Archive for November, 2009

Week 10

November 27, 2009

During this weeks blog I will discuss what personalisation is and how effective it is for someone to use this. I will have to discuss both for and against it and decide whether or not I believe it is a positive or negative thing. I will first discuss what personalisation is and how it can impact upon certain things. I will discuss both the advantages and disadvantages on web personalisation. After discussing both what it is and the advantages I will then discuss exactly what I think of web personalisation whether I am for or against it.

Web personalisation involves using technology to accommodate the differences between individuals. Personalisation implies that the chances are based on implicit data, such as items purchased or page viewed. Web personalisation is really tailoring the presentation of a websites content to match a specific user’s instructions or preferences, this tailoring comes from a user either choosing from a menu or by tracking their own behaviour.

The image below was taken from Google images it shows how the web is developing and how personalisation is improving and developing the web.

Different types of personalisation include;

  • Check Box provides information via questionnaires and surveys
  • Segmentation and Rules-uses demographics, geographic, psychographics profile or other information to divide or segment large populations into smaller groups.
  • Preference based personalisation-seeks to understand the behavioural preferences of a specific individual user and deliver website content.

There are also different types of techniques when considering web personalisation. These include;

  • Content-based filtering- this is having good properties similar to those of the products that the customer selected in the past. By applying this technique new items can be successfully recommended if a certain amount of information about the features is available. However the accuracy in the recommendations downgrades if there are too many item features to be considered.
  • Collaborative filtering- is the social recommendation technique; the suggestion of goods is based on the identification of customers similar to the current one and the suggestion of the items which were appreciated by such customers. Similar customers are identified by analysing the ranks produced by the whole customer. This does not require detailed knowledge about the items but is subject to bootstrapping problems.  The recommendation is not able to handle items until they have been ranked by a minimum number of customers; moreover the recommendation capabilities are poor if the matrix storing the product ranks is sparse.

 There are both advantages and disadvantages of web personalisation I will discuss both of these and then will discuss whether I agree or disagree with web personalisation.

Advantages;

i. Save time- this eliminates repetitive tasks; it also recognises habits and shortens the path to engage in such habits.

ii. Save money- this helps identify lower cost solutions that meet all other specifications.

iii. Better information- it filters out information not relevant to a certain person and provides more specific information that is increasingly relevant to a person’s interests.

iv. Address ongoing needs, challenges or opportunities-provide one stop services allow flexibility in work hours, job responsibilities and benefits, accommodate unique personal preferences.

 Disadvantages;

i. Anonymity preferred- people do not want a relationship with companies that have no relevance to them. Computer programmers have no interest in getting to know an executive recruiter, if a company asks for information before giving relevance why then between 30 and 50 per cent of people will either lie to prevent giving personal information.

ii. Lack of credibility- if a company is one which you can not trust then the company will not be successful relationship as you as the user may not want to deal with the customer.

iii. Lack of Security- if a company fails to protect its assets then people will not be willing to share anything of value with the firm. People have real reasons to fear that today’s centralized networks are not secure.

iv. Impossible- people sometimes can not take advantage of lucrative offers.

v. Infrequent contact- people will have little interest in establishing a relationship with a company that installs a new sceptic system. Companies get around this by broadening their services to increase frequency of contact.

vi. Little value placed on potential benefits- people may not recognise the value in offered personalisation such as when firms offer to customise product offers. As companies move towards the personal and the number of interactions increases, it’s important to gain greater objectivity about the attractiveness of a firm’s offers.

When you go to a site like youtube.com and watch a few video clips and then leave, if you come back on the same computer they will have stored your settings and registered what you have looked at before and at the top of the page say what they recommend for you to watch. This is a case for web personalisation as it shows you as the user that they have set up in such a way that it keeps a user interested.

Another company that uses web personalisation is Amazon, if you buy products on Amazon then once you log back in they will offer you the same type of products so for example if you buy DVD’s or Book’s next time you go onto the website they will offer you knew DVD’s that are the same type of film as you bought, also with the books they will offer you similar types of books that will enable you to buy the same type of thing. An example of this is shown below. Having signed in it allowed me to see what other types of products I would like to buy by having recommended products that they would offer me.

In my own personal opinion I believe that although some websites use web personalisation wrong and they make mistakes when using it, most of the time when a company online uses it correctly it will be a great success as shown by my examples Amazon and YouTube. I believe that web personalisation is a god idea as it allows users to feel that they are having a sort of relationship with a company and that the company can make recommendations to that specific person. Although I can understand why some customers do not want to have recommendations as they might be buying something as a one-off and not actually like the product that they are being offered. Overall though the whole idea off web personalisation is useful as it can save the customer both time and money and also offers that customer better information.

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Week 9

November 19, 2009

In this week’s assignment I was asked to do a task that involved me using a search engine by Google that would allow me to come up with no more than twelve key phrases that would link to my e-commerce website. I have to make the most of the key words and phrases and list them showing how influential and important they are to my site. After doing this I summarize why they are important and the reasons that I chose these certain phrases. We had been given different links from the website homepage to try out and to cut it down to what I thought was key words and phrases and what would be important for my e-commerce site when using an AdWords campaign. I then started working on my key words that best describe my site. When I searched my first site that I decided to use the https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal this allowed me to try and list different key phrases that could be useful.

As you can see from the screen shot above I have searched for the key words related to my e-commerce website. As you can see from the print screen from above it is very important for me to make the right decision regarding the company. Seeing my site was quite a large company in America I narrowed my search to America so it only found results from America which allows me to make a better judgment off my key phrases.

If I begin to look at and study my results you can see that some of the key phrases and words are general and not really related to my e-commerce site and therefore will not be included when I take into consideration what would be key. If you look at the top of the search results you can see that the first key phrase given is ‘gift baskets’ now this is a general term which is not specific to a wine company or to my e-commerce site. This is a problem as if wine.com pay for the link then every time a user searched this and click through it then it can cause a problem as the customer could be looking for Christmas baskets and nothing to do with wine but wine.com will have to pay for this as they have paid for the link. This can cause many problems as they are paying for nothing and costing the company valuable money.

I also put the same search into groups to see if they helped me when making my decision, although they did separate everything into groups they did not provide enough material and included the word ‘wine’ in nearly every group and therefore did prove to be beneficial to me as you can see from the print screen below.

When I looked at the different sites and decided what the best key words are to pick I decided to go with the different words that I feel will enable the wine.com to use these key and vital words which would make them appear in a search engines results that would make them improve in a search.

The words I selected where;

  • Wine– I selected this word as it is a general word and when you type it into a search engine wine.com appears. Although many different companies are competing for the word then the price will be high but since it is essential and helps the company advertise this has to be a key word.
  • Champagne gift- this is a key word as the company does supply some champagne and when you search for the word it is a high result. It may also cost more for the company to get its name on the top of a search engine but it will allow for the company to get a high search result.
  • Wine online- this is a key word as the company is able to make sure that they are high up on this section this is because they specialize in this section of the market. This allows will be high cost as well as it is a market which has loads of competition.
  • Wine Christmas- this is a key phrase for me as they allow the company to show what different types of gifts they sell and how they can compete on a wider market. This cost will also be high for the company as many people will be looking for Christmas gifts and not only wine but get directed to this site.
  • Chateau lafite- this also is a key word as when a customer searches for a specific wine they should be directed to the page. Wine.com should ensure that they target this section as the cost per click will be cheaper and people will be searching for a wine and therefore it will be not be a waste of cost.
  • Best Red wines- this allows the company to pay for every time someone clicks through this will allow wine.com to set this as a target and ensure that they finish top of the search engine results.
  • Shiraz- this again will allow the company to target this section and make sure that the customer will be targeted through this section of it. When a customer searched this key word it will allow them to make sure that they search the key phrase and therefore wine.com will be able to set this as a target.
  • Thanksgiving wine guide- as this is one of the most searched links this will allow wine.com to target this key phrase and allow them to make sure that when a customer searches this key phrase the company’s link finishes top of the search results.
  • Affordable Bordeaux- this will once again allow the company to make sure that they do not waste money for when someone clicks through their site, this key phrase will make sure that the company will make the most of the different key phrases.
  • Wine and spirits top 100- this will allow the company to target this section of the market and make sure that when a customer searches these key words they once again finish top of the results.
  • Vintage wines- this key phrase allows the company to make sure that the key phrase is vital to make sure they allow the customer to make the most of what they search, when they search this key phrase it allows the company not to waste any money through the clicks that customers might waste.
  • Italian wine- this specifies to the customer searching what type of wine they are looking for and therefore when it appears on the search wine.com should be make sure that they have it at the top of their search results. It will allow the customer to know what they are clicking on and allow the company not to waste money on cost per clicks and pointless clicks.

During this weeks blog I have identified what I feel are twelve key phrase that wine.com could use when trying to identify and make a point of using ad words to make their search results relevant and not waste money on cost per clicks and when a customer clicks so it’s not pointless waste of money. I also tried to search for new ways of checking for ad words and new ways of checking what wine.com most successful searches are but failed to find anything.

Week 8

November 12, 2009

In this weeks blog I will discuss how easy I fund it to access my site www.wine.com using a search engine. I will examine a few different search sites and will determine how easy it I to find my site. I will also compare my search results to the search results of other wine selling companies. I will also include screen shots of my results and pay attention to the ‘paid for’ results.

Being an American company and only selling their wine in America when looking at search engines, they did not appear when you search www.google.ie or www.google.co.uk as they do not advertise in Britain or Ireland because they do not sell.

So my search engines will all be used with the standard .com at the end.

My first search that I undertook was on Google. I entered ‘buying wine online’ into the search engine. After clicking the enter button the search results came back and the company that came back was www.wine.com. This is the e-commerce company that I have been researching over the past few weeks. This is very important for a company to be top of a search engine it shows that the company has good recognition and that it is a popular and trusted website. Being top of the natural results in the top rated search engine and not being on the paid for results means that they gain enough creditability and recognition through the natural results.

buyingwineonline

I then did the same search result in Yahoo and my e-commerce company again came top of the search results. This is good for the company as they do not feature in the paid for results. This is good for the company as they are the first website that a user on the internet will come to when looking for a website to buy wine from.

And since they finished top in the top two search engines as stated by http://www.seoconsultants.com/search-engines/ this proves that the company is a valued e-commerce website with a good customer base and is a popular website.

yahoose

Then I decided to enter just the name ‘wine’ into both Google and then to Yahoo. On Yahoo it again was the first website to appear but in Google it was the fourth to appear. Again the company does not feature in the paid for column.

I then decided to change my search results and decided to search for different types of wine and see if the company appeared on the search engine after.

The first wine I entered was Shiraz. I entered ‘buying shiraz wine online’ into Google. Wine.com came fourth in the search engine and proved itself again to be a popular company when it comes to buying wine online. This again proves that www.wine.com is an established company with a big customer base in America. It proves again that they have the ability not to put in the paid for section and still be one of the topped rank.

shiraz

When I searched for Shiraz on Yahoo it did not appear on the first page of the search engine. This is disappointing for the company as Yahoo is the second most popular search engine and they do not advertise wine.com when it comes to buying a particular wine.

One of wine.com most completive rivals www.snooth.com is top on the Google search and third on the Yahoo search. This highlights the importance of advertising online and how some of their rivals can compete when the company does not advertise on a certain search engine.

Although when I did my first search www.snooth.com did not appear on the search engine on the first page. This shows that when it come to it wine.com has an added edge over its competitors and that they can compete with other companies in their market.

Wine.com is a popular company that has a lot of interest in the two main search engines. They come top in the natural result and did not appear in any of the paid for results as they do not need to. This proves a good move as they save money and get the popularity and customers without it. They are the number one selling wine company online.


Week 7

November 6, 2009

Today in this weeks blog I will discuss cloud computing. I will look at what cloud computing is and what it entails for a user. I will describe different aspects of ‘cloud computing.’

  • What is meant by cloud computing 
  • Impact of cloud computing in e-commerce 
  • Advantages of cloud computing 
  • Disadvantages of cloud computing

Below I will discuss the four above bullet points and define each one and how it is relevant and important today. The blog I will write will involve will looking up and finding out exactly how it is important and what impacts it could have on society.

Significant innovations in virtualisation and distributed computing as well as improved access to high-speed internet have accelerated interest in cloud computing,

Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the internet. It is Internet-based development and use of computer technology. Cloud computing also includes applications that you might develop that are hosted outside your own network. The name comes from the cloud symbol that is often used to represent the Internet in flow charts and diagrams. It is a paradigm shift whereby details are abstracted from the users who no longer need knowledge over the technology infrastructure in the ‘cloud.’

 The term cloud is used as a metaphor for the internet based on how the internet is depicted in computer network diagrams and is an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it conceals. http://www.wikipedia.org says how typical cloud computing services provide common business applications online that are accessed forma web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

Cloud computing customers generally do not own the physical infrastructure, instead avoiding capital expenditure by renting usage from third-party provider. Many cloud computing offerings employ the utility computing model, which is analogous to how traditional utility services are consumed.

A cloud service has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional hosting. It is sold on demand, typically by minute or the hour, it is elastic, a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time, and the service is fully managed by the provider.

A cloud can be both public and private.

  • A Public cloud sells services to anyone on the internet. It describes cloud computing in the traditional mainstream sense, whereby resources are dynamically provisioned on a self-service basis over the internet.
  • Private cloud is a proprietary network or a data centre that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people. While analyst’s predicted that private cloud networks would be the future of corporate IT there is still some uncertainty.

But whether the cloud is private or public, the goal of the cloud computing is to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services.

The services of Cloud computing can be divided into three categories

  1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS); like Amazon Web Services provides virtual server instances with unique IP addresses and blocks of storage on demand.
  2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS); in the cloud is defined as a set of software and product development tools hosted on the providers infrastructure.
  3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS); the vendor supplies the hardware infrastructure, the software product and interacts with the user through front end portal.

The image below shows the growth of cloud computing over the past number of years. The image was taking from google images.

cloud_computing_growth

Impact on E-commerce

What leads many people to believe that e-commerce will be engulfed by the cloud computing storm are the cost benefits it has to offer. The cost of cloud computing are based on consumption there is no software, hardware or infrastructure to buy and in most cases you simply pay for what you use. In a traditional It model you would need to invest in a variety of components to handle your peak activity, with cloud you only pay for the processing power, storage and bandwidth you need meaning you don’t pay for the times your business is idle.

Some business analysts predict that at least 90% of e-commerce businesses will be using some form of cloud computing in the next five years. They believe tat e-commerce side of business has been moving towards cloud for years.

E-commerce businesses have been linked with cloud computing for years and now with it having cost benefits most businesses in the e-commerce side of things will offload infrastructure, development and software to the cloud.

Advantages

Below I will give a description of some of the advantages that comes with cloud computing. The benefits provide a win-win situation for both provider and customer.

  1. One of the advantages is that both small and medium-sized businesses can instantly obtain the benefits of the enormous infrastructure without having to implement it directly.
  2. There is a reduced cost; cloud technology is paid incrementally, saving organisations money. It acts as a low-cost alternative to access technology, for example like electricity you pay for what you use and pay until you use it. It enables companies to save money on important business activities.
  3. There is an increased storage; organisations have the ability to store more data than on a private computer system.
  4. Highly automated as IT personnel do not need to worry about having to update software.
  5. Optimum utilisation and dispersion of cost as while incorporating IaaS, PaaS and SaaS cloud computing brings economies of costs and resources.
  6. Flexibility as cloud computing offers much more flexibility than other computing methods.
  7. There is also a greater independence and remote access since the infrastructure is maintained by an intermediary and accessed by customers by way of internet using a web browser, this has simplified the idea of offshore software development.
  8. More Mobility as employees can access information wherever they are, rather than having to remain at their desk or office.
  9. It also allows IT to shift focus so that you are no longer worrying about constant server updates and other computing issues. Free to concentrate on innovation.
  10. Reliable as it improves through the use of multiple redundant sites which make cloud computing suitable for business continuity and disaster recovery.
  11. Security improves due to the centralisation of data, increased security-focused resources.

Disadvantages

Although there are many advantages of cloud computing business analysts have stated that there are still many problems with it.

  1. Relies totally on network connections, if the network goes down then you’re done until the computer is back up, or if the network is bogged up then everything will be slower.
  2. Doesn’t use a hard drive, while it also can be a benefit it is also a negative as some applications might require a hard drive attached to the computer.
  3. Changes in applications happen without your knowledge or consent, your data is not directly in your hands but in the hands of a third-party.
  4. You are dependant on your internet connection which could be a problem if connection fails and could be a problem for mission critical applications. When your offline cloud computing simply doesn’t work
  5. Doesn’t work with low-speed connections, if you have a low-speed connection it may take a long time just to get from page to page in a document and would not be beneficial to you.
  6. Although even on a fast connection it may be slow trying to access a similar software program on your desktop.
  7. Stored data might not be secure; with cloud computing all your data is stored on the cloud.
  8. Stored data can be lost as well, data stored on the cloud is unusually safe but if your data goes missing you have no physical or local backup.