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Blog

Email ROI still impressive, but falling

Figures released by the US Direct Marketing Association show email marketing is still delivering impressive ROI despite falls over the past two years.

According to the data, marketers will have spent around $500m (£244m) on email marketing to drive $23bn (£11.2bn) in sales by the end of 2007. That equates to $48.56 (£23.60) for every dollar spent.

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High profile sites hit by PageRank fall

A number of popular blogs and news sites have seen a sudden drop in their Google PageRank scores, with speculation suggesting that they are being punished by Google for paid linking.

The drops have hit blogs like Engadget and Search Engine Guide, as well as news sites including Forbes.com and the Washington Post.

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WPP buys another digital agency

WPP Group has acquired Blast Radius, an interactive agency based in Canada, for an undisclosed sum. 

Blast Radius, which employs 400 staff with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Amsterdam and London, has experience in building ad campaigns for social networks. It will be aligned with WPP's Wunderman network. 

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Facebook gets into bed with Microsoft

Microsoft has bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook for $240m - a deal that values the yet-to-be-profitable online hangout at $15bn and will not provide great reading for the founders of YouTube and MySpace.

The move will see an expansion of Microsoft’s existing ad partnership with the social networking site, through which it sells banner ads in the US.

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Google to buy Nielsen data for TV ads

Google has attempted to boost its ability to target TV ads by striking a deal to use detailed demographic data about TV audiences from Nielsen.

Nielsen's data covers TV viewers' ages, gender and marital status, and will be added to the information Google already gleans from set top boxes.

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Guardian launches US offering

The Guardian has launched a US-focused website in a bid to capitalise on the popularity of Guardian Unlimited across the Atlantic.

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Email open rates drop 3%

MailerMailer's latest Email Marketing Metrics Report (pdf) takes a look at open and clickthrough rates, the best days of the week to send emails and how personalisation and subject lines can affect open rates.

It finds that emails with subject lines of 35 characters or less are 28% more likely to be opened, and that open rates have declined overall so far this year.

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Interview with Philips online sales VP Gilles Domartini

Consumer electronics giant Philips has just launched a major redesign of its consumer website to improve usability and help shoppers “fully experience and interact with products as though they were right in front of them.”

The firm says it’s its biggest upgrade for three years. New features include a Google Maps mashup showing the location of retailers' outlets, as well as tools to allow greater interactivity on product pages. Philips also deployed technology to improve communication with retailers about stock availability and lead generation.

We spoke to Gilles Domartini, Philips Consumer Electronics’ VP & GM of online sales and marketing, to find out a bit more about how the company's e-commerce strategy is changing as brands seek to interact more closely with consumers.

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Online returns processes could be improved - study

A quarter of online retailers could be affecting their customers' loyalty by failing to provide information about how they can return unwanted purchases, according to a new study.

E-commerce solution provider Snow Valley assessed 70 UK e-commerce companies and found that a sizeable minority didn’t provide decent directions about how to send purchases back.

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Adsense coming to Facebook?

Google is apparently looking to tap into the Facebook widget ‘phenomenon’ by serving Adsense ads on third-party applications created for the site.

Steve Rubel has linked to an article in AdAge that quotes Google CEO Eric Schmidt as saying:

“How will those developers get paid for those services? We would like to have our ads in those applications.”

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Men dominate web design jobs - survey

A survey of 33,000 web professionals by A List Apart has come up with some interesting findings on the make-up and morale of the web design industry.

Unsurprisingly, the research reveals that the average web designer is white, aged between 25 and 32 and likely to be male.

Among the respondents, only 14.3% of creative directors or art directors and 12.6% of web directors were female.

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Mothercare launches social network

Mothercare has launched an online community for parents in a bid to boost its online sales.

Gurgle.com, as it is called, is a joint venture between the retailer and MediaBurn, a digital marketing company focusing on social networking sites.

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