Sorry, We Are Not In Right Now


Thanks for checking out our blog, we really appreciate it.

However, our blog has moved to

Sorry that you have to visit another site to find us, but it is worth it...we have all of our 'classic' posts and comments on the new blog, plus a ton of new thoughts and ideas.

Why are we moving? Basically, Blogger failed us and never responded to our emails and requests. A clear example of poor customer service...too bad, we liked Blogger.

Come over and see us on the new blog.

Troy and Mo

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Travel Trends - South Carolina, College Kids

Time to Thaw - The South Carolina Department of Tourism has recently launched a cold weather message campaign in the city of Chicago which drives consumers to the 'Time to Thaw' microsite. The microsite contains your standard info, a cute little 'thaw' button that melts some ice, a video, etc. Nothing groundbreaking or one-of-a-kind, but a solid campaign microsite none the less. Of course my favorite part of the site is the 'submit a Windsurfin' Wall Photo Contest' which features Chicagoans in a variety of funny poses. See Jeb above. Nice.

College Kids Have Too Much Time On Their Hands - Or, at least I think so. brings us this report from Youth Trends showing website usage from college level consumers.

Survey says:

The discrepancy between the top ten sites for Males and Females is no surprise, however the use of Wikipedia by guys may suggest quite a few term papers are being referenced from the popular wiki site.

As far as usage, the one stat that stands out to me is only 2% of users have uploaded their own videos. However, no surprise that virtual communities, i.e. Second Life, are low on the list.

Considering most of us over the age of 22 think that everyone younger than 22 are the ones populating such culturally rich sites like (warning, stupid guy humor), it is a bit surprising to see that stat.

However, I think a lot of us who have run a consumer-generated video promotion have discovered that we are a society who would rather watch than work.

The City without Billboards

Imagine a modern metropolis with no outdoor advertising: no billboards, no flashing neon signs, no electronic panels with messages crawling along the bottom.

Come the new year, this city of 11 million, overwhelmed by what the authorities call visual pollution, plans to press the "delete all" button and offer its residents unimpeded views of their surroundings. >>Full Story

Thoughts// Not necessarily an interactive story, but I find it so fascinating, I had to post it. As many of you may know, since this a story from late 2006, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo...South America's largest...has gone billboard-free. That's right, the city voted to remove all billboards from the crowded streets and buildings. And they did not stop there, the law stops the distribution of leaflets, bus, taxi, airplane banners and blimps. No visit from the Goodyear Blimp for Sao Paulo.

While this story is a bit dated, our friends at Ad Lab have posted a link to a set of Flickr photos (which is where the photo above comes from) of the empty billboards as well as an ad from British TV channel Sky, promoting Sky Movies, see below.

And yes, that is the most ironic thing I have heard all day...a company is using the fact that they don't allow any ads in a certain city to advertise it's product to another group of consumers.

Think about that one.

Digital Outlook 2008

Digital agency Avenue A Razorfish just released their 2008 Digital Outlook Report (note: this is a 164-pdf) this week. This annual report tracks consumer behavior in the digital space and includes reports on media spending, mobile web usage, social influence marketing, search, and behavioral targeting.

Thoughts// Digital technology has empowered consumers with the ability to access the content they’re interested in, at a time, place and device of their choosing. If you're in the business of building an emotional relationship with consumers in this tough environment, this report makes for an interesting read. Some of the things outlined in the report include:

  • The relevancy of homepages: Search, social networking, blogs and RSS have reduced the impact of the traditional "homepage"; some major properties are reporting that 50-75% of their traffic someplace other than the "homepage". Every page is a homepage and every page on your site must offer an opportunity to make a compelling impact on consumers.

  • Connectivity: Consumers don't see a distinction between their online and offline lives; in fact, they expect a "seamless transition" between them; thus digital technology is a life management tool not simply a utility.

  • Social Media Fragmentation: Interviews with the "digital class" (consumers 18-34) show that they're not just using new technology, social, and communication platforms—but they’re using them voraciously to express different sides of themselves. Consumers are are leveraging digital tools to show who they are, where they fit, what they think, and what they think of others; the digital context of the site or the social network plays a critical part in
    determining which part of themselves they show.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Travel Trends - Consumer Satisfaction, Video, Internet Usage

Consumer Satisfaction Declines For Major OTAs - Consumer satisfaction with major online travel players has dipped to an all-time low, while satisfaction with the e-commerce sector overall has risen, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. For the third straight year, satisfaction has risen, this year by 2%, reaching an all-time high of 81.6 on the 100-point scale. However, satisfaction with online travel e-commerce has gone in the opposite direction. For the second year in a row, satisfaction has dipped to an all-time low of 75. Only four online travel companies are tracked: Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and Priceline. In addition, a category of "All Others," representing hotel sites, airlines and travel search engines, is tracked.
From Travel Advance and

That's A Lot of Video - A recently released comScore Video Metrix service report, revealed that U.S. Internet users watched more than 10 billion videos online during the month of December, 2007, representing the single heaviest month for online video consumption since comScore initiated its tracking service. Google Sites saw substantial growth and extended its video market share gains, now accounting for nearly one out of every three videos viewed online.

Going Online To Purchase Travel - According to the latest Nielsen Global Online Survey on internet shopping habits, more than 85% of the world's online population has used the internet to make a purchase, increasing the market for online shopping by 40% in the past two years.

And, take a look at what those consumers were purchasing:

Popular Online Purchases
(Global Average, % of Online Purchasers in Past Three Months)

Purchase / % of Online Purchasers

Books / 41%
Clothing, Accessories, Shoes / 36%
Video, DVD, Games / 24%
Airline ticket, reservations / 24%
Electronic equipment / 23%
Music / 19%
Cosmetics, nutrition supplies / 19%
Tours, hotel reservations / 16%
Event tickets / 15%
Computer software / 14%
Groceries / 14%
Toys, dolls / 9%
Sporting goods / 8%
Automobiles & parts / 4%
Sports memorabilia / 3%
Other / 20%

Source: The Nielsen Company, 2007/Marketing Charts, January 2008

(Photo Credit:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Post It And They Will Come?

During my morning perusal of AdPulp, I came across the news of Ogilvy’s new advertising pitch for Tassimo coffee makers…which is going to consist of webisodes and a consumer-generated contest:

“Creating original, entertaining content gives Tassimo both cultural currency and permission for further conversations with consumers,” said Joseph Frydl, director of Ogilvy’s branded content and entertainment group. “Purely interruptive marketing simply cannot accomplish that.”

Beyond the fact that these webisodes, which has acting and production values that make it look like something that ran on my high school’s internal television channel, just aren’t original or entertaining, the idea that some webisodes, a website and a promotional overlay will start conversations with consumers is simply wishful thinking of the sort that somehow seems to convince clients, but reasonable people know are just empty words. >>Full Story

Thoughts// A great post from ad blog 'the daily (ad) biz' on a recent new media campaign for coffee maker Tassimo. As the article alludes to Tassimo simply followed the pattern of (what seems to be) every other new media / interactive / viral campaign that we have seen during the last year. Make some 'funny' videos (I use the word funny in quotes because the videos are merely laborious...I did not make it thought the whole clip), put up an authentic fake-office website and let the laughs roll in!

I am unsure how this online campaign complements the rest of the marketing campaign for Bob, but alas, I am afraid it misses the mark with or without an offline execution.

Like Mo and I have been talking about for a while, not all new media / interactive executions are right for your company / brand. It might be too expensive, too time-consuming, not have the right content or not the right fit for your audience.

Take the time and determine which one of these new and amazing interactive opportunities will be the best fit for your goals and target audience.

And if it is making a series of videos, just make sure they are actually funny.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Random Thoughts:

A lot of people ask me which websites I like, which ones have good design, good navigation, etc, etc. So, I thought I would share one of my non-travel, long-time favorites.

Although they just recently purchased the harmonious domain, the team at Turner Classic Movies has been producing this fantastic site for several years. In fact, the basic feeling / design of the site has been consistent since at least late 2004...proof that you do not need to undertake a major redesign of your site every 2 years. Yeah, stop doing it.

The site is rich, detailed and informative...and in my humble opinion, the best TV-related site out there today. Take a look at the site and explore the detail in the 'schedule' and 'games' sections as well as the enormous, but easy-to-use, 'Movie Database.' And in honor of the Academy Awards, click over to the '31 Days of Oscar' microsite to see how Flash is supposed to be used online. Interactive, enjoyable and not overwhelming.

Travel Trends - Oregon #1, Luv From Southwest

Oregon Is #1 - In honor of the great American road trip, our friends at the IgoUgo blog have selected, in an unscientific way (honestly, we are not sure how they picked them), the top ten 'most dynamic tourism websites'...and look who claimed the top spot, Travel Oregon. Congrats to Mo and the team at Travel Oregon. I am currently placing a request for a recount as we speak.

The top ten are:

  1. Travel Oregon
  2. Visit Florida
  3. South Dakota Tourism
  4. Utah Travel Council
    (IgoUgo reviewed the '.com' version, not the 'official,' official '.travel' version.
  5. Wyoming Tourism
  6. Arkansas Tourism
  7. New York State Tourism
  8. Minnesota Office of Tourism
  9. New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism
  10. North Carolina Tourism Services

Certainly a singular look at the sites, but still an interesting commentary on what some users are looking for in a travel site.

Luv From Southwest - Well known for there 'Luv' campaigns, Southwest sent along a little Valentine's Day card last week to it's Rapid Rewards customers. Honestly, what other airline could get away with such a thing and not look like hypocrites? The email was pretty simple, but included a fun little, brand-hypnotizing, fly your jet through the clouds of love game. Silly, sure, but I still played it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Who's Been Clicking On My Banner?

A new study reveals that "heavy clickers" distort reality of display advertising click-through metrics. The study conducted by Media agency Starcom USA, behavioral targeting network Tacoda, and digital consumer insight company comScore calls into question click-through rates as a primary source of accountability for Internet display advertising aimed at brand-building. Called “Natural Born Clickers,” the study reveals that a very small group of consumers who are not representative of the total U.S. online population is accountable for the vast majority of display ad click-through behavior. >>Full Story

Thoughts// Given the similarity to the results of an AOL study that we reported on late last year, I'm frankly not surprised by this new study. But if you need more convincing that reign of the "click thru" as a tangible measure of success for digital campaign is over, you might want to pick this report up. According to the study, just 6 percent of the online population (“Natural Born Clickers”) are responsible for more than 50 percent of display ad clicks! These serial clickers are reportedly drastically different than the general online population and tend to:

  1. Be between the ages of 25-44 with a households income of under $40,000.
  2. Spend more time online (four times as much) while spending proportionally less than non-clickers.
  3. Spend more time at auctions, gambling, and career services sites.

Most significantly however, the study suggests that there is no connection between measured attitude towards a brand and the number of times an ad for that brand was clicked.

So what should you do? The reality is that at least for direct response or sweeps types of promotions, the click thrus (and resulting leads) might be a more relevant measure of success; but when it comes to online branding campaigns, you might have to dig a bit deeper.

At Travel Oregon (and at AOT as well), the click thru has now become just a cursory indicator; to examine whether a given sets of clicks are meaningful and relevant to the messaging, we dive deep into "time spent on site" plus a host of other measurables that we fondly call "engagement". Engagement to us is any tangible action a user takes on our site including: ordering a travel guide, subscribing to e-mail or RSS, opening a travel planner account, adding stuff to their travel planner account (events, restaurants etc.), downloading a ring tone, signing up for a contest etc.

When expressed as a percentage of overall traffic from a particular site, it can quickly tell you the relevance of that "click thru" number. Long live the click thru!

(Note: As of this writing, we have not been able to get the full published 'Natural Born Clickers' report; as soon as we get our hands on it, we'll have it here for download)

Gucci Loves New York...

Gucci "Loves" New York, but perhaps New York does not share the sentiment? In an effort to promote the opening of its flagship store in New York, luxury brand Gucci recently launched, a site that pays homage to the city by featuring the favorite chic hangouts of the brand's CEO and creative director - including restaurants, clubs, boutiques and spas. One problem...the economic development arm for the State of New York is locked in a dispute with Gucci over use of the legendary "heart" symbol synonymous with the "I love NY" campaign. >>Full Story

Thoughts// Kudos to the marketing team at Gucci. They could have played it safe and celebrated the new Gucci flagship store by running one of those run-of-the-mill fashion campaigns we’ve become accustomed; yes, the ones with super skinny blondes enjoying the party life (not that there’s anything wrong with it).

Instead however, they chose to pay homage to the city that is the fashion capital of the country and built a whole campaign around it. Visitors to the site can view locations on a Google “mashup” map and read about why each location makes “Gucci love New York.” The site also has blogs from a group of fashion bloggers, all of whom also add their favorite New York places to go. Visitors can participate by submit their own posts, complete with a photo of themselves in front of their favorite place.

And what’s more, the company also designed 600 commemorative purses and 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these purses are slated to be given away to a charity that maintains childrens' playgrounds at Central Park (at $600 or so a pop, that adds up nicely).

The campaign also has a ton of potential to extend itself to other channels: Madonna’s “I love NY” which plays in the background would make for popular ringtones, they could leverage the photos on Flickr, perhaps add a Twitter feed to track the hippest places frequented by Gucci staff and of course some point of sale interaction with customers.

Despite all of these positives, Gucci's love for NY is unrequited. As of this writing, the legal wrangling over the use of the “heart” symbol continues; in addition, some fashionista bloggers are up in arms about the fact that none of the bloggers on the site are from NYC. Guess you can’t please them all!

Gucci…perhaps you should head West?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Travel Trends: What Do Women Want ?

What Women Want - If you've wandered in here looking for insight into the female psyche this Valentine's Day, we might have something for you. Unfortunately, unlike Mel Gibson in the movie of the same title, our thoughts are restricted to online user behavior of women.

Travel marketers have long known that women are the "deciders" when it comes to travel research, planning and booking. New studies summarized in AdAge show that women's online activities are getting sophisticated and complex. Not only do women comprise of more than 50% of the online audience but they're also spending more time online and are increasingly catching up with men when it comes to social media, gaming and other channels. Consider:

  • The number of unique visits to women's community sites jumped 35% to almost 70 million from 52 million.

  • 43% of women watch videos on YouTube (up from 27% in 2006)

  • Women are increasingly playing games online and they're also more likely to pay for games online

  • Women 45-54 are more likely to shop on impulse online -especially if given an incentive such as a discount or e-mail offer

  • Travel continues to be the #1 most purchased item by women

Markers Rate The Best & Worst Online Tactics - What’s the best performing marketing tactic in online marketing? Whose budget got the biggest increase this year? A new report by MarketingSherpa gives a bit of insight into what our peers are doing. According to the report:

  • Behavioral targeting is generally favored and marketers are moving away from poorly targeted display ads (yep no surprise there)

  • While paid search is still an important tactic, marketers are increasingly turning to SEO due to it's better ROI. (This seems like a no brainer but you'd be surprised at how many of us ignore SEO)

  • E-mail continues to deliver strong ROI (yes, as we wrote a while back, e-mail is not going away!)

  • Analytics continues to be a hot button issue with more than 60% of those surveyed looking at ways to integrate "offline and online" tracking and overlay web analytics to search and email

Monday, February 11, 2008

Travel Trends -, My Vegas New Logo -, the low price travel search engine from expedia inc., is trading in its bellman logo for something a bit more refined. As reported by several blogs, including HotelChatter, and Logo Design Works (all of which contain some interesting observations), as well as verified by your author via CNN last night (they had a new commercial), it would appear that the logo on the right will slowly become the new logo for the company. Although, during the TV spot, the new logo was orange, not black.

My Vegas - Is the social-networking band-wagon full yet? Apparently not...the latest entry to the race for your free time is Las Vegas. According to Brandweek, the LVVCA is launching a new 'My Vegas' section on The site, according to the article (the new social-networking piece was not live as of this article) contains your typical social-networking features...profile page, upload photos, talk to friends, etc...and encourages you to use a 'Vegas' persona (read, fake) when signing up (because no one lies about themselves on MySpace right now).

While I am sure the site and execution will be very good, I wonder how many people will create another social networking profile for My Vegas. Personally, I think an embeddable 'My Vegas' application...that let's you create a 'Vegas' persona...for Facebook or MySpace would be a better marketing opportunity in this situation. Rather than putting it behind a wall.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Travel Trends - California, .travel, 2007

California, The Land of Wine and Food - The California Travel and Tourism Commission has recently launched a new website and campaign in partnership with the California Wine Institute titled 'The Land of Wine and Food.' The site contains videos, Google map integration, wine info and wine blogs from regular Californians and celebrities such as Andrew Firestone (from 'The Bachelor' fame...personally, I always preferred Joe Millionaire, but I don't think he has a wine blog). The site looks great, but like most of these 'partnership' sites, it is lacking content. I could not find a simple address of a winery, let alone a link. And the search function displays worthy content (like this article on Lodi...hooray Lodi!) that is otherwise no where to be found on the site. Still, worth a look. Cheers.

More .travel
- Yes, more .travel. For those of you who thought I was crazy to dismiss the euphoric promise that is .travel (see my original argument and follow-up argument), I present an article from Jens Thraenhart, currently the Executive Director of Marketing Strategy at the Canadian Tourism Commission and fellow blogger. Here are the 'cliffs notes' version of the article:

Jens is a pretty smart guy and he agrees with me on .travel.

If you are keeping score:
Troy: 4
.travel: 0

Now, I should be fair when it comes to the .travel subject...if anyone finds a positive article about the current state of the domain name (which is not authored by someone directly involved with Tralliance, The Globe or EnCirca) just pass it my way.

The Year That Was - comScore recently released the 'U.S. Internet Year in Review,' which contained these interesting stats:

  • Total U.S. Internet Audience grew 5% from 175 million to 183 million. (including Home, Work and University users)

  • Social networking giant reaped the benefits of opening registration to all users, jumping 81 percent versus December 2006 to 34.7 million visitors in December 2007

  • Wikipedia Sites gained 34 percent to reach nearly 52 million visitors, continuing its reign as the Web's most popular reference hub

  • jumped 74 percent to 24.5 million visitors

  • AT&T grew 27 percent to 30.2 million visitors boosted by its exclusive deal with Apple as carrier for the iPhone

  • Yellow Book Network jumped 137-percent to 10.4 million visitors

If The TSA Can Start a Blog, Why Not You?

The Transportation Security Administration, perhaps best known for blue-gloved screeners who don't tolerate jokes, launched a blog Wednesday called Evolution of Security, which promises to be written by a collection of TSA employees including a frontline screener, technology developer and a TSA analyst. >>Full Story

Thoughts// For those of you who did not hear about this a few days ago, the TSA has launched a public-facing blog to promote an open conversation with the traveling public. Insert your own 'take off your shoes joke' here. As you might expect, the blog contains updates written by a handful of TSA staffers and contains hundreds of comments...if not thousands by this point.

As odd as this idea sounds, I give the TSA some major credit on this one. They opened this line of communication, and are promoting it, knowing full well the blog would receive hundreds of moronic comments from anonymous users who are upset at everything. Plus, once you start something like this, there is no going back or shutting it off...that would just further the negative image that most Americans have of the agency.

That takes some dedication...or craziness.

It will be interesting to see how this blog affects the view of the TSA in the mind of the traveling public. For all of those 'I don't want to take my shoes off' comments, there are already some constructive posts on the blog.

So, if you want to be part of the solution, step up and post a useful comment...instead of just complaining every time you are in the security line.

IAB Issues New Lead Generation Policies

The IAB, Interactive Advertising Bureau, has just completed a pretty thorough best practices report on lead generation for B2B and B2C businesses. The report, which is the closest thing to an industry-wide policy on this often abused practice, lays out several guidelines for organizations to follow.

I have been watching this report develop for a little while and would encourage anyone who is gathering leads (names, email, data) online to review the recommendations.

Here are the highlights:

  • Complete, accessible, and straightforward disclosure of all parties’ intent regarding data collection and usage is essential

  • Data should not be brokered or sold without consent (or notice and choice) of all parties involved, including the consumer and the advertiser

  • Both the consumer and the advertiser should be made aware, through clear notices, of all parties involved in data collection and sharing.

  • All parties should be educated and aware of current regulations regarding consumer protection and privacy.

Random Thoughts:

Recently has undergone a significant redesign of the popular news site. Background info and side-by-side comparisons are here.

Has anyone else noticed the recent redesign of I find myself fascinated with the new design that has been rolled out. Specifically, they have at least (by my count) 10 different layout options for the top news section on the homepage, which are used depending on the story and images available to the editorial staff. It would appear to be a very well thought out execution...anyone who has worked on a news-related site knows how critical a great image is to the story. And what a pain it can be without one.

Random Thoughts: They Came to My Website

Reading the postmortem on Super Bowl ads on Advertising Age the other day, I was struck by an article detailing the results of that annoyingly tacky According to estimates, two million users hit the site on Super Bowl Sunday to find out why Fox had rejected the ad and to see if Danica Patrick really exposed herself. Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons hailed the ad as a rousing success even though 17% of males and 16% of females disliked the ad; in fact he said "I would be happy with that number even if it was 37%" because "they still came to the website". Which led me to the thought:

What if the GAP, Target, Wall-Mart and every other brick and mortar store started talking about foot traffic and web traffic as a measure of success instead of sales and "engagement" with the brand?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Design & Branding For A Presidental Campaign

STYLES make fights — or so goes the boxing cliché. In 2008, they make presidential campaigns, too. According to design experts, the candidates have left a clear blueprint of their personal style — perhaps even a window into their souls — through the Web sites they have created to raise money, recruit volunteers and generally meet-and-greet online. >>Full Story

Author's Note: Not travel related but relevant.

Thoughts// It's Super Tuesday! With almost half the country voting today in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, this NY Times article is a relevant study in how candidates (brands) extend their personalities (values) in the digital medium. Specifically, this article focuses on Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton and analyzes how their websites and other digital channels reflect their personalities.— much like the candidate—reflects a modern, elegant look that uses a soft blue palette with a lot of white space and harmonious integration between the website and other platforms such as social networking sites. Of course it goes without saying that the effective use of mobile and social networking have no doubt galvanized the outreach to young people and this effort appears to have positively impacted voter turnout. on the other hand takes a bit more of a traditional design approach with the tried and true red, white and blue palette, rigid boxy navigation and "cookie cutter" icons. The site also uses mobile and social networking for voter outreach.

Overall, in reviewing the sites of all five leading candidates (Clinton, Obama, McCain, Romney, Huckabee), it's remarkable that:

  1. All candidates view their digital offering as a conversation - they all offer offer a mechanism for voters to interact with the sites (feedback, voting, blogging, communities) and harness the power of these site tools into action (fundraisers, events etc.).

  2. Blogs are omnipresent; from campaign updates to policy news, candidates and their fans are "blogging mad". The most noteworthy blogger however appears to be the effervescent Meghan McCain who writes what appears to be authentic stories from the road.

  3. All of the candidates are tapping the power of social media - from Flickr to YouTube and Eventful to Facebook, voters have multiple ways to interact, follow and "evangelize" their favorite candidate.

Happy Super Tuesday. Now go vote!

Update: Troy and I were chatting about this subject via e-mail this morning and he mentioned hearing a great story on NPR last night on the same topic; you can listen to the story here.

Dealing with Ad Immunity

While News Corp. is thrilled about its social network's ad-revenue growth, Google and many marketers are frustrated about click-through rates. There was a time when Mark Seremet considered MySpace one of the best things to happen to his business. Seremet, then-CEO of customized clothing company Spreadshirt, saw sales jump sixfold in late 2005 and early 2006 after he ran ads on the popular social networks MySpace and Facebook. "Somebody would get the shirt, then tell a friend," Seremet says. "It was really an amazing change for the business." >>Full Story

Thoughts// Another good article on the subject of advertising on social networks, even thought it is a little short on solid numbers. According to Mr. Seremet, Spreadshirt was experiencing around a 1% CTR (click-thru rate) in 2006, but that dropped to .10% in 2007. Those numbers should hardly come as a surprise. MySpace was still relatively 'new' in 2006, so a lot of users were still open and interested in advertising.

The article goes onto say that 'only a fraction of 1% of the people who see the ads click on them.' And that many advertisers are not seeing a good ROI when advertising on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.

Of course, this lends some truth to the argument that Mo and I have been making about advertising on social networks...people are on these sites to meet, talk, reconnect with friends, family and co-workers, not browse ads for the latest widget, car or other 'you need this' product. True, some advertisers are probably doing very well on MySpace, but unless you are in the business of creating custom MySpace skins and layouts, there might be a better buy for your campaign.

Case in point (from the article):

"There's too much [advertising] when you sign on," says John Sigona, a 32-year-old MySpace user who likes the site, though he ignores the ads. "They don't interest me."


Monday, February 4, 2008

Join the Travel 2.0 Group on LinkedIn

One the benefits of writing this blog is the connections we (Mo and I) get to make with our peers throughout the country. Unfortunately, for most of you, the rest of the readers on the Travel 2.0 blog are invisible. So, we decided to change that...and join this Web 2.0 craze that is social networking.

We are proud to introduce the 'Travel 2.0: Interactive Travel Industry Professionals' group on LinkedIn. (Sorry about the long name, but we are an important group, so you need a long name)

The LinkedIn group will allow the readers of this blog to connect with other readers via a social networking site (LinkedIn) that many of us belong to already. Using LinkedIn you can maintain contacts, email one-another and stay in-touch with other members of the group. Plus, you get a cool looking 'Travel 2.0 Network' logo on your profile. Check it out on the right...oh yeah, that is sweet.

Joining the group is simple, join LinkedIn and then follow this link to the groups page.

Both Mo and I feel this LinkedIn Group will help grow the conversation and cooperation on the Travel 2.0 blog as well as with our peers around the world.

As always thanks for reading.

Quick Case Study: Google Trends

Last week I discussed using Google Trends to monitor and gain insight into your web presence, and with Super Bowl XLII this past Sunday in beautiful Glendale, Arizona (Go Grand Canyon State!), I thought this would be a good case study for the system.

As a refresher, Google Trends shows a graphical representation of search volume for (up to) 5 keywords over a period of time.

The graph above shows the search volume for the keywords 'superbowl,' 'glendale,' 'arizona,' ' phoenix' and 'scottsdale' during the month on January. In looking at this graph, I was surprised by the late build-up of the word 'superbowl,' which only overtook the works 'arizona' and 'phoenix' around the 16th or 17th of January. And notice the pattern for 'arizona,' it really does not fluctuate to greatly during the month of January...any assumptions that the Super Bowl being in Arizona would result in a direct spike in online traffic appears to be unfounded (at least in terms of Google Search).

Unfortunately, Google Trends does not allow us to look at the data a granular level, such as a keyword like 'arizona travel.'

For another look at the data, let's drill down to the states of Massachusetts:
And New York:
Another interesting note, notice that the keyword 'arizona' (orange line) is pretty consistent in New York, but certainly takes a larger jump in Massachusetts. A possible explanation is that we do limited advertising in Boston / Massachusetts, but a bit more in New the volume of search was already high in New York.

Some of you are probably asleep at this point, but for the rest of you, try out a couple of searches using Google Trends. It does provide a good look at search traffic...especially the volume of that traffic during a major event.