Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's in a name?

A name, in this or any market, can be a significant web traffic driver if used properly. The name of your web site, blog and micro-site(s) are critical for lead generation on the web.

In my monthly column at in Dec, 2009 I addressed the concept of "intellectual real estate"- defining your position within the market. The article is here:

Defining and defending your market position is how you differentiate yourself in this or any market. It is, or should be, your competitive advantage, and it must be actively defended.

In my most recent WT column-
I discuss two tactics you can use to define and defend your niche: blogging and micro-sites. A micro-site is a mini-web site, usually just a landing page, which allows you to discuss one subject and then direct visitors to register for an event, get more product or service information from your home page, to take some action.

Both blogs and micro-sites allow you to
1) define a position
2) show thought leadership for that position
3) drive qualified traffic to your main site
4) help you start to "own" that niche in the market as the blog and/or micro-site becomes more pervasive.

Blogs are more robust and require more regular content, but micro-sites also need to be updated with new products, services, white papers, etc.

Micro-sites require separate urls. Because your company already has a web site, and a url that reflects the company name (but probably not the niche you are defining), I strongly suggest you buy the url for the micro-site that targets the niche specifically. While most .com and .net names have been snatched up over the years, the aftermarket for urls is booming now that .com's are truly running out.

Recent searches at and (think of these as the eBay for urls) show hundreds of names available starting with "Government", "Federal", "Gov" and "Fed." Think, GovNetworkSecurity,, and on and on.

Think also of the hot topics in our market: telework (after the big storm last month this is really hot), network security, cybersecurity, training, safety, facilities, government managers and executives, the stimulus program and more.

Do your products and services target these audiences? And if so, are you maximizing your web presence to drive as much traffic as possible to your main web site where you can convert the leads to customers?

Carefully consider using micro-sites and blogs to enhance your web marketing program.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bloomberg Q&A

I received this inquiry from an investment advisor today:

Hi…I see that Bloomberg acquired Eagle Eye… Why wouldn’t Bloomberg just buy Onvia if they really wanted to be in this space? Any thoughts? Thanks.

And here is my answer:

I have several blog posts on this here
but to answer your question-

1) we don't know yet what Bloomberg's focus is - are they going after Congressional Quarterly, the Hill & National Journal? Are they targeting contract info like Input, Fed Sources & Onvia? Are they going to use the contract data to advise investors? All of the above? Something else? Is this an invasion or an incursion?

2) My guess is they didn't but Onvia because it is publicly traded and would not be cheap. Eagle Eye was truly the low cost point of entry. It came with a solid data repository, but it did not come with much of a customer base.

3) We will be able to discern more after we see what they buy next!

Stay tuned - and thnx for asking.


The follow up message read:

Thanks…I would think 100MM would be drop in the bucket for Bloomberg….

And my answer-

No argument from me, but it depends on their strategy and how much they think they can gain on the strength of their name. Judging from the press releases, they think the name Bloomberg will big equity in DC.

They are wrong.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bloomberg announces President for Bgov

Sean Callahan of BtoB magazine reports the announcement of a new president for Bloomberg's government division.

According to BtoB (direct quote from BtoB is in italics)- (Bloomberg) said Tuesday that Kevin Sheekey is rejoining the company as chairman of the government-oriented division. He will also oversee government relations and communications.

Sheekey, who most recently was New York’s deputy mayor for government affairs, worked at Bloomberg from 1997 to 2001.

“Kevin will oversee a service that applies Bloomberg’s unmatched capabilities in data gathering and analytics to a one-stop, integrated information source of government information. Bloomberg is ideally positioned to address the fragmented market for information about people, decisions and data in Washington that affect business,” Daniel Doctoroff, president of Bloomberg, said in a statement. Bloomberg, which has traditionally shunned acquisitions, has been aggressively expanding beyond its core terminals business. The company acquired BusinessWeek late last year.

Alright, let's deal with a couple of tidbits in here.

First, being a former Bloomie and Deputy Mayor of NYC apparently qualifies Mr Sheekey as 'the guy'. While there is sense in this, as far as knowing the Bloomberg method, there is no sense in it if they plan on his being the main BGov person in DC. This market requires an insider as the driver. DC is a relationship driven market and you need a Rolodex or LinkedIn connections with hundreds if not thousands of contacts and those people need to know and trust YOU.

The other point I wish to address is "the fragmented market for information about people, decisions and data in Washington that affect business." While this is a catchy phrase, it means very little.

People, decisions and data.

This implies that there is information worth paying for that is not currently available in DC, or at least not available in one place.- information that involves each of these elements.

This reminds me of a situation I faced in 2002, when I was called by someone from NY who wanted to start a publication in DC - The Federal Paper. I wrote an Amtower Off-White Paper about this (see below), but I advised him against moving ahead. the federal paper folded after 2 issues.

Here is the Off White Paper (and keep in mind I wrote this long before The Apprentice):

"Off-White Paper" #17 - News for the News Impaired: An Amtower "Off-White" Paper

In 1998, I wrote a second Off-White paper on trade shows (Off-White 3.1), about the soon to be ill-fated GovTechNet. The overall point of that piece was "where is the value-add" for this event – what’s the point? We already have two big events, and unless you’re targeting a strong niche, there is no need for this. Well, I pissed off a few people. Again.

And, the event folded in short order.

And now we have a similar situation. The Washington Post announced 9/23/02 what many of us already knew, that there was another publication being launched in the Federal market. The Federal Paper is to be a weekly targeting "senior executives, presidential appointees, and the Hill" (read: the already overworked, the learning impaired, & the otherwise unemployable) with news that apparently they aren’t getting elsewhere. A controlled circulation base of 30,000 of people who need yet another news source.

The breakdown:

- 7,000+ presidential appointees (deer-in-the-headlights syndrome);
the Hill, 1,000-2,000 (with news about the executive branch? They already know everything they want to know, which they get from The Idiot’s Guide to the Executive Branch);

- 5,000+ career SES people (my God, people who work!)

- and another 15,000 "senior" people (AARP?).

News in Washington, D.C. which they aren’t getting elsewhere?

Well, of course, there is no news for these people in Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Government Executive, the Post’s Federal Page, FCW or GCN and a host of others, including paid newsletters, e-newsletters, web sites and gossip.

That being said, an experienced team has been assembled to pull this off, and it is led by someone with a publishing background.

But the premise remains weak, and when my clients and friends call (I get at least one a day on this one), my advice is "save your money, or if you have that much to spare, give it to me."

So here’s how they got there…

Market research: three sycophants and a rich person in a room with a case of Heineken and four straws.

Rich guy: "I think we can make a play in the public sector publishing market."
Sycophant 1: " Oohhh, it’s a great market."
Sycophant 2: "Aahhh, it’s a huge market."
Sycophant 3: "Yes, but aren’t there…"
Rich guy: "You’re fired."
Sycophant 1: "Decisive."
Sycophant 2: "Forceful."
Rich guy: "Adjourned."

Come to think of it, I am out of cat litter.

Not that I have an opinion on this….


Copyright 2002, Amtower & Company