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.

Econsultancy’s solution to EU e-Privacy Directive compliance

EU privacy directiveThere has been a huge amount of interest within the Econsultancy community around the EU e-Privacy Directive, sometimes rather misleadingly referred to as the ‘EU Cookie Law’ (as it doesn’t just apply to cookies). This is not surprising as the deadline for compliance with the directive in the UK is May 26th so less than two months away. 

People have been asking "So what is Econsultancy going to do on its site?", and "What do you think is best practice?", and "Will Econsultancy.com be compliant?". Today we have set live our ‘solution’. 

(UPDATE, 18 April 2012: Our new report, The EU Cookie Law: A Guide to Compliance, explains the legislation as far as it affects UK online businesses, sets out some practical steps that you can take towards compliance, and includes examples of how websites can gain users’ consent for setting cookies. Do check it out.)

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Cookie compliance: Econsultancy analyses the latest ICO guidance

I’ve been on record a number of times saying that I think the EC Directives relating to cookies are fundamentally flawed. We could make a parallel with the current UK/EU Euro ‘situation’ but let’s not go there. In the UK the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a duty to enforce these directives and, as they say, “This isn’t going away. It’s the law.”

Yesterday the ICO released its updated guidance for UK website owners. You can download the PDF from the link in the news release. 

Given the tough task of interpretation, guidance and enforcement that is the ICO’s duty, I have to say that I think this document is a valiant and comprehensive effort given the task and I’d commend them for this. I would urge you to read it for the full details. It is clearly written and quite practical.

Below are some of my initial thoughts on reading this latest guidance.

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Future of Digital Marketing

“Brand Everywhere” – the next big thing in digital marketing?

At Econsultancy’s 2010 ‘Future of Digital Marketing’ conference the main emerging theme was ‘Data is the new oil’. At the 2011 conference, held two days ago in London, for me the main theme is what I’m calling “Brand Everywhere”. 

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17 digital marketing trends for 2011, by Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein

Following are my personal views on what will be interesting and important in the world of digital marketing and e-commerce for 2011. 

I haven’t given extensive justification for any of these. It’s just what I feel to be likely from my many conversations with industry influencers.

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts, or feel free to post a link to your own predictions.  

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What are we to make of The Times paywall figures?

Yesterday News International announced that “the new digital products for The Times and The Sunday Times have achieved more than 105,000 paid-for customer sales to date." So are these figures good or not? Should other media companies be encouraged by these initial results from Rupert’s great experiment?

I’ve frequently been on record in the past, including on Channel 4 News, saying that I didn’t think Murdoch’s paywall plans were the right way forwards. So should I now be eating humble pie, given that the data and results are now public?

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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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