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How To Use Chats, Podcasts, Teleconferencing To Enhance Your Ecommerce Business

Dec 10, 2007
As the internet grows to accept new technology, ecommerce businesses learn how to develop tools that will attract customers, increase Return On Investment (ROI), and give them the edge over other ecommerce sites. Two of the most useful tools are podcasts and chats.

There are a few draw backs. Many web hosting companies will not let their members host podcasts or chats from the servers. The ecommerce company may have purchased enough bandwidth, but podcasts and chats are heavy draws on the server's CPU.

That is why companies are encouraged to find private hosting for their podcasts and chats. The scripts may work well, but they may cause a conflict with the hosting company. Choosing to host the chat or podcast on your website on your own website could require dedicated hosting. This is where the company buys their own server, bandwidth, and the CPU (brain of the computer) is not shared with anyone else.

Chat Hosting Services

The cost of a dedicated 'managed' server is about $100 a month. The cost of renting hosting space for a chat is $10 a month at: http://www.pliner.net. Pliner has the advantage of using an Instant Messenger (IM) type script.

When looking for a chat room, it is important to look for a company that does not require a plug in or a download.

Addonchat http://www.addonchat.com/ offers a good service, but their java based chat is far to advanced for most people who still use 5 year old computers and are on dial up. Pliner chat offers several different scripts that drain CPU, but can be rented for a nominal fee from the host.

Another alternative is www.bravenet.com. This is one of the oldest companies, and has built a first class reputation. Bravenet is slightly cheaper, but there is one drawback. Their system uses a chat script.

Instant Messenger style scripts do not require down loads, and do not attempt to access the user's computer. This reduces access problems caused by firewalls on the user's PC.

A weekly chat gives the ecommerce business two advantages over the competition. The potential clients have the opportunity to meet the business owner, validate that the company is real, and meet someone who is able to answer their questions. The chat room also gives the owner the opportunity to pre-sell their products or services.

Podcast Hosting Services

The podcast hosting service is easier to find than the chat. There are dozens of reputable services that are free, or low cost. A podcast gives the ecommerce business several advantages. The podcast can be set up to let users download individual audio files, or 'stream' them by listening on the website. Streaming also lets the business set up an internet radio station. The largest service for this is: http://www.live365.com/ . This company not only handles the client's podcasts, and promotes the service, but it also handles royalty payments and income generating for 'stations' that want the service.

Telecasting

Telecasting falls into two categories. At first, many new ecommerce businesses only find the expensive service that charge as much as $100 for a single five person meeting service. However, services like blog talk radio, http://www.blogtalkradio.com a free service.

"BlogTalkRadio is the social radio network that allows users to connect quickly and directly with their audience. Using an ordinary telephone and computer hosts can create free, live, call-in talk shows with unlimited participants that are automatically archived and made available as podcasts. No software download is required. Listeners can subscribe to shows via RSS into iTunes and other feed readers. Our network has produced tens of thousands of episodes since it launched in August of 2006." Blog Talk Radio

This service only allows five people to chat at once, via the telephone. This service lets the ecommerce business set up 'shows' where they talk with industry gurus, or tape conference messages, host 'live talk shows' and more.

Conclusion

These tools are inexpensive, easy to use, and add an extra element to the ecommerce business. Even sites like Amazon.com and Ebay.com are learning that users want interactive ecommerce businesses. They are no longer satisfied with finding a cheap product. They want to be entertained and educated.
About the Author
Mark Walters is a third generation entrepreneur and author. He offers free training andinvesting videos designed to speed you towards financial independence at http://www.cashflowinstitute.com/videosignup.htm
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