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Author: Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein

I started out working in digital TV and multimedia production. I then worked at the Financial Times on arguably the first commercial application of Video on Demand (1996) before getting involved with FT.com as a Producer / Project Manager.

In 1997 I moved to digital communications agency Wheel as the third person in the then 'internet team'. I went through the dotcom boom, seeing Wheel grow from 30 people to 450 in just 3 years, and was involved in launching sites for M&S, Abbey National, IPC Magazines, Autoglass, Channel 5, AMP etc.

Following the dotcom crash (which saw Wheel shrink back to a more modest 90 or so staff) I left and spent a very pleasant sabbatical year writing my second book in the South of France. I then returned to the UK and from June 2002 I have been running Econsultancy full time.

Death to 'social media' and seven other crazy ideas

I keep meaning to contribute more to this (our) blog. Perhaps Twitter has made a full blog article feel too daunting. And yet 140 characters doesn’t give enough room to properly vent a view.

So I’m experimenting with a format somewhere between a blog and a tweet (a bleet - cue goat image) to catch up with various things I’ve been meaning to write about recently. 

Let me know your thoughts on my thoughts and perhaps I can expand on any bleet you feel deserves it. In no particular order…

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The “unbundling” of the shopping experience across channels: implications for retailers

Do you remember when “unbundling” hit the travel sector? Popularised, maybe even invented, by the likes of Expedia and lastminute.com, the internet allowed customers to create their own ‘custom’ travel experience by breaking down the components, like flights, hotels, car hire and so on, into discrete elements which the customer then configured. 

I think the same is happening to the retail shopping experience. And, if I’m right, there are some very considerable implications for retailers and those that play in the retail chain.

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Is social media a threat to paid search?

Is social media a threat to paid search?For a while now people have been speculating whether ‘social media’ sites, in particular Twitter, pose a threat to Google search as people increasingly choose to ask their network for help rather than search.

I can see this happening in a small way but it is certainly nothing like a Google killer.

However, based in part on our own experience, I have been wondering increasingly how social media could impact negatively on paid search spend, which might be some cause for concern at the search engines?

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Five killer tips for successful paid content businesses

There has been a lot of talk about publishing business models related to paid content. We understand this space pretty well, given that Econsultancy has been operating a ‘freemium’ model successfully for over 10 years now.

But rather than talk about our business model, I wanted to give five tips from my own experience on what I believe is important, and what works, in order to be successful at selling content online.

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How many iPhone users does your website get?

So how big a deal is iPhone adoption? Is it all about the apps? Or are increasing numbers of iPhone users using your website, just on their phones? 

I took a quick look at the stats for Econsultancy.com...

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Two ideas to solve two problems – paid content and multi-channel marketing

Two ideas to solve two problems – paid content and multi-channel marketingAs you are no doubt aware, the newspaper industry, and the publishing industry more broadly, are scratching their collective heads about how to transition their business models to the web. How to avoid offline pounds evaporating into online pennies. How to charge for content.

And, if you’ve ever had anything to do with measurement and analytics, you’ll also know how hard it is to measure marketing effectiveness across multiple channels in order to optimise the mix and maximise effectiveness of spend.

But don’t fear. I have two ideas….

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Traffic and Audience Measurement - what free tools do you use?

Econsultancy Compete profileI'd be interested to hear what free tools and services people use to gauge levels of traffic and the nature of the audience to any website? 

Obviously this information is useful for competitive intelligence, media planning and buying, search optimisiation, online PR, affiliate marketing etc. 

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Econsultancy Site Migration and SEO Impact - the story so far

Site Migration and SEO impactOn 14 December 2008 we relaunched the Econsultancy.com site. This involved a subtle name change (“E-consultancy” became “Econsultancy”), a new logo, a completely new look site with a new directory structure, a new URL, on servers in a different country. We had to migrate 10,000s of pages, deleted a load of old ones, and created 10,000s of new ones.

The background to all this is explained in my interview about the new Econsultancy site – and question 9, about the SEO impact of this large change, is the subject of this post. What has happened to our previously excellent search rankings since the changeover?

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New metrics and business models for digital publishing - selling outcomes not inputs?

New metrics and business models for publishersAre publishers using outdated metrics? How should they be innovating and reinventing their business models?

Understandably there has been much debate of late around publishing business models. The rise of the internet, compounded by the global economic woes, are making it increasingly hard to see where the money is in publishing and media going forwards.

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What in-store retailing can teach us about how to sell better online

I recently attended an event in Amsterdam which gathered together senior etailers from across Europe (kindly sponsored by Fredhopper – I owe them at least that plug…).

For me the most fascinating talk was by the VP Merchandising & Buying at a major European multi-channel retailer. It reminded me just how much we still have to learn about how online selling works, and how much we can apply from offline.

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Just how much of the customer journey will Google own?

Google's stated mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful".

The genius of this statement is that it sounds quite innocuous, indeed philanthropic, despite its obvious grand ambition, but actually allows pretty much anything within its scope.

It is interesting to see just how much of the online customer journey (from search, to research, to purchase) Google is taking hold of. Will we all end up as "wholesalers" to Google's customers?

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Can offline marketing and advertising help you save money in digital marketing?

We know that offline marketing and advertising drives demand that can be captured, and monetised, online. The correlation between TV advertising and paid search performance, for example, has been much discussed; and direct mail, or catalogues, drive online sales.

But do you know of any examples where the cost of offline marketing or advertising has been more than offset by the savings in the online marketing?

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