DO NUMBERS HELP?

Written by Bob McElwain


Demographics aboutrepparttar Web abound. You may find such data helpful. In general, when I look atrepparttar 132107 research available, I get a feeling it's incomplete. The Web is so vast, I don't think it's possible to find a small representative sample from which significant results can be obtained that reflectrepparttar 132108 whole. Inrepparttar 132109 end, what is reported with numbers may not matter to you, even thoughrepparttar 132110 source is impeccable.

Numbers Don't Always Work

For example, it has been reported that 330 million people are "onrepparttar 132111 Web." I have not read closely enough to know if this means daily, occasionally, or somewhere in between. To me it doesn't matter.

Even if this number were doubled, it would still mean nothing to me. I am interested in reaching an extremely small fraction of web users. The implication I've been seeing in spam messages of late is that I can reach all 330 million people. This is a lie. But there would be no gain in trying to do so in any case.

Honest Numbers Can Be Wrong

I recently read a report that of nearly 100,000 spam messages received by one firm, about a third were promoting po-rn sites. (I used a hyphen in hopes of ducking blocking software.) What does this mean?

Numbers are funny. I never doubt such reports from respectable firms or people. But I am always skeptical aboutrepparttar 132112 numbers themselves. Sure, those wererepparttar 132113 results obtained. I will accept this without hesitation. But they often do not seem in accord with my experience.

I get lots and lots of spam. Less than 3% is po-rn related. Do I thus concluderepparttar 132114 report was wrong? That they were lying for some devious purpose?

Not at all. It only means their sample of email received was not representative of what I receive. In like fashion, it is doubtful my email is typical of yours.

100,000 spams messages is a very small percentage of what is mailed each day. It is so small, results from this sample have very little, if any significance. These results were obtained, that's true. But they may have no meaning relative to you.

Leaverepparttar 132115 particulars of demographics to those keen onrepparttar 132116 topic. Your best plan is to ignore such numbers and focus on interactivity with readers and visitors. In every way you can, seek input, then derive your own demographics from it.

Your Log Files Can Mislead

Recently I was chatting with a fellow who was having trouble getting a page to load under a specific condition in Netscape. Since he uses Internet Explorer, which handled this case correctly, he hadn't noticedrepparttar 132117 problem until I pointed it out.

When I did, he commented, "Hey, I don't need to worry. Only 5% of my visitors are using Netscape." This fellow is wrong in two ways.

Of visitors to my site, over 40% are using Netscape. So have I got it wrong? Or isrepparttar 132118 fellow reporting 5% wrong? Neither of us is. We are both reporting accurately.

SMART TAGS? WHO SAYS THEY'RE SMART?

Written by Bob McElwain


Microsoft has said a lot about Smart Tags. And it is Microsoft who claims this is a "smart" idea.

I'm not a fan of Microsoft products. Still, there are real benefits to all software developers and PC users inrepparttar uniformity from system to system that Windows provides. But if Microsoft makes this move, it's a step too far. Here's what Smart Tags will do.

> Advertisers will agree to pay a fixed amount for a click on a keyword. As at GoTo.Com, keyword "ownership" is subject to a higher bid.

> Website pages downloaded from any website to any computer using Windows will be scanned for these keywords.

> Those found will be highlighted and converted to links torepparttar 132105 advertiser's site.

I've heard talk of Smart Tags for some time. There has been an awesome hue and cry of opposition. I was glad Microsoft responded by deciding against including this "feature" in their new XP operating system.

Then The Other Shoe Dropped

Something just as "good" as Smart Tags is already here. And it's ugly. Here's a quote from "The San Francisco Chronicle."

"TOPtext is an example of 'contextual advertising,'repparttar 132106 latest attempt by online advertisers to reachrepparttar 132107 eyes and minds of Web surfers. TOPtext turns existing words on a Web page into hyperlinks that redirect a computer user torepparttar 132108 advertiser's site." (The full article is available at either ofrepparttar 132109 following links. Eraserepparttar 132110 spaces and returns inrepparttar 132111 first one before pasting.)

KaZaA is using a plug in to IE (Internet Explorer) called TOPtext from eZula . For details, please see "Is Someone Hijacking YOUR Visitors?" by Bob Smith above. For some screen shots of results, check this out on Bob's site. (It's a must, for once seen, you won't forget it.)

My Most Valuable Assets

My most prized business assets are not things, but visitors. The path to profits on my site, as on many, is to first generate a subscriber. Through "STAT News," I'm able to buildrepparttar 132112 credibility that bringsrepparttar 132113 sale.

By adding a link on "small businesses" on my subscription sign up page, my most valuable potential asset is being lured to another site. I lose. Someone else grabsrepparttar 132114 gain.

On my home page,repparttar 132115 added link underrepparttar 132116 ebook I'm selling seeks to steal a potential sale. The advertiser pays maybe 15 cents ifrepparttar 132117 link is clicked, and I loserepparttar 132118 potential of a $29 sale.

Sincerepparttar 132119 link is redirected,repparttar 132120 user can not return to my site withrepparttar 132121 Back button. Thus it is unlikely he or she ever will. This is grim at best, but ...

What Matters Most

While I remain concerned about such theft, I am more concerned about my credibility. Most surfers are not computer experts. Most will never recognize these links were added by software running on their system. They are quite likely to believe I am recommending this company. That I am in fact suggesting they leave my site to go to this more important destination.

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