Jose reviewed an interesting journal article: “Path Data in Marketing”. You can read it at that link, at the Web Analytics Assocations’ Research Committees’ Peer Review Journal’s Project. And, it got me into thinking more about path analysis. To a web analyst, traditionally, a path analysis is examining a sequence of pages that were viewed. Back in the nineties we used to call such analysis ‘threading’: and we always chose to examine pages and the sequence. Threading was computationally expensive during the nineties, when volume was low, and it continues to be very computationally heavy for vendors to this day – even with improved algorithms: the volume hurts. How much does Page Path Analysis (Maddeningly: even when we use the[…]

I’m absolutely loving this Yu Wan Mei takeover of The Onion. In case you don’t know, The Onion is a satirical newspaper, and Yu Wan Mei is a fictional company. Dame Edna once said something to the effect “if you have to explain satire – don’t bother”, and that was in reference to the controversy over a remark about Americans learning Spanish and Selma Hayek freaking out about it. I guess I’ll only explain why I’m reveling in it all. We have techniques in Political Science (in fact, it has it’s own discipline) where by comparing two countries (or institutions) you can learn a lot more by than just by examining each one alone. It’s the comparative method and it’s[…]

“Meme-tracking and the Dynamics of the News Cycle” is an excellent paper put out by Leskovec, Backstrom and Kleinberg. In it, they track meme’s against the news cycle. The empirical findings of their study, which focuses on Palin, is really cool. How they chose to vizualize what was going on that’s quite new. Traditionally, we tend to graph social networks using graph theory: each person is a node, and you draw links. Sometimes we color in the nodes and represent the strength between nodes by thickness of the lines. This kind of social network vizualization is something very cool, but the type of math that’s required to derive a real business strategy out of it is not. People have a[…]

I hope to embark on some Internet Serious Business work that links community with government with some industry. There’s a large social analytics piece in all of this that I’m looking forward to. The triple bottom line can be summed up as “profit, people, planet”. Basically, accounting for social and environmental impacts as well as the profit motive. There’s a story about a young graduate student and an old econ prof walking down the street together. The young graduate student, clearly cash starved, spots a dollar on the street and says, “look, a dollar” and goes to reach for it. The prof holds him back, and replies “nonsense, if there really was a dollar there, somebody would have already picked[…]

Paco Underhill had an interesting interview on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer that was re-aired this week. It struck a cord. I’m still thinking about it 72 hours after the fact. You can read the transcript here. While there is a lot of good content in there, it was this part that really caught me [my emphasis]: Marketing to a younger generation PAUL SOLMAN: Well, let’s say there are some people in our audience who would like to re-inflate the bubble. How do you get consumers to start buying again at this point? PACO UNDERHILL: Nobody’s going to go back to the old ways. And what we’re seeing here is a time in which our retail world is probably going[…]

As with any early industry, there are quite a few ‘free’ measurement applications out there. Social Media is no exception. Many of them are quite good at doing one or two things very well. For instance, Twitalyzer is very good at measuring influence, and in particular, the first derivative of influence. The advanced search functions on Google are very good at tracking, at least at a monthly cadence, the number of mentions and backlinks. Very useful. And they’re FREE*! There’s a large component of social media analytics that can be done with Google Analytics for ‘free’ too. Of course, ‘free’ has a hidden cost. In some instances, unless you’re opting out and getting mutual NDA’s, you’re giving up some privacy.[…]

I think that sometimes, it’s human nature to try to add complexity to seek a competitive advantage. Sometimes there’s competitive advantage in Ease. In easyness. In simplicity. A good example is the difference between Windows and the original command line DOS. Another is between Mac OX and Windows. Simplicity isn’t easy though. It’s far easier to pound out a five page brief than it is to write two paragraphs communicating the same thing. It’s hard to get right. But most of the time, you only have two paragraphs. So you see, simplicity can be incredibly complex. I’m kind of intoxicated by this relationship between simplicity and complexity.

One of the more neat aspects of the Internet is its impact on prices. Before the Internet, researching the best price for something was relatively hard. Or, I imagine it to have been hard. The price you got for a consumable, like a car, a house, an airline ticket or hotel room largely depended on who you knew or how many people you called and asked. One of the impacts of the Internet has been relative deflation in prices as a result of the ability of customers to compare prices easily. This decrease in the cost of becoming un-ignorant has eaten directly into the margin. I don’t think I can argue that the barriers of entry have been significantly lowered[…]

Whether it’s Elitist or not to point out the disparity, the fact remains that these kinds of media flares have become standard. Lynn Rosenvall taught me that the world is divided up into large media zones. There’s no conspiracy about them – regions of the world just have different points of view and are dominated by different stories on different days. Our little neck of the woods up here is dominated by the Michael Jackson story. I don’t know if we’re all the more richer or poorer for it. Would the news be greeted by yawns or passion? After all, there’s no oil buried underneath Honduras…

Web analysts I speak with are expecting a crash in observed traffic with the launch of Firefox 3.5 and the newer features within IE. I question if it’s really all that private at all. Some commentators, like Preston Gralla, call private browsing the “porn mode”. Gralla goes onto write: When you browse the Web using it, nothing about the session is stored — no history, no cookies, no temp files, no forms information, no search information, nothing that can show where you’ve browsed or what you’ve done. To turn the Las Vegas tag line on its ear: What happens in Firefox doesn’t stay in Firefox. Well, alright, nothing in-the-browser is really stored. Of course, some memory of the porn run[…]