited that entrepreneurial spirit.

Without any experience whatsoever, Nori logged into Site Build It, the online web development and marketing suite of tools for start-ups (which was developed by her Dad's company)and launched anguilla-beaches.com

Nori was kind enough to take a break from homework, girlfriends and potential online marketing domination, to have a little chat with me.

(NB: No matter what level you're at with your online efforts, I guarantee you'll still find some little gems in this interview.)

Read it and weep guys ;-)

Mike: Nori, I've just finished looking over your site and I have to say I'm very impressed.

Nori: I'm glad you like it. I wish I had more time to do it, but I'm busy with school, band and other things too, especially homework and friends.

Mike: I know it's something I'm not supposed to ask a lady: but how old are you Nori and when was the first time you went to Anguilla?

Nori: I turned 14 in August. Our first trip was for 10 days in March. We all loved it so much that we decided to spend the whole month of August there.

Mike: Your Dad's been involved with the Internet for a long time. Is that something you'd already decided you'd like to do anyway, or did you just get the inspiration for a web site in Anguilla? And if you did get the inspiration in Anguilla, was it helped along a little bit by your Dad when he'd had the odd rum punch or two. :-)

Nori: Ha! Ha! He calls himself the official rum punch Anguilla tester. He wants to do a page on the best rum punch. When my Dad saw how much I loved Anguilla, especially because we both like to explore and get a bit adventurous, he suggested that I could make a Web site about it, get people to visit it, and then start to refer those people to good folks we know on the island for referral fees. It has become a very busy site - my dad does not write my material, but he does push me to "say it better, Nori."

He also gives me tips... like to take my time on making money. Right now, it's a hobby site, so I have a free listing in zeal.com (it took me four tries to pass their test). That listing brings me a lot of traffic from LookSmart and MSN, for free. Dad says there's lots of time to make money with the site, just to get the content right for now.

Mike: I guess you must use the Internet a lot for homework and fun stuff and everything. So you probably knew quite a bit about how it works and how to find stuff with search engines. But had you ever tried to make a web page yourself before you started this web site?

Nori: I chat a lot on the Net with my girlfriends. And my Dad showed me how to do some advanced searching that my friends don't really get. But no, I had no idea how to make a web site. I asked him to show me how it works and he showed me all the code in a Web page and how the software browser reads that and turns it into a page. I could never do that and I could never figure out the search engines without it. And I would find it boring, anyway. I just like writing about Anguilla and our adventures.

Mike: Lots of people just throw up web pages for a hobby and don't pay much attention to how they look. A lot of them that I see have a layout like a badly made bed with pictures which look like they were shot with the camera lens cap still on and navigation bars like a row of three day old pizzas.

But you have a neat layout with nice clear pictures and really cool graphics. Can you tell me about how you planned your site, what the most important piece of advice was and what development tools you used to make it look so professional?

Nori: I used my Dad's Site Build It!, which is so easy. It helps to have my dad, of course. But I could do this without him... actually, I do now. It forces you to do one step at a time... research for keywords first. Then pick a domain. For me "anguilla beaches" was a very profitable keyword, so that's what I used for my domain.

I can make any kind of layout I like, from using one of theirs to making my own, totally, using Photoshop (which I don't know how to do except to make collages of my favorite stars) or to use the LogoCreator and NavBarMaker and the look and feel builder to build my own. That's what I did. Yes, my friends have no idea how I do it. They think I'm a programming genius, so I hope they don't read this!

Mike: How long did it take you from planning the site to uploading the pages? And tell me how you felt both when you saw it online for the first time and how it felt when you checked to see if anyone else had been to see it.

I build one page a week. That's all I have time for. It's fast because I just prepare it all offline - my dad even shared my tip for how I do it with everyone else. So the whole page only takes me about an hour, 55 minutes of which is just to prepare what I want to say, how I want to say it, and so on. My dad has worked hard with me on my writing skills over the year, and he still reviews each page with me after I publish it. You should understand that this does not make the content for you - that has to come from your brain. It just makes it so easy to build. It submits to all the engines. It analyzes your pages if I forget to use enough keywords in a place, for example, it tells me. I have an e-zine. But it just makes all that easy to do. As my Dad says to people (when I hear him on the phone), "you still have to do it."

Mike: Okay, here comes the tough one. Everyone knows that your Dad's an expert with all this stuff. So, some people might think that he just did it for you. Or most of it (I know: Some people are just born sceptics ;-) I know SBI is designed for people with no experience at all, but you still have to write copy and create graphics and all that stuff. How easy did you find it and what was the part you enjoyed most about using SBI to build your site.

Nori: I wrote it all, but my Dad uses it to push how well I tell the story after I build a page. As he says, he helps me "brush" it. And he took 99% of the photos with his new digital camera, which he is crazy about - except for underwater snorkeling. Boy, was he upset about how bad those came out. The most important help from my dad was to push me to write better, but not to do the writing or build the site. Site Build It! makes that part very easy to do. He likes to tell the story of when I asked him... "How do normal people do this, make a site and get so much traffic from engines and so forth."

He smiled and said... "They don't."

Mike: Finally, what have you got planned for the site for the future and when you're the number one online tour operator for Anguilla, will you be able to arrange for free tickets for cheeky search engine marketers based in the UK :-)

Nori: Ha! Ha! The Arawak Inn already uses my Web page to brag about our review - we loved his pizza. Funny thing is one woman wrote me to tell me that when he showed her my Web page, she showed him the same page and that's why she was there! :-)

I will start soon, or my dad will - here he WILL help me, to make deals with certain great people we met on the island to refer my visitors to tour operators, real estate agents (especially for villa rentals), my dad's financial services friend, and so forth. So I do expect this to grow, one page a week (I wish I had more time, but I have so many other things that I only spend an hour per week), and it will start to earn much more than my friends will make in summer jobs during the rest of high school and university. My dad says that I have done such a good job, that if I was an adult, I could be making 10-15 pages per day with this, full-time, and would already be making a few thousand dollars per month.

As it is, I already get more traffic than the Anguilla Tourist Board and other more "famous" sites. Dad sends friends who are interested in this to alexa.com and tells them to compare my site, anguilla-beaches.com, with their site, anguilla-vacation.com, or to just about any other site on Anguillla.

So I'm pretty proud to already be in the top 50,000 sites! :-) It's a lot of fun, it lets me write what I love (I'm going to start another one on my favorite band, Simple Plan), and I'll start to make my own money with it very soon. Dad says that's the easy part -the traffic is the hard part, but that once you build that, it's a steady stream of traffic, some of who will want to use the people I refer. Also, farther down the road, next time we visit, my dad and I will create a bunch of 1-day "off the beaten track" (and my dad does go crazy) tours of Anguilla. We will sell them as e-books when he adds that part of it to Site Build It!

And of course, we can eat all the free pizza we want, now when we visit. One more thing... I've had wonderful e-mail from the Anguilla Tourist Board and the editor of Anguilla Life asked me to write a "Visitor Viewpoint" article for their big Winter edition this year. I wrote on Top 10 things for a Teen to Do in Anguilla. So I can see how a grownup could use this to become quite famous and well-known in his or her area and turn it all into a fun business.

Thanks very much to Nori for sharing the tips she got from her Dad and her own real world experience. You can check Nori's site here:

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/anguilla >

At one time or another, I've promised both my wife and daughter to help them get their own sites up and running, but trying to find time to show them how to use Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash, FTP etc. and all the other stuff I can use myself is just so difficult sometimes.

Now, I have the answer. As you can tell from Nori's interview, SiteBuildIt is a "no experience necessary" product which produces a very professional result. And right now you can get two SiteBuildIt subscriptions for the price of one.

So, both my wife and daughter are getting very useful extra "stocking fillers" this Christmas. And by next Christmas... maybe I'll be getting some online marketing tips from them!

If you're just thinking about starting your own business online, or, if you want to treat family or friends to an excellent and easy way to get a professioanl presence online, then this is the gift. (that's two fully functional, designed, hosted and operational web sites of your own creating for GBP 192/USD 306 - think about it!)

This offer ends, literally, at the stroke of midnight on Christmas eve. If you'd like to take advantage right now, you'll find the details here:

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/sbi >


"There is a genuine concern that too much Spam will kill off email. We have not quite got there yet, but it could happen." There's probably nobody better qualified to make that kind of statement than Eric Allman, as he's the guy who invented the first commercial email application. So, it's no surprise that the media in the UK is reporting on the "Spam epidemic". It's estimated that, at least one in seven emails received in the UK is Spam. And in the USA the estimates suggest at least 30% of all email as being of the "Spam variety". Microsoft now claims that Spam at HotMail makes up about one third of all mail.

In a feature article supporting a drive to stop the flood of Spam in the UK, The Sunday Times recently reported that there could be as few as 150 "Spam kings" responsible for 90% of the world's unwanted mail. The guy named as THE "Spam King" is Alan Ralsky. Reports say that he's recently kitted out his home in Detroit with servers which can blast out one billion pieces of his email rubbish a day.

So where is the law to prevent Ralsky and the ilk from bombarding us with their unwanted junk and sleaze? The problem is, much of the law pertaining to, or relevant to email Spam, is just too vague or can be interpreted to suit either side of the argument. And of course, the direct marketing organisations are very keen not to find themselves too inhibited by the introduction of very tight laws which may turn the currently very viable form of promotion into something costly and less viable.

In the UK we rely on the 1998 regulations which deal with the sending of marketing faxes and unsolicited direct marketing calls. By virtue of the fact that these regulations pertain to "telecommunications services", then by definition they apply to email. Therefore, Spam is illegal in the UK (not that you'd notice of course ;-)

The only European legislation in force which directly affects Spam throughout member states is the "Distance Selling Directive". Some EU Member States have other relevant laws. Germany, for instance, has laws based on the opt-in approach to Spam.

The US doesn't have any federal anti-Spam laws in place. However, Spammers have lost in federal cases which relied on other laws. For example, in December 2000, a man was prosecuted in New York for sending 73 million e-mails advertising p*rn sites. For making the e-mails appear as though they were sent by aol.com, he was convicted for second degree forgery, which carries a seven year maximum

This was of no help to Steve Rawlinson, Chief Technical Officer with clara.net, a major European ISP based in London. He checked his inbox one day to find 14,000 unsolicited emails waiting for him. He'd been Spammed by a mass mailer who made his mail appear to have come from Rawlinson's company. All "bounced" mails from the millions sent out had been returned to the apparent sender.

As for Ralsky, although he was taken to court by ISP verizon.net, the outcome was a fairly paltry settlement and agreement never to Spam using verizon again (no doubt he also had the back of his hand slapped too!). Following the posting of Ralsky's address at his brand new USD 740,000 house, he was given a taste of his own medicine when he started receiving tons and tons of snail mail junk, all subscribed to on his behalf by online anti-Spam

I talk to a lot of professional online marketers around the World, looking for opinions and ideas for solutions to the problems of Spam and how we can more easily get our marketing messages to those who want them without being "headed off at the server filter pass".

Some agree with the idea mooted by Eric Allman that, if people had to pay for email, then it would be less attractive to Spammers. After all, the whole idea of mass mailing is based around the economics of the "numbers game". A mass mailer only needs to receive a couple of responses per thousand when dealing in millions in order to get a decent return.

So, how would it work? Well, we charge a penny to everyone who mails us to allow them past our email filters. Then, when we reply to say that we've received the email, the penny charged the other way cancels out the first charge! Sounds like a pretty reasonable idea. But what about all of the newsletters and subscription sites I've already paid to receive info from? Money has already changed hands here. Do we have to go through it again? Even if it is just a "virtual" financial transaction. Plus: isn't the Internet supposed to be free? (at least after we've paid our ISP's)

Whether we look at a scheme for charging or tracking down and jailing the Alan Ralsky's of this world, it will certainly be a long time before some industry standard, worldwide, legally recognised solution is in place.

Until then, we have to be aware that the intended opt-in recipients of our newsletters, zines etc. are going to take whatever methods available to prevent the tidal wave of Spam.

During the course of writing this article, I've checked my inbox three times so far. And on all three occasions, in-between the legitimate stuff I'm anticipating, there's the Spam.

Some of my email addresses must be on dozens of these spurious mailing lists up for sale. Having just checked my mail, as I say, I see a message from a company which is selling a disc with two and half million email addresses, plus the software to mail to them as a bonus. The message tells me that the lists they sell are 100% pure opt-in. I'm also told that they themselves never send unsolicited email, only to opt-in subscribers: and to get this information to me... they spammed me!

As if by clockwork, there's my usual Spam about the herbal alternative to Viagra that dozens of people seem to believe I need (except my wife I might add). And with it's monotonous regularity, my guaranteed p*n*s enlargement (I'm sure they couldn't possibly make it as big as the d*ck who Spammed me!).

Spam simply is the scourge of the Internet. Of course, there are blacklists, which unfortunately can even make matters worse. And the filters designed to help us avoid it seem only to work in varying degrees of usefulness. A recent study by Giga Information Group found that the best known blacklist, MAPS RBL (Mail Abuse Prevention System Realtime Black List), catches less than 25% of Spam but blocks 34% of good mail. So, this means, it doesn't eliminate much Spam in the first place, and then, for every Spam mail that's blocked, it also blocks 1.4 legitimate mails.

So what we're talking about here is a 24% success rate. But on the other hand, that means a 76% failure rate. Now this can hardly be regarded as successful.

If blacklists don't work then why not just look at something which does some kind of pattern matching?
Something which works like a spell-checker and spots all those Spammy words and phrases.

Well, of course, this is how many filtering packages work already. But what happens is that, Richard can't send mail to anyone who knows him as "D*ck". "Crude" filters look for those words and phrases which are embedded in other words. For instance, you'll probably never receive any email from people living in Essex in the UK if their address is in the sig file, and maybe no one will ever really find out how much you enjoyed that wonderful bottle of Chardonnay! (you'll spot it eventually :-)

Bayesian analysis is something I'm currently looking at as part of the research for the third edition of my search engine book. Learning machines is a major source of research work for search engines using Bayesian networks for text classification. This type of approach to eliminating Spam is likely to have much more effect than basic Spam filters.

Paul Graham is using Bayesian statistical filtering in his "Plan for Spam". In particular, he's working on a web based mail reader application to filter Spam. Based on Paul Graham's work, there's now a freeware Spam fighting tool which integrates with Microsoft Outlook 2000x. It's called Spammunition and uses Bayesian filtering techniques.

I think this is the most likely route for Spam filtering to go. And as an online marketer, the more you know (and the earlier you know) about how you're being "repelled" by your intended recipients, the better you'll be able to accommodate.

If you want to get a handle on the way that Spam filtering techniques are moving, you can download Version 0.60 beta of Spammunition here (you'll also find a link to Paul Graham's excellent article on a "Plan for Spam".):

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/spammunition >

If you want to know how well your own email newsletters etc. fair with current email filters, then you can try a fr*e test-run courtesy of SiteBuildIt. If you read the lead story in this issue, you'll know that SiteBuildIt is a tremendous suite of development tools which also includes a module for creating and emailing your very own newsletter, zine etc. The good folks over there have made the SpamCheck
tool freely available. So, before you send out your next mailing, run it through SpamCheck first and find out just how likely you are to get "under the filter wire" :-)

Send your test email here:


But be absolutely certain to put the word TEST (just like that, in caps, no quotes) as the first word in the subject line e.g.

TEST Spammers monthly: How to avoid legitimate email.

By the way, it's a good idea to run even a test personal email through this checker, just to make sure your sig file isn't causing you to be dumped.

Finally, MailWasher is a fr*e download which lets you check your email on the server before you bring it in. This way, you can check for, and delete Spam and anything which looks like a virus BEFORE you bring it in. You'll find MailWasher here:

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/mailwasher >

NB: At the foot of this newsletter I always place a link to the site which sells the software I use for managing and mailing this newsletter and all other email marketing campaigns.

In my opinion, for the price, it's the best desktop software on the market. If you want to start your own
newsletter, zine or direct response campaigns, then now is really the time to buy it as there's currently a Christmas discount of 100 dollars. So, here's the link a little earlier.

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/mailloop >


Last month, I wrote about how HotBot had stolen all of my top ten hits at Inktomi. Well, there are no worries there anymore. Just last week, HotBot reinvented itself as some kind of search engine "take your pick". It's not meta search and it's not hybrid... it's "take your pick" (but I guess they have a really cool marketing term for it in-house :-)

I've seen lots of comment from search engine marketers in forums and newsletters this week about the change. Most are favourable reports about the new advanced search options and the clean interface and the speed and the...

Is it just me? Is it? Am I the only one agreeing with all that's said - but wondering what benefit these changes will make in terms of driving potential traffic.

OK, we're search engine marketers or online marketers, whatever. We know what Inktomi is. We know what Fast is. We know what Teoma is. But I bet, out of the choices available, your average surfer has only ever heard of Google. And the fact that the average surfer may ever actually find himself at HotBot in the first place, may be a bit of a mission on the behalf of Terra Lycos anyway.

Seriously, if your average surfer finds himself with a choice of three search services he's never really heard of, and one that he has: which one do you think he's likely to choose? Well, if it happens to be one of the web's most well known search engine brands...

This may be a way of introducing these new brands to the average surfer. And once he's happy with the results from one of these new choices, what's to stop him dumping HotBot and just using the AllTheWeb interface, or Teoma? It seems to be a pretty good way of inducing brand switching, but not to the immediate benefit of HotBot.

I'm sure that HotBot has pleased many in the search engine and online marketing community (even I like power searching over there now). But, you know, I don't get much business at all from established online marketers and serious researchers. I get most of my business from online "newbies" who (according to my own stats) come from: Google, Yahoo! and MSN, in the main.

I doubt whether even these changes will make a darned bit of difference to the meagre traffic they were sending just the week before last.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to fanfare and applaud HotBot for at least doing something. I'm just trying to figure who their target group is. During the research for my search engine book, one of the things that came to the surface many times was that the average surfer doesn't look for advanced search options, they rarely check buttons or boxes, they just stick two words in the search box: that's it.

So asking them to choose... What's an Inktomi? What's a Teoma? There's nothing obvious on the page to tell them why they have have these options and what they are in the first place. And as for "Custom Web Filters"... well I can only imagine the average surfer asking himself: "I didn't have to set one of those up over at Google... did I?"

Having said all that, at least you can directly peek into the Inktomi database now if you want to check and see whether you've been indexed, compare linkage data etc.

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/hotbot >


Just a quick one this one. I had a letter from Cardnet the company which operates my merchant account. They were writing to tell me about the changes for e-commerce businesses regarding "clarification of electronic commerce retailer location."

I rang them up to get the full story, and to make sure that I was complying. Basically, in November of this year, Visa revised its guidelines for all online merchants. In the physical world, the location of the retailer outlet determines the country where the retailer must deposit their transactions. Because this doesn't actually address the online trading community, to minimise Cardholder confusion, all e-tailers must now declare the country of domicile immediately prior to payment instructions.

This means it's not sufficient just to have your address on your home page, or just assume that your customer must know you're based in the UK because your website is a .co.uk domain etc.

Visa is now randomly visiting sites and will be advising banks about any retailer not complying with the new guidelines. For those who don't, then a fine of up to USD 5000 could be imposed.

I asked the representative at Cardnet if they would inspect one of my sites (where I sell my book) and let me know the result. I had a clean bill of health with all of the necessary information i.e. address, telephone number email address etc. all on the sales page which parses the information over to the secure server.

However, the rep I spoke to told me that I was only one of a few which had passed that day. Most sites she had checked failed. One of the main reasons was with sites using shopping cart systems which had information about products/services about to be purchased, but at the point of purchase had no company details as described above. The name and address needs to be shown, the amount in the currency it is being charged in and advice of what name the transaction will be under on the customers credit card
statement (as well as notification that an electronic receipt will also be forwarded).

Of course, it was a UK rep I spoke to, but she did tell me that this initiative by Visa was global. That being the case, you may wish to check with the company which operates your merchant account on behalf Visa to make sure you're in compliance, and don't get an unexpected visit ;-)


Back in the old days of the Web, when it ran on steam, you had to do a lot of things the hard way: manually. Search engine optimisers had figured out that, the best way to get an idea of what made a top ranking page at a search engine, was to download a top ranking page and analyse it.

So, the pages would be opened up in an editor and notes would be taken about meta tags and title tags and alt tags and comments tags and... So it went. And then of course, the text would be stripped and placed in a word processor and the stats would be analysed, how many words etc. etc. And then you'd run a search for specific words and discover how many times they occurred and then check where they appeared in the original document etc. etc. etc. It was time consuming and laborious, but it had to be done if you wanted to create pages with the same kind of composition and "weight" as those top rankers.

Then, an Italian programmer by the name of Roberto Grassi (a friend and colleague of mine I'm happy to say) decided there had to be an easier way. And as if by magic, he developed a keyword density analyser (KDA). This little piece of software has since grown to be one of the most important tools used by professional search engine optimisers.

Of course, since he developed this software, the search engines have changed their algorithms to rely a whole lot less on keywords on a page. There's a lot more emphasis on other heuristics, or "off page criteria" as it's frequently known in the industry. However, the fact still remains, keywords and where and how they appear on an HTML page are still vitally important in the indexing and ranking process.

So, how exactly does KDA work?

Okay, first of all, you need to be certain of the keywords/phrases you want your web pages to be found on in the search engines. So you do the keyword research first (WordTracker is a great place to start):

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/wordtracker >

Once you've decided on which are the most important keywords and phrases, you then do the rounds of the major search engines and run a search on all of them. Generally, the top three pages will be the more important, so these are the ones you need to save to your hard drive.

Next, run KDA and load all of your saved pages into the "Compare" module and press "Enter". This will then give you a statistical count of the keyword density for the top ranking pages. You can then enable the tags you wish to analyse in the "Analysis Options" module.

With just a little bit of experimentation with this software, you can soon discover all of the "hidden charms" and keyword density percentage of top ranking web pages and begin to create or recreate your own pages with similar attributes.

Now remember, what your doing here is analysis, not directly stealing someone else's pages or code. And also remember, there are many other factors in the ranking process which need to be taken into consideration. But once you are creating web pages with text at a search engine friendly percentage, then this is a major part of the battle in achieving those top ranking pages.

Once you have the "composite" of the pages you're competing against, you can then start working on linkage analysis and a method of gaining parity. Most of this is explained in detail in my book.

I'm working on the next edition of my book which is due in early Spring next year. And just as KDA figured as one of the most important time saving and knowledge gaining tools in the first edition, so it will in the third. For as long as search engines need to get the "gist" of what a page is about by the text it contains, then KDA will always serve its purpose.

You can find out more about this handiest of handy little tools here:

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/kda >


Just a quick one to share with you here. If, like me, you do a lot of presentations, lectures etc. and therefore find yourself constantly putting new PowerPoint presentations together, you'll know how "samey" you can get.

And, if like me, you have to sit through many of other people's presentations, you'll know how "samey" they can all be. That's because we all end up making the same mistakes.

So, when a friend told me that Seth Godin (I'm a BIG Seth Godin admirer) had put together a little information booklet on how to avoid the many obvious mistakes we make, and that it only cost USD 1.99 – that'll do for me.

So, I nipped over to Amazon and discovered that I could get the PowerPoint booklet, and Seth Godin's The Bootstrapper's Bible together for only USD 4.85. Now that's a snip I thought.

Now, bearing in mind that these are .pdf docs for download, of course, I just had to wait for the confirmation email and then I could have my goods immediately. Yes?

This is the beauty of the Internet. Digital goods directly to your desktop in an instant. So, you've no idea how much I laughed when I saw the confirmation email from Amazon. Take a look below at the estimated delivery date:


Shipping estimate: December 18, 2002

Delivery estimate: December 14, 2017 - September 28, 2022

1 "The Bootstrapper's Bible : Volume 1 [DOWNLOAD: PDF]"
Seth Godin (Author); Digital; @ $2.86 each
1 "Really Bad PowerPoint (and How to Avoid It) [DOWNLOAD:
PDF]" Seth Godin (Author); Digital; @ $1.99 each

Yep, only 15 to 20 years to wait... and then I get my immediate download :-)

I must mention this which I spotted in i-sales this week. Contributor Rob Palmer noted some wonderful copywriting bloopers at Amazon. If you've purchased anything at Amazon (and who hasn't?) you'll know that following a selection, you get this prompt from them:

"Customers who bought this book also bought..."

Well Rob noticed that now they are selling clothes, there's another prompt below it which says:

"Customers who wear clothes also shop for..."

Tut, tut. There are naughty, nudie shoppers at Amazon? :-)

Rob also noted that Amazon is very keen, following that prompt, to let you know that:

"You can buy clean underwear from Amazon's Target Store..."

Pooh, I hate to think of the alternative… ;-)

You can find out more about Seth Godin's neat little PowerPoint and Bootstrapper bundle at only USD 4.85 here:

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/sethgodin >


Young Peter Da Vanzo, down New Zealand way, is making a name for himself as the first "chat-show host of blog".

His series of "ten questions with", is rapidly becoming a must-read feature in the inbox of search engine marketers worldwide. And why not? He's talking to the great the good and the odd "enfant terrible" of search engine optimisation (just watch where you're pointing your fingers you lot!).

Mine was less of an interview and more of an... er... odyssey you could say. And what a reaction! I don't think I've received as much email in a very long time. And you know, in amongst the insults and death threats, there was a lovely note from my long lost aunt in Australia. This is the beauty of the Internet again. Getting in touch with long lost family and friends. Anyway, she wrote this really funny note saying how she was disowning me, changing her name and moving to South America where she won't be

Seriously though, I must say thanks to Peter for putting up with me. We did have a bit of a laugh offline also. Peter used to live in the UK and knows lots about folks like me from "up north". And like me, he's a Stone Roses fan (popular band from "up north" some years ago). If you missed the interview, well, you can discover the life story of the scribe of this newsletter (that's me by the way) here:

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/searchengineblog >

And for all new subscribers to this newsletter this month, I have some Christmas presents for you. I'll be coming round to your place personally with them. If you're not in when I get there, I'll just leave them under the tree for you. So, when you wake up on Christmas morning and find lots of gifts under the tree, at least you'll know who they're from... :-)

Christmas double-discount on Search Engine marketing: The essential best practice guide. Yes, only in this newsletter will you get it at this price!

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/searchdiscount >


For a very long time I've been an avid reader of Larry Chase's Web Digest for Marketers. Larry "opened up shop" on the Internet way back in the early nineties and, as such, he's much of a pioneer. He's frequently sought by major offline publications such as Business Week, New York Times USA Today and scores of other publications to get his informed opinion about what's happening online.

If you've been marketing online for any length of time yourself, then there's no doubt you'll be a subscriber to his essential newsletter.

Very much a classically trained marketer, Larry is also author of "Essential Business Tactics for the Net" (now in it's second edition). His newsletter is read by over 150,000 people monthly. He's an international speaker on the subject of Internet marketing and an award winning commercial copywriter. The list of credentials goes on...

A few weeks ago, Web Digest for Marketers featured a wonderful review of my book, which, as you can imagine, I was delighted with. But you could have knocked me over with a feather, when I saw this, from the man who invented the online marketing newsletter:

"Since 1995, my publication has reviewed thousands of Web sites and ezine newsletters. There are not enough hours in the day to visit all the good websites and read all the good newsletters. I get well over one hundred newsletters weekly, and wind up deleting most for lack of time. Others I simply skim. Mike Grehan's newsletter is one of the few I read word for word. I find tips there for my readers as well as for myself. In this era where we are saturated with information, his newsletter remains a stand-out for it's
relevance and timeliness."

Larry Chase, Publisher, Web Digest For Marketers.

Now that, from an online marketing legend, just made my day!

If you don't already subscribe to Web Digest for Marketers – what are you waiting for. You have no idea what your missing. And if you subscribe right now, you'll get Larry's well qualified "Top Ten Tips for Starting an Email Newsletter" absolutely fr*e. You can sign up here:

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/wdfm >


Web Review of The Year.

As a keen sports person, and long suffering fan of West Ham United, I was engrossed in the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year for 2002 last week. The programme was packed full of 'positives' and the top award was rightly given to that admirable distance runner, Paula Radcliffe, for some stunning performances. But when I turned my thoughts to web marketing for 2002 and which issues caught our attention I began to feel a little negative.

As a web observer, I considered what appeared to be the key issues this year and there weren't many positives:

o Spamming (probably No.1?)
o The continued failings of e-CRM to deliver
o The slow adoption of broadband for various reasons
o The emergence of more "pay for" SE models etc.
o The demise of banner ads
o Obsession with technology instead of the customer
with website design
o Abuse of the Internet

As I looked back over some recent magazine and journal articles, I even read a report from Bellweather that many UK businesses are dropping the Web from their marketing mix in relation to their marketing budgets. Is it all doom and gloom with regard to the web or are businesses generally just treading water in the post 9/11 and Iraq scenarios. It certainly seems to be a very cautious business world at the

What is good news is that despite the entire negative PR, the uptake in B2C is steadily improving all of the time as 'we' become more comfortable and confident with it. The IMRG e-Retail Sales Index reported a 130% increase on last year's sales figures. The increases are coming from current shoppers spending more but more significantly new shoppers coming online. They're realising that the web doesn't bite and it's as safe, if not safer, than any other credit card transaction. Nevertheless, online merchants still have to remember to tailor their site for their different groups of customers. A new, inexperienced customer still has to be led by the hand through pages and forms in an efficient and friendly way.

Returning to the 'negatives', who would have thought that wonderful tinned meat, parodied by Monty Python would be come the bain of the online user? SPAM, SPAM and more SPAM. It seems like the Killer application is intent on shooting itself in the foot. Are you like me on 'Information Overload'? I haven't the time to read on anymore. Whilst we should endeavour to personalise our customer relations to the best of our ability, I remembered a quote from Professor Derek Holder (Institute of Direct Marketing) many moons ago that we should think about. 'Consumers are customers of several competing organisations simultaneously'. Basically, do not think for one moment that your message is the only one received by your prospect. The analogy is put forward that organisations borrow customers from a large pool but only as long as your goods and services appeal to them, and before other competing companies fish them.

Fundamentally, we must never lose sight that:

1. Consumers make all sorts of needs, wants, value, branding and quality assessments before
purchasing. How does your offering stack up? Do you ask them?

2. Tailoring offerings through segmentation, niche marketing, age, gender, income, geo-demographics, psychographics etc etc = TARGET MARKETING=better chance of success=better use of resources+less wastage. Sadly the economics of e-mail and associated technologies has led to the worst excesses of poorly targeted and executed direct mail encountered in the late 80's and early 90's being replicated online. Replace 'Numbers Game' with 'Understanding the Customer'

Well I'm off to do battle in Newcastle for the last of the Christmas presents. I hope you get what you want and that you and your family enjoy the festive period with a rewarding and healthy 2003.

Seasonal greetings.



"Secrets to their success" is a private members web site which features case studies from small online business. Find out how these "real people" are making "real money" with a fr*e trial subscription.

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/stts >

Actually, I only wrote that headline to get your attention. I know that you must be the smart one - or you wouldn't be reading this newsletter - right ;-) Emode is a great site with all kinds of PhD developed tests. Take the fr*e IQ test and see how you smart you really are.

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/emodeIQ >

If you've read my book, you'll know how much I just love doing research (I know, I need to get out more). So, I spend a lot of time researching for research. Often I come across stuff that's useful and fre*e. Here's some stuff I found this month:

Email Marketing Powerguide. A real info-packed 95 page fr*e download.

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/powerguide >

A new study uncovers one of the main causes of low response rates in email marketing.

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/silverpop >

Internet shopping bursts the 1 billion barrier in the UK. Fr*e sales index report.

< http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/ukshopping >


Editor: Mike Grehan. Search engine marketing consultant, speaker and author. http://www.search-engine-book.co.uk

Associate Editor: Christine Churchill. KeyRelevance.com

e-marketing-news is published selectively on a when it's
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