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Essential Internet Marketing Acronyms Explained

by Azam Corry

Copyright © 2003 Azam Corry. All rights reserved. Published at with permission.

If you're new to Internet marketing, the many acronyms and abbreviations often used in discussions on the subject can be confusing. To help you get up to speed quickly, here are the meanings of the most important:

ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange
A universally recognized set of digital codes that represent each of the letters, punctuation marks, and other symbols you can type on your computer. What people usually mean by “plain text.”
ASP - Application Service Provider
Company that offers access to software applications and related services over a network or the Internet.
B2B - Business to Business
Refers to trade between businesses rather than between businesses and consumers
B2C - Business to Consumer
Refers to businesses selling products or services to end-user consumers.
CGI - Common Gateway Interface
A way web servers pass information to and from application programs (to process forms for example). CGI programs or “scripts” can be written in several programming languages, including C, C++, Java and Perl.
CPA - Cost Per Action
Cost to an advertiser for each visitor that takes a specific action in response to an ad, such as subscribing to an ezine, requesting a free trial, or making a purchase. Also used to describe advertising employing this model.
CPC - Cost Per Click
Cost to an advertiser for each click on a promotional link by a site visitor or newsletter reader. Also used to describe advertising employing this model.
CPL - Cost Per Lead
Advertising expenditure required to obtain each new sales lead.
CPM - Cost Per Thousand
The amount charged per thousand impressions (showings) of an ad (“M” is the Roman numeral for 1000). Whilst websites sell ad impressions in blocks of 1000, with newsletters the number of subscribers determines the final price. Also used to describe advertising employing this model.
CPS - Cost Per Sale
Advertising expenditure divided by sales generated to determine the cost to make each sale; or the commission payable for each sale generated by an affiliate.
CR - Conversion Rate / Ratio
The percentage of respondents to an ad, or readers of a sales message that complete the action desired (usually making a purchase, but can also be subscribing to a newsletter, for example).
CRM - Customer Relationship Management
Improving interaction with customers through better understanding, with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty (thus increasing profits).
CSS - Cascading Style Sheets
Used to globally define how elements in a Web page are displayed instead of relying on HTML code in the page. Makes designs more flexible and reduces HTML file sizes.
CTR - Click-Through Rate / Ratio
The percentage of website visitors or newsletter readers who click on a particular link. Used to measure response to ads or sales messages.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Often used as the title of a page on websites that answers commonly asked questions about a product or service.
FFA - Free-For-All Links
Web pages that allow anyone to add a link back to their own website, usually in exchange for accepting promotional messages from the FFA page owner.
PFI - Pay For Inclusion
Paying to have web pages included in a search engine's database and regularly updated.
PPA - Pay-Per-Action
Affiliate commissions where a set amount is paid for generating a specific action, such as taking a free trial or subscribing to an ezine. PPL, PPC and PPS are usually considered as PPA.
PPI - Pay Per Impression
Where an advertiser pays for each display (impression) of their advertisement (usually a banner).
PPL - Pay-Per-Lead
Where a commission is paid for each sales lead generated by an affiliate. A “lead” is usually defined as somebody who signs up for a free trial, or requests further information, etc.
PPC - Pay Per Click
Ad sales or affiliate commissions where a set amount is paid for each click on a promotional link by a consumer.
PPCSE - Pay Per Click Search Engine
A search engine where the results are composed of advertisers who pay a fee for each click on their listing. Using a bidding system, the advertiser willing to pay the most is ranked highest.
PPS - Pay-Per-Sale
Where a commission is paid for each sale generated by an affiliate. The commission is usually a percentage of the sale, although sometimes it's a fixed amount.
ROI - Return on investment
How much profit is made after advertising and other costs have been subtracted. A measure of how successful a marketing campaign is in terms of the returns on money spent.
RON - Run Of Network
Where ads (usually CPM banners) are shown (rotated) across the pages of the entire network of sites owned by a company, or controlled by a particular advertising network. Cheaper than only having the ad appear on selected sites.
ROS - Run Of Site
Where ads are rotated across the pages of a single site. Cheaper than only having the ad appear on selected pages.
SE - Search Engine
A searchable database of pages on the Web. Different from an Index (like Yahoo) in that pages are not reviewed by a human editor before inclusion.
SEM - Search Engine Marketing
Similar to SEO (below), and sometimes used to emphasize that generating quality targeted traffic is of greater importance than simply obtaining high rankings. Can also include PPCSEs and other search engine advertising.
SEO - Search Engine Optimization
The process of optimizing web pages to achieve high rankings in the search results of a search engine, in order to attract more visitors.
SEP - Search Engine Positioning
Getting your page listed on the search engine results page. Similar to SEO.
SERP - Search Engine Results Page
The page of listings displayed upon completion of a search at a search engine.
SSI - Server Side Include
A way for a web server to include variable values and information from an external source into a web page as it is requested by the browser. Uses include automatic display of data like the Last Modified date of the page, or storing common page elements in their own files, enabling site-wide updates by modifying a single file.
USP - Unique Selling Proposition
The reason why somebody should buy from you and not your competition. The unique benefits that your products or services offer consumers. What it is that makes you special, different.

I suggest you print this article out and keep it somewhere handy. Refer to it whenever you're not quite sure what something stands for, and before you know it you'll be an old hand!

© 2003 Azam Corry. “Do it Better. Do it Faster. Do it Right!”

About the Author

Online since 1998, Azam Corry Helps Newbies Develop a Winning Web Marketing Strategy with Great Free Guides, Tools and Resources. Also Discover Resale Rights eBooks & Resell Kits That Make Money Fast!

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