Maine Munchies Ad

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

PPC Plus Parking Post Preview

I'm working on some posts on domain parking from a PPC advertiser's perspective. The way this week is shaping up, I'm not sure when I'll publish them, so here's a quick preview. Using Frank Schilling's rumcakes.com as an example (note his new blog), which is better from a PPC advertising perspective? Ads on Yahoo:

ads on yahoo

Same (not quite) ads on rumcakes.com:

rum cakes ads

Think about the fact that PPC ads don't have to compete with organic search results on a parked domain. Is typing rumcakes.com into a browser address bar equivalent to typing "rum cakes" in a search box on Yahoo? What about when people navigate to rumcakes.com via links instead of direct navigation. When is a search not a search? Anyway, subscribe to Apogee Weblog if you want to find out more about when parked domains can be a better option than search advertising.

Note that parked domains can also be much worse than search advertising. I plan to explain how PPC advertisers can watch for click fraud from parked domains. Click the image for an example:

searchportal.information.com click fraud

More to follow...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pink Postcard for usps.com/household

A pink postcard for usps.com/household came in the mail yesterday. I knew it was coming. I saw the spike in searches the day before:

usps.com/household search trends

The usps.com/household search trend continued into the next day, too. Quick thoughts on this:
  1. Could you imagine the Google backlash if Google didn't route these searches to the United States Postal Service website? (See Domain Name Search Hijacking by Google)
  2. Why aren't competitors like UPS and Fedex advertising on these usps.com searches? (See Google AdWords Tip: Direct Navigation via Search)
  3. The pink postcard was effective. I didn't know about Customized Postage before. Looks like something my family would consider using.
stamps ads on usps.comRegarding #2, the PPC advertisers I currently see for the usps.com/household search are all stamps-related. Not sure if they're showing up for this search due to expanded broad matching on stamps or postage keywords or if they're actually bidding on usps keywords. Maybe one of them is. I do find it interesting that neither Fedex nor UPS are running ads.

Related Post:
FedEx Kinko's NoMoreAllNighters.com Domain TV Ad Oops

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Domain Name Search Hijacking by Google

Yesterday, I mentioned the term googleganger. I wondered if anyone owned the googleganger.com domain. The domain does exist and there is a site hosted on the domain (see the whois lookup and domain name search results from DomainTools). Knowing that direct navigation via search box is a trend, I took a look at Google search results for that domain name:

google domain name search

Clearly, Google is aware that this is a domain name search. Note the "results from websites with similar addresses" and "try another domain name" suggestions. Could you imagine your reaction if you walked into a library, asked a librarian for a specific book by name and the librarian came back with other books she recommended saying, "Oh, yes, we do have that book but it's a work in progress. I've retrieved for you these other books I think are more relevant." Next time, wouldn't you just go to the shelf yourself? Or, what if you hopped in a taxi and gave the driver your destination address and they refused to drive you to the specified address and instead dropped you off somewhere else they thought was a nicer location. Would you ever use that taxi company again?

Blocking domain names from the Google search index is nothing new. I haven't noticed this domain name search hijacking before, though. It seems a bit arrogant on Google's part to block a domain itself, simply because it is parked or under construction. Keep in mind that Google runs AdSense for Domains. They profit from parked domain revenues. Why hijack domain name searches? Isn't this akin to domain hijacking or browser hijacking? I can see not listing parked domains in standard search results due to a lack of original content, but shouldn't Google display results for any domain on what's clearly a domain name search? They are a domain registrar, after all, and appear to be using whois registrar data.

With the inception of universal search, they could insert domain name specific search results above their standard search results. For example, much like they rely on Wikipedia for many of their search results, they could display whois lookup results for a given domain name from a reliable source (like whois.domaintools.com). Also, since they display malware information (more here) about a site, they could include the domain itself in the search results with a "parked domain" or "under construction" label. I think it'd be better for the end user to display the domain (even with some kind of a warning label) rather than hiding the searched domain and suggesting other domains. Seems very contrary to Google's stated policy of "providing the best user experience possible" or their "mission to organize the world's information."

Maybe the web needs a new librarian? Or, if you like the taxi analogy better, if policies like domain name search hijacking erode confidence in Google, perhaps their fleet of shiny taxis will become, well, parked. ;-)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Googleganger

Via TagTrends today, I learned a new word: googleganger. Apparently, my googleganger is a politician in Michigan:

richard ball googleganger

Related Posts:
Top Google Searches Tool
Is Google Hot Trends Near Real Time?

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Google AdSense for Domains + DomainSponsor.com = Fake Searches Click Fraud

Google is billing advertisers for paid search clicks when, in fact, no searches have taken place. This is click fraud. Let me explain how this works. Suppose someone goes to a parked domain like iowagop.com. This is what they'll see:

domainsponsor parked domain

Next, they see the "hot" list. Hot what? Clicking the "Iowa Straw Poll" link, they'll see a page populated with Google AdSense for Domains ads:

google adsense for domains ads

Let's suppose they click on one of these ads, provided by Google via DomainSponsor. When did a search occur? Is clicking on a link equivalent to typing keywords into a search box? No, this is a fake search. Google classifies these kinds of paid clicks as search clicks because they occur on a parked domain that has a search box on the site. That's fraud - click fraud, distribution fraud, syndication fraud. Call it what you like. It's fraud. I'm going to call it fake searches click fraud, to make it clear what's going on here.

wired logoNow, how do I know about this particular example? I paid for these clicks during a recent AdWords experiment. That experiment was mentioned on the Wired site. Hmm, maybe if Wired decides to write a nice story about this fake searches click fraud, Google and/or DomainSponsor (owned by Oversee.net) will cease this practice of charging AdWords advertisers for fake search clicks. ;-)

Why am I writing about this now? Since first blogging about this garbage traffic from parked domains issue back in January, I was under the impression that Google was working to provide more transparency for advertisers and more control over ad distribution. Instead, they've become inexplicably opaque about ad distribution. Still, with Google being a bit more open about click fraud issues, I was certain they'd deal with this subset of click fraud, these fake searches on parked domains. For a company that's been blasting other companies' paid links as spam, they need to clean their own house, first.

Note to Matt Cutts: Even though you work on the organic search side at Google, you've been talking about invalid clicks and click fraud. How about dealing with *these* invalid clicks: Google paid links farmed out to DomainSponsor and generating fake search clicks, billed to advertisers? TIA. Maybe have this meeting.

Note to Shuman Ghosemajumder: I know you've read some of my previous blog posts about click fraud. Thanks. I do hope you read this one and realize how serious a problem fake searches click fraud has become. Whether it needs fixing in AdWords (perhaps with the creation of a domain network, separate from the search network) or something needs to be addressed with your distribution partner, DomainSponsor, please fix it. We can't trust what you say about click fraud, if Google is actually perpetrating fake searches click fraud via parked domains.

Note to AdWords advertisers: Try this method of blocking all DomainSponsor parked domain traffic. Or, call 1-866-2-Google and ask for manual exclusion. Perhaps if this revenue stream dries up, Google and/or DomainSponsor will solve the fake searches click fraud problem.

Note to domainers: I'm not talking about direct navigation and generic keyword domain names (like RumCakes.com). I'm talking about fake search clicks from other types of parked domains. I agree that domainers are not responsible for the quality of traffic that leaves your parked domains. However, the parking companies and PPC providers are responsible for delivering targeted traffic. I suspect you can appreciate my frustration with Google and DomainSponsor.

Related Posts:
AdWords Team Sabotages Google Corporate Mission & Philosophy
Distribution Fraud is the Real Click Fraud
Not Search Engine Spam

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Friday, October 19, 2007

AdSense Failure: Social Networking Sites (MySpace + Facebook)

A question about social networking sites from the Google Q3 2007 Earnings Call Transcript is worth noting:
You have been working with MySpace for a while and to get a better sense of what you have learned, how monetizable these social networking sites are out there and as these social networking sites engagements are growing so quickly, are you concerned that that could be a point of entry on the web?
The answer indicates the current failure of Google AdSense on these social networking sites as well as the potential for a new form of social advertising:
We’ve been very pleased with our partnership with MySpace. We’ve been pleased with the advertising performance. It has been a lot of work and innovation, actually. I know you might not see it from kind of a the user interface point of view that you see, but we are developing really new technologies and I think these social networks are going to require a different kind of targeting technologies, difference concepts of advertising.

We’ve already made big strides. It’s obviously a challenge because there is so much inventory, people can be distracted by very many different things and it is very personal, so there are a lot of things that make it hard.

But our technology, our targeting, all those things are actually coming along very well and we are really happy. We view it as a great opportunity. I mean, it is just so much more inventory that if done correctly can create that kind of win-win I was talking about between advertisers and users.
Ignoring the hype right now surrounding sites like MySpace and Facebook, the current model of contextual advertising simply doesn't work. Pages on these social networking sites have no unifying theme to match ads via contextual targeting. Any AdWords advertiser can see this by examining the new placement performance report. Consider this example:

myspace google adwords

Note the massive amount of myspace.com impressions but the horrible CTR. Either MySpace users aren't interested in ads or the contextual targeting of the AdWords/AdSense system does not work on social networking sites. Perhaps both. Kara Swisher cuts through the Facebook hype with these insights:
Facebook is not Google: Although many in the tech sector make the comparison to the search giant, it is simply incorrect.

Is Facebook like Yahoo a bit? Certainly. A newfangled version of AOL? Absolutely! A very well done media play with all sorts of interactive bells and whistles hanging off of it? Yes, ma’am.

Indeed, it is growing its media business nicely, with $30 million in profits on $150 million in revenue.

But in comparative terms to the search giant, Facebook is a lemonade stand. Google brought in $3.9 billion in revenue in just the second quarter alone and, um, is increasing its dominance over the search sector in a mighty scary way.

Facebook, on the other hand, gets half its annual revenue right now from a sweetheart guaranteed revenue deal with, drum roll, Microsoft. No matter what either Facebook or Microsoft says, it is a money-losing deal for Microsoft so far.

How do I know this? According to many sources, Google is struggling to make ends meet in its own sweetheart guaranteed ad deal with Facebook rival MySpace, which is much larger, and Google has the best monetization engine out there.
Yep. AdSense doesn't work on MySpace. Note to all AdWords advertisers - you might want to block myspace.com via site exclusion.

Related Posts:
GOOG - Google Stock to $600 or $700 After Hours Today
Digg.com + del.icio.us + Facebook = 9rules?
Will MySpace Degrade the Quality of Google's Ad Network?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

GOOG - Google Stock to $600 or $700 After Hours Today

Google (GOOG) is currently trading around $630 per share. It will announce quarterly earnings after hours today. If the results are in-line or below expectations, I think the stock will move below $600 after hours. If it beats, I think we could see $700. That'd be an 11% move - not that big of a swing, really, in today's volatile market. If the stock were trading at $63, would it be a big deal to say the stock could hit $70?

Now, why am I blogging about this? I think today's Google results will be a pretty good test of Steve Rubel's assertion that a pay per click recession is imminent. He declares:
For the last several years, search engine marketing has been on a tear. While the big advertisers sat on the sidelines in the beginning, they have lately been ramping up their spend on pay-per-click advertising, primarily on search engines but also affiliate sites like those that run Google Adsense.

However, I am calling a top to this market now. Here are five reasons why a pay-per-click advertising recession looms.
Wait a minute - a PR industry veteran is declaring the decline of PPC advertising? Perhaps this is simply wishful thinking. Is it arrogance or ignorance? He actually makes some pretty good points. The best response I've seen so far has been from Eric Frenchman:
Google, Yahoo, and even MSN will survive because they will make the acquisitions that are needed to keep going. I'm not ready to forecast doom for Google or search, not when there are still more advertisers to jump into the mix (small business and local merchants).
Let's suppose there is a recession in the economy at large. What will businesses (small and large) cut first - TV ads, radio ads, print ads, PR campaigns, SEO, PPC advertising, social media marketing? Somehow, I think it's going to be the most expensive and least trackable items or the newer, unproven options that will go. If anything, I think if advertising budgets shrink, the percentage of that spend that goes to search engines will actually increase.

Google's also in a unique position. They're increasing market share, expanding ad distribution efforts (mobile ads, radio ads, print ads, etc), extracting more pay per click fees from advertisers through quality score tweaks and expanded broad matching changes, extracting more revenue by increasing bids for top placement and figuring out how to monetize YouTube. I'll be curious to see if the earnings call indicates increased profitability from AdWords as well as increased revenues. I think the biggest drag on earnings could be from their hiring spree. Point is, I think Google is still at a relatively early stage in their growth cycle. They're also pretty efficient at squeezing a profit from their existing products.

At any rate, if GOOG drops below $600 today, I'll continue my subscription to Steve Rubel's Micro Persuasion blog. If GOOG does, actually, beat by a wide margin and manages to top $700 in after hours trading today, I'm calling a top to Rubel's influence and will unsubscribe.

Update (10/19/07): I think it's important to admit when you're wrong. I was wrong in predicting a large price movement in GOOG after hours yesterday. In fact, it barely moved. It actually moved more in pre-market trading this morning:
goog stock pre-market

Related Post:
GOOG $2000 Target by Henry Blodget

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Local Harvest on Blog Action Day

Via TagMuse, I noticed this popular tag: . Here's what it's about:
On October 15th - Blog Action Day, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone's mind. In its inaugural year, Blog Action Day will be co-ordinating bloggers to tackle the issue of the environment.
blogactionday.org - Blog Action Day

Seems like a useful endeavor, so I'll participate by mentioning Local Harvest:
localharvest.orgLocalHarvest is America's #1 organic and local food website. We maintain a definitive and reliable "living" public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. Our search engine helps people find products from family farms, local sources of sustainably grown food, and encourages them to establish direct contact with small farms in their local area. Our online store helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area. [Read more about LocalHarvest...]
How do I know about Local Harvest? A client has a store on their site. Visit the Maine Munchies Store on Local Harvest. Search engines aren't always the best avenue for Internet marketing. Think about that. And you thought this post wasn't going to be relevant to search engine marketing. Sometimes it's useful to think outside the (search engine) box. ;-)

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Digg.com + del.icio.us + Facebook = 9rules?

The new version of 9rules.com (dubbed Ali2) is an interesting step in the evolution of 9rules. It has grown from a blog network (entries) to a community of bloggers (notes) and has recently added a social bookmarking service of sorts (clips). Weaving this all together (my.9rules) has created an entity that's different from other social networking sites. I'm not quite sure how to classify it - I'm still exploring the new 9rules site. As I assert in the title of this blog post, though, it feels like a combination of Digg.com + del.icio.us + Facebook. These are the core sections:

9rules ali2 sections

I think the new feature, 9rules Clips, is a potential killer app and could make the site useful for a far broader audience. From this note about clips:
As much as we'd hate to admit it, all great content on the web isn't produced by our Members or here within Notes. Sometimes there are pieces of content that you want to share with others, especially if it is really good. For this reason we created Clips to help you share the content you enjoy with others in the Community.
Why are sites like Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, del.icio.us and Techmeme so popular? They add a human element to search, to discovery. Algorithmic search engines like Google aren't always sufficient for finding answers. These other social bookmarking or social networking sites (or whatever you want to call them) essentially serve as collaborative filtering agents. I visit Techmeme most days. It's a great filter for finding what's happening in the technology realm. By design, though, it is constrained to that topic and limits the number of sites it chooses to link to. Perhaps, then, it's too narrow. On the other end of the spectrum, sites like Digg.com are perhaps too broad and full of noise.

Is there room, then, for a site to fill that void in the middle? This is the opportunity with 9rules Clips due to the existing community and the personalization features. For example, I might just want to see what others have clipped in a single 9rules community like Business:

9rules business community clips

I might also want to see items clipped by my.9rules friends (via the Clips tab on my Dashboard). As with any of these social bookmarking/networking sites, a feature like 9rules Clips will become more useful via a network effect. The more people use it, the more it will become useful for the people who use it, particularly if the community of people who use it are clipping high quality items of interest. Because 9rules has an established base of active bloggers, there's a good chance that network effect will occur.

Check out 9rules Clips for yourself. Does it, indeed, propel 9rules to something akin to Digg.com + del.icio.us + Facebook?

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

GOP Republican Debate October 9 2007 on CNBC/MSNBC

wired presidential debate articleThere's now a Republican Debate on CNBC (and later on MSNBC). If you're interested in that GOP debate, you might find this article from Wired interesting: Which Presidential Candidates Have Mastered Google? That article references a couple of my blog posts pertaining to a presidential debate AdWords experiment:
I'll be watching the top search trends both during and after the CNBC debate.

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google.com/videounits - AdSense Video Units Launch Glitch

Google is launching a new content distribution channel called AdSense Video Units. Lots of buzz about this via Techmeme. I'm not sure what to make of this from the point of view of AdWords advertisers. Will have to see what happens as I track Google content ads, going forward. I wonder if they were in a hurry to launch this. Doesn't look like the YouTube team was quite in sync with the Google team that produced the instructional videos (see www.youtube.com/AdSenseVideoUnits). This link is mentioned at the end:

google.com/videounits via www.youtube.com/AdSenseVideoUnits

Trouble is, if you go to google.com/videounits right now, you get a 404 not found error:

google.com/videounits 404 not found

That kind of mistake doesn't seem characteristic for Google. Again, I'll likely have more to say about these new Google AdSense Video Units once I've seen how they perform for AdWords advertisers. In the meantime, I think Om Malik has some of the most interesting commentary on the launch: YouTube AdSense or Add Snore.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Columbus Day Meatball Mondae - Discovery and Landing

Seth Godin has recently started writing weekly "Meatball Mondae" posts related to his forthcoming book, Meatball Sundae. In the latest post, Meatball Mondae #3 (Columbus Day Edition), he writes about Google and discovery:
Google and the other search engines have broken the world into little tiny bits. No one visits a Web site’s home page anymore—they walk in the back door, to just the place Google sent them. By atomizing the world, Google destroys the end-to-end solution offered by most organizations, replacing it with a pick-and-choose, component-based solution.

Columbus is the center of a popular fable about discovery. He set out to find something, got lost along the way and instead gets credit for an ever bigger find. The analogy of the web is pretty much a stretch, but here goes: people don't always find you the way you want to be found.
I'll take the liberty of boiling this down to a concept the search engine marketing industry has recognized for some time now: Every page on a web site is a potential landing page. Doesn't matter if you're approaching this from a PPC advertising or SEO or even web design point of view. Many web designers don't think about this and that's why SEO is still necessary. I do still wonder though: Did Google Kill the SEO Star?

BTW, it somehow seems appropriate to be using a word like landing on Columbus Day. I haven't written much about landing pages from an SEO point of view, but I have talked about them in the context of PPC advertising. See these posts:
Now, since Seth Godin is the creator of Squidoo, let me conclude this post by suggesting you go explore that site via a game of Squidoo TagMan. Have a good landing!

squidoo game

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Who's Afraid of Google's Online Advertising Market Share?

This recent post on TechCrunch, Google’s Share of U.S. Online Ads Hits 40 Percent, by Erick Schonfeld (formerly of Business 2.0) references this blog post that came up with that estimate. That author, Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, writes:
If my math is correct, the for the love of all things holy, Google accounted for nearly 40% of US online ads in Q1 and Q2?
No wonder Google's been vigorously defending the proposed Google-Doubleclick deal on their new public policy blog quite a bit recently. It somehow seems ironic that Microsoft is fighting to block the deal on antitrust concerns. If Google's share of online advertising in the U.S. is currently 40%, what would that figure rise to if it owned Doubleclick as well? How afraid is Microsoft?

Switching gears, I'm wondering about the revenue mix of Google's advertising. I'm very curious to know how much of the AdWords/AdSense revenue is derived from AdSense for Domains. I left the following comment on the TechCrunch post:
Regarding the Google revenue mix, it’s consistently been ~99% advertising for the past few years. I don’t think there’s any indication that that will change anytime soon. See last year’s 10-K here:

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/ed.....4/d10k.htm

Note this text: “Advertising revenues made up 99% of our revenues in 2004, 2005 and 2006. We derive the balance of our revenues from the license of our web search technology, the license of our search solutions to enterprises and the sale and license of other products and services.”

I’d like to know how much of that advertising revenue is derived from the parked domains program, AdSense for Domains (google.com/domainpark/). Anybody know?
Despite TechCrunch's vast audience, no one's answered that question. Does anybody know how much revenue Google earns from AdSense for Domains?

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

My Favorite Non-Profit Organization

ProBlogger challenges bloggers to write about their favorite charitable organizations. My favorite 501c3 non-profit organization is a youth soccer organization:

Blackbear United non-profit organization

Blackbear United Football Club (BUFC) is a not-for-profit 501c3 youth soccer organization that develops soccer players aged 5-18. A highly qualified and nationally licensed coaching staff teaches the game of soccer in a fun and inviting atmosphere. The Blackbear United Football Club's philosophy is to develop players' technical and tactical ability through quality training from nationally licensed coaches in a fun and inviting atmosphere while promoting a healthy lifestyle. Blackbear United has grown from 66 players and four teams to over 250+ players with 10 premier teams, a development program, and a youth academy. Read more about the club.

Why do I support BUFC? My brother co-founded the club. He left his coaching job at the University of Maine to pursue the development of the youth soccer organization (read the story from MaineCampus.com). I respect him for taking that risk and for choosing to do what he's passionate about rather than seeking a high-paying coaching job. He tries to keep the costs down for youth players by organizing frequent fundraising efforts. When funds are available, the club offers scholarships so players aren't precluded from the program due to lack of money. From the BUFC tryouts page:
Blackbear United does offer financial assistance in the way of scholarships. One scholarship per team is awarded by the Board of Directors at their January meeting. The scholarship can be divided amongst a few players or awarded to one player based on requests.
He also strives to make sure the players and coaches are actively involved in the community. For example, they've recently announced a TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) Fall Program:
The TOPSoccer Program is aimed to provide a youth soccer program for children with physical and mental disabilities. The program will offer a four-week fall soccer program designed to provide an opportunity for children with physical and mental disabilities to learn and play the game of soccer. The Blackbear United coaching staff and players will teach the participants in a fun and inviting atmosphere. Signups for our winter (January - February) and spring (March) program will be available all fall. Each player will receive an jersey, soccer ball, socks and a sack-pack graciously donated by US Youth Soccer and Adidas through a TOPSoccer grant received.
The club is growing and has shown early signs of success. Their U19 girls team recently made history (read the full story). For the first time in Maine history, a girls team from Maine advanced out of the group stage to the playoff round at the prestigious Region One Tournament.

I know there's quite a bit of competition for charitable donations. Next time you're looking to make a tax-deductible contribution, particularly if you want to support youth soccer in the United States, please keep Blackbear United Football Club in mind. Thanks.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Yahoo! Search Marketing Keeps Falling Behind

I haven't written about Yahoo! Search Marketing for awhile. Frankly, I don't use it that much anymore. On the other hand, I log into various Google AdWords accounts multiple times a day. Yahoo just can't seem to keep pace with Google. Reading yesterday about the proposed break-up of Yahoo from sources like Tech Check with Jim Goldman (techcheck.cnbc.com) reminded me of what's wrong with Yahoo. It's a tortoise and Google's the hare. Unlike the fable, however, Google's not resting. Yahoo Search Marketing is still lacking some features AdWords has had for awhile. For instance, it's possible via AdWords to restrict ad distribution to Google only:

google only ad distribution

Yahoo has no such option. This is an essential feature. Reading a recent post, Yahoo.com and Beyond (from www.ysmblog.com), it doesn't appear they plan to implement a Yahoo only ad distribution option:
Yahoo! Search Marketing is, to a large extent, an ad distribution network. That means that when you become a Yahoo! Search Marketing advertiser, your ads can appear on Yahoo.com—the world’s most visited website—and they may also appear on other sites in our ad network, like MTV.com, iVillage.com and eBay.com, as well as on other popular content and information sites...

Being part of an ad distribution network, and not just advertising on a single site, can help you reach a wider audience, create better brand awareness, get more customers and increase your sales.
Ironically, the next post on that blog is about a new feature to block domains on the Yahoo ad distribution network:
As a part of our ongoing effort to improve the quality of the network and your traffic, we have undertaken several initiatives. The newest of these is a feature called “Blocked Domains,” which allows you to specify certain sites in our partner distribution network on which you do not want your ads to appear.

The new Blocked Domains feature, which launches later this month, is just the latest among several initiatives we are undertaking in order to in order to provide increased value.
Why announce a feature that's not ready? Why not give the advertisers what they want - a block all domains feature? For comparison, Google's had site exclusion for a long time. To be fair, they need to make that work for their search network, though. IOW, the Yahoo Search Marketing blocked domains feature might be an improvement over the Google AdWords site exclusion tool. Will have to see when the new feature launches.

Wow, reading some of the comments on the Y!SM blog about the impending blocked domains feature, you'd think Yahoo would realize they're alienating too many advertisers by not maintaining feature parity with Google. They clearly need a Yahoo.com and NOT Beyond ad distribution option. Sample comments:
  • The blocked sites feature needs to be implemented ASAP. My site stats shows 85 to 90% of the worthless visitors are coming from search sites that are part of the Yahoo search network. Many of the sites that are part of the Yahoo search network are sending visitors with a 100% bounce rate. If I can’t block those search sites I’ll have to consider closing my account.
  • Yahoo should have implement the block domain feature years ago as I, as an advertiser have complaint to them endless times and get no respond. Glad they are finally taking the bid step to improve click quality. I hate to see my Yahoo ads appear on a third party website who shows on Google sponsored links at lower cost and post my Yahoo ads at higher costs.
  • The blocker should have been in place before the network was allowed to rip us offf. SHAME ON YAHOO!
  • I think it’s actually pretty ridiculous that we have to choose what partner sites to turn off. I want them ALL TURNED OFF! Please consider providing such an option, I’m sure many would use it. I know Yahoo is all about earning money, but I think this just makes you guys look greedy. That’s no good in my book. It has led me to close many of my clients’ accounts in the past.
  • After I write this comment, I am turning off all my Yahoo ads.
Ouch! Yahoo's definitely either out-of-touch or simply too slow. Which is it?

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Flaxseed Oil Certified Organic Pet Supplements

certified organic flaxseed oil pet supplementChecking TagTrends today, I noticed a spike in searches for flaxseed oil. It probably caught my eye because a client, Longlife™ Pet Supplements, recently launched a new product made from certified organic, pure flax seed oil. One thing I enjoy about being in the search marketing business is learning about business models of clients. I had never heard of flaxseed oil before. I'm also learning that having a product become "certified organic" is a big deal. I also didn't realize how big the market is for natural supplements for pets. Not far from where I live, in fact, I've noticed an organic pet food store. Maybe they stock flaxseed oil?

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

GOOG $2000 Target by Henry Blodget

I don't think Henry Blodget's $2000 price target for Google stock (GOOG) is all that crazy. First off, it's not really a price target. Henry Blodget has been banned from the stock market industry, anyway. Let's put this in context. Because GOOG hasn't split, the per share price seems high, but that's irrelevant. This high share price might actually reduce volatility because individual investors will avoid purchasing the stock, thinking the valuation is high. Looking at ratios like P/E and P/CF and estimating growth rates, the stock is arguably cheaper than many of its rivals. GOOG's not even a ten bagger, yet. The GOOG IPO price was $85, so $850 would make it a ten bagger. A GOOG price of $2000 would be a 24 bagger. Is that so unreasonable? Of course, this depends on the timeframe. AOL (now TWX) was close to a 100 bagger from 1995-2000:

aol twx stock chart

Granted, that was during a period of irrational exuberance. Still, if AOL could post close to a 100 bagger, is it that unreasonable to think that GOOG could become a 24 bagger? What other stock has the kind of growth potential of Google?

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Meta Description Tag Tips from Google

In DIY SEO, I recommended structuring content for search engines as well as people and to:
  • Create unique html titles for each page
  • Create a sitemap that links to all pages on the site
  • Create unique meta description tags for each page
  • Make sure html title and meta description reflect content in body of page
  • Don't waste time with meta keywords
Now, on an official Google blog, Google explains the importance of the meta description tag:
We frequently prefer to display meta descriptions of pages (when available) because it gives users a clear idea of the URL's content. This directs them to good results faster and reduces the click-and-backtrack behavior that frustrates visitors and inflates web traffic metrics. Keep in mind that meta descriptions comprised of long strings of keywords don't achieve this goal and are less likely to be displayed in place of a regular, non-meta description, snippet. And it's worth noting that while accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won't affect your ranking within search results.
Read that last sentence again. Yes, the meta description tag is important. However, meta descriptions are not relevant for ranking purposes. Meta descriptions are a way to make your Google listings more readable for people. So, use them but don't expect them to help you rank better.

Sometimes, it's worth looking at how your competitors are using the meta description tag. You can do so by using my firm's free keyword research tool. It extracts the meta keywords and meta description tags from a web page. For example, here's what the meta tags tool displays for the home page of a client (whose products are quite delicious I might add), Maine Munchies:

meta description meta keywords tool

See how Google uses that meta description tag when displaying search results:

meta description tag on Google

Note that if you are content with the snippet Google displays for a given web page, you don't need a meta description tag for that page.

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