Vol 1, #17, July 7, 2009
Email Link Print Page
July 7, 2009


Hosting provider makes strategic acquisition
New online resource bridges gap on oral health
Twitter-ers invited to make 'em laugh in 140 characters or less
Loto-Quebec introduces colourful new site
Improved site offers online archive exploration
COC hits high note with new website
What's your child doing on Facebook?
Cheapflights.ca continues to strengthen its Canadian team
7search.com giving cash away to new advertisers
AOL brings Spinner to Canada
Make online video work for your business

Hosting provider makes strategic acquisition

iWeb announced the strategic acquisition of Montreal-based managed hosting provider Netsimplify. This move brings iWeb closer to providing its own brand of managed hosting services – which represent the majority of Netsimplify's revenues in 2008.

“Customers face an increasing complexity in managing their IT infrastructure, and many of our dedicated hosting customers have requested that iWeb provide additional services,” says Eric Chouinard, iWeb's President and CEO. “Netsimplify's customer-driven approach brings a lot of experience, expertise and depth, all of which are important aspects of iWeb's services.”

“This is a logical step towards both cloud computing and managed services" says Martin Leclair, iWeb co-founder and President of Products and Technology. “It is also a homecoming of sorts; Netsimplify's founder, Simon Boulet, was one of iWeb's first employees before he left to start his own company nearly three years ago.”

Simon Boulet will be appointed to the newly created position of IT Manager, from which he will spearhead internal development initiatives.

“We looked at a number of companies and individuals, and Simon was naturally at the top of the list of potential candidates,” says Cyrille Mertes, Vice-President of IT and Infrastructure. “In the medium-term, Simon and the entire infrastructure team will integrate cloud computing and automation into iWeb's service offer.” Top of Page

New online resource bridges gap on oral health

The University of Manitoba is preparing to launch a new online resource to bridge a major gap in oral health information among Canadian health care professionals.

AdvancingIn Oral Health will go live in September 2009 to improve quality of care and patient health in Canada.

A recent survey indicates that 85 per cent of health professionals practicing in

Canada today don’t have enough information on oral health and link between oral and overall patient health. The online survey of over 400 Canadian physicians, pharmacists and allied health professionals revealed several stunning gaps in their oral health knowledge relative to patient care.

AdvancingIn Oral Health, which will provide continuing oral health education to over 72,000 Canadian health professionals, is a partnership between the University of Manitoba Faculty of Dentistry (U of M) and mdBriefCase, AdvancingIn and rxBriefCase. Top of Page

Twitter-ers invited to make 'em laugh in 140 characters or less

Jacob's Creek, the world's number-one winery in 2008 and official wine of Just For Laughs has uncorked their own online comedy festival . The new online initiative is in support of Jacob's Creek’s partnership with Just For Laughs.

Until July 10, entrants have the opportunity to tweet their way to the Toronto Just For Laughs Festival, by winning tickets to the WestJet All Star Gala presented in association with Jacob's Creek on July 16, 2009. Ontario residents 19 and over are invited to post their jokes at www.twitter.com/JCUncorking. Winners will be announced by July 14.

“With their easygoing, friendly style, Jacob's Creek Australian wines are the perfect match for the atmosphere of a comedy festival,” says Emma Herlihy, Marketing Director,Wines, at Corby Distilleries Limited. “Like a great wine, a good joke strikes the perfect balance between creativity and good taste. To win our Uncorking the Laughter contest, you need to deliver the right blend of humour and ingenuity in the true spirit of Just For Laughs.”

Co-promotions and advertisements in support of the Jacob's Creek Uncorking the Laughter contest and the Just For Laughs sponsorship in Toronto will run in select print and online outlets. Top of Page

Loto-Quebec introduces colourful new site

Loto-Québec has unveiled its new Lotteries web site at lotoquebec.com/loteries. The site was redesigned to better meet the needs of an average of three million web surfers every year. It is a fresh, more entertaining way of providing information to our users through an interactive experience.

Internet surfers will be able to browse more easily and quickly locate new content thanks to better structured information. New lottery products are displayed up front on the home page and promoted through animation and a product carrousel. A red icon in the drop-down menu of each section indicates new products being offered.

Another novel feature is the direct access to draw results right on the site's home page, which web surfers may customize to meet their viewing preferences. Draw details are also available for viewing at all times. The section dedicated to winners has been updated as well.

Each product is showcased in a theme of its own with distinctive images and colours. In addition, the features of each lottery product, including prize structures and odds are easier to locate. Games, videos and demos have also been added. The “You might also enjoy!” box included on each product page provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about lottery products that are similar to those they already enjoy.

Finally, the site provides information on ticket signing and validation requirements as well as prize claiming procedures. The prize claiming status of each scratch game is also provided.

Top of Page

Improved site offers online archive exploration

The BC Museum of Mining (BCMM) have launched an advanced new website offering a host of multimedia features and downloadable material. With online archival images and historical newsletters, www.bcmm.ca is the place to learn about the history and the future of BC Mining.

The new website was created to enhance communication with visitors, students and teachers, and history enthusiasts looking to learn more about the Britannia Beach community, current exhibits and collections, and mining in BC.

The easy-to-navigate new site offers a searchable database of archives, calendar, press area, tour information, and links visitors to the Museum's social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Future plans will see the museum offering further online activities to engage their audience, such as: The Curator's Blog, high-resolution image library, video footage, additional archives, and new collections. Top of Page

COC hits high note with new website

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) recently unveiled the latest evolution of its website coc.ca, demonstrating an advance in how the COC is looking to the web as a digital channel to reach and build relationships with its audiences.  Delvinia Interactive, with its insight driven approach, created the digital experience so visitors get exactly what they want and are allowed the ability to connect with opera and the COC in a specialized way.  It was also designed to change interest in ticket purchase into advocacy for the arts.

The COC recognized it would benefit from a clear understanding of its customer’s digital behaviour in order to deliver on the needs of opera lovers both during and between opera seasons.

“Our patrons are passionate and loyal, and we wanted to make sure we delivered on their expectation and with every interaction they have with the COC,” said Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company. “We’re pleased with the notion that visitors of the website can expect the same quality from our digital experience that we demonstrate with our productions in our beautiful opera house.”

A key feature of the new digital experience was the ability to navigate quickly and easily through the site. With full navigation available at every turn, users can move quickly through the site and easily access the information they need.

But what brings the digital experience to life are the deeper more enhanced features that enable site visitors to become more engaged with the COC, including:

  • A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the COC’s production of Madama Butterfly.
  • A historical timeline highlighting the company’s milestones including commemorative photos, posters, interviews, and audio and video excerpts.
  • COC podcasts featuring musical excerpts and video highlights of select operas and exclusive artist interviews. 
  • Fun and interactive quizzes, polls, and a glossary of opera terms.
  • A blog by Neef, who shares his thoughts on COC productions and artists, and encourages visitors to ask questions. Starting this summer, visitors can follow Neef’s journey through Europe.
  • Deployment of an online panel within the COC site to provide ongoing feedback for the organization.

Prior to designing the COC’s new website, Delvinia analyzed five years of transactional data from the COC and overlaid this data with its proprietary insight engine and segmentation tool, the Delvinia Digital Mosaic (DDM).  The insight engine showed that while only 20 per cent of those interacting with the COC transacted through the website, that opera goers were in fact more digitally inclined than the average Canadians.  In fact, while 85 per cent of the COC’s audience fit into five of 20 DDM segments, 40 per cent of the base fit into segments called “Loaded and Overloaded” and “City Clickers.” 

Additionally, Delvinia used online consumer research panel, AskingCanadians.com to further validate the data and trends that would enhance the digital experience, and the relationship with the COC. The model for the experience became about conversion – by encouraging their audience to use the enhanced website, the COC could build the relationship and evolve the experience to develop more loyal relationships, converting ticket buyers into subscribers, and subscribers into donors.

With a validated understanding of the COC’s audience and grounded insight of their digital behaviours, Delvinia was able to design and build an experience to reflect their needs and desires.

“Keeping COC patrons engaged with the opera experience through the digital space required a great deal of insight into the digital behaviours of the opera lover,” said Adam Froman, President and CEO of Delvinia. “This insight provided the foundation that allowed us to build a site that can be easily navigated, while also providing a deep and rich experience to those craving more of a connection to this exciting art form, whether you are new to the opera or a seasoned opera lover.” Top of Page

What's your child doing on Facebook?

A new study shows from Ipsos Reid shows that online Canadian teens are significantly more likely to have a social network profile than online Canadian adults.

Over three-quarters (76 per cent) of online Canadians teens aged 12-17 now have a social network profile, up from 50 per cent in 2007. The rate of increase is higher than that reported for the online adult population, which increased from 39 to 56 per cent over the same time period. These are some of the findings from “Online Teens: What’s the Next Generation Doing Now,” a new study conducted and released by Ipsos Reid.

“Teenagers are sometimes thought as societal barometers for new trends and embracing new technology,” says study author Mark Laver. “Online teenagers’ use of social networks has expanded rapidly in the past 18 months; however, their parents’ usage hasn’t kept up. Consequently, some parents will have little to no clue about what their children are doing online.”

Many online teens have social network accounts at more than one site. Of the online Canadian teenagers with social networking profiles, almost all (93 per cent) have a profile on Facebook. The next most popular social networking sites for these teens are Windows Live Space (29 per cent), and MySpace (19 per cent). Facebook is the only site to experience a significant increase in the last 18 months, increasing by 24 percentage points (up from 69 per cent).

“Facebook has clearly broken away from the crowd in terms of being the primary site for social networking, although a few niche providers have a following as well. Businesses wishing to engage consumers through online social networks will need to do some research to understand the dynamics of each site,” Laver says. Top of Page

Cheapflights.ca continues to strengthen its Canadian team

Cheapflights, with online flight price search and comparison sites in the UK, USA, Germany and Australia, has hired Dalia Blumenthal and her PR firm dbpr international as PR agency of record for its Canadian site, Cheapflights.ca. Based in Toronto, Dalia will report to Cheapflights' Head of International, Mo Bulbrook and will be responsible for increasing awareness of Cheapflights.ca through public relations and marketing communications within the Canadian market and travel trade.

This appointment further demonstrates Cheapflights’ commitment to the Canadian market following the appointment last year of Lorraine Jackson as Senior Business Development Manager and Oonagh Shiel as the Site Editor early this year for the Canadian site.  Cheapflights.ca was "light launched" with basic features in April 2007 and fully launched in February 2009 using the company's bespoke common international technology platform.    To date, Cheapflights.ca is achieving well over 350,000 visits monthly. 

“Cheapflights.ca has built up visit numbers without the benefit of active PR and we are very pleased by the way the Canadian site has gained traction, especially since it was fully launched earlier in the year,” says Mo Bulbrook, Cheapflights’ Head of International. “We have been looking for a specialist PR in our sector and are delighted to have retained Dalia with whom we look forward to working.  It is our intention to continue building the Canadian site’s content and functionality and Dalia’s feedback is already helping us in this regard.” Top of Page

7search.com giving cash away to new advertisers

7Search.com, a leading pay-per-click search engine and advertising network, will hold a weekly drawing to give one new advertiser a $250 Visa gift card each Monday in July.

To be eligible for the Crazy Monday cash give-away promotion, new 7Search.com advertisers must make a deposit and activate the campaign account the week before the Monday drawing. For example, to be eligible for the drawing on July 6, advertisers must make a deposit between June 29 and July 5. When registering, advertisers must enter the promo code CASHCOW to be eligible for the promotion. The winner of each 7Search.com Crazy Monday drawing, which will take place 1 PM CST, will be announced by 3 PM CST that same day. To learn more, visit http://7search.com/contest/cow/index.htm. Top of Page

AOL brings Spinner to Canada

Spinner, AOL’s flagship music destination, recently launched Spinner Canada. Spinner.ca will offer advertisers ad formats and capabilities including rich media options and content integration opportunities. In support of the new launch, Labatt’s will be the primary sponsor of Spinner.ca promoting their Bud Camp campaign. This includes 100 per cent ownership of all ad placements.

With local editors and writers offering a unique perspective, Spinner Canada offers music fans access to interviews, performances, videos and music from their favourite artists from Canada and around the world.

“We are thrilled to extend the success we’ve seen with Spinner in the U.S. and around the world by launching the site in Canada,” says Bill Crandall, Vice President, AOL Music. “We are committed to bringing Canadian music fans the best local, and global, music content.”

Spinner Canada’s features include:

  • Northern Exposure : A look at the best in new Canadian music. Check in every week for content featuring both new discoveries and old favourites.
  • You Oughta Know : An introduction to up-and-coming Canadian artists.
  • Between the Notes : An analysis of Current Canadian music trends.
  • Live It Out : Starting with June’s NXNE festival, get the lowdown on the best and the worst of the Canadian live scene, as well as insider looks at Canada’s best venues, underground parties, concert reviews and more.

According to comScore Media Metrix worldwide data (April 2009), Spinner has more than 5.6 million worldwide unique visitors. Top of Page

Make online video work for your business

It sounds like a myth: A hired sales person you pay only once, works for your business around the clock and is completely consistent with their sales delivery. This salesperson is not a human, but a virtual sales professional used in online video marketing. Businesses can use virtual sales professionals to work 24/7- 365 days a year without break, to spread their sales message online.

According to “The Apple Guy” Tim Hagen, a certified trainer for Apple and partner at eMotion Picture Studios, there are a number of things businesses should consider in order to make effective online marketing videos.

“Online marketing videos are a cost effective way to generate new business,” says Hagen. “Businesses can make successful videos themselves if they follow a few rules.”        

Hagen suggests the following tips to help businesses create their own successful online marketing videos:

  • Appear Professional: Have a clear background for your video without clutter or pictures. Keep the background consistent with the lifestyle your business is promoting. For example, a recreational business could shoot their video on the beach, at the slopes or on a golf course.
  • Virtual Sales Professional Delivery: Make sure the sales professional is speaking directly into the camera as if they were speaking to a person. They need to convey a strong sense of confidence to be viewed as credible.
  • Sounds Good: Many online videos were shot using the built in camera microphone. This can lead to bad audio which is a leading factor in high video bounce rates. Invest in good audio by purchasing a lavaliere microphone and wire up the talent four to five inches under their chin.
  • Keep it Short: Don’t make your marketing video too long. It should be 2-3 minutes max and the shorter, the better. Only 36% of viewers watch online videos longer than 2 minutes. Training videos should be in the 20 minute range per topic.
  • Naming the video: It is important to find the right keywords to use in the video’s name in order to receive the most hits possible. Go to Google Keyword tool and paste the URL of a competitor’s video page or your own product page. The tool will then suggest the best keywords for the title and video description in order to gain more viewers.

Top of Page