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ElliotsBlog.com Unveils New Theme!

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Last week, I held a contest on Sitepoint to create a new logo for my company, Top Notch Domains, LLC. I had never used Sitepoint before, but I thought it would be interesting and worth a shot. I received several high quality submissions, and eventually chose a winning design.

I was really impressed with the designer’s work, and I began discussing a revision of the entire website instead of just the logo. We agreed on a very fair price and timeline, and he is currently in the midst of revising the site, which will probably be unveiled this week. While I was reviewing the first round of revisions on my company’s website yesterday, the designer sent me a test header for my blog, just in case I wanted to make it match the company’s website. I hadn’t even asked for it, but he thought it might be good to keep the look and feel consistent.

I am very happy to unveil the new design of my company’s logo – and the new design of my blog! I have been impressed with the quality of work the designer has done, and I think the blog looks great as well. If you would like to learn more about the designer (Mike McAlister), his company is called SixOneFive Design.

Behavioral Targeting: Making Websites Smarter

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Direct marketing is the art of presenting a consumer with a an offer that is compelling enough to elicit a trackable response. Creating a compelling offer continues to pose challenges in many marketing channels such as direct mail and telemarketing channels, but it is becoming easier for online marketing, with the help of behavioral targeting. By tracking consumer web surfing habits, marketers are able to use that data to offer consumers what they expect them to want, which can enhance their online experience and generate revenue for marketers.

Behavioral targeting is utilized to maximize the effect of “intuitive marketing,” giving consumers what they want the moment they probably want it. This helps websites stay ahead of the curve by enhancing the consumer web surfing experience. Online marketers know that if they make the consumer a compelling offer at the time they are most susceptible to processing the offer, it is more likely that they will react positively to the offer.

Applications such as Google’s  Gmail  and  Adsense  don’t necessarily need to rely on behavioral targeting, as their programs can detect content and provide related advertising links. Websites that might not have this type of keyword tags can be most positively impacted by behavioral targeting. According to an article appearing in  CNN, “Behavioral targeting brings capabilities to sites without good or reliable keywords — for example, a social-networking profile that touches on dozens of hobbies and interests at once.

Online marketing firm  eMarketer  believes that $1 Billion will be spent on behavioral marketing in 2008, and by 2011, the spending will increase to around $3.8 Billion, up from $220 Million in 2005. This shows the amount of faith marketers have in behavioral targeting, and it appears that its working. As technology continues to develop, I expect there will be new ways to detect what a consumer is looking to find, enabling direct marketers to successfully turn intuition into ROI.

Generic Domains: Informational vs. Transactional Websites

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In many instances, having a generic domain name as a standalone brand, or forwarding a generic domain name to an existing brand’s website can play a large role in the growth of that online business. This is especially true for informational websites, and may be less important for transactional websites.

When the sole purpose of a website is to give information, and there are a number of sites that provide the same information, the consumer may be more likely to simply navigate to the generic domain name. Why bother to remember a complicated domain name when you can find the exact same information on the generic domain name?

However, when a website is transactional, whereby a visitor makes (or considers) a purchase, a generic domain name is important, but less so than for an informational website. With a transactional site, there is much more to the customer experience than simply finding information. The visitor pays close attention to brands, pricing, fulfillment and customer service. Because of this, consumers are more likely to remember the site that gives the best all around service.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that if you are developing a business around the domain name and plan to generate revenue by selling products or services, the domain name may be less important than the other attributes in building a positive customer experience. If your website is informational in nature, and you plant to generate revenue  from advertising/ppc links, having the generic domain name may be critical.

Please Be The Judge

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The winner has been selected! The Top Notch Domains, LLC website will be undergoing some redevelopment, and it should be relaunched soon. Thank you very much for all your feedback!!

Money Where My Mouth Is

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I am going to put my money where my mouth is. Yesterday I offered VirginiaMortgages.com, WashingtonDoctors.com, WashingtonDoctor.com, and NewJerseyDoctor.com for sale on my blog. Today I posted several available domain names asking the person who registers them to donate to the Cain family who suffered an immense tragedy and needed money to help bury their two daughters.

Tonight I am going to put my money where my mouth is. If you take any of the deals below, I will donate 25% of the total to the Cain family. Post a comment or email me to buy:

VirginiaMortgages.com
Price: $15,000

WashingtonDoctors.com
WashingtonDoctor.com

Pair Price: $9,500

New JerseyDoctor.com
Price: $4,500

3 Doctor Names as a set: $12,000

All 4 Names: $24,000  

**Just so there isn’t any doubt about paying, I will use the services of an attorney to handle escrow (at my cost) so the buyer knows that a donation will be made.  

Life Lesson

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Domain investing may be a way of life, but life isn’t isn’t about domain investing.

A former marketing partner of mine when I worked at AIG passed away this morning after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. She was a wonderful woman, full of energy, and she left behind young children. This is a tragic part of life.

I spend a lot of time on the computer, doing research and trying to make deals. This is a way for me to make a living for me, but this isn’t life.Life is about spending time with the people you care about. Enjoy every minute you can. Unfortunately, life can be short. Life can be unpredictable, too. Take some extra time to enjoy the little thigs in your life.

I am writing from my Blackberry in the middle of Herald Square in New York City. I lived near here and hated this time of year. Too many tourists, too much commotion, and too many street vendors and cab horns. Right now I am just staring at all of this in awe. People are happily living their lives and enjoying the season. This is the first time I am enjoying Herald Square during the holiday season.

Take a break from doing business. Get away from the computer for a little while. Watch a movie with your loved ones. Live your life to the fullest and enjoy the meaningful things. Life can be short and unpredictable, so make the most of it while you can.

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