e-Commerce: 2007 Online Holiday Sales

Well, it’s Friday, 4 days before Christmas and it seems as the rush for shopping is beginning to calm. This was a crazy month for us, especially for the online retailers, and even more for those who specialize in gifts (We have wuite a lot of those!

I wanted to share here some of the data that was pouring in from the sales centers, the web analytics tools and market research – as this may be a very good lesson for next year.I’ll start with the market research and I want to quote comScore’s published data:

holiday season e-commerce spending for the first 48 days of the November – December 2007 holiday season (November 1 – December 18). Nearly $25 billion has been spent online during the season-to-date, marking a 19-percent gain versus the corresponding days last year”

2007 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2006
Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations
Source: comScore, Inc.

Billions ($)
Holiday Season to Date 2006 2007 Pct Change
November 1 – December 18 $20.85 $24.85 19%
Thanksgiving Day (November 22) $0.21 $0.27 29%
“Black Friday” (November 23) $0.43 $0.53 22%
“Cyber Monday” (November 26) $0.61 $0.73 21%
“Green Monday” (December 10) $0.66 $0.88 33%

* Corresponding Shopping Days, Not Calendar Days

“It’s also clear that many consumers are willing to delay their holiday shopping later in the season this year in an effort to take advantage of any late season price discounts being offered by retailers.”

Google and Microsoft are Manipulating your Log Files

During the last few months, we came across a weird phenomenon. We would analyze our web site traffic, and fond that we received some great amounts of traffic referred from Google and Live.com (MSN), for generic expressions, which had a good fit to our website, however we had no positions for these terms – Not organic nor paid.

So, after reading and searching for a while – we found out we are not alone, and we also found the explanation. It appears that these so called “visits” came from IP addresses owned by Microsoft and Google and they are some type of crawl/user emulation performed by the search engines.

So apart from the fact that our data was to be re-analyzed, we had to get rid of this data.
What we did in our web analytics software (We use and recommend ClickTracks), was to exclude the IP addresses and blocks – as follows:

How to know if you are hit?

1. Check your referral data and see if you get very genere (short tail) search phrases you don’t rank for from Google / Live.com

2. Check the log and see if the string includes the url parameter of FORM=LVSP or, now, FORM=LIVSOP

3. Check the IP Address – agains the details below.

Microsoft (Live.com):


Important note:
Both engines has stated that blocking their IP will not be “welcome” (How arrogant…) So in order not to be hurt I definitely do not recommend to Block their IP’s on your server – but rather to exclude them from your analysis.

Web Marketing – How it All Begun for me

Hi there, welcome to my Blog.

My name is Ophir Cohen, and I am doing web marketing since 1998. It all started out with this weird project which included e-commerce – I had to sell some products online.
Until then, I had only been involved in corporate web sites, all statis HTML (the odea of dynamic web sites ws there, butwas mostly out of reach.

To cut this long story short – After I built an amazing website with its own e-commerce capability, I was very surprised how hard it was to get people to come to the site and to purchase 🙂

So I read, engaged in free and paid seminars, web sites, subscriptions, researched, trial an error and basically went through everything that was known at the time. (Google, BTW, was a phd document with a working model – but it was not known back then).

Compucall Web Marketing was established in 1999, when I realized the need and the added value I could give organization in the same stage I passed through before. My main specialty was SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and during the years, with the development of new technologies, channels, the arrival of Google and other to the scene – the company grew and we are now 18 Professionals with the capability and ca[acity to run a turn-key Web Marketing Projects.

In this blog, I will share my insights, tips, stories and recommendations – for those of you who are interested in the subject.

Enjoy reading, and feel free to write me at: oc (at) ophircohen (dot) com