Summer Highlights: Online Developments I Have Enjoyed

It’s that time of year again — the kiddies are all headed back to school. Now that I’m headed back to school too (MBA = T minus 2 years), it makes me reminisce about all those things I loved about college – the excitement of a new year, catching up with old friends you hadn’t seen all summer, the first night in a new dorm room, the first weekend of parties (when it really still felt like summer camp & not like school), flipping through textbooks ($500 for 2 books – WHAAAAT?!?!) and thinking “This class might actually be interesting” (then leaving the book under the bed until 3 days before finals)… Sometimes I have weird trains of thought, but I was also recently thinking about all the things that I enjoyed discovering in college and how they sort of parallel the recent online developments that I enjoy discovering every day. And one thing I learned in school (and at home): it’s always nice to share. =)

On the horizon, Compete is going to be launching Search Analytics on September 12th with a Pay-as-You-Go pricing model. This service will provide a new level of competitive research accessible for all sizes and types of companies. Compete Search Analytics will provide companies with access to keyword and site referral data so one can compare a site to its competitors and uncover ways to improve a search marketing strategy.

The second development I want to share is a widget. Yes, it seems everyone is widget-crazy these days, but this widget doesn’t apply to the masses — Due Maternity has found a great way to use a widget to connect to their niche. The first of our friends just had their first baby three weeks ago. I’m married to a second-year associate at a law firm and, as I mentioned, I’m about to start back at school for my MBA, so starting our family is a ways off (much to my in-laws disappointment). But my friend’s pregnancy was — and new baby Matthew is — really exciting for us (now, if they didn’t live in Ohio…). If only I had discovered Due Maternity’s desktop widget earlier, I could have shared it with the mommy-to-be. I love it, not only because it’s cute, but because it’s a brilliant marketing idea; Due Maternity has found an alternative marketing avenue to stay in touch with their target audience, and it has a measurable ROI!

“During the first 45 days after launch, the application was downloaded around 10,000 times—customers were enticed with a 10% discount on select purchases—and sales directly attributable to click-throughs from the application to the e-commerce site hit $7,500. The cost? $600.” -Internet Retailer, August 20, 2007

Often companies want to develop a widget just for the sake of having a widget (or because “everyone else is doing it”). The Due Maternity widget really emphasizes thinking about your target audience, the format of your widget, and widget tie-ins that will entice the downloader to return to your site.

Usually, there is not much to say about interesting things that Yahoo! is doing that Google has not done already. But I think Yahoo! is trying to catch up to Google Universal, so they have done a couple interesting things in the past few months. First, if you’re searching Yahoo! for information on a specific location, look at what you might find:

Looks like Yahoo! has done a great job of using their own property ( to provide a “One Box” Travel Destination Shortcut with a picture slideshow, as well as helpful hotel, flight, restaurant, and map quick links and top things to do. Similarly, if you’re trying to compare Donovan McNabb’s most recent statistics to Carson Palmer’s, you might find a result like this:

Again, Yahoo! has done a great job of leveraging a property they own, as well as maximizing an area in which they know they excel – Fantasy Football. They have all the stats in their database, so it’s easy enough to throw them in a One Box result, plus the added benefits of the Yahoo! Fantasy Rank. Who Dey!

Of course, I still love Google, so I have to give them some love in my blog post. I also love to cook (and I’m not half bad), so I’m always on the searching for new recipes. If you do a simple Google search for “chicken recipe,” this is what you’ll get back:

You can then use the two boxes and search for recipes or click “Find results for chicken recipe in Recipes search” and use the abundance of drilldown types to find exactly what you’re in the mood for:

It’s great that the recipes come from all different sources. (Interested in listing your company in the recipe results? Use Google Base. What is more, you can use Google Base to list all sorts of things – hotels, jobs, real estate, products, etc. and it’s FREE!)

Well, that’s my wrap up of recent favorite things in the spirit of reminiscing. Is there anything you have seen recently that is worth sharing? I think discovering new things is fun, but sharing them with others is even better!