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December 30, 2006

Barack Obama Doesn't Know What a Widget Is - Internet Marketing Meets Politics 101

By Li Evans

Barack Obama doesn't know what a widget is, neither does John Kerry, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and I highly doubt Hilary Clinton does either.  I know, the next question is "what about John Edwards?" Well likely he understands the concept of the widget, especially in light of him announcing his candidacy on YouTube, and I'm sure that Robert Scoble has schooled him a bit as well.  Edwardsconnectwiththecampaign Edwards also has a pretty decent blog, for that matter, and his website is full of a lot of social media pieces from Facebook to YouTube, he's actually someone who's learned a lot about the internet in 4 years (or has learned that he needs a savvy internet strategy). 

Deanscream These next two years are going to be interesting ones as Internet Marketing is going to meet Politics head on.  There will not be any more casual accidents like Howard Dean.  These next two years are going to prove who are the savviest political internet marketers, and it could be one of the biggest deciding factors of the 2008 presidential election.

This place we are in here at the end of 2006, is actually a pretty fascinating place to be right now.  We are all witnessing the birth of a new form of political advertising, not by happenstance, but by deliberate forethought.  These politicians, are looking right now at John Edwards likely saying "how do I get that?", "how do I beat him at his own game?", "how do I reach more people with my own message?" - more importantly to us "who can I get to do that for me?"

This is the point where Internet Marketing and we as professionals have to step up to the plate.  It's not about whipping out a credit card and paying for a PPC campaign anymore.  It's about a deliberate, well thought out, marketing strategy that will not only delivery the candidates message or reach people they can't reach through a handshake, but also about energizing the base and asking them to help and participate in a totally different way.

Confusion It's true, that the most reliable voters likely won't know what a widget, a blog, or what a viral flash game is, but these really aren't who Internet Marketing campaigns are designed to reach, are they?  Those voters are stalwarts to the newspaper and TV, and I'm not saying that this medium of advertising is going away - not by a long shot.  However, candidates today, have to look at energizing another sort of base, find another way to reach younger voters.  Those younger voters are consistently moving over to the internet and mobile devices.

No, I'm not naive enough to think that Internet Marketing is one thing that's going to push Generation "M" and Generation "Y" to the polls in mass droves.  But, by providing a much easier way to access information about a candidate and their message, Generation "X"ers will be influenced and probably more "Y"'s and "M"'s will take notice.  And if these groups see the ad online enough - or are passed a "cool widget" by a friend, or given a link to a "great blog", or told "hey check this out" by one of their friends, its more likely they'll remember the name, than some annoying political ad on TV they've seen 20 times already.

Barackobama I am betting that by the end of Q1 2007, Barack and Hilary are going to be a bit more educated about Internet Marketing, I don't doubt that McCain's looking at some sort of book about this industry already and Giuliani might be out here on the internet reading about it all, too.  John Edwards gave them all a wakeup call this week, Internet Marketing & Political Campaigns aren't happenstance anymore.

December 29, 2006

Zeitgeist Data, Frog Princes, Free Laptops, & The End of Social Media?

By Li Evans

Smglinkroundup_2 There's been a lot brewing in the Internet Marketing world the past few days, so much that I throw up my hands and wonder what to really look at and analyze.  While I sit and ponder what in-depth knowledge to relate back about some of these subjects, I'll give you a link round up to read up.

Whew... that's a lot of news and a lot of links!  Enjoy!

December 28, 2006

Charity Tag Meme - Who Do You Give Your "Love" To?

By Li Evans

This afternoon I got a trackback, and like I do every trackback, I check it out.  It was from James McGovern's, Enterprise Architecture: Thought Leadership blog. In particularly he tagged the 5 Things You Didn't Know about Liana "Li" Evans Meme.  Apparently I was the "one blogger whom I don't know (even virtually) but will tag via trackback in hopes that they will consider charity a higher priority over etiquette or other secondary concerns."

So what's this about?  I've copied and pasted from James' blog:
As a blogger, people may know you, but how good does anyone ever really know anyone? One way to get to know someone better is for them to talk about charities they support. What if bloggers were to go down a path of thinking about some of the people they only know of in the blogosphere and for a moment considered the human aspects of blogging and for a moment forgot about talking about business, technology or whatever their blog theme is. What if the game of Blog-Tag going around the blogosphere in which bloggers are sharing five things about themselves that relatively few people know, and then tagging five other bloggers to be "it" morphed into bloggers sharing the five charities they believe are most worthy of contribution?

So, I've got three charities that I donate funds/service/time to:

  • Rotary International - The group in Frackville, PA (my hometown) is a great group of people who I have donated my time and services to.  From helping out with fund drives, the anti-litter campaigns, putting up garbage cans on the main street, along with raising funds for the international efforts to wipe out Polio, Rotary International & Locally is accomplishing some major things!
  • Animal Charities - Greyhound Rescues & ASPCA - Locally in Schuylkill County.  If you all saw my Merry Christmas post - you all saw Reilly.  He's a retired racer, I also have another named Bronco.  My sister has two too!  We are a greyhound family.  I donate to any greyhound group I come across, and plan on adopting more in the future.  I also always donate food, blankets and items of need to the local ASPCA in Schuylkill County, PA (where Frackville is).
  • 2004kingqueen Frackville Library - Each year the Frackville Business & Professional Association puts on an annual event for Mardi Gras.  Over the past 6 years we've raised close to 50K in funds to have a new library built in my hometown.  Even though I don't live there anymore, my parents do and I'm still very active in this annual fundraiser.  In 2004 I raised over $2700 myself and was actually crowned queen of Mardi Gras - it was a pretty proud moment for me, 3 weeks prior I was laid off from my job and lost a major source of fundraising, but I pushed on and plugged away - all for the library!   I'm the event's photographer and webmaster - so on Feb. 18th, 2007 no matter how tired I'll be, the pictures go up! :)

So I'll tag three folks I know and one I barely know through a trackback - just like I was (explained above).  You don't have to feel obligated, but it's great to find out more about what professionals in our industry do!  I'm tagging DaveN (David Naylor), Todd Malicoat, Dan Kavanaugh

As far as I know - there's no blog tag tree for this, I think it's just neat to highlight all the charities people can get involved with!

December 27, 2006

Who Handles Regulations in Internet Marketing? The FTC or State Attorney Generals?

By Li Evans

As a speaker on the Search & Regulated Industries panel for Search Engine Strategies, I tend to keep and eye out for "legal" or "regulation" items of interest that could affect Search Marketers in their efforts to promote their clients businesses.  While reading through some of my blog subscriptions, I came across a piece about the state of Illinois suing the software company iMergent (IIG).

Illinois_large_co The Illinois State Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, is bringing the lawsuit because the Attorney General's office believes that two companies operated by iMergent operated in a fraudulent manor, by misleading "consumers with false promises to set up online stores".  iMergent has categorically denied the the state of Illinois' allegations.

Nyagseal There's a reason I bring this to your attention.  More and more frequently we are seeing the individual state's attorney generals going after websites and internet marketers that are practicing deceptive tactics, not the FTC.  Although the official governing body over trade and commerce (including what happens on the internet) in the United States is the FTC, the individual states are taking up the cause of their state residents who are defrauded.  However, it isn't like like the A.G.'s are consistently scanning the internet for websites and marketers to target, they don't act on these types of cases unless they get enough complaints from its state residents.

Popupads So if you are operating an unethical and fraudulent business on the internet and think the FTC is never going to come down on you because "your small" or you think the FTC is "backlogged" - you have to look over your other shoulder.  Why?  Because your state's Attorney General could be tapping on it very shortly, just take a look at what New York's Elliot Spitzer has been going after (subscription required to view article, but free to sign up!).

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesdays Part 3

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing_2 Its that time of the week again, where Search Marketing Gurus brings you the inside information about some great professionals in the search industry.  If you know of a women in the search industry who you'd like to see featured - please leave a comment here, we're always open to suggestions, don't be shy - tell us who you want.  We want to make sure we're bringing you the inside scoop on the women you'd like to know the most about!

To see our prior featured Women of Internet Marketing, please check out the that category on the right, or feel free to check out our two individual posts from Week 1( Kim Krause Berg & Rebecca Kelley) and Week 2 (Christine Churchill & Rae "SugarRae" Hoffman).

So with that little introduction, let me introduce you to our first lady, Karon Thackston.

Karon Thackston
Karonthackston Karon has been a professional copywriter for over 20 years with the last 7 specializing in writing great copy for websites.  Karon has always been fascinated by the way words can cause people to respond.  Whether in writing or verbally, words are very powerful.  Copywriting is an industry where Karon gets to play and be paid for it.   

Karon also loves the industry because she can test and track different ways of writing and see how they make others respond.  She told me that with SEO copywriting, it's a dual rush because what is written for any given web page now has the potential to affect people and the search engines.

If you also didn't know Karon is an author of a book, "How To Increase Keyword Saturation Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy" and a copywriting course, "The Step by Step Copywriting Course".  Along with being an author Karon's also a speaker at Search Engine Strategies and is actively involved with Jill Whalen's High Rankings Seminar.  She is also a moderator at High Rankings forums, known there as "copywriter".

Ktlogo_med Now for some Q&A with Karon:
Q:  What made you get involved in this industry?
A:  Curiosity!  As I said earlier, I have always been fascinated with how words affect people.  When I began to learn about writing with keywords, I also saw how words can affect the search engines.  Not so much what you say, but how you say it, where words are positioned, how they are formatted and several other factors.  It's amazing to me to watch all the pieces of the puzzle come together.
Q: Where do you see this industry going in the next 5 years?
A:  For SEO copy writing, I think a lot of writers are going to be weeded out as the general population grasps the fact that SEO copy does not have to sound forced.  After years of writers shoving keywords into copy any ole where and calling it SEO copywriting, I think webmasters and business owners are going to demand better.  I think the bad reputation that SEO copywriting has received in the past is going to fade and people will begin to recognize that keyword stuffing is not equivalent to SEO writing.  Writers will have to develop their skills and talents to master writing naturally for the user first and the engines second.
Q:  Who’s your favorite blogger to read? 
A:  Matt Cutts
Q:  Who do you feel is a leader in this industry and why?
A:  Jill Whalen, without a doubt.  She is a pioneer in developing the entire concept of SEO copywriting. I appreciate the fact that Jill teaches proven methods that offer long-standing results instead of short-term tricks that will likely lose their magic after the next Google update.

And that leads us nicely into our next Internet Marketing Expert, Jill Whalen.

Jill Whalen
Jillwhalenhighrankingsadmin_1 Jill's probably one of the most well known faces in the Search Marketing Industry, and has always been one of the most approachable.  I know from first hand experience, Jill a wonderful person and very patient with "newbees" to search, as demonstrated in her High Rankings Forum.

Jill's been in this industry professionally for over 10 years, and considers her biggest accomplishment is her newsletter with a subscription base of well over 25,000.  There's probably a lot of other things professionals in this industry know her for like her High Rankings website & forum, her High Rankings Seminar series, her newsletter and even her special report "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines", there's no doubt that Jill's a well known industry expert.  If you've been to an Search Engine Strategies Conference, Jill's also one of the mainstays on the "Writing for Search Engines" panel.

HighrankingslogoNow for Jill's Q&A:
Q:  What made you get involved in this industry?
A:  Well, since I've been in it before it actually was an industry, it's difficult to answer. I was basically just looking to figure out how to get my parenting website to rank highly back in 1993-1994 or so and had to figure it out on my own.  We didn't have the resources we do today, which his actually a good thing. When you have to figure stuff out for yourself, you'll always do a better job than when someone spoon feeds it to you, imo.
Q:  Who’s your favorite blogger to read?
My favorite SEO-type blogs are In Search of Stuff (isos) and Gray Hat News. I like these because they are satires on our silly industry which tends to take itself way too seriously.  I have also recently been enjoying John Andrew's blog a lot.  I like people like John who think creatively and don't follow the crowd. I actually enjoy a few non-seo-type blogs such as Steve Pavlina and that of his wife Erin Pavlina.  At the end of the day I'm usually sick of SEO and like to read about stuff that really matters!
Q:  What aggravates you most about this industry?
A:  I try not to be aggravated about anything these days as it's unhealthy!  But I suppose I do get annoyed at how so many in the industry never seem to "get it" completely.  They mistakenly believe that SEO is all about the search engines, when it's not even close.  If you can't think deeply or creatively (like 90% of the world) that's exactly what you'd think, however.
Q:  Right now, how many women bloggers/writers/journalists do you read blogs/columns from?
A:  I have a number of blog feeds that I give a quick peek at most nights.  Let's see it looks like about 6 are written by women.  But again, these aren't always SEO-related. In our industry, it seems that the blogs do tend to be dominated by men. However, there are many that have women contributors as well which is nice to see.
Q:  Who do you feel is a leader in this industry and why?
Danny [Sullivan] is definitely the one and only industry leader.  There are many Danny "wannabees" out there, but they are not nor will they ever be Danny.  If Danny ever got out of the field all together, I don't believe there would be any one person who could take his place. There would simply be the rest of us 2nd tier voices.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm glad we do have Danny!

That's it for this week's edition of the "Women of Internet Marketing" series.  Please - don't be shy - leave some suggestions of who Search Marketing Gurus should interview in the future!

December 26, 2006

MyBlogLog Hijacks - Its Not Just SEOMoz Anymore

By Li Evans

Loren Baker first reported about a flaw in MyBlogLog that happened when he and Carsten were signing up for the service.  Tonight Neil Patel's posting about SEOMoz being hijacked/stolen on MyBlogLog.  I noticed this first when Loren reported it, I signed up as a community member to watch it, since the caveman picture just "didn't seem right" (although funny) for how Rand would want SEOMoz represented there.

Cheapseo I did a little digging, and found that there's this "identity" of "Cheap SEO" who's taken not just Rand's SEOMoz, but Todd Friesan's "Oilman", Greg Boser's "WebGuerrilla" and Jeremy Shoemaker's "Shoemoney".  See below for the screen caps.

 

Shoemoneystolen Oilmanstolen Webguerrillastolen_1

This brings up two important points blogger and search marketers should be asking themselves:

  1. Are you monitoring everywhere on all the Web 2.0 sites where you could possibly have your own brand "hijacked" ?
  2. Are the Web 2.0 services secure enough to prevent this type of identity hacking from happening in the future?

I don't doubt the MyBlogLog is working on a fix for this as I write this.  I hope that lessons like this help all search marketers learn to keep their eyes peeled for all the Web 2.0 services out there, so more hijacking like this doesn't happen!

UPDATE 12/27/06 01:30 PM EST:  I have contacted all three of the people involved in the hijackings.  It looks like the MyBlogLog team has removed those three blogs and SEOMoz's from the CheapSEO profile.

What Do Those Diggrz Like?

By Li Evans

Whatdiggrzlikepiechart Everyone assumes that Diggrz (or Diggers - I'll be Web 2.0 savvy and drop the last vowel) love Apple and hate Microsoft, or that they love Web 2.0 and hate SEO.  Has anyone gone and done the research to come back with some statistics on just what this community loves, likes and doesn't really care for?  Until recently, there hadn't been much out there.  Neil Patel & Stuntdl have both given us their views on what the Digg community likes and dislikes.  That information came from their own experience and tremendous wealth of knowledge and expertise in this area.

I came across an interesting blog today called StatisticsFreak.  This blog did an analysis of what Diggrz submitting and digging across a 4 week window of time.  The study focused solely on the Technology section of Digg and took data twice a day for a month on what was popular within that area of Digg.

The study found that industry news and stories about Apple lead the way, nothing surprising there since it's well known that Diggrz love Apple.  What did surprise the author was 4th and 5th place.

"Design unexpectedly occupied the 4th place, and that was a real surprise for me. It turned out that diggers are more interested in CSS tricks and hidden abilities of Photoshop than in WinXP migration on Ubuntu or in another Linux Red Hat release. And I was also surprised that Linux/Unix topic has only taken 5th place."

This article is an interesting read on a subject that is becoming more predominant in Search Marketing.  Although I've stated publicly my total dislike for Digg, I'm wise enough to realize that for my clients, this is an area of Social Media that cannot be ignored - no matter my own personal distaste.  Information like this study is always helpful in understanding and analyzing an audience you need to reach.

UPDATE:  I discovered that Eugene, the author of StatisticsFreak, also did the same analysis for Reddit! - Check it out.

Search Wikia's New Page Attempts to Explain it All

By Li Evans

Wikiasearchhomepage On Saturday the 23rd, I posted about all the Hysteria swirling around "Wikiasari".  There's just a small update to be noted to this story - Jim Wales has updated the Wikia Search page, there's even special sections around the two biggest flaws in all the stories circulating about "Wikiasari". 

Searchwikialogo It also looks like he's given an "official name" to this "Google Killer" - Search Wikia - although I do not have a confirmation on that, and it's just an assumption because of the logo.  It's likely when the search engine is launched, it'll have an entirely different name.  Past experience has taught me that projects like these change names a lot before they see an "official" launch and this project is still in development not do to launch till first quart 2007.

Wikiasearchnewsandnotes Tech Crunch also has a new article trying to explain their snafu - but both the original article from TechCrunch and the Amazon/A9 link both get callouts by Wales on the page.  I've included a screenshot of the news & notes section for quick reference.  This placement does give the impression that those callouts will remain a permanent part of the page for a while.

Search Wikia also has a press section, where they list out all the recent coverage about the project - and yes TechCrunch is listed there, along with the London Times article but with "notes" attached.

For a full rundown on all the articles relating to anything going on - Techmeme's got a great list, dig into the discussion areas to find more.

December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

By Li Evans

Reilleyreindeer2_2 We here at Search Marketing Gurus - that'd be Li, Dan and Greg (who's off on a cruise in the Mexican Caribbean -->lucky guy!) would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and also enjoy whatever Holiday you celebrate with happiness, joy and love!

Even Reilly wishes y'all a happy holidays, and wishes for a great new year - he just wishes his "Mom" wouldn't embarrass him with silly Christmas "Hats"!! ;)

Aren't y'all glad I didn't bring the extra pair of antlers I had to Chicago!?

Wikiasari Mania - The Facts, The Myths & Hysteria!

By Li Evans

Timesonlinescreenshot What happens when a story is published that mentions a "Google Killer", but only manages to get part of the facts right?  Hysteria - that's what.  The blogosphere took a story that was published by the London Times and ran.  They ran, and ran, and ran.  I believe I've read every article out there on this to get to the bottom of what is true and what isn't.

UPDATE:  Search Wikia has updated their page.

Lets see if I can help everyone make sense of this.  James (Jimmy/Jimbo) Wales, the founder of Wikipedia talked to London Times reporter James Doran about the new software project "Wikiasari".  Mr. Wales gives Doran some great quotes, everything from how current search is broken to how human powered search is great.  Example quote from Wales:

Google is very good at many types of search, but in many instances it produces nothing but spam and useless crap. Try searching for the term ‘Tampa hotels’, for example, and you will not get any useful results.

The problem isn't with the quotes, the problem comes with the reporter's assumptions on a couple key, very important points that the article makes.  The article assumes that Amazon is part of this project.  If you are a savvy tech or search professional, the way it is stated leaves you with the impression this new "Google Killer" will be a replacement for A9.  The author also goes on to give a name to the search project calling Wikiasari  ("wiki" for "quick" in Hawaiian, and "asari" for rummaging search in Japanese).

This must have hit all the alerts people have set up for "Google" and "Wikipedia" because the blogosphere was set on fire.  ZDNet alone, had 3 articles on this within 24 hours.  The news aggregators were churning out all the collective of articles on Wikiasari, too.  TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, not to be scooped on anything new, went to work on an "exclusive" screenshot of the new WikiSearch/Wikiasari.

The problem is - a lot of this information is wrong.  Mr. Wales is now on a mission to correct all the mis-information out there.  If you reading Niall Kennedy's blog entry about Wikiasari,(which is very insiteful!) and then the Walescommentscomments from Wales you find out two things:  1) Amazon has nothing to do with it and 2) Wikiasari is only the software's name, not the search engine's name.  Wales gives a link back to Wikia's search home page.

You get Wikia's search home page and that's where you find out that TechCrunch is completely wrong.

"Update: The TechCrunch story is also wrong. This project has nothing to do with the screenshot they are running, and this search project has nothing to do with Wikipedia."

There's a lot of speculation going around, so much it will make your head spin.  However, here are some facts:

  • Wikiascreenshot_1 Widiapedia founder James Wales is planning on launching a new search engine first quarter 2007.
  • Amazon nor A9 is not involved with the project
  • It will be a "people-powered" search engine
  • It will be built as open-sourced
  • Wikiasari is the software name, not the Search Engine name

Now I leave you with the round up of all the links for all the stories, however, I do not vouch for how factual these articles are.  Most of the information is based off the original London Times artice

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