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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Sunday, February 13, 2005
PowerBlog Review: Fifteen Degrees North

Editor's note: It's time again for another in our weekly series of PowerBlog Reviews of business weblogs. We've now been reviewing weblogs for a full year. This is our fifty-second Review.

The Fifteen Degrees North blog is associated with Fifteen Degrees-North, "Internet Marketing and Web Design Slightly Off Centre."

The blog is written by Mark Nenadic, the company's CEO, who describes himself as "slightly off centre" with a Monty Python sense of humor. He blogs from Vienna, Austria and also from Peterborough, U.K.

One of the first things that hits you about this blog is its striking design. It features a backdrop of mountain peaks. I learned they are from a range in the Austrian Alps where Mark goes snowboarding.

A few weeks ago we did our first review here of a blog designed specifically to promote eCommerce sales. The Fifteen Degrees-North blog is yet another blog associated with online commerce, but in a different way.

Sometimes, as in the case of the blog we reviewed a few weeks ago, the blog is set up specifically to be the content component of an online storefront. Other times, as with Fifteen Degrees-North, the blog has evolved.

Mark's blogging got started a long time ago with the Robot wars:

"I guess I am a blog pioneer in that I started to Blog before there were Blogs. :) In early 99 some friends and I decided to compete in UK robot Wars (Battle Bots in the US). As it was a televised event in the UK with some 8 million viewers weekly I decided at an early stage to detail in a diary (Blog) our exploits for our fans. Back then Movable type was twinkle in some father's eye and so I had an online diary in HTML -- yukk, so much work! I have since dropped all those blogs and back filled 15dn with all the original posts, so my archives go back to 99."
Along the way he's learned a thing or two about online marketing, and how to leverage blogs and RSS for selling online.

What you get is a dose of serious reality about Internet marketing. When you first arrive at this blog, you see menu items such as "How to make a Fortune in 4 steps." You, think "uh oh."

But, in reality, even experienced online marketers can learn something from this blog.

Mark points out in post after post, that online sales are not easy. They're not the stuff of "get rich quick" dreams. They take hard work.

Anyone who's ever made a dime selling online knows how true this is.

You'll find nuggets of truth about selling online scattered throughout the blog, including this one where he says that online marketing is not about the technology:
"As much as I LOVE good design I am the first to admit that it's the words that sell - not the software. Not the cool graphics. And not your expensive Flash presentation. A zillion visitors a week won't generate sales unless those visitors are persuaded to buy from you. And only words, you know these little characters unfolding before your very eyes! - powerful, persuasive, and professionally crafted words - will do it!"

The Power: The Power of the Fifteen Degrees-North blog is in the way it selectively picks the brain of its CEO about how to sell online, and shares his insights. Even experienced Internet marketers can learn something.
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