Thursday, April 28, 2005

Fishing Where the Fish Are.......

Funny that it has taken this long for behavioral marketing to reach mainstream interest. We have been using it for well over a year to great success.
True, there must be people who are turned off of a company because of it, but they are well outweighed by the ones who convert that never heard of the company. Now that the masses are gearing into the space it is time to roll on to the next new thing.
Psychosocial seems popular.... you can get a lot more granular and over time a lot more accurate.
IM contacting is becoming more used - hey with telemarketing shut down and the Can Spam laws that are now in effect, it's not surprising.
Link purchases are hitting a wall (called Google).

Google Moves into Mainland China

The recent announcement that Google has been approved to open offices in mainland China has all types of implications for the global search industry. With a presence in the country and the chance to develop personal ties with the government officials that oversee the internet presence in China, Google may become part of the democratization of mainland China the last bastion of Communism.

Remember that Google News was being filtered and banned not so long ago in China.

Remember that search engine topics and advertising was being carefully monitored by the governing bodies that filtered/censored the media's presence in the country.

The internet is a great equalizer. But even though the access speeds and availablity of wireless networks seems impressive, it is generally an upscale population that has use, or for that matter desires access.

Hopefully the admission of Google will be remembered as a time when another isolationist , restrictive country began a more open policy.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Adobe buys Macromedia

Missed this until I read the current issue of Information Week. Adobe is buying Macromedia for $3.4 Billion in stock.... nice another merger that shrinks the companies pushing out technology. No doubt we will hear of some products being eliminated as there are a few that overlap a bit. This shake out should be of interest in the coming months.

Google's Changes: The AdSense Perspective

Just got this in my email from my AdSense account, so now we have the spin from the other side.


We've made many recent improvements to Google AdSense. Read on to find out more.

Increasing monetization through new forms of advertising

As part of our goal to improve the monetization of your sites, Google has introduced a number of new features for advertisers, which will directly impact you as an AdSense publisher.

We anticipate that these features will introduce new advertising dollars into the content network by giving advertisers additional ways to reach their objectives.

We're currently testing these new features with a select group of advertisers, and expect to make the features more widely available in the near future.

Site targeting: focusing on the audience

The keyword-targeted ads that you're used to seeing on your pages will now be joined by a new type of site-targeted advertisement. Site-targeted ads allow advertisers to select the specific sites they feel are most appropriate to their campaign, and to run their ads only on those sites.

We believe that advertisers will leverage both our traditional keyword-targeted advertising which runs across the entire AdSense network, and our new site-targeted advertising, bringing more ad dollars to publishers.

CPM bidding: a new way to generate revenue

With site-targeted advertising, advertisers set a maximum CPM bid - that is, the price they are willing to pay for every thousand impressions – and pay on a per-impression basis. This means that, unlike pay-per-click ads, you'll earn revenue each time a CPM ad is displayed on your site.

For every eligible impression, both pay-per-impression ads and pay-per-click ads compete in the same auction. Our technology will automatically display the highest performing ads on your pages.

Expanded text ads: testing new formats

We are also running a test with text ads that expand to fill the entire ad unit, so that only a single ad will appear in that unit. At this time, this test will only apply to text ads in a site-targeted campaign and to ad formats banner-sized or larger. The expanded pay-per-impression text ad will have to beat out all of the competing ads before it can appear, so publishers can be assured that any expanded text ad is a highly competitive ad. These ads will be served to any text-enabled ad unit and will abide by your text ad color settings.

More image ads

Because of these new features available for advertisers, the number of image ads in the Google advertising network will grow. To take advantage of these ads, and the increased earnings potential that they offer, we encourage you to review your image ads preference in your AdSense Account Settings page.

You can also choose your image ads preference on a format-by-format basis when generating your ad code. For publishers who want to fully leverage image ads, we now provide an image ads only selection.

Your image ad inventory will also include a small number of Flash ads from a test group of advertisers. These new ads will adhere to the 50KB size limit for image ads, and will be reviewed according to our content guidelines.

Finally, we've added the wide skyscraper (160x600) format to make a total of 5 ad formats supporting image ads. If you're opted in to image ads, be sure to use one of these formats so that we can send image ads to your pages.

Google Broadens Scope for Advertisers

Though the new Site Target CPM advertising will not roll out until later in May, the potential is getting discussed fervently on many of the forums - and this with full details yet to be disclosed.

The annoucement came today at AdTech and the race to find out more has been quick.

Google has a bunch of pages already on their site and this one:

seems to show the direction it is going to take.

Basically as I see it they will allow advertising that is not directly relevant to the topic or content of a site but that has a crossover to the demographics of the users of the site. For example, teen info sites about one set of information may also find ads from other sites that are of interest to them in general placed there.

This will allow advertisers to begin using demographics - something that so far has not been a real criteria in search marketing. Though not on target for absolute relevancy the successful advertisers ,who will be able to rise above the disabling process, will be those that do know how to reach across various content and provide users with alternative information, products and services that is of interest to the people who visit these sites.

By allowing the advertiser to use image ads as well as PPC ads the scope of Google's content advertising has moved to a new and potentially prosperous place for all concerned.

Advertisers will love the freedom, content providers will relish the new income sources and Google gets to make money all around. A win/win situation for all including the users who will ultimately have the power to determine what type of ads are seen on their favorite sites by making the CTR the determining factor and providing further marketing info to all concerned.

Watch how successful it is by the duplication of it by other engines....

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Start The Portal: Google Selling Stuff on Front Page

I just noticed that Google is flogging the Google Mini on the homepage today.

They must have numbers for the CTR on that spot below the search box and just throw things up and test the results... may have to offer to buy a spot there for a day and see if they are interested...

So the question is when are they just going to flip things to a true portal. Will they wait until the company wants to spike their stocks?

Talking about stocks the Google financials come out this afternoon... will post back when they do so we have something else to share.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Move Over MSN Search Champs 2: Real Champs are Here

I am generally not into lists - as they come across as too definitive and most are too subjective. But the recent announcement of MSN's Search Champs 2 briefly got me annoyed at the arrogance of the name.
I agree some of the members have some serious skill sets and may have been on a lot of short lists, but if the name is to be really applied where more people would stand back and say well that is pretty close to the Dream Team I would select, I think a new list should be made.
If I was able to convince anyone I reached out to to make the Search Dream Team my list would include the people listed below - remember it is not a definitive list and could be longer and cover even more niched areas of our industry but with these people I think there is pretty much nothing the group could not adapt to and dominate.

1. Danny Sullivan - does he need a bio other than maybe the Godfather of Search!
2. Aaron Wall - SEOBook has serious game and is still developing skills exponentially.
3. Dr. Garcia - the famed Orion can skillfully simplify even the most complex industry methodologies.
4. Mike Grehan: best speaker we have in this industry.
5. Dana Todd: it's not just that redhair that gets your attention (though I swear it is part of the marketing).
6. Mikkel deMib Svendsen: Leading European Search Master.
7. Ignacio Hernandez: Nacho knows the Latin market and engines better than anyone.
8. Detlev Johnson: this guy is everywhere. I really think he has clones.
9. Bill Hunt: hey IBM thinks he has game.
10. Nick W: ThreadWatch is an institution and the writing is always fun to read.
11. Aamon Johns: more than a BlackKnight.
12. Andy Beal: WebSourced's key player.
13. Dan Thies: His Labs have given us some cool tools over the last few years.
14. Scottie Claiborne: quietly really gets it done.
15. Bruce Clay: If he had a penny for every copy made of his map he would be Bill Gates.
16. Lori Weiman: KeywordMax Director and very sharp former lawyer, just in case we need one.
17. Jay McCarthy:WebSideStory senior developer who brings a bunch to the table.
18. Peter Hershberg: Reprise Media has come along way and he leads a great team.
19. Kevin Lee: He Did-It... always a good choice for a go-to-guy.
20. Elisabeth Osmeloski: she can oversee all the egos at SEW and contribute insights!
21. Barry Schwartz: RustyBrick has helped many and keeps well ahead of the curve.
22. Me: hey someone has to buy the beers and tell the jokes!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Book Review & Business Blogging

by kid mercury -- get your free lottery ticket

I read Andrew Goodman's ebook on PPC marketing. It wasn't bad, but I have a tough time recommending it. The book takes more of a conceptual perspective as opposed to a scientific, methodical approach, and as such books often do, takes regular detours from the main idea. I think a key requirement to make a good PPC ebook is to have plenty of case studies of successful PPC campaigns, and showing all the key steps along the way: which tracking code solution was used; how the keyword research processed developed; how the company looked at web analytics to revise its strategy and its web site; how the bid management process was conducted; which PPC engines proved to be most successful; and so on. This would be a gold mine of information -- although I imagine many companies would be reluctant to have their commercial tactics commercially exploited.

In other interesting news, FastCompany has an interesting post on the increasingly frequent scenario of bloggers being fired for blogging. The FastCompany blog entry deals specifically with the case of a blogger who was reprimanded for blogging at work.

I guess I should get back to work.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Nine Years!??!?!

by kid mercury -- today's your lucky day. get your free lottery ticket.

That's right folks. Spammer Jeremy Jaynes, allegedly the eighth ranked spammer in the world, has been convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison.

There are a few things that are really disturbing about that statement:

1) Spamhaus, an organization that clearly has way too much free time on its hands, has somehow created a ranking system to determine who are the most prolific spammers. I couldn't find a breakdown as to how their calculations were determined. I guess their afraid of spam rank optimization (SRO)?

2) I agree that spam is a bad thing. But isn't it often it's own punishment? If your company gets caught using blatant spam tactics, doesn't that do enough damage to your credibility/brand as to be a sufficient punishment? I mean, nine years is a really long time, especially when we think of sentencing for some other crimes:

Man commits rape and burglary -- gets six years total
Woman steals $250,000 -- gets two years
The maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter in Kansas, USA is 100 months -- less than 8 1/2 years

So apparently spam is worse than rape, theft, and killing someone.

Hope this doesn't set a legal precedent for search engine spam.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Google Catching Some Heat

From kid mercury

Recently, there's been much talk about the new Google patent application, which, among other things, suggests that links from disreputable sites will hurt the ranking of the site receiving the link -- even if there is no reciprocal link. If this is the case, it opens the door for some rather dangerous possibilities, namely the intentional "de-optimization," for lack of a better term, of competing sites. This could be, I suppose, the next step in the evolution of black hat search engine optimization.

Naturally, many in the search marketing community are none too pleased with this development. With Google apparently taking a far more pro-active stance in fighting what it perceives to be search engine spam -- and allegedly doing far more questionable things, like stealing AdWords clients from SEM professionals -- it seems quite certain that search marketing is headed down a rather ugly path.

So, a question: what this mean for ethics in search marketing? Or are there even any ethics at all? Are "ethical" search marketing professionals actually doing their clients a disservice by introducing morals? I'm inclined to think that ethics in search marketing are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. Now more than ever before, the game is about risk and reward. The search industry as a whole has always had somewhat of a shady reputation, but if Google, the ruling emperor of the search industry, is going to resort to shady tactics as well, then it may be time to simply admit that the search industry is not a place where thinking ethically will get you very far. Thinking in terms of risk and reward, on the other hand, just might.

KidMercury: Guest Blogger

I am off to the Dominican for a few days and have asked KidMercury to post up a few interesting tidbits and any breaking news.
Hopefully he will not offend any more people than I usually manage to do.

Yahoo PPC Impression Numbers Questionable

I came across a very interesting piece of information today by accident. The Yahoo PPC impression numbers are hugely off. Overseeing two accounts in the same space - I see that they sit 1 and 2 and get around the same impressions - so they act as checks when I need to find reasons things are happening.

One site started advertising on MSN using the Featured listings that generally occupy the top 2 spots (I have been told it goes to three, but think it just roates who is in the top 2 spots).

Now since MSN and Yahoo are both appearing on the page, Yahoo does not duplicate the results. But that does not stop them from adding them into the impressions that they then use to calculate the CTR.

While they may think it does not matter because they do not use the CTR as Google does to influence price or position, what they are doing by disseminating this incorrect information is allowing clients to make decisions with very wrong numbers.

There at least should be a caveat at the top of the Overture account: If you are using MSN Featured listings our numbers will be inaccurate.

What is going to happen when MSN starts its PPC and Yahoo is the filler until they sell enough spots? Will it be then that people start to see this problem.

Just a warning folks.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Google Keeps You On Top Of Things

Got to love the fact that they keep you on top of what special days are occurring... now if they could only get personal anniversaries that would be something

The TaxMan Don't Get-eth: the Google Play

Seems the lads at Google have forgone pay again this year. Obviously they don't need it but I wonder if the taxman would agree. I would have thought giving it to charity would have been one way of grabbing more publicity, goodwill and a solid tax break.
Guess at the $100s of millions the tax implications are different. I will find out about that as soon as I win lotto.

Thursday, April 7, 2005

PPC is the Crack of the Internet

I did not know I was a drug addict.

But according to one of the fine folks over at Directory M: "that cpc...thats like the crack of our day...we just dont go for it here and we dont believe in that model...its ridiculous".

Our Advertising Director was looking to do a media buy and asked about other options beyond CPM, mentioning CPC and was given the above response.

There are days when you just love the cohesiveness of the internet.... there are others when you realize you are just a crackhead. Now where did I leave my pipe?

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Yahoo PPC Upgrade Still Buggy

I have a bunch of PPC accounts with Yahoo and noticed today when checking things that they were briefly disappearing. I called my rep and he told me the new upgrade had been giving some teething problems....

I guess everyone is using the Microsoft model these days. Put it up and let the customers find the problems. Cheapest QA in the world.

But the fact that the Yahoo people were so nonplussed by it happening is the thing.

Later when I was talking to another rep from another engine (3rd tier engine) who once worked for them, said she had heard about the bugs and agreed it happened with Yahoo PPC occassionally.

If I ran my business like that no one would hire me. But then I am not a huge player in my niche.

It is time the internet business model - who so direly wants to be recognized as worthy of a seat at the grown ups' table - come to terms with the basic tenets of business. The customer is always right - or if not make them feel like they are. This is the biggest of the ones the internet-related business seem to forget. Look after your customers as they can always go somewhere else.

I guess Yahoo needs to do a recall - no wait, there is no way to recall the lost traffic...

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

GTV 2: Google to Start Video Blogging

Marcia over at SEW pointed this article out to me. And the first thing I thought of was okay another step towards true GTV.
Video Blogs will have some initial problems... people standing naked in them being the least of it (though may get the biggest voiced complaints).
While blogs have gained popularity with a broad spectrum of the internet population and video blogs will no doubt push it even further, the big knock I see is like the first prophetic song that started MTV: "Video killed the Radio Star".
Video blogging will kill the resurgence of good writing. We will no longer seek out blogs based on a cool turn of phrase, or an insightful creative mind.
We will be looking for the pretty people.
How long will it be before there is an "American Blog Idol"?????????

Monday, April 4, 2005

I want my GTV

Seems Google is getting some regular air time on the cable channel, INdTV - the station partially owned by ex-VP Al Gore.

The station is changing its name to Current - which should be interesting to see how they roll out with that branding - but have developed regular segments with Google - Current Google - that will discuss which terms are being searched for the most.

Larry Page will be participating on a panel with several industry leaders at the National Cable Association meeting in San Francisco, today., and no doubt the press releases will be flying (or could be already as I have not looked - this came via a mate).

Current Google will air every half hour and try and capture the Google Zeitgeist-type aggregated information. Stories will be covered based on changes in what the world is searching for on Google.

MSN Search Survey

You have to give it to MSN. They are definitely pushing forward into the space and looking to design the best possible search results.
Unfortunately what I have not seen in the survey is do you want SPAM.
I think they are going to have a huge impact on the PPC space once they roll out of beta, but the results have a long way to go if they plan to be thought of as better than or even equal to Google.
It's funny how the success of Google has recently seen them being referred to with Microsoft like distain. I guess the backlash of popularity is the scorn of outsiders who have difficulty with anyone dominating an area.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Seems Yahoo Has Found Its Spin Doctor

Eric Peterson, of Jupiter Research, started a strong article defending Yahoo's actions regarding the API debacle and followed it up after he had obviously heard from a bunch of people involved.

Eric, I spoke to Tom, Steve's assistant/senior VP. He is not being misquoted and I do not have any interests in any vending companies - though I use three analytics programs - one which does have an API for bid management. What I take exception to is that I was told by Overture and Yahoo that Web Side Story would get access to the API - we are a large advertiser and had added WSS to our tools because of this information given to us by Yahoo. Thus I wanted to know what was happening and was told of the planned changes.

So your statement:
Also, it occurs to me that it should not be difficult to resolve which side is being more honest: the analytics vendors questioning Yahoo! Search Marketing's position will either be able to provide proof that they had been in contact with the appropriate parties at Yahoo! for some time and had been given assurances that they'd be able to use the APIs or they won't.

in this case has proof. I am sure the employees may not be forthcoming, but I have dealt with some that no longer work for Yahoo and I may be able to find them - though if they were able to say anything is another legal question.

Personally, I think Tom told me a little too much detail and possibly should have had me sign a DNA - which I would have declined.

I agree with Eric when he states:
the analytics vendors don't want to pick a fight with Yahoo! (who would?) but I think that by asking the W.A.A. to get involved they have put the organization in an uncomfortable spot.

The WAA is a new organization and while wanting to support fairness in its industry, could be heavily hamstrung if the fall foul of Yahoo. I also do not want to pick a fight with Yahoo! but as a customer would like to be told why one vendor is in while others are out. The fact that Tom pitched me using the Yahoo product fairly heavily during our conversation may suggest another motive.

But without anyone at Yahoo actually now making detailled statements all that is left is speculation.

Everyone who works in this industry should be given a response. Yahoo does not have to disclose who has the tools... they are easy enough to find by a search of the products. What should be made is a statement of whether or not they plan on opening the API up to others any time soon. There are a lot of companies making decisions about what vendors they will use for the coming year etc and we need to know whether waiting for the API to be available while we juggle with two tools is warranted or if we should just start looking to make a complete transfer to one of the 'lucky ones'.

That is why these other vendors are upset. They potentially could lose all their customers. Restraint of trade etc. issues seem likely for some of the publically traded corporations - as a shareholder I would be wanting answers.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

So What's With the Anti Aussie Thing Google

I cannot believe Google dropped sites from their databases... I want to see a public apology or I may have to Google bomb Google...

Friday, April 1, 2005


Okay so I was sent this today from MSN... I think it is the powerpoint presentation used at the annoucement of MSN PPC.
So I figured it would be worth a look. Have Fun

April Fool's

It is definitely one of those days.... we have become the official currency converter of AOL.... Gmail is now giving you 1.4 something gig of space for email (guess someone finally hit the limit and they just said okay turn the capacity dial a little to the right... Yahoo is going insane (promised a release yesterday and now I think they will comment today so they can always back off and say it was an April's Fool joke).