Sunday, March 31, 2013

Shell: driving visitors in circles

I've been a member of Shell Drivers Club for a long time [I'd guess at around 25 years] and my card - that has to be swiped when you purchase petrol - stopped working properly. So I rang them up and was advised to pick up a new card in a petrol station and register it online - from there the new card's number could be transferred to my account.
So I collected a card, and went to this web page which seemed to offer the link I needed. And when I clicked on the link went to - what seemed to be - the right page.

However [and let's ignore the fact the the 'here' link was not identified as a link until you scroll over it] and I was taken to - regular readers will be ahead of me here -  this page

Yep ... back where I started. Of course I tried it a few times, but the same result. So I've sent them an email, I'll let you know the response.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

celebrity cook's website leaves a bitter taste

OK, so tell me I don't keep up with TV events [I don't] but on the BBC's breakfast show there was a celebrity chef called Gizzi Erskine who I had never seen before. Now, I don't mind admitting I was taken by how attractive she is and so I did what is now the norm – I Googled her [hey, I'm a man :-)]. Top of the SERP was – so I switched from admirer to website analyst, and I wasn't as impressed with the website as I was with the person.

 The first thing I noticed was that the textual content switched to and from the first and third person ['I like …' / 'Gizzi is …'] – I prefer the more personal first person, but choose one and stick with it.

Then I saw the 'on TV' section, expecting to be able to see her appearance on the BBC that I had seen a couple of hours earlier? But no, the two links took me to the ITV's This Morning home page. The other 'on TV' took me to a page on which said: 'No Posts. Not Found. Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.' Hmmm.

On then to Gizzi's blog – but the last entry was November last year. A quick look at the blog's archive suggests that it was started with the best of intentions, but then became little more than a series of recipes – which I would guess are in Gizzi's book or elsewhere on the website. Perhaps a prime example of what I always say about blogs being time consuming.

So I then checked the 'page info' for the latest page update – and found that it was '28 March 2013 09:45:53' – which was the time I arrived on the site. Coincidence, or some software running on the site which caused it to record an 'update' every time someone arrived at the site? [Google likes websites that are frequently updated].

I am also concerned at the '© Random House Group Ltd' at the bottom of the page. I will assume Gizzi will have signed a similar contract with her book publishers to the ones I sign with mine. Those state that the contents of the book[s] are copyright to me. I would expect similar with the associated website.

So there you go – I could use this website as case study in 'what could have been', Gizzi has all the attributes to have a 'must visit' web presence, but she hasn't. I wonder whose fault that is?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Honda's digital marketing's not in gear

I was in Amsterdam last weekend and came across a small motorbike I had never seen before - so I looked up the Zoomer on Google. Top of the SERP was a Honda ad for said motorbike
So I clicked on the ad and got this - the page on for the NSC50R scooter.
So I tried the on-site search for "zoomer" and got this.
Strange that Honda would 'buy' the search result for "honda zoomer" when they don't seem to sell it in the UK [which is probably why I have never seen one before]. No, not strange. A rather stupid waste of time and money.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

no advanced publicity

I can only assume this is Tesco's corporate strategy, but if it is then it might fail an exam on a marketing communications module.
You see - they have been building a new mega-store near where I work, so I have watched it rise from a demolition site to [what seems to me] to be nearly-ready-to-open store. And yet when I put "tesco sunderland" into Google I got this:
Yep ... no mention of the new shop. I'm sure their PR and advertising department will go into overdrive in the week or so before it does open - at a significant cost. How much would it have cost to have developed a web page for the new store telling how magnificent it will be and when it will be open. Better still, for not too much more money, a 'count-down' web page with a timeline of photos showing the building going up? Given the cost of building, stocking and marketing a brand new store, is this another case of the web being the poor relation in marketing terms?
Ho hum.

Update, June 14th - I'm led to believe that the store opening was delayed ... but there is now a banner outside the building which says - I think, I drive past it in traffic - 'opening June ... '

And yet still nothing online. So , I assume, I am supposed to either drive past again [slowly] or risk an accident by reading the  banner fully. Tesco certainly don't want me using any one of my internet-connected devices to find out when I can start spending money with them.

Ho hum. Again.

Update June 27th - I've just been shopping in the newly-opened massive Tesco store in Sunderland ... and very impressive it is.

It still doesn't exist on though

Ho hum. Again. Again


Saturday, March 9, 2013

delivering on delivery

I had ordered a water pump for my old car from a company who would only deliver to the home address of the credit card holder * - so I was waiting at home for it to arrive when I got this text ..
The full message advised me that I could text to have the parcel delivered to a neighbour or other options. 'Ian' arrived at 11.35.
* I can understand this security measure but it must cost some businesses sales - there are ways around it. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

numbers that don't add up on ebay

I wanted to ask a question about a product offered for sale on ebay, so I went through the process of sending a message - no problem, I've done it many times before. Presumably to prevent fraud or dodgy practice ebay require you to enter a CAPTCHA. Again, no problem - or so I thought. 
I have written before about  CAPTCHAs that are impossible to read - well there's a twist to this story. I typed in the first version, but it was rejected. So, I thought, I must have mis-read the number so I was careful with the next one - but it was rejected too. And so was the third. So I started saving images of my submissions - all were rejected, do you think they were all incorrect?
So I thought I'd click on the 'hear the verification code' option ... and got totally different numbers to those show. So I replayed it - and sure enough when I clicked on send with the numbers show below, it worked. Go figure.
Update, March 7: today I tried to send a message to a different seller. Same problem with the numbers, but this time the the third attempt worked. Hurrah. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

can you hear me on the radio?

Another example of a lack of joined up thinking I'm afraid. It is an age thing, but I am a big fan of Smooth Radio's 'Smooth 70s' station. Yep, it's just music from the the best decade for music. So anyway, I was listening to Smooth 70s on my PC and on came an add for downloading the iPhone app for Smooth 70s. So I fired up the iPhone, went to the app store and put "smooth 70s" into the search facility, and got only three results ...
... neither of which are for Smooth Radio's 'Smooth 70s' app.
I did a number of other searchers based on 'smooth', '70s' and 'radio' and still couldn't find the app that I had heard advertised. Ho hum - at least they won't have paid for their own advert [though there would be an opportunity cost. Business students; if you don't know what opportunity cost is, you should do ... look it up now].