Robert X. Cringely Keynote at WMW Las Vegas

  • Robert X Cringely created Triumph of the Nerds

  • he once lost a 96,000 word manuscript and there was no restore function. He created the trash can on Apple's project Lisa, making emptying it a two step process.
  • in 1984 he helped build internal and corporate communications for Apple. In 1991 Apple sold that to Quantum Data Physics (later named AOL)
  • spooks went to xerox parc and xerox offered a huge price for a computer. the price was too high. the went to Stanford, and although they never originally created computers to sell Sun (stanford university nework workstation) was born. stanford saw no intellectual property in sun.
  • cisco came out of the same building as Sun. It used same motherboard as sun. cisco started on credit cards
  • typically companies can go to 600K in monthly sales on credit cards then they typically fail if they are still funding on credit.
  • Robert could have got 15% of Excite for $1,800 (I think that was the number)
  • recently he has been working on PBS GeekTV
  • he tracks his accuracy, thinks someone should create something like accuracy in
  • talks about consolidation in the space... msn /goog /yhoo only serious competitors.
    • windows and office profitable...nothing else at msft is

    • msft has cost items
    • xbox 4 billion dollars lost
    • they spend tons of money on other stuff as case B if office & windws fail
    • extra expenses there so they can later cut them if profits from office or windows falter in profitable
    • thinks google wanted the 4 billion to buy / create something (but unsure what)
    • google sticks it to competitors
    • gmail 1 gig / user... around 3 million users
    • yahoo matched it with 154 million email users
    • google's largest advantage is their clustering of hardware (see Skrenta's post on Google's source of power)
    • Google has image problem where to busy trying to impress w their brain, not helping you think of how smart ur brain is
    • Robert believes Google will beat msft & define internet for future
    • yahoo will reposition to become something far different than google
    • google search appliance is important in what it represents... it "just works" ... you only have to plug it in
    • if msft tried it you wouldnt trust them or you would think they would screw it up
    • google offer life to struggling companies like the dark fiber ones...get 300 boxes on the network
    • perhaps something like google internet will be more secure etc, just plain works, Robert sees it coming in next 2 years
  • on contnet and monetization...
    • Robert has 200,000 weekly readers

    • archives gives him same amount of traffic
    • NerdTV costs $1,000 a show and hosting costs same amount
    • costs about 8/10th cent per download + $1,000 fixed cost
    • 130,000 downloads per show
    • people subscribe to 2-3 times as much as they consume, so sometimes it is not benificial to make data as convenient as possible to access

Free WMW Las Vegas Conference Pass

Jim Boykin recently gave away a free pass to WMW Las Vegas. Noticing the BOTW WMW conference discount blog post I recently remembered that I had not yet signed up to go.

I signed up, and Brett asked me if I would like to be on this organic search session. I said sure. He gave me one free pass that I can give away, but...

it can not be combined with any other offers ;-) and no people that have already paid, or people that have been comp’d before.

So, tell me why I should give you the free pass for next weeks conference. I will give one lucky winner the pass.

Please note that the conference is in Las Vegas from November 15th through 17th, and you will still be responsible for your travel related costs.

SEO Roadshow

Shortly I am off to SEO Roadshow.

I feel like I have been a bit lacking in insipration, etc. recently. Am thinking SEO Roadshow should be cool, plus I am stoked that The Search has been released just in time for good flight reading.

Web posts & threads:

Pubcon 10 & Powerhouse Linking Conferences

Pubcon 10 Occurs in Las Vegas during Nov 15, 16, 17 - 2005.

Until September 1 they have an early signup discount price of $375.

My link building buddy Debra Mastaler is also holding a link building conference with Eric Ward in Charlotte, NC on October 27/28, 2005.

If you are UK based maks sure you don't miss the amazing SEO Roadshow.

SEO Roadshow Reminder - the SEO Event of the Year

RCJordan, who's legendary SEO skills go so far back that most of his domains are free, is cohosting SEO Roadshow with fellow SEO champ NFFC.

SEO Roadshow is free, so if you are a self respecting SEO living in the UK I can see no reason to not attend [even if I use double negatives in my sentences when mentioning it]. In fact, people have been known to fly all the way from New Zealand to attend. It occurs Saturday September 10th at The George Hotel in Edinburgh.

Although the even is free, rumour has it they may have already sold out the hotel (it happened early last year). Some nearby hotels are recommended here.

It looks like the Vikings may be hosting the event next year. Keep up with all the latest news and the like at the new SEO Roadshow blog.

SEO by the SEA

Another SEO conference :)

A smallish non commercial type get together. August 19, 20, and 21st, in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

official SEO by the Sea blog

WMW Search Engines and Webmasters

Brief review of WMW search engines and webmasters panel. Rahul Lahiri / Ask Jeeves:
Referenced Jim Lanzone's Cre8asite Forum thread.

He also said misspelled anchor text has little use, although I am not so certain I agree with that. It is almost always more convenient to accidentally place misspellings on others sites instead of your own content, unless your content is user driven.

Eytan Seidman / MSN:
Emphasized how important user feedback is in improving their products. They quickly rolled out their local search offering due to requests / popular demand. He also talked about their search near me and direct answers in the search results.

Tim Mayer / Yahoo! Search:
Talked about data compression to lower hosting costs. Said Yahoo! Search's mission statement is to Enable people to find, use, share, and expand all human knowledge. He also spoke about many of the products Yahoo! has recently rolled out, like Yahoo! Q, Mindset, and the like.

Matt Cutts / Google:
Said Google is not using WhoIs privacy information in any way, but they may eventually.

He said the AdSense hijacking error was a 2 week old bug, not the same thing that was happening in other hijack cases. In the past their heuristic for finding the canonical URL was the version of a page with the highest PageRank, but he said they had problems with that and it is solved. I believe some people may still be having issues with it though.

If a site other than your own shows up when you do a site: search for your domain then that is likely a problem.

He would like feedback on canonical errors sent via the feedback mechanism on, using canonicalpage as the subject.

Reinclusion requests can be sent the same way, except they want "reinclusion request" as the email subject line.

For AdSense junk sites people can click on the ads by Goooooooogle and give the feedback "spam report" on it. Sorta amazing that they talk about how important quality control is and that they expect others to do it for them free. He also went through a funny page generator AdSense site by the name of Vitalizer Plus Hexagonal Water.

The most recent update recently finished, and people can send feedback to

I got to hang out with Matt for a bit today and he is way cooler than I would have ever though. Sorta like Danny Sullivan in being a killer class act.

Link Building Campaigns WMW Conference

Mike Grehan:
Stressed why people should link at you. Don't spread articles too thin just to get page views. Make things convenient to read and link at. Mike also said that some search engines might be looking at the text around links.

He stated why waste time building a link directory when you can just build good content, but I think a good directory can be good content.

Mike also stated that ezines and the like can yield underpriced links.

Bill Hartzer:
Went over a bunch of link strategies, including many of the tools and things I post about on the blog often.

Jim Boykin:
Jim Boykin stressed who you link to and your linking neigborhood. Mentioned tools such as Google related: search function and Google TouchGraph.

Jim manually sends link exchange request emails, and said he finds it works well to tell others what it is in it for them before asking for a link.

George Kepnick:
Went over finding / hiring / motivating link builders. Said he had great luck on Craigslist, and that many people hire interns & students.

Linking on a Dime

Patrick Gavin:
I think a good part of his presentation came from his link building guide.

link value is based upon:

  • direct traffic

  • boost in rankings
  • brand lift

Getting links from pages that link out to shady sites can mess up your link profile.

He also went through many ideas about evaluating the value of a link (much of which is covered in his free online guide).

Todd Malicoat:
He placed his presentation online here. Emphasized creating natural link patterns and using creativity in link building.

Building and leverging your social currency is a huge way to build links when you are first starting out.

Emphasized mixing variety of link building mechanisms, not relying to heavily on any one type of link (reciprocal, directory, paid ads, etc).

Buying old sites is a great way to build cheap link popularity and authority. Searching for things like "temporarily down for maintenance" can help you locate underperforming sites. I also have seen some good ones by searching DMOZ and the like, of course if you do that you will want to try to get them before they expire.

MartiniBuster also tries to keep his link profile away from heavy SEO clusters, like high PageRank low quality link farms that pose as directories.

45 Minutes with Yahoo's Tim Mayer

Brett Tabke interviewed Tim Mayer. Tim think feedback from webmasters is useful in helping them keep up with indexing issues. They include publishers in their mission statement.

Spoke briefly about My Yahoo!, Yahoo! Subscription search, and Yahoo! Mindset.

The human feedback from people blocking or saving sites will be one of the biggest things that will effect search quality in the next
few years. PageRank has been around for a long time and has become heavily manipulated. Tim says that there has to be a better way.

Sees the problem with local search as getting small businesses to want to make information available. They made it free to get a local
website on Yahoo!.

Yahoo! Search itself is one of the most underutalized products Yahoo! owns because there are so many other features offered on the home page. Tim also mentioned the Yahoo! Search Developer Network, recommending people pull their linkage data and rank check queries from there.

Brett asked what are the biggest things you are fighting right now. Tim said he prefered to focus on the possitives. He mentioned that
Yahoo! has been winning RustySearch relevancy challenge. One problem many engines have is finding and indexing new content.

Looking for a manager for AltaVista and AlltheWeb. Feel free to apply. Each has a slightly different userbase and slightly different
indexes and relevancy algorithms to accomidate that.

Yahoo! has over 60% marketshare in Japan.

Good to get feedback from friends prior to sending a site to a search representitive.

Not sure whether or not or how they will use the feedback features to help sort relevancy. If the signal is good enough they want to
use it. Many of the feedback features are designed to help people find stuff they had found before, which may have got hidden in the
index dring a relevancy shuffle.