Monday, April 30, 2007

hotel-search-bad practice

I was clearing out some old files on my PC and came across this. It's a couple of years old - but the practice still happens. Note that the error is that of, not the hotel in question.

This started when I was going to Athens to deliver some seminars on e-commerce. My hosts had booked me into the Parthenon hotel - I'd never stayed there before, so I went to Yahoo! To check it out. I searched on "parthenon hotel athens". In the sponsored results was the entry:

So I clicked on it and got a page with this as its main feature. Note; no mention of the Parthenon hotel, or Athens, or even Greece.

So I completed the boxes from drop down menus:

And got ……

These people actually paid for an entry on Yahoo! Presumably they were on a ‘pay per click’ method of payment, which means my repeatedly clicking through the ad to get these screen-shots will have cost them money. Ho hum

bad salutation pract ....

I got an email from my bank. I’ll not name them, but they are a significant high street clearing bank. The message started: It would appear someone set up the name field with too few characters. Harrrumph.

techie-speak-bad practice

Another example from my PC file-clearing exercise. Obviously I had come across it whilst surfing around the web, I can't remember where it is from though the content seems to suggest it is a site I needed to be logged on to. Let's hope that whoever made the decision to use it is no longer in the job. Do you have any idea of what it means?

Friday, April 27, 2007

bad marketing practice - or just plain rude?

Having had a little rest after finishing off two books [see column on right] I have been considering other titles/subjects. Trying to get away from the norm, I had an idea that required a number of 'real-life' case studies. So I sent an email to who I considered to be the right people at a well-respected case study-oriented web site - one I use all the time for its excellent content. I briefly out-lined my thoughts – with a certain amount of ‘sales-pitch’ thrown in [advantages to both parties etc etc].

And guess what? Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

OK, so I am not Philip Kotler or Dan Brown, I don’t expect them to run around the office shouting “look who’s written to us” – but my name is on two books in their business field [I mentioned the fact in the email]. I am certainly in a position to influence people in using (a) their web site, and perhaps (b) their services [the ‘bad marketing bit’]. But I am also a human being who has taken time to write an email to them [the ‘rude’ bit].

Naturally there’s an element of ‘cutting off my nose to spite my face’ – but I’m not going to chase them. The proposed project would require a positive working relationship – not replying to emails does not suggest that would be forthcoming from their side. There are other companies if I decide to pursue the idea.

However, I am not so hurt that I will stop receiving their newsletters or recommending that my students sign up also. But if one day they ask me something, I’ll point them at this comment.

Monday, April 9, 2007

bad pop-up practice

I was playing around looking at the availability of some domain names. One I looked for was - which came up as being registered. So I typed the URL into my browser, and was taken to the name's 'free customer holding page' for [from the whois info I think have registered this name themselves, but I could be wrong].

When I clicked on my browser's back button to return to the whois page the action triggered the opening of six [yes 6] new browsers each featuring a service offered by uk2. Just to check, I repeated the exercise - and yup, another six.

Hello uk2, do you really think I will be going back to you to register a domain name - or any other online service - when you shoot your credibility in the foot by using such dubious [and annoying] online marketing tactics?

Friday, April 6, 2007

bad PR-and-marketing practice

Now that the final version of the book to which I have contributed is on the shelves, there's something I have to get off my chest. In 'my' chapters I have used a number of web site 'screenshots' as examples for the subjects being covered. At the publisher's insistence, for all images used in the book I had to seek permission to use the images from the web site's publisher.

For small businesses or organizations there was usually no problem. Find an email address, often that of an individual, and without exception, a single email would elicit a prompt response - usually positive.

But with 'big' organizations [and some were global brand names] - oh dear.

The first problem was to find an email address for someone who might help. I did not find a single site that addressed the specific issue. Many included something about the use of content or images from the web site, but not the web site itself - and that was usually in the 'legal' section. So I ended up emailing 'info', 'webmaster', 'PR' or any one of half a dozen others plucked almost at random from the site. This meant that the message had to start with a 'if this is not your responsibility, please pass it on ...' comment. To be fair some responded promptly with permission to print, but not all.

Around 40% of those organizations I sought permission from did not even bother to respond to my enquiry. At best, rude. At worst, very poor marketing.

Let you remind you that I was seeking permission to feature their web site in a positive context [the images weren't used as examples of bad practice] in a text book about online marketing that was to be marketed throughout Europe.

[a] take foot [b] take gun [c] shoot [a] with [b].

oh-dear-it's-KLM-again [again] bad practice

I'm not picking on KLM, honest. But they will keep putting their head up above the parapet. It is also worth adding that I cannot remember having a significant problem with any of the numerous flights I've made with them.

It's their email marketing I'm moaning about again. I received a promotional email that included the following message:

I followed the link to my Flying Blue profile, and at the relevant section found the following:

In fact, if you think about it - surely I must be registered for the newsletter to have received the newsletter that told me about the offer of extra miles if I registered for the newsletter.

KLM - if you are out there - raising awareness of these problems is simply part of what I do to help my students. Give me some free flights and I'll look at your e-marketing properly.