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FAST FORWARD: “User experience,” online news and search engines were among the hot topics at the fourth annual Le Web conference that ended Thursday in Paris. “We have just launched a prototype with The New York Times and Washington Post called the ‘Living Story,’” Marissa Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience at Google, said in a keynote address. “We are trying to find a new delivery vehicle for news.” Indeed, user experience is key to any online endeavor for brands and aggregate sites, speakers agreed. “The future of shopping online is to be able to take control of what users say about products,” said Bjorn Kvarby, managing director in Europe and Australia of Shopping.com, whose interface allows users to search for and compare prices of items. “The emergence of mobile and social networking has advanced the way we shop and video will be next.”
Meanwhile, global efforts to increase revenues for sites are still associated with cost per click advertising. “Banners and pop-ups are no longer being used,” said Thomas Crampton, Asia Pacific director for 360° Digital Influence, a social media marketing and public relations company. “The future is sites like Faberge.com,” he said, referring to the jeweler’s Web-only venture.
Started in 2005 by Geraldine and Loic Le Meur, Le Web has grown from 250 participants to being the largest organized conference on the subject. Surrounded by countless computers and mobile devices, over 2,000 people gathered at the art center 104 in Paris. Keynote speakers also included Skype and Kazaa founder Niklas Zennström, YouTube’s Chad Hurley and Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter.
— Natasha Montrose