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January 06, 2005

Happy New Year

By Charlene Li

Greetings in the new year -- and apologies for my long absence from these pages. Between end of year work and a long, much needed vacation, I haven't been able to post. But I know of a few interesting things brewing, although I don't think it's going to quite at the pace of what we saw in December!

A few things I've been watching over the past few weeks:

- Tsunami blogs. The sheer scale of the tragedy has been numbing, but the stories, photos, and videos on blogs brought it to a personal level.

- Desktop frenzy. Talk about one-upmanship! The only major player that's missing from the game is AOL and I expect them to announce something soon. I'll be posting my take on what's what in this space soon.

- 2004: The Year of Blogs – sort of. Merriam-Webster Online named “blog” the #1 word of the year. And the Pew Internet Life & American Life Project report “The State Of Blogging” said that blog reading had shot up 58% in 2004. But the study also had similar numbers to our numbers , showing that the vast majority of online consumers don’t know what a blog is. So while we can celebrate that blogs have broken through into the mainstream consciousness, it will be in 2005 that blogs can cross over into the whelm of a true media entity when they start to attract mainstream advertisers.

- RSS. The same Pew study had an amazing statistic – 5% or 6 million online consumers currently use RSS. I knew that the number was getting up there, especially with the push from media heavies like Yahoo!, WSJ.com, and nytimes.com, but it’s still amazing that it’s gotten so much traction while being still so kludgy to find and add content.

- The strength of online advertising. Google and Yahoo! will post phenomenal growth this year and 2005 will see more of the same. Not only is search driving much of that growth, but branded advertising from traditional marketers has made head-way. I’ll be looking for more integration between search and branding efforts, as skyrocketing CPC rates force marketers to take branding impact into their search ROI calculations.


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F Polo

If I remember it well, your study stated that 2% of Internet users had a blog (as of August 2004).
The Pew Internet study states that 8 million American adults say they have created blogs (november 04), which means around 7% of Internet users (considering 120 million of Internet users in USA).

Where would it be the source for that difference, from your point of view?


What exactly do you mean when you say, "..more integration between search and branding efforts, as skyrocketing CPC rates force marketers to take branding impact into their search ROI calculations."

Could you throw some more insight on this please ??

Charlene Li

F Polo: Forrester's survey, which was conducted in August 2004, saw that 2% of North American online consumers had a personal blog, while 9% of 18-24 year olds had one. Our survey was conducted online with 5,801 North American online consumers. The Pew results were based on two telephone surveys of 1,324 and 537 Internet users each and saw 7% of U.S. Internet users had blogs. Pew noted that there was a margin of error of plus or minus three and four percentage points, respectively.

The difference is partly the timing -- goodness, I didn't have this blog yet back in August! There's also a difference of methodology. The key point I was trying to make was that in our survey, 50% of consumers said they had never heard of a blog. In Pew's survey, 63% said the same. No matter which way you cut it, a lot of people still have no idea what a blog is.

Charlene Li

To "/pd": Here's a bit of clarification. There's evidence that search has branding impact -- the IAB conducted one such study last year. Search marketers see themselves being priced out of paid search for competitive keywords, and if they want to stay in the game, they have to find a way to justify the higher costs. Some try to tweak their backend conversion rate while others are taking into account the branding impact of their ads -- so the ad receives credit for just an impression, even if it doesn't generate a clickthrough.

F Polo

Thanks for your answer!


My purpose in writing these articles is twofold; to help and to inform. There have been too many times that I have read postings on http://www.greentable.tk that are either blatantly wrong or so ego filled that the original thoughts and meanings are long gone. So much so, that no one can remember what the original post started as.


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