"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

Spare a Penny for a Poor Rock Band

Posted: November 7th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Internet Life, Internet Marketing | Tags: , , | No Comments »

The first set of ‘statistics’ have turned up from Radiohead’s innovative “choose your price” sale of their In Rainbows album. As you may recall, Radiohead decided to let their listeners choose a price to download the album – anywhere from nothing to £99.99 (+ 45p handling fee). Now comscore are claiming an indication of how much people have paid, but purely based on a survey they carried out.

Comscore reckon the average price paid was £2.90 – with US customers paying more than the rest of the world, averaging £3.85 compared with £2.22 elsewhere. Obviously this is a lot lower than the usual price of a CD, but consider how much of that money is now going direct to Radiohead and not a middleman… 100%. Plus one thing that Comscore doesn’t indicate is how many albums have been sold so far, only Radiohead and their partners know that for sure. Either way it seems that their experiment has been a success.

As an aside, In Rainbows is a wonderful album full of great songs – so go get your copy now, at a price that feels good to you.

10 Ways to Make a Book Popular

Posted: October 16th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Internet Marketing | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The UK’s premier yearly book awards, the Man Booker prize, has just been won by the rank outsider Anne Enright, for her book ‘The Gathering’. The Booker prize has a habit of being un-predictable, and it certainly isn’t a popularity contest, but winning the prize is a boon to any novelist’s sales. To help the rest of us who haven’t won, the BBC offers a handy list of ten ways to make a book popular, ranging from word of mouth, TV shows like Richard & Judy or Oprah and three for two marketing offers.

Radiohead: Re-inventing Music Sales

Posted: October 9th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Internet Marketing | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

A week or so ago, Radiohead announced they were selling their new album ‘in Rainbows‘ online. Doesn’t sound like anything new, until you hear that they are asking you, the customer, to say how much you want to pay for the download. Sound too good to be true? Well it was for the website, which crashed under the volume of Radiohead fans wanting to get their hands on the latest effort.

The other day I pre-ordered the album, and today (or soon I hope) my download link will turn up, although I’d imagine the site is spreading out these emails to prevent another overload. The in Rainbows website is intense to look at, and minimal in terms of information and fields. Normal trust indicators (Verisign, PayPal and the like) are visibly absent. Instead, you get to choose between a ‘meat space’ box set at a fixed price of £40, or the download at whatever price you choose. Yes, really. You can say you want it free, or pay them up to £99.99 (plus 45 pence processing charge with credit card). One wonders why the super-rich Radiohead fans can’t pay them more than £100, but there we go – they’ll just have to order multiple downloads for their friends and family or offer to pay Radiohead to play at their birthday party or some such thing.

This is an another genius move from one of the world’s outstanding bands. Radiohead album releases have always been widely anticipated, and even without this ‘gimmick’ it would have flown off the shelves. But is it a gimmick? Radiohead recently completed their contract with their record company and now can do whatever they like with their music. So instead of doing what most other artists do, and negotiate bigger payouts for themselves, they’ve innovated in a way that only Radiohead can, in a way that I’m sure everyone in the record industry is watching with half fascination, half impending doom for their livelihood.

What would be really fascinating is to know the stats on what people paid. Surely some people have paid nothing, but I’m sure many have paid a considered, reasonable amount. In reality at a minimum you have to pay the processing fee of 45p, so they will be getting your credit card details at the very least. Also when you pay they ask for a lot of personal information, including mobile/cell phone, so there is an inherent value in that as well – which makes me wonder what deal the processing company is on. But is the distribution of prices exponentially towards 0p, tailing off towards £100? Or is it normally distributed around some value that is akin to current CD prices – baring in mind that in the UK a CD normally retails at £12+ whereas in the US it’s $12+ (or £6 at current exchange rate)? This is all fascinating, and I suspect we’ll never find out. Radiohead are innovative but are they that innovative as to give away the album, and the store?

And no, I’m not telling you how much I chose to pay – other than it was between 1p and £99.99…

Make Money from your Blog With Less Work

Posted: August 7th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Internet Marketing | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Amazon have just introduced a new feature for their Affiliate Program, it’s a script that you place at the bottom of each page on your site that looks for key terms that Amazon has products for – then it creates a link on those products wired into your affiliate program.

How this works in practice is if you write about Harry Potter, then the script looks through your text, finds that phrase, and than auto-magically adds a link to that phrase. A site visitor can then hover over the link and a popup to go buy the article at Amazon then appears. Clever.

To try it out I’ve added it to my book reviews – so go check it out. I’ve noticed it can be a little bit slow – as I think it uploads the page to Amazon, then next time someone goes to that page it has an index. So if you use it yourself you may want to visit some of your pages to trigger that indexing. Also it only picks up phrases in the body text, so any headings are unaffected.

Blogging for Love (and money)

Posted: July 18th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Internet Life, Internet Marketing | Tags: , | No Comments »

Business Week investigates how top bloggers earn their money – and, for those of us who like gawking, how much they earn and what ad networks they use. It also tells you about another cute cat blog, kthx bye!

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all these blogs you know you should be reading – check out this video of Robert Scoble explaining how he culls his daily feed list to write his own blog. Scoble uses Google’s online reader to plow through his reading, with his only complaint being that you can’t take it offline. Well now you can, Google has used their ‘gears’ product to enable offline reading for those dull moments in airports without wireless.