Posts tagged ‘owen frager’

Using kiosks in your marketing mix – and a Vertisi response

Just a quick update on my opinion on Vertisi and its potential (regarding this post here where I described Rick Schwartz introducing the new product at TRAFFIC). My intent was not to doubt the utility of the product, it was just to call attention to the fact that the technology has been there for a few years.

Owen Frager tracked back to my original post in his column today entitled “Rick Schwartz’s Vertisi- Not As Dumb As You Think“.  With regards to the product’s usefulness, I do believe it is right up there with advances in retail or point-of-presence businesses like the now pervasive gift card [there is a reason that nearly every supermarket now has a rotating display cross-promoting gift cards for other companies right at the point of sale].

I believe that kiosks–or in the case of Vertisi, the “kiosk-less kiosk”–provide a natural integration between the online and offline. In fact, I had visions of an integrated network of kiosks when I founded a “universal gift registry concept for online and offline merchants” circa 2000 [no longer operational]. Also, you only have to look back at the writing that Chris Anderson did on his research into The Long Tail to see how it would benefit someone like HMV or Barnes & Noble to expand their physical inventory by dedicating a percentage of their physical store space to a kiosk promoting additional inventory.

I also think that Vertisi as a design concept is very sound (why invest in a whole Kiosk, when you can turn your display case itself into a kiosk with a strategically positioned projector). I’ve had some conversations with Vancouver-based ePortSystems and while their kiosk is very striking, takes up little footprint, and provides a value-add for any partner who uses it in their facility–it obviously makes sense that if you can provide the same functionality without having the kiosk at all (and probably be more cost effective in the long-run as well). Though, with something like the unite promoted by ePortSystems, a Castello Brothers Kiosk (or a kiosk promoting Kevin Ham’s Vancouver.com in my own backyard) strategically positioned in a local hotel or tourist makes a lot of sense. Imagine a kiosk in a Palm Springs hotel with a big PalmSprings.com graphic front and center, allowing all those who use the kiosk to browse restaurants nearby and book their reservation for dinner (using an affiliate relationship with OpenTable). Such a presence can not only generte revenue for the location, for the kiosk owner, and the services being promoted, but the value of branding for the person that wraps the kiosk itself cannot be ignored [though it is harder to measure].

In any case, do I think that Vertisi is a revolutionary product? Not in the sense that it is not the first, but could it be the start of a revolution for retail as more and more wake up to the fact that they have an easy opportunity to integrate their online and offline marketing channels (and grow their revenues in the process)? Absolutely.

June 5, 2008 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

Rick Shwartz’ “Vertisi” Interactive Display Advertising

Down in Orlando this week is the Targeted Traffic Show, put on by the Domain King himself, Rick Schwartz. Prior to the conference, Rick promised attendees a revolutionary new product that he expects to be the “next big thing”.

Ron Jackson in his Daily Lowdown of the TRAFFIC conference reported,

“[It] was unveiled right after lunch and the product – dubbed Vertisi – did indeed appear to be a show stopper. Vertisi allows you to lay a piece of film over any piece of glass and that layer of film becomes an interactive touch sensitive display that can be used for anything from store displays to public Internet access available from any surface the film is applied to. A projection unit casts the interactive image on the film. Schwartz has bought 10% of the company and has an option on another 13%. The live demo of Vertisi pulled a shoulder to shoulder capacity crowd into the conference room where it was unveiled.”

Now I am not sure why it was a show stopper, nor do I understand why Owen Frager, someone whom I respect a great deal and is someone who truly “gets it”, would paraphrase Jackson on his blog with the sensational headline of “Schwartz Launches Next Revolution at Traffic“.

From what I understand, this technology has been around for a couple of years now. It looks like Vertisi signed a deal with Portuguese-based Displax back in 2006 according to archived pages on the Vertisi website.

Displax was featured in the 2006 Best Business Ideas by CoolBusinessIdeas.com with the following description:

Displax® projects itself in a transparent, holographic display, with high definition, visible at daylight, captures the customers attention, bonds with the reality of the business of any kind of organization and has customized sizes, witch allows its placement in window stores of banks or telecommunications store, with the certainty that, whoever passes by, will not be indifferent to it. It has a great impact! Displax® – Interactive window will be released in three versions. Displax® Interactive is the solution that allows people to interact with a projected multimedia application, just pressing the display with a finger. Displax® – Network allows managing displays placed in any location of the world, in a remote and central way. Displax® – Show allows you to present, in an innovative way, the products in a display, set in a window-store or inside the shop.

But perhaps this is just another example that those of us who are fully immersed in the next, “new, new thing” always think that everyone is already where we are. Case in point, I was having a conversation about domain names in a general networking session the other day and someone asked me “what a domain was?” [Honest!]. When I got over my shock, showed him the “.com” on my business card, I realized that there is an entire market of laggards and late majority technology adopters that are not where we are yet.

And perhaps it will be the endorsement of someone like Rick that is going to propel this technology forward. After all, the first domain names registered were in 1985-86 and it wasn’t until Rick (and a few others) spearheaded a marketing Eureka! that many still have not heard of.

May 23, 2008 at 1:51 pm 4 comments

Choosing a domain name for a startup

While working at Reinvent and for the domain genius that is Kevin Ham, I gained a lot of appreciation for the concept of a domain name. Prior to Reinvent, I viewed a domain name as a necessary, albeit very important branding tool. I wasn’t aware of the concept of direct navigation, whereby a significant percentage of the population believes that if they type in a generic concept and put a .com at the end, chances are whatever is at the other end is related to the concept. This, and the fact that a surprising percentage of the population thinks that the search box and the browser URL is one and the same…and the fact that the keywords within the domain name are thought to influence search engines

As I delved deeper into the world of domain names, the importance of securing a domain name for any startup became much clearer. Much like when a person looks in the yellow pages for a specific term, chances are they have that expressed consumer intent for that particular product or service (i.e., if a person is looking for a plumber in the phone book, they probably need one and it is not just a weird fascination with words that start with the letter “P”… It is also unlikely that as they approach the listing and pass by the section on “Pizza” that they may decide “while I am waiting for my plumber, how about I order some pizza”. It is possible, but you shouldn’t blow your marketing dollars and count on it).

A domain name is the same thing. VancouverPlumber.com should help a person find a plumber in Vancouver. And the person who types this domain in has a pretty clear need for what is on the other end. The same holds true for advertising on Google or Yahoo! as a person who searches for “Vancouver Plumber” and then sees paid search advertising in the top and side panels has expressed a defined need for the service. You might even say that the first level of lead qualification was already done… though getting the person to act once they get to your site is another story (and another opportunity for those of us who provide consulting services).

If you are considering a startup, or are in the early stages of a business, really think about what your product or service offering is going to be and then try and secure the domain that best matches it. Yes, you may have to buy the domain at a premium via an aftermarket or via a broker, but in the long run, it will help your branding and search ranking (as detailed here by Aaron Wall).

Owen Frager, over at The Frager Factor has a good post today called “Life After Domains… continued“. In the post he provides “a litmus test to evaluate names BEFORE purchase to ensure that you are making more informed and prudent decisions.” In this post, he also quotes Frank Schilling’s comment that, “A good domain name reduces your lifetime marketing costs and increases marketing opportunities. Mark Twain said: “History doesn’t repeat but it rhymes” .. The past may not be a true indication of the future, but domain names ‘are the Internet’. You need a domain for email, in fact the only constant since the dawn of the commercial internet in 1993 (Netscape 1) has been the domain name. If you feel comfortable investing in anything related to the Internet it should be a generic domain name.”

Here are half of Owen’s14 questions he wants you to ask when considering a domain purchase:

==> Is your name is dictionary word that is easy to spell, pronounce and describes what it is and what it does.

==>Can you take this domain and put it on eBay and close a $50-100 sale within a day?

==> Is it a dotCOM extension. If you are in the US and unless you are a gizillionaire in dotCOM name already, or are buying another extension to protect your brand or surname, if you don’t own a dotCOm please look in the mirror and repeat “I am a fool and I’ve erred. Repeat again, “I am a fool and I’ve erred.”

==> Does this name in its exact wording describe matching words that can be found in your local paper’s classified ads for something being offered or desired (jobs, autos, 1967 corvette parts)?

==> Are their advertisers on Google paying money for this word or word combination on the results pages (and do you know whom they are and how much they are paying)? Can a parking page monetize this domain with those SAME advertisers?

==> Have you done a business plan? Do you understand the size of the industry this word represents, its role in it? Who its biggest players (prospects) are? What is the total value of advertising for the industry? The average cost to acquire a new customers? The vale of an average order? Referral? Lifetime customer value? Annual 800# costs?

==> What call to action media exists now using a derivative of these words (bus, billboards, direct response, radio, TV, packaging, infomercial)? What is the cost of a a motivated prospect lost due to inability to recall their call to action?

==> Have you secured rights to this name by filing for a business license, having it appear in the phone book, making a corporate website explaining your intentions with an about us page that clearly identifies yourself, claims and credentials for being in this business with full and open access for contact? For example, if it’s a medical domain “addictiontreatments.com” are you either an addict or doctor? What is your claim to this domain?

Something that I have been doing since I left Reinvent is to acquire domain names every time I come up with a business concept that I am interested in pursuing. A few of these are listed below. While I am open to pursuing names within the secondary markets, all of the names below were registered anew in the past month:

  • ClickforChat.com [I want to turn this into an outsourced livechat management service]
  • KitsilanoRealty.com [Realtors are willing to pay for lead generation services. Kitsilano is one of the most expensive and high turnover regions of Vancouver]
  • LaunchExperts.com [This will be a portal to connect early-stage startup consultants & experts engaged in launching small businesses with the businesses that they wish to help. This site will also provide services to the consultants themselves to help launch, market, and systemetize their business processes]
  • NaramataHomes.com, NaramataCondos.com, GolfNaramata.com, NaramataEstates.com [OK… These are speculative. Naramata is a region in BC’s Okanagan Valley. Consider it our “Sonoma” to Napa Valley. A large number of developments seem to be planned for the region, and I envision working with a developer or realtor to develop and promote these properties through an integrated web strategy]

So I guess my short post should have been, make sure you get a good domain for your business. And while entire businesses can be built around nonsense phrases or trendy concepts [or should I say Konceptz!], you might as well start with a leg up on your competition and make your marketing easier.

April 24, 2008 at 10:52 am Leave a comment


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