Monthly Archives: January 2011

[POLL] Best Integration of – CBC, Globe & Mail, or The Weather Network?

One aspect of my job I really enjoy is that I get to experiment. Part of my role as the head of business development for Yellow Pages Group is to manage Traffic and Distribution which is about generating 3rd party traffic to This gives me the liberty of working with most of the major Canadian online brands. Being a number’s guy also gives me the ability to clearly see what does and what does not work in the marketplace and how users react.

Although I can’t share specific numbers, I often like to ask people’s opinions as to what integrations they like or dislike. Many times the correlation between what people perceive as the best type of integration is consistent with the performance of an integration. Other times, what people believe is the best integration may not be the one that produces the best numbers.

So for today’s poll, I have 3 integrations of on major players in Canada,, and My question, which integration do you prefer?

The poll is located below the examples with the associated links. on the My Region Page

Contained within is a section called MY REGION. This is an aggregated view of all the news, weather and information about your particular market. At the bottom of each of the MY REGION pages is a “What’s Nearby” section. If a user types in a search query, they are redirected to the “What’s Nearby” page on CBC (powered by or if they click on any of the hotlinks, they are redirected to

Check out the Montreal My Region to play with it yourself. Here is a snapshot of the integration:

CBC Integration of

Globe and Mail

For the Globe and Mail there are 2 integrations. One integration is part of their main search navigation, options there for Globe users include search for NEWS, QUOTE (this is stock quote), WEB, BUSINESS (this is and PEOPLE (this is The second integration is located on their content pages, on the right hand side, where a user has access to mini-search brick that contains, BUSINESS, PEOPLE and DEAL search.

To see a working example, check out the REPORT on BUSINESS Section on Globe and Mail to test both of the integrations above. I have also included a screenshot.

NOTE: there is also a mobile integration on the Globe and Mail iPhone Application, you can see screenshots here.

Globe and Mail Integration of

The Weather Network

Contained on every city page on is a search with links to popular categories. Of course everything is geographically relevant to the user so all clicks go to the appropriate place. The brick is located towards the bottom of the page under long-term forecast.

You can see a working example on the Toronto Weather page details. Here is a screenshot.

The Weather Network Integration of

Now to the poll question, which integration of do you prefer?

10 Years Ago – A Visual of Canada’s Top 10 Web Properties

According to ComScore in November 2010, the top 10 web properties in Canada (in order) were: MSN, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Wikimedia Foundation, eBay, Ask Network, Sympatico, Apple and Yellow Pages Group.

Out of this group 9 of these properties existed back in 2001. Facebook was the only one that did not exist, so for Facebook, we go back to 2006.

Here is the visual of Canada’s Top 10 Web Properties from 10-years ago:

MSN Visual 2001 Visual 2011

Google Visual 2001 Visual 2001

Facebook – Note 2006 is the first image Visual 2001 Visual 2001

Yahoo Visual 2001 Visual 2001

Wikipedia Visual 2001 Visual 2001

eBay Visual 2001 Visual 2001

Ask Visual 2001 Visual 2001

Sympatico Visual 2001 Visual 2001

Apple Visual 2001 Visual 2001 Visual 2001 Visual 2001

Finally, some very popular Canadian websites that are due an honorable mention: Visual 2001 Visual 2001 Visual 2001 Visual 2001

The Weather Network Visual 2001 Visual 2001

Images are screencaps taken from WayBack Machine.

Group Buying in Canada in 2010 – Groupon Finishes Strong, LivingSocial Stalls and the Big Media Players

It has been quite a 2010 in the group buying space. Lots of activity in the last quarter including, Google’s attempted purchase of Groupon, Amazon investing in LivingSocial and the amount of players entering the space is staggering. Of course much of the news is dominated by what comes out of the US, but what about Canada.

I recently did a post, December 2, titled, Groupon Twice the Size of Living Social in Canada … In Terms of Revenue which was on the heels of the post done by Mashable, By Traffic, Groupon Is Ten Times Bigger Than Its Nearest Competitor that compared the revenue up to November of these two players. As you can see from the graph below, both players were showing pretty good signs of growth.

Groupon and LivingSocial revenues in Canada, up to November 2010

However, now that December is behind us, how did Groupon and LivingSocial finish the year off in Canada? This graph pretty much says it all:

Groupon and LivingSocial Revenues in Canada

What the above does not include, at least for LivingSocial are two pieces of data – 1) is data from ESCAPES, their travel service and 2) LivingSocial, through their site does not breakdown multiple deals in terms of what % of people buy a larger valued deal segment. That said, even at 100% of users who may purchase the larger amount, this would only account for an additional 10%. Considering that December should be one of the best months, it is surprising to me to see LivingSocial stall like this.

DISCLAIMER: these are estimates based on tracking the URLs of these companies. They are not provided by either company.

2010 saw alot of new players entering the space. My current count is that there are 43 players in the group buying space in Canada. As reported today on the YIPIT blog, one of their predictions (2011 Daily Deal Predictions: Thousands of Sites, A Super Bowl Ad, Credit Cards and More) is that Groupon is going to face competition from existing publishers. Here is what they said:

Prediction: Existing Publishers will become Groupon’s biggest threat.
Verdict: Mostly true. Travelzoo, OpenTable and Yelp regularly outsell Groupon in their markets. Thrillist and DailyCandy look to be serious up and comers. Dozens of traditional print media companies have rolled out deal offerings, to varying degrees of success.

source: YIPIT

Players to watch in 2011 in the Canadian Group Buying Space:

Yellow Pages Group
– Under the RedFlagDeals and LesPac in Quebec market. Look for them to continue to expand their offering across the country. This is one player who could bring group buying to ever market in Canada.

– Under the WAGJAG brand they are showing innovation in their approach and leveraging their strength inside the Ontario market. Outside of Toronto or the southern Ontario market, they don’t have nearly the strength

– Recently they launched SwarmJam and have presence in the major markets across Canada. If leveraged properly, PostMedia could have success in this space, but so far, results are mixed. Curious business model here as to whether PostMedia would have made more money selling ad space to the Deal of the Day providers as opposed to making the investment in the platform themselves – time will tell.

– although not considered a publisher (in the traditional sense) they are large enough to be included here as a player to watch. Launched under (nice brand extension) so far they seem more like they are in testing mode as opposed to full blown launch. They have user reach, but without a sales force, they might be limited.

Outside of major publishers 2 other players that are getting some traction include (from the guys that brought you and Both of these players have done decent jobs of expanding and filling deals across the county. In my view, the 2 biggest challenges they face – 1) they don’t have alternative revenue streams, although is licensing its platform and dealfind still generated revenues from MenuPalace and they run a lean operation, and 2) their acquisition costs will continue to rise as more players come in, so remaining profitable will be a challenge.

All in all, this will be an exciting 2011 in the group buying space. At the end of the deal, the ultimate winner is the consumer.

My Favorite iPhone Apps of 2010

2010 was a pretty incredible year at Yellow Pages Group. As the head of business development I get the pleasure of being on the cutting edge of looking at technologies and seeing what is emerging. I also get to travel lots (which has pros and cons), which means that while on the road I rely heavily on communication devices to stay in touch and to make life easier.

My main communication device is my iPhone. I also have an iPad, which I use extensively while in the US by dropping in my AT&T Sim Card. Usually during a discussion, I get asked 2 common questions about my communication tools:

1) How do you like the iPhone?
2) What apps do you use?

How do you like the iPhone?

For the most part, I like it. Our company uses Microsoft Exchange Server which allows me to easily sync my email, calendar and contacts. My iPhone is a business phone so access to email is critical. The downside is the battery life. I am currently using a 3GS (I have not upgraded yet to the iPhone 4) and the battery is weak to say the least. For the most part this is not that big of an issue – there are usually plugins everywhere, including Air Canada which has a USB plug in the seat back TV which you can use to charge your iPhone, however, there have been times when I have been caught without a charge. If you plan to use the iPhone for business here are some power recommendations:

1) Also carry your cables – the USB with power plug. Wrap this up and keep it on you.
2) Buy a USB lighter adapter for your vehicle – buy a small travel one to take with you in car rentals
3) Buy a backup batter charge – I have the Kensington Mini Battery Pack, this little charge has saved me a few times, will give you the needed boost to get your through until you can find a plug

What Apps do you use?

I have a lot of apps on my iPhone, however, for this top list, I have decided to break it down to into 3 categories – 1) apps I use weekly, 2) apps I use at least once per month 3) other apps I like and use, but not as frequent.

1) Apps I use weekly

First let me start with the pre-installed apps that come with the iPhone – the eight that I use weekly, in many cases daily are,
and Calendar.

Now for the downloaded apps:

WeatherEye by The Weather Network
If you live in Canada, Weather is a critical event. If you travel as much as I do, weather is a tool that helps you plan. I like this app for 3 reasons: 1) interface is attractive and easy to use, 2) lots of information provided, current, short and long-term and 3) the ease of flipping from one city to the next.

The Weather Network - iPhone Application

This is one of the ultimate business applications that is installed on every computer I own and all mobile devices. The repository of information that I use on a daily basis to make the decisions I make.

This could be an entire blog post itself, but let me boil it down to 3 main reasons why I use FourSquare (BTW – I do check in almost everywhere I go with foursquare – follow me). Reason #1 – more so in the US, but checking in allows me to see popularity of this application and watch grow patterns in terms of what people are using it for, #2) connecting with people – for business FourSquare allows me, especially at conferences, to see who is around that I need to connect with and to broadcast that I am around and for personal, foursquare has connected me with friends when our paths cross, and #3) deals – mostly in the US, but checking in can unlock discounts.

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn apps
Great ways to stay connected with your social networks,

Great little app for tracking your calorie intake, use it daily.

#2 – Apps I use monthly

There are lots, so here a rapid fire:

DropBox – sometimes you just to access a file on the go
Globe and Mail – keep current on news in Canada – the ultimate business look-up tool. For a deeper review, check out my blog post – New Application Available
Awesome Note – integrates with Evernote and is used as a task list – the notification feature is what I really like
What’s On? – Great for hotels, punch in the area code/zip code, select the provider and have access to tv schedule
AccuFuel – Handy app for tracking your gas milage
Air Canada – checkin to your flights and get notified of changes, killer
Skype – for the most part works great, however, if a super critical phone call, don’t rely on Skype
TED Mobile – I always take some time to listen to the latest speakers

#3 – Other apps I like

RedFlagDeals and ShopToIt – two great Canadian shopping applications for deals and product inventory
WebEx – if you need to jump on a presentation while in the cab, this gives you access – although screen size can be a big problem. The iPad version is killer though
Units – need a conversion in a pinch?
Shazam – spent a lot of money buying music from iTunes because of this app.
Flixster – killer movie application, will give you a sense of what you are in for and whether it is worth the money

What’s your favorite applications?