About one in 10 (11%) of US adults now own a tablet computer of some kind, with about half (53%) of tablet owners getting news on their tablet every day, according to survey results released in October 2011 by the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Economist Group. Almost eight in 10 (77%) tablet owners use their tablet every day, spending an average of about 90 minutes on them.
News among Top Tablet Activities
Consuming news (everything from the latest headlines to in-depth articles and commentary) ranks as one of the most popular activities on the tablet, about as popular as sending and receiving email (54% email daily on their tablet), and more popular than social networking (39%), gaming (30%), reading books (17%) or watching movies and videos (13%). The only activity that people said they were more likely to do on their tablet computer daily is browse the web generally (67%).
The survey also finds that three in 10 tablet news users (defined for this study as the 77% of all tablet users who get news at least weekly) say they now spend more time getting news than they did before they had their tablet. Just 4% say they spend less time while two-thirds (65%) spend about the same amount of time.
In addition, one-third (33%) of tablet news users say they are turning to new sources for news on their tablet, sources they had not turned to on other platforms such as television or their desktop computer. And more than four in 10 (42%) say they regularly read in-depth news articles and analysis on their tablet.
Tablet news users also say they now prefer their new devices over traditional computers, print publications or television as a way both to get quick news headlines and to read long-form pieces.
Tablet News Revenue Potential May Be Limited
At this point just 14% of tablet news users have paid directly to access news on their tablet. Another 23% get digital access of some kind through a print newspaper or magazine subscription. Of those who haven’t paid directly, just 21% say they would be willing to spend $5 per month if that were the only way to access their favorite source on the tablet. And of those who have news apps, fully 83% say that being free or low cost was a major factor in their decision about what to download.
Desktop Beats Apps for Tablet News
The study reveals that, so far, while about two-thirds of tablet news users have a news app on their tablet, the browser, carried over from the desktop experience, is still the more popular means of consuming news. A plurality of tablet news users (40%) say they get their news mainly through a web browser. Another 31% use news apps and the browser equally, while fewer, 21%, get their news primarily through apps.
Branding Important for Tablet News
Liking the news organization is a major factor for 84% of those who have apps. In addition, among both app and browser respondents surveyed about their behavior over the last seven days, the most common way by far to get news headlines was by going directly to a news organization’s content. Fully 90% of app users went directly to the app of a specific news organization, compared with 36% that went to some sort of aggregator app like Pulse. And, 81% of those who went through their browser accessed news headlines via a direct news website, compared with 68% who went through a search engine and about a third (35%) that went through a social network.
Starch: Tablet Ads Beat E-reader Ads
Magazine ads viewed on tablet computers are more effective than magazine ads viewed on e-readers in garnering consumer attention and engagement, according to data collected by Starch Advertising Research from May-July 2011. Starch data reveals that, on average, 55% of consumers who read a magazine on a tablet “noted,” meaning they saw or read a magazine ad on their device.
In comparison, 41% of e-reader magazine app users noted an ad. This means tablet readers are 34% more likely to note a magazine ad. To put these findings in perspective, the average noting score for all hard copy magazine ads Starch measured in 2010 was 53%.
About the Data: The study, executed by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, involved a survey of the general public and three separate surveys. The first was a general population survey. The next two surveys were conducted with a Pew Research Center panel of more than a thousand tablet users. The panel was developed through interviews with 40,000 US adults. A telephone survey was conducted with 1,159 tablet users and 894 tablet news users, and a web-based survey was conducted among a select group of those news users about their news habits over the past seven days.
Prévisions de croissance de 40%, forte demande pour des marketeurs en ligne, des spécialistes IT et des opérateurs de logistique. Bruxelles, 23 septembre 2011 – Patricia Ceysens, nouvelle présidente de BeCommerce, a présenté aujourd’hui les résultats de l’étude sur l’e-commerce en Belgique. Désormais, la vente en ligne est également vue chez nous comme un canal de vente arrivé à maturité. Ceci ressort de la récente étude menée par le bureau d’enquête iVox à la demande des membres de BeCommerce, la fédération des spécialistes belges de la vente à distance. Le secteur est très positif: par rapport à l’année dernière, 70% des répondants prévoient pour 2011 une croissance de leurs ventes en ligne de 40%. Le marché belge de l’E-commerce est encore loin d’être saturé. Le secteur est dès lors en quête de marketeurs en ligne, de spécialistes IT et d’opérateurs de logistique afin de répondre à la croissance annoncée!
Les résultats montrent que de plus en plus d’entreprises belges vendent uniquement par le biais d’Internet. La part de marché des multi-channel players (entreprises exploitant plusieurs canaux de vente aussi bien online que offline) a chuté à 46% contre 65,9% en 2009. Les pure-players, entreprises qui vendent exclusivement via Internet, dominent le marché avec 54% de part de marché (contre 34,1% en 2009). “Cette augmentation signifie que le ‘online’ est de plus en plus vu comme un canal de vente adulte et que nos boutiques en ligne sont désormais suffisamment puissantes pour se concentrer sur la vente par Internet” explique Patricia Ceysens.
Les acteurs belges de la vente à distance envisagent l’avenir de façon très positive. 7 personnes interrogées sur 10 s’attendent pour 2011 à une augmentation de leurs ventes en ligne de 40% par rapport à l’année dernière. Une impressionnante croissance qui démontre que l’e-commerce belge est loin d’une phase de saturation et possède encore un fort potentiel de croissance. Afin d’accompagner celle-ci dans les meilleures conditions, le marché va devoir s’entourer de personnel compétent. Plus de 75% des entreprises d’e-commerce sondées sont d’avis d’engager 10 nouveaux employés en 2011 afin de répondre à la demande. Les entreprises belges d’e-commerce sont principalement à la recherche de marketeurs en ligne (49%), de spécialistes IT (32%) et d’opérateurs de logistique (19%).
L’e-commerce belge cartographié
Sur base des résultats de l’enquête en ligne, iVox a retenu quelques aspects géographiques à propos de l’e-commerce en Belgique. Car contrairement à la plupart des magasins traditionnels (physiques), leur portée ne s’arrête pas aux frontières politiques. 73% des entreprises d’e-commerce basées en Belgique vendent d’abord aux consommateurs et aux entreprises belges. Les autres pays d’Europe occidentale constituent un important marché extérieur (60%), avant le reste de l’Europe (24%). À peine 11% des boutiques en ligne belges vendent leurs produits au-delà de l’Europe.
Quels produits sont les plus vendus? Comme l’an dernier, les articles les plus fréquemment vendus sur Internet sont les objets de décoration intérieure (35,1% en 2009 et 46% en 2010). Le top 3 est complété par les accessoires de mode (43%) et les vêtements (43%).
Les entreprises belges d’e-commerce ont compris que les consommateurs qui achètent en ligne attendent d’une livraison qu’elle intervienne “ici et maintenant”! Les boutiques en ligne offrent différentes possibilités de livraison. La Poste reste toujours le système de distribution le plus populaire. 65% des entreprises interrogées choisissent la Poste pour amener les paquets à leur clientèle. Les coursiers (38%) et les points d’enlèvement (comme Kiala) constituent d’autres manières de livrer les marchandises commandées en ligne. De plus en plus d’entreprises d’e-commerce offrent la possibilité de retirer les colis dans des points d’enlèvement (de 29,5% en 2009 à 38% en 2010). “Ceci peut être expliqué à la fois par l’importante augmentation du nombre de ces points d’enlèvement et leur meilleure répartition géographique. D’autre part, l’avènement du ‘time slot delivery’ en Belgique a donné un coup de pouce à l’utilisation de ces points d’enlèvement. 11% des e-shops de Belgique offrent déjà aux clients la possibilité d’être livrés à la maison ou de pouvoir aller chercher leur colis dans un point d’enlèvement (également 11%) dans un créneau horaire agréé par le consommateur”, souligne Patricia Ceysens.
Pour ce qui concerne les méthodes de paiement offertes par les boutiques en ligne, les cartes de crédit restent toujours très populaires. 95% des magasins en ligne belges permettent le paiement via Visa et Mastercard, 38% via American Express. Payer avec une simple carte bancaire – Bancontact/Mister Cash – est possible auprès de 60% des boutiques en ligne belges. La carte Maestro est acceptée par 49% d’entre elles. Outre les systèmes de paiement en ligne comme PayPal (54%) et Ideal (46%), la banque en ligne est également reconnue comme méthode de paiement.
Nouvelle direction pour BeCommerce
Aujourd’hui, parallèlement aux résultats de l’enquête, BeCommerce annonce la nomination de sa co-fondatrice Carine Moitier au poste de Directrice. Avec cette nomination, BeCommerce s’inscrit dans la même démarche que ses collègues néerlandais de Thuiswinkel.org qui, avec Wijnand Jongen, ont aussi appelé à la barre un représentant de l’e-commerce. L’exemple de thuiswinkel.org a également été suivi pour ce qui concerne le choix d’une personnalité politiquement active en tant que présidente, Patricia Ceysens, pour assurer à l’organisation un développement réussi.
Online Media Is Getting Robbed Of The Dollars It Deserves — Here’s How To Fix It
A tighter integration of commerce and traditional content is coming to the web and it’s a good thing: Right now most online media is getting screwed out of its rightful share of online ad dollars.
A fundamental problem of the online media business is that sites don’t get their fair share of advertising dollars relative to the purchasing intent they generate.
Media gets money from advertising. The reason companies buy advertising is because they get you to buy stuff; in other words they create purchasing intent.
But this comes in many flavors. Marketers use the analogy of a funnel. Marketers try to get us to buy stuff by pitching us through the funnel with messages that start wide, and finish narrow.
You might see a billboard, which might make you visit a website, which might get you to sign up for a newsletter, which might lead you to use a coupon, which might lead you to become a long term customer.
At the top of the funnel, you’re trying to generate purchasing intent. At the bottom, you’re trying to harvest it. As consumers move down the funnel, they get closer to buying whatever they’ve seen advertised.
What does this have to do with online media?
On the internet, marketers want to measure everything. But not everything is so easily measured, and ad dollars tend to flow not to the ads that work the best to generate intent, but to those whose effectiveness is most easily measurable. (Chris Dixon explains how this works in more detail.)
Think about it: which contributes more to purchasing intent? A favorable review by Times gadget god David Pogue, or the sponsored link atop a search for said gadget after reading the review? We would argue the former. And yet the latter is much more profitable, because it’s much easier to measure.
This problem sucks for everyone; it makes online media businesses harder to run, but it also means advertisers aren’t spending money as wisely as they could. Integrating media and commerce more tightly is one way to fix that.
New York startup Thrillist is a master at integrating media and commerce. Thrillist started out as an email newsletter for dudes, but it acquired private fashion sales site for dudes JackThreads, and built its own Groupon clone. Another great online media startup that does this very well is Sugar Inc, which runs a network of women-focused blogs which integrate shopping well.
The Times (which now has its own Groupon clone) looks at Thrillist’s model and frets that it might endanger the wall between the editorial and business sides of media organizations. But JackThreads’ founder Jason Ross says it best about Thrillist, “Their editorial voice is their credibility, so hurting that in any way would be pretty harmful.” There are zillions of gadget sites online. If one dropped its editorial integrity for short-term dollars, its readers would drop it like a hot coal.
A simple way to integrate commerce and content is through affiliate deals, where a post includes links to buy the product it’s talking about, with the site getting a cut. It can also involve a more elaborate linking of media sites and social shopping sites the way Sugar does. Or it can involve building commerce experiences tailored to your audience, like Thrillist does with men’s fashion and daily deals. There’s many ways to play this.
In the end, integrating media and commerce can be a win-win-win for online media, advertisers and consumers.
Le commerce en ligne a connu lundi sa première journée totalisant plus d’un milliard de dollars de ventes aux Etats-Unis, selon le cabinet spécialisé ComScore, et a représenté le tiers des emplettes des particuliers durant le week-end selon l’association des commerçants.
Le “cyber lundi” est traditionnellement une des plus fortes journées de l’e-commerce au retour du pont de Thanksgiving et à un mois de Noël. Cette année, il a totalisé des ventes de 1,028 milliard de dollars, une progression de 16% sur un an, surtout appuyée sur une augmentation des sommes dépensées par les internautes (+12% à 114,24 dollars).
La Fédération nationale du commerce (NRF, National retail federation) a calculé de son côté que les acheteurs avaient consacré le tiers de leurs dépenses au commerce en ligne durant le week-end, un taux record: près de 122 dollars, pour un panier de dépenses total de quelque 365 dollars.
“En même temps”, relativisait toutefois mercredi le président de ComScore Gian Fulgoni, “il est important de relever qu’une partie de la solidité des dépenses de consommation est presque certainement le résultat des promotions et décotes plus marquées que d’habitude à ce stade précoce de la saison”.
“Donc, même si nous prévoyons qu’il y aura d’autres journées à un milliard de dollars dans les jours qui viennent (…), seul le temps dira si les dépenses en ligne des consommateurs resteront au niveau élevé qu’on a vu jusqu’à présent”.
Traditionnellement, c’est à la mi-décembre que les internautes dépensent le plus, juste à temps pour se faire livrer à des tarifs abordables pour Noël.
Mardi, un autre cabinet, Coremetrics, filiale d’IBM, avait calculé que les ventes en ligne de lundi avaient progressé de 19,4%, mais sans avancer de chiffre total. Il avait noté une hausse de 8,3% des dépenses moyennes des internautes, à 194,89 dollars.
Retailers are responding to the growing consumer appetite for online videos by adding them to their Websites both to differentiate themselves from competitors and to keep up with what consumers expect from their online shopping experience.
“Consumers rank other purchase decision-making tools, such as customer reviews, ahead of videos in importance,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Video E-Commerce: Innovative Models Drive Sales. “But that has not discouraged retailers from quickly adding videos to their sites. They find that videos boost sales conversion rates and reduce abandoned shopping cart and product return rates.”
The proportion of the top 50 US online retailers offering videos jumped 378% in 2009 over the year before, according to a Forrester Research study, “Online Retailers’ Adoption of Online Video Content Is Ahead of Consumers’ Preferences,” published in November 2009. Last year over two-thirds of the biggest online retailers hosted videos.
The adoption rate is poised to climb further, as revealed by a February 2010 Multichannel Merchant survey. Among the two-thirds of respondents who indicated they were planning a site redesign in the next 12 months, some 42.3% said they would add video to their site. That makes it the second-highest priority, well behind social media tools but ahead of other popular Website enhancements including customer reviews and personalized recommendations.
“Retailers are making the case that videos boost their sales conversion rate, a measure of the increase in the percentage of shoppers who make a purchase after viewing a product video,” said Mr. Grau. “Retailers also claim videos reduce shopping cart abandonment rates and lower product return rates.”
L’an dernier, Ogone a enregistré 6,9 millions d’achats sur des sites belges
BRUXELLES Environ 80 nouveaux magasins en ligne sont créés chaque mois en Belgique, indique la plate-forme de paiement Ogone mardi dans De Morgen. Il s’agit principalement de magasins existants qui franchissent le cap de l’internet. Grâce à l’offre croissante et à la possibilité de comparer les magasins entre eux, le secteur de l’e-commerce semble bien réagir face à la crise.
“Il s’agit surtout de petits magasins qui ont petit à petit estimé qu’il était bon d’être présent sur internet”, explique Pierre Willaert, directeur général d’Ogone, dont le système de paiement est utilisé par 85% des magasins belges en ligne. “Mais plusieurs grandes chaînes de magasins franchissent aussi le cap de la vente en ligne.”
L’an dernier, Ogone a enregistré 6,9 millions d’achats sur des sites belges, ce qui représente, malgré la crise économique, une augmentation de 42% par rapport à 2007. Les magasins belges en ligne ont dégagé un chiffre d’affaires total de 590 millions d’euros grâce à leurs activités en ligne.
It’s a relief to finally lay hands on the Nook. The dual-screen reader was just a prop at its unveiling so I’m happy to report it works (pretty) well. It can’t kill Kindle yet, but it’s an alternative worth considering.
A Two-Horse Race
Do this now: Disregard all other ebook readers on the market besides Nook and Kindle. Unless you plan to get all of your books from back-alley torrents, or stick to self-published and out-of-copyright PDFs, you are going to need a reader with a good content-delivery system, one it connects to directly via wide-area network. And as long as you’re set on e-ink as your preferred means of digital reading—and it’s still the choice that’s easiest on the eyes and the battery—you’re going to need a reader that isn’t crapped up with gimmicks that supposedly compensate for the slow display.
Sony messed up by putting a glare-inducing film over its screen to provide questionably beneficial touch controls; iRex avoided that, but made a “touch” interface that requires a stylus. Kindle plays it straight, developing a user interface that works well enough with physical buttons and e-ink (as long as you don’t use the “experimental” browser). Nook preserves the same pleasurable reading experience, but tucks in the capacitive-touch LCD screen for added control. In its 1.0 implementation, Nook is not as fast or as smooth as it should be, but already it’s showing that the second screen is not a gimmick.
Still, I need to get this out of the way: The second screen is not a sudden and miraculous cure for what ails ebook readers. It may prove to be, but B&N’s current implementation is conservative. As yet, there are too few occasions on the Nook when I notice an LCD feature and say “Kindle can’t do that.” In fact, the Kindle development team hasn’t been sitting on their asses—the latest firmware makes Kindle more sprightly than ever, with subtle but awesome user-interface improvements. But Barnes & Noble is itself promising round-the-clock enhancing, optimizing and debugging over the next few months, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were three or four updates pushed through the Nook by March—the first possibly before Christmas.
Does that mean it’s not ready now? Let me put it this way: If you are lucky enough to have pre-ordered one in the first wave for the Dec. 7 shipping, or patient enough to wait until mid-January for the next wave, you are going to get a gadget worth being excited about.
And when Barnes & Noble gets its in-store offers and book-lending operation underway, Amazon will have to step up, or sit down.
Big Screen, Little Screen
The first thing I noticed about the LCD was that it was too bright. E-ink is all about eyeball comfort, and I hadn’t really thought about how the LCD underneath would compromise that. Because you don’t want your eyes to have to adjust every time you look down and back up again, it turns out you want that thing a lot dimmer than you might if it was a standalone device. The automatic brightness adjuster isn’t really up to the job, but I found that by dialing it all the way down when reading in bed, and bumping it up a tad, like to 20%, when reading in sunlight, my eyes could look up and down without any annoyance.
The second thing I noticed about the LCD was how nice its keyboard was. Unlike the Kindle, the Nook’s keyboard is only visible when you need it, and as an iPhone user, I found it natural and accurate. The capacitive touch is a real boon, especially on a screen so small.
Besides the keyboard and assorted lists of settings and files, the little screen can display a directional pad for moving around text when highlighting or looking up words in the dictionary; it can give you a search box and a place to type notations; it can pop up the music player without leaving the page; it flows book covers in your library and in the store. And when the screen goes dark, you can make horizontal swipe gestures to turn the pages of the e-ink screen above.
Between the LCD and the e-ink screens is a little upside-down U, actually an “N” from the Nook’s logo. This is covered with a capacitive-touch layer too, and serves as the “home” button, which wakes up the LCD with a tap, and takes you to the home screen with a double-tap. (There are physical buttons, too: Two page-turn buttons on each side, and a power button on the top, which work as billed and have no hidden features.)
I found the capacitive interface to be handy, but it also revealed the bugginess of the early software. Scrolling could be sticky, tapping the home button or the screen occasionally did nothing, and using the directional pad to navigate text made me yearn for the Kindle’s physical mini-joystick. The biggest disappointment was the page-turning swipe gesture. It failed to work half the time I tried it, and when it did work, I noticed that it responded slower than pressing the physical page-turn buttons.
I raised all of these issues with Barnes & Noble, and fortunately they are on top of this. Fixing bugs and speeding up the UI are the primary goals for the first software revision, and I have no doubt that they will achieve their goals in due time, probably before most people can even buy their Nooks.
While U Read
The Nook won’t beat the Kindle if all that LCD is for is facilitating navigation—the interface isn’t a bad one, but in its current implementation, it’s just an alternative, not an upgrade. The way B&N will beat Amazon is by making that damn screen do crazy stuff. It should start by targeting people who read while doing 12 other things.
Me, I require concentration to get through a page, and even music is a distraction. But for some people, it’s not hard to read a book while jamming to tunes, periodically glancing at news tickers, and responding to email or text messages. This is the promise of Nook’s second screen.
It already does this to some extent. The music player isn’t much yet—and has a few kinks B&N is still working out, like automatically and unpleasantly alphabetizing all your songs—but it’s a real applet, unlike the Kindle’s. On the Kindle, you type Alt-Space to get a song to play, and you click F to advance to the next song. That’s about it. With the Nook, you can load up songs and then scroll through them all, picking one you want to hear, or shuffling the tracks. There’s no physical volume button, but you can pull up a slider to adjust it, and another slider to jump around a song. And you can do all of this without leaving the page of your book.
But when you look up a word in the dictionary, the definition pops up on the e-ink screen, not the LCD. When you get an error message, again, the pop-up is on the e-ink. Barnes & Noble designated the e-ink as the place where all “reading” would be done, and that includes messages and sidebar content. I disagree with this, if only because the second screen seems tailor-made for alerts and other pop-up info.
The second screen is also a place for third-party developers to create fun and unexpected applets. Barnes & Noble loves to remind reviewers and customers alike that this baby is powered by Android: In other words, Nook may not look like a Motorola Droid, but developers could write apps for it just as easily.
Right now, the integrated Wi-Fi doesn’t feel like much of a bonus. (Though it offers certain benefits when abroad, it only works with Wi-Fi networks that don’t require a pop-up webpage. Free or not, those are few and far between.) But Wi-Fi means that developers could write internet apps without fearing a crackdown by AT&T, which provides the no-fee wireless connectivity. Paging Pandora!
Built on Bricks and Mortar
When it comes to shopping for books (and reading them), the Nook is the Kindle’s equal, and may soon leverage Barnes & Noble’s 800 physical locations to knock it out of first place. I was not able to test these features, because they are only starting to roll out this week, but when you take a Nook to a B&N, it will automatically jump on the store’s Wi-Fi network, and offer you free goodies—not just downloads but cookies from the café and other treats. Soon, there will be a way to skim an entire ebook while you’re in the store, too. You might say, “Big deal, if I’m in the store, I’ll just look at the real book.” But that’s just the point: How nice will it be to compare real and ebook editions before you buy? I asked B&N about bundles of real book and digital download, and they said discussions with publishers are underway.
Needless to say, one of the biggest advantages the Nook has over the Kindle is the chance for people to touch it before buying it. B&N will start showing off Nooks this week, and will add a few more ebook readers to its lineup, too. People who were afraid of taking the plunge will see the benefits and buy.
(My pet theory as to why Sony and others have sold any ebook readers at all in the US is that they appear in retail locations, unlike Kindle. Because if anything but the Nook was showcased side-by-side with the Kindle in a showroom, the decision to go with Amazon would be easy.)
Barnes & Noble has adopted a more natural attitude toward the books they sell, too, allowing you to access what you buy via ebook readers on Macs and PCs, iPhones and BlackBerrys (and in a few months, Android phones) as well as the Nook. Amazon has an iPhone app but as yet there’s no way to read your Kindle book purchases on your own computer, and is now (finally) rolling out PC and Mac Kindle clients, as well as a BlackBerry app.
Speaking of Kindle downloads, some noise has been made about Kindle books being cheaper than B&N ebooks, but Barnes & Noble says that they are in the process of correcting their prices, basically evening them all out so that they’re no higher than Amazon’s. In my own experience, I found David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest for $10 and George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones for just $7. I was pretty pleased, though I was a tad annoyed that sales tax wasn’t included in the base price. Be warned there.
Lending is another non-Kindle function rolling out this week that I’ll be following up on. You select a book from your collection, lend it to someone listed in your Nook contacts, and they receive a message via email and on their Nook’s “Daily” screen, where periodicals, offers and other notices show up. When they accept, they can read the book for two weeks. During that time, you can’t read it, and when it reverts back to you, they get a notice to buy. You can’t lend the same book to the same person twice.
You can also lend books to someone who doesn’t have a Nook, to read on their computer or iPhone or BlackBerry, though the notification only comes from email. (Expect a radically redesigned iPhone client in January with lending and other features.) The new readers from iRex and Plastic Logic will include the Barnes & Noble store, and all your purchases will be accessible on those devices. However, at this point, those two devices won’t have the lending capability.
Work in Progress
If I haven’t said much about reading books on the Nook itself, it’s because it feels very much like a Kindle, right down to the page-turn buttons. The screen is the same—there’s no discernible difference whatsoever.
Aesthetically, the Nook is better looking, less busy, with a more proportionate bezel (and a wee bit more girth). I like the gray rubber backing as much as I loved in on the original Kindle—I still don’t know why Amazon abandoned that.
The only hardware bummer was the sound of the integrated speakers—Kindle beats Nook here (soundly?), but since both have a 3.5mm jack for headphones, it’s mostly a moot point.
The hardware is fully baked, but as I have mentioned the software isn’t. Aside from the stickiness of the interface and the flaws in the music player, I found a definite bug in the highlights-and-notes system. I have already listed a what feels like a hundred tiny gripes, but I still have more, like why isn’t there AAC playback? And why do I have to get to the home screen to see the clock? (Kindle now shows the time with a single tap of the Menu button, no matter where you are.) I do know why there’s no Audible DRM support—because even the devices that supposedly support Audible files don’t support the ones most people buy from iTunes, so it’s a confusing mess for customers. But I’d still expect the nation’s biggest bookstore chain to get serious about audiobooks.
The great thing is that the fixes will come fast and steady, and like the iPhone, this thing will grow. For those of you who took the plunge already, I don’t need to tell you to be careful with 1.0 software, because as early adopters you are prepared. And for those of you who missed out on the first batch, guess what? That just means you can wait for the key bugglies to get fixed before you pony up $259. And for those who went for the Kindle this season instead? Congratulations, you have a very nice ebook reader too—for exactly the same price.
In fact, if you have to pick one right now, stick with the Kindle. It’s a tough call, because I see a lot of potential in Nook that might not be in Kindle, but damn if the Kindle hasn’t grown to comfortably inhabit its e-ink skin. As long as you don’t expect apps and extras on a Kindle, it delivers the best ebook experience there is at this moment. And it just went international. But while the limitations of a Kindle are clear, the limitations of the Nook are hazier, presumably further out.
For now, no one will laugh at you for owning either, though you will now surely be ridiculed for spending $400 on a Sony with glare issues, or—pardon me, iRex—anything that requires a stylus. And since many third-party readers are going with the Barnes & Noble store, you’d be dumb to buy any of them instead of the Nook. That may change in the future (can you believe I made it this far without mentioning Apple Tablet?) but for now, in the ebook department, there’s just these two big dogs surrounded by a bunch of poodles.
Competition between companies and their affiliates is natural. Affiliates can be very effective at creating revenue-generating traffic through search so there’s an inherent tension in the system. See the main attitudes/policies with which merchants attempt to deal with this issue.
With the advent of search marketing came the problem of competition between companies and the affiliates with whom they have, hopefully, symbiotic relationships. It’s in an affiliate’s best interests to generate search traffic using the most alluring keyword terms, and these are often branded, including the company name itself. Merchants for their part generally want to take full advantage of those same terms and to avoid ‘paying twice’ for affiliate search-driven clicks that they feel would have come to them anyway based on the keyword.
At the same time, affiliates can be very effective at creating revenue-generating traffic through search (some merchants simply cede paid search to their affiliates) so there’s an inherent tension in the system.
Above we see the main attitudes/policies with which merchants attempt to deal with this issue. Interestingly, the number of them who completely reserves brand/trademarked terms has dropped in favor of more nuanced approaches:
Offering specific terms to affiliates. This solution carves off specific terms that aren’t obviously navigational (BestBuy, BestBuy.com, etc.) and allows some or all affiliates to use them in the search marketing.
Limiting terms to the elite. As we saw in figures 3.20 and 3.21, a small number of affiliates tend to produce the lion’s share of revenue, and these elites are given the right to use some or all trademarked/branded terms. Another advantage of this is that monitoring and oversight are somewhat easier.
Placing bid limits. This tactic attempts to reduce competition in the never ending auction for ad placement. This speaks to the efficiency of some affiliates, which have determined that they can make money at keyword prices higher than the merchant itself.
Free reign. For some, the decrease in ROI because of the affiliate ‘cut’ is balanced against affiliates overall success and the affiliates become the ersatz search marketing arm of the merchant.