Wednesday, December 30, 2009

unintentional bait and switch by Argos

As my students will tell you, I hold Argos up as an example of best practice in multi-channel retailing. However, even the best can get it wrong - albeit in an issue that might be considered beyond their control [though I think with a bit of vigilance and considered web content it can be effectively addressed]. Here's the problem.

I managed to overfill our coffee maker which caused it to short-out ... and anyway, we needed a new one. Being happy with the one I'd just blown up, I typed its name into Google, and got this as part of the result ...
Great, I thought - on offer for half price at Argos. But when I clicked on that link I got this page ...Now, I suspect the link in the Google index was an old one, referring to an offer that has since finished - but it still reflects poorly on Argos.

The solution? Well, first-off you folks at Argos' reputation management dept, I would hope you are monitoring blog enteries with your brand name in them, so you should read this - so let me know how you sorted it out.

To address the issue, I would look to change the content of the page with the 'offer' price on it - Google will continue to list it, but the text should not be damaging. And to stop it happening again you are going to have to monitor search engine results for any returns that link to your website - I'm sure there will be software available help out with this task.

UPDATE - a few days later I went back to Google and used the same search term - and the Argos entry had changed to this:
Note that the URL for both entries is the sames - suggesting that the textual content has been changed. Coincidence? I would like to think someone at Argos saw this blog? [if you did, let me know, I would love to use this as an example of good practice in my next book].

Furthermore, this entry wasn't in the listings when I searched last week

Sunday, December 20, 2009

hey Newcastle Airport - it's snow joke

Today we fly off for our winter holidays. And last night it snowed. Again. Its been snowing since Thursday. So I go to the website of Newcastle Airport - from where we fly in a few hours time.

Now, I would expect I am not the only person concerned about their flight today - the radio is talking of flight delays around the country. And these are the homepage, the flight information page and the arrival and departures page from the airport's website. You will note how two of them have ads in prominent places - what you will not see is any kind of announcement about the state of the runway, and whether or not flights are operating as normal. Checking the 'departures' page would suggest everything is OK. Replacing those ads with a nice clear message [everything Ok, flights delayed, check-in on time, whatever] for a couple of hours would have been good customer service.
And no, it being Sunday morning is not an excuse for those responsible for web content not being at work is NOT an excuse.

Friday, December 11, 2009

hello America ... rest of the world calling

I like They provide a good service in on-demand printing. I've used them to publish books. They have my full details from my registration with them. They've sent books to my home address.

So why did I get this email?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Times' search is behind the times

I read an article in the hard-copy version of the Sunday Times that I wanted to add a link to from my website. So on Monday morning I searched for the online version of the article - starting on the But this was the return I got:
So I went to Google, and with the same search term got this:
Now, there is an ongoing debate at this time about newspapers complaining that the search engines 'steal' the newspapers' content. Hmmm, well maybe you should look to satisfy your own readers on your own site before taking that stance?

Footnote: when I went to the online version of the story its title had been changed. So I searched for it also and got no return on the Timesonline site.

Friday, December 4, 2009

proper e-commerce recruitment

Anyone who has attended one of my sessions [education or training] will have heard me rant about organizations employing techies to do online marketing jobs [see: what is it with me and 'IT'? and what is wrong with e-marketing].

Well, here is an example of a company that puts round pegs in round holes. It is no coincidence that said firm is really good at e-commerce.
Click here to see the ad that put out to recruit new staff - give it a while to open, I made the quality high for clarity.

In particular, notice how the 'techie' job [web developer] emphasizes usability and not just 'Flash'-type visual eye-candy and that the value of textual content is recognized by employing specialist copy writers. Oh yes - and they will be managed by a marketer. Hurrah.