Sunday, December 14, 2008

Click: Unexpected Insights for Business and Life

Click is an insightful well written book that gives us a window into the world of online data research. Click was written by Bill Tancer who is a researcher at Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence company. Bill analyzes the data of what people do on the internet. Hitwise has one of the largest samples of aggregate internet behavior data. It’s hard to think of online data research as exciting, but this book will open eyes as to how interesting and important it really is. We used to tell our secrets to our friends or maybe our hairstylist, now our closest confidants are Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Tracking what people are doing on the internet tells us a lot about the people. The book is part business and part social trends. Internet behavioral data is explained and how it can be used by advertisers and marketers. Social behavioral trends are also looked at which can really give us insight on what matters to people.
The Main Points
How data is gathered and measured is changing. We used to rely heavily on surveys and polls to tell us what people thought about different things. This has proven only somewhat effective. While taking surveys we are limited by sample size, cost, and cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance, for these purposes, is basically that we may tell people what we want to be true, or if we do not feel good about a particular behavior we may skew what we really do. We never lie to Google though. We can use sample sizes in the millions at little cost, and there is no lag time between the event and the gathering of the data. We can get answers almost immediately. By following click streams and looking at the demographics of who is searching for what we can learn a lot as a marketer.
We can also learn a lot about people in general. The best way to figure out what people are thinking about is to figure out what they are searching for through search engines. We are more likely to ask a search engine how to overcome our true fears than we are to admit to someone our true fears. When a celebrity dies of lung cancer do we work harder or try more to quit smoking? All of this can be gleaned by looking at what we are searching for and when we are searching for it.
It’s not only important to know what people are asking or looking for, but who is doing the looking and what behaviors they are exhibiting as they move though the click stream. Are people clicking through to something else? What exactly are they looking for? Where the people come from is important to know as well when trying to understand trends. Are they from a rural area or an urban one? Even economic status should be looked at. Low income rural males my exhibit different behavior patterns than middle income urban males. The author also looks at the different types of people and what behavior patterns they show, such as the early adopters as opposed to the early majority. If we can determine who the early adopters are and what they are looking at or doing we may be able to better predict what the next big trend is going to be.
Click is a book that will appeal to a broad audience. People in the business world will appreciate it and gain insight in how they advertise and how effective their marketing is. Casual readers will be interested in the social behavioral trends and will enjoy the examples and stories. Click was a difficult book to put down. It draws you in with all of this amazing information. After reading this book it’s hard to see how any business would be able to compete for long without paying serious attention to online data research. Our minds, our fears, our wants, our needs, all told though the click of a mouse. Bill Tancer said it best “If you want to understand the new connected world and how we choose to live in it, look no further than our Internet behavior; after all, we are what we click.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008


This book is a very good book for those who want to get their present business or a future business on to the web. He explains how to appeal to the “crowd”. If you can achieve this then you will have a successful business. He even explains how to get the funding to start up the business online, such as lenders to go to and what to do to get them to invest. The book is a fairly easy read; there are chapter summaries at the end that help with recap, or quick referencing. Goosen has a lot of experience in this field, so you know you are getting accurate and good advice. He has helped many get their businesses started on line. He has really good examples in the book of actual companies, and they have used the concepts in the book, and how it helped them. If you are looking to start a business online, or just a business, but also having a website, through which you use e-commerce, I would highly suggest this book.
Definitely the user’s guide to starting a business online!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How to Make Money with MySpace

How to Make Money with Myspace accurately describes the process of setting up a Myspace account, and then how to manipulate it in order to market your current business. From first glance, this book looks very appealing to those that are like myself, who are on Myspace a great deal of time. Myspace has become a networking website in which you can find old classmates, friends, and network with people who share similar interests as yourself. Myspace has also become a place in which many businesses promote their services and products that they sell. Notice how I used the word “promote” because it is illegal under Myspace rules to physically sell any services or products on the website unless in the specified categories. So as a small business owner like myself, this book caught my eye for the fact that I figured it would teach me how to promote my small business through Myspace and enable me to become more profitable not only here in Colorado, but around the world.

Personally, I see this book as being more of an informative, instructional, and step-by-step type of book. It’s informative for the fact that it informs the reader on how to create his or her own personal Myspace. It’s an instructional and an step-by-step book in the sense that it goes from telling you how to register yourself for a Myspace account, to teaching you how to add music, videos, and advertisements to your Myspace. It goes as far as telling you how to choose who to add as your friends and who to ignore, and how to promote your business in a number of different ways through Myspace. Similar books to this book by Prince include, How to Make Money using Facebook, How to Make Money with your Blog, and Myspace Marketing. I feel these are all similar to this book for the fact that they are all beginners books in making money by marketing your business through internet networking websites. But as far as competitive books, I did not come across any who directly impose a threat to Prince’s book because his is really the only book who goes step-by-step in how to create your own and market your own Myspace page.

This book overall is a great source if you are new to the Myspace community. Prince starts the book off with introducing the aspect of why it is important to market your business on Myspace. The first half of the book goes through how marketing on Myspace can improve the success of your business, but at the same time, it can destroy your businesses reputation if marketed wrongly. Prince goes into great detail about the biggest importance of creating a Myspace page, and that is making sure that your home page is not too cluttered and not too flashy. He explains that with making your home page too cluttered, it will take longer to download on most computers and rule of thumb is, if it takes longer than fifteen seconds to upload most lookers will just pass your page. The other rule of thumb is that if your home page is too flashy, it can detour lookers because the bright colors can “burn” one’s eyes. Both aspects are important in keeping visitors plentiful and making sure that they return more than just once.

After his discussion on the importance of your home page, Prince goes into detail over the next few chapters on how to customize your page to your liking. It’s important to be yourself, after all, that’s the main point of Myspace. But being too much of yourself can hurt your page and the marketing of your business. So Prince puts a limit on how much you should personalize your page and describes how to make your page appeal to the average Myspace user. If you’re already a Myspace user, these chapters are virtually useless but again, I feel like this book was meant for beginners. The remaining half of the book goes into detail on how to select your friends and begin the marketing of your business through Myspace. Prince tells that by choosing the wrong “type of friends” can actually hurt the marketing of your business. Though it is wrong to discriminate based off of one’s looks, personality, and their own Myspace page, he says it’s imperative because the wrong friends can attract the wrong crowd, as well as detour the right crowd. I believe Prince wrote this book to inform beginners how to create their own Myspace and how to successfully market their already formed business on Myspace. Again, this book definitely gives off the vibe that it was written for beginners and not for experienced users, and definitely for those who already have a business intact, not someone who is in the works of creating a business.

The biggest weakness of this book in my opinion was non-the-less, the title. It fooled someone like myself who was looking for a book on how to effectively promote their small or large business on Myspace. Rather, it was a book intended for Myspace beginners and how to effectively customize your own page to your own liking. Other than the misleading title, I felt the book was overall still a well written book. The pros definitely out weight the cons of this book. From a beginners mindset, the book was very informative on how to create your own Myspace page. It was very instructful on how to customize your page to your own liking, to your businesses liking, and how to customize it around promoting your business. Finally, it promotes the usage of marketing your business through the internet which ultimately, can help your business grow.

Finally, I would definitely recommend this book to others. But before recommending it, I would definitely make it a point that they knew that it’s a book for beginners and not novice users of Myspace. The book is very informative in how to create your own Myspace page, how to customize it around your own personal likings and your businesses needs, and finally how to promote your business online. However, if the person I was recommending this book to was a novice with the internet, especially Myspace, I would not recommend this book. If I had to grade it, five stars being the best it could receive, I would rate this book at only two stars.