Thursday, November 29, 2007

GMail Offering Group Chat Now

You have to love the innovations. Sure I get pissed occasionally with some of the Google antics but they really are trying to improve the user experience.

I started using the Group Chat today. Not bad.

The Google Channel on YouTube is pretty good as well. Hey they even have Matt Cutts giving lessons on Snippets.

They even are backing the One Laptop Per Child program - with the "buy one get one donated from you" recently.

So you may still need to drop the "Do No Evil" motto - why not change it to "Help The Best You Can".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Will Google DoubleClick Become Big Brother Or The Borg?

Yesterday a letter from the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust suggested that the merger of Google with DoubleClick could be a bad thing for the internet. It would allow Google to have too much control over all types of internet advertising and content.

The recent comments by Matt Cutts about what Google expects from webmasters - no follow, no link buying or selling, etc. is as Michael Gray said, in San Jose, not law. Google is not the government - though the Big Brother (and hopefully we are not thinking TV show here) comparisons have a little merit, I do not see it as the more accurate coupling.

Google is the Borg (and this time we are talking TV shows). It sucks up all elements of the web and bends them to the Google collective. I am tired of blasting the "Do No Evil" mantra - but it needs addressing.

When it first launched Google was the hippie uncle - cool product, no merchandising, very minimalist. Well look how far they have come now.

I just started to name products but deleted that as it would have taken way too long. Let's face it they are in every form of online marketing and with each entrance they decimate their competitors. Whole industries are dying because of Google and it is not going to stop.

When the United States eventually becomes the third world country its economy seems destined to get to, Google will have moved along to further building China and other faster growing economies.

I hold stock.... and think it a great investment - but I really don't like where they are going with all this. When Vanessa Fox left so did any fantasy of her becoming the Seven of Nine.... and Matt I am going to be looking for assimilation marks next time we are at the same event!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Microsoft Will Show You Your Competitors' Numbers

I had a meeting with a crew from Microsoft today about where we were going in the near future with search advertising with them.

The powerpoint presentation was impressive.... but showed how much they will let you know about your industry's search behavior in general, and your competitors information in particular. Not bad really until you realize they are sharing the same information about your numbers with your competitors!

They outlined top keywords used by our industry, volume available, range of CPCs and other demographic information. We were shown what our highest competitor was spending for how many clicks and what impressions.

We got information on 5 specific competitors - their impression numbers, clicks, average position and average CPC. You have to start thinking. Why do all the heavy lifting when Microsoft will share the knowledge with every new advertiser in the space.

We saw that we had a couple of competitors paying less per click - $4.50 compared with their $1.50 and averaged slightly higher in position and significant difference in their favor for CTR.

I like Microsoft - but they would not let me opt out of sharing my information.... as long as I get this report monthly I can keep my competitors behind me... we have done the heavy lifting and know what is worth buying.

Their offer for help writing creatives was turned down.... we know how to reach the right people why let someone who doesn't run the show?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Getting Directions Guys Can Live With

Google is implementing a plan that should have any guy wanting directions happy to use. You simply go to a gas station and while you are getting gas you have access to Google Maps!

It really is a perfect place for people to get directions - I used to stop at gas stations and look at the maps they had of their neighborhood (they usually were the ones given as part of your local phone book).

It is a major branding play but unless Google allows a bidding war on who gets the maps - will it be Hess or BP or Exxon etc - which would give the one with the maps a lot more traffic - I do not see how they make money (and we have all come to know Google is about making money).

Yahoo Opting Out of Search Soon?

I have to think that Yahoo has finally come to its senses and plans on dropping its push in search. Let Ask run its commercials and fill the void?

I guess Jerry Yang has decided he has too much on his plate and giving up the search battle will allow the company to concentrate on portals and banner ad sales. Makes sense since the search sales people have been absorbed into media sales.

Or is the decision based on the fact they figure Microsoft will get around to buying them soon and then it can be their headache.

I am thinking this since Yahoo is not exhibiting at the Chicago SES conference. They are doing PubCon - but hey everyone loves the drinkfest.... They did not exhibit at New York adtech either - and that was the biggest gathering of marketing people held this year anywhere!

I hope Microsoft gets there soon so my stock can get some value again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Party Like A Rock Star? Party Like An Aussie!!!

Okay guys hand it over. I think I meet all the criteria from all of the judges - the fact that I have partied with all of them should not be a conflict of interest!

Jeremy Shoemaker and crew are giving away a fully paid trip to Vegas PubCon. Okay it may be link bait but bottom line is it is a great prize and one worthy of a lot of free links just for the chance to hang with the judges and the rest of the wild ones running around Vegas that week.

If the winner is in town for the later part of the week I will even show them an Aussie Wild Night.....

I so love contests as link bait over the numerous "screw Google and give me back my PR" rants going on right now....

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

iPodolgy, iCars And Other Things Over The Top

I am so tired of all the press things "I" and things "G" get these days... and I am adding to it which is redundant. But I had to put it down on paper before I hurt someone wearing an IPod.

Okay the IPhone looks kind of cool... but way too much for a phone - so realistically it is a status item. Look at how cool and cutting edge I am I have an IPhone. Even with the drop in price I think it is a waste. I lose three or more phones a year and at even $400 I would be tipping less at the bars if I had to pay that much to replace my current phone.

The IPod may be a clever and handy item to most people, but to me it is a continuation of the isolation of mankind. You say something to a person at work and they don't answer.... oh they have the white "antisocial" buds in their ears.

And now Ipodology - a term that seems to be getting some play lately. I thought it was some sort of Steve Jobs cult, but apparently it is having the ultimate song array in your IPod, according to Urban Dictionary. Or maybe it just covers all things IPod and how it is such a growing part of our society.

The ICar has been a rumor, but seems to be sliding towards reality.

Other similar rumors are about the GPhone. Hey why doesn't Steve and the Google boys band together and take down the big M.

The web has been a great tool in modernizing our society - we seem to be truly moving towards the "Global Village" coined by Marshall McLuhan.

What we have to avoid is the extremism that allowed the dot com bubble and its burst in 2000. The inflated prices of some popular sites right now seems to suggest it could happen again soon.

Last week at the MIXX conference, I wanted to ask Google VP Tim Armstrong what was it about YouTube that was worth $1.65 billion. And Bill if you are reading this, do you really think FaceBook is worth $10 billion dollars? And why do they attempt to buy five percent for $500 million when CEO Steve Balmer calls the site a "fad"?

Seems we are getting back to the expensive nonprofitable websites that people believe will make them rich in the future. Thankfully most of the buying is being done by other online companies - unfortunately I own stock in a couple of them and I don't want to see Google and Yahoo make stupid decisions that could steal my kids college funds.

When I was in Amsterdam earlier this year I saw a great comedy show at Chicago Boom - Me, MySpace and IPod - the humor was cutting but hilarious. what we need to do is share this healthy sceptism.

In a world where our knowledge base (Wikipedia) can be edited by anyone with an internet connection, you have to remember most people have an agenda.

So take out the ear buds and talk to people. You will be amazed at how much fun exchanging stories and jokes can be!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Is Yahoo Getting Married Soon?

Okay they have something borrowed... let's face it Panama is just the Google black box with different wrapping. They just got their hands on something blue - as in Blue Lithium... and where is the something new... well staff would cover that one - they have had some major turn overs in recent months.

Now who could they possibly getting married to? And I guess they are the woman in the equation since guys are not collecting something blue etc.

Microsoft has been a rumored suitor... but who else could there be?

Given the size of the company it would need to be someone with deep pockets... maybe an offline corporation that wants to get into the web in a big way...

I am open for suggestions...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Marissa Mayer, the Holy Grail and CPA Walked Into the Bar......

In hidden rooms at the GooglePlex there are people frantically working to develop a CPA model for all of us searchers. Despite it being called the "Holy Grail" by Marissa Mayer at the Search Engine Strategies conference keynote address last week, cost per acquisition would eliminate quite a few of the search industry's problems.

Hey it would have been nice if this had been worked on and implemented before we had to pay through the nose for the "inactive" search bid process Google claimed would counter click fraud.... basically we just paid for the loss in revenue and sooner or later it was all back.

Now Ms Mayer I see Google riding along like the characters of the Monty Python in the Holy Grail movie... coconuts for horse sounds and an air of stupidity.

Wake up... if Bill Gross has not rolled this out yet then it can't be done right at this time.

The product now on offer in AdSense could be one of the first big launches that they will have to pull out.

If someone gets to this first, or Google simply gets sidetracked by another 10 projects, the balance of power in the search industry will change with it.

"Bring out yer dead... Bring out yer dead"

But I ain't dead yet! - drop the ball on this one and you will be making funeral arrangements.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Google Honeymoon Is More Than Over

The change made recently to Google's AdWords pricing makes me wonder how the relationship ever started. We were seduced by what looked like an engine that cared and are now finding out we are being pimped.

I hear the words.... it is to help people get top positions - but come on doesn't that mean get people to spend more money.

Did someone actually sit back and say "how can we raise pricing and get advertisers to think we are helping them?"

Hell isn't having the lion's share of traffic enough. Must we be squeezed for every dollar?

Stating that Quality Score will have a lot more importance is dubious at best. The QS was already a major factor. Hey between that and the good old inactive actions the advertisers paid for Google's poor attempt to drive out the arbitragers. I brought that up at every arbitrage panel at SES and never got an answer.

This time around Google wants to jump up the bids by now using the actual Max CPC to determine placement.... I must be stupid but they have always used the Max Bid as a factor I thought.

Okay but really isn't the QS now just taking the place of the Max Bid... it is major influencer and has had the import of evaluations done by $10 per hour help. Some may be solid but the vast majority were looking for some easy money - can you blame them... so is Google.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Facebook CEO Accused Of Stealing Site Concept

They open it up to non-college users and the site blows up... I have been inundated with friends requests (and sent out a bunch to add to it)... there are widgets and email notifications... it was major viral marketing... and now it all may end if the lawsuit holds up.

MediaRiver's ClickSurge Interesting Content Monetizer

I don't know how I missed this when it launched at the end of May, but I was glad to have a conversation with a couple of the people over at MediaRiver (formerly known as Intelltext) and a one-on-one webinar that showed me the potential of this new little widget.

ClickSurge pulls content links relevant to the page content it appears on. Not ads per se but links to articles - from your site and other publishing sites thatare part of the network.

Intellext, creators of the Watson next-generation contextual search software, changed its name to MediaRiver, and released a new product for web publishers, highlighting a move into the digital media space.

ClickSurge, MediaRiver's new offering, enables Web publishers to guide Internet users to the publishers' online content in a discovery-based contextual model. ClickSurge increases page views and maximizes the reach and profitability of monetized content by contextually placing links to that content onto web pages at a publisher's website, at a partner's website or on any Internet page, including user-generated content sites such as blogs and social networks using modern widget technology.

"As the digital media landscape grows increasingly crowded, driving new visitors to Web properties and maximizing the time those users spend on those Web properties is paramount for generating revenue,"said Al Wasserberger, CEO of MediaRiver. "With ClickSurge, content publishers are able to quickly and easily connect the right audience to the right content at the right time, dramatically improving unique
user counts and page views per visit."

ClickSurge leverages MediaRiver's core contextual technology, which was originally developed in the Intelligent Information Laboratory at Northwestern University and used in the company's Watson desktop application, applying it in the case of ClickSurge to the Web. The company's patent-pending technology allows content of any type, including video, music, pictures or text, to be linked onto any web page dynamically and contextually, based on the unique properties of that web page.

When used for driving site recirculation, as it will be for new MediaRiver customers and, ClickSurge drives up the number of pages viewed during each site visit by contextually linking content throughout a ublisher's site or family of sites. Users view a publisher's related content and follow logical, sequential page views of that publisher's monetized content. As a result, the site visitor enjoys a compelling user experience and the publisher prompts monetized page views by keeping users on the site.

"People online are experiencing links to rich, relevant content. Once engaged, they are likely to click through to a publisher's various properties," said Art Chang, CEO of social network and founder of venture capital firm Tipping Point Partners, LLC. "ClickSurge is the ideal platform for presenting our content to new audiences, driving syndication deals and creating a compelling online experience that keeps users on longer."

ClickSurge serves as a key business development tool for creating and implementing traffic-driving partnerships. Regardless of how a publisher monetizes their content syndication and cross-linking partnerships, ClickSurge automatically populates their partners' Web pages with links back to monetized content.

Media companies such as new MediaRiver customers Motley Fool (, ClubPlanet ( and Revolution Health will also be using ClickSurge to drive page views as a part of their viral web widget strategies.

"When Motley Fool discovered ClickSurge, we recognized its potential to virally distribute our content to investors all over the Internet while increasing traffic to our monetized content," said John Keeling, SVP of "With ClickSurge, we look to multiply page views throughout our network of sites. The platform will be a key way to expand our online audience."

There is no upfront cost for a web publisher to get started with ClickSurge. Instead, the publisher pays only a percentage of the new revenue realized from new traffic to their web properties.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Google's Dodgeball Helps Avoid Stalkers

Okay Dodgeball has been out there for awhile, but I really only gave it a good look recently and have come to the conclusion that it is a good tool for people trying to avoid stalkers.

Which also means it is a good tool for stalkers to find their victims.

This new attempt to mix social networking to your phone has some merits. Find out if any of your buddies are out and about and where.... helps you plan what to do for the evening.

You can also let Dodgeball know where you are and they will send out an SMS blast to all your listed friends.

I asked my eternal reference about this one: my 15 y-o daughter and she said "this is for older people"... so maybe it does have potential. But will never get the audience of YouTube and MySpace. Midteens use MySpace to IM their friends... they don't check into emails etc.

But if you have a stalker you can be alerted whenever he/she is within 10 blocks... now that is helpful. But more than likely the stalker does not log in.

The stalker opens an anonymous account and then uses it to track who he wants to stalk.... ages are given in this thing so it gets a little scary how it may be used.

We need some serious out of the box thinking when it comes to the social networking tools out there... while the average adult may not use them alot... the ones parents don't want out there interacting with our kids seem to be the best skilled with them.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Random Surfer Theory

Part of the Google organic algorithm involves what has been called Random Surfer Theory. It is the unstructured nature a person uses the web to find things. A click here and a click there, follow a text link, try a banner ad, do a search... the connections between sites is tenuous and haphazard.

Where did it come from? Math and in particular graphs.

Throw in a little of this and a little Erdos Numbers.... and eventually you get a feel for it.

A person - Orion - who's opinion I value and who I have seen give a panel session to thousands at SES over a cell phone feed through the room's sound system - with his Spanish accent - and just a very small number left the room through his discussion of advanced search theory - details it.

Orion aka Dr Garcia, in an interview with Rand Fishkin over at SEOMoz, said: " By 1995, I heard about something called “search engines” and “web crawlers”. I immediately realized that the Web is a dynamical system. Many processes on information flow, retrieval and web surfing respond to equations of the same form to those modeling random walk, diffusion and markovian processes. For instance, in DLA we talk about “sticking probabilities” and the “probability that a random walker visit a site of a growing cluster”, In “Web terms” we talk about the probability that a random surfer will visit a site part of a web graph. However, let’s keep in mind that this graph is not static but is constantly growing.

Another analogy, a random walker moving through a self-similar DLA structure and a web surfer moving through a self-similar link structure are similar scenarios. The structure can affect the behavior of the walker and the walker can affect the growth of the structure. Depending on conditions, a system can exhibit different degrees of surfer-surfer, surfer-structure and structure-structure interactions so the walker no longer is a pure random or pure deterministic walker. Certainly these are crude analogies."

It is a little complicated when it is attempted to be mapped out. Basically it implies that web users do not follow very structured lines to get where they want to go.

If you overuse repeated anchor text, use the same landing page for the text links, buy links that archive and end up being thousands all in the same spot on a page ad using the same words.... you violate Random Surfer Theory...

Or as Shakespeare wrote: Oh what "an untangled web" we weave when first we practice to deceive.... well he should have!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Where Was Will Smith This July 4 When Aliens Took Over HP

Okay I want to know where Will Smith was this July 4. He is the king of Independence Day movie releases and I did not see him in Transformers.

Well Will I have a story line for you. Unbeknown to the world, Hewlett Packard was taken over by aliens both extraterrestrial and non-US residential on July 4th. How do I know this? A problem with a computer allowed me to see that it had happened and when.

I bought a laptop for my daughter late August 2006 and the fan had broken recently causing the system to cut off after a few minutes use. No big deal it is a HP Compaq and they have a one year warranty.

So I track down the customer service number and give them a call. The person who answered my call had a heavy Indian accent and after a few repeated questions and answers had an response for me that tweaked me to the invasion.

Apparently my warranty ran out July 4th. This was a generic date as I did not have my proof of purchase handy... but that suggests the laptops mine was shipped with were delivered July 4th... not too many shipping companies working in the US on Independence Day.

Had to be aliens, right. So Will lets grab some planes or tanks and get to HP headquarters fast. Who knows what viruses they are loading onto the computers...

Now if that is not the case I can only think the standard response is to tell anyone calling that their warranty ran out two days prior to their call... nothing like adding a little to the frustration of the people in the US if you live in India - as my sarcastic helper Joy (a guy whose parents had a sense of humor and may have contributed to his attitude) told me.

I got the proof of purchase after a quick call to PC Richards - two minutes and it was faxed to me. But they were local and rely on customer satisifcation. I was on hold and in conversation for well over 25 minutes with HP.

Outsourcing is part of a global economy, I realize that. But you have lost me ever buying another HP product for my home or my business. Guess the aliens may have disregarded the computers and just sucked up the company's soul.....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Are The Big Three Search Engines Xenophobic

I was writing a thread post at Search Engine Watch about how Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have decided having any social event at the Latin SES in Miami is not worth the money, when I started to see a pattern.

I really think these engines are very xenophobic. Okay they have opened some other languages and countries to their mix, but they do not get any where near the attention that the US traffic does.

True, no other country spends as much online - but that is for the moment. The same could be said about the US only a few years ago. Back prior to 2000 the main flow of money on the web was in the porn industry. But buying anything else - by 'real' people - was not a trusted process, many people did not have credit cards and the debit card had not been invented.

The current state of things in most other countries is the same as back then in the US. In South America vendors are starting to add e commerce options for their businesses online. People are starting to get access to debit cards and are willing to buy stuff online. Now as salaries increase and access to the web becomes more prevalent, this swing in the buying power of non-US internet users will be very noticable.

China is a great example. Baidu and Sina have been the front runners and Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are in there trying to make partnership deals.

In Japan, Yahoo does not even own Yahoo Japan - that is part of Soft Bank. Yahoo rules in Japan.... just not the real Yahoo.

Meanwhile, Germany and France have started developing their own search engines... guess it is up to Brazil and one of the Spanish-speaking countries in South America to do the same. The big three are xenophobes... would love to know if Larry or Sergey , the Yahoo boys, or even Bill - a 2007 recipient of the Order of the Aztec Eagle condecoration from the Mexican President - have illegal workers doing their lawns or washing?

Hopefully someone with a deeper insight into the development of population groups and the preferred languages of future internet users will start developing better multilingual search tools and grab the attention of the internet marketing people who know the value of multilingual marketing already.

We are waiting for the rest of the industry to catch up. I attend the Miami SES for this reason.... I want to stay in front of the curve.

As any surfer will tell you that is where the best rides are.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Google's Handy MultiLingual Search Tool

I discovered this little gem while doing some research for my panel presentations for SES Miami in just over a week. This translation tool will be very helpful in some cases. But it also allows the trap many multilingual marketers seem to fall into, translating words from one langauge that may not really be the words used by the other language to describe the same topic.

Successful multilingual marketing takes a little more than direct translations. Now if they could combine this with a keyword suggestion tool so people could see the other possible ways of saying a phrase, then we would be able to do searches for these other terms and possibly find what keywords the locals are using to attract customers.

The Spanish market as I mentioned in the previous post is one to get involved in now. So I would recommend joining us in Miami to get some great insights.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

SES Miami: Catch The Latin Heat

Amid all the competition in the search engine conference industry right now, many people are overlooking the growing value in Latin America.

The economies of the countries have stabilized. The use of the web has grown rapidly, as has the number of online buyers. Yet the push by the major engines into this space has been pretty lame.

Wake up Yahoo! and Microsoft it is far easier to compete in this market and grow into it. Don't give up the US market, just see beyond it.

Yahoo has the benefit of their purchase of Terespondo, but are slow to push the growth in the space.

Yahoo and Google will be exhibiting at SES Miami - Microsoft did not even think it worthwhile....

Guess the adTech event the following week is the play this year. Should be interesting to see who they have for the search portion... the press release says there are 120 speakers covering all areas of media.

Getting the people from the search engines as speakers is good when balanced by advertisers and agencies etc. - this does not seem to be the case at adTech, while SES provides an in depth look into the Latin search market as well as access to the people from South America who head many of the larger companies search programs.

It never ceases to amaze me when you see provincial behavior from companies that exist on the web, especially the search engines. No wonder you have the French and Germans building their own search engines....

Catch the heat baby. Join me in the debate about this at the bar of the Intercontinental June 17-19 (conference runs 18 and 19).

SalesForce, Google Partnership Missing The Boat?

Okay they have been talking... hell for that matter I have been talking about this partnership for over a month.

Smart move on the part of SalesForce CEO Marc Benioff I originally thought - he sees the future of Google Analytics and wants to integrate with them to provide the offline to online conversion metric. The integration of Visual Sciences - formerly known as WebSideStory - with SalesForce was one of the reasons we chose it. We can pass the lead level info into our CRM and when it converts we can make informed decisions on our marketing spends.

But it also gives us the ability once we have that information to make our sales process more efficient by giving the more valuable leads to the right sales people.

The marriage of two major players in the on demand space was ideal.

I had heard SalesForce was launching a Content Management part some time later this year that would help their users sell the content or network it or do whatever they need with it.

Plug AdWords into this and you can see why Google was ready - but when does SalesForce get the big return? It comes by being the CRM part of Google Analytics... it was why I thought they were talking in the first place.

But as the press release states:
Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords, is a robust offering that combines the power of Salesforce on-demand CRM applications with the Google AdWords™ platform to achieve integrated sales and marketing success. This joint solution provides businesses of all sizes with the same tools used by larger enterprises to successfully attract and retain customers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Rand Versus Shoe

Funny I know both of these guys and always knew they did not have the same business model. Guess they thought there was only one so the other must be doing the same thing.

If you have not seen this I am amazed you found my blog - as theirs get much more traffic.

But for a summary of the Rand versus Shoe debate those links will help.

Where do I stand... funny I think both of them will think I am on the other side.

Personally I think there is some form of benefit from any blog. Whether it is ego stroking (mine) or altruism (Rand's) or monetization (Shoe's), there is an ultimate motivator. I have ignored my personal blog because I have been doing work for Search Engine Watch. I figured I would get more exposure - combine that with I am too lazy to do the post it here and then reference it there stuff that many others are famous for...

Should every blog have a prominent disclosure text on the homepage? Sure why not... I guess we could make the About Us link the "About our blogging motives" link.

Must admit both parties have had a fair amount of traffic from this little crossfire. If I didn't know better I would almost think it was staged.... but while both would have thought about it, only one of them would have gone for it! (at least in the harsh light of day)

If only disputes about algorithms or PPC methodology received as much debate.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Elisabeth Osmeloski Leaving SEW

Elisabeth you will be sorely missed. You definitely increased the overall beauty quotient of SEW (sorry folks but it is true), but more importantly, also improved the intelligence levels.

You epitomise our industry: friendly, helpful and a lot of fun.

So even though you will be off conquering the travel vertical, we will expect you to keep your hand in and give us more photo ops....

Zonder got the new hire of the century.

I consider you more than a friend. We are mates! And I expect to keep asking for your help for years to come.

Best of luck on the new adventure.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Google Blogs Reflect Real Priorities

Funny Google may seem to be saying all the right things, but I noticed something earlier today and spent a little time checking my theory against other blog posts made in the various Google blogs.

Basically what I caught first was the order in which a Googler listed mentioning a penalty for promoting clicks of your AdSense ads.

Many of you may remember our December post on the placement of images near ads. In that spirit, we'd like to remind you of a general policy issue: encouraging clicks. As many of you know, our program policies prohibit any means of encouraging users to click on Google ads or bringing excessive attention to ad units. For example, sites may not contain phrases such as "click the ads," "support our sponsors," "visit these recommended links," or other similar language that could apply to the Google ads on your site. In addition, publishers are not permitted to label the Google ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements."

In light of this policy, you may be wondering if you're allowed to recommend your referral products to your users. As explained in Dan's post from February, unlike with AdSense for content ads, you can endorse your referral products by calling attention to the button or text link.

If you believe in the quality of the product that you're referring, feel free to let your users know. Generally, visitors should only click on Google ads if they're interested in the services being advertised. Encouraging them to click on your Google ads, either directly or indirectly, can lead to inflated advertiser costs -- and can cause an account to be disabled. If you'd like to improve the performance of your ad units and attract more interested users, check out our Help Center's optimization tips to take full advantage of what AdSense has to offer.

So it's okay to say whatever you want to get people to sign up for AdSense but not to click an ad. Oh, and "inflated advertiser costs" is a priority over accounts being disabled... what about the refunds to the people whose ads were clicked?

Since ads rotate it would be hard to work out... well not really since any clicks attributed to this partner should be refunded (never happens that way though). And while it is nice to hear the concern about 'increased advertiser costs' once the accounts are disabled the money should go back to the advertisers... though I have a tendency to think it is just money Google lumps into the rest of their overfilled pockets....

Or this condescending gem: Still, making sure that your site stays squeaky clean policy-wise can sometimes take a little more mental effort than most of us might be willing to spare.

I hate when someone makes themselves as stupid as they are calling everyone else...

I know I am not that dumb... I may be able to convince you that you are, but sooner or later you are going to come around and then just feel sorry for the 'dumb' person who thought you were part of the dummies.... meanwhile they have you until it clicks and any time they gain is a plus for them.

Google's "Do No Evil" matra is wearing thin just like that. But they had a good long run where everyone belived in it... guess they will ride that one into the ground.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Greatest Living American

Okay Rand anything to have some fun. Stephen Colbert is the Greatest Living American.

Now you have to help me find the guy who owns - have a whole other campaign in mind for that one - DaveN watch out (though would gladly sit numnber 2 for that one with you).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Search Conference Chaos

No, this is not going to be a post about the after hours activities at NYC SES. What happens at SES stays at SES.

The search conference chaos I am referring to is the fast growing list of conferences and the chaos it will be creating in the near future.

There has always been the two major conferences - SES and PubCon and other fun smaller events like WITS. But now we have so many more players in the space including Danny Sullivan and crew's SMX premiering in Seattle, SEO Class - starting with a free event for non-profits, SEO Days with its array of All-Stars and the other star-studded Elite Retreat.

Every continent seems to be getting into it...

Like any good marketing effort, the sponsors and exhibitors will test the various venues and develop ROI analysis.

PubCon and SES will be going head to head in December - should be interesting... attendees will have to choose, as will speakers.

The landscape is getting crowded and chaotic, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. The small events meet a needed niche, whether through better one on one assistance, stronger teaching sessions or specific information about a particular vertical, the increased interest in these events is reflective of the growth of the search industry.

What is unfortunate is the impact on the social dynamics of the older events.... for example, Aaron Wall, part of Elite Retreat, used to be a regular attender of SES but has been missed at recent ones. The timing of the December PubCon will have a larger impact.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Free Web Analytics Class

The guys over at ClickTracks have a couple of web analytics gurus Jennifer Laycock and Matt Bailey giving a free online class Monday March 26th or Tuesday March 27th.

Free education is something I love....

I also this week did a panel for the EcomXpo. Fun to see how these things are done. We talked about the Future of Search... they should have it in their library if anyone is interested.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Google Thanks Users For Feedback

I just got this email from Google. First of these I have actually noticed. Nice job David!

A few months ago, we invited you to provide feedback on the Google AdWords program,
and we appreciate that many of you did so. Now, we want to thank you for taking the
time to share your thoughts in our survey and let you know the highlights of what we

You, our Advertisers
The vast majority of you are responsible for allocating your company's advertising
spend, managing your account and evaluating the effectiveness of your campaigns. In
addition, most of you expect that you'll see either modest or significant growth in your
business over the next year. We hope that weÆll be able to help you achieve your goals as
we build off of the feedback that weÆve received from this survey.

Program Highlights
We were pleased to hear that most of you are very satisfied with your AdWords
experience. You let us know that you rely on Google AdWords as an integral part of your
business and a key method of driving traffic to your website. Overall, you are pleased
with the performance and results of your AdWords campaign, though you know that they
can always be improved.

In order to achieve these results, you want the best possible account management tools.
Our reporting tools, such as Report Center, were consistently rated as a major strength. In
addition, you found that AdWords system performance was very strong.

Opportunities for Improvement
Though we were happy to hear about our strengths, we're more focused on how to
improve our program to better meet your needs. Here's what we heard from you:

First, while a few of you crave simplicity at any cost, the majority of you are asking for
increased capabilities. In particular, you're looking for additional ad controls, new
performance metrics, and advanced bidding options.

Second, you want more transparency into AdWords - from providing you with more
information on how the system works to notifying you about changes in the pipeline.
We're working to address this, and hope that you'll continue to tune into the Inside
AdWords blog ( where you can find information ranging
from AdWords tips to recent feature releases. One recent example is a post that provides
you with more information on our Click Quality team, including how to request an
invalid clicks investigation and understand if suspicious clicks in your account are
actually invalid:

Get a Free Customized Optimization
Finally, we want to help you improve your advertising performance, so we're expanding
our customized optimization offerings to help you meet your goals. Campaign
optimization can help maximize your return on your investment, targeting potential
customers interested in exactly what your business offers. If you are interested, reply to
this email, and you will be scheduled for an optimization as soon as possible.

Thanks for participating in our survey. And please keep your feedback coming!

David Fischer
Vice President, Global Online Sales & Operations
Google, Inc.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

AvenueA/RazorFish Wins Yahoo SearchLight Award

I wrote extensively about the event at Search Engine Watch.

But I want to give kudos to AvenueA/RazorFish for their presentation and informative search report.

Hey if I had voted for anyone else it would have purely been on presentation. I loved Talladega Nights - laughed more than my kids and recommend it as a film. But the Sprint campaign was a little short on search... yeah they used Ricky Bobby and misspellings etc. as their keywords but apart from the cute blonde presenter they lost me.

Special K and the new marketing appraoch for weight loss was something I have seen on TV but it was noticable that the women were the more attentive listeners.... I had seen their ads but nothing in search (though I could use some weight loss info).

The Lexus LS ads by Team One wre clever use of intertestials on the Yahoo homepage but gave little to inform me about using search in the space.

Hands down the Chase campaign by RazorFish was the winner.... more search info... though they would not give ideas about conversion amid their other campaigns.

I think anyone submitting to the awards next year should be aware this about search and concentrate the info about that - and surprise you could win.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Neal Wilson Joins The Yahoo Evacuation

Neal Wilson and I have worked together for over 3 years. He is one of those Yahoo! people who really knows his stuff and did not come with the Overture notion that they were 'Kings of the Castle' because they 'invented ppc'.

He knows what customer service is, knew enough to develop a personal friendship - well I guess that was because we both had a sense of humor and kids. Why Yahoo is letting him go is another question I have to ask.

If you guys plan on really improving your PPC share then losing guys like Neal is counterproductive.

Your restructuring is going as slow as a 300 baud modem.

This is not the time to think the new kids on the block will be your saviors. The long-term people who stuck it out through "the blob"; have watched your endless high end corporate staff shuffle and stayed; those people who have the respect of your clients and in many cases are spending money with you purely because those people are there - you have been pushing them out lately, or not treating them as your true diamonds (I know this from conversations I have had with others in my positon, as well as what I have seen)...

Stop shooting yourself in the foot.

Neal best of luck at the new venture - you should arrange a get together of recently departed employees - I am sure there would be a line of people grabbing at that drink or dinner tab.

Great Free Webinar

I have a friendly adversarial role with Tim Daly of Send Tech.... we are on either side of the Arbitrage issues at times over at the SES conferences... they are always fun.

But this free webinar was informative and well worth spending the time watching it.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Breast Milk Scares Pork Board

Jennifer Laycock - the infamous Lactivist - well at least to the Pork Board - received a cease and desist from the 'other white meat' folks for her use of the slogan 'the other white milk'...

Come on Pork Sucks you have to be kidding me.

Jennifer has written about it in a very humous manner... well worth a read.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Pornado: The Word Of The Year

Okay I am doing the usual TV and net work at home a few minutes ago and heard the term Pornado for the first time.... have I been under that deep of a rock?

A character on Bones to cover his knowledge of a soft porn site blamed being online and hit by a popup that turned into a Pornado - a flood of pornsites taking over your system.

Don't see them as much as you used to with spam and popup blockers but make one wrong turn and they are still around.

Had to write about it before it fell out of mind.

Sometimes You Have To Love The Spam

I received this spam email today and had a good chuckle.

I am trying to contact Forex Trading.

Anyway I specialize in converting traffic into sales
and getting traffic to your site. Since you already
do some type of advertising in Google,
I know I can help you out. I was wondering
if you could get back with me as soon as possible.
I look forward to working with

In today's Internet Economy everything is about
performance. I know I can help drive traffic to and lots of it.

After the first month, it is only .25 a click
with a $300 min. That's all there is to it.
I hope that sounds good to you.
I look forward to hearing some kind of response.

(I deleted the link here

Please get back with me at your earliest convience -
or you can email me here (I deleted the link here - not an email address but

Jeff Brown
(c) 1-800-408-3413

(If we emailed you by mistake and you would like to be taken off please go to the url.)

2805 E. Oakland Park Blvd #278
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33306

Okay I know email spammers look at us as cattle so I had to laugh at that name a classic. Add on to that the script underneath that they used to record everything it was an education on how advanced some spam is getting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Feb. 5 Yahoo Becomes Google

Yahoo annouced their change of ad serving to include that Google favorite Quality Score. Read the release so you know what I am ranting about.

Sunnyvale, Calif. January 23, 2007 – Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), a leading global Internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide, today announced that it will launch its new search marketing ranking model in the U.S. on Monday, February 5. With the new ranking model, all Yahoo! search marketing ads in the U.S. will be ranked by quality in addition to keyword bid price. As a result, Yahoo! will be able to provide a more relevant search experience to users, more valuable customer leads to advertisers, and additional opportunities to its distribution partners.

“Yahoo! is very excited to introduce our new, more quality-focused ranking model because it has the power to significantly enhance the experience we deliver to our users and unlock the full potential of Yahoo!’s search marketing network,” said Terry Semel, chief executive officer, Yahoo! Inc. “With this important piece in place our new search marketing system will allow Yahoo! to more effectively connect people with the businesses, products, services and information they are passionate about.”

To date, search ads on Yahoo! and its distribution partner sites have been ranked solely by bid price – the higher the bid, the higher an ad appears within the search results. When the new ranking model goes into effect, both bid and the ad’s quality together will determine where an ad appears in the search results. The quality of an ad will be determined by its historical performance in the new system and its expected performance relative to other ads displayed at the same time. Ads of higher quality will generally receive better placement on the results page.

“By encouraging advertisers to focus on the quality of their ads, we can deliver a better search experience for all of our customers. Everybody wins.” said Tim Cadogan, Yahoo!’s vice president, search marketing. “We firmly believe that delivering more relevant ads to users will result in more quality leads to advertisers, invite even more participation in our network and ultimately create a more valuable marketplace for users, advertisers, publishers and Yahoo!.”

With this change, Yahoo! is providing advertisers with industry-leading marketplace visibility and features that allow them to better understand their performance and make informed marketing decisions. Advertisers who have upgraded to the new system (code named “Panama”) can gauge the quality of their ads by viewing the prominently displayed quality index within the Panama application. Yahoo! also provides advertisers with an estimated average position and estimated forecast of clicks for their ad campaigns, based on budget allocation and ad quality.

As a result of its customer-focused approach, Yahoo! continues to receive positive feedback about its new system and the upgrade experience.

“Internet search marketing is one of the most important ways in which our automotive customers connect with vehicle buyers, and Yahoo!’s Panama system makes it even easier for us to deliver that connection,” said John Holt, CEO of The Cobalt Group, a leading provider of marketing services to the automotive industry. “The transition to Yahoo!’s new system has been seamless for us, our clients are responding very positively to the new features, and we’re fully prepared to help our customers maximize the quality of their ads when Yahoo! switches over to its new relevancy-based ranking model.”

Yahoo! will continue to send upgrade invitations to advertisers in the U.S. throughout Q1 2007 and anticipates that all active U.S. advertisers will be upgraded to the new system by the end of the quarter. Advertisers that wish to schedule their upgrade as early as possible can make a request through the upgrade reservation page:

Yahoo! plans to begin the roll out of the new platform in non-US markets in Q2 2007. International rollout will be conducted on a market-by-market basis and will follow a similar process as in the U.S. by introducing the system interface first, followed by the new ranking model.

To sign up online for a new Yahoo! account or to learn more about the new search marketing system, please visit:

About Yahoo!

Yahoo! Inc. is a leading global internet brand and one of the most trafficked Internet destinations worldwide. Yahoo!’s mission is to connect people to their passions, their communities, and the world’s knowledge. Yahoo! is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties concerning Yahoo!'s new search marketing system and related strategic and operational plans. Actual events or results may differ materially from those described in this press release due to a number of risks and uncertainties. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the successful implementation, and acceptance by advertisers, of the Company’s new search marketing system, and the reduction in spending by, or loss of, marketing services customers. More information about potential factors that could affect the Company's business and financial results is included under the captions, "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005 and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2006 which are on file with the SEC and available at the SEC's website at

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Arbitrage Issue Discussed at Directmag

My involvement in the arbitrage issue was highlighted in the recent issue of DirectMag.

I remember talking with Brian Quinton both in August in San Jose and then at Chicago. The Chicago arbitrage panel was a lot more unfettered.

Hell, we did not have a moderator until the last few minutes - so everyone was jumping on each others opinions. Sadly, Kim Malone of Google AdSense removed herself from the Chicago panel.

Guess she knew this issue was getting a little too hot and could only come out bad for her company. And she would have been right. Both Google and Yahoo came in for some abuse on how they have allowed this situation impact everyone in the industry either directly or indirectly.

I tried to get others from MSN and Yahoo to take her spot and everyone said no.

This one is not going away any time soon.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Microsoft Gives Bloggers Laptops With Vista; And Grief From Others in Industry

Funny, the concept seemed sound. Get some well known bloggers to use the new Vista operating system and write about it. And to make it easy to do it, Microsoft sent about 90 laptops with the operating system installed.

The things had not even arrived before the bitching began. Bribes, yelled many. Bill is buying good press, yelled others . Some talked of journalistic integrity - others I think bitched because they were not on the receiving list.

Come on folks get a grip!

True the laptops (mostly Acer Ferraris) were worth over $2,000 each. But they were a clever way to get Vista on a system they knew was built to show its optimium potential. Why put high octane in a 4 cylinder Rabbit....

You have the laptop, do you really think the people who got them would feel pressure to sing false praise? If that is the case we should question all the blogs that are out there - including this one. But hey everyone knows you can't buy me - rent sure - but I am not for sale!

Let's be real.... I would have kept the machine - not sent it back to Microsoft or give it to charity... it has Vista already installed... it would have been a fun thing to have.

Hey I got an Ipod from Google for Christmas - and nothing from MSN - but I am not trashing them and praising Google... right now Google is doing more 'evil' things than MSN.

Search Engine Watch Wins News Blog of 2006

Loren Baker's Search Engine Journal has announced their Search Awards for 2006. Search Engine Watch won for Best News Blog.

Guess the new crew has a lot to live up to next year. Plus Search Engine Land will be in the mix next year so it should be an interesting contest for 2007. I think the effort that went into the SEW News Blog is something that should be recognised.

Sadly the loss of Danny and crew will be a watershed for SEW. This year will see alot of comparisons. I am hoping it just makes all efforts stronger - time will tell.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Google Using Algo To Sort Through Job Applicants

Guess you can do a multiple choice or short answer test to improve your chances of employment at Google. Wonder how long it takes for someone to start selling the "Google Employment Hack."

The questionaire is being used to help sort through the myriad of appliucations Google gets - hey free meals, massages and all the other perks - no wonder Senior VPs are applying for junior VP jobs....

Google has always been creative with its employment practices. They used to have (could still) a billboard in the Silicon Valley area that was an equation that gave a phone number as the answer... guess you worked it out and called and went to the top of the hiring list!

I am really good at Soduko and crossword puzzles.... and am a wiz at analytics, excell .... oh wait I don't need a job... or want to change - well maybe when Eric Schmidt steps down - that would at least be a real challenge.

The article is here for those interested.