December 29, 2006, 12:00 AM

In Brief

Mix search and display ads, study says

When combined, search and display advertising deliver profoundly better results than when used independently, according to new research conducted by comScore Networks. The study, “Close the Loop: Understanding Search and Display Synergy,” shows a significant lift in on-site engagement and an increase in online and offline purchasing by consumers exposed to integrated campaigns. ComScore gauged advertising campaigns of Fortune 100 companies in several vertical categories. Internet users who were exposed to both the search and display advertising campaigns increased their share of page views relative to competitive sites by 68% and time spent by 66%. Among those exposed to both, purchases of advertisers’ products and services increased by 244% online and 89% offline compared with Internet users with similar behavior who were not exposed to these ads, the study finds.

78% of active home Internet users link via broadband

A larger percentage of U.S. active home web users are connecting to the Internet via broadband, according to a new study from Nielsen/NetRatings Inc. In November 78% of active users had a broadband connection, up 13 percentage points from 65% in November 2005, Nielsen reports. Broadband consumers also continue to use the Internet more heavily than narrowband consumers, Nielsen found. In November broadband users spent an average of 34 hours and 50 minutes per person online. That was 33% more time online than narrowband users, who had an average of 26 hours, 13 minutes per person. Of the total time spent online, 82% could be attributed to those consumers connecting via broadband, Nielsen says. Broadband users also viewed more than twice as many web pages as narrowband users, with averages of 1,574 and 681 web pages per person, respectively.

Shop around the clock is coming, report says

As broadband Internet access spreads into homes, a debate has emerged as to when consumers shop online and whether work is still the preferred shopping venue. The latest to weigh in with stats is payments processor CyberSource Corp. Its verdict: Consumers like to shop from work, but a subtle shift to near-24-hour shopping is taking place. The peak shopping hour during the week of Dec. 3-9 was 4:00 p.m. Eastern, Cybersource says. Online transactions typically hit their low between 2:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. Eastern. But change is occurring. The difference between the highest and lowest volume hours is diminishing. “The graphs are flattening-albeit with much higher numbers. Online shopping is not only getting bigger, it’s becoming more of a 24-hour phenomenon,” says Doug Schwegman, CyberSource director of market and customer intelligence.

$2 billion lost due to security concerns, Gartner says

Consumer concerns about online data security continue to take a toll on e-commerce, resulting in nearly $2 billion in lost e-retail sales in 2006, according to a new report from Gartner Inc. Nearly half of online U.S. adults, or 46% of more than 155 million people, say that concerns about theft of information, data breaches or Internet-based attacks have affected their purchasing payment, online transaction or e-mail behavior, Gartner says. While $2 billion represents less than 2% of all online spending, it still is an important figure, Gartner says. “If you look at it in the total context, it’s not that significant; but if you look at the trend, it is significant,” says Avivah Litan, a Gartner vice president and security technology analyst. “It’s the first time that spending is actually going down because of security concerns. It’s becoming measurable.”

AARP launches shopping site for the 50+ crowd

Targeting its base of 37 million members, who are all 50 or older, the AARP has launched its own retail web site featuring more than 500 branded products at price discounts of up to 35%. The new site, at, was developed by Power Merchandising Corp. It offers consumer electronics, watches, home appliances, sports and fitness products, luggage and toys, and brands including Sony, Motorola, Callaway Golf, Cannon and Garmin. Sales are processed through the site’s own shopping cart. The site is offering free standard shipping through Dec. 18 on non-freight deliveries within the 48 contiguous states. To use the site, shoppers must log on with information from their AARP membership card.

Number of phishing sites up more than 8-fold

The number of phishing sites reached 37,444 in October, more than 8 times the number of sites in October 2005, the Anti-Phishing Working Group reports. Phishing sites are designed to steal credit card account and other data through e-mails that use legitimate brand names to trick consumers into revealing their private information. The number of sites has risen fairly steadily over the past year, but began to rise sharply in July, when the number rose 41% to 14,191 from 10,047 in June. The number of distributed unique software applications designed to steal passwords reached 237 in October, up 54% from 154 in October 2005, the working group reports. Such malicious software typically gets planted onto personal computers through opened e-mail attachments.

Consumers ready for mobile, but sites aren’t

Consumers are ready for mobile web surfing and transacting, but web sites? Not so much, according to a consumer survey conducted for Internet consulting firm Molecular Inc. by Kelton Research. One out of four among the 1,000 adult consumers surveyed said they’d use their mobile phone or handheld device to access the web if the web pages were easier to navigate. For survey respondents aged 18 to 44, the likelihood they’d use their mobile device to access the web was even higher: one out of three. “We don’t find these results surprising, but we do see them as a wake-up call for marketers and web designers,” says Darryl T.Gehly, executive vice president at Molecular. 28% of those surveyed said they’d use their mobile device for financial transactions including purchasing, but for the fact that the companies they do business with still don’t make it convenient to transact via such devices.

Site performance trumps loyalty and savings, survey says

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