Ten Years of Alertbox & Various Ways to Say Marketing

Jun 4th

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox celebrates 10 years. An interesting excerpt:

In 1997, I wrote the "Do Websites Have Increasing Returns?" column, discussing the relative value of big and small websites. I predicted that small sites would generate 75% of the Web's total value because they can be more targeted than big sites. ...

Most current discussions of the long tail underestimate the non-hits and assume that each point on the curve has the same value. But on the Web, being small means that you can better target your content and thus provide higher value per unit than more generic services.

Jakob also mentions a few of his hits and misses and points out some of his Alertbox articles which he feels deserve far more traffic than they get.

I have a bit of a hard time balancing self worth and ego, but it is interesting to think that hundreds of thousands of people could read your not well received work and still view it as deserving of more attention.

It seems to me that whether a person calls something usability, long tail, conversion marketing, SEO, story telling, brand building, or whatever, the end goal is to create enough value to extract profits while serving customers needs.

Usually most of the tips and information can be generic in nature (ex: track results or increase usability) - or deeply specific using some random vocabulary set (ex: Use location based keyword modifiers and bid for third position on Overture for expensive terms. Daypart your bid prices or ad display times to match the optimal point on the profit elasticity curve.) - because most of these terms and ideas are geared toward creating websites or systems which specifically target the needs of a small group of people. It is easy to fill the needs and desires of a small group of people.

It also makes me wonder if I should broaden or shift some of my interests (and more importantly, the way I market them) to a label other than SEO.

When in the UK I asked a ton of questions about demographics, law enforcement, power generation, social services, transportation, and the like. I find it fascinating to watch how some systems scale. It will be amazing if / when people figure out something that can beat out AdWords. MSN's new product may offer more data, but it may be confusing and just a bit ahead of its time.

Published: June 4, 2005

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