'The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms'    Socrates

book cover: key concepts in 

The definitions on this site are from my book Key Concepts in e-Commerce published in 2007. The majority of the terms are still in use and the meanings accurate. However, some terms are no longer in use [treat them as a history lesson :-) ] and some have changed as technology - or how they are used - has changed with the passing years, and so I updated them. I have also added some new terms to those in the original book.

Oh ... and I changed the title from 'e-commerce' to 'digital marketing'.

The definitions

A - C | D - G | H - R | S - Z | numbers

Any word in bold has its own definition within the glossary.

Hacker     Although when used in a technical context the term refers to a person who creates and modifies hardware and software, in both the digital marketing environment and to the general public hacker has a more sinister connotation. For most people, a hacker is someone who gains unauthorized access to 'secure' computer systems. Based on the old cowboy axiom, such hackers can be 'black hat' [malicious or criminal], or 'white hat' [ethical or doing it for fun].

HAN [home area network]     A network contained within a user's home, connecting digital devices - computers, telephones, VCRs, televisions etc.

Haptics     Derived from the Greek 'to touch', the term describes anything related to the sense of touch. In a digital marketing environment it is most commonly used when referring to the interaction between a human and a two dimensional object where the person is 'fooled' into thinking the object is actually three dimensional. For example, touching an image of button on a flat screen, yet feeling as though a real button has been pushed.

Hard bounce    see email bounce.

Hard to find product     In marketing terminology this is commonly known as the niche product but to the consumer it is the hard to find product. It also has a close relative - the didn't know it existed product. Before the advent of the Internet there were many products that were difficult, if not impossible, for the person in the street to find. Some argue that it is this kind of product that makes the most successful online business, see also the long tail.

Hardware    Intrinsically linked with software, computer hardware describes the tangible aspects of computing, that is, anything that can be physically touched. The term is used generically. For example, if a computer fails with a mechanical, electrical or technical fault it would be described as 'a hardware problem'.

Hashers     A term used to describe individuals who search the web for videos of copyrighted content and report their findings to the owners of those copyrights. Although this task might be part of an online reputation management strategy, the task is normally undertaken as out-sourced consultancy.

Hashtag     A tag on a social media posting to annotate a message, with the word/phrase being prefixed with a '#'. [e.g. #AlanCharlesworth]. Hashtags are used by social media platforms to categorize information.

Heading tag     An HTML tag that designates a heading in a piece of text on a website. Because a headline to a piece of text is deemed to be a good indicator of what the body of the text is about, heading tags are given extra credit by search engines. For that reason all heading tags should be keywords for the page on which they are featured.

Helping the buyer to buy     Arguably one of the most significant developments the Internet has brought to marketing is to give impetus to marketers' objectives shifting from helping the seller to sell to helping the buyer to buy. Consumers now expect to be facilitated in their research on the product or service that best meets their wants and needs. The web is significant in that, unlike others, it is a pull media. An integral element of the concept of helping the buyer to buy is the development of consumer generated media.

Hero shot     A term taken from publishing - and used in advertising - the hero shot is the main image on a page or ad. A classic example would be the firefighter carrying a child from a burning building. Online, the term could describe the key image on a web page or an email, and in commercial terms it would be the image that would prompt the user to stay on that page and read more.

Hexadecimal code     The six-digit code used to specify what colour text will be displayed on the web. For example, black is 000000, white FFFFFF.

Hidden text     Also known as invisible text, this is content on a website that cannot be read by humans. This is usually achieved by having the text in the same colour as the background [for example white on white]. The idea is that although humans cannot see the text, search engine spiders can - so search engine optimizers put keywords in hidden text in the hope of increasing their search engine ranking. Although this might have worked in the mid-1990s, all search engines now recognize the practice as spam.

Hit [1]     Used in reference to the Internet, a hit means a request from a web browser for a single file from a web server. Therefore, a browser displaying a web page made up of three graphic images and a paragraph of text would generate five hits at the server - one for the HTML page itself, one for the file of text and one for each of the three graphics. In the early days of the web [and occasionally still today] hits were the way of expressing how popular a website was. In contemporary digital marketing, however, a hit is a next-to-useless term of reference. Saying a website has a thousand hits a day, for example, is an almost pointless statement. It could mean ten visitors went to a website that has a hundred files, one visitor who downloaded a thousand files, or anything in between. The chances are, however, that the first is most accurate. The use of hits [in a press release for example] to indicate the success of a website would suggest that the organization is [a] using hits as a metric in order to inflate numbers as the visitor count is relatively low, or [b] out of touch with contemporary practice.

However, the term still has validity when used in referring to the amount of times an online video have been downloaded e.g. 'the video has had a thousand hits on YouTube'. The use in this instant is valid as a video is a single file.

Hit [2]     Probably because of its origin of being a request for a web page [see hit 1], it is common to refer to a return for a search to be counted as a hit. For example; 'A search on the term "Alan Charlesworth" returned 153,000 hits'.

Hit Bolding    The practice used by most search engines of making bold the actual search query where it appears in the website description on a search engine results page [SERP]. Although this may appear to be altruistic on the part of the search engines, it is a deliberate tactic. The idea is that if the search query repeatedly appears in bold on the SERP then the user's eye is drawn to them - the more hit bolding there is, the stronger the subliminal confirmation that this search has produced the required results. The practice works on the concept of trigger words.

Homepage [1]     The web page that a browser opens each time it starts up. This can be set as a preference by the computer user, though software developers will set the default to their advantage. For example, new PCs with Microsoft software will open on

Homepage [2]     The main web page, or even entire web presence, of a business or organization. This definition in a business context is rare, though it is not unusual for an individual to use the term homepage when referring not only to one page, but their personal website. For example, members of a family with the surname Johnson might refer to their web presence as the 'Johnson's homepage'.

Homepage [3]     In this definition the homepage is commonly referred to as the 'front page', in the same way as the first page of a newspaper is called the homepage. It is the first, or opening page of a website, that is the one that introduces the site to the visitor and carries the primary navigation aids. It would be the page that opens if the domain name is entered into a browser that is without any directory or file names. For this reason it is also known as the website's index page because of its file name within the URL of the page - it carries the extension .index.

Honeymonkey     Used in an IT environment, the prefix honey is used to describe anything that attracts wrong-doers to some kind of security device so that they can be identified and their actions detected and stopped [see also honeypot email address]. A honeymonkey is a software application that has a computer imitate the actions of a human user whilst surfing the web on a browser. Programmed to search out websites that target specific user vulnerabilities [e.g. phishing sites], the honeymonkey is able to track down such sites. Once identified, the effect of such sites can be analyzed and action taken to prevent any potential damage.

Honeypot email address     In an IT environment, a honeypot is a security measure that sets a trap to detect or deflect attempts at unauthorized use of systems [the prefix honey being used to describe anything that attracts wrong-doers to some kind of security device]. More specifically to digital marketing, the term is used in email marketing. The email honeypot address [also known as a trap address] is a fake email address that ESPs put into a mailing to see if spammers pick them up and try to send emails to them. As there would be no legitimate reason for anyone to use the honeypot email address, sending an email to that address identifies the sender as a spammer. See also email accreditation.

Hops     see traceroutes.

Horizontal e-marketplace     see e-marketplace.

Horizontal hub     see hub.

Host server     A server that hosts a website or sites.

Hot spot     A term used to describe a zone in a public space, a hotel or airport for example, where wireless [Wi-Fi] access to the Internet is available.

House ads     A practice that has transferred online from traditional advertising, house ads are those ads that promote the publication in or on which they are presented, a magazine that carries ads for the next edition of that magazine, for example. Online, the model would be for a web page to carry ads for another part of the same website. Whilst cross-promoting internal products and services can work for multi-product organizations, the use of house ads is a sign that the ad space could not be sold to external advertisers. Although they have the same premise, house ads differ from nested ads in that the house ad is reactive [to unsold ad space] whereas nested ads are part of a deliberate promotional strategy.

Hotwired     Included here as it was one of the first commercial content websites - the Global Network Navigator [GNN] was another. First published in 1994, Hotwired [] was the online incarnation of Wired magazine, it is also reputed to have carried the first online ad banner - for AT&T - in October of that year, for many a date that represents the birth of the commercial web.

House list     see email list [1] .

HTML [HyperText Markup Language]     The coding language used to create documents for use on the world wide web. Directions, or instructions, are used to instruct the browser in the way it presents the text. For example, < p > means open new paragraph, < b > means 'bold', < I > 'italic' and < u > is 'underline'. The same command preceded by a / [slash] ends that command, for example < /b > means 'stop bold'.

HTML [only] email    see email specification.

HTTP [Hyper Text Transfer Protocol]     The protocol for moving hypertext files across the Internet - hence the full URL of any site will start with http. Note; if the site is hosted on a secure browser, the suffix becomes https, the 's' standing for 'secure'.

Hub     A term sometimes used to describe a B2B portal, the definition coming from the offline context where hub is used to represent the radiating point of spokes in a wheel - that is, the centre of elements of a subject. A vertical hub is one that has a narrow but deep focus, as opposed to horizontal hubs that have a very wide focus covering more aspects, but each element is not covered in great depth.

Human computer interface [HCI]    see usability.

Hyperlink     see link.

Hypertext     The text on a web page that can be clicked on by a web user because it acts as a link to another document - usually another web page. For this reason it is also known as link text. Unless the designer stipulates otherwise, the default setting for web browsers is for hypertext to be a different colour [to the standard text] and underlined. This is to make links easier to identify on a web page. The actual words used in hypertext links are considered in search algorithms, so using intuitive words as links not only helps the user in their navigation of the site, it can help with search engine ranking as well. For example: If on a page about gardening there was a link to a page that included advice on growing tomatoes, then the hypertext should be the words advice on growing tomatoes. As such it is obvious to the human reader what the linked-to page contains, but also the search engine will assume that the a page with an inbound link from the phrase 'advice on growing tomatoes' should contain something relevant to a search on that, or a similar, phrase.

HyperText Transfer Protocol     see HTTP.

ICANN [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers]     The successor to the InterNIC as the body responsible for a number of Internet related tasks, primarily the assignment of domain names and IP addresses. A non-profit organization contracted by the US Department of Commerce, ICANN also oversees an independent panel of arbitration to settle domain name ownership disputes.

Icon     An image, usually small, used on computer screens which when clicked on perform an action. Icons can be used on websites to represent links to other pages or sites, or on a computer's toolbar to represent actions. A small image of a printer is the icon used to represent the command 'print', for example.

ICT [Information & Communication Technology]     see IT.

Ideavirus     A concept put forward by Seth Godin in his 2001 book, Unleashing the Ideavirus. Godin gave his own definition in the Harvard Business Review as 'managing digitally-augmented word of mouth'. Godin argues that viral marketing is an ideavirus [though not all ideaviruses are viral marketing] and many see the book as a seminal work on the subject of what we now recognize as viral marketing. Interestingly, although the book can be purchased in paperback form, it is available free on [if you accept his concept, Godin is actually practicing his ideavirus by doing this]. It is said to be the number one most downloaded e-book in history.

id10t error    An expression that is most commonly used by technical staff, but one that non-technicians may come across - often to their embarrassment. The id10t error is an abbreviation describing a computing error caused by an inexperienced or unskilled user - id10t being a representation of the word idiot.

iJack [iJacking]    A term used to describe the theft of personal information with the intention of using it for fraudulent purposes - as in hijacking the person's identity.

Image     In website terms, an image is anything created as a graphic, rather than text. An image could be a picture [for example a photograph presented in digital format], or text represented as an graphic - company names and logos, for example. See also alt text.

Image map     A graphic image on a web page that is divided into parts, each of which acts as a link to different pages or sites. The parts might be clearly visible to the user - as on a map of Europe divided into countries, for example - or invisible, so that the user must move their mouse pointer across the image to detect the different links.

Image suppression    A term used in email marketing to describe the function within most email service providers whereby it is the default operation to block images in emails when they are delivered. See also domain modelling, visual rendering tools and render.

Immersive video     Also known as 360 degree videos, these are video recordings where views in every direction is recorded at the same time.

iMP [interactive media player]     A multimedia application which downloads videos on to computers, so allowing them to be played without streaming.

Implied web     see semantic web. Impression     The downloading of a specific file onto a browser. In a digital marketing environment the most common application of the term is in page impression and ad impression. Note that a file being downloaded does not necessarily mean the ad or page has been viewed by the user - a phenomenon common in offline advertising. For example, a TV ad being aired does not mean anyone has seen it, or an ad might be included in a magazine, but readers may not take any notice of it.

Impression fraud     A variation of click fraud, this practice is a consequence of ad publishers [search engines in particular] penalizing those advertisers who have a low clickthrough rate by relegating them down the list of featured ads [or sponsored listings]. The fraud is normally perpetrated thus: An advertiser's competitor makes numerous searches on the keyword for which the advertiser has purchased the listing - but then does not click on the ad. As a result, the search engine makes the assumption that the ad does not meet the requirements of people searching for that keyword and so penalize it as not being relevant.

Impression ratio     The percentage of impressions that an advertising banner receives against the number of visitors the web page that hosts the banner has. For example, if a banner is hosted only on the home page of a website when a visitor arrives on that page, the impression ratio is 1/1 - that is, one impression, one visitor. If the same visitor goes to another page on the site and then returns to the home page, the ratio is 2/1 - two impression, one visitor.

In-box     That part of a user's email system that acts as a recipient of, and storage facility for, incoming mail.

Inbound link     see link.

Inbound marketing     The promotion of an organization through the publication of content that attracts potential customers to the organization. In digital marketing this would be online content that brings the customer [inbound to the organization's website. This is also known as content marketing. See also outbound marketing.

Incidental offline advertising     The description given to offline advertising where the primary objective is not to drive traffic to a website, but does so incidentally. This could be because the domain name of the product, brand or organization is included in the ad. However, search engines record search spikes in searches for products, brands or organizations that coincide with the broadcast of TV ads suggesting that offline ads trigger searches for the product or organization being advertised. This phenomenon was first really noticed in the Superbowl ads of 2006. The synchronization of ads being broadcast and searches made online also suggests that people watch TV and surf the web at the same time.

Incubator     A term used to describe premises provided for a new business to develop and grow - as an incubator does for plant seeds. The business incubator is normally provided by a company, university or not-for-profit organization, and will include not only space and facilities, but expertise and advice also. Although the concept is used in general business scenarios, it became popular in the dot com boom era, and so has become associated with business start-ups in IT in general and the Internet in particular.

Index    The searchable catalogue of documents created by search engine software that those searching can query against. With spider-based search engines, the index consists of data from all the web pages they have found on the web. With directories, the index contains the summaries of all websites that have been categorized by the human developers.

Index page    see homepage [3] .

Influencers     In traditional marketing the notion that within any population there will exist a very small number of people who will be advocates – evangelists, even – of the product, brand or organization. By definition, these will wield significant influence over the buying designs of those people who look to the influencers for advice, guidance or recommendation.

Information architecture     As with many terms in digital marketing, information architecture is virtually self-descriptive, it being the way in which a website's content is constructed and presented to the user. For example, a university website might be broken down into undergraduate and post graduate programmes, full-time and part-time courses, UK, EU and international students and so on. Successful information architecture means that the site's navigation is intuitive and easy.

Information retrieval [IR]     A science that predates search engines by a nearly 50 years, it is at the heart of search engine algorithms.

Information portal    see portal.

Information superhighway     A term made popular by [then] US Vice President Al Gore to describe the Internet. Whilst Gore's speech resulted in most people equating the Information Superhighway to the Internet, the term was previously used to describe an electronic communications network that would connect every government agency, business, and citizen not only nationwide, but globally. To date, the Internet is the closest we have come to such a network. Although now somewhat redundant, in the early days of the commercial Internet using a highway analogy was common when describing what the Internet was and how it worked - with broadband being a six lane motorway, a dial-up connection a country track.

Infomediary     An electronic intermediary who controls the flow of information online, often aggregating and selling it to others. Rappa [1998] puts forward the infomediary concept as a business model whereby data about consumers and their online buying habits is deemed valuable enough to be gathered and sold on to interested parties. See Rappa's online trading business models.

Infomercials     see advertorials.

Informed purchase     The term used to describe the practice of retail shoppers who use the Internet as part of search for information in making their purchase decision. See also helping the buyer to buy.

In-site search     See Search facility .

Instant messaging [IM]     A software application that facilitates real time communications between individuals - effectively, a keyboard-generated online-conversation.

In-store kiosk     In digital marketing terms this is where a retailer brings together its offline and online offering by allowing customers to use an in-store connection to the Internet [or store intranet] to search for products without physically walking around the whole shop. In-store kiosks would normally be an integral part of a multi-channel retail strategy.

Integrated marketing     The synthesised use of all available media in strategic marketing efforts. In a digital marketing context this means the integration of off- and online marketing. Also known as connected marketing and multi-channel marketing this is still far from standard practice, with many traditional bricks and mortar organizations still treating 'digital' as a marketing tool that operates in isolation to other marketing efforts. Practiced effectively, the various channels compliment each other - they are integrated [hence the term] - rather than creating channel conflict or channibalism. The term is included here as the Internet has provided numerous additions to the traditional channels in which the organization can communicate with its customers. The Internet also provides additional touch points where organizations can not only sell their products, but communicate with customer and prospects. See also multi-channel retailing.

Integrated retailing     see multi channel retailing.

Integrated warehouse management system [IWMS]     A technology application that allows for real-time stock levels to be availability to both customers [via the website] and the organization [to avoid being 'out of stock'].

Integrity     In a digital marketing environment this term is used in relation to security. For example, the integrity of data, or a network, is judged by how secure it is from unauthorized access.

Intellectual Property     A generic title given to the various forms of protection against unlawful copying, reproduction or other forms of unauthorized acquisition or use of intangible aspects of a product, service or business. In digital marketing, the main concern would be for website content - text, images etc - and the program used in its design, both of which would be covered by copyright and/or trademark.

Intelligent search     Also commonly known as personalized search, many predict that this concept will become the norm in the not too distant future - it has been an optional feature for a while with most search engines. The concept is that the search engine tracks the individual user's search behaviour and adapts its algorithm to their habits. Google [and others] also use information gathered from the user's toolbars and personalized homepage. Whilst the search engine is striving to give the searcher a better service, intelligent search is not wholly altruistic on the part of the search engines - they can better target the advertising on the SERPs also.

Intentional traffic     The traffic to a website [or page] that arrives with an intention to act on the objectives of that website. For example; make a purchase or subscribe to a newsletter. Naturally, intentional traffic is much more desirable - an obvious assertion exploited by Bill Gross at [see paid search]. The visitor might well arrive at a page as the result of a call to action on an advert, another site, email or combination of the two [for example a landing page]. See also differentiated traffic, undifferentiated traffic, directed visitors and qualified traffic.

Intermediary     A third party who operates between buyers and sellers providing a service to both, and making a profit for providing that service.

Internal link     see link.

Internesia     A term formed by combining Internet and amnesia, which refers to the inability of users to remember where on the Internet they came across specific information.

internet [Lower case i]     When two or more networks are connected together they form an internet.

Internet [Upper case I]     According to the Collins English Dictionary, when used as a prefix 'inter' means between or among [as in international] or together, mutually, or reciprocally [as in interdependent and interchange]. When two or more networks of computers were connected it became practice to not simply add the prefix inter, but also shorten the resulting word, making it internet [always fond of acronyms and jargon, computer engineers perhaps considered internetworks a bit cumbersome?]. When the vast collection of inter-connected networks that evolved from the ARPANet of the late 60's and early 70's came along it was more than just an internet, it was dubbed the Internet. Effectively, it became a proper noun that was the name of that internetwork, so we have the Internet, with a capital 'I'. All other internets are spelt with a lower case 'i'. It should be noted, however, that this rule is not universally accepted, and many publications now use the lower case version as their house style. The most commonly cited reason for this is that the Internet is now such an integral part of 21st Century life that it is simply a medium of communication, as are television and telephone - neither of which are spelled with a capital letter. Those who oppose this view, however, point out there are not a telephone and the telephone.

Internet advertising     see online advertising.

Internet of Things [IoT]     The name given to the concept that just about any electrical device can connect - 'talk' - to any other electrical device via Bluetooth or the Internet. Whilst the IoT has small scale, personal potential applications [e.g. your fridge places an order with Tesco to have them deliver milk when the fridge recognises that you are running low] the applications in a wider context are almost unlimited. See also proximity marketing.

Internet Protocol [IP]     The most important protocol on which the Internet is based. It defines how packets of data get from source to destination.

Internet service provider [ISP]     An organization that, as a business model, provides access to the Internet for individuals and businesses. Originally this was through dial-up connection but this has progressed through to broadband. Most, but not all, ISPs are telephone or telecomms companies who offer a package of telecommunications services - as a result, the word 'Internet' is rarely still included in the description of what they offer e.g. telecommunications services provider, or broadband provider.

InterNIC [Internet Network Information Center]     The InterNIC, an integrated network information centre developed by several companies in conjunction with the US Government, was the governing body of the Internet until 1998 when its authority was assumed by ICANN. Although it is not the whole of their responsibility, both the InterNIC and ICANN are best recognized for their control of domain name and IP address allocation.

Interstitial    see pop up ad.

In-text ads     Depending on your point of view these are either excellent sources of income or an unwanted annoyance when reading website content. Also known as in-textification, in-text ads - as the name suggests - are ads that are embedded into textual content. Normally, though not always, identified as a hyperlink [by being bold, a different colour, underlined or double-underlined], when the words that are in-text ads are scrolled over by a mouse [though not necessarily clicking on it] a small pop-up ad appears. For publishers and content providers this is form of income generation as they can 'sell' words or phrases that are included in the article. For readers, the usability of the page is compromised by the intrusion of the ads and writers argue that their credibility is threatened as the ads can intrude on serious articles or content. Note that the concept has its origins in text-link ads and that the same technology can be used to enhance the content for readers. An in-page glossary, for example would allow users to mouse over terms to see a definition of the phrase.

In-textification     see in-text ads.

Intranet     A private network inside a company or organization that uses the same concepts, technologies and protocols as the Internet, but that is only for internal use only - hence the them being commonly known as 'private websites'. An intranet is normally exclusive to the employees of the organization that publishes it. An extranet follows the same principles [as an intranet] but allows access to users outside the organization. Those users would be associates of the organization, suppliers or affiliates for example. The whole concept is designed to aid the dissemination of information. Both intranets and extranets have a login and are normally password protected, with each login having access to all or some of the content.

Intrusion detection systems [IDSs]     Software designed to monitor all the activity on a network or host computer and identify suspicious patterns that may indicate a potential problem involving an attack on that system - a hacker, for example - and take automated action to prevent that attack.

Intuitive domain names     Closely associated to direct navigation, these are domain names that are based on generic words - that is, not the name of an organization, brand, person or entity - which are registered because users might type them into a browser with the hope that they will host a website whose content matches the domain name. For example,, or The two domain names that have sold for the highest sums - [[$3m] and [$7.5m] - host websites whose content reflect the meaning of the domain name. However, many multi-word phrases are registered and used to host faux-shopping comparison sites. See also domain name parking.

Invisible text     see hidden text.

Invisible web     The concept that many websites are not found by users because those sites do not feature in the index of search engines because they are invisible to their spiders. Protagonists of the invisible web normally lay the blame at the door of website developers who either [a] do not optimize those sites for search engine ranking, or [b] use design features which rebuff search engine spiders.

IP     see Internet Protocol.

IP address [Internet Protocol address]     A unique number [IP number] consisting of 4 numbers, zero to 255, separated by dots, for example that are allocated to devices [computers or routers, for example] for them to identify and communicate with each other on the Internet. Whilst technical staff will be versed in using IP addresses for many purposes, for the digital marketing practitioner the term is normally associated with IP numbers that are is designated to domain names. When applied to a website an IP address is commonly referred to as a business's 'Internet address'. Whilst not technically correct, the term is accurate in that the IP address [particularly in its guise as a domain name] is a website's - and so the organization's - address on the Internet.

IP-based targeting [also known as geotargeting]     An online advertising model that uses IP recognition to target ads based on the location of a user. This means that visitors to global sites, no matter where in the world they are, can see ads that are relevant to them.

IP delivery     A black hat search engine optimization practice that is a form of search engine cloaking. The concept is to present one set of content for a website to a search engine and another set for a human user. This is accomplished by presenting the two sets of content based on the IP address of the user. The idea is this. For nefarious reasons, a website publisher might like its website to feature high on a search engine rankings, but not for its actual content. Although some legitimate businesses use this illegitimate method of SEO [usually following ill-judged advice to do so], the practice is most common for adult websites. The idea is that 'legitimate' content is shown to search engines, so hiding the real 'adult' content. In its worse form the search engine sees a website with content aimed at children - for example with the key phrase 'Barbie doll' - but the actual website is full of pornographic images. The search engine is fooled because the website runs software that recognizes the IP address of any search engine spider and so deliver to it the 'Barbie doll' content. Search engines constantly look for the practice and ban any sites that they identify. The practice is a close accomplice of IP spoofing.

IP number    see IP address.

IP recognition     A software application that identifies, by their IP address, where in the world the user is. There are a number of applications for this, the two most common being [a] its use to serve a local language website depending on the geographic location of the website's visitors, and [b] the targeting of online ads based on the location of a user, see IP-based targeting. Geo-destination targeting uses IP recognition as a basis for its application.

IP spoofing     Like IP delivery this is a form of cloaking and as such is an unethical, and potentially illegal, practice that serves the same purpose. This method of black hat search engine optimization [SEO] involves connecting to the web but not using the IP address that you have been assigned. The result is as with that in IP delivery where one set of content is presented to search engines and another to web users. As with all black hat methods of SEO, legitimate organizations are ill advised if they get involved in practices like this one.

IP Telephony     see e-telephony.

IPTV [Internet Protocol Television]     An umbrella term for video delivered using Internet technology through a broadband connection to a television which is connected to a device that decodes the IP video and converts it into standard television signals. Applications for IPTV can be as fundamental as streaming video on the internet or as complex as being a complete substitute - and so competitor - to digital television.

ISDN [Integrated Services Digital Network]     A method of transferring digital data over existing, standard, phone lines. Providing speeds of around 128,000 bits-per-second, ISDN was a considerable step up from dial-up connections before broadband became more commonly available.

ISM [industry sponsored marketplace]     An online e-marketplace developed by a number of players in a specific industry.

ISP     see Internet service provider.

ISP reputation system     A software application that allows Internet service providers to run 'reputation checks' on the IP addresses of email senders. These checks monitor each IP address for the number of user complaints and how much invalid email originates from it.

IT [Information Technology]     Loosely speaking, the 'I' stands for the management and processing of information and the 'T' for technology. The ubiquitous term has, however, become synonymous with virtually anything to do with, or related to, computers. Originally simply IT, it has become common for a 'C' - for communication - to be included [that is; Information & Communication Technology], an addition that makes the term more applicable to digital marketing. For the digital marketing practitioner, a quote from Peter Drucker is worth noting, he said: 'We have spent the last fifty years focusing on the 'T' in information technology [IT]. We should spend the next fifty years focusing on the 'I'.

JANET    Funded by the Higher Education Funding Councils [HEFC] for England, Scotland and Wales, JANET is a dedicated Internet network for education and research in the UK. According to its website [] over 18 million end-users are currently served by the JANET network. Any student in a UK college or University will benefit [or have benefited] from the JANET system. Early UK Internet use relied heavily on JANET.

Java    A programing language invented by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely downloaded to a computer and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to the computer or its files. Using small programs called applets, Java makes it possible for web pages to include functions such as animations and calculators. See also ActiveX.

JavaScript     A programming language used in the design of web pages, usually to add interactive features. When JavaScript is included in an HTML file it relies upon the browser to interpret the JavaScript. Developed by Netscape, JavaScript was so named to benefit from the popularity of Java. It is worth noting therefore, that JavaScript and Java are two different programming languages from two different companies - Microsoft's application that competes with Java is ActiveX.

Joe job    see email spoofing.

JPEG [Joint Photographic Experts Group]     JPEG is most commonly mentioned as a format for image files when used on the web. The JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line or simple logo art. It is common for website designers and developers to refer to images simply as a jpeg or GIF - depending on its format - as in '… a JPEG of a church will go in that space'.

Jump link     see within-page link.

Jump page    see doorway page.

Keylogging [keystroke logging]     Although originally a diagnostic used in software development, keylogging is more commonly known for its nefarious application in obtaining user's data. The keylogger program, normally transmitted by a Trojan horse, infects computers, captures login names and passwords for online bank accounts and the like, and then sends them to the attackers.

Key performance indicators [KPI]     A concept that has existed offline for many years, but has become a popular term in a digital marketing environment, the KPI is a close relative to website analytics. However, KPIs consider the performance of a website from more of an underlying business perspective, rather than simply the performance of the website itself. Loosely defined as a quantifiable measurement that can be tracked and evaluated, a KPI must be associated with what the organization wants to achieve from its web presence. For example, while a simple visitor count might be a valuable element of a website's analytics, it would not be a KPI. Common KPIs for an e-commerce trader might include any or all of the following:
* Product conversion rates
* Percentage of new and returning visitors
* Sales per visitor
* Average order value
* Average number of items purchased
* Repeat order rate
* Repeat order rate value
* Cost per visit
* Profit per website visit

Keyphrase     see keyword.

Keystroke logging     see keylogging.

Keyword [s]     Also known as a search term or query term, most web users recognize a 'keyword' simply as being the word, words, phrase or term that they enter into a search engine's search box with a view to finding websites that include content pertinent to that keyword. Note that in research into search engine use, it is now common for the keywords to be categorized as:
* A term - a series of characters separated by white space or other separator - essentially, a word
* A query - string of terms [words] submitted by a searcher - with query length denoting the number of terms [words] in the query.

Whilst this definition concentrates on the searcher's use of keywords, it is also the case that keywords are also an essential element of how search engine algorithms attempt to match the sites they deliver on their results pages to what the searcher was looking for in the first place, ie the search engines seek to match the keywords used by the searcher with websites that have those keywords as part of their content. In an e-marketing environment, 'keyword' is more commonly associated with the following:
* The word, words, phrase or term for which a web page should be optimized in order for it to feature highly on the organic listings of a search engine results page.
* The word, words, phrase or term on which bids can be made as part of paid placement. See also search engine optimization, search engine marketing, direct keyword and negative keyword.

Keyword advertising     see paid placement.

Keyword cannibalization     See keyword stuffing.

Keyword density     A search-term that refers to the amount of times that a keyword appears in the text of a web page. The more times it appears, the greater the density. Density that is too high causes problems however, as text with little more than a repeated keyword makes no sense. See also keyword stuffing and content rich.

Keyword domain name     A domain name that is chosen because it contains the main keyword for which the site being optimized.

Keyword Driven Marketing [KDM]    An early term for search engine marketing [SEM], which has now been dropped [almost] completely. Which is a shame as it is a better description of the art/science of SEO/SEM

Keyword Effectiveness Index [KEI]     A calculation that attempts to place a value on the keywords used by web surfers when using search engines to find information on a specific subject. Typically the KEI is calculated by considering the ratio of searches for a keyword [normally per day, but could be a shorter or longer period] divided by the number of websites that are listed for that keyword. For example, if a specific keyword [A] has a hundred searches that returns only one website, it will have a much higher ratio than a keyword [B] that has a hundred searches but returns four websites - so keyword [A] has a higher ration [100 rather than 25]. Note: some applications of the KEI are more complex than this example, but follow the same principle. The KEI can be used in selecting key words for optimizing websites in organic listing or the purchase of keywords in paid placement or paid search.

Keyword long tail     This search engine marketing take on the long tail refers to the concept that whilst the top terms - heads - might create most clickthroughs, they are also the most expensive. At the other end of the tail, however, are the rarely used - but inexpensive - keywords. It is also the case that such terms are so unusual that anyone using them should be considered as being better candidates for conversion.

Keyword Matching Options     A term used in search engine advertising to describe how closely or widely you wish your key word[s] to match search terms. Google offers three options; broad, phrase match and exact match. As their titles suggest, the three move from less targeted to specific matches. See also negative keyword.

Keyword stuffing     Also known as keyword cannibalization, this is the practice of excessively repeating - stuffing - keywords in the text and meta tags of a website. The idea is that this will appeal to the search engines and give a high listing in their index. Whilst this may have been true in the web's early days, the tactic is now recognized and penalized by the search engines. See also keyword density.

Killer application     A slang term given to the application that will be the panacea to all problems in the field to which it will be applied. Suffice to say, many seek to develop a killer application, but very few are successful.

Killer content     That web content that 'does the business' for a website, so helping the site achieve its objectives. The killer content could be content - information that meets the needs of the visitor -or copy - the textual content that prompts the visitor to take the action desired by the sites publishers / owners. See also call to action.

Kilobyte    see byte.

Knowledge worker     Although the term was first coined by management guru Peter Drucker in 1959 - and has been used in management studies since - it has seen a recent revival in digital marketing circles to describe the type of worker who can develop and use knowledge in the workplace. The resurgence is [probably] down to it becoming a buzz-phrase in Silicon Valley and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google [in December 2005] using it to describe the type of worker Google want to recruit.

KPI    see key performance indicator.

LAN [Local Area Network]     A computer network that is limited to a relatively small area, usually the same building or floor of a building. Businesses would use a LAN to connect all computers to each other and the Internet and/or an Intranet.

Landing page     A page specifically developed as the place where the user is directed when they respond to a promotion - which is distinct to an entry page. That promotion might be presented off- or online. Offline, a TV advert might refer to a specific URL for the user to access in order to follow up on the promotion. Online an ad will link directly to the landing page rather than the front page of the promoting organization's website. If the user is referred to the site's home page the momentum of the potential sale is lost as the prospective customer has to find the relevant product page. By referring users to a specific landing page the vendor has a greater chance of converting a lead to a customer. The landing page can pick up where the call to action on the ad leaves off, so taking the user on a seamless journey to the objective of the promotion - be that purchase, newsletter sign-up, white paper download etc. The landing page would be close to the top of the conversion funnel.

Last click model     An online marketing concept where credit is awarded to whichever website [e.g. search engine or advert] that is the last link prior to the customer making a purchase. Experienced marketers are wary of the model in that the last click might be almost coincidental - with other sites or media actually playing a more prominent role in the purchase decision. Giving too much praise to the last click can skew allocation of future budgets.

Latent semantic indexing [LSI]     Also known as latent semantic analysis [LSA] this technique was developed around 1990 and aims to tackle problems with information retrieval that originate with vocabulary diversity in human-computer interaction. More specifically, in real life people use words in context, and so we interpret their meanings accordingly. For example, we have:
* Different words to describe the same object [for example car boot and trunk].
* Different words to describe the same concept [e-commerce and e-business, perhaps].
* Words that are spelled the same but have more than one meaning depending on how they are pronounced [for example, bow could be an archer's weapon or the front of a ship].
* Words that have multiple meanings that actual contradict the others [for example fast can mean moving quickly or stuck in place].
* Different words that have the same meaning [for example Jupiter, Zeus, Oden]
* Words that have the same sound but a completely different meaning [for example to, too, two].

Whilst there are obvious implications of LSI for large search engines, there are also repercussions on the digital marketing practitioner. These are most significant in choosing keywords for paid placement and also for on-site search facilities. In the latter, it is important to have search fields address LSI, for example, the online clothes shop might list 'burgundy pullovers', but the customer might search for 'red sweaters'.

It is also the case that our existing knowledge and experience influences what we might expect from a search facility - so called semantic mapping. For example two searchers who use the keywords 'digital camera' in a search engine might be [a] a grandmother who knows nothing about cameras, but wants to buy her grandson one for his birthday, or [b] a professional photographer who is looking to update her equipment. The search engine results page would be the same for both users. Semantic search allows the searcher to further quantify their search by having them select other criteria for the search - a service already offered by some search engines under the guise of advanced search [or similar such title]. More advanced semantic search seeks to match searches based on natural language processing - where the key words used are completely different, but the same web page addresses both searches. For example, the same results could be served to two searchers who used the terms 'a drug to treat a headache', and 'medicine for migraine relief'.

Layout engine     see Render .

Law of Convenience     A phrase coined by Jerry Michalski, his definition being that 'every additional step that stands between people's desires and the fulfilment of those desires greatly decreases the likelihood that they will undertake the activity.' In a digital marketing environment, this means that every click on a website a user has to make to meet their needs reduces the chances of them actually meeting those needs. Amazon's one-click facility is an example of the law of convenience being applied. See also usability.

Lead generation     A marketing term that refers to the development of associations between vendors and well-matched consumers. B2B marketing in particular is dependent on companies seeking out genuine potential customers - sales leads - for the products or services they have on offer. It is important to note that a lead is not a sale, only the opportunity to deliver a pitch that might lead to a sale. The better the lead, the greater the chance of converting prospect to sale. In digital marketing both email and websites can be used in lead generation. An email must create enough interest in an offering to encourage the target to give contact details to the advertiser, or visit a website. The majority of B2B websites have an objective of lead generation rather than online sales. The website must generate enough interest in whatever the organization has to offer for the user to either contact the company directly - normally by email or telephone - or by completing an online form giving name, contact details and any other pertinent information. Once the initial contact is made the 'generation' element of the process is over and representatives of the organization must use their sales skills to convert the lead - as has always been the case in any form of lead generation in any industry.

Legacy system     A computer program in which an organization has invested considerable resources, usually running on mainframe computers. Advances in information technology [IT] - in all its guises - has greatly reduced the use of legacy systems.

Lightbox     see overlay.

Link     Originally known by its full name of hyperlink, but now more commonly referred to in its abbreviated form, it is the [hyper] link that makes the web the communications medium that it is. Clicking on a link [an image or text] takes the user to another document. Normally this will be another web page or site, but it can be virtually any other form of file, a word document or PDF file, for example. Links come with a number of functions, including:
* External links [also known as outbound links] - though more specifically referring to a link that takes the user to another web page [possibly in the same website], it is common practice for it to mean another website, that is external to the one being visited.
* Internal links - that take the user to another page within the same website, or even to a different place on the same page.
* Inbound links - [also known as back links] those links that come from another site.

Link baiting     A tactic in a linking strategy, link baiting is the practice of encouraging people to link to a site by producing quality content that attracts - hooks - those links. Baits could include:
* News hooks, normally in a specific environment, industry etc.
* Contrary hooks where the writer takes up a contrary stance to expert, or public, opinion on a given subject.
* Rants, similar to the contrary stance, but berating something that others will agree with you about e.g. taxes or road traffic.
* Tools that offer functional help to the user - these might be complex or simple, they are often industry-specific - an instant calculator for paint requirements for a decorator, for example.
* Resource hooks, where the website gains a reputation as the place to go for information.
* Humour hooks attract those looking to pass on to others some light relief.
* Lists, very popular for giving advice on a subject in which you are expert and are looking to sell your services, for example: '10 ways to generate link bait'.
* Exposés, perhaps a little 'tabloid newspaper-ish' but exposing some kind of online scam in your area of expertise would attract readers.
* Contests or quizzes, for prizes or just to pass time.

With all of these hooks the subject should be relevant to the product or service on offer, so ensuring that link popularity scores are high by having the links come from sites [and blogs] that address the same subject areas. Although link baiting has some negative connotations - as link spam - when performed with integrity it is an acceptable practice. Such is its popularity, particularly within social media, that certain individuals or sites are recognized as effectives conduits for link baiting - these are know as linkerati.

Link bombing     Although this concept is all about achieving high ranking in a search engine's index, it is normally associated with light-hearted rather than purely commercial or even malicious intent. The notion is that a page will be ranked higher if the sites that link to that page all use consistent anchor tags - a link bomb being created if a large number of sites link to a specific page using the same text in an anchor tag. Such are search engine's algorithms that the target page need not have any content on the subject of the text used in the tag. Although it might have been discovered by accident in 1999 [a search on the phrase 'more evil than Satan' returned the Microsoft home page], the first deliberate bomb was instigated by Adam Mathes who, in 2001, succeeded in making a search on the phrase 'talentless hack' return the website of his friend and journalist Andy Pressman. More recently, and to demonstrating that link bombing is not confined to one search engine, the summer of 2005 saw a search on the phrase 'miserable failure' return the official George W. Bush biography website number one on Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Linkerati    see link baiting.

Link equity     see link popularity.

Link farming     The process of exchanging numerous reciprocal links with websites in order to increase search engine optimization. However, the practice is pretty much a waste of time as search engines consider link farming as a form of link spamming and may banish sites that participate in the practice. See also FFA link pages.

Link popularity     Also known as link equity, this is a metric of how popular a page is based on the number of inbound links it has. Search engines might use this metric to help determine the page's ranking. However, the search engines set greater store by the context and quality of the links. A link from a website that is considered to be an authority on the subject in question will carry greater ranking value than one from a link farm. For example, a link to a page on growing tomatoes might be deemed more valuable if it comes from the BBC's gardening pages []. See also PageRank and TrustRank.

Link rot     A collective term used to describe a problem that plagues the web, that of broken links.

Link spamming     In an effort to take advantage of link popularity, less scrupulous search engine optimizers [so called black hats] look to create links into their site by nefarious means. They do this by visiting websites where users have access to leave comments [for example, chat rooms, bulletin boards in fact any source of consumer generated content, including blogs] and leave a message that includes a link of their website. Although this can be done manually, it is more likely that a software program would be employed on the task. Like other such activities, the search engines are aware of, look for, and penalize the practice. Other dubious methods include paying for links to be added to obscure websites and link farming. The days of link spamming were always likely to be numbered, however, with the search engines [led by Google in 2007] clamping down on the practice. Links from sites that have no obvious connection with the subject - or are paid for - are now penalised by the search engines.

Linking campaign     A limited application of a linking strategy.

Linking strategy     Website owners and publishers are well aware that to attract visitors to their site they need to feature highly in search engine ranking. One element that search engine algorithms favour is the site having quality links coming into the website - so called link popularity. It is, therefore, common practice to have a deliberate strategy of actively seeking out websites that might add a link to their site, such practice is deemed to be a linking strategy. Note however, a linking strategy employs legitimate methods of gaining links into a site, and not link spamming. Link tagging     the addition of variables to a destination URL used in an online ad or email so that analytical software can detect and associate each link to that URL with a specific campaign. When a visitor responds to the ad it is normal practice to store a cookie on the respondents PC and so is able to connect any subsequent actions [e.g. a purchase] with the original ad.

Link text     see hypertext.

List hygiene     see email list [1]

Listing     see search engine listings.

List poisoning     see opt-in / opt-out.

Listserver [or list server]     A software application that handles the sending of emails to a large number of individuals simultaneously. Email marketers might use a listserver to draw from their database those addresses to which emails are to be sent.

Live streaming     The delivery of content in real time - popularised by its use on social media.

Localization    Whether to sell the same product in all countries or to adapt [localize] it to the local market is always an essential decision for international marketers. Similarly, for the organization that trades globally the decision has to be made as to whether there should be one global website or localized versions for each country being traded in. There are three basic options:
* The single website. Normally it would be in the host language of the organization, though verbatim translation of some or all pages into other languages may be included.
* Different websites for local countries. The content is predominantly translations of the home site, though the presentation and content may be adapted to address local issues.
* Local websites are developed for each country in which it has a physical presence. In this case each web presence would have a standardized corporate design and structure but content would be localized.

Localized domains     The term used when domain names have been registered for specific countries in which the organization has a presence - normally to host local websites [see localization]. For example, Google uses,,, and for its European sites. See also DNS, localization and global sites.

Local search     Many argue this is one of the ways forward for search engines, with the major engines already practising the concept. The idea is that the user's search can be geographically localised, making the resulting listings more appropriate - and so useful - to the searcher. Whilst the practice is of no use if the search has no geographical context, it will make it easier to find, for example, a vegetarian restaurant in mid-town Manhattan - if that is the kind of food the searcher wants to eat in the location they want to eat it.

location-based advertising     Advertising that uses a person's location data, gathered from their mobile device [normally phone], to send different - and personalized - messages to people depending on where they are.

Log file     Also known as web log, [note that this is not to be confused with the origin of the term blog], this is the software application that records all activity on a website. The website's log file is the source of all data used in website analytics. To the uninitiated a log file is a mass of confusing, coded, data. Once familiar with them, however, the e-marketer can draw data such as:
* Where the request for pages come from
* The nature of the link used to arrive at the site [the referral link] for example was it a textual link on another website or a banner ad.
* The type of browser being used by the visitor, for example Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox.
* If the visitor found the site on a search engine, which search engine was used and the keyword entered
* On what page the visitor entered the site, their path through it [clickstream] and at what point they left.

Note the more the in-depth the log file analysis, the more comprehensive the data gleaned.

Login / log-in / log in [noun]     Also known as a username, this is the account name used to gain access to a computer system or network. For example, all staff at an organization could be allocated user1, user2 and so on, or their initials and a department code for example AC002 and so on. Usernames are not normally confidential, unlike a password.

Login / log-in / log in [verb]     The act of entering into a computer system. Note, being a verb, a user can have logged in.

Long neck     A distillation of the long tail, this concept, introduced by Gerry McGovern [] emphasises the importance of popular content on websites. McGovern's research suggests that where website content is concerned, there is a 25:5 rule - with five percent of content being read by 25 percent of people. Viewed in graphical form this creates a long neck. Whilst niche operators might concentrate on the long tail, the long neck concept reminds website managers that in order to best satisfy the majority of visitors they should include the content that is most commonly sought. McGovern's original research respondents were asked to vote on their favourite tourism-related words/phrases from 147 put forward. The top seven words [McGovern refers to them as carewords] representing five percent of the total words, got 35 percent of votes, with the top seven actually getting more votes than the bottom 120.

Long tail     A phenomenon introduced by Jakob Nielsen in 1997, but given greater prominence by Chris Anderson in his Wired magazine article the Long Tail [2004] and later in his 2006 book; the Long Tail: How Endless Choice Is Creating Unlimited Demand [Random House Business Books]. The concept takes the 80/20 rule [also known as 'Pareto's principle' after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist who devised the concept in 1906], which says that 20 per cent of products are responsible for 80 per cent of sales, a stage further. Anderson suggests that the 80 per cent of sales volume comes from high-maintenance-low-profit products and that the remaining 20 per cent of sales come from products that make high profits for niche operators. Because the 20 per cent comes from sales as they 'tail off' [on a sales graph, for example], perhaps over a long period, they are the long tail of sales. The notion relies heavily on the concept of niche marketing.

M- [as a prefix]     As with the prefix 'e' [for electronic], 'm' is used to represent the 'mobile' incarnation of whatever word or term it goes before. In this instance mobile refers to the use of wireless devices - they are portable in their use, making the user and their activity, mobile. For example, [although it originally referred to business conducted on the move] m-commerce is making a purchase on a mobile device. Other common applications include m- shopping, marketing and banking. Although the term originally referred to any portable [mobile] device, including laptops, technology has moved along and now 'mobile' is normally associated with smartphones and tablets.

Mailbot     see autoresponder.

Mail filter     see spam filter.

Mailing list     Also known as a mail list, this is software that permits users to send an email to one address, whereupon the message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to that mail list. Note that a mailing list is not an email list.

Mail server    see email server.

Mail transfer agent [MTA]     see email server.

Mail user agent [MUA]     see email client.

Mainframe computer     A large [and normally expensive] computer that can be used by hundreds, even thousands, of users at the same time. With the exception of a small number of specialized industrial applications mainframes have been replaced by personal computers.

Malware     A generic term for malicious software that is secretly downloaded on to a user's computer to cause damage or steal data - viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and the like.

Margin landscape banner     see banner.

Marketing blog     see commercial blog.

Marketing funnel    The marketing funnel is used to demonstrate how all marketing efforts rank in capturing a share of the market, taking potential customers [represented by the wide end of the funnel] through to being paying customers [the narrow end]. Like the sales funnel and its online compatriot, the conversion funnel, the marketing funnel's value is as a diagnostic tool, with marketers analysing at what stage potential customer leave the process. Key to developing a successful funnel is segmentation of the market. This is because only those potential customers who are in the target market for a product or service should be enticed into the funnel in the first place. Though generally used as part of a strategic marketing initiative, the marketing funnel is relevant to digital marketing in two ways:
* For the pure online business most, if not all, elements of marketing are online. Therefore, the marketing funnel will refer to all marketing efforts.
* For the business that either trades online as part of its distribution strategy [that is bricks and clicks trader] or the offline business [bricks and mortar] that uses the Internet for promotional purposes, the Internet could well be an important aspect of some elements of the marketing funnel.

Marketing-led SEO [search engine optimization]     The notion, championed by search engine guru Mike Grehan, that search engine marketing is no longer a matter of code and technology, it's more about quality marketing. The argument is that search engine optimization [SEO] is just one element of the contemporary marketing mix, not a stand alone discipline practiced by outsiders. To be successful, therefore, SEO must be performed as part of the organization's marketing mix.

The phrase never caught on: a shame as it makes a lot of sense.

Market research     see online market research.

Marketspace     A term used to distinguish between electronic and conventional markets, a marketspace is a virtual marketplace that exists intangibly - in space - rather than as a tangible entity which can be physically visited be a customer. The term is rarely used now.

Markup language     see source code.

Mash-up     Although its origins are in the hip-hop music practice of mixing two or more songs, in digital marketing the term mash-up refers to a kind of web based application that mixes services from different websites. Originally associated with hackers, a mash-up is often created against the wishes, and normally to the detriment of, the website and its legitimate developers. In the past it was something that digital marketing practitioners were a victim of, but never exercised. More recently, however, it has gained more legitimate use. Google maps, for example, can be overlaid with data from an estate agent's database of houses for sale to give a visual representation of where those properties are located.

Masked web direction     see domain name pointing.

M-commerce     The use of a mobile device to make a purchase. This could be on a website or app. See also m- as a prefix.

Meanderthal     A rather unkind term for people who surf the web mindlessly, that is with no great purpose - the online equivalent of the couch potato who flicks around TV channels in search of entertainment. They are significant to the e-marketer for two main reasons, [a] they can be converted into customers, and [b] the effect they have on website metrics. See also screensucking.

Media 2.0     see social media.

Megabyte     see byte.

Meme     Before the Internet, this was an action or habit passed between individuals - for example, a type of greeting. It has now developed to mean something [e.g. a story, picture, video or quote] that is spread online - usually on social media. See also (b>viral.

Memory     Computer memory is the term given to the elements of a digital computer which retains data over a limited period of time, that is until the computer is turned off. Long term memory is referred to as storage or hard disk space [or hard disk memory]. Storage retains any data it holds even after power is turned off. In a home computer, memory often takes the form of random access memory [RAM], which is used to temporarily store things as programs and data while the computer is using them. Unlike memory, which can be slow to access, RAM can be accessed at very high speeds, making it ideally suited to personal computing. Memory storage is measured in bytes.

Meta     In computing circles meta is a prefix that means about. For example, website meta-tags are tags that give data about the website on which they are located.

Meta data     Data about data - meta data describes how and when and by whom a particular set of data was collected, and how the data is formatted. Meta data is essential for understanding information stored in data warehouses.

Meta refresh     A close relative of the website redirect, a meta refresh is where a user arrives at a page and in a pre-determined period of time [usually a few seconds] is taken to another site. The practice is used when a site or page has moved from one URL or domain name to another. Unlike website redirects, however, the meta refresh presents the user with a page on which a message is normally presented - 'please wait a few seconds while we take you to our new website', for example - before the new page is downloaded.

Meta tag[s]     In website design, the meta tag is used to describe the contents of a web page. Some meta tags are used for static information, the authors name for example. Others are more important as they can be used by search engines to determine search engine rankings of pages. Website meta tags include:
* Meta description tag which allows page developers to say how they would like their pages described when listed by search engines.
* Meta keyword tag which allows page developers to add text to a page to help with the search engine ranking process.
* Meta robots tag which allows page developers to keep their web pages from being indexed by search engines.
It should be noted that whilst early search engine indexing relied heavily on meta tags, their significance on search engine optimization has diminished in recent years.

Meta Search Engine     A search engine that extracts listings from other search engines, rather than compiling its own index by having spiders crawl the web.

Metric    Used in website analytics, a metric is a specific measurable standard against which actual performance is compared. When used in a digital marketing context, metrics are known as e-metrics.

Micro business     A very small business, often a one-person operation run from home, sometimes on a part time basis. Whilst such activities have always existed, they have flourished with the advent of the Internet [eBay-type auction sites in particular] - it being a perfect medium for conducting a small, often niche marketing, enterprise. It is not unusual for these businesses to be run as a part time undertaking. See also mom and pop operation and SME.

Microcontent     A notion popularised by Amy Gahran [] in 2000, microcontent is the content on a website that addresses the reality that users tend to scan pages - rather than read them - and so each page should be presented in such a way that it facilitates this at-a-glance mentality . Microcontent includes such things as; page titles, headlines and subheadings, navigation bar links, bold text and captions.

Micro-gains     A term used in website analytics to represent the value of the compounding effect of small gains in a number of elements of an online promotional campaign. For example, small performance increases in pay per click response rates, landing page conversions and completed shopping cart transactions can combine to deliver significant improvements in overall revenue. Micro gains would be an integral part of the conversion funnel and persuasion architecture. See also micro-improvements.

Micro-improvements     Although micro-improvements could be seen as being the same as micro-gains, in reality the gains should come from the improvements.

Micropayments     Electronic payments for small-value purchases. Although systems to facilitate such payments are fairly common offline [public transportation systems, for example], the killer application online has yet to be determined - although PayPal-type digital wallets come close.

Microsite     A small website, usually one page. The term is generally used to describe one of two types of web presence:
* Where the organization's objectives can be met by the contents of one web page, or
* A web page that is on a different domain to the organization's primary site because it serves a different purpose to the rest of the web presence for example a landing page.

Microsoft adCenter     see Yahoo! Bing Network .

MIDI [Musical Instrument Digital Interface]     A protocol used to exchange musical information between computers, synthesizers, and instruments.

Millennial Generation / Millennials     A term used to describe those people born between 1980 and 2000. They are included here as this is the first generation to have grown up with computers [in general] and the Internet specifically. Note that this group is also referred to as the Internet Generation, the Digital Generation and Generation Y - although the age ranges can vary for each depending on the source.

MIME [Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions]     A specification for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents and sound/video files. An email program is said to be MIME compliant if it can both send and receive files using the MIME standard. Mime is important [especially] to email marketers who might wish to send MIME compliant messages - the concern being that the receiver might not use a MIME compliant email system, and so not receive those messages. Multipart MIME allows senders to mail both text and HTML versions of a message to each recipient.

Mirror site     A website that has exact copies hosted on duplicate servers, where those servers act as a kind of cache for the site. The advantage of such a strategy is that the mirror site can be in different geographic locations in order to provide more widespread access to the site at greater speed. For example, a site might be located in Europe and mirrored in the USA, meaning that users on each side of the Atlantic would access the appropriate site without their request travelling thousands of miles. Note that mirror sites use the same IP addresses, and so are recognized as being the same site by search engines. This is important as duplicates of websites hosted on different IP addresses, with the intention of gaining greater recognition from search engines, are normally penalized by search engines.

M-marketing     The use of mobile devices to deliver any kind of marketing, see also M- [as a prefix] . are certainly relevant to marketers, they should also be aware that that mobile devices can be used for more that a medium for advertising.

Mobile commerce    see m-as a prefix.

Mobshopping     A practice - believed to have originated in China - where customers register an interest in a specific product on a social media website. When enough interested customers are gathered, the site facilitates a mobshop - synchronizing numerous shoppers arriving at a single store at the same time. The mob then demand high discount on the product for the mass-purchase.

Modem [MOdulator, DEModulator]     A device that allows digital data to be transmitted over an analogue system. Although modems are used widely in other fields, in the digital marketing environment they are associated with connection to the Internet. An Internet user's computer is connected to a telephone line by a modem that translates the digital content at each end of its journey over the [analogue] telephone lines. Essentially, the modem allows a computer to dial-up other computers through the telephone system - hence the common term, dial-up connection. In the early days of the Internet, modems were separate devices to the user's PC, though now the most are integral to the machine. Although it operates on the same basic principles as traditional telephone modems [analogue/digital conversion], the computer-Internet connection using broadband is better described as a broadband adapter [rather than modem]. However, users' familiarity with a device that connects them to the Internet being called a modem prompted vendors to market broadband adapters as modems to ease their acceptance. Broadband modems are far more advanced appliances, often including the functions of a router.

Mom and pop operation     An American expression meaning a very small business [micro business] that is normally operated from the family home. Such businesses may also be run at home by the female parent of the family, known as 'stay at home moms' [SAHM].

Monetization     A term that is used widely in American business in reference to income generation. Online, monetization refers to the way, or ways, in which a website might make money for its publisher. For example; a website could be monetized by hosting ads.

Monitor     Though mainly used to describe the display screen of a computer, monitor also includes the box in which it is housed. Flat screen tehnology has seen the end of monitors.

Mosaic     Developed by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at University of Illinois, Mosaic was the first web browser that was available for Macintosh, Windows and UNIX all with the same interface. It was also the first browser to facilitate images, and it became the basis for many subsequent browsers. It is generally recognized that the introduction of Mosaic signalled the birth of the popular commercial Internet as we know it. The actual date of birth is not too clear, however. Although the official release was in November 1993, the timeline of Mosaic's browser capacity on different platforms [for example Unix, Macintosh] differed. January 1994 saw the first version 2 release, October 1995, the last version 2 release, and a number of upgrades between those dates are frequently proffered as the birthday of the web, as is March 1993, when the pre-release version of Mosaic was first announced.

Mouseover     An online application [which uses javascript] where moving the on-screen pointer of a mouse over an element of the web page [for example an image] triggers a change in whatever the mouse is over - usually signifying that the item is part of the site's navigation.

Mousetrapping     The use on a website of software that disables a browser's back button. This means that the visitor is trapped on the site as they cannot go back to previously visited sites. It is not considered to be good practice as is defies usability conventions.

Moved to Atlanta     A slang term for a web page that has disappeared, leaving a 404 file not found error message in its place, see also broken link. The phrase comes from the US telephone area code for Atlanta, Georgia - 404.

MP3    Technically, the acronym for the specification of the MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3 - to the lay person it is a common format for compressing sound into very small files. MP3 files can be played on a computer or any MP3 player. Widespread adoption of the MP3 files led to the popularity of music downloads and podcasting. See also iPod. Although the technical definition is more convoluted, MP4s are commonly recognized as being MP3 players that also show video clips.

MP4    see MP3.

MPEG [Motion Picture Experts Group]     A format for compressed video files.

M-shopping     see m-as a prefix.

MSN adCenter     see Yahoo! Bing Network.

MTA    see mail transfer agent.

Multi-channel marketing    see integrated marketing.

Multi-channel retailing     Where a company uses more than one retail distribution channel to sell goods to its customers. The practice is not new. Sears and Roebuck, the US retail giant has sold its goods through mail order catalogues and retail outlets since 1893. The same company has brought the concept up to date by with its fusion retailing - where customers can not only shop in-store or online, but combine - fuse - the channels with online purchasers having the option of home delivery or collection from a local store. An additional fusion is that when the online shopper visits the store to collect their purchase, they are encouraged to make additional purchases while they are at the store collecting those goods. See also disintermediation.

Multipart MIME     see MIME

Mystery surfer     The online manifestation of the offline 'mystery shopper'. The mystery surfer will visit e-commerce sites and, depending on the objectives of the visit seek information, contact the organization or make a purchase. A report on aspects of navigation, usability, product pricing, product descriptions [see web content] and even fulfilment is then provided for the publisher of the site. For the practice to be objective - and so of any value - the mystery surfer should have no affiliations to either the publisher, vendor or any person or organization involved in the development of the site. The practice is particularly useful for smaller traders who out-source web design and maintenance as it provides a third party check on the skills and out-put of the design company. E-commerce vendors can also employ mystery surfers to visit sites of competitors to compare the 'customer experience' against that of visitors to their own site. Any positive lessons learned can then be adopted for the vendor's site.

Naming authority     see DNS [domain name system] .

Napster     A search engine for music that put the power of seeking, finding and acquiring music into the hands of the consumer and raised public awareness of the concept of peer to peer [P2P] trading. Napster is included here for its significant impact as a business paradigm, in particular its impact on the pre-existing model of the music industry.

Native advertising     A form of sponsored content - which has been used offline for as long as print has existed and know as advertorial - 'native' is type of advertising where the ad content is incorporated into other content on the platform or media. Although it can be very effective, critics say that it is often unclear that the ad is actually sponsored content, whereas it should be clearly identified as such. Note that 'traditionally' educated marketers will point out that sponsored is not the same as advertising - but the term 'native advertising' is another example of how digital has played fast and lose with convention.

Native app     See app.

Natural listing     see organic listing.

Natural search     see organic search.

Navigation     In a digital marketing context, navigation refers to website navigation. That is, how easy or difficult it is for a visitor to find their way around a site. More specifically, and in marketing terms, how easy or difficult it is for a visitor to find whatever it is on the site that meets the need that prompted them to arrive at the site in the first place. Navigation is an integral element of usability and website accessibility and it is the practical side of information architecture.

Navigational query     Also known as navigational search, this is the practice of typing a word into a search engine that the user knows will return the specific website that they want to visit. The practice is born out of the fact that a domain name must be typed in exactly in order to reach the required website. With a few notable exceptions, specific spellings of domain names can be tricky to remember - including which suffix is used. If the surfer wants to return to a website they have been on before, what they do is type into the search box a word or phrase they know is part of the domain name.

Negative keywords     Words that are used as a filter to exclude certain phrases or terms from the results of a search engine's search. Essentially they are used to make search results more specific to the intended subject. For example, if a user wishes to find out about the city of Manchester and they entered 'Manchester' in a search engine, the returns would include sites that feature Manchester United Football Club. If the searcher wanted to exclude pages about the football team they would add 'united' as a negative keyword. Note, search engines differ, but the most common way of adding a negative keyword is to put a minus sign and the negative word after the main search term. In the example cited, 'Manchester -united'. As with search keywords, the practice has an application for the digital marketing practitioner. When bidding on keywords for paid placement on search engine, the e-marketer can use negative keywords to more closely match the listings with products or services offered.

Nested ad content     Normally, when a user clicks on an ad banner they are taken to another website - that of the product or brand being advertised. With nested ad content anyone who clicks on an ad is taken to a web page within the same site as the page on which the ad is displayed. The concept might be used for an online retail outlet where [for example] a special offer within the store is being promoted. Nested ads differ from house ads in that they are part of a deliberate promotional strategy, whereas house ads are normally used to fill unsold ad space.

Netiquette     The unwritten rules of etiquette used on the Internet. Perhaps the most commonly recognized is the [mis] use of upper case characters. On the Internet, particularly in emails, to capitalize words is to shout - and so be perceived as being rude. See also Netizen.

Netizen     Deriving from citizen, a netizen is a citizen of the Internet. The term connotes civic responsibility and participation. Like netiquette, the term was popular in the early days of the Internet when most users were idealistic of what the Internet would bring. The rise in commercialisation of the web saw a corresponding decline in utopian hopes for the new technology, and the use of terms that reflected those hopes.

Net [network] neutrality     A subject being discussed and debated - in the USA up to Congressional level - the outcome of which may have an impact on the fundamental use of the Internet. The question is whether or not websites should be served in the same way to all users - that is, in a neutral way. Opposing neutrality are the telecoms and network providers who would like to see a two-tier system which creates fast lanes and slow lanes for web access - the fast access going to websites that are willing to pay for it. Note that when presented from the non-net neutrality standpoint the concept is often referred to as tiered web delivery.

The issue tends to drift in and out of focus, but the increased use of the Internet - watching streamed films and TV, for example - means it has not yet fully gone away

Netroots     This name was given to political activists who used blogs or websites to get their views across to a wider public. The term is a play on 'grassroots' when used to describe politics at a community level. An extension to the simile is astroturfing - where the blogger or forum participant attempts to put forward a particular political agenda whilst posing as being neutral. A broadening of the application takes the terms use outside the political arena and into the commercial environment - an employee covertly praising a brand or organization without disclosing their affiliation to that brand or organization. The spread of social media platforms such as Facebook has seen these terms all but disappear.

Netscape     A web browser and the name of a company. The Netscape browser was originally based on the Mosaic program. Distributed as freeware, Netscape was the browser that introduced many to the web. The distributive power of Microsoft saw Internet Explorer replace Netscape as the number one browser, a situation that exists to date.

Network     When two or more computers are connected together so that they can share resources they are a network. Connecting two more networks together creates an internet.

Network advertising     see online advertising network.

Networks [commercial and social]     In the network of relationships that affect our lives, the commercial network is our relationship with products, services and brands. The social network is our relationships with other people and is an element of the wider phenomenon known as social media. Prior to the Internet, the majority of our commercial network was short lived, with us developing relationships with very few businesses - as a customer in a B2C context perhaps only our local bar or news agent. Networks in a B2B context would vary depending on career or employment, but perhaps half a dozen customers or suppliers. However, the Internet introduced a medium of communication that made it easier to maintain commercial relationships, both as customer and vendor. Instead of [expensive] direct personal contact [in person or by telephone, for example] an organization's website is available 24/7 with a wealth of information that can help maintain and enhance the customer-supplier relationship at comparatively little cost. Consumer product manufacturers and retailers can also reach thousands - if not millions - of customers on a one-to-one basis by email at negligible cost per person. A more significant impact of the Internet on our personal relationships comes in social networking. Also known as social computing, our online social network exists predominantly by way of virtual community-type websites. In social networking the Internet - both the web and email - has opened up our potential for developing relationships with not only more people, but with individuals and groups from all around the world. The concept extends also to consumer generated content, where although the communication is generally one-way, the opportunity to get a message across to a wider social network far exceeds anything that has gone before it. For some commentators, it is the use of the Internet in developing and maintaining relationships in both commercial and social networks that is the main contribution the new medium brings to the world. Both commercial and social networks should now play a significant part in any organization's strategic business and marketing planning. See also portals.

Neural Net [NN]     A ranking technology added to the ranking algorithms of search engines from the beginning of January 2006. Technically speaking, NN is an adaptive system that not only changes its structure based on external or internal information flowing through the network, but it able to learn from its previous operations. In search terms this means that search results are improved because, based on users' searches, the neural net model produces results that get better over time. For the SEO, NN will emphasize the value of relevant content and quality inbound links.

Neutral web     see net [network] neutrality.

Newbie     Someone who is new to the Internet [or to computers in general]. No matter how close to saturation use of the Internet might get, there will always be people who are visiting a website for the first time, therefore best practice in design takes such users into account. Newbies might be an element of the rule of one.

News aggregator    see content aggregator.

Newsgroup     A USENET discussion group that is related to one topic. Internet users can subscribe to many different newsgroups. Major newsgroup categories include:

* alt: Alternative discussions on a wide variety of topics
* comp: Computer-related information and discussion
* misc: Miscellaneous categories
* news: Issues concerning USENET and newsgroups
* rec: Recreational activities, such as movies, books, sports, etc
* sci: Science news and information
* soc: Topics related to sociology and psychology

Actual subjects covered within these groups know no bounds, with some topics seeming bizarre to the majority of the population.

NIC [Networked Information Center]     Generally, the term used to describe any office that handles information for a network. The most famous of these on the Internet is the InterNIC.

Niche marketing     The practice of finding and serving small, but potentially profitable, market segments. Niche marketing is normally the domain of small businesses [SME] who are better equipped to deal with fewer customers who have specific buying needs. Because they concentrate on a limited range of products or services, the SME can offer greater and deeper expertise in those products, so presenting a better service to customers. With the notable exceptions of the likes of Amazon and some of the major bricks and mortar retailers who have an online presence, it is with niche markets that most websites have found success - the ability of the Internet to reach a wide market with relatively little expense being the key. It is the concept of niche marketing to which the long tail theory applies. See also niche product.

Niche product     A product that is sought by only a small number of customers. Although sales volume for sellers of niche products is small, potential profit is high. Niche sellers normally offer a high level of expertise in the product or service they offer, something that allows the seller to demand premium prices. Large manufacturers normally eschew niche products as the opportunity for economies of scale are limited. See also niche marketing.

Node     Any single computer connected to a network.

Nofollow     A tag used on web pages, often mistakenly as a command to prevent a website being indexed by a search engine [the correct method for that being a robots.txt file]. The nofollow tag is actually a message to the search engine robots [or spiders] telling them that the link in question was not necessarily a trusted link put there by the owner of the site. The main reason for it the inception of the nofollow tag was to thwart blog spam.

Nominet    The licensing authority for the UK's ccTLD domain name registry. The Oxford based organization also runs an arbitration procedure for disputed .uk domain names. See also DNS.

Non standard link     Good usability practice dictates that all links should be obvious to the users, for example textual links should be in coloured, underlined text. Non standard links are those which are not obvious to the user - that is, they do not follow accepted practice and common expectation.

North ads     An advertising term used to describe the sponsored ads on a search engine results page that run across the top - the north - of the organic listings. Ads that are to the right of the organic listings are the east ads.

Offline     see online [1] and online [2] .

One click purchasing     Although the patent for the technology involved was challenged in court, Amazon are generally recognized as the first practitioners of the one click online shopping experience. The concept is that when a customer has registered with the vendor and made an initial purchase, the vendor has all the information necessary [credit card number, delivery address etc] for that customer to make subsequent purchases. For any future purchases, the buyer identifies the product[s] they want to buy and simply clicks on one 'buy now' command button. The system then completes the purchase and fulfilment using the data already held on record. The one click purchase interactive advertising an integral element of pursuasive architecture.

Online [on-line] [1]     The term used to describe when a computer is connected to something, including the Internet. Hardware can be off-or online - a printer and a PC, for example, can be connected [online], or not connected [offline]. When a connection is broken or disconnected it becomes offline.

Online [on-line] [2]     In digital marketing terms, and in this book, online and offline are used to describe something that is either on the Internet [online], or not on the Internet [offline]. For example, offline shopping is the practice of shopping without the use of the Internet [also sometimes referred to as traditional shopping] - as opposed to online shopping where retail purchases are made using the Internet. It has become common practice to use online [as a prefix] generically to describe any Internet related function, for example online marketing. See also online [1] .

Online [as a prefix]     In a digital marketing environment it is common practice to prefix a word, term or phrase with online to denote its practice or application in an Internet environment - online branding, for example. Much the same can be said of 'cyber', 'e' - and to a lesser extent 'digital' - as prefixes. Why some terms gained the prefix 'online', 'cyber' or 'e' is based on chance and/or personal preference [and thereafter, custom and practice] rather than any kind of logical explanation. For some terms, the prefixes used are frequently inter-changed - online marketing and e-marketing, for example. In this text the selection of prefix is based on either most-common practice, or in the case of equal use, the author's own preference. See also cyber [as a prefix] , e [as a prefix] and digital [as a prefix] .

Online advertising     The term used to described the use of the Internet as a medium for hosting ads [as in TV advertising, radio advertising etc]. This includes all types of advertising on all types of web presences as well as emails.

Online advertising network     A network of brokers, or aggregators, of online advertising inventory. Whilst some web publishers handle the sale of all of their advertising space themselves - if they choose to do so - it is rare for them to sell 100 per cent of what they have available. Other publishers, particularly small ones, find it easier to not even try to sell their ad space themselves. This is where the ad network specialist comes in, acting as the conduit between those who have advertising space and those who wish to advertise. The advertiser can stipulate the types of website on which they wish their ads to run, or they can use a blind network where they do not know the exact places where their ads are being run. The first is more expensive, but the advertising is better targeted, and so should be more productive. The online ad network would normally use its own ad server to deliver the ads. Although ad networks have existed for as long as ads have been hosted online, the practice has gained both prominence and use since the major search engines - in particular Google - launched their own network systems. These systems mean that any web publisher can include pay per click ads on any page by simply 'cutting and pasting' a section of code supplied by the search engine immediately the publisher joins the network. See also ad exchange.

Online auction     An auction conducted online using Internet technology. Though popularized by the media as a B2C and C2C phenomenon [eBay, for example], it is a common practice in the B2B environment. See also forward auction and reverse auction.

Online banking     see e-banking.

Online branding     Branding and the Internet are associated in three significant ways:
* Branding online - as a medium of communication the Internet can be included in any branding efforts the organization might undertake. Although a website should always be considered as an important aspect of the organization's brand, it is becoming more common for the web or email to be integral to branding strategies.
* The online brand - also known as the digital brand, where a company uses a different brand for its Internet marketing than that used in its offline environment. This is common amongst banks and credit cards, the Co-op bank and and the Prudential and; for example.
* The pure online brand - where an organization trades as an online entity only, those businesses will be a brand in their own right, Yahoo and Amazon for example.

Online buyer behaviour Traditional, offline, buyer behaviour considers: who buys, how do they buy, when do they buy, where do they buy and why do they buy? The answers to these questions might depend on:
* Psychological factors, such as the customer's perceptions of the product or business, their motives for the purchase, the benefits sought from the purchase, their personality and their learning.
* Social factors, such as the customer's social classes, culture and family role.

If the marketer can appreciate these issues better than the competition it is a potentially significant source of competitive advantage. When considering the ways in which consumers behave on the Internet there are two key aspects of online behaviour that can be monitored to help assess that customer's behaviour:

* Explicit behaviour - based on data provided by the user. This would include such things as a user profile if membership or registration details are required to access the site or make a purchase. Also included would be any recorded actions on the site, like signing up for an e-newsletter or placing an order.
* Implied behaviour - based on data derived from the observation of a user's actions as they interact with the site.

The collection and analysis of buyer behaviour data provides the underpinning for the concept of contextual and behavioural targeting.

Online buying cycle     Offline, the buying cycle follows the purchasers path from recognising that they want or need a product through to its purchase. The online buying cycle suggests that, although rare, it is possible that a purely online buying cycle. Facilitated by interactive advertising, a person could go online, recognize that a problem exists, seek information on solutions to that problem, evaluate the alternatives identified in the search and take an action to solve that problem. If this is the case, then the online marketer should not only be aware of the concept, but be prepared to take advantage of it. The marketer should also be aware that in contemporary marketing, online activities are part of the [overall] buying cycle, with purchasers having the potential to use the web at all stages of the buying cycle. To help marketers ensure that a customer's path along the buying cycle is unhindered they can use the AIDA model. Persuasion architecture owes at least some of its origins to the online buying cycle.

Online community    see virtual community.

Online credibility     Offline, customers are reluctant to do business with a vendor who has no credibility - online, the same applies. The difference is that online, any judgement on credibility can only be made based on the content of the website. Whilst measurement of credibility can be apportioned to specific elements of a site [no contact details, for example, does nothing to inspire confidence], visitors actually form an impression of the organization based on the whole of the experience they have whilst navigating the site. Stanford University has a 'Persuasive Technology Lab' which applies scientific research to the web by accessing the credibility of websites in the Stanford Web Credibility Research Centre []. In 2002 the Centre published ten credibility guidelines based on three years of research, they are:
1 Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site
2 Show that there's a real organization behind your site
3 Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide
4 Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site
5 Make it easy to contact you
6 Design your site so it looks professional [or is appropriate for your purpose]
7 Make your site easy to use - and useful
8 Update your site's content often
9 Use restraint with any promotional content [for example, ads, offers]
10 Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem

Whilst a number of these could be viewed as subjective [for example in number six, what is professional?], they do represent the primary concerns with regard to online credibility. That the same points are likely to appear in a 'good practice' guide for any e-commerce website emphasizes the intrinsic importance of credibility to online trading. See also online reputation management.

Online customizing     see online personalization.

Online event     see reverse auction.

Online focus group     The criteria for the online focus group is that same as that for its offline contemporary - to gather qualitative research data on consumers' attitudes and perceptions about a product or brand. Rather than attending a group discussion in a physical facility, online focus groups log in to a virtual environment and use chat-room type facilities to express opinions on subjects raised by a moderator. The obvious advantage over offline groups is that of reduced cost, though it is possible that greater geographical representation and participants being more inclined to give honest opinions whilst in their own environment [home] are also positives.

Online individualization of products     A close affiliate of online personalization - so much so that they might easily be inter-changed - online individualization of products applies more to products individually manufactured for the end user. It should be noted, however, that individualized products are made up from a set pattern rather than being bespoke.

Online incentive marketing [OIM]     A practice that sits, sometimes uncomfortably, between referral schemes, viral marketing and pyramid sales schemes - online incentive marketing is a legitimate and lucrative method of customer acquisition. Often recognized for its association with 'free iPods', the first successful campaign attributed to the concept, OIM is popular with 18-to-24 year olds who use the Internet as an integral part of their social network. The concept is simple: Take individuals and offer them a gift [where the iPod comes in] if they can introduce x amount of customers, or prospects, to the organization. The online element stems from the fact that the lead generators use chat rooms and emails to pass on the marketing message and so earn themselves a gift.

Online marketplace     see e-marketplace.

Online market research     As students the world over have discovered, the Internet is an excellent medium for conducting research, and it is the same for market research. The Internet can be used for both primary and secondary research:
* Primary: Questionnaires being distributed by email as well as being included on web pages. Mini surveys ensconced in other content within a web page. Easy to use feedback facilities to encourage customer replies.
* Secondary sources include: Competitors' websites, industry portals and consumer generated content sites. Published information is also available online, including both government [for example the DTI] and commercial [for example Mintel reports]. Marketing managers can also use the web to seek out new customers, new markets and ideas for new products and services.

Online marketing     As with the use of 'digital', 'e' and 'online' as a prefix to other words and terms, in the case of marketing the terms - digital marketing, e-marketing and online marketing - are normally accepted as being the same thing, and so are interchangeable. Essentially, the terms refer to any aspect of the discipline of marketing that is performed or practised in an Internet environment.

Online personalization of products     The advent of the Internet has allowed businesses to offer customers personalized products that do not require the personal contact normally associated with mass customization. Using the web, consumers can personalize their product remotely - not only from the comfort of their own home or workplace, but without any pressure or influence from a salesperson. In addition, because online selection and ordering is relatively inexpensive for the vendor to offer, the price of personalized products can be reduced. The concept of using the web as a medium for mass personalization has, however, limited application. Not least is the issue that manufacturers are so used to dealing with customers through intermediaries - wholesalers/retailers/agents - that they are ill-equipped to deal directly with end-users. Also, manufacturers soon learned that selling direct to customers online could alienate offline distribution channels members, so compromising offline sales - see channel conflict. In essence, there are only two types of business that can benefit from using the web in a mass customization strategy:

1 The manufacturer that has no bricks and mortar distribution channel, Dell Computers, for example.

2 The intermediary that takes component parts of a product from various suppliers and offers the buyer a choice of multiple combinations, the travel/holiday industry, for example.

See also online individualization of products.

Online reputation management     Where online credibility considers the website from in a static context [that is, information provided within the site's content] reputation management considers credibility from an ongoing standpoint. The practice of online reputation management involves the monitoring of all websites that feature consumer generated media in order to track - and if appropriate, respond to - any adverse comments about the organization, brand or product that might be made on those sites. In a wider context, online reputation management might be seen as an aspect of brand management. Because mention of brands, organizations or individuals in social media environments is referred to as creating a 'buzz', companies offering reputation management sometimes promote themselves as buzz monitoring services. See also cyberbashing.

Online social shopping     An element of consumer generated content, this is where users visit a dedicated website to give their opinions of all kinds of goods. Unlike the more formal review-type sites, the online social shopping sites is less formal - to the degree that detractors refer to the content as gossip. In essence, however, the concept is designed to promote discussion between like minded individuals about shopping for and buying a wide variety of goods in much the same way as they might do whilst social shopping in an offline environment.

Online tender     Although the online business community often favour the term reverse auction for this practice, the use of Internet technology to open tendering to a wider audience is one of the business successes of the medium. Tendering [offline] has been a staple of business practice for as long as business has been practised. Associated more with major contracts and both local and national governments, the concept is that the buyer makes available the specifications and criteria of the product or service they wish to purchase. Potential suppliers then put forward their proposal - tender - for the contract, as a sealed bid so that its details are not known to other bidders. After a submission date is reached the buyer reviews each tender and awards the work to the most suitable. The significant benefits that the Internet brought to the practice are that:
* When posted on a website the jobs are more widely available, not only nationally, but internationally.
* The medium makes it easier for joint tenders, with different organizations using the web and email to contact and liase with other companies who can provide complementary expertise. Many B2B or industry portals facilitate contact between organizations that might work together in putting forward tenders. v
* Online applications mean that the paperwork involved is reduced. The EU's tendering system, for example, allows frequent bidders to store information and reproduce it for multiple bids rather than completing a full application for every proposal.

Online trading business models     see Rappa's Online Trading Business Models.

Open Directory Project     According to its website, this is '… the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web.' Developed and maintained by a global community of volunteer editors, it aims to follow in the footsteps of Oxford English Dictionary to become '… the definitive catalog of the Web.' It can be found on

Open rate     see email open rate.

Open source     Although some might argue that open source is more of a philosophy or way or working, it is more commonly known for its reference to software that is freely available and that the creators are not only happy for others to use it, but modify the source code for their own purposes. It is not unusual for groups of enthusiast to work on a project remotely in order to develop or perfect an open source product. See also crowdsourcing.

Open source content     Website content whose author is happy for other people to use un-credited. Effectively, the author has relinquished copyright on the work. This is extremely rare - even online - though many authors give permission for their content to be used providing a reference and link to the originating website. This is a common practice [a] as a marketing tactic to promote the author and/or their business, and [b] to create in-bound links that may improve search engine ranking for the author's website.

Opt-in / opt-out     Generally, opt-in / opt-out is an agreement that requires users to take specific steps to allow or prevent collection of information. In an ecommerce context, the terms are applied primarily to:
* email marketing, specifically email lists [and whether people agree to be on them or not, and so either agree or not, to accept emails from an organization] and
* data collection for database marketing. Note that not only are the following aspects of business practice, but in some parts, they are a legal requirement, see EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications.

Adaptations of opt-out include:
* Users are added to the list without their express permission. They remain there until they request to be removed. It is not considered 'ethical' practice to simply keep sending emails until the recipient finally loses patience takes action to opt-out. More ethical practice is to communicate the situation to the user, with an option to opt- in or out included in that message.
* Users are propositioned with joining a mailing list - perhaps as part of an online purchase procedure. There are two routes for the marketer to take, [a] the user must check a box to agree, or [b] they must check a box to decline. In the latter, no action equals tacit agreement, and so is questionable from an ethical standpoint.

Adaptations of opt-in include:

* Single opt-in - where recipients are added to a list through a single subscription-type act [for example sending an email to a specific address]. Subsequently, no confirmation is sent, or the subscription verified. Potential problems with this model include that it can be, [a] open to abuse in that third parties can subscribe innocent users - either as a joke or with malicious intent, [b] subject to false subscription, where users feel they are being coerced into giving an email address - so they simply enter a false one, or [c] used in list poisoning, where a trap address is deliberately subscribed - the intention being to have the senders [those gathering emails for the opt-in list] penalized as spammers.
* Notified opt-in - an extension of the single opt-in, this is where recipients are added to a list through a single subscription-type act, then an email is sent to notify them of their addition and to enable them to opt out if they wish. Note that action needs to be taken to opt-out, inertia results in the recipient staying on the list. All of the potential problems raised above still stand, though the notified opt-in can mitigate against them to a degree.
* Confirmed, or double, opt-in - after recipients are added to a list through a subscription-type act, a confirmation message is sent to the address and an affirmative action must be taken to activate the subscription for example a positive response to that email, or clicking on a 'confirm subscription' link. It is the confirmed opt-in that is the preferred model of the anti-spam community. Because recipients having to perform two actions to join a list, false or mistaken subscription is virtually impossible. For marketers the ethically sound double opt-in method produces the most robust email lists, but they will, inevitably, be smaller. Unethical practice - like opt-out - might bring short-term success, but will ultimately damage the reputation of the organization.

There is a third option that falls somewhere between opt-in and opt-out, and it is identified in the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications as a 'soft opt-in'. This is where emails are sent 'in the course of a sale or negotiations for the sale of a product or service' and so can be deemed to have 'actively expressed an interest' in purchasing a company's product and services'. If this is the case, unsolicited emails can be sent until such a time that receiver opts-out of receiving more. However, good practice would suggest that after the immediate sale or negotiation the receiver should be offered a single opt-in [as above]. See also squeeze page.

Opt-in list     see email list [1] .

Opt-out     see opt-in / opt-out.

Order acquisition ratio     A metric used in website analytics this is the cost per order divided by the cost per visit.

Order confirmation     In digital marketing terms this is an email message notifying a customer that an order has been received and will be processed. Rather than a bland statement, this email should be considered as an element of marketing communication and be treated as part of a CRM programme.

Organic listings     Listings that appear in a search engine results page based purely on the content of that website - and not because a payment has been made for that site to appear in the listing. Hence they are organic [natural] rather than manufactured [paid for]. To achieve organic listing is the objective of search engine optimization. See also search engine marketing, paid placement, paid search and paid inclusion.

Organic search     The use of a search engine purely for organic listings.

Orphan page     A page that [a] does not link back to the main site of which it is a part, [b] has no content, or [c] that no longer exists - a page at the end of a broken link.

Outbound link     see link.

Outbound marketing     As opposed to inbound marketing which is seen as being part if digital marketing, outbound marketing is the more traditional method of marketing where the organization reaches out to the potential customer by way of such tactics as advertising and direct mail.

Over-Content Ads     A term that is being used instead of pop ups, notably by those selling ads and want to avoid the negative stigma that most people associate with pop ups.

Overlay     a content box - think of it as a smaller web page - that is displayed on top of another page on a website. As the background page is disguised, and so unreadable, the overlay stands out - the reason the term 'lightbox' is sometimes used to describe this practice. Overlays can be used in several ways, the most common being when a user arrives on a website [e.g. an ad for an event associated with the page's content] or when they leave [please don't go before you have looked at ... ]. Note that with the latter in particular the overlay can be triggered by user behaviour. For example, the 'don't leave' message can be delivered if the user's mouse is moved towards a button that would take the user off the page.

Overture     see paid search.

P2P People to People or Peer to Peer trading]    see C2C.

P4P [Pay for Performance]     see pay per click.

Packet     The name given to a bundle of data that travels the Internet. Effectively, the division of data into packets and their transfer from sender to receiver is the basis of the Internet. At the time of the Cold War the US military wanted to develop a system of communication that would still work in the event of a nuclear attack. Normal methods of communication rely on a single line, and if that is broken communication ceases. The ARPANET system broke up the data into multiple bundles and dispatched it on multiple lines to its destination - if one or more lines were broken the packets seek out other unbroken paths. When the various packets reach their destination they are 're-assembled' to make up the complete message. This practice of moving packets around the web is called packet switching. An additional advantage of the system - for contemporary Internet users - is that many people can use the same lines at the same time, and if one line gets overloaded the packet is switched to a different one.

Packet filters     Applications that can accept or reject incoming packets. Any rejection or decision to accept the packet can be made based on the IP addresses of the source and destination of the packets.

Packet Internet Gopher     see PING.

Packet Switching     see packet.

Page counters     Software applications that count the visitors or hits on the website on which they are placed. Widely available online at no charge, page counters were ubiquitous in the early days of the web, they are now rare. They will normally sit at the bottom of a site's homepage, and might identify themselves as such, or simply be box containing a series of numbers. Early expectations were that visitors would read that 'thousands' of users had visited the site and so perceive it to contain valuable information. Users are now more educated in the way that the web works and pay little, or no, notice of these counters. Note that commercial sites should employ more accurate methods of collecting metrics for any website analytics.

Page impression     The downloading of one web page, also known as a page view. Normally single impression counts are irrelevant without that count being in over a specific time period. See also ad impression.

Page jacking     Where content [text or images] or source code from a website are taken and used on another site by someone who does not have permission to do so. The practice would normally be an offence against laws of copyright. See also siphoning.

PageRank     An element of the Google algorithm, a site's PageRank is assigned based on the number of incoming links pointing to that site. The more links to the site, the more 'valuable' it is assumed to be, and so the higher the rating. The intention [of the algorithm] is to reward sites that generate genuine, generic links to them. PageRank is named after its founder, Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google, and was developed from Page's BackRub project. Like other elements of search engine ranking, however, the system is open to abuse, with black hat SEOs manufacturing links to increase a site's rank. An attempt to address this is TrustRank which assesses the quality [rather than just quantity] of links going into a website. Hence only sites considered authoritative and/or relevant to the linked site [authority sites] are used in assigning PageRank. Google's Jagger update went a stage further by devaluing some sites where there is obvious reciprocal linking. See also link popularity and reciprocal link. Note that the patent for PageRank is owned Stanford University, where Page was studying when he developed the algorithm.

Page request     When a user selects - clicks on - a link, or they type a URL into a web browser that user is requesting the page that is the target of that link - they are making a page request.

Page view     A metric used in website analytics, a page view is - as the name suggests - a count of how many times a page has been viewed by a user. A more accurate term that is used more often to describe the same thing is page impression, which refers to how many times a page has been downloaded. This is because view projects the notion that the page content has been read by the user who has downloaded it, which is not always the case. However, the growing use of Web 2.0 technologies has raised questions over the validity of the metric. Applications such as Ajax, which deliver content like photos, maps and video, do so without requiring users go to a new page. Therefore, a user might visit a single web page and view multiple downloads in that single visit - so making the record of that page view flawed. To address this problem, length of time on a page is replacing the single metric of page views. See also visitor.

Paid for emails     see sender certification.

Paid inclusion [or pay for inclusion]     Where website pages are guaranteed to be included in a search engine or directory's index in exchange for payment. Note the guarantee is only for inclusion in the index, not a guarantee of a high search engine ranking, which is based on organic listing. Organizations pay for their pages to be included on a CPC basis or per-URL fee basis, with no guarantee of specific placement.

Paid links [1]     This is where a website's publishers offer to add an outgoing link to non-affiliated sites for a fee. This service can only be successfully offered by websites that are recognized by the search engines as being reputable - making links from them to be deemed as trusted links, and so makes them useful to the website that is buying the link. The practice is rare in that it might be considered unethical by the search engines [and humans] and so penalise the selling site in their algorithms. A notable example of the practice is that of Harvard University who have offered paid links from their site.

Paid links [2]     An alternative term used to describe the practice of paid placement of ads on web pages other than search engine results pages

Paid listings     see paid placement.

Paid placement     A term that causes some confusion in the digital world as some users think it means that marketers can buy places in organic listings. Essentially, paid placement is advertising on search engine results pages [SERPs] for particular search terms, with higher ranking obtained by paying more than other advertisers - see AdWords.

Paid placement listings [although now identified as 'ads', these were at one time shown on the SERP as sponsored links, sponsored matches or sponsored listings to differentiate them from the organic listings] are purchased from a portal or a search network [Google's AdWords is the largest] with each keyword being auctioned to the bidder who offers the highest sum per click. The winning bidder will then pay that sum for each click on the listing. Because they react to meta data, ads placed on SERPs are sometimes known as meta ads. It is worth noting that the major search engines recognise that simply publishing the highest bidder's entry does not always best satisfy the individual searcher's needs. For example, an adult site might pitch the highest bid on an innocent, non related-term. To combat this, paid search ad placement also takes into account a number of additional factors including the text in the ad and the relevance any landing pages linked from the ad. [Google's control mechanism for this is called Quality Score].

Sometimes called paid links, the same ad programs are used to place ads [text and banner] on websites other than SERPs - see AdSense. Any web publisher can feature such ads on web pages where the products or services being advertised can be matched to the subject of page's content.

Paid search     In this case the 'pay' is on the part of the business that pays for their website to be listed in search engine results. The concept is accredited to Bill Gross, who launched the first paid search engine in September 1998 - At the time, search engines were inundated with spam - particularly from adult websites [it is generally recognized that pornography and gambling sites have always been at the leading edge of any developments in search engine manipulation]. Gross thought the only way to combat spam was to have businesses pay to have their sites listed. This would lead to users being more likely to use a spam-free engine and, more importantly for GoTo, far greater income from PPC [pay per click] advertising - which would replace the CPM [cost per thousand impressions] method more common at the time. Gross realized that the inherent value of intentional traffic was far greater than that of undifferentiated traffic. He also realized that some key words and phrases were more valuable than others, so ad prices were not fixed, they varied depending on demand. GoTo's business model was a form of arbitrage - 'the purchase of currencies or commodities in one market for immediate resale in others in order to profit from unequal prices' [Collins Dictionary]. In this online-arbitrage, GoTo purchased links from other sites [Netscape, for example] for a flat rate per click in a CPM deal, and then re-sold those clicks on a PPC rate on its own site. For example: A link on Netscape for the key phrase 'domain name registration' might be purchased [as part of a much larger package] for 10 cents per click. This would take users to the GoTo seach engine results page [SERP] for 'domain name registration' that would list a number of advertisers who wished users to visit their website in order to register a domain name. In order to drive differentiated traffic to their sites, the domain name registrars would attempt to out-bid their rivals for the top spot [or higher listings] in the GoTo SERP - each of these advertisers paying far more than 10 cents for any clickthrough. The result was arbitrage-style profit for GoTo.

The model has since developed into paid placement where ads are shown alongside organic listings.

Paid to read [rings]     see click fraud.

Panel van websites     see white van websites.

Parallel browsing     A term used to describe the practice of having more than one browser window open on a user's screen, with multiple websites being viewed at the same time. For example, a window for surfing and another that features updated sports scores or viewing multiple sites at the same time to draw comparisons in their content - hotels or cars, perhaps. Larger computer screens better facilitate parallel browsing. Note that the same term can be applied to more general computer use; for example, using spreadsheet and word processor windows simultaneously.

Parked domain names     see domain name parking.

Pas 78 [Publicly Available Specification 78]     A set of guidelines for website accessibility developed by the Disability Rights Commission [DRC] in collaboration with the British Standards Institute. Reviewed by accessibility experts and advocates, Pas 78 also has support from the RNIB and input from organizations such as the BBC, IBM and Tesco. See also bobby.

Passing off     A legal term used when one individual or entity pretends to be -passes itself off as - another. In a digital marketing environment it is laws based on this principle that prevent individuals [or entities] registering the domain name of another company and using that name to host a website selling similar products to those of the 'passed off' organization. See also cybersquatting.

Password     Something as a misnomer in that a password need not be a word, but a series of characters that allows a user to access a resource via a computer. This could be the computer system itself, a file, a program or a website. Unlike a login, which may be public knowledge, a password should be confidential to the user.

Password dictionary attack     see dictionary attack [1] .

Pay for Performance     see pay per click.

Pay for placement     see paid placement.

Payment service provider [PSP]     A third party service used predominantly by small businesses to allow them to offer customers online purchase facilities. The PSP would connect the trader's e-commerce system to appropriate banking service providers - with whom the PSP will be registered to ensure the integrity of the operation.

Pay per -     It is worth noting that in many elements of e-metrics cost per - and pay per - [for example cost per order, pay per click] are used almost at what seems like random. Effectively the two terms mean the same - that is, how much the advertiser pays per click or how much each click costs. Quite why pay or cost is applied to different terms can only be down to custom and practice. Perhaps the future will see finite definitions for these terms, but in the mean time they are inter-changeable.

Pay Per Call     Where an online advert - or associated website - features a free-phone number, software tracks any contacts made through that number and a fee is paid for each call. The fee charged for pay per call is higher than other pay for performance models, but the advantage to the advertiser is that callers are more likely to be quality leads and so the chances of achieving a sale are also much greater. The model is enabled by click to call technology.

Pay Per Click [PPC]     A method paying for online advertising in which the advertiser pays on performance by paying for each click made on the ad; that is, no clicks, no fee. The system is also known as CPC [cost per click] and CPA [cost per action]. The system works like this. An advertiser specifies the keywords that they wish to trigger their ads and the maximum amount [rate] they are willing to pay for each click that a user makes on that ad. The advertiser that puts forward the highest bid [in an auction-based system] for a specified keyword features highest in the list of 'sponsored links' - that is, those links on the Search engine results page [SERP] which are not organic listings. When a user puts a search term [keyword] into a search engine the SERP includes not only organic listings that match their search term, but also the PPC listings that are, in effect, ads. Note, however, that some search engines add to the basic premise of the highest bidder winning the highest ranking. Google's AdWords, for example, builds the relative clickthrough rates of the ads into the equation in order that well-targeted, relevant ads are listed higher.

The same scenario is repeated on websites that feature PPC ads provided by an online advertising network as an element of a paid placement strategy. In these cases the delivered ads match keywords featured in the content of the web page; for example, vehicle insurance on a car-related website.

Pay per click can give marketers better metrics on their advertising spend in that the consumer must take an action - the click - that indicates that they have read the ad. For example, a vendor selling designer handbags might pay around 30p for each user that clicks on an online ad. A full-page ad in a magazine like Cosmopolitan might cost around £50,000, but the magazine might have a circulation of half a million people - a cost of only 10p per reader, a third of the PPC cost. The difference, however, is that the 30p outlay on the click is more likely to produce a sale than the 10p 'exposure' in the magazine. Not only that, but the online marketer can count how many users have clicked on the link - the magazine advertiser [or publisher] has no idea of how many readers even noticed the ad, much less took heed of its message. The model is open to abuse, however, from click fraud.

The main players in PPC advertising are the foremost search engines who have their own PPC ad networks; they are; Google AdWords and Yahoo! Bing Network.

Pay per click scammers     see click fraud.

Pay Per Click search engines     see paid placement.

Pay Per Impression [PPI]     An online advertising model where the advertiser pays an agreed amount for the number of times their ad is downloaded on a website, regardless of the user's subsequent action. Early online advertising used this method extensively, mainly due to its application in offline media. Like its offline cousin, the problem is that only the user knows whether or not they have actually seen the ad, let alone read it. This lack of accountability has seen PPI be mainly replaced by the pay per click model. PPI, however, does still have viable applications. Raising brand awareness, for example, where the objective is to get the brand name, logo or message seen, and not necessarily having the viewer click on the banner is best suited to this method of advertising. Like pay per click, the model is open to abuse, see spam websites. Pay Per Lead     This is where the advertiser pays a fee when an online advert generates a sales lead.

Pay Per Post     See Pay-per-review [2]

Pay-per-review [1]     A model adopted by human reviewed directories and search engines that allows website owners to 'jump the queue' for having their site reviewed. The practice dates back to the early days of the commercial web where directories such as Yahoo! [it was originally a directory, not a search engine] were inundated with submissions for sites to be reviewed - for free - and so be added to the directory. To overcome this, the directories offered to review sites on demand, but only for a fee. Note however, users pay for the review, there is no guarantee of inclusion if the site does not meet the criteria of the directory.

Pay-per-review [2]     Also known as Pay Per Post, this is the practice of individuals offering to post reviews saying how good a product or service is [e.g. a hotel] in exchenge for a payment. The phantom reviewer is unlikely to have ever purchesed or experienced the product or service. The practice is frowned upon by legitimate marketers and review sites endeavour to identify and/or prevent such reviews [e.g. by asking for details of the reviewer. When the paying organization is caght buying reviews the backlash is very damaging to the brand.

PDA [personal digital assistant]     A hand-held personal computer. As technology evolves, many devices fall under this generic description, including smart phones.

PDF [Portable Document Format]     A file format that reproduces documents in an electronic form so that they can be sent, viewed, and printed exactly as they originally appeared. A significant advantage of PDF files is that they are difficult to change, so reduce plagiarism of content [users cannot easily cut and paste content]. Most web users will use the Adobe Acrobat reader to open PDF files.

Perfect search     The utopian ideal pursued by search engineers. The concept is that the searcher doesn't simply get an accurate answer to a search, they get their perfect answer to a search - one that matches the context and intent of the search. See also intelligent search.

Permission-based email     Term used to describe email campaigns where mailings are sent only to those recipients who have given their permission for those mailings to be sent to them. See also opt-in / opt-out.

Permission marketing     Another element of offline marketing that has transferred easily to the online environment. Traditionally, permission marketing referred to aspects of marketing that deviate from advertising [it being a push medium and so not permission based] customers who request brochures, for example. Whilst similar requests can be made online, it is with email marketing that permission is most closely associated. This is as a consequence of the opt-in aspect of permission-based email.

Permission pass email     see email address appending.

Personae     A concept often used in association with persuasion architecture which has its origins in demographic segmentation. The idea is that the online marketer develops a number of personae of the potential customers of the website. The site is then developed in such a way that the various personae are satisfied best.

Personal agent     see agent software.

Personal data     see personally identifiable information.

Personalization [1]     see online personalization of products.

Personalization [2]     see website personalization.

Personalized search     see intelligent search.

Personally identifiable information [PII]     A self-descriptive term that in a digital marketing environment refers to the data that organizations gather - online - about their customers or visitors to their website. In this instance it is data that identifies an individual - for example, their credit card number, email or postal address. Such information can be used for marketing purpose [and so be advantageous to the individual], but can also be valuable to criminals [for fraud and identity theft] and so should be disseminated with care.

Persuasive momentum     A close associate of persuasion architecture, persuasive momentum is the intangible influence that keeps customers moving forward through the website in their buying process by the skilful use of well crafted copy, trigger words, calls to action and conversion funnel. As with many aspects of digital marketing, the concept of online persuasive momentum is based on tried and tested offline practice. In this case that practice is a common sales tactic where momentum is created during personal sales - with the customer being almost obliged to say yes to the purchase as a result of being swept up in the momentum of the sales process. The online version has similar objectives.

Persuasion architecture     The notion that a website can be constructed in such a way as to convince [persuade] visitors to take a series of desired actions. For example, to follow links from the home page through to placing an order for a product. The term has been popularized by Bryan Eisenburg, who advocates that sites should be developed using the perspective of the customer as the driving force. To aid this he suggests the use of personae. Persuasion architecture has close links with the conversion funnel, usability, navigation, and call to action, and has its foundations in the AIDA concept. Note that the term Persuasion Architecture has been trademarked by Bryan Eisenburg.

PET [privacy enhancing technologies]     A European Commission interpretation of PIP, which is intended to encourage users and retailers to use them [PIPs].

PII     see personally identifiable information.

PFI [pay for inclusion]     see paid inclusion.

Pharming     An extension of phishing that sends emails containing malware programs that redirect the user's browser to a fake website. The sequence of events is this. The pharming software recognizes a specific URL, normally of a bank, and when it is typed in to the browser the user is re-directed [see domain name pointing] to the fake site, which is designed to look like the genuine site. The user is then tricked into logging into their bank account - so revealing their security details to the fraudsters.

Phishing     A type of scam that uses bogus emails designed to deceive customers into revealing personal financial data. The email will normally purport to be from the user's bank and report a security breach or problem with the bank's database that requires the user to re-enter their security details by following a link on the email to a bogus website. Although the original concept of phishing was to direct users to a fraudulent website, the term has been extended to include all email derived swindles, including those like the 419 scam. Spear-phishing is highly targeted phishing. The same concept is also applied to VIOP [voice over Internet] phone calls where the bogus message is delivered by a person via a phone call, this has been dubbed vishing.

Phrase search     A search for documents containing an exact sentence or phrase specified by a user. See also Boolean search - the antithesis of a phrase search.

Piggyback email     A practice from email marketing, a piggyback email is something of a misnomer in that the term is used to describe an advert that piggybacks on an email. The concept is that emails sent to opt-in subscribers include ads from a third party advertiser. As the practice can damage the email sender's credibility [and may lead to the receiver cancelling a subscription], ads must be carefully screened and should be for products or services that compliment those of the email sender.

PING     A facility used primarily to determine if a computer is connected to the Internet. Packets of information with an 'echo' command are sent to a computer [or server] and a response tracked. No response means the target computer is not connected to the network. Hence the term to 'ping' a website to see if it is live. Note that the term PING was applied by its founder, Michael Muus, because it the program is an online equivalent of a sonar - which makes a 'ping' sound when an object is detected. Subsequently others have 'converted' it into an acronym for packet internet gopher. More recently - because the practice has the same technological basis - the term has gained a common application when used to describe the notification of updated content sent out by blogs. For example, a blog will PING a search engine in the hope that the search engine will spider the new content and so update its index.

Pixel     The individual dots used to display images on computer monitors. The number of pixels per inch [PPI] determines the resolution of an image. See also dot pitch.

PKI     see public key infrastructure.

Platform     In IT terms, a platform describes a framework on which programs can run, in other words, the hard- and software of the system. Windows XP, for example, is a platform. Cross platform refers to applications that will run on different platforms.

Plug-in     A [usually small] piece of software that adds features to a larger piece of software. Plug-ins are often created by people other than the publishers of the software with which the plug-in will work.

Podcast [podcasting]     A term that has its origins in a combination of 'broadcasting' and 'iPod' - making it something of a misnomer as neither an iPod nor a broadcast is necessary. The concept is that audio versions of website content [for example; music, interviews, blogs or seminars] can be downloaded as an MP3 file and replayed on any suitable personal audio [MP3] player. That iPods were fashionable at the time explains why 'pod' became part of the descriptive term. Not only is Podcasting a new tool for the online marker to add to their communications tool box, but it also offers the opportunities targeted for advertising - though obviously without the aid of any images. A video distributed using the same concept is known as a vodcast.

Pogo sticking     A term from search engine use, this describes how searchers bounce back and forth from a search engine results page [SERP] to the various sites listed - clicking on sites in sequence - in an effort to find what we're looking for. The better the search results, the fewer bounces there will be - with searchers sticking with the first [or early] listings if those sites satisfy their search needs.

Point of Presence     see POP.

POP [Point of Presence]     Usually a city or location where a network can be connected to, often with dial up phone lines. If an Internet company says they have a POP in Sunderland, it means that they have a local telephone number in Sunderland and/or a place where leased lines can connect to their network.

POP3 [Post Office Protocol version 3]     A protocol by which the majority of subscribers to individual Internet service providers' email accounts can access their email from a remote server over a TCP/IP connection - essentially, they can access their email from any Internet connected computer.

Pop under ad     A type of pop up ad that loads behind a web page and so is not seen until the browser is closed. A pop under ad is also known as a Superstitual [trademark] - a brand name for the product. Although pop unders are common on sites that seek to generate income through advertising, multiple pop under ads are normally the province of adult websites. See pop up ad and superstitual.

Pop up ad     Although its actual name is an interstitial [meaning in-between], this form of banner advertising is universally recognized, and usually derided, by the common term pop up. An interstitial is an advertisement that appears in a separate web browser window while a web page loads. The pop up appears over the top of the loading page, so making it visible immediately. Although consistently voted the second most annoying element of the Internet [after spam email], the ubiquitous pop up is still an effective mode of online advertising if it is practiced judiciously. Pop ups are also called window ads they open a new window in the browser - though this term usually emanates from ad agencies who appreciate how negatively the term 'pop up' is normally perceived. See also superstitual.

Pop up blocker     See ad-blocker.

Pop up page    see pop up window.

Pop up window     Although the term pop up is normally associated with pop up ads, it has also become common practice to call any small browser window that opens over an already-opened full size browser window a pop up. As the small browser window has content, it is also known as a pop up page or a daughter window. The pop up window can be made to open when a user clicks on a text or image, or simply when the mouse pointer hovers over it. Frequently asked questions pages can use this technique, the answers appearing in the pop up window. They can also be used to good effect when moving away from a page would break the flow of persuasive momentum of a site. For example if a user is completing a form, elements of that form might need some explanation to make questions clear - the link being perhaps a question mark icon or text saying 'help' or 'more information'. Rather that forcing the user away from the partially completed form to another [full size] page, a pop up page can be used to clarify any issues, and the customer simply closes the pop up page and continues with the form.

Portal     What is recognized as a portal has changed over the years. In the early days of the Internet, portals were seen as the home or entry page for users; that is, the page that first appears when the user opens a browser on their PC. In its truest sense, this page then becomes the user's portal [dictionary definition; entrance, gateway or access to a place] to the world wide web. As the web has developed, however, the term portal has come to be used in more wide meaning contexts. Although still acting as portals, many websites act as gateways to limited information rather than the whole of the web. Because the subject content of these sub-portals is finite, they attract only users who have an interest in those subjects [a sport or hobby, for example] and so often develop into an online - or 'virtual' - community. Organizations quickly realized that creating a direct dialogue with customers by making use of virtual communities could not only help maintain loyalty, but that commercial portal/community providers could create a club mentality amongst customers which might become a new source of competitive advantage. The two most common types of portal are those of Internet service providers and shopping [see also shopping search engines]. These types are portals are businesses in their own right, but there are other categories that organizations can develop to attract potential customers to their products or services. These include:
* Geographic portals - where the product or service has a geographic association.
* Special Interest portals - normally associated with a sport, hobby, or pastime. Such sites could also be product related. A grass seed vendor might, for example, host a website on lawn care that could develop into an online community, with users [or members] asking questions, raising issues, or providing solutions to other's problems. Such is the nature of these sites that users of these sites have been described as partaking in the practice of social networking. Note that it is common practice for the product seller to appear as sponsor of the site in order to distance themselves from their commercial interests behind the site -see also sponsorship.
* Information portals - commonly used in B2B trading, such portals attract workers in specific industries or users of certain products. Taken out of a directly competitive environment, it is not unusual for business owners and/or managers to be willing to offer help to other businesses, forming a commercial network.
* Exchange portals - another B2B application of the model, where portals are normally designed to appeal to a targeted audience. This narrow targeting has led to many B2B portals being referred to as vertical, suggesting that the content runs deep rather than wide. The objective of exchange portals is to bring businesses together and so promote commercial exchanges, again, encouraging commercial networking. Exchange portals can be divided into five main types: [a] catalogue services, [b] searchable directories - where approved suppliers have been pre-vetted by the directory publishers, publishers of these are frequently industry bodies such as trade associations or Chambers of Commerce, [c] forward auction, and [d] reverse auction. B2B portals are sometimes referred to as hubs.
* Enterprise portal - normally used by manufacturers, this is a portal that is accessible by all stakeholders in the production process - for example, designers, component suppliers and project managers.
* Functional portals - where the focus is on providing the same functions or business processes across different industries.

Note that B2B portals and e-marketplaces are often difficult to differentiate - with a B2B portal and e-marketplace often being integrated on the same website.

Note also that many portals are now based on social media platforms.

Position     In a digital marketing environment, position is generally used in the context of search engines, see search engine rank. Note however, the term could be used in its wider marketing role - product or brand positioning - when referring to the positioning of a website in relation to other sites in the minds of the target market.

Post-click marketing     A term used to describe the marketing efforts after a respondent has clicked on an online ad - from the landing page to the conversion. Practiced effectively, this stage of e-marketing can be used to segment customers after they have entered the conversion funnel.

Posting     A single message entered [posted] on a communications platform - a forum, for for example. The first post will start a thread. The term was naturally accepted as the description for placing a message - post - on a social media platform, and so the derivative verb is used to depict the action e.g. posting a message on Twitter or Facebook.

Post Office Protocol    see POP3.

Post search advertising     see re-targeting.

PPC     see pay per click.

PPI     Pixels per inch - a metric used to measure the size and clarity of electronic images.

Preheader text     The text - usually very small - at the very top of the email that is most commonly used to encourage the receiver to unblock images and/or add the sender to their address book or whitelist. See also image suppression and domain modelling.

Premium content     Offline, premium suggests excellence. When used online uniqueness is added - premium content being that quality content which cannot be found elsewhere on the web. Premium content could be used as a unique value proposition for the website that carries it.

Pre-moderation     Term used to describe the vetting of comments made by visitors to websites, blogs or forums. Many websites and blogs invite readers to leave their own comments online - and a major problem of an interactive medium being that it is open to abuse. For this reason many sites have a pre-moderation facility, where visitor's comments are checked before publication. This can be automatic - software identifying and rejecting certain words, terms or phrases - or manual. Human intervention is more effective, but very time-consuming.

Preroll [or pre roll] ad     a clickable video/audio ad, normally five to thirty seconds in length, that is shown before a selected video is shown on a sight such as YouTube.

Pre-selling page     Web content writer, Nick Usborne, suggests that content writers need to be aware of three sequential stages of pages on an e-commerce site. They are:

1 The home page - with just enough information on a topic to interest the visitor

2 The pre-selling page, where people arrive after reading the short text on the home page - this page gives the visitor all the information they need in order to feel comfortable about making a purchase

3 The sales page - the page that visitors are guided to next, the product having been pre-sold, this page is where a 'maybe' is turned into a 'yes'

His notion conforms to the concept of persuasive architecture and has it roots in the AIDA model. See also content [2].

Preview pane     A generic term used to describe that part of an email message seen by the receiver before they open the email fully. Although it is normally the top two inches or so, the actual appearance is controlled by the recipient and also is also dependent on the email client being used. Each email service provider uses its own version of the preview pane [Outlook calls it the reading pane, for example], and the format is constantly changing. Google's gmail, for example, uses snippets which show the first part of the message in the title bar in a similar way to how Google shows snippets of web pages in their search result pages.

Price comparison site     see shopping comparison site.

Privacy policy     A declaration on a website that states clearly what the organization will or will not do with any personal information given over by a customer in the course of their dealings with that organization. Like disclaimers and terms and conditions, any privacy policy should be written by a qualified person - normally a lawyer. It should be noted that given the public's concerns over identity theft and spamming, a sound privacy policy [that is well promoted on the website] is as much a marketing essential as it is a legal necessity. See also online credibility.

Prompted search    An addition to any search facility that suggests likely search terms that use those words [or letters] typed into the search box. Any suggestions - prompts - are based on previous searches. The user can then select the most appropriate search term. For example, typing in 'New Y' might bring the prompt 'New York City'. The 'Google Suggest' facility works on this principle.

Program     The software instructions and directions for computers, without which they are useless. There are a number of programming languages - the way in which they are written - the program for developing basic websites is called HTML. Those people who develop, or write, programs are called programmers. A note on the spelling of program. Program is the American spelling of programme. In the UK this spelling is used when referring any programme not in a computing context. For example, a TV programme and University Post Graduate programmes. However - even in the UK - when referring to computer programs the US spelling is used.

Programmatic marketing/advertising     The contemporary version of Database Marketing, Programmatic Marketing describes the use of software to replace humans in the purchase and delivery of digital marketing content, predominantly advertising

Progressive Web App     A type of app which delivers an app-like user experience through the web. This is normally via cellular data like 4G or an available WiFi hotspot/beacon.

Prospect     A term that refers to a member of the public who, by word or action, has shown themselves to be a potential customer rather than, for example, being a window shopper. In a sales environment, particularly B2B, prospects are referred to as leads - see lead generation. For many websites [being part of a pull media] the fact that a user has chosen to look at content on that site would suggest they are a prospect.

Prospect acquisition     see lead generation.

Protocol     The rules, conventions or standards that make possible the exchange of data between two computers on the Internet, or within any given network.

Proximity Marketing     the name given to the deliver of wireless, location-based promotions to people via their mobile phones or other portable devices. There are three main ways of achieving this:
* Via mobile phones when they are in a specific location served by a particular transmitter
* Via devices that have a global positioning system [GPS] that can identify the location of the device
* Via Bluetooth or WiFi enabled devices that are in range of a transmitter

The concept is that the target market is prompted to visit a retail outlet that is located close to where the recipient is when they get the promotional message.
Mobile phone and GPS messages must be sent by the service operator, but the latter - particularly Bluetooth - can be sent from a local computer. With a range of around 10 metres for mobile phones and 100 metres for laptop/PDAs, the system operates from a small server [beacon] which scans for Bluetooth targets in its reach, sending messages as people enter the covered area.See also Internet of Things

Proximity search     A type of search where the user specifies words or phrases that should appear near each other on the pages that are returned in the search results. In practice, search engine algorithms do this as a matter of course.

Proxy server     A kind of gateway, this is a server that sits between the web browser, and a real server, they are normally operated by ISPs or large organizations that have their own firewalls [universities, for example]. A proxy server intercepts all requests to the real server to see if it can fulfill the requests itself, acting as a kind of cache. For example, if two users in the same city in Europe use the same ISP to access a website hosted in the US, the pages of the first visit will be held in the ISP's proxy server. When the second user requests the same pages, rather than requesting them from the American host, the ISP simply delivers them from its own proxy server. The system relieves traffic on Internet backbones and gives faster downloads for the user.

Public comment sites     see consumer generated media.

Publisher     see web publisher.

Pull-down menu     see drop down menu.

Pull media / medium     This term is included here because the web is a pull medium. That is, the user pulls the information to them on a voluntary basis. If the user - the customer - chooses not to seek out a website, or even access the web, there will be no [online] communication with the organization. Push media [for example TV advertising] is intrusive to the individual, it is pushed at the public, whether they want it or not. Note, however, a more pragmatic view of push media that the digital marketing practitioner should consider is that if the website does not meet the needs of the potential customer - that is it is badly designed and/or information poorly presented - it will push the user away.

Note that non-digital marketers may not agree with this definition. We marketers can be a fickle bunch :-)

Purchase funnel     The buyer-side view of the sales funnel and the online conversion funnel. As with those two models, the purchase - or buyer - funnel owes much to the AIDA model and can be used by marketers to as part of an analysis of online buyer behaviour. For example, if a potential customer stepped out of the conversion funnel at a certain stage then vendors could look at how they could prevent that happening. The funnel analogy comes from the notion that potential buyers are many, all of them seeking generic product information to help them make a purchase decision [the top, or widest part, of the funnel]. As their search for information gets more specific - the funnel narrows - the number of potential customers reduces, until finally only a few are left - and they require explicit information. Any purchase funnel analysis would look more specifically at what the user expected at each stage of the funnel and why their needs were not met. Naturally, the answers to those issues would help come up with a solution of how to make the sales or conversion funnel better. It is worth noting that research into online buyer behaviour is suggesting that the purchase funnel is being changed by the way contemporary buyers use the web in their purchase decisions, see purchase tumbler. In an online context, the purchase funnel has links with online buyer behaviour. Considering the buying process from the point of view of the customer will also help develop successful persuasion architecture for e-commerce websites.

Purchase tumbler     A study commissioned by Yahoo! [] and OMD [] called the 'Long and Winding Road: The Route to the Cash Register' [published in May 2006], suggests that Internet technology is changing the way that buyers seek and collect purchase information. Touted as 'the first research study to examine how cultural shifts brought about by the proliferation of technology have radically altered the way consumers make purchasing decisions', the study proposes that the traditional purchase funnel has been replaced by a purchase tumbler. The demand on information being [almost] constant as the buyer narrows their options [that is, travels from top to bottom of the funnel/tumbler]. The consequence for e-marketers of this phenomenon is that they have a much longer [wider] opportunity to reach the potential customer rather than any opportunity being restricted as the buyer descends to the narrower end of the funnel.

History has confirmed the accuracy of this research - though the 'tumbler' concept has not seen widespread adoption.

Pure online brands    see online branding.

Pure online business [or pure-play]     Businesses that trade online only; that is, have no offline trading presence. Such businesses are rare, the majority operating in niche segments - obvious exceptions including Amazon and eBay. It should be noted that the pure online business will have a physical presence of some kind, administrative centre, warehouse and distribution depots for example. A trader with no physical presence is known as a virtual businesses.    

Push media     see pull media.

Qualified traffic     Users who have arrived at a site after having searched for the site's offering on a search engine. Such visitors are deemed to be qualified because they are thought to be more likely to interact with the website. See also prospect, intentional traffic, differentiated traffic and undifferentiated traffic.

Quality Score     see paid placement.

Query term     see keyword.

Question and answer [Q & A] websites     The name of these sites rather gives away their purpose. The key, however, is that the questions are both posed and - hopefully - answered by users. Questions are on a multitude of subjects from relationship advice to how to repair classic motor cars. Q & A sites are part of consumer generated contnet and so are considered to be an element of social media. Radio Frequency Identification     see RFID.

RAM [random access memory]     see memory.

Rank / ranking     see search engine rank.

Rappa's online trading business models     In 1998 David Rappa suggested that there were a limited number of ways in which an online-only business can make money. It is a reflection of his foresight that the list is still valid, and that no others have been added since. It should be noted that the models do not have to run in isolation, several of the models could be used to generate income from one website. Rappa's nine online trading business models are:

* The Brokerage Model - where brokers bring buyers and sellers together and facilitate transactions. The broker makes money by charging a fee for each transaction enabled
* The Advertising Model - an extension of the traditional media broadcasting model where the broadcaster, in this case a website, provides content and services and sells space for advertising messages
* The Infomediary Model - capitalizes on the value of data about consumers and their buying habits by collecting such data and selling it on to third parties
* The Merchant Model - the classic wholesaler or retailer of goods and services
* The Manufacturer Model - where manufacturers reach buyers directly and so compress the distribution channel
* The Affiliate Model - where purchase opportunities are provided wherever people may be surfing by offering financial incentives to affiliated websites
* The Community Model - relies on visitors to community websites having a high investment in both time and emotion in the site's subject, so making such sites ideal for targeted advertising, affiliate or infomediary opportunities as well as the potential for subscription fees
* The Subscription Model - depends on users paying for access to the site, meaning that high value-added content is essential
* The Utility Model - has users paying for services that they might access from the site
Rappa, D. [1998] Managing the Digital Enterprise.

RDF [Resource Description Framework]     A coding language used by those working towards the semantic web.

RDNS [Reverse DNS]     A method of name resolution in which an IP address is resolved into a domain name. See also DNS.

Reach    More commonly used in offline push media than in relation to online advertising, reach refers to the number of unique individuals who view an ad, no matter how many times they might see it. See also ad impression.

RealAudio     A format developed by Real Networks, RealAudio is a popular plug-in for streaming audio used to listen to sound recordings on the web. Streaming audio allows for more immediate playback of music, news, sports etc on the site visitor's computer.

RealNames     An online service that that matches company and brand names with their website address. At one time this was a popular service, but has now been largely superseded by search engines and the publics' better understanding of domain names.

Reboot     see boot.

Reciprocal link     An exchange of links between two sites. This can be a good thing - sites linking to others is the basis of the world wide web and both parties might benefit, a small, family run hotel and a tourist information site, for example. However, search engines can use in- and out-bound links as part of their algorithm to rank websites in their listings and this is often the reason site owners exchange links. This too, can be beneficial to both sites, but excessive reciprocal links might be considered by search engines to be link farming and penalize them accordingly. See also PageRank and TrustRank.

Redirect     see email redirect and website redirect.

Referring site/page     A website that sends a user to another site via a link from that site. A search engine results page is normally considered to be referring page. Details of referring pages appear on a website's log files.

Referrer     The term used to identify in a web log from where the user came immediately before they arrive on the site. Although the referrer in a web log is normally a referring site, it could be the user them self if they have typed the URL of the website directly into their browser. Referrer data is useful in website analytics.

Registration    see website registration.

Re-inclusion request     Sites that have been added to a search engine blacklist will - if they are legitimate - seek to be re-instated on that engine's listings. To achieve this, the site's publishers must file a re-inclusion request. The search engine will want to be assured of two things; [1] that the problem - whatever that is - has been corrected, and [2] that it won't happen again. Details of actions taken will strengthen the case. Of course, this assumes that the site's publisher knows why it was excluded in the first place. Those who practice black hat search engine optimization will know what they have done to be blacklisted, but for many website publishers the reason might be a mystery. This could be for a number of reasons, not least that they may have employed a search engine optimization agency that has used black hat methods without the site publisher's knowledge or permission. It is also possible that the site is the innocent victim of a change in a search engine algorithm [see Google dance].

Relationship marketing     Whereas traditional methods of selling and negotiation are transaction oriented because their purpose is to close a sale, relationship marketing looks beyond the immediate sale and seeks to build a long-term supplier-customer relationship. Its relevance to online marketing is that digital technology can be used as part of the communications mix used in developing and maintaining a relationship with customers.

Relevancy     In digital marketing terms this is how well the results of a search request are matched to the intentions of that search. In essence, the ultimate goal of all search engines is to return only results that have 100 per cent relevancy to the individual's search.

Re-marketing     Often mistakenly described as re-targeting, this is where online shoppers who have placed a product in a shopping basket but have not completed the purchase are contacted by email in an effort to encourage the shopper to complete the purchase.

Re-messaging     see re -targeting.

Render    Put simply, software is used by a web browser to take HTML code and present [render] it as images and text on the screen of the user. This can be a web page or email. As the software, effectively, presents the layout of the page, it is known as a layout engine or browser rendering engine.

Repeat order rate     An element of website analytics, repeat order rate calculates the ratio of orders placed by existing customers [those who have purchased from the organization in the past] and total orders placed.

Repeat visitor     A unique visitor who has been on a website on a previous occasion. This metric is useful in website analytics.

Report spam button     see spam button.

Reputation management     see online reputation management.

Reputation scores    see email accreditation.

Request    see browser [1] .

Resizable text     Depending on the design, the text on a web pages can be a fixed size [for example it is part of an image], or it resizable. Standard HTML can normally be resized by the user [control and + or -], or an application can be put on the web page by the designer where the user simply clicks on an icon to increase or decrease text size.

Resolution     The clarity and sharpness of an image, expressed in pixels per inch for monitors, scanners, or image files. High-resolution images require more memory or bandwidth and so take longer to download on to a browser.

Resolution page     Also known as an encore page, this is the web page that is delivered to a user immediately after they have completed an action [eg a purchase, PDF download or subscribe to a newsletter]. As users will have already communicated with the organization [to actually see the page] they would normally be receptive to any marketing message on that page. Too often, however, the opportunity is lost with most simply having a message saying 'return to home page' or 'thank you'.

Re-targeting     Also known as re-messaging, this is an aspect of behavioral targeting where online marketers cookie visitors and then track significant activity and [even better] interactions on the site. Using an online advertising network, ads are then served to those visitors based on those interactions - they are re-targeted after having been first targeted when they visited the website. For example, a visitor to a travel website might go to a number of pages that describe a particular resort. They may also go to a 'review' page where several five star hotels are reviewed, check out faq answers for that resort, search on car hire prices and seek temperatures in June for that geographic region. Although that user might not make any effort to purchase a holiday on that visit, they would be prime candidates for ads that feature 5 star hotels in that resort in June with special offers on car hire if booked before a certain date. If the user has used a search engine, their search terms are included in the behavioural analysis for ads delivered on sites visited subsequently - a practice referred to as post search advertising. Re-marketing takes the concept a stage further, but depends on the visitor being registered or at least have [willingly] given the site their contact details. In the example above, the holiday-seeker might be sent an email detailing a special offer for the resort they were reviewing. Another illustration is where a customer might have added an item to a shopping cart, but not purchased it. A re-marketing email might give details of a promotion if the user buys immediately [free shipping, perhaps].

Return Bidding     A tactic from the management of advertisers' ad listings on PPC search engines, return bidding tracks enquiries from bids for specific keywords to see if they produce sales [or whatever the objective of the ad is]. By doing this, bids can be adjusted automatically to reflect the cost per acquisition - that is, bids should not exceed a breakeven figure for acquisition. Similarly, an e-commerce site which offers a wide range of products could calculate the average profit of each order and create rules to adjust bids on this basis for example more aggressive bidding for high profit products than that on low profit products. Return bidding is not something that can be done manually - utilisation of bid management software being necessary.

Reverse auction     Sometimes referred to as an online event, this is where the buyers put their requirements on a website and invite interested parties to bid for the business. This is an extension of the traditional [offline] practice of tendering, used extensively by local and national governments. The auction is often part of the services offered by a B2B portal. See also forward auction and online tender.

Reverse logistics     The management of goods being returned from a buyer to the vendor. The practice is important to any distance-seller as it contributes towards credibility and so loyalty. See also e-logistics.

Rewrite engine     see URL rewriter.

RFID [Radio Frequency Identification]     A method of automatically identifying products using data stored on small objects - known as RFID tags - that can be attached to or incorporated in a product, animal, or person. The data on the tags will include the electronic product code. The system allows goods to be accurately tracked in a logistics environment. A wider marketing application is to use RFID tags to electronically track when, how long and where displays [of tagged goods] are placed in stores and how successful they have been. Critics of the RFID tags refer to them as 'spy chips'.

RFM [recency, frequency and monetary value]     A term used in website analytics that has been adopted from offline practice. Essentially, customers are assessed by three key criteria. [1] How long is it since a customer made a purchase [or visited a site], [2] how often do they make a purchase [or visit a site], and [3] how much do they spend? Any targeted marketing efforts can be tailored to suit the outcome of a RFM test. For example, a regular visitor who does not spend would be encouraged to make a purchase while they are there [by limited period promotional offers perhaps], or big spenders encouraged to visit the site more often.

Rich media     A term used mainly in online advertising that is still to settle on a precise definition. Broadly speaking rich media describes a range of technologies and implementations within digital media that result in some kind of dynamic motion and an element of interaction. For some this means the use of technology such as Flash [™] or the inclusion of video, audio, animation or any combination of these. For others, a relatively simple animated GIF is classed as rich media.

Ripping     The term used for transferring the content of CDs and DVDs onto other CDs or a computer.

ROAS [Return on advertising spend]     An analytic that assesses sales revenue generated for each unit of currency [pound/euro/dollar etc] spent on either an online ad campaign or a specific ad. Online advertising using pay per click arrangements provides greater scope for accurate ROAS than that using offline media.

Robots.txt [Robots Exclusion Protocol]     An exclusion file included on web pages to prevent them from being indexed by search engines. Although most publishers want their sites to be listed on search engines, for some anonymity is preferred. This would normally be for reasons of personal privacy - a family site perhaps - commercial sites that require confidentiality should not rely on excluding search engines as a mode of security. The noindex [do not index this page] tags serves a similar function, however the nofollow tag - though frequently used in this context - actually serves a different purpose.

Router     A computer [or software package] that handles the connection between two or more networks. Routers spend all their time looking at the destination addresses of the packets passing through them and deciding which route to send them on - hence the name.

RSS [RDF Site Summary, Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication ]     A format for syndicating web content. Syndicated content includes such data as news feeds, events listings, news stories, headlines, project updates or excerpts from discussion forums and blogs. In short, a way for site owners to let others know what new content is available within their website. Unlike websites that are a pull media, RSS pushes content to the user - albeit because they have requested it [the software facilitating this is normally referred to as being as an RSS feed]. Note that the first two abbreviation descriptions are from the technical environment, the latter has become popular because it is closer to being a description of what the format actually does. RSS feed    see RSS.

RSS tracker     A software application that tracks key words, phrases or terms when they appear online.

Rule of one     It is generally accepted by online marketers that if more than one per cent of a website's visitors share a certain technological trait - for example, browser type or screen resolution - then that group should be considered in the design of the website. Although marketers appreciate the reasoning behind this rule - that no potential customers should be ignored for any reason - many website designers do not, and still develop websites that some potential customers cannot use because their hard or software does not conform with that of the website.

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