FryUp: New Sheriff, Advantage Wins, FryUp goes missing

Top Stories: - RedSheriff gets the job - Advantage versus Advantage - Email newsletter caught in death trap

Top Stories:

- RedSheriff gets the job

- Advantage versus Advantage

- Email newsletter caught in death trap

- RedSheriff gets the job

Ah well, when a consortium of online publishers decides on something I guess I can't expect to scoop the opposition with a story on it, now can I?

To save you having to read every story for the overall picture, basically it's this: a collection of online publishers and interested parties have got together to decide what they want from an online ratings agency.

Until last year AC Nielsen was top dog in this field with its NetRatings programme. This included a panel of around 4000 demographically chosen users who surfed the net from home and were monitored in their movements.

Putting aside for the moment questions of internet usage in the home versus the office, the problem arose when AC Nielsen decided to pull the management of its NetRatings New Zealand programme back to Sydney. It kept the panel running but rumour has reached the FryUp kitchen of questions being asked about the validity of results coming out of the group in recent weeks. It seems panel members may be dropping out without being replaced.

This hurts online advertising in a big way. After years of being told that online advertising was so cool because you would know everything there was to know about the end user -- who they are, what they spend, how long they look at the ad, which hand they use the mouse with -- the advertisers realised that this was all a bunch of hooey and they had no intention of pouring good money after bad.

Without a nationally recognised ratings programme no advertising agency could talk an advertiser into going online. They need hard figures.

The job of the consortium has been to work out what sort of figures they want and to see how they could get them at a cost that was reasonable enough to the website owners without cutting the margin to the quick for the research company.

They worked out what they wanted and put out a request for proposals. That process produced a shortlist that has been whittled down to RedSheriff's joint proposal with Phoenix Research.

RedSheriff, an Aussie outfit, adds a few lines of code to any website that wants to be included in the survey. That tracks users as they come into the site and works out what path they follow, how long they stay, what they do while on the site, that sort of thing.

Phoenix Research does the qualitative side of things -- who you are, where you live and the all-important how much will you spend. Combined, the two processes should give us reasonable and consistent numbers about who is actually visiting a site and what they do once they're there.

The RedSheriff stuff does cost the website to install. No figures have been released but it's on an escalating scale, so if you want to know nothing more than how many visitors you get in a month you can buy just that information. If you want the full package that'll cost more, obviously, but since keeping the cost down was a major part of the RFP we can say it should be affordable to most sites.

This isn't going to be a measure of traffic through every site in New Zealand -- that kind of thing is only intended to measure traffic through the country's commercial sites. Think of it as being like the ABC (the Audit Bureau of Circulation), the firm that measures the major newspapers and magazines in the land. It doesn't go for the quarterly newsletters from your local softball club (thanks for the analogy, Matt) but lets you know about readership of the major players. That's what this is all about.

Amusing to note that while IDG, the Herald, Nzoom and Stuff all carried the story and referred to the other publishers in the consortium, only Stuff felt it necessary to leave out poor wee IDG Communications from the list. Petty? Moi?

Publishers choose RedSheriff solution to e_ratings problem - IDGNet

Online ratings standards set - Nzoom

Tracking system for website visitors will be unique to NZ - NZ Herald

RedSheriff to watch NZ web traffic - Stuff

A (new) Red Sheriff in town [Hey, that's my headline!]- NBR

- Advantage versus Advantage

This one's been dragging on for a while now. Advantage Group, high-flier of the late 1990s before it got egg on its face following the dot-com bubble burst, has ended up in court defending its trademark against Advantage Computers. The latter claimed it had registered the name first and had dibs on it.

The judge has decided that yes, in fact, Advantage Computers did have dibs on it and so Advantage Group has to decide what it wants to do next.

The judgement explicitly ruled out changing the company name. It said Advantage Computers just wanted Advantage Group to stop using its trademark in those areas that the two competed. Since they don't completely overlap, that means the Group can continue to use the name if it wants.

But I think this is the perfect opportunity for the Group to come up with a new name since the old one has become inextricably associated with some of New Zealand's greatest dot-com blow outs: the Domainz system that cost nearly $1 million and doesn't work, and Flying Pig, poster boy for B2C e-commerce falling on its face.

The Group itself has a new boss, has sold off various divisions that it spent the 90s buying up and has a new lower profile without all the hype, hoopla and excess. It seems to be doing a good job of quietly getting on with life. So why not a new name to match?

No word from the Group's financial officer yet as to what it will do - he's been talking with lawyers for the best part of the week and has not been available for comment.

What do you think -- time for a complete overhaul? How much good faith is tied up with a company's name? Several major companies have tried to change their names and failed miserably. Borland springs to mind, but surely this is cutting away the last remnants of the old in favour of a fresh start? Gen-i seems to have weathered the change from Wang remarkably well.

Advantage goes to Advantage - IDGNet

Trademark use ruled unlawful - NZ Herald

- Email newsletter caught in death trap

It's come to my attention that some of you aren't receiving the FryUp because of various email filtering systems.

This appalling misuse of electronic communication must stop at once. The FryUp wants to be free, dammit.

I'd blame Marshal Software's MailMarshal but I know that would be unfair. It's clearly doing the job it was programmed for by blocking such nasty words as [crude anatomically-inaccurate description of a bottom], which meant many of you didn't receive last week's missive.

I refuse to tone down my language because a machine tells me to: I feel like Tom Baker arguing with K9 when that happens and that's too freaky for words. However, I shall adapt and adopt a new system of swearing, perhaps using terms only you and I recognise. Any help on that score will be gratefully received.

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More about ABC NetworksABC NetworksAdvantage GroupAudit Bureau of CirculationBorland AustraliaIDGIDG CommunicationsIDG CommunicationsIDG CommunicationsMarshal SoftwareNetRatingsNielsenPhoenixRed SheriffTechnologyWang

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