Online Distribution Channels

One of the importances of any website or business is to bring your products or services to the right people and to reach the target audience. There are a number of different distribution channels available on the Internet which could be utilisied efficiently to the benefits of your website. We have watched and witnessed the growth of the Internet over the recent years and while everyone knows the traditional online distribution channels such as newsletters, and electronic press releases, it is time to have a look at some unconventional channels of distribution on the web.

1. Social networks (Facebook, MySpace, Friendster)
The current trend of the Internet is social interactions, and the trend is here to stay for a while. Multi-million corporations are in the hunt to acquire popular social networking sites because they understand the potential and the impact social networking has on Internet users. Treating social networks such as Facebook and MySpace as your distribution channels mean reaching to more people and increasing awareness of your website.

2. Social bookmarks (del.icio.us, Stumble Upon, Digg)
Social bookmarks enable users to share, organise and store URLs of websites they like and/or find useful. And because social bookmarks are created by users who understand the content of the website they bookmark, it makes it easier for other users to find stuff related to an interest.

3. Social media (YouTube, Flickr, Podcasts)
As with social networks and social bookmarks, social media has become increasingly popular among Internet users for the same reasons. Using a social media like YouTube or Flickr as a medium to promote your business could bring a lot of traffics to your website. In an official Press Release about an agreement between CBS and YouTube, it was said that “Today’s agreement demonstrates that YouTube has become a revenue-generating distribution channel for major networks and other media companies. By partnering with YouTube, media companies can now have a two-way dialogue with viewers who can provide feedback about what they find entertaining.”

4. Blogs
Blogs are popular because they provide up-to-date information and enables readers to engage in discussions via comments. By using blog as a distribution channel, businesses can build a loyal readership and interact with their customer base.

5. Widgets and gadgets (Yahoo! widgets, iGoogle gadgets, Facebook APIs)
Widgets and gadgets deliver dynamic and updated content to the users at any time. They leverage the website’s content to create new opportunities, extend users and strengthen the presence of your brand. And for that very reason, widgets and gadgets have proven to be a very successful method of distribution.

6. Browser extensions
Browser extensions such as cutomised search engine, add-ons, and toolbars provide users with an easy access to your website and the functionalities that it offers instantly from their favourite browser. It is an effective distribution channel for both the business and end users as it maximizes access and visibility for both parties.

7. Search engines
According to a survey conducted in 1998 by Georgia Institute of Technology, 85% of users found websites through search engines (Tri-Media). While many believe that “if you build it, they will come”, the truth is, they can only come when they know about it. Therefore, the power of search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) should be used to drive targeted and qualified traffic to your website and improve visibility of your business.

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— Ei Sabai Nyo

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