By Ken Burke A new world of possibilities for a reliable, old tool. Sometimes old tools are the best tools. Recently, online merchants have been turning to A/B testing to refine their online messaging, increase the effectiveness of their offers, improve usability, and boost sales. Long a staple in the direct marketing industry, A/B testing has become a powerful ally of the online marketer now that it can function in concert with e-commerce marketing and analytics applications. Its simple, logical approach to testing and refining even highly subjective variables is perfectly suited to the Web environment, though it predates the Web and even the

By Ken Schneider OK. Last time I gave you a rather meandering rundown of the things I wanted to cover in this new column. I said my aim was to blow the dust off long-held ideas about direct mail, spark debate, rattle a few cages, point out hidden truths, and provide a forum for an exchange of ideas. First up—vouchers. Last month I said they were killing the industry. They still are. (Sorry to whoever came up with this one.) Look, I've heard it all. They're inexpensive. They get high response. And the cash with order is pheeenomminal! Well, DUH! Vouchers get lots

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