The Internet's been around long enough to have rules. Nothing official, mind you, but guidelines businesses should pay attention to.
The first rule, set by Jay Berkowitz, CEO of Ten Golden Rules (www.tengoldenrules.com), sets the tone for the rest of the list -- "There are no rules." In other words, take this with a grain of salt and know that nothing is set in stone.
"The rule of the Internet is testing. Forget any preconceived notions. No matter how good a marketer you are, a lot of times the consumer will prove you wrong," Berkowitz said.
"Four or five years ago there was no book. No rules on Internet marketing," he said. At the time Berkowitz was doing marketing for eDiets (www.ediets.com), a popular Web site that provides diet and nutrition information and products.
"We had 200,000 people a day coming to the site. We were doing A-B testing, where half of the visitors would see one offer and the half the other. It was a tremendous learning experience for me," he said.
Berkowitz penned the 10 rules in 2003. The biggest change since then is the importance of search engines, he said. "Search clearly falls under a couple of different rules. I really talk about search a lot in rule number two -- The Internet is not television.
"So many people like to play a TV commercial on their home page. All we want to do is skip the intro now. People decide within four seconds if the site has what they want, or not. It used to be eight seconds with dial-up. They want to know who you are and what you offer immediately."
He said instead of playing a video on its home page, businesses should instead focus on a photo that tells the story. "And, you need a really good slogan under your logo. Not a splashy ad slogan," Berkowitz said. "I like a descriptive slogan that says 'this is what we do as a company on this site.'"
The Ten Golden Rules of Internet Marketing:
1. There are no rules.
2. The Internet is not television.
3. Create a UVP (Unique Value Proposition).
4. If you build it, they won't just come.
5. Subscription models survive.
6. Remember the 4 P's (product, price, place, promotion).
7. Trust is golden.
8. Use the right tactic.
9. The best never rest.
10. Lead the trends.
Berkowitz believes the next hot trends include podcasting, the growth of the mobile industry and the growth of social media.
"When you discover a podcast that is relevant or entertaining it creates an explosion of learning," he said. "When I'm commuting I no longer listen to sports radio. I now listen to the podcast of Danny Sullivan, a leader in my industry.
I have a hunch there are more rules to come.
Share your Internet story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.