VOIP Speed Tester

Thinking about getting a VOIP phone or perhaps you're having problems with your current connection. Well I discovered this interesting tool that let's you test your Internet connection for both speed and quality of service. It then ranks the overall results. So now you can know if you're Inerent connection speed can support VOIP as well if you're having problems with your VOIP phone if the problem is your ISP or the VOIP provider.

It's a free tool and well worth checking out if you're think of VOIP.

My VOIP Speed

Below is a shot of the summary page of my Internet connection.

Web Analytics & Cookies

Measuring how many visitors are coming to your web sites is one of several critical web analytic measurements. But how do you measure visitors? In the good old days 10-15 years ago, you simply needed to track a visitor by their IP address. But those easy days of measurement are long gone with the introduction of proxy servers and large scale ISPs.

Virtually all web analytic tools on the market today suggest the use of persistent cookies to identify unique visitors instead of relying on the old and inaccurate measurements of IP addresses. The by tracking cookies, you can more accurately track user behaviour through the web site, track returning visitors, number of visits between purchases, average number of purchases by visitors, campaign effectiveness etc.

The real question we need to ask is just how effective are persistent cookies. Unfortunately, the answer may not be what you want to hear. First off, they are only as effective as the percentage of web site visitors who accept cookies. From my observations at various clients, I've seen an acceptance rate range between 60%-95%. The biggest factor in defining the acceptance rate is the target audience for the web site. When targeting tech savvy individuals especially those in the open source movement, I've seen the lowest cookie acceptance rates. When targeting general consumers I've seen the highest cookie acceptance rates.

Another factor, based purely on my observations is location. It appears that people in some countries are more likely then others to accept or reject all cookies. The following table contains some my observations. These figures were taken from a single client who operates multiple b to b web sites across the world all with the same target audience and promoting the same product over the last 90 days (bot and internal traffic excluded).

Country/RegionAcceptance Rate
North America80.3%

While the above information may not be statistically relevant across all industry, it does demonstrate that the use of cookies to improve accuracy is not 100% as some would lead us to believe and the greatest concentration of people and organization suffering form cookie paranoia are located in North America. The reality is that cookies are still the best alternative available to us and are far more accurate then the use of IP addresses.

Of course, if you want to be 100% accurate, you'd need to have users register and log into your site and then track them by their user id. Of course, if you followed this approach, most web sites wouldn't get any visitors and then they wouldn't have anything to measure. Remember, web analytics is about measuring trends and measuring effectiveness and even with a cookie acceptance rate in the low 80's, you can still provide statistically relevant data


Video Search Google & Singing Fish

I've always been a fan of Sing Fish (www.singingfish.com) for searching for mp3, wav, other audio files and yes video clips. So if you’re on the look out for a search engine that very few people have heard give it a try.

If you're just searching for video clips, may I suggest the new Google Video Search (video.google.com). It's new and they also offer a space where you can up load and share your own videos.

I haven't tried the upload and share feature, but searches on some my hobbies did reveal some interesting home videos. I especially like somebody's windsurfing vacation video all 21 minutes of it. Makes me suspect that Google is offering lots of free space for your videos.


Press Releases, Blogs & Success

It's been 7 days since my SEO friendly press release on this blog was released. So now I need to determine if the press release was an immediate success. I can unequivocally state " yes".

You may be surprised by how my measure its success so let me say first what didn't happen and that I don't care about. The press release didn't drive thousands of visitors to my blog or my web site. Did I expect it to do so? No, but I did expect some increase in traffic and yes that did happen. In fact traffic on the day of the press release was a 150% more then usual and up until today (Labour Day) has been about 25% more then usual with the number of return visitors also increasing.

This alone is not a sign of success. Here are some other factors do make the press release a success.

* Press release was picked-up by Google News and Yahoo News
* Of the people who saw the on-line press release summary, 1 in 113 opened it up and presumably read the press release.
* Of those who read the on-line press release:
- 10.6% saved it as a PDF (presumably for future reference)
- 10.1% click-through to my web site and several of those visited more then once
- those who visited my site averaged 2 page views per visit.

It is these statistics, gathered from both my press release company, and my web analytics tool that I use to measure success. Based on my experience getting an press release open rate below 1 in 125 is a good thing, getting a 10% conversion (people who read a press release and click to your web site to find out more), is fantastic.

Now the best part, I've just finished an on-line interview with a journalist who read the press release. Assuming I get quoted in his article and they include a link to my site (in both the print and on-liversionson), I've garnered a valuable inbound link and expanded the marketing efforts the press release.

Once again, a press release when well written and SEO'd is a valuable tool in the SEM and SEO tool chest and can form part of your SEO Best Practices foundation.