Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quantcast Marketing Statistics

One of my sites is enjoying a particularly strong back-to-school rush. Take a look at these statistics published by Quantcast (which you can view realtime on their site).   Notice that:
1. (url is is getting over two million people visiting monthly.  If you change the pulldown on the top left (you'd have to be on the Quantcast site to do that), you'll see that Spellingcity site is growing past 5 million visits/monthly and has already passed 60M page views monthly.  This is big.
2. Quantcast ranks VSC  number 692  in the US by number of people visiting. Number one is Google,  two is YouTube, three is Facebook, four is Yahoo, five is Ebay, six is MSN, seven is match....and #692 is  Does that make us the top K12 educational site?  Sadly, Quantcast doesn't rate by industry otherwise, I could give you an answer.
Quantcast demographics, 9/28/2011

3. Quantcast also has some data about the demographics of users of the site.  (See the second image).  Here's my first problem with this data, it misses the point. SpellingCity is mostly used in schools on school computers.  This vital piece of info does not show up anywhere in their analysis. I would think that the basic info on a site would distinguish between sites used in offices, homes, schools, and mobile devices but none of that is evident.  A second problem with the data is that it's wrong. Mostly,SpellingCity is used by elementary school students but Quantcast says that it is used mostly by kids over age 12.

Lastly, here's some very popular games and resources on VSC:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Common Craft on SEO

Common Craft makes some of the most simple appealing how-to videos in the world. They're fantastic. 

Topsy just alerted me that they had stepped up to explaining how search engines and SEO work.  Its a showcase of how to use a simple analogy to illustrate a very complicated concept.  Take a look:

BTW, I thought this video was good but not necessarily their best. I first discovered Common Craft was I trying to figure out Social Bookmarking, a few years ago:

And, whenever we do howto videos inhouse, I keep in my the effectiveness of CommonCraft's minimalist approach to explaining things.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Email Marketing - Newsletters & Blasts

I'm trying to upgrade our marketing team by building a broader team with sharp marketing skills. So today we held a session on newsletters and marketing. The basic idea is that there are lots of great videos and articles about newsletter / email marketing. We can watch them as a group and discuss them.

Here's the few that I found this morning.

Here's the Newsletter marketing principles that I'm collecting for us to think about:
  1. Test and measure results. Be clear about what we want in the results.
  2. Have a methodology to quantify. Estimate the value of a signup (or other action) and an unsubscribe.
  3. Be statistically savvy. There's way too much decisions being made by not nearly enough data.
  4. Relationship. When someone gives us their email address, they've responded to something and a relationship is being started. Build the relationship. Think about our personna. Are we are place for sharp deals? For people interested in education?
  5. Segment and personalize the list.  Try to talk to the new members about their issues, the people in Alaska about theres...
  6. Branding. The email is part of our brand. This is sort of like the relationship.
  7. What changes when we are sending out a newsletter which could have a role as part of support and education and an offer/blast trying to clearly sell. How well can these be combined?
  8. Pretty does not mean effective.
  9. The offer and the information should be clear, concise. I often think the main goal is just to maintain some mindshare and show them we care.
Training materials:

Marketing Experiments

Aweber Watch Part One  Watch Part Two

Vertical Response

Subject Line Savvy
Thu, Aug 4, 2011 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM PDT
Blogging For Your Business
Thu, Aug 11, 2011 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PDT
Creating a Successful Email Newsletter
Thu, Aug 18, 2011 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PDT
Create Winning Calls To Action
Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM PDT
Lifecycle Marketing
Thu, Aug 25, 2011 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT
Social Media Tools: Listening and Engaging
Thu, Aug 25, 2011 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM PDT
Advanced Email Creation
Thu, Sep 8, 2011 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PDT
Starting Out With SEO
Thu, Sep 15, 2011 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT
Creating a Successful Email Newsletter
Thu, Sep 15, 2011 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PDT
Quick Tips for Effective Email and Social Media Copywriting
Wed, Sep 21, 2011 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PDT
Social Media Tools: Does Your Facebook Measure Up? 
Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM PDT
Email Delivery and the Inbox
Wed, Sep 28, 2011 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PDT


Friday, September 09, 2011

Old Email Addresses Remembered by Gmail

This problem has plagued me for years. The problem is that some of my contacts have switched email addresses (or I once typed in their email erroneously) and the old emails keep popping up in my gmail.  I can't seem to remember which is which (old vs new) so I'm constantly having to look it up or risk making mistakes.

This has turned out to be a very sensitive issue in the case of one attorney that I work with who switched firms. But his address at the old firm pops up and I'm worried about sending sensitive stuff to the wrong law firm.  And the actual emails are obscure lawfirms names like:    vs  (ibsen, broderdick, and ostrich law partners).  I have the same problem with our book-keeper.

Solution: Click in Gmail on Contacts.  There are three groupings. "my contacts", "most contacted", and  "other contacts".   I found the problems under other contacts and removed it.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Steve Jobs - I idolize him

I've never met him and he has had an enormous impact on how I work, how I think, and my ambitions. I was at 3DO when he was NeXt, we shared a cafeteria. I stood next to him in the cafeteria line a number of times. He wasn't real friendly or approachable.  I tried not to stare.

I have a small library of big Steve Jobs stories that account for the impact he has had on me.  One was shortly after Jobs returned to Apple. It was told to me by a friend name Rick who was one of the supergeeks, independent at the time.  He loved the NeXt interface and for his amusement, ported it onto the Mac (or copied it) and started distributing it. One day the phone rings, it's Steve Jobs who wants to know if he would have time to come over to Cupertino to meet him. Steve shows him around Apple, discusses a number of philosophical and technical issues, gets to know Rick, and even shows him (after Rick agrees verbally not to discuss them), some upcoming products.  Takes him to lunch in the cafeteria. Long lunch. Introduces him to all sorts of people.  Walks him to the car after lunch and asks casually in the parking lot, "Heh, hows that going with your NeXt software clone? Would you stop distributing it, its an awkward situation for us?"

Problem solved. No enemies created. No waste of time with lawyers. Very efficient use of Jobs time overall.  I found the vision and savoir-faire in that one story (which might not be dead-accurate), forever inspiring.

Prior to 3DO, I worked at SGI. At SGI, I worked with a software partner called Pixar that had some software for 3D rendering called RenderMan, some artistic ambitions that were only seeing the light of day in their annual Siggraph animation, and some people who were electric to talk to. They radiated vision, know-how, creativity, and work ethic. And patience.  George Lucas had ditched these people as too dreamy and too expensive for him to continue supporting. A guy named Steve Jobs thought their vision was worth investing in. Year in and year out. 

Steve Job's achievements were no accident, he was a genuine visionary and operator.  Although I've never earned an Apple paycheck, I bleed in rainbow colors, I've drunk the cool-aid, I'm a total believer.  Who else would use a logo of the forbidden fruit with a bite taken out?  Its in front of everyone's face all the time but seems rarely to get much attention. Take a minute to appreciate what a statement and positioning that is! The logo was prophetic of an ongoing revolution.  Forget Mao and his Red Book, Steve's revolution is truly ongoing!  

Thanks Steve. It's been great.  You lit the fire!