Archive for the ‘Bits n bobs’ Category

Bing Shopping Goes Live… But Not For Poor Ludo

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Finally, finally, finally! Phew! What a to-do! Teddy Bear Friends is now on Bing Shopping.

Well, let’s hope it was worth all the hassle. Teddy Bear Friends has been on Google Shopping since its launch and before that with Product Listing Ads, but only recently has Bing opened up a similar concept on its UK Bing search engine.

Unfortunately, Bing doesn’t get anywhere near the traffic that the Big G does, however, its important to cover all the bases, and maybe this might see further adoption of Bing as a preferred search partner. I’ve personally been using it since April 2011 and think it serves far better results than its main rival although I’m in a small minority it seems.

So after a few weeks of sending feeds, deleting dodgy characters, getting accustomed to the complicated interface, we’ve finally managed to get products into our pre-built campaigns… imported from you know who.

And that’s the cause of this blog post, because it tickled me when I found out the reasons why a few of our teddy bears and baby gifts were being rejected by Bing.

Clemens Teddy LudoGambling content

Teddy Ludo is an extra special teddy bear designed and made by Clemens Spieltiere of Germany - a classic teddy who will provide a lifetime of pleasure for all teddy bear lovers.

Unfortunately, our fellow Bing searchers won’t be able to find him as the search engine thinks he’s a board game! Thing is, whoever gambled on Ludo! I mean perhaps a few sweets when you were a kid, but it’s hardly Texas Hold’em Poker!

Jellycat Kush PuppyDrug Content - General

A brilliant example of Jellycat’s unique design, this gorgeous looking doggy is a real cutie and wants to be snuggled up to like a big cushion - thus he’s called Kush!

Unfortunately, our fellow Bing searchers won’t be able to find him either as the search power has classed him as drugs! Soft drugs perhaps, very soft drugs.

Teddy Hermann FairyAdult - Illegal adult Content

This magical fairy bear has her arms outstretched ready to give you a hug - a beautiful teddy bear who will make someone very happy.

Unfortunately, our fellow Bing searchers won’t be able to find her as the search giant has classed this gorgeously sweet teddy bear as illegal adult content! Now, I’m not even sure what they’re thinking of here. I’d like to get into the minds of their programmers, or perhaps maybe this is best left alone.

As for the baby birth certificate holders we’ve been given the rather bizarre reason for rejection “unsubstantiated claim”?? I think I’ll just leave that one as they’re not our biggest sellers anyway so perhaps best not to waste too much precious time on a Friday afternoon.

Musical toys for baby options on offer through teddybearfriends

Monday, September 17th, 2012

There is nothing quite like soothing music to calm a crying baby or to help get a baby to sleep. In addition as a means of stimulating a baby’s interest and keeping them amused, musical toys for baby options deliver all of this and more which may well explain their popularity. Within the UK one particular website has gained an enviable notoriety for offering a wide selection of musical baby toys. That website is www.teddybearfriends.co.uk

Teddybearfriends offers a stunning array of options for those who are looking for musical toys for baby boys and girls. The website has become one of the most popular online resources for all manner of teddy bear and soft toy products, including baby musicals that are an excellent gift for a wide array of events such as birthdays, christenings as well as births themselves.

The website features a wide range of teddy bear music box products for various circumstances including the sleep well bear music box, which is from Steiff baby and which is a gorgeous teddy bear music box which plays sleep, my little prince to lull a baby to blissful sleep. An alternative is the Sweet Dreams Musical by Steiff Baby, which is a little lamb that is approx 20 cm in size and which is white and pink check. This adorable lamb music box plays a bedtime lullaby and comes with stitched and baby safe lambs eyes and nose and uses the highest quality materials that meet the stringent Oeko-Tex standards.

All of these and more can be found through the website. Each of the relevant items can be reviewed, as each one is displayed with distinctive imagery as well as comprehensive informative content detailing the various elements, stock availability as well as price offered. Ordering is simplicity itself with secure online order processing available whilst a useful landline number is also on offer for those who wish to discuss any matters or have any particular questions and would like to speak to a company representative.

For further information on the range of pullstring musical toy options on offer visit http://www.teddybearfriends.co.uk

Teddy Bear Friends offers the most magical array of kids money boxes

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

It is the cherished, fictionally inspired holding vessel of choice, the piggy bank, the childhood Fort Knox. The money box holds not only monetary sums but a vast array of early memories. It is one of the first possessions a youngster receives, a rite of passage, an obligatory early year’s gift. It is the item most loved, most trusted and irreplaceable. Adored by both young and old, the money box remains resolute in function, always there to take on the stream of loose change, or in times of impulse, bear the brunt of necessary raids.

Teddy Bear Friends is a leading online supplier of money box related products of stunning aesthetic appeal – with a host of classic characters, including Winnie the Pooh, the coin box range is second to none. Piggy banks and money boxes from Teddy Bear Friends make beautiful baby gifts and birthday presents for boys and girls. With the gift of a money bank comes a degree of pride and responsibility in the young. It is among the first possessions to consciously take great care in, to honour, protect and develop. As well as being an entertaining, and physical reminder of some classic cartoon characters, the money box encapsulates essential juvenile life skills. Prompting behaviours of responsibility, pride and nurturing.

Teddy Bear Friends has a piggy bank style to suit all young tastes and affections. To help those in search of a little inspiration, those seeking something out of the ordinary, Teddy Bear Friends lists the company’s best sellers. Current favourites include the Pewter Money Box, Winnie the Pooh Money Box and the Large Musical Piggy Bank. This is the beauty of the site, perfect for those in search of the more traditional, piggy-shaped money box as well as those seeking cartoon and fictional silhouettes.

Money boxes serve a great variety of purposes, and with Teddy Bear Friends, the presentation of each will mark a special occasion. Whether gift-wrapped to mark a first birth, Christening or inaugural Christmas, the humble money box never fails to impress.

So, if in search of something of real occasion, of real sensibility, be sure to visit www.teddybearfriends.co.uk/piggy-banks-money-boxes.php.

Olympic Torch Relay Comes To Ormskirk

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Teddy Bear Friends of Ormskirk were pleased to take a few hours off work this morning - 1st June 2012 - to see the Olympic Torch Relay pass through Ormskirk Town on its way to Stratford and the London Olympics 2012.

We were lucky that the rain came yesterday, and although the sky was overcast, it was warm and completely dry as the Olympic Torch Relay continued on its journey around England and to other parts of the UK.

The crowds were out in force, lots of schoolkids, parents and just about everyone turned out to see this once in a lifetime event. Many of us will not get to see any sporting action live, so it was nice to show our support for the London Games in our small way. Who knows, it may be the spark that lights the flame in our children’s imagination and spur them to compete in future.

We had applied for tickets but didn’t think for one minute we’d get them - I’m a purist when it comes to The Olympics and really see it as an athletics event so was not interested in applying for tickets to see the myriad of sporting contests that are included in the Games.

For example, it’s no surprise that many of the football tickets have yet to be sold - real football fans, as I’d like to describe myself, are looking forward to the European Championships and see the Olympic Games football tournament as a mere sideshow. However, that’s not to denigrate those sports - pretty much all sports provide a way to stay healthy, build social awareness and togetherness, provide work and I’d say are a positive benefit to society.

We were lucky, that the route of the torch relay was planned to go round the ring road of Ormskirk, having arrived via Chorley, Croston and Burscough, and then travelling off towards Southport and then on through Merseyside to Liverpool at the end of the day.

This was good news, because as you can see from the pictures we hardly got to see the torch through the crowds as it first went past. However, a quick jog up the road meant that we got to see the flame again as it came full circle on its way out of the town - and a far better picture of the torch bearer (see picture at top of page).

My boys were pleased. What a great way to start the Diamond Jubilee weekend.

Are you on Facebook? Like Us to find out first about our deals

Friday, April 13th, 2012
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Teddy Bear Friends have just moved on to Facebook and we’ll be using it to communicate with our customers and teddy bear fans.

If you’re on Facebook we invite you to join us and Like Us in sharing our news and your views.

Social Media Aarrgghhhh

Friday, February 17th, 2012

There’s facebook and twitter and reddit and linkedin and youtube and googleplus and stumbleupon and on and on and on.

And now there’s a new kid on the block. Pinterest is just one more social media site that businesses will worry about not being on. Apparently, it has just overtaken twitter, google+ and youtube (see story) so it’s something that has grabbed everyone’s attention.

Business and social media

So should business be on these social media? Should we be on all of them? Are we just wasting our time and resources or is it free advertising - at least until they’re monetized and then we can move on to the next one!

Does anyone remember myspace? Myspace was the biggest thing since sliced bread - millions were on it and everyone said it was the place to be. How many businesses put resources into that just to see it dwindle once it got monetized and everyone moved on.

Will Pinterest go the same way? Or will it be the next facebook? And if it does, will facebook become the next myspace?

From a business perspective should we be on these systems as actual people representing our business or should we just leave it to the kids, and use our time developing advertisements to show on all systems. A bit too old-style?

The new way to advertise

Has the game changed completely and is this the new advertising medium. Instead of spending on google adwords and msn adcenter, should the budget be re-allocated to employing someone full-time to build and maintain a presence on all these fronts.

Let’s face it, it’s so time consuming if you want to have a proper relationship rather than just push out promotional material once a day. That’s a big cost but one that could be borne if we could definitely say that it brings a ROI.

So, as the girls on the L’oreal commercials say, “because, I’m worth it.” Or am I??

What I want to know is whether the traffic converts? All very well, telling me how many clicks these sites are giving us, but are they just looking or are they buying?

Olympics mascot - will you buy it?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

I was thinking about the London Olympic Games 2012. I put in my bid for tickets at about 11.30pm last night. It kept crashing but then it half-worked and I managed to pay for tickets that I’d selected about 3 weeks ago but hadn’t finished the transaction process. OK, so I should have done it earlier, but with a million and one things to do life is just so busy.

So that gives me about a 1 in 1000 chance of seeing the mens 100 metres final which will probably be the most sought after event. Or am I being a little over optimistic? Perhaps 1 in a million? Who knows?

I didn’t bother putting down anything else. I wonder if that will be the same with the other hordes who applied. Are we all applying for the same tickets and will there be loads left during the weekdays, and especially for events that are not as popular?

Anways, what Teddy Bear Friends is now thinking is will there be a soft toy mascot for the London Olympics - there’s that strange logo which took ages for me to realise it actually read 2012! I thought it was a lion or something at first. Wasn’t it supposed to be a moving logo that worked in animation? Has that idea been dropped quietly. Maybe someone should remind the PR types.

There’s always a soft toy or teddy bear mascot. But have you seen what’s been dreamed up for this event? A motley crue of the most bizarre looking things you’re ever likely to see. Take a gander at these London 2012 mascots and tell me what the heck is going on. Mandeville and Wenlock - more like power rangers who didn’t make the grade.

I guess we’ll be seeing more of these delightful characters in the months leading up to the games but I’m not sure if they’ll go ‘missing’ along with that animated logo, only to be replaced with a teddy bear wearing an Olympic logo on a t-shirt. We’ll see. And if there is, you’ll find him at that last link.

Teddy Bear Friends endorses Bing

Friday, April 1st, 2011

I was there when Google was just a buzzword - hey have you heard about this brilliant new search engine. It’s super fast, gives great results, has a clean interface and is easy to use.

I switched from AltaVista mainly although in those days of the late 1990s we had a reasonable choice including excite, Hotbot, Lycos (remember the dog), dogpile and of course Yahoo! I was never a really big fan of Yahoo! as it was created: employing a series of directories that you had to navigate. It could take a good few minutes to get a result and these were limited to those websites who were established.

Google was the new kid on the block. It was fast. It was relevant. It seemed less corporate. It was better.

Yahoo! must have thought so, they started using Google to do the search queries. Very quickly, no one bothered searching through directories anymore. Unfortunately for Yahoo!, they didn’t see the future. Should have built their own search facility (or bought out Google) but they were wedded to the easy bucks of people paying to be in a directory. Didn’t realise the opportunity cost they were missing.

Soon Google streaked past Yahoo! and became top dog. And that’s when it all started going wrong.

Google got religion

Google got all preachy. You mustn’t do this. You mustn’t do that. This is what we want. If you don’t do as we say. And of course, Google doesn’t do evil so they must be right. Hmmm. Global corporation not doing evil. Doesn’t quite ring true. Can it be real?

Google says put your hands on your head

So now Google was telling people how they should develop websites. Build links if you want to appear in our listings. You must be great if you’ve got loads of links says Google.

So the savvy guys built lots - and I mean lots - of links. Google put them at the top. What a brilliant set of results Google now had. Or did it? No, of course, it was just filled with pages of SERPs where people had gamed the engine. No normal website would get that many links so quickly.

So, Google changed the algorithm. Tweaked it a bit here, tweaked it a bit there. Each tweak, rather than taking it nearer to better results ended up taking it further from great results and concluding with a front page full of spammy links and results from the savvy guys who were now tweaking their sites as soon as Big G tweaked the algo.

Anyone without a budget of millions to throw at SEO and all it entails slipped further down the list. Websites that had had their content scraped were now ranking below the scrapers - often not even ranked at all with the scraper listed instead. So much for the quality.

Google had tied itself up in knots. On top of this the results pages jumped up and down, changing as you typed, markers and signposts added left, right and centre, cluttering up the interface - the clean interface was a distant memory. So we had rubbish results and a rubbish interface.

Google advertises Bing

Meanwhile Microsoft had bought out Yahoo and renamed Live to Bing. They had a proportion of the search but weren’t pulling up trees. And then Google shot itself in the foot. Started a debate about Bing stealing its results. Bing?? thought the general populace. Who are they? Wonder if they’re any good? Can’t find what I’m looking for with this revamped Google. I’ll give Bing a try.

And, what did those looking at Bing for the first time discover? They saw a brilliant new search engine. It’s super fast, gives great results, has a clean interface and is easy to use.

Sound familiar??

Teddy Bear Friends is endoring Bing. We don’t get paid by them. We don’t expect payment. We just want a half-decent search facility when navigating the web and now that Google has decided to move away from it’s core values, it’s time for a change. Goodbye Google, Hello Bing.

Spam Spam Spam Spam, Spam Spam Spam Spam…

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

You know the rest of the Monty Python song… it’s where we got the name from for all the rubbish that the idiots of the world send to us.

My email box is full of ‘em… Affordable watches. High-end watches. Luxury watches. Fantastic watches… etc etc

The porn stuff is heaped especially high - no pun intended. I won’t go into details here but if I ever need an enlargement (I’m not talking photos) I won’t be clicking that link. I mean would you trust them with your manliness??

However, I’m really keen on one of those diplomas - that will get me sorted for my next job… Yeah, right. Then again if I’m really bothered with obtaining a fraudulent qualification I think I could print my own off thanks very much.

What’s the point of all this spam? Does anyone ever fall for it? Is it some kid just being naughty or are we talking crime syndicates making loads of dosh from unsuspecting and curious minds?

Got one today that says, “Your boss needs to be slapped.” That’s almost one where you want to click on it just to see what they’re on about. Probably viagra or vagra or vigara or some other rubbish spelling - all picked up of course by my secret spam weaponry - makes you wonder why they bother. Is there anybody out there who still uses a computer without spam protection. Should be a government health warning. Practice Safe Surfing At All Times Or Your Inbox Gets It!

Anyways, I must go. I’ve got loads of UPS and Fedex parcels waiting for me… And I really need to respond to all those peeps from Facebook who I’ve never heard of… Minutes more of my life ebb away.

Affiliate Programs - help or hindrance?

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I’ve been pondering this question for a while now. And I can’t quite come down on one side or the other. Are affiliate programs a help or a hindrance?

We operate a small independent ecommerce shop and are always looking for new ways to bring in traffic and prospective customers.

Don’t put your eggs into one basket

Reading through numerous forum postings we have been told what equates to the age old adage don’t put your eggs into one basket - which equates to don’t rely on free search engine traffic alone. If Google, Yahoo, MSN or whoever is next on the scene suddenly takes a dislike to your site then you can go from traffic aplenty to none in a split second.

So spread your marketing by getting into affiliate programs, where voucher sites, discount code sites, banner ad linking, money off sites, and shopping comparison engines all take hold of your content, images and site data and try to promote you, to make you, and them (through commission), money.

Well, that’s the idea anyway - from a merchant’s perspective.

What is the reality

But what is the reality. What is the goal of the affiliate? What is the goal of the affiliate program? Of course, to make themselves money. But which side are these affiliate programs on? Or are they purely impartial?

Does it matter who gets the commission (affiliate) and the sale (merchant) so long as the affiliate program gets their cut. What practices are deemed out of bounds? Will the affiliate program ‘protect’ the rights of the merchant or those of the affiliate?

Now I’ve been working with an affiliate program for a few years and my personal take on this, is that the affiliate program is more on the side of the affiliate than the merchant. They want the merchant to do a great deal of work to earn the priviledge of appearing on a discount code website.

Special Promotions - customers worth having?

Of course, on top of the standard 15% commission (not including overcharge, set-up fees, monthly fees etc) paid to the affiliate they want you to offer a special offer - 40% off or buy one get one free to grab the customer’s attention.

So for a short period you’ll get plenty of customers who want everything at half-price. But are these customers worth having? Will they, at a drop of a hat, go to another special offer on a competitor site, as soon as your special offer finishes?

You’ve not made money on these customers but are hoping to have built a base who you can sell to in future. But they’re not ‘loyal’ to any brand but to cheapness. Unless you go on being so cheap you’ll be out of business, they won’t use you. Basically, are they customers worth having?

Using your content

I have no problem with affiliates using my content to send me prospective customers. But what I’m wondering is, am I really getting the benefit?

They do their SEO tricks and appear higher than - often eliminating - the originating website from the SERPS. So I lose my free search engine rankings and for my troubles I also have to pay 15% to the guy for appearing higher than me, with my content.

Am I stupid?

OK, so I’ve spread my risk, but for what?

I’m losing customers hand over fist who click on the SERP (where I might have been) and then get taken to a comparison engine who tells the customer that someone else is offering the same product at a lower price / on a special offer / just badly placed so that the customer is less likely to click through to me.

What’s your experience?

I’d like to know how other merchants have used affiliate programs; whether they worked well and brought in repeat customers, or whether the merchant decided to end the program deciding it just did not provide the anticipated spread of risk that they thought on starting out.

What I’m wondering is if there are other baskets where I could put my eggs to much more profitable use?