Monthly Archives: June 2008

Monday Randomness

So…currently kicking it in Hilton Head, SC. On the annual vacation to our neighbors to the South. Today, saw about a 6 ft gator. I am going to try borrow my brother-in-law’s iPhone to see if I can get a pic of the gator and post here. Tonite, going to a tennis exhibition, complete with kegs and a Dutch announcer. Its highly entertaining.

Next week I am traveling to Japan for the first time to meet with the marketing team there. Really psyched. I hate flying but love visiting new places. This is the first time I’ve been out of the country in 10 years, since I went to Australia for summer school and large scale debauchery. The debauchery should be made into a movie at some point as it included international gangsters, gambling, tall-tales, leaches, aborgines, drinking, and wallabies amongst other things. As for the Japan trip, allegedly we are going to see a Japanese baseball game (right Churbuck?) which is a definite live-blogging opportunity. Now just need a device to do it on.

Speaking of devices…I think I might splurge this summer and grab an iPhone. Somehow I need to con Lenovo in to paying for it, as I need it for mobile advertising research.

OK…I wrote something as part of my agreement.

Maybe more tomorrow on some web analytics stuff I am putting into words.

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Mike Mann is famous

Congrats to Mike Mann on the interview on china.org.cn

I was disappointed that there was no mention of the St.Patty’s day suit as that was probably an international incident.

Also, congrats to Brian White for getting it published. Brian is my sister-in-law’s boyfriend who’s over in China this summer doing an internship. He’s also from Appalachian State, so he’s got that going for him as well.

NBA Draft ’08

So I am not a big fan of the NBA, though I watched more of it this year than I have in the last 10 years. But there is one thing that I do watch every year and that is the NBA Draft.

Why?

Because it is highly entertaining for the following reasons…

1) You have giant dudes shaking hands with David Stern

2) You have ridiculous suits

3) You invariably have some guy who thought he was a lotto pick sitting in the green room until the 2nd round and the camera starts getting closer and closer as the picks move along.

4) The hilarious post-pick interviews with the players

5) The look of someone who just got drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks or Memphis Grizzlies.

6) New York boos all their picks

On top of that, I usually get together with some friends and watch it with full commentary through the night.

The thing that is absolutely missing is Charles Barkley. Back when TNT had the event, Barkley was the main attraction. ESPN please bring him in for one nite!

Serialization of Events

yeah its 5:09 AM. Its called insomnia, and it sucks.

Anywho…wanted to write about something that folks may or may not know about how Omniture collects success events. If you do nothing on the backend to restrict the success events from occuring on pages, an event would be collected everytime a page is loaded. For the uninitiated…success events are basically measured goals or objectives on a site, such as purchases, email optins, leads, getting to an important piece of content, watching a video, downloading a file, etc.

Example – we have a success event on the first page of our configurator. If a visitor configures a product and clicks the back button back to the first page of the configurator it would trigger the event again and we’d capture 2 events. In reality, I just want to capture it once. So what to do?

There is a functionality called ‘Event Serialization’ which allows you to use a unique identifier in conjuction with an event so the event is counted only once.

Example:

s.events=”event1:1234567″

You have to create some logic to make the unique identifier occur but then you will only count the unique instances of it. You could probably do it a variety of ways such as using a sessionid, whatever you do it needs to be server-side code and not some randomizing function that assigns an id because the random function would create a unique id each time a page loads, which defeats the purpose.

I assume in my example above with the configurator that I could configure the serialization to happen on a specific product too, because a visitor could configure multiple products during a visit and I want to capture each unique product being configured, but only count it once per product. I’ll try to put this one into practice and report back the result.

Omniture Survey

When I logged on to Omniture last week I noticed a new tool within their suite called ‘Survey’. The only details I have are in the screenshot below, but if I were to wager on it, I would think Omniture has a new tool to create online surveys that could be triggered based on events, such as a shopping cart or getting to a piece of content. And then those responses are tied to the normal web analytics via Omniture. So if you get a ton of responses saying “Your site sucks” you can now study the behavior of those users as a segment to understand why they think your site has room for improvement. Web Analytics is good at telling you what people are doing, but doesn’t do a great job of telling you why. This gives you a little more insight into what users wanted to do or what they find frustrating/good about your site.

I hope to learn more about it, and hopefully its something I can deploy in the near future. If I do, I’ll write more about it. Right now you now know as much as I do.

My Morning Music Review – My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

2 weeks ago brought us the latest from one of my favorite bands, My Morning Jacket. I think their last album Z is one of the best albums of the last 10 years. The show they put on at the Cat’s Cradle in 2004 was one of the all-time greatest shows that I’ve witnessed in person (here’s proof). Needless to say, I was jacked about them having a new offering called Evil Urges.

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

So…how does it stack up?

The first 3 songs are jarring in a very odd way and just don’t sound at all like My Morning Jacket. First of all, Jim James’ vocals are very different than MMJ’s previous albums, singing in a R & Bish falsetto. You’ll read in other reviews ,like Rolling Stone, that its Prince-esque in a way but I don’t hear any “When Doves Cry”, its just missing the normal reverb. “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt 1” sounds like a Flaming Lips song. The 3rd song ‘Highly Suspicious’ is a disaster and even more so when you consider how amazing MMJ usually is. The chanting chorus, the laughing, the whole thing is a mess. I can’t tell if its a joke or what, but one thing is for sure, MMJ is trying to tell you that what you think of them from their past efforts can essentially be thrown out the door. 3 songs in and I’m like this is going to be a bad record. Some of the other early songs on the record are reminiscent of 80’s ballads, and not in a good way (is there a good way?).

Its not until the 4th song “I’m Amazed” does the sound of previous albums’ start to take shape. In fact, the rest of the album plays out like a normal My Morning Jacket affair with James’ voice back into the normal reverb-soaked wailing and fantastic guitar playing. The second half of the album is excellent and almost makes me forget some of the experimentalness of the first half. Almost. I think the one thing that still bothers me about the record is that it seems like they wanted to experiment in the name of experimenting, not because it actually sounds good or is interesting. Instead, its solely because they wanted to do something different than what they’d done in the past. Its cool not to want to be pigeon-holed as a band that sounds like this or does that, just as bands in the past have done such as Radiohead’s ‘Kid A’ or Wilco’s “Yankee Foxtrot Hotel” which worked well. This one just didn’t work as well.

And my criticism doesn’t mean there aren’t good songs here, there are. “Look at You”, “Smokin from Shootin”, and “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt 2” are all outstanding. And in fact, I’ve grown to like the first song ‘Evil Urges’ which at first I couldn’t get into at the initial listen. Same to a lesser degree for “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Pt 1”. So this appears to be an album that will grow on you over time, though “Highly Suspicious” will never grow on me. Never.

Overall I’d give it a B –

If you are wondering about the rest of their discography:

Z – A+ fantastic album

It Still Moves – A

At Dawn – A

Okonokos – B+

Tennessee Fire – B

Little Known Omniture fact – Unified Source DB VISTA Rule

I came across this one in talking with my account manager….but Omniture has an interesting offering that some folks might not know about about called the Unified Source DB VISTA Rule. Just rolls off the tongue.

Anyways at its essence its a backend data rule that transforms non-campaign driven traffic/revenue so that it shows up alongside of your campaigns in SiteCatalyst. For example, you have things coming through Organic Search via your SEO efforts which aren’t a campaign per se but you want them to show up alongside of your other tactics, you can have Omniture create the Unified Source DB VISTA Rule so that it does. You can do this for all the stuff that currently shows up in your ‘None’ bucket of campaigns so that ‘None’ truly will only be stuff that had no referring source. Another example is if you have traffic coming from things like press releases or industry sites like Engadget or Gizmodo, you could classify that traffic to show alongside of your paid campaigns to show the true breakdown of how your traffic/revenue/etc came into being.

The bad thing is the rule costs something to implement. My feeling is this should be part of the de facto setup within Omniture and not a custom rule. Or even a classification piece of Campaigns.