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09 Aug
Artificial intelligence can now help write Wikipedia pages
Artificial intelligence can now help write Wikipedia pages

Plenty of prominent scientists have Wikipedia pages. But while checking to see if someone specific has a Wikipedia page is a quick Google search away, figuring out who should be on Wikipedia but isn’t—and then writing an entry for him or her—is much trickier.

For example, you may or may not have heard of Christina Economos. She doesn’t have a Wikipedia page about her, although she’s a professor at Tufts University and the New Balance Chair in childhood nutrition. But while she lacks a Wikipedia page, she does have a very short stub describing who she is professionally on a website made by a company called Primer. That little blurb, which could one day grow into a full-blown Wiki entry, was created by an AI system dubbed Quicksilver.

The idea behind the project is to use AI as a jumping off point. Humans can use it to help them write Wikipedia pages for scientists who don’t have them, but deserve to. For example, on Economos’ Primer page, there’s a link to an article from CBS Boston that mentions her—a good potential source for a human Wikipedia editor who may want to write an entry for her.

Primer launched officially last year and uses AI to read information and generate reports; part of its focus is doing the kind of work an intelligence analyst might do. Their customers include Walmart and the U.S. government, by way of an organization called In-Q-Tel. Artificial intelligence generally needs data to learn from, and so for this project, Primer used around 30,000 existing scientist Wikipedia pages to train their machine learning systems.

Then they fed 200,000 names and related employment information into their AI system. Those names came from the listed authors of scientific papers focused on computer science and biomedical research provided to Primer from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

“That was the input to Quicksilver—we just fed it in, and we went home, and it ran,” says John Bohannon, the director of science at Primer. “We generated 40,000 new people overnight.”

The system as a whole is more complicated than that, of course: one step is that the AI system needs to do disambiguation (a weird term you’ve probably seen on Wikipedia) that in this case mean making sure that the system isn’t mixing up two people who have the same name. It also reads a slew of news sources to learn more about each scientist: “It builds a model of the person,” he says.

It also does “event detection” when scanning the news for each name, which entails organizing news documents into clumps in which “each clump seems to be describing a real world event.” That “news event” could be when a scientist publishes a study that garners media attention and is thus something possibly worth including in a Wikipedia article.

Another aspect of the project is to make it easier for scientists who are women to get the representation they deserve on Wikipedia—to empower human editors “to close the gender gap in representation of women in science,” Bohannon says. One of the ways that can happen is if a group wants to create more Wikipedia pages with a focus on women scientists, they could use data from Quicksilver, which Bohannon points out is filternable by gender.

“Our goal is definitely not to have a ‘bot write Wikipedia,” Bohannon says. Instead, it’s a launchpad for people who do want to write new pages or update old ones. If you’re curious to see a sample of what Quicksilver’s output looks like, head on over to this page—it has 100 examples of AI-generated Wikipedia-style blurbs.

09 Aug
7 eCommerce Myths that Stop Conversions in Their Tracks
7 eCommerce Myths that Stop Conversions in Their Tracks

You could have conversions within your grasp and not even know it. There are a lot of popular eCommerce myths out there concerning marketing, traffic and advertising that even established eCommerce stores are believing.

This week, we bring you 7 eCommerce myths that stop concessions in their tracks and what you should do instead.

1. Your Biggest Marketing Efforts Don’t Include Your Site

If you believe the myth that most of your marketing takes place off your website, you’re missing out on a lot of revenue opportunities. Compartmentalizing your marketing efforts into UX and promotion without any symmetry will make it hard for you to join the 7-figure eCommerce club. Some of the biggest eCommerce success stories we’ve featured are a testament to how vital on-site marketing is for your online store brand, as it not only moves potential shopper traffic into your sales funnel but helps you convert them.

While small lead-generating changes to your store can help increase your conversions, it’s also important to see your UX not just as a mechanism to sell your products but as a powerful marketing, trust-building and conversion tool. Here are the top ways you can use your site and store UX to convert more potential shoppers:

  • Entice new shoppers with good product images and descriptions.
  • Have a good, visible return and shipping policy to build trust.
  • Offer prompt customer service in real-time with online chat.
  • Provide good content that establishes you as an authority in your niche while driving traffic to your store.
  • Build product trust by showcasing customer product reviews.
  • Use coupon pop-ups to build marketing lists while converting sales, like this online boutique that made $40K in 10 days using Coupon Pop.
  • Implement on-site retargeting.
  • Catch potential shoppers before they leave with exit pops.

2. Going Viral is the #1 Goal for Social Media Marketing

This may surprise a lot of you, but if your number one goal for your social media marketing campaigns is to go viral, you’re missing the point. That is not to say that there aren’t eCommerce social media videos that go viral, like this store owner that got 8 million Facebook views with a smartphone video. Plus, as you can tell from this example, you don’t need to hire a fancy videographer to do it.

The trick is to create social media marketing campaigns that are aimed at your target audience, with a message that speaks directly to them to reach your marketing objective. The secret to doing just that is to create smaller campaigns that reach a highly segmented target audience, therefore increasing your chance of converting. And if your video does go viral, like these 2017 trending products, that is just the branding cherry on the top.

3. Email Marketing is Old News

If you believe the myth that your email marketing strategies should take a back seat, you’re missing out on a lot of revenue. Don’t take our word for it; this past January, Smart Insights reported that email is still the highest-converting channel.


Every million-dollar eCommerce store owner we’ve interviewed has a sound email marketing strategy that includes email capturing strategies, weekly newsletters, seasonal promotions, remarketing campaigns and automated emails to convert sales and build customer loyalty.

Unlike any other marketing platform, you own your email marketing lists and they give you one-on-one contact directly with your audience and if segmented well, you could increase your email revenue by over 700%.


4. Your Best Products Will Market Themselves

No matter how awesome your products are, they won’t market themselves. It is the myth to the contrary which leads so many online sellers to hold onto their advertising budget too tightly. No matter how bootstrapped you are, the old adage, “You need money to make money” is still true. You can’t rely solely on word-of-mouth or the organic power of the internet alone to drive awareness about your products; you need targeted marketing to break through the noise.

You can break through the noise by ensuring your marketing strategy is segmented, shows the product benefits, talks your target shoppers’ language, and catches potential customers when their buying intent is high. The best way to do that is to have a comprehensive marketing strategy that uses the power of social media and Google to drive awareness, promotional and remarketing campaigns to sell your products.


5. Social Media is Only for Lookie-Loos

There’s a common eCommerce myth that says social media content is good at driving awareness, but that these engagers are looking, not buying. If you believe this misconception, you could be missing out on those Facebook users who purchase after clicking. Some studies have shown that percentages can be as high as 20%.

Even if your social campaigns do have a lower on the average conversion rate that email or search, as shown in the conversion average graph from earlier, social media is far more than a conversion tool. There are hidden benefits of social media, all working together to drive significant traffic, which you can then market on your site and remarket with your email and PPC campaigns. Potential shoppers that you can nurture down your sales funnel to ultimately convert.

6. The Bigger Your Reach, The More Sales You Will Make

A widespread myth, especially with social media advertising, is that advertisers are looking for the highest number of impressions possible from their campaigns. But in truth, it is not the size of your impressions which you should be monitoring, but the results that reach brings.

We know a good marketing strategy is all about segmentation. You WANT campaigns targeting more segmented, smaller audiences to ensure your messages are reaching the potential shoppers who are more inclined to be interested in what you’re selling. It is one of the reasons why Facebook remarketing campaigns are considered expert Facebook strategies for expert eCommerce entrepreneurs.

Yes, the reach/impressions metric relationship is a good indicator of your ads’ performance but making that pool bigger doesn’t mean more people buy – which means your ROIs suffer.

Which brings us to the next point.

7. Profit and Revenue Are the Only Metrics You Should Care About

We obsess over the metrics and refresh our analytics over and over, looking for sales, revenue, profit. And why wouldn’t we; isn’t it revenue that matters? The problem with this is you need a holistic approach and not everything is about total revenue.

Say what?!

Yes, yes, you want sales. But you also have various sales funnel steps and you need campaigns that reach all your stages with your marketing. Add that to the fact that revenue and profit are not the only KPI (key performance indicator) that shows your store is winning, having tunnel vision could be costing you sales. Here are the must-watch ad, analytics and site metrics:

  • Lifetime asset value – how much revenue and profit each of your products bring.
  • Traffic per channel – to see where your traffic is coming from.
  • Bounce rate – to see how long that traffic sticks around once they get to your page. This will show you which landing pages are lacking, as well as point to areas you need to fix for SEO.
  • Session duration – to see how long potential shoppers are spending on your site.
  • Conversion rates – to see the percentage of that traffic that is converting.

Believing these eCommerce myths without testing them for yourself is literally like throwing money away. But don’t take our word for it – test, test, test!

The bottom line is that no matter what the experts are telling you, what the popular beliefs are or what other entrepreneurs swear by, you need to test and try everything to find the winning strategy for YOUR store.