Nuts & Bolts: Tech Talk
November 1, 2007

Rapid Search Solution Pleasanton, Calif.-based Mercado Software recently launched Mercado Base, a hosted search and navigation solution for small or emerging Internet retailers. Built on Mercado’s previous e-commerce search and navigation platform, Mercado Base provides linguistic capabilities and retail industry thesauri that allow retailers to quickly create searches without the need for labor-intensive “query-baking,” or requiring the search system to learn retail terms over time. The program’s reporting tools allow users to monitor and analyze search behavior, trends and specific e-commerce metrics such as searches that result in shoppers being directed to departments or product categories. Web: Executive Data View Trillium Software, a business of

The Incompetence of General Ad Agencies
October 25, 2007

This was a banner week for marketers and their ad agencies crying HELP! The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal ran long stories about the inability of Web advertisers to determine whether their ads were effective or not. I have spent 45 years in the world of direct marketing, a discipline that is able to measure results down to a gnat’s eyebrow—whether it be mail, space. TV, radio, telephone or the Web. Our feedback comes directly from those to whom we advertise. Yet the world of general agencies has somehow conned the dumb little yuppie MBA corporate brand managers into believing that it’s okay

Super Bowl Ad Critics: A Cult of Know-Nothings
February 8, 2007

With few exceptions, I despise Super Bowl ads. The only things that irritate me more than the ads themselves are the blathering bloviations of columnists and commentators who give their opinions the morning after on which ads were good and which were bad. They are all dead wrong. They haven’t a clue what they are talking about. Not one of them. Let’s start with five very basic rules of advertising: Rule #1: “Your job is to sell, not entertain.” —Jack Maxson, freelancer, creator of the Brookstone catalog Rule