Killer Content: Strategies for Web Content and E-Commerce

Killer Content: Strategies for Web Content and E-Commerce

by Mai-Lan Tomsen

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780201710786
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional
Publication date: 04/07/2000
Edition description: CUSTOM

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE: It occurred to me one day, as I was reading the morning news online, that I had turned into quite the creature of habit on the Internet. This surprised me. I always thought that I would be the first one to try something new on the Web. I am what analysts call "a technology optimist," which is just another way of saying that I'm prone to trying out the latest cool digital toy or service.

My interest started back in the early days of e-commerce when I worked on the first versions of Microsoft's Site Server Commerce Edition. I have used the Internet for at least one hour a day since 1995. I hand over my credit card to online merchants on a regular basis for books, airline tickets, pet supplies, and far too many plants for my city garden. I have come close to but have not quite arrived at using digital subscriber lines (DSLs) for high-speed Internet access from home. And, when our 1990 Honda Civic hatchback finally sputters to a halt, we will probably buy our next car online. Yet despite my familiarity with the Internet, I do not idly browse for new content or sites. No, I actively use the Web in what I realized is a structured manner.

I use it for two purposes. My first goal is to increase my free time by truncating the effort involved in household errands such as buying food for the pets. My second objective is to maximize my ability to understand the world around me, both in personal and professional terms. Underpinning both reasons is the assumption that I can find what I need quickly and easily through a Web site. If I can't, I move on to another site that gives me what I want in price, selection, information, or service. No ambiguity about it. Idon't have time to spend on out-of-date information, slow online services, or byzantine page flows through a Web site. So I don't return—or at least I have never returned—to a Web site that doesn't immediately provide me with enough value for my time and money.

I am part of a Web community of experienced Net users. We want more than just a good price and three-day delivery. We're looking for a user-centric experience. When I visit a Web site, I'm subconsciously thinking, "In exchange for my time and potentially my money, I want content and services that are relevant to me." We are part of a growing trend among Net users who look for something beyond price point or brand in our Web-browsing experiences.

This book is a primer for Internet content business models that address Net users' demand for additional value and services. In Part One: Concepts, I explore the definition and real-world implementations of value exchange, premium content and services, and the emergent value exchange selling and payment models on the Web. As new business models develop, the line between content and commerce blurs. Merchandizing content allows publishers—companies and organizations that have, or plan to set up, their own Web sites—to explore new revenue streams generated by their core competencies.

Part Two: Strategies focuses on what Web publishers can do to enhance and monetize value exchange. These strategies help publishers evaluate the practical steps for implementing added services for their own Web sites. Taken as a whole, this discussion looks beyond the world of retail transactions to an Internet economy where a Web publisher's "product" can be a book, an auction environment, an expert opinion, or an Internet radio broadcast.

This book has two audiences. On one hand, I provide content and commerce Web site publishers with concepts and strategies to help improve business-critical conversion rates (i.e., the rate at which a casual visitor becomes a loyal visitor, a loyal visitor turns into a first-time buyer, or a first-time buyer becomes a repeat customer). There's always talk about the next Internet "killer app"—a concept or product that has a revolutionary impact on the online world. The first commercial browser was a killer app, as was e-mail. Improved and monetized content— a site-specific concept that galvanizes the growth of revenue and traffic—constitutes a killer app in its own right. "Killer content" satisfies the goals and objectives of visitors in exchange for loyalty or buying power. This value exchange between publisher and visitor drives conversion rates and viable business models for the Web. Without the ability to enable and monetize successful value exchange, Web sites bleed money without gaining the Net user base on which to build advertising and commerce revenue.

This book is also for Net users who are interested in learning about new types of Web content and commerce. As premium content and services become more available, Net users leverage the different types of value exchange to make the Internet more valuable at work and play. An enhanced awareness of high-quality content and services for users might galvanize a switch to a Web site that offers personalized profiles for quicker purchasing, a bid in an online auction, or a first purchase of premium content.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, says in his essay "The World Wide Web: A Very Short Personal History" that "the dream behind the Web . . . is dependant on the Web being so generally used that it becomes a realistic mirror or in fact the primary embodiment of the ways in which we work and play and socialize" (7 May 1998, www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/ShortHistory.html). For Net users, the value lies in "milking" Web sites for maximum benefit, whether it's a live broadcast feed of the ball game or insight into the hidden charm of an undervalued stock. This book illustrates the ways that the Web is evolving toward that "realistic mirror" that Berners-Lee prophesies.

Table of Contents

List of Sidebars.
Foreword.
Preface.
Acknowledgments.

I. CONCEPTS.

1. Content Value Exchange.
Concepts and Strategies.
The Need for Value.
The Dilution of Loyalty.
Early Examples of Value Exchanges.
Net User Value Exchange 10

Business-to-Business Value Exchange 14

Common Success Factors.

Net Browsers and Net Buyers.
Summary.

2. The Role of Relevance.
Free and Premium Content in Action.
High Value Content Exchange: TheStreet.com.
Premium Content.
Lessons Learned from TheStreet.com.

Retail Value Exchange.
Perils of Single-Dimension Value Exchange.
Diversifying Value Exchange.

Information Value Exchange.
Poor Value Content Exchange: International Herald Tribune
New Media “Cannibalization<170.
Media Cannibalization in the Retail World.
Building Brands through Value Exchange.

Summary.

3. Value Exchange Variations.
Categories of Value Exchange.
Promotional Value Exchange.
Commerce Value Exchange.
Net User Goals and Expectations.
The Dangers of Single-Dimension Value Exchange.
The Problem with Priceline.com.

Content ValueExchange.
Networks and Portals.
Evolution of Network Content Value Exchange.
Vertical Portals (Vortals).
Relevance in Content Value Exchange.
Information without Usability 57


Entertainment Value Exchange.
The Role of Bandwidth.
Broadcasting and Integrated Entertainment.
The Music Revolution.

Summary.

4. Diversification of Revenue.
An Evolution Underway.
Monetizing Commerce Exchange.
Negotiated Pricing by Auction.
Fulfilling Payment in an Auction Exchange.
Consumer Merchandizing.

Monetizing Content and Entertainment Exchange.
Early Failures at Content Commerce.
Advertising.
Syndication.
Pay per Access.
Subscription.
Secure Distribution.

Summary.

II. STRATEGIES.


Picking the Right Strategy for Your Site.
5. Supporting User Experience.
Provide Membership.
Acquiring Information for Lost Passwords.
Web Site Cookies.
Acquiring Information for Marketing Products.

Personalize the User Experience.
Support Users.
Communicate via Community.
Net User Communication Forums.
Fantasy-based Communities.

Reward Net Users.
Market Effectively 122

Advertising with Banners and Buttons.
Direct E-mail Marketing.

Set Up Smart Affiliate Relationships.
Portal-to-Portal Affiliate Relationships.
Site-to-Site Affiliate Programs.
Affiliation by Content.

Summary.
Designing Web Information Structure.
Use Consistent and Clear Navigation.
Web Page Templates.
Site Search Utilities.

Support Personalization.
Personalizing Content.
Using Personalization Engines.

Streamline Form-based Processes.
Accept Major Credit Cards.
Handling Payments without a Credit Card.
Standardize Forms.
XML in Web-based Information Exchange.

Practice Open Disclosure.
Privacy Rights of Children.
Posting Policy Statements.
Privacy Statements.
Third-Party Seals.

Use Appropriate Digital Rights Management.
Secure Distribution.
Digital Watermarking.

Summary.
Facilitating Web Site Processes.
Elements of a Process Infrastructure.
Understand Content and E-commerce Solutions.
Catalog Solutions.
Process Solutions.
Application Solutions.

Manage Process Relationships Effectively.
Content Management Cycle.
Automating Workflows.

Take Advantage of Business Intelligence.
Develop Scalable Affiliate and Syndication Management Programs.
Affiliate Program Management.
Syndication Management.

Summary.
Epilogue.
Glossary.
Bibliography.
Index.

What People are Saying About This

Jeremy Allaire

Killer Content will help e-business decision makers wrap their heads around the new roles and models driving the Internet economy. Rather than focusing on glitzy strategies for online selling, Mai-lan dissects and explains the real foundations that are driving next-generation business models on the Net, and gives the reader an implementation blueprint based on best practices. (Jeremy Allaire, CTO of Allaire Corporation)

William Radcliffe

This book is an excellent primer on competitive business strategies for providing value to your customer on the Web. If you're new to the world of e-commerce, or looking to expand on an existing set of Web-based business strategies, this book is for you. (William T. Radcliffe, Director of Technology, Corbis)

Preface

It occurred to me one day, as I was reading the morning news online, that I had turned into quite the creature of habit on the Internet. This surprised me. I always thought that I would be the first one to try something new on the Web. I am what analysts call "a technology optimist," which is just another way of saying that I'm prone to trying out the latest cool digital toy or service.

My interest started back in the early days of e-commerce when I worked on the first versions of Microsoft's Site Server Commerce Edition. I have used the Internet for at least one hour a day since 1995. I hand over my credit card to online merchants on a regular basis for books, airline tickets, pet supplies, and far too many plants for my city garden. I have come close to but have not quite arrived at using digital subscriber lines (DSLs) for high-speed Internet access from home. And, when our 1990 Honda Civic hatchback finally sputters to a halt, we will probably buy our next car online. Yet despite my familiarity with the Internet, I do not idly browse for new content or sites. No, I actively use the Web in what I realized is a structured manner.

I use it for two purposes. My first goal is to increase my free time by truncating the effort involved in household errands such as buying food for the pets. My second objective is to maximize my ability to understand the world around me, both in personal and professional terms. Underpinning both reasons is the assumption that I can find what I need quickly and easily through a Web site. If I can't, I move on to another site that gives me what I want in price, selection, information, or service. No ambiguity about it. I don't have time to spendon out-of-date information, slow online services, or byzantine page flows through a Web site. So I don't return--or at least I have never returned--to a Web site that doesn't immediately provide me with enough value for my time and money.

I am part of a Web community of experienced Net users. We want more than just a good price and three-day delivery. We're looking for a user-centric experience. When I visit a Web site, I'm subconsciously thinking, "In exchange for my time and potentially my money, I want content and services that are relevant to me." We are part of a growing trend among Net users who look for something beyond price point or brand in our Web-browsing experiences.

This book is a primer for Internet content business models that address Net users' demand for additional value and services. In Part One: Concepts, I explore the definition and real-world implementations of value exchange, premium content and services, and the emergent value exchange selling and payment models on the Web. As new business models develop, the line between content and commerce blurs. Merchandizing content allows publishers--companies and organizations that have, or plan to set up, their own Web sites--to explore new revenue streams generated by their core competencies.

Part Two: Strategies focuses on what Web publishers can do to enhance and monetize value exchange. These strategies help publishers evaluate the practical steps for implementing added services for their own Web sites. Taken as a whole, this discussion looks beyond the world of retail transactions to an Internet economy where a Web publisher's "product" can be a book, an auction environment, an expert opinion, or an Internet radio broadcast.

This book has two audiences. On one hand, I provide content and commerce Web site publishers with concepts and strategies to help improve business-critical conversion rates (i.e., the rate at which a casual visitor becomes a loyal visitor, a loyal visitor turns into a first-time buyer, or a first-time buyer becomes a repeat customer). There's always talk about the next Internet "killer app"--a concept or product that has a revolutionary impact on the online world. The first commercial browser was a killer app, as was e-mail. Improved and monetized content-- a site-specific concept that galvanizes the growth of revenue and traffic--constitutes a killer app in its own right. "Killer content" satisfies the goals and objectives of visitors in exchange for loyalty or buying power. This value exchange between publisher and visitor drives conversion rates and viable business models for the Web. Without the ability to enable and monetize successful value exchange, Web sites bleed money without gaining the Net user base on which to build advertising and commerce revenue.

This book is also for Net users who are interested in learning about new types of Web content and commerce. As premium content and services become more available, Net users leverage the different types of value exchange to make the Internet more valuable at work and play. An enhanced awareness of high-quality content and services for users might galvanize a switch to a Web site that offers personalized profiles for quicker purchasing, a bid in an online auction, or a first purchase of premium content.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, says in his essay "The World Wide Web: A Very Short Personal History" that "the dream behind the Web . . . is dependant on the Web being so generally used that it becomes a realistic mirror or in fact the primary embodiment of the ways in which we work and play and socialize" (7 May 1998, ). For Net users, the value lies in "milking" Web sites for maximum benefit, whether it's a live broadcast feed of the ball game or insight into the hidden charm of an undervalued stock. This book illustrates the ways that the Web is evolving toward that "realistic mirror" that Berners-Lee prophesies.

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