How to balance your online advertising and your offline conscience

Google in 1998, showing the original logo
Image via Wikipedia

I recently found an interesting example of  a website that both makes a lot of money and yet is much more efficient than any free or non profit. It is called ECOSIA

If you see a website that wants to balance administrative costs  plus have a transparent way to make the world better- this is a great example.

  • http://ecosia.org/how.php
  • HOW IT WORKS
    You search with Ecosia.
  • Perhaps you click on an interesting sponsored link.
  • The sponsoring company pays Bing or Yahoo for the click.
  • Bing or Yahoo gives the bigger chunk of that money to Ecosia.
  • Ecosia donates at least 80% of this income to support WWF’s work in the Amazon.
  • If you like what we’re doing, help us spread the word!
  • Key facts about the park:

    • World’s largest tropical forest reserve (38,867 square kilometers, or about the size of Switzerland)
    • Home to about 14% of all amphibian species and roughly 54% of all bird species in the Amazon – not to mention large populations of at least eight threatened species, including the jaguar
    • Includes part of the Guiana Shield containing 25% of world’s remaining tropical rainforests – 80 to 90% of which are still pristine
    • Holds the last major unpolluted water reserves in the Neotropics, containing approximately 20% of all of the Earth’s water
    • One of the last tropical regions on Earth vastly unaltered by humans
    • Significant contributor to climatic regulation via heat absorption and carbon storage

     

    http://ecosia.org/statistics.php

    They claim to have donated 141,529.42 EUR !!!

    http://static.ecosia.org/files/donations.pdf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Well suppose you are the Web Admin of a very popular website like Wikipedia or etc

    One way to meet server costs is to say openly hey i need to balance my costs so i need some money.

    The other way is to use online advertising.

    I started mine with Google Adsense.

    Click per milli (or CPM)  gives you a very low low conversion compared to contacting ad sponsor directly.

    But its a great data experiment-

    as you can monitor which companies are likely to be advertised on your site (assume google knows more about their algols than you will)

    which formats -banner or text or flash have what kind of conversion rates

    what are the expected pay off rates from various keywords or companies (like business intelligence software, predictive analytics software and statistical computing software are similar but have different expected returns (if you remember your eco class)

     

    NOW- Based on above data, you know whats your minimum baseline to expect from a private advertiser than a public, crowd sourced search engine one (like Google or Bing)

    Lets say if you have 100000 views monthly. and assume one out of 1000 page views will lead to a click. Say the advertiser will pay you 1 $ for every 1 click (=1000 impressions)

    Then your expected revenue is $100.But if your clicks are priced at 2.5$ for every click , and your click through rate is now 3 out of 1000 impressions- (both very moderate increases that can done by basic placement optimization of ad type, graphics etc)-your new revenue is  750$.

    Be a good Samaritan- you decide to share some of this with your audience -like 4 Amazon books per month ( or I free Amazon book per week)- That gives you a cost of 200$, and leaves you with some 550$.

    Wait! it doesnt end there- Adam Smith‘s invisible hand moves on .

    You say hmm let me put 100 $ for an annual paper writing contest of $1000, donate $200 to one laptop per child ( or to Amazon rain forests or to Haiti etc etc etc), pay $100 to your upgraded server hosting, and put 350$ in online advertising. say $200 for search engines and $150 for Facebook.

    Woah!

    Month 1 would should see more people  visiting you for the first time. If you have a good return rate (returning visitors as a %, and low bounce rate (visits less than 5 secs)- your traffic should see atleast a 20% jump in new arrivals and 5-10 % in long term arrivals. Ignoring bounces- within  three months you will have one of the following

    1) An interesting case study on statistics on online and social media advertising, tangible motivations for increasing community response , and some good data for study

    2) hopefully better cost management of your server expenses

    3)very hopefully a positive cash flow

     

    you could even set a percentage and share the monthly (or annually is better actions) to your readers and advertisers.

    go ahead- change the world!

    the key paradigms here are sharing your traffic and revenue openly to everyone

    donating to a suitable cause

    helping increase awareness of the suitable cause

    basing fixed percentages rather than absolute numbers to ensure your site and cause are sustained for years.

    Google Books Ngram Viewer

    Here is a terrific data visualization from Google based on their digitized books collection. How does it work, basically you can test the frequency of various words across time periods from 1700s to 2010.

    Like the frequency and intensity of kung fu vs yoga, or pizza versus hot dog. The basic datasets scans millions /billions of words.

    Here is my yoga vs kung fu vs judo graph.

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/info

    What’s all this do?

    When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (e.g., “British English”, “English Fiction”, “French”) over the selected years. Let’s look at a sample graph:

    This shows trends in three ngrams from 1950 to 2000: “nursery school” (a 2-gram or bigram), “kindergarten” (a 1-gram or unigram), and “child care” (another bigram). What the y-axis shows is this: of all the bigrams contained in our sample of books written in English and published in the United States, what percentage of them are “nursery school” or “child care”? Of all the unigrams, what percentage of them are “kindergarten”? Here, you can see that use of the phrase “child care” started to rise in the late 1960s, overtaking “nursery school” around 1970 and then “kindergarten” around 1973. It peaked shortly after 1990 and has been falling steadily since.

    (Interestingly, the results are noticeably different when the corpus is switched to British English.)

    Corpora

    Below are descriptions of the corpora that can be searched with the Google Books Ngram Viewer. All of these corpora were generated in July 2009; we will update these corpora as our book scanning continues, and the updated versions will have distinct persistent identifiers.

    Informal corpus name Persistent identifier Description
    American English googlebooks-eng-us-all-20090715 Same filtering as the English corpus but further restricted to books published in the United States.
    British English googlebooks-eng-gb-all-20090715 Same filtering as the English corpus but further restricted to books published in Great Britain.

    Quantifying Analytics ROI

    Japanese House Crest “Go-Shichi no Kiri”
    Image via Wikipedia

    I had a brief twitter exchange with Jim Davis, Chief Marketing Officer, SAS Institute on Return of Investment on Business Analytics Projects for customers. I have interviewed Jim Davis before last year https://decisionstats.com/2009/06/05/interview-jim-davis-sas-institute/

    Now Jim Davis is a big guy, and he is rushing from the launch of SAS Institute’s Social Media Analytics in Japan- to some arguably difficult flying conditions in time to be home in America for Thanksgiving. That and and I have not been much of a good Blog Boy recently, more swayed by love of open source, than love of software per se. I love equally, given I am bad at both equally.

    Anyways, Jim’s contention  ( http://twitter.com/Davis_Jim ) was customers should go in business analytics only if there is Positive Return on Investment.  I am quoting him here-

    What is important is that there be a positive ROI on each and every BA project. Otherwise don’t do it.

    That’s not the marketing I was taught in my business school- basically it was sell, sell, sell.

    However I see most BI sales vendors also go through -let me meet my sales quota for this quarter- and quantifying customer ROI is simple maths than predictive analytics but there seems to be some information assymetry in it.

    Here is a paper from North Western University on ROI in IT projects-.

    but overall it would be in the interest of customers and Business Analytics Vendors to publish aggregated ROI.

    The opponents to this transparency in ROI would be market leaders in market share, who have trapped their customers by high migration costs (due to complexity) or contractually.

    A recent study listed Oracle having a large percentage of unhappy customers who would still renew!, SAP had problems when it raised prices for licensing arbitrarily (that CEO is now CEO of HP and dodging legal notices from Oracle).

    Indeed Jim Davis’s famous unsettling call for focusing on Business Analytics,as Business Intelligence is dead- that call has been implemented more aggressively by IBM in analytical acquisitions than even SAS itself which has been conservative about inorganic growth. Quantifying ROI, should theoretically aid open source software the most (since they are cheapest in up front licensing) or newer technologies like MapReduce /Hadoop (since they are quite so fast)- but I think that market has a way of factoring in these things- and customers are not as foolish neither as unaware of costs versus benefits of migration.

    The contrary to this is Business Analytics and Business Intelligence are imperfect markets with duo-poly  or big players thriving in absence of customer regulation.

    You get more protection as a customer of $20 bag of potato chips, than as a customer of a $200,000 software. Regulators are wary to step in to ensure ROI fairness (since most bright techies are qither working for private sector, have their own startup or invested in startups)- who in Govt understands Analytics and Intelligence strong enough to ensure vendor lock-ins are not done, and market flexibility is done. It is also a lower choice for embattled regulators to ensure ROI on enterprise software unlike the aggressiveness they have showed in retail or online software.

    Who will Analyze the Analysts and who can quantify the value of quants (or penalize them for shoddy quantitative analytics)- is an interesting phenomenon we expect to see more of.

     

     

    Enterprise Linux rises rapidly:New Report

    Tux, as originally drawn by Larry Ewing
    Image via Wikipedia

    A new report from Linux Foundation found significant growth trends for enterprise usage of Linux- which should be welcome to software companies that have enabled Linux versions of software, service providers that provide Linux based consulting (note -lesser competition, lower overheads) and to application creators.

    From –

    http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/announcements/2010/10/new-linux-foundation-user-survey-shows-enterprise-linux-achieve-sig

    Key Findings from the Report
    • 79.4 percent of companies are adding more Linux relative to other operating systems in the next five years.

    • More people are reporting that their Linux deployments are migrations from Windows than any other platform, including Unix migrations. 66 percent of users surveyed say that their Linux deployments are brand new (“Greenfield”) deployments.

    • Among the early adopters who are operating in cloud environments, 70.3 percent use Linux as their primary platform, while only 18.3 percent use Windows.

    • 60.2 percent of respondents say they will use Linux for more mission-critical workloads over the next 12 months.

    • 86.5 percent of respondents report that Linux is improving and 58.4 percent say their CIOs see Linux as more strategic to the organization as compared to three years ago.

    • Drivers for Linux adoption extend beyond cost: technical superiority is the primary driver, followed by cost and then security.

    • The growth in Linux, as demonstrated by this report, is leading companies to increasingly seek Linux IT professionals, with 38.3 percent of respondents citing a lack of Linux talent as one of their main concerns related to the platform.

    • Users participate in Linux development in three primary ways: testing and submitting bugs (37.5 percent), working with vendors (30.7 percent) and participating in The Linux Foundation activities (26.0 percent).

    and from the report itself-

    download here-

    http://www.linuxfoundation.org/lp/page/download-the-free-linux-adoption-trends-report

    Special Issue of JSS on R GUIs

    An announcement by the Journal of Statistical Software- call for papers on R GUIs. Initial deadline is December 2010 with final versions published along 2011.

    Announce

    Special issue of the Journal of Statistical Software on

    Graphical User Interfaces for R

    Editors: Pedro Valero-Mora and Ruben Ledesma

    Since it original paper from Gentleman and Ihaka was published, R has managed to gain an ever-increasing percentage of academic and professional statisticians but the spread of its use among novice and occasional users of statistics have not progressed at the same pace. Among the reasons for this relative lack of impact, the lack of a GUI or point and click interface is one of the causes most widely mentioned. But, however, in the last few years, this situation has been quietly changing and a number of projects have equipped R with a number of different GUIs, ranging from the very simple to the more advanced, and providing the casual user with what could be still a new source of trouble: choosing what is the GUI for him. We may have moved from the “too few” situation to the “too many” situation
    This special issue of the JSS intends as one of its main goals to offer a general overview of the different GUIs currently available for R. Thus, we think that somebody trying to find its way among different alternatives may find useful it as starting point. However, we do not want to stop in a mere listing but we want to offer a bit of a more general discussion about what could be good GUIs  for R (and how to build them). Therefore, we want to see papers submitted that discuss the whole concept of GUI in R, what elements it should include (or not), how this could be achieved, and, why not, if it is actually needed at all. Finally, despite the high success of R, this does not mean other systems may not treasure important features that we would like to see in R. Indeed, descriptions of these nice features that we do not have in R but are in other systems could be another way of driving the future progress of GUIs for R.

    In summary, we envision papers for this special issue on GUIs for R in the following categories:

    – General discussions on GUIs for statistics, and for R.

    – Implementing GUI toolboxes for R so others can program GUIs with them.

    – R GUIs examples (with two subcategories, in the desktop or in the cloud).

    – Is there life beyond R? What features have other systems that R does not have and why R needs them.

    Papers can be sent directly to Pedro Valero-Mora (valerop@uv.es) or Ruben Ledesma (rdledesma@gmail.com) and they will follow the usual JSS reviewing procedure. Initial deadline is December 2010 with final versions published along 2011.

    ====================================================
    Jan de Leeuw; Distinguished Professor and Chair, UCLA Department of Statistics;
    Director: UCLA Center for Environmental Statistics (CES);
    Editor: Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Journal of Statistical Software;