Focus is Local

I’ve been reading lots of stories about Yahoo! vs. Google. No doubt the Clash of the Titans saga makes for good copy, and yes, of course there are folks within Yahoo who are fixated on Google.

But as yesterday’s earnings results show, Yahoo! is a lot more than search. I don’t sit in on other BUs strategy meetings, but I suspect they track the likes of Electronic Arts, Apple & Napster, AOL IM, eBay & Amazon, NBC & CNN, Hotmail, MSN, CNET, Monster, Match.com etc. — in these meetings, I bet Google doesn’t show up on the radar, or is a small blip at best.

Not long ago, Yahoo wasn’t in the search business. The depth and breadth of the offering a couple dozen months later, the favorable impression in the community, and the rapid innovation coming out of Yahoo Search is a testament to the people brought in to deliver on an executive vision. It wasn’t about competing with anyone, it was about becoming a major player in an important space. Now I see that same executive focus on data. I wasn’t at Yahoo two years ago, but I heard stories. In fact about a year ago, one of the employees inside Yahoo told me I should stay far away from “the data group” as it was a morass of confusion. A year later there are a lot of changes in the data group, largely driven by the same executive team that decided we needed to invest in search. It’s both energizing and draining to be a part of those changes.

SDS doesn’t directly compete with the data groups from the companies that Yahoo BUs compete with. But with the influx of folks from those other companies to Yahoo, when we visit them and tell them what we can offer them today and what the roadmap looks like, there’s universal feedback that SDS has a compelling story relative to the businesses they just came from – a roadmap that will allow all the BUs to run their businesses on data-driven analytics and insights. That’s why I keep going to work.

Focus is Local

Omniture Scores $40 Million

The Salt Lake Trib has the story.

A $40M investment, led by Bank of America Venture Partners. Hummer Winblad came in again. Valuation at least $200M post. They needed the cash .. number of employees tripled in the last 12 months and they intend to hit 600 in the next 12. If I assume $100K/year (loaded) per person, which is probably conservative even for Utah, that’s a $60M expense rate. Fortunately they are projecting $40M in sales, so assuming they can ramp sales, they can sustain the losses for a couple of years.

Interestingly enough, $40M is more than Accrue’s IPO.

Omniture Scores $40 Million

New Blog (and Book) on KPIs

Eric PetersonIt’s been said everyone has at least one book in them.

The irrepressible Eric Peterson, he of the self-published book as well as a (soon-to-be) published by O’Reilly book, has decided he needs to write another. In the spirit of information wanting to be free (and perhaps getting some early arrows that will sharpen the information), he’s posting his writing to a new blog.

Eric’s picked what I consider to be one of the hardest jobs in web analytics — defining and making sense out of key performance indicators.

New Blog (and Book) on KPIs

Direct and Indirect

MazeWi-Fi Planet, part of the Jupiter Media keiretsu, reports on a Jupiter Research study that claims municipal Wi-Fi (wireless) costs about US$150,000 per square mile over 5 years, and wouldn’t break even even if it charged users $25/month.

But .. not everything gets built to make money. Freeways are an example. They are considered enabling infrastructure. A municipality’s self-interest is improving the “way of life” for its citizens, and having access to services such as wi-fi certainly do that – first as a unique offering, later (as more cities offer it) as a defensive or “me too” offering. But they also build wi-fi to attract people with laptops, on the assumption that they have money to spend in the area. Maybe not every time they open their laptop. But eventually they learn about local restaurants, notice there’s a playhouse or theater, etc. Maybe with the character of the area changes subtly, attracting people to live there. Tax revenues increase.

If everything was always cut along profit & loss lines, there’d be no instant messenger services as we know them today. But Yahoo!, MSN and AOL consider IM a draw, a gateway if you will, into other services that do make money. Producing and maintaining an accurate multi-channel contribution model is tough .. it’s one of the things that SDS does today, and as you can imagine, plenty of business units have strong opinions on how much they should be credited for their contribution. So yeah, there’s a cost involved to build out infrastructure, and it’s worthwhile knowing what the cost is. But there’s more to infrastructure than just the direct cost.

Direct and Indirect

In The Dark

http://www.flickr.com/photos/suckamc/18101888/Harte-Hanks surveyed 1,000 companies and found that 71% of them want to monitor their web site for problems, but only 34% do. Also, 71% want tools to find the root of problem, but only 21% have them.

The survey was commissioned by Symphoniq, a provider of monitoring tools, who additionally note that more than 3/4 of the time, IT departments find out there’s a web site problem from users calling the help desk.

In The Dark

Satisfying Customers

ForeSee and FGI Research produced an insightful report called the Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index (pdf is available here). It looked at the top 40 eCommerce sites and used the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to scientifically measure (1.6 million users) how satisfied each retailer’s customers are. Here are the top dozen:

Website Score
Netflix.com 85
Amazon.com 84
QVC.com 84
Newegg.com 82
LLBean.com 82
OldNavy.com 81
TigerDirect.com 81
Apple.com 80
Avon.com 80
BN.com 80
Williams-Sonoma.com 80
HarryandDavid.com 80

They had some great takeaways, like

Don’t waste time and money driving people to your website if you haven’t maximized the browser experience.

Netflix Amazon

Netflix and Amazon have both been a couple of those “no brainer” destinations for a while now — known for their customer-friendly site and features, as well as innovative approaches to customer satisfaction. So it’s not surprising to see them at the top of the list.

What might surprise you is that Netflix’ original product manager of customer experience — who’s quite passionate about retailing and user experience, and scientifically proven (!) to be great at it — is available. Interested?

Satisfying Customers