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February 28, 2007

NoYahooDirectory Tag is Here - NoYDir

By Li Evans

Yahooblog_1 Yahoo! announced today that they've launched the support of "NoYDir" Meta Tag.  I'd like to thank Yahoo! and Tim Mayer's team for stepping up to the plate and listening to the webmasters and implementing this.

I also think a great round of applause should go out to Barry Schwartz, without him, I doubt the need for this tag would have ever gotten the recognition it did.  A big thank you to Barry!

In news related to the announcement, Yahoo! also announced an "weather update" in the form of a re-index update in the same post.  This re-indexing is suppose to help to facilitate the support of the new tag.

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesday Part 11

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing_10 So after a week off, we're back with our next edition of Women of Internet Marketing!  Are you ready to learn about our next two featured women?  I certainly am, they are definitely a couple of fun people to meet and hang out with, but also, have a rich history in our industry.

One of our women this week is a linking guru, the other cracks a whip from time to time to help keep the infamous Danny Sullivan in line on the Daily Search Cast.  One of our women learned her craft by driving traffic to online psychic networks and a Russian Bride website, the other still has her first reply back from one our industry's leading experts.  Have I intrigued you enough?  Great!  Now its time to learn more about Alex Bennert and Debra Mastaler.

Debra Mastaler

Debra07 I first met Deb online in the High-Rankings forum, and even before meeting her in person, I knew she was a great person to get to know.  Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but, I think she's likely the top expert on the subject of linking and how it affects your search marketing efforts.  I know that's a bit of a big statement, but she not only speaks and trains at SES conferences, but she volunteers at High Rankings as a moderator.  There's never been a time where Deb's information and advice has steered me wrong.

Deb's the president of her own company, Alliance Link, and also has her own blog called the Link Spiel.  Along with training and speaking at SES, Deb also speaks at Jill Whalen's High Rankings conferences and fills in once a month on the Linking column with Eric Ward at Search Engine Land.  So now, lets get to the questions!
Alliancelinklogo Q: How did you get into the Search Marketing Industry?
A:  By way of a directory link. Between late 1997 to early 1999 I had a directory of organic co-ops, farms, and food stores after searching online for a central resource and not finding one.  Email aside, I had no experience online much less with search engines or SEO so I used the standard marketing and public relations techniques I knew and was comfortable with.  I bartered links for email lists, ad space, created cross promotions and would issue a press release each time I had a new customer or created a new section of the site. I started to rank really well for just about any ‘organic’ phrase so I was happy but still clueless as to what was making that happen. It wasn’t until the business owners in my directory started asking me to help them rank that I realized I was doing something right. That’s when I started researching online marketing and found a newsletter called Rank Write which was written by Jill Whalen and Heather Lloyd Martin.

I still have the original email I sent to Jill and her answer to me. Every once in a while I pull them out and remember fondly the simple days when it was all about  keyword density, meta tags and any inbound link. Jill patiently explained what I was doing and the effects it had on my site and from those conversations Alliance-Link was born. I eventually let the directory go and ventured into SEOLand and link building. It’s been a fun ride so far and I have no regrets save one – I wish I had never let the directory go for all the ‘link’ reasons you can imagine!
Q: Most successful industry accomplishment?
A:  I’ve been very fortunate to have a number of wonderful opportunities come my way and I appreciate each one beyond words. I’m especially grateful to Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman for making me part of the SES conference series and part of their Search Engine Land blog team. It was an honor to have been asked to be the initial Link Building Moderator at the HighRankings Forum and to be part of the Incisive Media SES Training Program. I will always be grateful to Peter DaVanzo for being the first person to ask me for an interview and to Jennifer Laycock for being the first to reprint one of my blog posts.
Q:  Why do you like/love this industry?
A:  For several reasons. I like being part of an industry that has front row seats to the changes taking place in our society via the Internet.  I’ve watched as MySpace burst onto the scene and became part of our daily vernacular, how Google morphed from a search engine to a verb and how local search has just about made the yellow pages obsolete.   And it goes without saying that I love a great number of the people I’ve met along the way and consider myself lucky to call them friend. 
Q:  What aggravates you most about this industry?
A:  LOL – guess I should have seen that question coming…. Well, two things aggravate me  - people who plagiarize content and people who preach SEO/link building but don’t practice it.  Just because someone has a website and “optimizes” it doesn’t make him an authority on the subject of SEO and/or linking. And yet we tolerate a number of people in our industry as *experts* who have this type of background. I work on a variety of sites and never experience the same outcome for any of them, so why do we embrace people who make blanket statements about cause and effect when all they have is one site to base their observations on?
Q:  What’s the next big thing you see happening in this industry?
A:  More and more integration of Web 2.0 type concepts and technology into corporate  America’s online sales and communication activities. We’re starting to see it but once the blue-chip companies integrate the technology and show consumers it’s fast, easy and fun to use, it willl morph forward./p> The other thing I see happening is the refinement of mobile search. You can search from your phone now but it’s not pretty and it’s not efficient. Wouldn’t it be cool to speak a search command into your phone and produce a listing of businesses? I’d have a field day with shoe stores wherever I traveled! Or how about rating a restaurant right after leaving it instead of waiting to get home and power up the laptop? Point and click will be replaced by speak and click and we’ll all own more shoes. Do you feel Search Marketing and Search Marketers get have a bad rep, from outsiders of the industry?

I’m sure we do but then there are people who don’t like the Pope, Gandhi and Elvis as well so it’s best to keep all that in perspective when we talk about what people think.
Q:  Why do you blog?
A:  I blog to practice my writing skills which suck. And not because I use eloquent words like *suck* but because I don’t have the ability to put down on paper what I hear in my head. I try to blog on a regular basis but life and work get in the way. And yes, I am planning to take The Link Spiel off Blogger and give it a big girl blog right after I redesign my pitiful website which at the rate I’m going will be in 2010.
Q:  What’s a typical day like for you at your company?
A:  Depends on if I’m at home working or on the road. I have a number of clients in Richmond/Wash DC area that keep me on retainer so I’ll visit with them several times a month and I do a lot of off-site training. I’m a chatty Cathy by nature so the visiting and the feedback is a lot of fun for me. On the other hand, I love my jammies too so I’m glad I can have both types of work days.
Q:  Who’s your favorite blogger to read?
A:  Hands down Rohit Bhargava.   Closely followed by SEO By The Sea, BoingBoing, Micropersuasion, Constantin Basturea,.Eric and Justilien.  Oh and Gawker, Gray Hat News and Mike Grehan for fun and good photos.
Q:  Right now, how many women bloggers do you read?  
A:  Let’s see, eight on a regular basis.   Yours, Christine’s, Dazzlin' Donna's, Amanda, Kim, and Jennifer. I also  like to read Lisa Barone at BC's and Esther Dyson.

And now of course for the juicy stuff!
Q:  Favorite Memory for an SES Conference? A:  Google Dance 2004. I got to spend time with Paul Gardi.  

Q: You have been in the industry for quite a while, surely you can tell the audience if you’ve ever seen Bruce Clay in tights and a cape?  A:  Nope, but I have seen him in purple silk _____ !!

Q:  Sexy SEO’s, which would top your list? Oilman, Web Guerilla or Dave “Fookin’” Naylor? 
Ooooo be still my beating heart!

A:  Todd can talk over Greg which makes him my hero and I hear he drives a big truck so big sex appeal points to Todd. However, I’d need to know if he has chest hair before he takes home the prize.  So…

Even thought I don’t know Mr. Naylor the fact he’s earned a middle name like "‘Fookin" is promising. I already know he doesn’t have chest hair since I’ve seen his streaking video so I need to find out he drives a big truck or SUV.  That leaves….

My panel-mate MonkeyBoy. Anyone who says it would be an honor to be bitch slapped by me and openly compliments his wife is definitely OK in my book.  However…..

Truth be told I’d run them all over for Paul Gardi. 

LOL - Deb has a wonderful way with words!  Thanks Deb for letting us get to know you!  And now onto Alex!

Alex Bennert

Ab I finally got to meet Alex in London this past SES conference, after hearing about her, and actually hearing co-host the Daily Search Cast with Danny Sullivan on WebmasterRadio.fm.  I'd hope to get to meet her so I could ask in person if she'd like to be featured here.  With a feather boa to accent her style (yes she was a victim of the bead and boa fun), she happily agreed.

Alex works at Beyond Ink, with the ever fabulous Anne Kennedy.  Her road to working with Anne and being a co-host to Danny is definitely an interesting tale that started back in 1999 and involves photography, psychics and Russian Brides.  Of course I had to hook you in, so now you are ever so curious as to how I came up with that trio of facts and you must read on to our questions and answers with Alex!

Beyondinklogo Q:  How did you land in the Search Marketing Industry?
A:  I started out trying to carve a career in professional photography. Digital scanning and imaging was logical next step followed by putting these images on the web which led to learning web design. After freelancing for a couple years, I had to find employment that provided insurance. I answered a job posting at a local dot com for a web designer. Except it was really an SEO position. I worked with a team of 4 people to drive search traffic to a network of sites that included Russian brides and psychic consultations. The job was very unusual and quite instructive. When the company went bust (along with all the other dot com deaths around 2001), I hung out my own shingle and began freelancing search optimization services.

Beyond Ink was a search marketing agency in my area. Their in-house guru was none other than Elisabeth Osmeloski. While technically my competition, the owner Anne Kennedy was always incredibly helpful and generous to me. They brought me to my first SES conference. In 2004, Beyond Ink made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and 3 years later, here I am!
Q:  Most successful industry accomplishment?
A:  I’m very proud of working with Zillow before they even started building their site to design a completely bot-friendly architecture.
Q:  Why do you like/love this industry?
A:  Oh boy! Where do I begin?
      • It’s both an art and a science.
      • Degrees and background experience do not define the potential for success.
      • Sometimes I get to be a hero.
      • The genuine camaraderie of our community is uncommon (in my experience).
Q:  What aggravates you most about this industry?
A:
      • Web developers that retain clients by holding using hostage tactics such as proprietary CMS systems or domain name ownership. 
      • Territorial, short-sighted IT staffers. Jeez, can I just get 5 minutes to state my case? I swear I’m not stoopid.
      • Corporate clients where marketing, IT, and accounting or completely silo-ized so that your great ideas just get swallowed into a black hole of oblivion.
Q:  What’s the next big thing you see happening in this industry?
A:  Marketing budget allocations continuing to increase for web while decreasing for other types of media.
Q:  What’s it like co-hosting the Daily Search Cast with Danny?
A:  Easy! For the most part, I just have to stay out of his way. I throw in the occasionally yep, mmmm, uh-huh, or an attempt at a sophisticated hahaha to make myself sound wise and clever. The real trick is to watch out for Danny Rants that have show-extension potential. Specifically orange-level rants destined to draw our segment well beyond 45 minutes. Now, let me be clear! I’m sure there is a statistically significant percentage of our audience who ardently appreciates the finer nuances of Danny’s spontaneous compositions; but I see myself as an advocate of our Power Users. I’m referring to our listeners that still have another 7 podcasts to hear, 54 blogs to scan, 16 Google alerts to review and 4 forum threads to monitor before they even open their email! That’s when I have to crack my virtual whip and step up to take control. NOTE that this is not the official WebmasterRadio description of the hosting job, merely my own interpretation of it. ;-)
Q:   Do you feel that doing SEO as easy as baking a cake?
A:  You’ll have to be more specific about your definition of “SEO” as well as the type of cake!
Q:  Who’s your favorite blogger to read?
A:  Why do you ask for only one? I’ll have to throw my top 10 into a hat and make a random pick…… and the winner is…. Stuntdubl.
Q:  Right now, how many women bloggers do you read?
A:  Rebecca Kelley, Lisa Barone, Vanessa Fox, Dazzlin’ Donna
And now for a little fun with Alex....
Q:  Andy Hagans or Aaron Wall?
A:  This one is easy since I haven’t yet met Andy. During the last couple years, Aaron has certainly earned my respect and admiration. He is the ideal example of how far determination, persistence, and inquiry can take you.
Q:  Which do you prefer, the Danny Rants, or the Danny Songs on the Daily Search Cast?
A:  It really depends on the day. Danny’s rants are always amusing and occasionally thought-provoking. The songs provide a surreal diversion.
Q:  Craziest thing you’ve ever had happen to you while you have been in this industry?
A:  Hmmm….several incidents spring to mind but they all involve a certain Ms. Osmeloski who already dodged that question!

Oooooh these gals and dodging the fun questions ... maybe I can do a live on the spot interview in NYC?  What do you all think? :)   Thanks Alex for being such a great sport and letting us learn more about you.

As always, visit our Women of Internet Marketing category to read all about the prior features we've had here at SMG!  Next week, we'll have week 12 and two more great women.

Is Your Shopping Feed Optimized for Shoppers?

By Li Evans

Comparisonengines Once your retail site is optimized, its time to turn and look at the alternate ways of marketing the products found on your retail site.  In particularly, feeds for the shopping comparison engines like Google's Froogle/Base, Shopizilla, Become, Bizrate, Nextag and others.

A lot of retailers are limited with how their feed is created or limited in the ability to edit product titles and descriptions specifically for a feed.  Most of the time, these feeds come from a content management system (CMS) and they have no control on what is produced from the onset. Depending on whether or not the content management system allows edits to product descriptions, product titles just for feeds will depend on your access to the CMS.  If you cannot get that kind of access, you are likely left with the alternative of manually editing the feed after the CMS creates it.

Getting your feeds out there for the shoppers is important, however, having your products found by shoppers is an entirely different task.  Many CMS systems use abbreviations in their titles for products or use different language in their descriptions of the products.  Lets look at an example:

Product Title:  17" LPTP CMPTR by Acer, 2GB PRCSR, DVD, 1GBRAM

For saving time and space, this title is great for the data processor entering it into the system.  For a shopping feed, a title like this will ensure it will never be found, except for the term "Acer".  Why?  Ask yourself, who searches for a laptop with the abbreviation LPTP? Or even further, searching for a computer with the abbreviation CMPTR?

Shoppingcart_1 Not getting the conversion or traffic you expected from your shopping feed?  Take a good look at the feed's product details, are they full of abbreviations, or jargon only your company understands?  That's likely the first place to start to optimize.  Of course if you have a feed with thousands of products, it might not be feasible to manually optimize, so there might be a more fundamental need at the beginning of your entry process into the CMS.

Training your team in the importance of how they write product titles and product descriptions could lessen the need for manual optimization of your shopping feed.  Another option would be to utilize alternate fields in your CMS system to help build the feed and optimize it towards a totally different audience.

Uparrow The last thing to remember when dealing with shopping feeds, and probably the most vital - you're targeting an already captive audience.  You need to speak to that audience in a different manner than you would a contextual searcher on Yahoo!, Google or MSN.  Utilizing that knowledge to your advantage can help you raise both traffic and conversion rates.

February 27, 2007

New Social Media Forum at Cre8astie Forums

By Li Evans

Cre8asitelogo Cre8asite Forums has added a new forum to all the other great forums within the site, this one is on Social Media and Tagging. This is actually rather near and dear to my heart, as I've been asked to moderate it and I'll be joined by another great internet marketer, Chris Winfield of 10e20

I'm also lending a hand and helping to moderate the SEO forum on the site, too.  There I join Rand and Ron Carnell to pitch in.  I'm "storyspinner" on Cre8site, so stop on by and say hi to Chris and I - try to be easy on us, we're still new to all of this moderating stuff! :)

I'd like to thank the incredible and wonderful moderating staff at Cre8site for such a warm welcome!  And before you say it, David Temple, I've cloned myself. :P

New Addition to SMG - Michael Abolafia

By Li Evans

Michaelabolafia I've got some news to share!  Search Marketing Gurus is adding another writer to our ranks.  Michael Abolafia is going to come aboard and help us cover the Affiliate Marketing Industry.  Michael's been a marketer in this space for over 5 years now and is well versed in marketing strategies and tools that can help marketers.

Michael's an independent consultant that specializes in assisting companies run effective Affiliate Marketing programs.  His addition will definitely bring some different content here to SMG, as well as some great debate between our writers (although not in an extremely controversial way!)

Please join me in welcoming Michael to SMG!

February 26, 2007

Responsibility or Linkbait?

By Li Evans

Controversywar After the MyBlogLog vs. Shoemoney fiasco over the weekend, it really got me to thinking about responsibility verses linkbaiting.  Yes, I thought about it all weekend.  Perhaps I might ruffle some feathers here, but what the hell, conversation is a good thing, right?

The fact is, we as bloggers have a responsibility.  As you become a more popular blogger, your sense of responsibility should trump your need to linkbait on your own blog.  As much as I like Shoemoney, I think that he crossed the line with posting the IDs on his blog, without first alerting the parties he was going to go and do so.  That's what I mean when I say responsibility.

Responsibility If it wasn't about linkbait, the post could have gone on without those id's.  It also could have been emailed to MyBlogLog first, then posted on the blog.  Of course, I'm sure some will say I'm Monday morning quarterbacking, and I realize and accept that.  I did check with Jeremy to hear it from him that he didn't ask for permission, and he honestly answered that "no" he didn't.  And it's not the point that anyone could have gotten those IDs - the point is, be responsible to your fellow bloggers (and friends) by giving them a heads up and say "hey I'm doing this, o.k.?"

That's not to admonish MBL from responsibility, what happened after they banned Shoe turned into a tit-for-tat comment and blog posting marathon, name calling and boycott-a-thon that made me just switch off the internet/blogs/bloglines for the entire weekend.  Let me tell you, it takes a lot to get me to do that.

MyBlogLog apologized, I understand why, and they should be applauded for owning up to taking the wrong path in this situation.  Sure they had an itchy trigger finger, it possibly could have been handled without a ban, but Shoe's not entirely innocent here either.  Every MARKETER in this space all know the exploit with the IDs was posted for linkbait and traffic bait, without regard for what it would do to those people who had their IDs posted.

I like Shoe, I think he's an intelligent, nice and sincere person.  I learn things from him, and I think what he's done with is life and his business is amazing.  However, today, I respectfully disagree with his actions with MyBlogLog situation.  When you are a blogger with an audience of his size, there's something that trounces the need for controversy and linkbaiting, it's called responsibility.

Jedi As bloggers, we all wield power - and perhaps I'm sound a bit "Jedi-ish" - but with that power comes a greater responsibility.  With one post you can unwittingly set things into motion, and knowing or unknowingly you can send someone else down a path you never intended.   Something as small as  what happened this weekend could end up turning out all wrong.

And one last note, MyBlogLog learned a new term this weekend, can you guess what it was?  Try "LinkBait."

So here endeth my thoughts on the matter - thanks for putting up with the rant, I can now stop chewing on this and move onto news, tips and strategies! :)

February 22, 2007

Shoemoney Banned from MyBlogLog, Andy Beal Boycotts MyBlogLog

By Li Evans

Shoemoneylogo Jeremy Shoemaker aka "Shoemoney" has been banned from MyBlogLog.  Now, you all are probably sitting here wondering "how the heck did that happen?

Jeremy quite frequently posts about the MyBlogLog security flaws, ever since someone grabbed his identity on MyBlogLog back in December, he's been posting about issues with MBL.  To be fair, he's pointed out the issues, but he's also helped to promote MBL - especially among his user base.

Mbllogo Yesterday, Jeremy pointed out a security flaw that allowed people to surf blogs as other MyBlogLog users.  According to MyBlogLog, pointing out the security flaw would just fine, but Jeremey also included data in the post that gave away other users' id numbers in the MBL system and apparently that's what has MBL quite upset - enough to ban him.

Marketingpilgrimlogo Andy Beal has now taken the stance that he's removing the MBL code that runs their popular widget, off of Marketing Pilgrim and boycotting MyBlogLog until it re-instates Jeremy's account.  It's true that this information is readily available if you read the cookie's information, and in a sense that's publicly available.  However, I wonder if he got permission to post that information first from the users on the list? (and I do have an email out to Shoe with this question)  I ask this, because, with blogging and notoriety comes a bit of integrity and due diligence one should think about before posting information like that.

If Shoe had the permission of Andy, Barry, Danny and the others on the list, then MBL needs to back off and reinstate him, and I would join Andy in the boycott.  However, if the permission wasn't sought, then in my opinion MyBlogLog does have a point, especially considering how popular Shoe's blog is.  But even if they have a point, banning is a bit harsh or extreme and makes MBL look like "jerks", and considering how far reaching Shoe's blog reaches, it could come back to bite MBL in the butt.

I'm going to hold my judgment on this till all the facts come shuffling in.  Eric from MBL has commented on Andy's post about his boycott, but that comment still doesn't answer my question.  It also will be interesting to see how many of Shoe's readers will take up the cause, as well.  I'll update this post if i hear back from Shoe.

UPDATES: 

  • I've heard from Shoe.  No Permission was sought when posting the ID's.
  • The id's came from the avatars, not the cookies.  But you had to modify your cookie in order to surf as someone else.
  • That security hole was plugged before Shoe posted the personal data.
  • Eric of MBL posted in comments below, he asked for my opinion on how they could not be seen as jerks - why don't you all contribute to the convo? :)

So some reflection - I'm not going to pull my MBL code, because Shoe didn't first drop a simple note to anyone who's data he posted and say "hey can i do this, do you mind?"  Don't take this as total support for MBL, though.  MBL has demonstrated an itchy trigger finger here - Eric and his team could have dropped a quick email or post to Jeremy, asking him to stop or they'd pull him.  The blogosphere is about communication and engaging in conversation - MBL should know that since they have a service that caters to the blogging community.

Again, it's not about posting the exploit, it's about the data, and the fact that the hole was plugged before Shoe posted the information.  But Shoe's an intelligent and understanding person - had MBL asked, I'm sure he would have respected MBL request. 

I've suggested a middle ground in my response to Eric, perhaps this is a solution everyone could live with and bring everyone back to the same ground?  What are your opinions?

Tired of Wikipedia? Try Britannica

By Li Evans

Nowikipedia_1 Since Wikipedia put the "link condom" on all the links pointing outside of its wiki, they've angered a lot of people who use to be their supporters.  Andy Beal has even suggested a "no follow" linking back to Wikipedia.

I just got done reading Lisa Barone's post about her issues with Wikipedia.  Both of these issues bring me back to a suggestion I made a few months ago, that the engines stop using Wikipedia as "the authority", I'd like to add to that suggestion for everyone else out there stop linking to Wikipedia, period.

There is a tried and true authority in this type of verified information, and it's a relied on and trusted (by college professors) source for quick definitions that you can use for free (just like Wikipedia!).  Yes - Encyclopedia Britannica has a FREE section believe it or not.  It's free encyclopedia section gives you enough information to get your point across, and it's verified by experts.

Conciseencyclopedia Just head out to Britannica's site, type in the word you'd like to search on, if it has information on it, you'll see it in their "Free - Concise Encyclopedia" section.  You then just click on the links that closely match your criteria and you can garner a decent amount of information, perfect for those of us who just link to explain a term.

Of course if you are in need of more in-depth information, you need to be a member to access it.  But stop and think, this is verified, highly reliable research.  This isn't information that teenagers in their free time between skateboarding and texting their friends are placing into a wiki.  It's probably well worth the investment if you need to be constantly doing that deep kind of research.

Give Britannica a whirl, you might be surprised how useful it really can be!

February 21, 2007

Google Steps Into Video Game Advertising

By Li Evans

Adscapelogo_1 A few weeks ago, I wrote about the speculation around Google possibly acquiring Adscape Media.  While I was over across the pond at London SES, it looks like Google sealed that deal to acquire Adscape Media to the tune of $23 million.

This puts Google's toes in the water, so to speak, in this market, but they certainly still lag way behind Microsoft's Massive Incorporated, IGA Worldwide and Double Fusion.  Adscape Media is still a relatively new company in this market space and really doesn't have the publishers locked up like their competitors do. 

Xbox_1_1 Microsoft has had almost a year head start on Google in the in-game advertising industry, and looking at Massive's stock of publishers and advertisers - Adscape/Google has a lot of catching up to do.  Microsoft also has a big advantage in knowing this industry in a bit more depth than Google, since Microsoft is the creator of popular XBox console.

Is YouTube the New Napster?

By Li Evans

Flyers After a report I read about the NHL wanting to ban their videos from being embeded, which was subsequently corrected by the NHL on Steve's site - they aren't banning embedding videos, I really got to this eerie feeling reminiscent of Napster, right on the edge of the Internet Bubble.  Granted, this a very broad comparison - there's a lot of technology difference between YouTube and Napster, but there is still some comparisons on the marketing front.

There are a lot of media companies questioning the internet marketing strategies when it comes to YouTube.  YouTube like Napster makes it incredibly easy to share things, big media companies like CBS, NBC and Viacom are all trying to figure out how to recoup some profits from the medium, just like the RIAA wanted to with file sharing on Napster.

This is where lessons in reputation management, word of mouth marketing and internet marketing all converge.  When I first stated the RIAA, come on, admit it - you're immediate thought was a negative one.  You probably had the vision of big bullies who go after grandmothers who let their grandkids use their computers, suing them for thousand of dollars more than their social security checks are worth in a year.  You also, more than likely, had a thought something like "those jerks ruined Napster." Note, that no artist wants to be really linked to the RIAA - there's not one picture of a recognizable "star", or record company on their website, that's how bad their reputation is.

Joost Now, lets look at how different media companies are handling the sharing of video on YouTube and Google.  CBS has embraced YouTube and has seen a rise in veiwership it can directly attribute to the medium.  Viacom and NBC on the other hand have ordered YouTube to remove their content, but, they aren't suing the people who upload their clips, instead they offer the videos on their own sites or looking to other services like Joost to help with their content distribution. 

So which company benefits the most?  In the long run, more than likely it will be CBS, embracing a medium with so many "eyeballs" means they have another medium to advertise on, they just need to figure out that model, is it a banner at the bottom of the screen or perhaps some kind of logo background behind Katie Couric? 

Riaa At least these media companies recognize that this is another viable venue and are treating their viewers with respect, by not going after them directly.  In the case of the RIAA, the result is the back lash of people actually buying CD's has seen an incredible decline.  Music listeners now look to iTunes to pick and choose a song here and there.  And by far, they have probably the most horrid reputation among internet users as a bunch of money hungry lawyers who will bleed the last dime out of you if you downloaded even one song.

These next few months will be very telling for this particular segment of internet marketing.  Those who embrace the medium, can likely benefit in ways the really didn't think they could.  For those who reject the medium - it's all in how you reject it.  There's that old saying "Don't bite the hand that feeds you," it's a lesson the RIAA has learned the hard way over the last couple of years.

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