June 9th, 2011:

Three men who ran a multimillion-dollar ticket-scalping business by evading the online security safeguards of companies like Ticketmaster and Major League Baseball were sentenced on Thursday at a federal court in Newark to probation and community service, avoiding as much as five years of prison time. Source: NYTimes Probation, not Prison for Scalpers

May 1st, 2013:

Ticketmaster, trying to fight the computer tactics used by some of the most advanced ticket scalpers, has sued 21 people, accusing them of fraud and breach of copyright in circumventing the company’s online security system to try to buy huge numbers of tickets. Source: NYTimes Ticketmaster Accuses 21 of Fraudulent Ticket Buying

August 11th, 2013:

Live Nation and Ticketmaster officials testified before a congressional subcommittee in 2009 about the evils of scalping and how it should be kept separate from the primary marketplace, if not outlawed altogether. Now, the combined company says it is committed to making resale “fan-friendly”—a way to give ticket buyers as many options as possible. Source: WSJ Ticketmaster Wants in on the Scalping Act

Ticketmaster has been under scrutiny before. Almost 2 decades ago, Pearl Jam testified before Congress regarding Ticketmaster’s monopoly on ticket distribution in the United States (concert venues signed lengthy, exclusivity agreements with Ticketmaster, preventing bands from selling cheap, low service charge tickets themselves.) The DOJ opened an anti-trust investigation shortly there after. Suspiciously, the investigation was abruptly closed due to “a shortage of resources.”

Ticketmaster is the perfect example of an evil corporation. Suing individuals for things they wish to do themselves, strong arming prosecutors in to filing criminal charges and using taxpayer money to squash out potential competitors, and even possibly bribing government officials in to dropping an anti-trust investigation.

When Ticketmaster is successful doing this, it encourages other companies to act the same way.

Want to start an online ticket selling web site or mobile app? Good luck, you might end up in prison.

I am not very involved in the retail side of internet marketing, but I know many of my readers are.

A court case in 1911, Dr. Miles Medical Co. v. John D. Park & Sons Co., prevented manufacturers from forcing a retailer from selling a product at a minimum price. The case is now under challenge.

If this case were overturned it would allow manufacturers to cut out retailers who sell their products under a given price. Currently, if a manufacturer does this they can be liable for large sums of money. The case here involves a retailer who was awarded $1.2 million after the manufacturer cut them out for having a temporary sale.

From the Charleston Daily Mail

“Basically, they want to get rid of discounters, particularly Internet discounters,” Cooper said. He added that if manufacturers’ actions must be challenged on a case-by-case basis, “the burden becomes immense.”

Here is a wierd story from CNN Money that also reveals a good lesson on PR.

McCoy is CEO of LaserMonks.com, an Internet retailer that sells discounted printer cartridges and other office supplies. Customers include individuals and churches, along with giants such as Morgan Stanley and the U.S. Forest Service. It’s a lucrative business. Sales have risen from $2,000 in 2002, the company’s first full year of operation, to around $2.5 million in 2005.

Having trouble getting coverage from your press releases? Does your e-commerce business (or website) have a good story behind the person who runs it? Who plays as much of a role as what in what stories get reported in the news.

Straight from Yahoo — Here is another wakeup call for web developers who may be neglecting the international market:

Just five years ago mainland buyers accounted for 1% of global sales of luxury handbags, shoes, jewelry, perfume, and the like. Today the Chinese are the third-biggest high-end buyers on earth, with more than 12% of world sales, Goldman, Sachs & Co. reckons. Within a decade, China will likely leapfrog Japan and the U.S. to become the top luxury market, predicts Goldman analyst Jacques-Franck Dossin.

Which begs the question, how much longer until Weblogs Inc/AOL rolls out a Chinese version of Luxist? (they already have Chinese versions of Autoblog & Engadget)

Its been a busy day today, I just moved a forum to a new domain and I’ve still got a lot more work to do. But.. I couldn’t resist making another post.

This comes from John DeMayo.com — a chart of mortgage lead value by state. The most valuable — California, least valuable, Louisiana. As John says — “this should give you an interesting perspective on the huge variance in value looking at just one dimension.”

Remember what I said about niches earlier?

I’ve been skeptical about premium domain names for years. I’m going to keep this post short and simple. Here are two reasons your website (content or e-commerce) should be run from a premium, generic domain:

1. Guaranteed stream of visitors from type in traffic, which, I might add, are known to convert very well.
2. Guaranteed no one is going to forget your name — while its guaranteed people are forgetting your competition’s name. If you sell grills and you are grill.com, visitors are coming back (worth noting, grill.com is currently a parked domain right now.)

There are a lot of great success stories of non-keyword domains.. Yahoo, Google, Amazon, eBay.. but that doesn’t mean millions aren’t being made from generics. Think about it this way — everyone remembers their search engine that they visit daily, but how are they going to remember the name of an e-commerce site they shop from once a year — that doesn’t have a billion dollar marketing budget?

Your domain is your website’s foundation. If you don’t choose a generic domain, at least make sure its not easily forgettable.

How much have you heard about online banking? I’m going to guess it involved something about identify theft, spyware, and stolen passwords. Despite security concerns by users online banking is alive and very well. ING Direct has found a niche and is bringing in the money.

In just five years, the Wilmington, DE-based subsidiary of Dutch financial services conglomerate ING Groep NV has gone from nothing to three million customers, $51 billion in assets and $37 billion in deposits. It’s now the nation’s largest standalone Internet bank-and bigger than such established names as M&I Corp. and Huntington Bancshares. Pretax profits in 2004 were $159 million, far more than its founders envisioned at this stage, while return on equity was nine percent.

ING Direct is paying attention to security too. A recent article on Wired.com highlighted just that.

So, you are making money at web publishing — now you want to sell products online. Where do you start?

Lucky for you, Chris Beasley made a very comprehensive post about this on his Sitepoint Website Revenue Strategies blog! Besides being a very successful content site owner Chris also runs a successful e-commerce site and is expecting lots of sales this Christmas season.

I often recommend people to first try to find out what is made in their area. If you can work with a local manufacturer you’ll have a tremendous advantage. You will be able to save on freight costs, thus making it easier to compete on a price basis. You will also be able to keep less inventory on hand, because the manufacturer will be so accessible to you. Finally you might be able to cull a special relationship with the manufacturer to get further discounts and or first notice of new products.

Google purchased Urchin web analytics software earlier this year. Now you can benefit from this purchase, for free. Google has launched a free Analytics service for you to track your website’s traffic.

This goes way beyond AWStats or Webalizer. There is a detailed preview on Google’s site where you can see screenshots and read about it.

Additionally, Google has added Conversion University. I’m not sure if this was just launched, but I just noticed it. If you run an e-commerce site or are interested in increasing action by your visitors (example: newsletter sign-ups) this is something to check out.

I’ll be adding Google’s free analytics software to my site within the next day. I actually used to use an older version of Urchin. Unfortunately, it took up a massive amount of server space and I eventually stopped using it.

Conversion is a critical backbones to online advertising spending. For e-commerce site owners this means more money — because visitors are more likely to make a purchase. This means e-commerce site owners spend more money on advertising. That means more money for Google and you.

The bigger picture — Google is going to have your stats to. That raises another question, if you are already running Adsense on your site (or conversion tracking for Adwords advertisers) Google may already be collecting those same stats anyways. I’m planning on talking about this in a later post.

There is one small requirement for you to use this free service — there is a “5M pageview cap per month for non AdWords advertisers.” I wish I could say I didn’t qualify ;)

A lot of people have asked me about writing press releases. There is a thread over at WebMasterWorld by Syzygy about just this. Press releases are useful tools for promoting new websites and getting backlinks at the same time.

..what I’ve posted above is a fairly typical press release announcing the launch of a new product. Although the wording of every press release is different, they’re usually made up of the same elements:

1. The hype (Hurrah – another new product launch)
2. The facts (The actual story)
3. More hype (This product will change the world forever)
4. The spokesperson (Blah, blah, blah…)
5. Meet the rest of the cast (Nobody wants to be left out)
6. Contact details (For more information. The end of the actual story itself)
7. About the company (Background information that’s rarely of use in this scenario).