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Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Nov 23

Whether you are waiting in line or clicking online, there are tons of deals worth taking advantage of on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are also mobile apps that make this whole experience easy. We’ve tried a few, and recommend TGI Black Friday from Ecatcher, Inc. and Black Friday powered by dealnews.com, Inc. There is also the TGI Cyber Monday app by Swagger Media LLC.
If you want to be a Door Buster – you can head on over to Bestbuy tonight, Thanksgiving night, where they will start handing out tickets at 10:00 PM. Doors open at 12 am on Friday (tomorrow, or really tonight). You can purchase most of the Black Friday items online or in store. (Why are people still waiting on long lines?) Newegg.com is a genius of a website offering great Black Friday deals, and it’s solely online, so if you are a fast clicker you can really save yourself some money. There are certain reasons why so many want to get in on the action first thing Black Friday. They are nervous that the item might sell out fast or that the price might go back to normal on Cyber Monday. We grabbed some top-rated products that are on sale Black Friday from Best Buy and newegg.com and will compare these items on Cyber Monday. Is it better to wait the weekend and buy these on Cyber Monday, or wait in line on Black Friday?

Black Friday deals:

Laptops

BEST BUY

Samsung Laptop Bundle: Save $225.00 on a black, 15.6” laptop from Samsung. With 4 GB Memory, a 500GB Hard Drive, 6-cell lithium-ion battery, Intel® 2nd Generation Core™ i3 at 2.4 GHz speed. You also get a Targus Laptop sleeve, Logitech mouse, and an 8 GB flash drive.

Asus: For 249.99 you can get a MATTE PINK 14″ Laptop with 4GB Memory, 320GB Hard Drive.

Lenovo: $187.99 is the price you will pay for a black 15.6” Lenovo with 2GB Memory and a 320GB Hard Drive.

Newegg.com
Newegg is selling a 13.3” SONY VAIO Notebook with Intel Core i3 3217U, 4GB Memory 500GB + 32GB MLC Hybrid for 599.99, 25% off, and you get free shipping.

Tablets

BEST BUY
Samsung Tablet: Save $70.00 on the white Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 with 8GB memory. You’ll also get a 20.00 Best Buy gift card.

Newegg.com
Mach Speed TRIO-STEALTH PRO METAL-7CM Tablet Allwinner Cortex A8 1.20GHz 7″ Capacitive Touch Screen LCD 512MB DDR3 Memory

Mobile devices

Best Buy

Samsung Galaxy S III: If you’re a Sprint customer and don’t yet have the Samsung Galaxy S III, Friday might be the time to get it. You can save 150.00. It is selling for 48.00!

Motorola DROID RAZR: Verizon customers can save 149.99 on the Motorola – DROID RAZR MAXX 4G LTE Mobile Phone. That makes the price, well, it’s free if you are ready to sign the 2 year contract. The phone retails for 799.99 without a contract.

Desktops

Best Buy
Save 250.00 on a Dell desktop with 8GB Memory and 1TB hard drive. You get the tower and a Black 20” LED, flat panel HD monitor. Black Friday price is 499.98.

Accessories

Best Buy
2-pack of Dynex™ HDMI cables are on sale for $19.99, which will save you 15.00.

Best Buy has some APPLE deals:
The deals might be in the iPad and not so much the phones, but you be the judge.

Hard Drives

Newegg.com
At 74.99, you save 50% and get free shipping when you order the OCZ Vertex 4 solid state hard drive.

The SanDisk Extreme 2.5″ 240GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive is selling for 189.99, saving you 12%.

Motherboards

Newegg.com is selling a GIGABYTE Motherboard for 69.99. You get a 10.00 rebate to make it 59.99 and free shipping.

Processors

Newegg.com
There is an AMD FX 8150 Zambezi 3.6GHz socket AM3+ 125W Eight Core desktop processor on sale for 189.99. This is a 24% discount and free shipping.

A 219.99 deal with a 20,00 gift card as well, you can buy the Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000

We want to know if the same electronic products have a better deal on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. On Cyber Monday we will post the same products and their prices. Last year, our CEO thought long and hard about a new personal computer. Settling on a Lenovo in mid-November, she bought one on Black Friday. A great deal…except the price was dropped further on Cyber Monday. Lesson learned. Happy Thanksgiving and happy shopping!

Email Marketing Tips – Ways to Avoid the Spam Filter

Feb 10

I like this article written by Marijo Tinlin on 10 Phrases to (Almost) Guarantee Your Email Won’t Get Delivered. Versa9’s clients frequently ask for hints or groundbreaking ways to get their emails read. While it always comes down to our “golden rule” of testing, there are certain phrases to avoid. According to the Institute of Social Internet Public Policy (ISIPP), in Boulder, here are the 10 phrases they say to avoid in your subject line:

1. “Additional income”
2. “All natural”
3. “Apply online”
4. “Avoid bankruptcy”
5. “Click here”
6. “Congratulations”
7. “Consolidate debt and credit”
8. “Dear friend”
9. “Don’t delete”
10. “Home employment”

For more phrases to avoid, you can read the full article on Family First.

Evolution of E-commerce Tracking & Analytics

Jan 07

Our day today opened with a hearkening back to the days when the internet was young and we were all trying to figure out how to complete transactions on the new vehicle. Websites were a new idea and almost exclusively “brochure” style sites that existed only to serve the purpose of delivering a static piece of information to the user. Organizations had begun to adopt the idea that you could tell people about your products, services, and business on the “world wide web”. Something like 80% of the US population thought that the Internet was AOL, even static codes like HTML were still in their infancy, and the foremost thought on our minds was, “How can we actually generate a sale on the Internet?”.

We were all chomping at the bit when the online payment gateways started appearing that allowed us to virtually connect a merchant account to a means of processing a transaction on the internet.  Now we could gather credit card information in an encrypted HTML form and process the transaction manually using a virtual terminal. We could facilitate a sale and make real money without waiting for the checks to come in the mail, waiting for the checks to clear, and then finally handling fulfillment. Amazing!

So now we’re cooking! We are no longer using 3rd party platforms (Lycos Auctions, Yahoo Auctions, eBay, etc.) to drive sales and generate exposure, we were now thinking about things like online advertising and search engine optimization. We were literally sitting around contemplating this huge new idea, “How do we get people to our sites to buy now that we do not need 3rd party platforms?” It seems so silly to look back at what has become massive industry and know that we were really contemplating that question.

As we began down the path of negotiating advertising buys and optimizing our websites to procure search engine traffic, the natural result of such efforts was to be able to understand which of these efforts was working. I can still remember the day that I sat down at my computer and read about the idea of recording how many times an image on a particular page was called by a web browser to understand how many times that page had been viewed. We still thought about everything in terms of hits at that point. At some point in the near future, as HTML advanced with browser capabilities, we came to learn about the idea of calling a piece of code disguised as an image. We just unknowingly witnessed the birth of the tracking pixel which spawned the arms race of web analytics.

We were then able to track how many times a resource on the Internet is called, and realized that traffic does not equal performance in terms of revenue. We could get a ton of traffic from one site that had no desire to buy the products and services we offered, conversely we could get a very small amount of traffic from a source that had a very high affinity to our offerings, and thus a very high percentage of those people purchased. Houston, we have a problem!

A smart guy somewhere understood that the page after a transaction was completed could be used to track how many people had been through the purchase process, and the foundation for tracking online sales began to take shape. As dynamic languages (first ASP, then PHP) came into play we now had the ability to track many different data points and apply intelligence to that data in order to optimize our marketing efforts using methods like variables, cookies, and database communication.  As is the way of the world, advances always create the need for new solutions.

Now that we can track sales and traffic data dynamically, new ideas about what and how to track web activity appear rapidly. You have an industry testing, testing, testing, and then testing some more. Every time they want to test something they have to update code that exists, in some cases, on thousands of web pages. Some of these web pages can be accessed directly but in extreme cases there could be thousands of pages, across many different servers, owned by many different organizations, that have to have their code updated every time you wish to test any new idea or gather any new information. There is a serious problem facing the teams and individuals responsible for driving revenue.

The advancement that finally overcame this new problem facing online advertisers and marketers has it’s roots in a new object oriented programming logic. Object oriented development works within the idea that you call an object, that many different functional pieces of code can use to perform the task, rather than perform the task internally in every functional piece of code you write. We now have modular applications built to easily interface with any new methods that you might development as you move through the development life cycle of an individual application. New code written can use any of the functionality already in place to accomplish the functional goal elegantly and easily. Web browsers became more robust and the object oriented mindset created an environment that allowed the same remote tracking script to be called to collect the data, rather than collecting the data remotely on every page.

A single tracking script (generally a java script) can be edited and updated to collect any new piece of data or interface with any outside system, without ever touching any of the actual websites. We have the ability to collect any piece of data we want with almost no implementation barrier, and do almost anything we can think of with that data internally or externally.  There are some very complex attribution models and tracking/analytics models that owe their existence to this new environment.

So here we are. There is a new, unknown object on the horizon that can revolutionize e-commerce as it exists today. It can overcome the barriers and risks that every agency and network hears repeated again and again. Through a simple, yet very profound shift in mindset, we can utilize the new technologies available to add yet another piece to the puzzle and lure that ever illusive new enigma to the distant, outside reaches of our field of vision so that it may in-turn be conquered.

Affiliate Summit West 2011 in Las Vegas

Jan 07

Affiliate Summit West, the premier affiliate marketing conference, also referred to as ASW, will take place this coming week from January 9th – January 11th. Always a great conference, and in Las Vegas, there is never a dull moment. For the last couple of years it was held at the Rio, and this year it will be at the Wynn. If you are looking to attend a conference where affiliates and advertisers (thousands of them) are networking and sessions are filled with actual information you can learn from, then this is a conference you should attend. Here’s a list of speakers: (Affiliate Summit West 2011 Speakers). If you didn’t get a chance to register for this one, the next Affiliate Summit will be held in New York City, August 21-23rd. You can sign up for the Affiliate Summit newsletter to stay informed on the upcoming event and will be emailed when it is time to register. Details for Affiliate Summit East (ASE) can be found here.

Complimentary Webinar – Making Ideas Happen: Key Insights on Creative Execution – Tuesday, January 11th

Jan 04

“I have this great idea, now what?”   There is a free webinar that may provide some tips to help get your idea out the door.  It will take place this Tuesday, January 11th, at 11 am PST/2 PM EST, hosted by Scott Belsky from Behance and Michael Dortch of Focus.

Here are the details from Mike Mansbach, VP & GM, Citrix Online:

Many of us believe that great ideas inevitably lead to success. Nothing could be further from the truth. What matters is what you produce with your ideas – how you transform your vision into reality.

Join this live webinar to hear Scott Belsky, voted one of Fast Company’s Top 100 Most Creative People and author of Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, provide key tips and insights for pushing ideas forward.

Learn how exceptionally productive creative leaders and teams – including companies like Google, IDEO, and Disney, and individuals like author Chris Anderson and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh – make their ideas happen, time and time again.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to better manage your energy across creative projects
  • 10+ crucial components of creative execution
  • How to best engage your community in pushing ideas forward
  • How to see a project through to its successful completion

*Bonus! 25 lucky webinar attendees will receive a copy of Scott Belsky’s book, Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

Register here!