eCommerce Insiders Gives Retail Vendors a Voice

9 Aug

My day job (see my LinkedIn profile link in the sidebar) involves working for an online marketing agency that primarily provides paid search management services to online retailers.  (Think Google AdWords ads.)  I work in the marketing department of this marketing agency… I’m tasked with bringing in more retail clients to the agency itself.  In addition to managing our marketing automation software, this involves preparing presentations, writing industry white papers, planning promotions,  and copywriting for lead generation offers for website, emails, direct mail, and tradeshows.

Two things I’ve learned:

Name Changed to Spendingo for My Financial Budgeting Tool!

4 Jun

As I mentioned in my previous post, I realized I had to change the name of my site.  I really don’t like naming things, so I decided to get some help.  Namestation has some pretty cool domain tools to help find new domain names, but they also allow you to run contests.  I paid $35 to launch a contest to find a new domain name.  Within a few hours, the winning name emerged:!

uPoints Has to Change

31 May

A few months back I came up with an idea for a financial tool to help users track their spending and save more money.  It was first called ProsperPoints.  Then I realized that name sounded stupid.  After days of deliberation (brainstorming domain names is extremely tedious), I settled on   I chose .org because there is a social change aspect to the service and I was planning to get charities involved.  I figured .org would get my foot in the door with aligning myself with non-profits and charities.  A lot of new domain names become available when you don’t NEED the .com.

KickoffLabs Review: I’m Impressed

29 Dec

Upon reading a TechCrunch article the other day, I happened upon a comment by Joshua Ledgard, one of the co-founders of KickoffLabs:

I visited the site and bookmarked it for later.

My other business venture hasn’t been gaining much traction in this off-season, so in my frustration and then burst of happiness yesterday (after finally making another sale) I came up with a new business idea to test in a related industry…

Start a Business with an Ad

9 Oct

I wrote about dry testing a while back… but I’ve been thinking that even that method might take too long. At the foundation, all you really need to test the market viability of your new product/service is an ad itself. If you’ve created much more than that, you’ve probably wasted too much time.

Clicky vs. Woopra vs. Chartbeat

29 Aug

Real-time analytics is cool.  Google Analytics just doesn’t cut it for ADD freaks who can’t stand waiting hours to see who was on their website.  I have a hard time finding practical uses for real-time web analytics, but that doesn’t kill my primal ego-driven desire to know:

  • who is on my website
  • where they are from
  • what page they are looking at
  • whether they’ve taken an action such as adding an item to their shopping cart

100 New Startup Chile Applications in Past 7 Days

7 Aug

The Start-Up Chile application period ends on Thursday August 11th for this round.  Last week I put together a blog post for those applying to startup chile.   At that point there were 629 startups associated with the YouNoodle page.  One week later there are 731.  Over 100 new businesses have begun the application process in the past week.

I expect 100 more will apply before Thursday.

Assuming there were 400 applications started for previous rounds, that means there will be about 400 for this round as well.  Also assuming that at least 20% of the applications are started and never finished, there will be about 320 applications.

They are accepting 100 startups during this round — so everything being equal, Startup Chile applicants have roughly a 30% chance of being accepted for the $40K grant.  Pretty good odds!

Of course, all things aren’t equal.  If you have significant human capital and a great project, your chances are likely closer to 70%.  Good luck!

UPDATE: 400 more applied between Sunday and Thursday… 1100+ total!  According to Start-Up Chile, there were 600+ applicants for the round ending August 11th 2011.  So that’s a 15%-20% chance for all applicants.

Startup Chile Application: Resources for Applying to Start-Up Chile

23 Jul

I found out about Startup Chile in September 2010 when a local Meetup held a Chat with Vivek Wadhwa.  Vivek is an advisor to the program and mentioned it as a model to be emulated.   The basic concept is that Chile wants to be a globally recognized hub of entrepreneurial activity.  They realized the quickest way to jumpstart this goal is to pay entrepreneurs $40,000 to come live there for 6 months to work on their startup business.

Over the next couple years they plan to fund over a thousand businesses.  They are taking applications in stages, accepting about 100 new businesses each time.  The last round acceptance rate was 33%.  This round I’m guessing it will be 15% or less due to the ever-increasing popularity and national press they’ve been getting.  The program is still relatively new, but here’s some resources I’ve found that should help you prepare for the Startup Chile application.

Primary Startup Chile Resources:

Good Posts from Participants:


I plan to share further information about the Startup Chile Application process through an email list.  Sign up below if you’re interested.

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“Privacy” improves response by 217.65%

8 Mar

I’ve been using Visual Website Optimizer (aff link) to increase the signup conversion rate on EmberBox.  I’ve been through a couple rounds of optimization so far while getting traffic from a couple email lists.  I brought the optin rate up to 41% from that traffic.

I decided to get some paid traffic from AdWords, which I knew wouldn’t convert as well.  It is one thing to get an email from someone you know telling you you should sign up on EmberBox — it is another to click a random ad and see a sparse signup page.  Unsurprisingly, the control for my 2nd VWO test performed at only 16.7% from this fresh PPC traffic.

For the new landing page test, one variation kicked butt.  It was the addition of a simple sentence underneath the signup box: “We value your privacy!”  The addition of this text converts PPC traffic at 52.9% — a 217.65% improvement over the control!

Building the EmberBox Marketing List…

14 Feb

For the past few weeks I’ve been gathering email signups from those expressing early interest in EmberBox.  The first dozen signups came from friends.  The next few dozen came from someone promoting it to their email list.  The most recent few dozen signups came from PPC.  Pay-per-click traffic presents the biggest opportunity to grow my list — but obviously it costs.