Jupiter Forum Looks for Ways to Get 'Sticky'

NEW YORK — Developing Internet content, customer retention and “stickiness” for online companies were the key topics discussed at the Jupiter Consumer Online Forum here this week.

Jupiter said attendance at the sixth annual conference was 1,600, up from 1,100 last year.

Arthur Gehring, director of marketing at AnyDay.com, Cambridge, MA, an online day planner, said he was happy with the traffic in the exhibit hall but would like to see Jupiter integrate the floor and the roundtable discussions.

“I didn't get to go to any of the discussions. They should put some TV screens in the exhibit hall so both we and the people on the floor can see what is going on,” he said. Some of the products announced included PersonaExpress, a privacy-oriented solution from PrivaSeek, Louisville, CO (see story, page 4). The tool is free to consumers and gives them the ability to maintain privacy or elect to share or sell information to marketers with product or service offerings of personal interest.

In keeping with the forum's content theme, Qpass, Seattle, introduced the Qpass Content Transaction Network, which will let Web companies sell their “premium digital content” over the Internet. Four companies are using the product: The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, MorningStar, The Industry Standard and the U.S. Department of Commerce STAT-USA.

Online users or consumers register for the service when they buy any content from a Qpass-enabled site. After registering, they receive purchasing privileges at any of the other sites in the Qpass network. The types of content that can be purchased include pay-per-view video, magazine subscriptions, music, virtual trade shows and standardized certification tests.

Jupiter analysts discussed an impending “content renaissance” that will allow media companies to fully realize value from both their traditional properties and new brands. As portals and nonportals incorporate convenience and utility applications, media content is going to emerge as the differentiator for online success. In its research, Jupiter said many online content ventures haven't delivered on the Web's one-to-one targeting promise, mainly because of their anonymous and somewhat disloyal user bases. In contrast, commerce sites have built a growing base of loyal, qualified users who continually engage in one-to-one transactions that can be leveraged into multiple revenue streams.

In the keynote address, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang spoke about his company's ability to pull ahead of other search engines while developing “stickiness” for its site.

“In mid-1996, we started thinking about incorporating third-party content that was feedable, searchable and customizable,” he said. “People wanted stock quotes, news and yellow pages — and we started to incorporate these things for them. We realized that to make the site sticky, we had to personalize it.”

With the rapid development of e-commerce, Yang said, it was obvious that the Web's role was about to change and the main thing Yahoo wanted to do was make the shopping experience as easy and as personalized as possible for consumers. The hot issue making waves today is personal publishing, which Yang said is a key ingredient to developing online communities and increasing the number of users.

“This is the next big paradigm shift,” he said. “There are two types of communities — the public community, where you have chat rooms, and the private community, where you have the private clubs and instant messaging. The notion of private communities is one that has not yet had its full potential tapped.”

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