Thursday, December 21, 2006

MSN Pulls Sexually Charged Content Image Ads

Seems one of MSN's trusted partners got a little too explicit with one of their ads and the sexual innuendo was just too much. The ads have been pulled.

Oh! what were they..... lol. The ad for an online Pink concert said: See the Real Pink!

The ads set to run as content ads in blogs were pulled by the company, Control Room who were doing the promotions as part of a joint venture with MSN and Ford for the Pink concert.

Hey if you read this blog early enough you can even catch the concert!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Predictions For 2007

Okay everyone loves these. They give us insight into what experts think will occur in the future. So I did a little searching and come up with a few. Worth reading just for the fun of it.

Nick Carr's Predictions

Threadwatch Weighs in


John Cook Ventures a Guess

Praized Get Predictive

Customer World

An Impressive Array of Forecasters

I think I will wait a little longer for my own predictions.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another SEO Joins The Ranks

Canadian SEO firm Search Engine Optimization Toronto are new to the space but are looking for someone to push their site. Hey here they are.

The site gives some interesting information about SEO and seems like they know what they are doing. I particularly like their blog. It has some detailled information about different aspects of SEO, as well as an honest and open telling of the company's development.

If you are looking for an agency in Canada they could be the people to talk to. The Canadian market is a competitive one and the Canucks have infiltrated the US ranks in our industry with great success. The ones that are still at home must have an interesting time competiting with one another.

The web site's look could use with some revamping but the text shows knowledge of the industry. Spend a little time on your layout guys, otherwise people will be hesitant to get in touch with you.

Friday, December 15, 2006

SEOmoz Cartoons Chicago SES

Without a doubt the creative team at SEOmoz have outdone themselves with their cartoon overview of the recent Chicago SES.

Rand and Rebecca did seem to get everywhere and have enough time left over to attend a few sessions, talk on a bunch, help out doing interviews, attend special lunches and dinners... damn I want to know what vitamins they take.

I feel honored to be part of the story - it was one of the best SES conferences I have done in a couple of years. Miami and Chicago are now my favorites.... who needs a Google Dance.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Party Is On At Google In A Couple Of Ways

The non-executive employees over at Google are getting a chance to cash out of their options. Sure it will help retain and getting more employees. The idea is novel, yet reminiscent of Google's entre into the financial world.

The workers get to sell their vested options by auction with the option good for two years. So the auction is actually of the future of Google.

May as well do it while all things Google are still of a premium in the world. Though the move to possibly being Big Brother seems less like a futuristic movie.

Funny as I watch this Craig is doing his monologue and he calls the compuetr the Google box to a solid laugh!

Funny how Google has disallowed gambling sites advertising in PPC yet have just partnered with a gamblers lifestyle video network. The network has been allowed to provide sponsored video content.

No doubt the Players Network is having a party of their own!

MySpaces Tops Yahoo As Most Visited Site on Web

According to comScore Media Metrix data, MySpace has topped Yahoo! as the most popular destination on the web. Wow... impressive job and the boss is an Aussie.

While we are on MySpace - they have tied into helping rid predators from online social networks - there is new legislation being sponsored by McCain and Schumer in the Senate, and Virginia legislators will vote on in the new year.

More Deaths at Panama Build

Just like the original deaths building the canal... this iteration of Panama gave notice of more recent deaths in an email I just received:

We wanted to remind you that when you log into your Sponsored Search
account today, you will notice some important changes to your Manage
Bids page. We are making these changes in order to provide all
advertisers--whether they have upgraded to the new Sponsored Search
or not--with consistent bidding information.

As we previously announced, some of the information on the Manage
Bids page is no longer available. We have removed the "Top 5 Max
Bids," "Position" and "Your Cost" columns from the current account
interface. The Bid tool has also been removed.

These columns have been replaced with three new columns of data
(Please note that while we previously announced the addition of two
new columns, we are actually adding three, to provide you with even
more information to guide your bidding decisions):

Latest Available Bid Range
This column displays the latest available bid range for the positions
at the top of the search results page for each of your keywords. To
see the bid range for each keyword, click the View Bids link.

Average Historical Bid Range
This column uses historical data to show you what the bid range for
the positions at the top of the search results page has been for each
of your keywords over recent days and/or weeks.

Estimated Average Position
This column displays an estimate of the average position your listing
may achieve on the results page, based on the historical bid
range. If you enter a new bid in the Max Bid column and click Update
Bids, the estimated average position will also update.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Google Response To Comments About Self Advertising

There have been some comments lately about Google using their own AdWords for their own products with suggestions that they have the upperhand. Their Inside AdWords blog has responded to this.

ThreadWatch has weighed in, Zoli Erdos has some good points, CentralDeskTop gives the perspective of an effected competitor and there have been a bunch more.

Funny how there was so little comment when this happened right after Google launched Google Analytics (the former Urchin product they bought and renamed) and the other analytics companies were crying foul.

SearchEngineLand Having Coding Problems

Postscript: They had it fixed in a few hours so it must have just been a transitional thing.

Well I now know that the backend of SEL is written in php while their hosting's cgi is having problems with it.

I got a cgi error page when try to click on any link on the homepage.

CGI Startup Error

The CGI script program could not be started. The internal error message is:

file is writable by others: (/var/www/html/se/

See this article on our support pages explaining how to set file permissions to learn how to fix this problem.

If you are the owner of this site and you are unable to solve the problem based on the error message above, please report this issue to

Come on guys I know it's Sunday but the world is waiting to read your stuff. Guess they will have it fixed by tomorrow when they offically launch.

New Search Engine ChaCha Pros and Cons

I first noticed this engine at SES Chicago. Someone was walking around the exhibit floor handing out T-shirts with an interesting name and font style on them - ChaCha whose logo has a touch of the CocaCola font style.
The engine itself actually uses search guides who intercat with you through a chat box to help you with your search needs. Fine if you don't mind the 30 second or so time it takes to get a response (which is fairly quick for a personal assist).
The engine, itself however, is stacked at the top with Google PPC results.
Along with regular search results, when the PPC ads are gone, there are results that its guides have added. These results can be rated by the user - Bad, Ok or Great are the options.
From the few guide results I saw it seems the engine started its push some time in October.
There is an extensive about page for more information about the site.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Vanessa Fox Clarifies Google's Webmaster Tools

WebProNews did a great job at the recent SES in Chicago getting a bunch of industry leaders to share information on video.
The one with Google's Vanessa Fox - with guest interviewer Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz - was insightful and well worth taking a look at. While not disclosing the Google algorithm, Ms Fox helped clarify a few issues I had with Google methodology.

Supbowl MVP Tom Brady Suing Yahoo!

Okay the Smoking Gun site has the story. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is suing Yahoo!
Apparently Tom does not have enough money. Yahoo! as is mentioned in the Smoking Gun article is the largest fantasy football platform and have used Brady's pic in some of their advertising - guess Brady did not get a check.
But Yahoo! had an agreement with the NFLPA which I thought has the ability to use any of its players - guess both Yahoo and the NFLPA will soon find out.

Most Incriminating Shots of Yours Truely

Okay I am slowly going through the numerous pics taken of me this week at Chicago SES. No one seems to have posted any of the panel I was on - though it has gotten some good comments on various blogs that I will try and list later.
So far the persistent HatBait seems to be winning - Search MarketingGuru's Li worked hard. She has two questionable shots of me.
This one is the winner. Or maybe this one.

Burning Down The House: Microsoft DataCenter Fire

Barry Schwartz over at SEORoundTable has the information on a recent fire that caused damages to one of the Microsoft data centers that had access to the AdCenter interface offline for quite some time.
Guess rerouting back ups were not in place. When the blackout in the east coast occurred in August 2003 we were able to reroute our customers to one of our back ups and were down maybe 90 minutes and we had no phones and communication to our other offices in other parts of the world took us a little reaction time. Guess Microsoft had not thought God may occasionally intervene!

PostScript: AdCenter reps have denied there was any fire and a search of news engines do not show any stories apart from the ones started at WebMasterWorld and Digg. I will see what can be found out on Monday.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Look Who's Blogging Chicago SES Sessions

Okay we all know about the changes at Search Engine Watch. Danny has started his new entreprise at Search Engine Land. The regular bloggers are moving with him and since most have been working with him over the last few years this is not surprising. But as has been mentioned in many places, SEW will continue and Elisabeth has reached out to Chris Boggs and myself to help out maintaining the well received overviews of the sessions. No doubt Barry and crew will have them over at Search Engine Roundtable, but SEW wants to continue the tradition inhouse.
Hopefully I can live up to the professional job that has been done in the past. Barry you set a high bar - which also means I will have to step back from the open bars a little early each night and be rested and functional early each morning... the spared brain cells are thanking you Elisabeth.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Google Search Appliance Has Phishing Holes

Seems the phishing is good in Google holes, according to a article. Though the article states they were notifying customers about the problem, we have yet to get an email or other communication from them. Guess we have one of the older ones that is not open these threats.
No doubt I will be making a call to them tomorrow for an update.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Day Yahoo Morphs Into Google

Okay it is getting very close THE DAY YAHOO MORPHS INTO GOOGLE.
I got an email - see below - telling about coming changes as early as December (had thought this was slated for the end of Q1)... the nightmare begins.

Guess bid gaping goes into the historical references about paid search now!!!

As you will soon notice when you log into your Sponsored Search
account, we are making some important changes to your Manage Bids

In early December 2006, some of the information on the Manage Bids
page will no longer be available. We will be removing the "Top 5 Max
Bids," "Position" and "Your Cost" columns from the current account
interface. The View Bids tool will also be removed.

These columns will be replaced with two new columns of data:

Estimated Average Position
This displays an estimate of the average position your listing may
achieve, based on your bid and the current bids of other advertisers.

Bid Range for Top Positions
This displays the current range of bids other advertisers are willing
to pay for the positions at the top of the search results page.

To learn why we've made these changes and more, please see our FAQs.

Economist Talks Click Fraud

Funny how those staid financial publications seem to lag on internet stories but are perfect at forecasting 'brick and mortar' actions.

The Economist just got around to writing about click fraud.

Talking about the $30 clicks gets attention but this is something they are very late on.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jim Cramer Sees Good In Google Buying YouTube

If you have ever watched Mad Money you have to love Jim Cramer. I send out a big BooYah for his recent statements about the Google pruchase of YouTube.

Most analysts seem to think it is the start of the demise of Google, but Cramer and I agree (I have two kids 10 and 14 who both use YouTube, MySpace and Google) that you need only look at what kids are doing to see the potential here.

Nothing like buying your future spenders' favorite toys and branding Google into their subconscious. This group represents a huge portion of online spending whether directly or by the influence of their endless pleas of "Please MOM'.

I have always enjoyed Cramer's TV show - now I am going to have to go buy his book. Wonder what he thought of Baidu a year ago when I was telling my friends to grab it at $28... it broke $108 today!!!

Korea Bans Trading Gaming Currencies

Seems the Koreans do not like people making money from selling online gaming currencies to other gamers.

An IT Week article details this and says that as much as $900 million is being spent on this in Korea. That is one hell of a market! Makes one want to start playing pong again.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Continuing Adventures of Danny Sullivan in Search Engine Land

Okay Danny I signed up. This should be another great venture. I like the idea of the newspaper of record for search. You are going to have to chase down a lot of leads - both real and imaginary.

But with your initial team of Barrry Schwartz and Chris Sherman you start with two excellent journalists - in the true sense of the term.

Search Engine Land should be very well received and I am figuring you have 25,000 or more sign ups before it even launches. That should be a story in and of itself.

I will pass along anything I hear to you guys to run down!

Jerry Maguire Works At Yahoo!

Seems the job-destroying memo (sorry mission statement) is not restricted to the movies. In a move reminiscent of "Jerry McGuire" a senior Yahoo employee wrote a memo basically stating the company need to be rejuvenated.

The leaking of it and the response has been very interesting. The best critiques so far have been over at John Battelle's blog.

Anyone looking for solid experienced employees should be waiting outside the Yahoo offices - they could be flooding the employment market very soon!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Google Webmaster Tools

I had not been to the Google Webmaster help section in awhile and found the new tools they are offering to be very helpful.

You can check if your site is indexed and once you have added a metatag to the site so Google knows you have access to the server for the site they will let you know what erros exist and help you improve how the spiders go through your pages.

I had done this quite some time ago but was impressed by how much they have improved the diagnostics. Well worth stopping by here.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Quality Scores, Minimum Bids and Google Inactivating Keywords

The other conversation I had with Google this week was regarding inactivating keyowrds in our PPC account. Seems this is another bones of contention of late and I am fast seeing it become the Google Grinch for this holiday season.

Like everything Google makes decisions on in AdWords the numbers are taken from Google search only.

Our site had not been penalized by the Quality Score update recently - not surprised as each keyword for this account has its own landing page with definition and other appropriate content. True there are a couple of ads - but all publishers need income - and we were not arbitraging so much as increasing the quality of the traffic for our advertisers. (Doesn't that sound positive).

According to the Google person I spoke with exact and phrase match numbers have more impact - so I guess they are breaking these numbers out in the background similar to the bucket of broad keywords that include some that used to get permanently pulled from what words were given traffic.

Say I am advertising for car parts and my numbers tanked for Ford car parts and Mercedes car parts but did well for Chevy and BMW - in the past the bad performers would be pulled from the impression rotation even without your knowledge.

Now broad match is not separated and thus there can be words in the mix that should be negatived out that are impacting what terms are forced to raise bids.

They are not arbitrarily making changes to minimum bids, I was told, but this is based on the impact of disabled terms etc.

I will be delving into this a little deeper and keep you informed.

Google Supplemental Is Next Major Database Upgrade

I ahd a conversation with one of the senior guys at Google about one of our sites finding its way prominently into the Supplemental listings. In the old days this was usually the start of your site exiting the Google database all together.

Not so anymore, according to this Google employee. The push to grow a secondary database that can hold 100 billion documents will be needed for the new infrastructure of the burgeoning new web - yeah that Web 2.0 everyone is discussing these days - obviously a little more to it than the 'mumbo jumbo' I had thought a lot of the talk was.

Yeah I know the web is evolving. Yeah I know new rich media and other changes are part of this new 'web'. That Google was doing something in the background to adapt to these moves is logical - and now partially mentioned in public.

Eventually all sites will be migrated over to this database - so expect to see sites slipping more to the Supplemental listings.

Somehow those sites will be able to appear for search terms - hey Google can do anything right.

I really enjoyed the conversation and actually learned or let's say saw in another light a bunch of things I had long stored in the brain's attic.

Title tags do not have weighting for your PR and thus where you appear in the organic results - I was told! I liked that because though it is correct they impact what keywords you can be listed for - they do not impact the position. Links are the major factor on your PR and Google's PR impacts where you end up on the organic rankings.

If you follow this out then the anchor text and title tags will contribute to the words your site has in its database entry but the PR of the links and I imagine (was not told this directly) the actual anchor text used will create scales of PR for words on any page.

This is going to be something I will test and try and learn more on now.

Panama Gets Quotable Praise From Two Andys

I got the Yahoo email today about Panama and was surprised to see endorsements from Andrew Goodman and Andy Beal.... they could have added Andy Hagans, Andy Atkins-Kr├╝ger, Andy Mindel, Andy Bourland... the list could have been extensive but that the two who did get quoted are prominent search personalities...

Hey, I too think Panama is a great improvement and has the scope to push the Yahoo interface to the top of the pile.

They really are trying to make this the best PPC interface out there. The help sections are easy to read and follow, the ability to upload third party bulk upload sheets and have them converted to the Yahoo format is huge.

Congrats Yahoo! you have finally killed 'the blob'.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Microsoft adCenter Presents Search Master Steve

Guess they are branding this guy as the face of adCenter help and tips. He has that geeky look and age is middle ground so young and old will like him. He actually looks a little like the guy that does those "can you hear me now" commercials.

In their latest direct mail piece Steve is launched and gives "three tips for getting more sales".

Trees were killed fore this... 2 pages color printed both sides and then folded and stapled to make it an 8 page leaflet.
Tip 1 - Choose your keywords wisely...
Tip 2 - Write a search ad that sells....
Tip 3 - Put your ad where the buyers are...

Wow I think I finally understand PPC advertising....

Quigo Provides PPC Ads For Another Major Newspaper

Once again Adotas gives me the latest news. I either have to get out more or find out how they seem to be so thorough.
Anyway, Q@uigo is slowly grabbing up a lot of partners in the newspaper industry. As the article states the New York Daily News has becomee another Quigo partner.
Keep up the good work. I love the little engines that could!!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Afternic Sets a Self Censorship

I just received this email about the changes at Afternic... I agree there is a need to not allow certain activities and it is good to see companies embracing this attitude.

Gambling ban is adhering to the law and a smart move.

Dear Members, Domainers and Friends:

We want to share with you a recent decision that we believe will put Afternic in an even better position to serve the small business, SOHO community and greater domain industry.

After extensive consideration, we have decided to no longer accept domain names that promote hate, sex, obscenity or self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse, violence and gambling. The sole rationale behind our decision is to make Afternic a more comfortable site for mainstream domain name shoppers, especially small business owners. We recognize that taking a leadership role on this issue may have a negative financial impact on our business in the near term. Nonetheless, we believe strongly that it's the right thing long-term decision for our industry and Afternic.

In the next few days, we will de-list these kinds of domain names currently posted on our site. Members who own such names will receive a letter from us informing them which names will no longer be listed. We hope that they, and others, will understand that we have no interest in censorship and that we fully support First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression. And, there is certainly no lack of other Internet sites where such names are welcomed.

The Internet, much like the early days of television, is still a new frontier. We believe it is up to the industry leaders-and we include Afternic here-to step up and determine what constitutes professional standards and practices. We take this action in the interest of socially responsible corporate behavior and hope that it leads to further healthy industry dialog and discussion on the topic.

Review Me Joins Paid Blog Posts

Okay here is a new blog review site where bloggers can make money reviewing various products - including this one (I am getting paid to write this - more than my usual posts make me!!!).

The site allows advertisers to buy reviews - with prices set by traffic and page rank. An advertiser comes in an offers X dollars and then lists which blogs they would like to review them - obviously a sliding scale and people agreeing or denying to review impacts how many people get the chance to make money from any offer.

Since these become permanent links it seems a reasonable exchange of cash for impact.

I spoke with one of the guys involved and it seems like they are going to make a real go of this business model...

I will tell you how it works out when I get my first payment. Hey read up guys I really want to give them their $20 worth... which should be up to the 200 words minimum.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Live Search Has Major Hack

Seems you can dump your competitors out of the MSN search results. According to this blog entry.

Hopefully someone gets this fixed soon... I don't have the time or the desire but I am sure there are a load of people trying this out right now.

Microsoft Playing Viral Games With Search

Ms Dewey - the fun, viral experiment Microsoft is playing with its search engine is proving to have some legs - even if you don't see the ones of the woman fronting this Flash driven interface.

She has generated 2.8 million search queries in 9 days, over 300,000 a day and has been linked to by over 2,700 blogs - add another here!

What is interesting about this test is there was no push of the info through the people at Microsoft - the people I work with there heard about it from me. This was a completely viral test and one I think has been sucessful.

Though I was asked by a few women where was Mr Dewey!!!

Thursday, November 2, 2006

The Villagers Are Coming For The Search Monsters

I really get annoyed by certain action groups who profess to be watching out for us - but in reality are forcing through their own agendas. An article from Adotas gives the details of two such groups trying to regulate online advertising.

The FTC is being asked by "consumer action groups" - CDD, the Center for Digital Democracy (I love how many controling groups use democracy in their name) and US PIRG, the US Public Interest Research Group - to monitor and control online advertising.

While I tyhink we may need some general standards I don't think we have to be too concerned about privacy issues as most people can see who the 'pretenders' are and while a handful of unsavy users may be drawn in - the companies do not last long when they cannot deliver any substantial audience.

The market place can police itself and has done so for quite some time. Making laws is a scary way of doing business.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Great Color Grading For SEO From Yahoo

Great find by the guys over at, Yahoo!'s Tim Converse using a little comedy to color grade the various SEO activities.

The blog post uses the SNL parady of Homeland Security color codes and gives new meaning to Black Hat and White Hat.

I am posting it in full on the off chance Tim is made to pull his down... if theree is a problem just let me know and I will drop it. His can be found here.

Here's my attempt to give SEO's more than just two or three colors.

Background: A naive (non-SEO) webmaster or content producer simply makes a site, without a thought or a care to the world of search engines. Or if there's a thought it's a thought of hopeful trust: if I make a useful interesting site on topic X, then the search engine will figure that out and deliver users who care about X to my site. SEOs and SEO-aware content creators construct sites instead with an eye to how search engines work, and make content that is designed to be retrieved. The white-hat/black-hat continuum is about the extent to which SEOs are working with search engines or against them. Black-hat SEOs are also known as search-engine spammers.

Dark inky black: The SEO's (or in this case the spammer's) interests are totally divergent from both the engines and the users - the SEO wants to trick the search engine into handing over users who are ripe to be tricked themselves into a situation of malicious harm. For example, the SEO might name his domain just one typo-character away from a famous domain name, then install spyware on the computer of any user careless enough to visit, or attempt to impersonate a major portal's login page to collect logins and passwords.

Charcoal: The SEO tries to trick the engine into showing the user something totally unrelated to the query, and possibly offensive, but doesn't actually commit any illegal or fraudulent acts within five seconds of the first user click. Example: a (heinous) pornspammer who stuffs the page with irrelevant non-porn keywords targeting innocent queries, maybe via invisible text. 99.9% of searchers will be searching for something else and will be put off; 0.1% will be searching for something else, but will, um, flexibly and opportunistically reorient their interests.

Dark gray: The SEO collects (aka steals) random text from other sites, and uses it to create thousands (or millions) of pages targeting particular queries. The pages have nothing original of value, but do have ads.

Slate gray: The SEO creates thousands (or millions of pages), all of which point (by linkage, or framing, or redirection) to the same content, which might actually be interesting to the searcher.

Gray: The SEO reads the guidelines of search engines, and tries to juice up their sites just enough to fly under the radar on all dimensions - artificial linkfarms that remain small, automatic content duplication that is arguably not too abusive, etc. The goal is to get enough referral traffic as possible, without too much reference to whether it is interested traffic.

Light gray: The SEO creates "original" content in bulk the old-fashioned way, thinking first of all of search engine rules, secondly of duplicate detection algorithms, and lastly of whether the text makes sense to human beings and is something anyone would ever want to read. Then the SEO experiments with all the parameters (keyword density, internal linkage) trying to move up for the queries of interest.

Off-white: The SEO ensures crawlability of the site, restructures it if necessary for size of pages and internal linkage, and then injects terms to specifically target the important keywords and queries. He doesn't create linkfarms, but friends and allies are importuned to link with specific text and phrases.

White: The SEO starts (if lucky) with a site full of content you can't find anywhere else, and that answers a need that searchers actually have. Then the SEO makes sure the site is crawlable, and that titles and internal links make sense and are descriptive. Then the SEO thinks hard about the queries that really should pull up this content, and tries to discover if the right terms are present. Then (the hard, artful part), he or she rewrites content with a dual consciousness of the infovorous human reader and the termnivorous spider, making sure that the most important terms and phrases for the spider are present (in all their forms) and forefronted for the spider, without degrading the quality for the reader.

Luminescent pearly white: This would be a case where the SEO designs a site to show up for relevant queries and not to show up for irrelevant queries. Do luminescent SEOs exist? Well, Jon Udell is one anyway.

MSN Analytics Coming Soon

It has been in the works for a while now but it seems they are getting closer. Here is some recent info:

Microsoft recently acquired DeepMetrix to provide site traffic measurement and analysis to adCenter customers.
Planning integration into adCenter during the second ½ of FY07.
DeepMetrix is not currently accepting new accounts at this time.
Reporting to include page views, referrals, conversions, paid search ROI, advanced charts, site overlays, path reporting and more.
Plan is to offer an analytics product to all adCenter customers at no additional cost.

And another from yesterday:
First, the adCenter Blog has moved to Microsoft Live Spaces, so please update your favorites and blogrolls. The new URL is

Live Spaces has more flexibility, nicer layouts, and we think it’s just, well, better! What do you think? Tell us at

Secondly, the Microsoft adCenter Labs team is launching some new and updated demos:

Search Funnel 1.5: This demo will be updated with over 4 million keywords added to the database.

Keyword Forecast: This new demo will display a search term’s impression count forecast and demographic predictions in any format: flash, picture or text.

Check out these demos (they’ll be live tomorrow afternoon!) as well as others, including Forecasting Search Volume Seasonality and Keyword Mutation Detection, on the demo page.

Finally, today we launched two new forums on Microsoft Communities: one for adCenter discussion and one for adCenter Labs discussion. These forums will provide you the opportunity to ask questions directly of the adCenter and adCenter Labs teams and get answers right from the source. You’ll also be able to discuss adCenter and adCenter labs with other customers and learn more about new and existing features.

We know it’s a lot to digest (especially if you already have a belly full of candy!) so please feel free to ask any questions/share feedback with us at

Monday, October 30, 2006

CIA Recruits Google

Seems some former CIA higher up let slip that Google was working with the CIA. A Threadwatch article by KidMercury gives some good links and overview.

Nothing like a good conspiracy theory. I would have thought it much more interesting if Sergei was a former Russian spy who was planted here to bring about the fall of capitalism....


Seems being paid to post about things can make you money - directly from the comapny looking for links and good PR.

They want you to make money - hell it is how they make their money too. Don't think the affiliate program or referral program they offer is questionable. They have some serious deep pockets and may be able to use this to get themselves inexpensive links and PR.

I am signing up and will see what can be done with this... will be interesting to see if they rise in the SERPs and get others to buy the system.

Affiliate Marketing Forums

If you are looking to discover ways to monetize your web site, the tried and true method has been affiliate marketing - but it is not an easy job and while some people make a little part-time money as an affiliate - there are some people who are making 10s or 100s of thousands of dollars each month.

Affiliate Marketing Forums - Revenue Source is a great resource. Using forums to find out what is working and keep grounded with other people in the space is important. You will never learn everything or be able to test everything. Dveloping a group or a solid community can help spread the time restraints and get much more accomplished.

Apogee Search Pushing SEM

Apogee Search, a small Search Engine Marketing boutique, seems to be pushing the limits of SEM trying all sorts of methods to get their word out there.
Hopefully they will keep us in loop with their blog. Their site has some interesting White Papers and they have been in the space for some time now. Let's see what they share with their readers over the next few months.

HELP: CPM and CPM 2 and Whyville or Whoville

Okay I like the reports written over at Adotas, but this latest one about the new CPM model - CPM 2 as they call it seems a little mind boggling.
The use of an example of people in Whyville left me very confused... I felt like an outsider looking in at Whoville and wondering when the Grinch was going to show up.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Yahoo Creates Blog For Panama Feedback

Okay today must be bulk email day at the search engines. First MSN and now Yahoo! guess Google's is on its way.

Yahoo is creating a blog to get feedback on the Panama interface.

As you are no doubt aware, we have begun to invite our first U.S. advertisers to upgrade to the New Sponsored Search platform. We know that many of our advertisers are already excited about the new system, and we obviously have a lot to tell you about the upgrade process, the new features and tools, and other news of interest to businesses who market online.

As we developed the new platform, we determined that we needed a completely new way of talking with our advertisers...a pipeline in which information and ideas could move in both directions between you and us. We also wanted to create a place where online businesses could begin to think beyond search, and consider how many online advertising vehicles work together.

Thus, it gives us great pleasure to announce the launch of the Yahoo! Search Marketing blog at This blog is intended to be a holistic marketing resource for online businesses, in which you'll find the latest information on the upgrade, tools and tips--but also, in-depth how-to's, advertiser interviews, industry trends, links to articles, and other news and information you can use.

The community that a blog engenders is equally important to us. Through the comments section of each post, readers will be able to share their opinions and ideas with folks here at Yahoo! and other online marketers. The blog offers a direct pipeline to Yahoo! execs, and provides you with an opportunity to help shape future product offerings. We pledge to regularly respond to comments and questions in an honest and direct way.

We invite you to visit frequently, or better yet, to add it to your My Yahoo! page or to your RSS feeds to get up-to-date information for and about marketers just like you. We intend for the blog to grow and mature over time, and we hope to receive a lot of suggestions and comments that will help us make it even more useful to the community. So please, let us know what you think!

MSN Search Doing Heavy Advertising

Just received this in my email:

I wanted to make you aware of the beginning of a phased marketing campaign to promote Microsoft Live Search. As mentioned, Microsoft has heavily invested in the development of our Live Search product and we’re launching various marketing campaigns to generate awareness and gain share over time. The information below provides additional information about our initial campaign.

We are beginning the next major phase in the launch of Live Search with an acquisition campaign involving both print and online advertising, so we wanted make sure you were aware of what was happening, and also take a moment to update you on how we are doing on executing the Live Search launch plan.

Today we start a significant customer acquisition campaign for Live Search. There are plenty of details below, but you will want to look for our online ads throughout the web and our print ads running in the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, USA Today and the local papers.

The campaign launching today builds on the momentum of the successful MSN migration and expands the target audience beyond loyalists to what we call sharers – people who use our services like mail and MSN channels, but have not heavily adopted Live Search. We’re starting with an introductory phase to build awareness of our new Live Search service. We then quickly move into a direct response phase where we drive people into the Live Search service itself to experience all of the great innovations and features we have spent so much effort building. The campaign starts with a bang on Oct 27 (look for it in your newspaper, MSN homepage, Hotmail, and, which will include online advertising through the end of March, and sustained strategic online programs through the end of the year.

We will be building awareness using both print media as well as highly targeted, contextual online placements that aim to connect with people at the right time and place for them to consider a new search engine.

Online: Our efforts here will be focused on connecting with consumers at appropriate life moments and through highly contextual placements. For life moments, we have chosen to focus on Travel and Health and will be deploying custom advertising vehicles on the Everyday Health Network, Reuters, the Away Network, and Weatherbug that will demonstrate how Live Search can help with the topic being investigated by driving them to the Live Search service that’s appropriate for their topic.

Print: For the print campaign, we will have full-page print ads in the Wall St. Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post Intelligencer starting tomorrow. These ads will run three times in each publication over a one week period.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Searchles: The Social Networking Search Engine

Interesting article about Searchles, a social networking search engine... this is like the shared bookmark projects and other similar things. It has a slight chance of catching but if it does too many are poised to swamp the boat.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Courts Decide Google Don't Have to Police Trademark Advertising

I am amazed this piece of news has not gotten more publicity or comments in the SEM world.

While I think Google has other responsibilities (especially based on the "Do No Evil" credo) - the need to police and be accountable for the actions of its advertisers is an area I give them leeway. But this impacts so many people I am still wondering why it was not blogged about and discussed in the forums.

Have I been that out of the loop over the past two months that I missed this? Let me know!!!

Google Shoots Another Salvo at Analytics Companies

Hey I like Google and the AdWords product and their organic traffic but at times I think they come close to some type of meglamania (or is it meglo?)...

I know this is starting to become a broken record but - STOP - Larry and Sergei you are going to lose that cachet and that could be the momentum that changes things.

Why are you pushing all these analytics products - a smarter consumer is a better (spends more) consumer?

When Danny Sullivan said he surrendered and would accept the Google implant everyone laughed. But now I think the establishment of "Big Brother" may be getting closer.... our Orwellian future could be the day when Apple and Google join forces and the 1984 ads Steve Jobs promoted years ago taken on a frightening deja vu.

This free tools trick is not exclusive to Google... hell I know a lot of people that are giving away products others charge for... the analytics companies are getting a rough time right now and few are standing up to say something.

When Google starts offering free SEO - which has to be right around the corner now that they are optimizing landing pages - maybe people will start yelling a little louder... but it could be a little late.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mints, User Interfaces and Other Search Engine Similarities

The search engines seem to be becoming more and more similar these days. In the good old days they all had their own idiosyncrasies - which made it so much easier to tell them apart. Google ads' titles had 25 characters while Overture allowed you 90. Now Yahoo wants to mimic Google and MSN is changing to make the differences seem smaller.

Even LookSmart is calling their interface the AdCenter just like their former search partner MSN.

Uniformity I know makes things easier for analytics and using the same ads on different platforms, but the branded differences were okay by me.

I just came back from Shop.Org and the big three were there - funnily Yahoo and MSN were pushing there search products while Google was all about Checkout. In previous events Yahoo would have been promoting their shopping cart and MSN the quality of their content areas, while Google would have been the sole search pusher.

Even the handouts from MSN and Yahoo! were the same - mints.

MSN you lost the mint round!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Is Google Overreaching?

Okay they grabbed a chunk of AOL, bought KeyHole (the satelite pics part of Google Maps), Picasa - the free pic editor, swallowed Urchin into Google Analytics, created an online word document program, started a widgets area where others could showcase their efforts and basically created a shareware platform, and then came the last two BIG moves - $900 million to MySpace to lock up their advertising and $1.65 billion for YouTube (and a quick agreement with Warner and Sony to help promote their online videos).

Factor in they have started working on selling offline advertising areas: print, radio and television and are juggling deals for gaming ads too - the giant is getting bigger.

But are they losing sight of the bread and butter that got them there? Ask is pushing away with their continued TV ads, I seem to hear Yahoo! being yodelled over the radio quite a bit and MSN is getting aggressive with search.

I agree YouTube is hot right now but there are many stories of poorly timed purchases - just ask the NY Times - and the numbers are so high it would be tough to see them recouping the money if others join the fray.

There are some who see the YouTube pruchase as an attempt for Google to add more entertainment to counter Yahoo... hey with the numbers YouTube brings Google will fast be pushing at Yahoo's number one staus at Alexa... hey if they are not making good money from banner ads it could be a bust.

Keeping others away from MySpace was a smart move... the YouTube one could have a different result. But hey they still have another $6 billion sitting in the bank so watch out world Larry and Sergei have money burning a hole in their pockets.

Why not buy their favorite fast food chain? Wonder how much BurgerKing would cost???

Domain Hell Strike The Blog

Okay sorry for being offline for so long but I really learned alot about domain registration and the limbo known as soon to expire and die....

A friend and I were originally going to do something with the smart-keywords domain and he was the one to register it. When we went on to other projects I started to use it for the blog mainly. So in my ignorance is bliss state I happily went about blogging oblivious of the need to transfer the domain. So when it came time for renewal I was not the one that got the email and my friend had it in a large pile of other domains that he was no longer using and thus it fell into the frozen state.

When I finally was informed it went offline I happened to be in the Dominican Republic on vacation. So from there it took 2 weeks to get it back on track.... part of which was due to the inept tech people I spoke to over at GoDaddy - though the woman who finally helped me was a delight. It is amazing how good customer service is vital even in our online world.

So it is back and hopefully will stay that way for quite some time to come.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ESPN To Sell Own Text Ads

Barry Schwartz aka RustyBrick over at Search Engine Watch has reported that ESPN is dropping the Yahoo Content ads and is now about to launch their own ad system using Quigo's AdSonar software.

This could be the start of some large independent sites going the way of controlling their own destiny. Should be worth watching.

Google Experimenting With Ad Placement

Now you see them...: Google has confirmed that it's experimenting with an ad placement system that makes some ads disappear after a user has ignored them multiple times. Apparently, Google is testing the removal of sponsored listings in the "one box", the shaded featured area above search results, if those ads go unclicked-through four or five times. (The phenomenon was first noticed by search marketers who refreshed results pages four or five times without clicking in the one box.) In some cases, the ads are removed; in other instances, they migrate to the top of the search ads on the right rail. A Google spokesman told ClickZ that the trial was designed "to further ensure that users will find ads only when they're most useful and advertisers will receive the most qualified leads." On the plus side, that could work to drive conversion rates up, if ads were shown more often to users who had proven receptive to clicking on them; but there's also some speculation that it could drive ad prices up too by reducing the total ad inventory.

Now that is interesting... funny no-one notified us and we have bitched about the floating ads we are seeing....

Monday, September 18, 2006

Quigo Going Trying To Win Google, Yahoo Publishers and Advertisers

Quigo has been around for some time. Offering various products, they have stayed in the mix when many others have folded their tents.
They have been offering their AdSonar product for over a year now - though CNNMoney in their article today makes it sound like they are something new. I don't know if I would call them the "next Google" as the title of the article suggests, but I am going to test the claims and see how it does for a small amount of our traffic - say a couple of hundred page views for a month.
It would be nice to have an alternative. And the one thing I like about their product is the advertisers get to bid individually on each publishers available inventory. So the good ones will get more and promote sites to strive to be better to gain more income.
Then the arbitrage game would be about improving your site as opposed to just throwing it up and starting another one.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

26% of US Marketers Using SEM Tools

It is funny how reports tell us that between 70-80% of people use search engines to initially find a website, yet fewer than 30% of US marketing people use SEM tools.

Those of us who do don't mind - we will take the extra profits you leave on the table. But overall our industry is not being taken seriously in Fortune 500 boardrooms because of this.

Fair enough we will be the winners in the end - but I would like the industry as a whole to get a better image. Successful SEM people are as valuable as any that oversee other media and it is time that was recognised.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Miva Launching An IntelliLink Variation

Seems Miva is looking to launch an on page definition term text link to advertisement to help their publishing partners make a few more dollars.

Hey it was an idea that did not prove too popular a couple of years ago. But I have noticed others starting to use it again. Hey we have been implementing a definition tool that basically uses the same technology.

Ads may not be too popular but a link to a definition that allows you to click to another page will help increase page views - and if you have banner ads give you more impressions...

MSN AdCenter Making Big Migration

Okay folks here they go again. I just received this email.

Over the course of the next week, all MSN Search results will migrate to Live Search. Live Search will be the branded, marketed search platform for Microsoft.

Currently MSN users can use our search tool through a variety of ways including Home Page, throughout all channels of MSN including Hotmail, and Instant Messenger. Moving forward, Live Search will be the default search tool across the entire MSN network including . The attached document provides additional information and can hopefully answer your questions.

The attached file was:

Over the next 3 days, we plan to take the beta tag off of Live Search. All search boxes and toolbars on the and properties are scheduled to be completely migrated to send users to the Live Search Engine Results Page--including those who search on Hotmail®, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, on all properties, on and on

What does this mean for your campaigns on adCenter?

* All paid search advertisements will still be served by the Microsoft adCenter platform, so your campaigns, ads and keywords should continue to run as normal.
* In addition, we have conducted extensive testing and expect the advertising performance of Live Search to be as good as or better than on MSN Search.

Notable features of Live Search:

* Live Search lets us augment our search-engine investments with a customizable user experience. More than just an engine with a single search box, Live Search helps users personalize their search and more quickly find what is important to them.
* The Live Search interface is designed to display a better visual blend of paid and organic results. For example, you’ll find complementary fonts, less contrast around ads, and justification of ads with organic results.
* Best of all, with an updated search interface, Live Search is designed to attract and retain more searchers – to give you access to what you want – more traffic.

Learn more about the Live Search features at or, try it out today at

Friday, September 8, 2006

Game, Set, Match: Yahoo Goes to the US Open

I was lucky enough to be invited by Yahoo! to the US Open last night. Great weather, good company and a great match between Roger Fedderer and James Blake. Even got to see Martina Naritolova play mixed doubles and a couple of other interesting games on the outer courts.

Tim or Tom Gullikison played with Hana Mandilokova - both well into their late 40s - Tim/Tom (they are twins) has to be early fifties... one of the Gulliksons even had a daughter competing.

Thanks Yahoo! I had a blast....

And if you could decide to drop the black box pricing method from your future plans I think I would become a solid evangelist!!!

Google AdWords Offers Global Ad Viewer

The ability to find your ads on Google has been difficult if they are in a different country or a different pointed zip code or local area. Well not anymore!

Google has finally rolled out a tool for us that will overcome this hurdle.

It is well detailled in the AdWords Blog over at Google.

Thanks guys.... now could you let us know what everyone else is bidding on the keywords and I will be a happy man!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

BazaarVoice Launches Syndicated Review Content

I came across this article about BazaarVoice launching syndicated review content today and though thier offering may not apply to our specific market, the concept is one we have started to integrate for ourselves. Reviews and other methods of building a community or 'social networking' is proving to be a powerful traffic grabber.

People who offer products - affiliates or direct companies - could do alot with this added content and traffic source. It helps with number of pages and builds your authority, as well as more pages to get into organic results... seems like a winning method to me. Forum and review posters and readers also spend more time on a website.

I will follow this company's progress with interest.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Danny Sullivan To Leave Search Engine Watch

I get back from a vacation to read this:
Moving on: Danny Sullivan is leaving his post as editor of the influential Search Engine Watch blog after ten years at the big desk. Sullivan launched the online discussion forum for all things search and then sold it to Jupitermedia in 1997, back when the company was still called Mecklermedia. According to a Monday entry on Sullivan's personal blog Daggle, the reason for his departure from SEW -- and most likely from leadership of the Search Engine Strategies conferences -- was a failed year-long negotiation over an equity stake in the future of SEW and SES, which Jupiter sold to Incisive Media last year. "I helped build both of those assets," Sullivan wrote. "Then I watched one company sell them to another without me having any formal capital stake in the sale. That left me wary of history repeating itself." Sullivan will take his leave of Search Engine Watch at the end of November and will officiate at the SES Chicago show in December. Possible future prospects include independent consulting and the continuation of the Daily Searchcast podcast on WebmasterRadio.FM, now at a new URL:

Damn what is next?

As I posted over at you will be sorely missed. You have an army of supporters that will help you out any way you need us.

I do not envy the person who has to attempt to fill your shoes....

MSN To Offer Content Ads

The people over at adCenter emailled me asking if I wanted to be part of their pilot content ads program. This should be good... we have already seen the great value MSN leads offered begin to come back to the pack as their new publishing partners have come online as well as more advertisers. Guess I should keep things to myself!!!

Anyway here is the email:

On behalf of everyone on the Microsoft adCenter team, I’m excited to announce that we will be starting our pilot of Microsoft adCenter Content Ads early this fall. Content Ads is Microsoft’s next product that allows advertisers to place content-targeted, text-based advertisements primarily on Microsoft-owned properties including MSN Money, Real Estate, and many others within the portal. Like our search advertising product, it will also utilize our demographic targeting, geo-targeting and incremental bidding tools to help our advertisers reach the audience they want. Our Content Ads pilot will start as an invitation-only pilot, limited to selected current adCenter advertisers.

Lycos Using Blinxx for Video Search

Lycos has turned to Blinxx to add video search to their product offerings. Good move by both aprties - but I think any search engine that is not named Google, Yahoo or MSN (and hey Bill you may want to be the guy of the Big Three that develops this first if you want a chance of conquering Google) should be offering a CPA model.

I know I have touted this before - but the time is close when it will be here and of all the things that could change the playing field this is the one.

Bill Gross is working on it at The people at Acoona have launched Exchange Place which has some potential.

But good luck Lycos and Blinxx.

Here are some other links about CPA:

Adotas Conversation

DigatPoint Forum discussion

Friday, August 18, 2006

Move Over SimCity The AdSense Game is Here

AdSense expert Joel Comm has created a game about making money as an online publisher using AdSense.

Why not we have everything else.... next will be GoogleCity - buy a HQ and start your dominance of the world one application at a time..... hey he may use it to shill his book but there was some thought that went into this.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Everyone Wants A Piece of MySpace

Okay so Google cuts a deal with Rupert Murdoch's boys and becomes a partner. Not bad a $900 million committment for something Fox paid $580 million for a year ago....

Now AOL backdoors their way in. MySpace's IM system is run by UserPlane - which AOL bought last month.

But hey Google owns 5% of AOL - so they must be getting some of their money back....

We need to create a new game Six Degrees Of Separation from Google.... like the Kevin Bacon game.... I think the Google version would be easier.

Google Recommends Others Over Own Product

I have been trying to help someone with domain parking. He has a great list and needs to monetize it in a serious way. I remember a few weeks ago I was told about Google's AdSense for Domain Parking.

So I get in touch with people I know there and they reach out to others and what happens??? I get this reply back:

our technicians provided this website for me to pass on to you:

I am not sure if this is what you were looking for but it seems that their knowledge and info on this topic is slim.

You have to love that they are willing to give this away to an affiliate. But it questions if the company is getting so big that people do not even know their own products any more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Learn The Link Game From Experts

Aaron Wall, the SEOBook, and Andy Hagans, link strategist extraordinaire, have written a great instructional article about building link popularity. 100 Ways to Build Link Popularity in 2006 is a must read to people just starting out as well as a good checklist for the more experienced internet marketer.

Great job guys!

It's Raining Shopping Carts at Google

If you do a search today you will see the speedy shopping cart icon on all Google results - well at least that is what I was getting this morning in New York.

As I mentioned over at Search Engine Watch, I don't mind them but in the blue bar part of paid search they definitely tip the advertising hand there. Many people think the left results are all organic. I wonder if this little exercise will drop CTRs for the blue ads???

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Google Joins ValPak and Adds Coupons to printed Maps

Google has added coupons for the areas of their printed maps. Get a map and it comes with coupons... now that is a novel approach and a clever way to monetize the free maps.

A Link Buying Primer

Patrick Gavin, CEO of Text Links Ads and a regular speaker at SES, has put together a great starter kit for people new to buying text links.

During the recent SES in San Jose he was on the Linking Buying panel and gave some very good advise that most of his fellow presenters echoed. "Don't buy links just for the inbound text link."

Granted there had to have been some Google people there monitoring this panel as there have been in the past. Some suggested Matt Cutts was their watching who attended - but that seems to be the running joke of this repeated panel.

If you buy inbound links for their advertising the extra push they may give to your organic results are the bonus. This is not going to change - the alt tag text of banner ads when you can get them has a similiar if slightly lesser impact on organic.

This introductory primer is a great start for anyone consdiering the purchase of links.... good work guys!

Misinformation Pollutes Search

I guess there are too many people in our industry that really have no clue. This post is going to start a flame war but people really should think a little more.

I will apologise in advance if this was done tongue in cheek - but I don't think so.

Janeth - a seasoned poster over at WMW - made the following comment:
To make a site work good with AdSense or Overture the first step is in building a site that is totally useless or close to it.

This is an important first step because you don’t want your visitor hanging around your site, you want them clicking an ad and finding another site. Otherwise you don’t make money.

The sad thing about this is it will promote even more garbatrage filling the search results.

Come on folks - that is so totally incorrect it is laughable. I guess the $10,000 a month she was making at AdSense publishing was early and from some of the most lucky breaks in the world.

The post can be read here.

Monday, August 14, 2006

How to Purchase Text Links

The guys over at Text Link Ads have made a video explaining the process of buying text links.

Patrick Gavin, the CEO, speaks on the text link buying panel at SES and having seen his presentation a couple of times - both with and without the new graphics - I can tell you these guys really do lead the industry in this area.

Obviously this is just another form of advertising and any organic benefit you may receive from purchased link advertising is just another pleasant surprise - right Google folk!

Have to know there are people reading my blog from Google.

Guys those cellphone boosters you handed out in San Jose were a nice touch - but I am having someone see if they contain a tracking chip...

I am starting to get Google paranoia!

Friday, August 11, 2006

My Trip to SES San Jose

Thank god I think I avoided the picture takers to a large extent. At least anyone at the various parties.... I know there is a pic of me on the Arbitrage panel floating around which shows I did do some real work.

And Barry Schwartz aka RustyBrick took one of me in the limo on the way to the Google party - hey SEW mods need to travel in style - they pay us enough!

I got in early Monday morning and was at the convention center before noon - signed in and caught a couple of panels. They added a retail section and though I did not attend any, the feedback I got from a bunch of people seemed very positive. I am looking forward to the Financial Services SES in London at the end of October.

The Arbitrage panel was interesting - though Kim Malone from Google did not really want to address the cost to regular PPC advertisers the 'inactive' push of bids was having.

I actually had a bunch of people say they would liked that to have been discussed a little more deeply. But in fairness to Kim it is not her area - the PPC guys should have been there to address it.

Eric Schmidt's Q&A with Danny on Wednesday morning was informative if generalised. Seems his lawyers had prepped him well on what areas he could not discuss. He did, however, give some insights into the future of Google and the web in general - and Danny's joke about having the Google implant may not be that far off. They were handing out cell boosters and the running joke was they may be monitoring our phone calls if we use them!!!

The numbers at the Google party - which is now one of the big after session draws of the event - were impressive, but I was told all employees from Google HQ were invited for the first time this year - which accounts for all the young people wearing the light blue Google Dance T-shirts. I actually talked to one woman (must have been very early 20s) and when I excused myself saying I was going to talk to the engineers I heard her say as I walked off "what I could not be an engineer!" - sorry but I would have wagered quite a bit that you were not one.

SES is as much, if not more, about networking. Old friends who only exchange comments on forums or emails and the occasional phone call got to reconnect and enjoy the good weather in the outside beer gardens - the early Wednesday night session with the guys from Text Link Ads, Aaron Wall, the infamous SugarRae and sundry others was really entertaining even if the topics were a little off the SES scope. Well maybe just not main stream! Thanks for the couple of hours of laughs guys!

As usual the people from WebSideStory were out in force - I think you guys should now have information about my drinking habits to do a thorough analysis!

The T-shirt marketing campaign of Best of the Web has reached epic proportions. Every time I thought I had found Brian or Greg at the Google party it turned out to be someone else wearing their shirts. They were nearly as prevalent as Google T-Shirts!!! Hope there are plenty of pics of women in the small bikini strapped tees! I know Rae was wearing hers on Wednesday night.

The only downside of the event was getting home. The terrorists had to pick Wednesday night to be rounded up....

Feel free to add pics here guys and thanks for all the informative conversations!

Friday, August 4, 2006

Big Engines Form Click Management Working Group

Nice to know that the top tier search engines have formed an alliance to detail click types.
Their Click Management Working Group does show they want to deal with this. But that is sort of like letting the fox count the chickens....
For more details WebProNews has a good article.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

MySpace Changes T&C for Billy Bragg

Well maybe not just for him - but apparently the broad nature of the usage caused British folk rocker Billy Bragg to have all his music taken down from My Space.

His comments subsequently led to the changing of the Terms and Conditions.

Funny I have always liked Billy Bragg since his days as an alternative singer with his hit "Looking for New England".

One line of the song "I don't want to change the world". Guess old age has change his mind! Good one Billy!!!

Monday, July 31, 2006

MSN Adcenter Upgrading Soon

We’ve listened to your feedback and I am pleased to let you know about an upcoming Microsoft adCenter upgrade that offers new features to improve your online advertising experience.

Some upgrade highlights:

·Now, use Microsoft adCenter with the Firefox 1.5 browser!
·Daily, weekly and monthly data will be updated every hour to help you view results and optimize campaigns in real-time.

·Select the time frame for which you want your campaign and order summaries to show, instead of viewing them in the life-to-date format.

·User-interface changes to the reporting tab will make usability simpler.

·API upgrades:
API customers will now have access to more procedure calls. Detailed API communications will be sent to API customers.

Your keywords and ads will remain live during the upgrade.

The adCenter upgrade should be complete on August 5th between 8 A.M. and 3 P.M. Pacific Time. During this period, your current keywords and ads will continue to run; however, you won’t be able to access adCenter to make changes.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hakia: A Meaning Based Search Engine

I came across this today and thought it was interesting.

As their intro details they hope their "Meaning-based search will appeal to all Web searchers - especially those engaged in research on complicated subjects, such as medicine, law, finance, science, and literature. hakia engine is designed to evolve and improve its capabilities with each user interaction".

Though I don't think the future is in refining the search results - this seems like a good way to do that. Now if they were talking about a CPA model.............

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The SEM Version Of The Arisocrats Joke

So if you have not seen the movie "The Arisocrats".... go out and rent it now or catch on one of the numerous cable channels... just saw it again on HBO - it actually started tonight - great movie... definitely watch it... take the joke and apply it to the various conferences/forums/blog posts - we need that level of scrutiny and humorous challenge everyday!

New Features over at AdWords

Okay you can now see what Google filters out of your adwords campaigns in the name of 'invalid clicks' - god forbid they call that Click Fraud.

You can access it at the Reports area of your account but be aware it takes some digging. First inside your main area click on the Reports tab and find Create New Report.... inside there select Campaign Performance.... next in the Advanced Options click the Add or Remove Columns option.... you will see a list of them - all of which are selected except for Invalid Clicks and Invalid Clicks Rate.... click those and let the report run and you will have a new insight into the Google campaigns.

Our ads are showing about a 10% plus invalid click rate - add the 14% the industry is using now for Click Fraud percentage and you have the 25% or so that used to be bandied about a year or more ago.

Hey at least it is a start.

AdWords is also adding the Refined Listings option - this is explained at - enjoy that one it offers an interesting approach and may have better results for you as the person is then basically getting to you from a refined and second click.

We are in the process of starting tests on how successful this refined search is over regular search.

Software To Put Google Ads on Desktop

When is this going to stop. Hopefully the companies using the software that in a mild way will include Google AdWords as AdWare should have the ability to block this.

As reports SpiceWorks has developed a method for software providers to include AdWords alongside the software pages on your desktop... got to love it.

I am waiting for the day Google develops an ad selling platform that works on your shopping cart at the grocery store - click on the ad and the cart drives itself to the right aisle.... Come on Google that one should be easy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Google's Park A Domain Income Scam

You have to be kidding me. I missed this one, dealing with other things. But had heard the whispers about domain name income.

But really.... they are pushing AdWords CPC through the roof - to foil arbitrage and yet gain on the regular customers - but then are soliciting action on the harvested search pages for domains close to the keywords????

I want these guys' rationale of "Do No Evil" when I meet my maker.

I like Google but the smoke of the ever-added new 'widgets' may be hiding a blurring of 'church and state'.

If the redirect could easily be turned off - like not accepting blocked phone calls - then maybe...

and I know the argument is if it was for a domain or a keyword then a search would return this or a 'not there' message, why not allow the search results....

But the offering of income to the possible domain name association is also a slippery slope to influence on the vast collection of the non-website domain owners.

And don't forget as a registrar, themselves, they can even sell those domains to you. Why do they need the middlemen? Hell they know their traffic better than anyone. Why don't they just buy up those domains for themselves? It's their traffic afterall - they can do what they want with it - as many Dances have proven!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Acoona Launching Pay Per Lead

I got the invitation to the launch tonight at the Museum of Natural History and thought okay a couple of free drinks and some interesting conversation.

Now I read a little more from Adotas and I am more interested in attending.

Bill Gross - inventor of PPC - is also tackling this method over at His CPA model is being eagerly awaited.

Google too has been rumored to be working on this in some dark recess at Mountain View - maybe I can play Treasure Hunter when I am there for the Google Dance during SES San Jose.... Larry/Sergei want to leave me some clues???

Amnesty International Seeks Search Engine Help In China

The Chinese government has been rather successful in its suppression of freedoms most thought were integral to the internet.

Google, Yahoo and MSN have all agreed to censor search results.

And now Amnesty International is calling on the engines to help fight Chinese oppression. A recent BBC story details the call for help.

Personally I think they should answer with a resounding "YES". Time to live up to the moto there Larry and Sergei - Do No Evil - that is not limited to the United States - your success is global!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Google AdWords Inactivating Everyone

It is hard to figure out why there are all this activity putting keywords on the inactivated list and expecting high CPC to get them turned on again.

SEW Forums is exploring the randomness of it - as are other bloggers and forums.

As I mention in the thread we had one term where our CTR was 100% and they still put it inactive - guess in position 6 and converting all 5 impressions was just not good enough....

The wheels are getting a little wobbly - the Arbitrage Panel at SES San Jose is going to be fun - and I am sure one of the most attended.... I am on the panel so stop by and say hello.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Google Content Adds Category Site Selection

Guess I am a few days behind on this one - but I will be testing it this week and will get back with some insights and feedback.
Google Content is using categorization to make your site selections. They expalin it here.

Friday, July 7, 2006

SEO Books Tools

Okay two posts about Aaron today. You have to really appreciate the time and money he has spent for the industry. The free tools he offers cover the gamut of widgets we in the industry use on a daily basis.

He really helps make this job easier - not only with the tools - but also with the insights and information he provides. Thank God he hasn't been charging me by the hour - I would be broke by now.

Yahoo To Keep Showing Bids

Aaron Wall - aka seobook - posted over at ThreadWatch that Yahoo plans to change to the Google auction system but will still dispaly bid prices. That is a great touch and may have many people bound by budgets using Yahoo over Google.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

GBuy or GPal or GPC

The much anticipated Google e-commerce solution is set to be rolled out tomorrow despite rumours that it was happening today. Apparently senior Google staff were annoyed about the release date leak - though given the large contact Google has with all areas of business this is a little too much to expect.

Actually if you go and try and buy something over at the Google Store you will see it at work right now.

The terms and conditions calls it GPC - Google Payment Corp. They are asking you to add a credit card to your gmail/Google account when you try and buy something.....

Whether it is GBuy or Google Wallet or GPC or my favorite -GPal - let the games begin!

Gee Pal can I have some money?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

MSN AdCenter Upgrade Pushed back over a Month

Earlier this month MSN announced they were coming out with more upgrades to the AdCenter - June 22 was the date given but according to a conversation today when nothing was noticed changed - MSN has pushed this off until the end of July.... I think odds are good it goes over that until SES San Jose.

Guess the new AdLabs has taken a little more attention than they thought.

I received this today as well - announcing the new AdLabs.

I want to share some exciting news with you. On June 22, at the Hitwise Search Essentials Seminar, Microsoft announced the launch of Microsoft adCenter Labs, or adLabs, to the public.

AdLabs has developed technology that’s at the forefront of innovation for paid search, contextual advertising, behaviorial advertising, and local advertising. Witness the power of adLabs today at

Learn about the newest technologies
• Search Funnels: Customers tend to search by entering related keywords in certain sequences. You can use the adCenter Search Funnels tool to help you visualize and analyze these search behaviors through incoming and outgoing queries.
• Search Clustering: Microsoft adCenter’s Search Result Clustering (SRC) technology can cluster search results into semantically related groups in real time and then help your customers browse through the long list of search results. SRC can:
o Disambiguate queries that may produce contradictory results
o Display subtopics for search queries
o Display facts about people
o Show relationships among people
o Return answers when the query is a question
• Forecasting Search Volume Seasonality: Some keywords are searched more frequently at certain times of the year. Use this tool to help forecast the seasonal patterns of customers’ search queries.
• Content-Based Acronym Resolution: When a query contains an acronym or abbreviation, Microsoft adCenter technology can predict and display the most likely result based on the keyword’s context.
• Keyword Group Detection: This essential tool helps you find groups of words that are related or similar to your input keywords. Expand your keyword lists to maximize exposure to searchers.
• Keyword Mutation Detection: Based on Keyword Group Detection technology, this tool displays common misspellings or alternative representations of keywords that are frequently found in search query logs. This technology can help you broaden your keyword lists and then reach more customers.

Other notable technologies
Visit the adLabs site to explore: Content and Keyword Categorization, which enables Contextual Advertising; Demographic Prediction, which enables Behavioral Targeting; and Local Ads by PC Address technology, which enables automatic detection of a customer’s location.

About Microsoft adCenter Labs
AdLabs, a joint effort of Microsoft adCenter and Microsoft Research, is a state-of-the-art lab in Beijing with a mission to research and incubate advanced technologies for Microsoft adCenter. AdLabs is designed to provide you, the advertiser, with rich targeting capabilities and to give your customers a more relevant online experience.

Interesting Affiliate Forum

Okay I joined this from a referral from Aaron Wall and from the little I have read I think it could be an informative forum.
Like the name Wicked Fire.
Use AussieWebmaster as your referrer if you join... they are giving away a website if you get 30 referrers.... would like to get one just to see what it is.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Social Networks: Online Communities By Other Names Seem to Smell Sweeter

It never ceases to amaze me how the web seems to constantly reinvent the name of the basic online community. There have been many 'One Hit Wonders' in the evolution of the web but the basic building block of communities is one that predates the web.

Online communities were in existence back when teenagers would join a bank of modems to allow people to access there BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems). At first there were 'elite' boards that required a test of your knowledge and references from members - hacker and gamer boards with the latest demos and leaked prerelease version of games and software - or adult sites where you could buy your way in for access to pics that took hours to download on the old 2400 baud modems.

When the web established itself many of these people were the first to push the envelope for monetizing sites, creating tools and populating this new road on the super information highway.

ICQ, IRC and AOL pushed ahead with chat rooms before the WWW - though some limited numbers allowed on at any given time and others had too many so that the text messages scrolled by in a blink of an eye. This immediate system pushed many of the message boards back into obscurity or isolated them to small groups of hardcore members.

The news groups were still there but they tended to get flooded with spam and total garbage.

Then the message boards regained popularity under things like Yahoo groups and fledgling web-based BBS software. But the true popularity of such communities to reach a large global audience was always the brass ring just out of reach.

The systems would name themselves something flashy and try to suggest they were new or different. Blogs with comments was a recent version that seemed to take off - most of the conversations that take place in the comments section of the blog entry are a meeting of old cronies or the introduction of like minded niched readers.

MySpace seemed to capture a number of new elements but used the old community approach to develop the most popular social network.

And again it was the teenagers that pushed this to the next level. It was their perception of this being cool - or maybe their use of it that made it cool - but MySpace reached the top of this technology in terms of use and popularity and hype.

The latest entry into the area is - a music themed version of the social network and they are looking to become the next MySpace.

What everyone is missing is that the 'global village' finally has the methods to communicate and create itself. The village is really a large collection of smaller social groups talking to each other about the things they are most passionate about. It can be music, technology, industry knowledge or any of a million topics.

Niched portals or forums, networked websites, email groups and all the other forms all strive for community. What is happening now is another human reaction - we want our community to be the best - the hippest, cutting edge thing out there - at least how we perceive it ourselves.

The name and the wrapping does distract and influence. But underneath it all is the basic human need for company. No man is an island and with access to the web you will never have to be!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Robert Scoble Leaves Microsoft for Startup

Well-known Microsoft employee and blogger, Robert Scoble is leaving Gates' employ to join a podcast startup. Hopefully he will continue blogging - as his insights have been a joy to read.

EBay Selling PPC keywords

Guess everyone wants to arbitrage their traffic. Even Ebay has finally succumbed... though with the shotgun approach they use for their AdWords account - they may find themselves selling their own ads to themselves!

Reuters gives details here.

EBay Selling PPC keywords

Guess everyone wants to arbitrage their traffic. Even Ebay has finally succumbed... though with the shotgun approach they use for their AdWords account - they may find themselves selling their own ads to themselves!

Reuters gives details here.

Monday, June 5, 2006

MSN AdCenter Upgrading June 8th

I received the following notice of changes to the AdCenter at MSN coming on June 8th:

I am pleased to inform you about an upcoming Microsoft adCenter upgrade that offers new features to improve your online advertising experience.

Some upgrade highlights:

• Schedule and run reports in the background while you are working within adCenter
• API upgrades:
o API customers will now have access to enhanced reporting features.
o Upgraded API code will coexist with the previous version of the code to improve transition.

Your keywords and ads will remain live during the upgrade
The adCenter upgrade should be complete on June 8 between 4 P.M. and 8P.M. Pacific Time. During this period, your current keywords and ads will continue to run, however, you won’t be able to access adCenter to make changes.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Ask Starting Blog and RSS Search

Ask announced today they are adding Blog and RSS Feed search to the mix.

AIG acquired BlogLines earlier this year and seem to be gearing up to maintain that number 4 spot.

While I miss the butler, it does seem this streamlined version is moving quickly.

AdSense Revenue Sharing Program has come out with a widget to share AdSense revenue generated by various content providers. The press release makes for interesting reading.

I had heard this idea a year ago.... nice to see someone has it done.

MSN Has New Toys

Though this has been around for a little while, the AdLab has some cool toys to play with.

If I get the time I may have to go through them all thoroughly and give reviews.... anyone lese want to jump in and offer some opinions feel free to leave comments.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yahoo Touting New PPC Platform

Yahoo sent out this email today:

Though press releases and word of mouth have been discussing it for over 2 weeks....

Basically they are adopting the 'black box' or Google method of ad ranking and adding a bunch of features the advertisers have been asking for for some time.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Conquering Google May Be a Snap

While Yahoo and MSN battle for search volume with Google, a small pretender to the throne, , may have a chance to push them all off of the top of the hill. All search engines look to PPC to fund the rest of their search activities.

Well if the CPA model Snap is pushing forward with under the able assistance of Bill Gross - the creator of PPC, contextual marketing and many other web marketing methods as the head of IdeaLabs and other ventures.

With all of the problems the engines are having with Click Fraud - the CPA model would eliminate nearly all of them. True it creates a situation where the search engines and their publishing partners become affiliates for the selling companies - but the early part of web economies involved a lot of affiliate models. The bid based model of PPC could be introduced and platforms developed that would take the strengths of both and move them into an even stronger evolved space.

Sooner or later this is a model that will be very successful - the engines that run with it early could be the new Google, Yahoo or MSN.....

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Paid Search: Time for the Broom

Okay everyone is debating the search arbitrage issue right now. But that does not help me. The financial vertical is the heaviest hit in this area.

Case in point: do a Google search for "foreign exchange rate" of the 36 advertisers there are maybe 7 companies that actually give information without needing further clicks.

The usual suspects are there. - the father of search arbitrage - and all those 'best' sites and many others. Yahoo, Ebay and the kings of dynamic PPC are present.

But less than 25% of the advertisers actually work in this space, well unless you think someone whose existence is parsitic should be included.

There is a need to clean this up. Come on guys there are ring tone sellers using currency rates, money exchange etc. as keywords.... how do they get to stay for anything beyond the time it takes to get it looked at - 48 hours?

If this situation continues I think a new technology will be able to knock off Google and the rest - all that it will have to do is go back to cleaner listings.

It would be funny if this was the issue that lost the search market for the top three.

Google Rolls Out New Toys

Earlier today at Mountain View, Google used Press Day to announce the launch of a bunch of new widgets. The latest version of Desktop (4), Google Co-op, Google Notebook and Google Trends.

Google Trends does comparisons of searches over time and the impact various news stories had on those numbers. This could be a handy tool for search research.

Google Desktop is now in its fourth version.

Google Co-op is an interesting community builder with human input ad review - this could have all sorts of impact on search results over the next few years.

Google Notebook is not out of beta yet but will be soon and it promises to provide the ability to attached notes to a web page - well sort of like a sticky that is assigned to a particular website with notes that can then be kept and even emailled to friends and colleagues.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Yahoo Losing Another Valuable Person

Patricia Neuray, who has been heading up Yahoo! Search Marketing's Eastern Region for some time now, is leaving for a job with

She has been a stalwart advocate for her clients and helped change the user experience from frustration and poor communications to a positive and profitable one.

In a time of rapid growth, Patricia always took the time to listen to the needs of her clients and I am sure many of the new changes that the Yahoo interface is about to roll out came from input she passed along from us.

I will miss her, and have some dread about the transition that is to come. Her replacement has some big shoes to fill.

Best of luck at the new job - though I know you won't need it. They are getting a skilled and dedicated person.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Raining Yahoo Mail

Okay I got ther release and posted about it. It was worthy of passing along. But I get another one - a little less detailled:

Dear advertiser,

You’ve told us your needs and we’ve listened. A completely redesigned search marketing platform is on its way, full of advanced, easy-to-use features that will help you better manage your Yahoo! Search Marketing campaigns and connect with new customers.

As part of creating these enhancements, we met with advertisers of all sizes to hear first-hand the things they liked and didn’t like about Sponsored Search. We extensively reviewed all parts of our service, including the design, features and tools. The result of these efforts is the new Sponsored Search, which will start rolling out beginning later this year.

These new features have been extensively tested by advertisers and refined over time to ensure that we deliver a service that successfully addresses the obstacles you currently face. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received, we are confident that the new Sponsored Search not only clears away those obstacles, but offers new and better ways to manage your account.

You don’t need to do anything at this time - we just wanted to let you know about these forthcoming developments. You will be notified well in advance of your transition to the new platform and will be given the appropriate information to ensure that it is as smooth as possible.

Amongst the information you’ll receive prior to the launch will be the following:

A series of emails with tips on how best to prepare your account.
In-depth articles on our new features in the advertiser newsletter.

We are dedicated to improving your online marketing experience and by continuously focusing on providing innovative products and services in a user-friendly format, we aim to offer you the best possible method of reaching customers interested in what your business provides.

I have received these two pieces in every language I have accounts in... Arabic to Zulu - well maybe not Zulu but Swedish, Austrian German etc.....

Yahoo Unleashing PPC - The Interface Wars Begin

Yahoo! is making major changes to the PPC interface and functionality. Their latest press release (below) shows how they are using some of the Google features to make their PPC process more user friendly.

The New Sponsored Search is Coming

Better Ways to Connect with Customers Will Make Your Advertising Even More Effective

You've told us your needs and we've listened. A completely redesigned search marketing platform is on its way, full of advanced, easy-to-use features that will help you better connect with Yahoo!'s vast and valuable audience.

As part of creating these enhancements, we met with advertisers of all sizes to hear first-hand the things they liked and didn't like about Sponsored Search. We extensively reviewed all parts of our service, including the design, features and tools. The result of these efforts is the new Sponsored Search, which will make its debut this Fall.

Powerful New Features
The new features that will make advertising with Yahoo! better and more effective include:

Ad Testing
Easily test multiple versions of an ad to find the message that works best for your customers and provides the greatest return on your advertising investment. You can then choose to shift impressions to the ad that performs best.

Display your ads broadly or narrow your geographic distribution to better target your customers, customize your ads and control your costs.

Campaign Budgeting, Forecasting and Scheduling

Create, budget and schedule individual advertising campaigns for greater control over your advertising strategy and spending. Review forecasts of your potential clicks based on your bids and budget and see how many clicks you're leaving to your competitors.

Fast Ad Activation
Most new ad campaigns will go online in minutes, allowing you to connect with customers quickly, and easily make changes to your ads whenever you need to.

Understand how well your ads are performing relative to your competitors with the new Quality Index displayed for each ad. You'll also see the bid range necessary for premium placement at the top of the search results page.

Campaign Optimization
Our systems can automatically adjust your ad rotation and bids to help you spend your budget most effectively, based on guidelines you provide for metrics such as CPA, CPM or ROAS, allowing you to focus your time on managing your business.

Easy-to-Use Control Panel
A completely redesigned, easy-to-navigate control panel will help you see what's working and what's not--at the level of detail you choose--so you can take action and get even better results.
Thoroughly Tested and Reviewed by Your Peers
These new features have been rigorously tested by your fellow advertisers and refined over time to ensure that we delivered a service that successfully addresses the obstacles you currently face. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we've received, we are confident that the new Sponsored Search not only clears away those obstacles, but offers new and better ways to manage your account.

Frequent and Detailed Communication with You
Your account team will be working closely with you every step of the way to make this transition as smooth and easy as possible. In addition, beginning next month, we'll begin to provide you with much more detailed information about all of the upcoming enhancements, including:

* A series of emails with tips on how best to prepare your account
* A customized account transition plan and transition packet
* Online training seminars
* In-depth articles on our new features in the advertiser newsletter
* A new Yahoo! Search Marketing blog--a community forum for tips, news and your comments, as well as the inside scoop from our own staff, to help you be more successful.
This is just the first step. After all advertisers have successfully transitioned to the new Sponsored Search, we plan to quickly introduce many more innovative products, features and tools that will give you even more ways to connect with customers.

As always, thank you for doing business with us. We look forward to delivering the new Sponsored Search to you later this year.

They are coming out hard - the interface wars are about to start - October 1st seems to be a date bandied about for the implementation of most of these features - including the CTR influenced CPC bidding.....