Assorted Links...

Why did Adobe Buy MacroMedia?
all the reasons. no spin.

Algorithms & Patents & Spam, oh My:
Yahoo!'s Concept Network & SuperUnits

Is NickW for Blog Spam?
certainly not, when its done sloppily to one of his blogs ;)

The Wrong Tail:
people are starting to use The Long Tail without purpose. better get that book printed quick.

Yahoo! Buys
a good post from Nacho.

New Blog:
O'Reilly Radar

New Browser:
Opera 8 Launched

Media Futures:
Media Futures, Part 1/5: AUTOMATA

Internet Advertising:
A decade in Online Advertising (PDF) - report by DoubleClick, who may get bought out soon. found on Lee's blog

Wanna Park?
viral marketing at its best: I Park Like an Idiot

Seth & the Real Cost of Sleeze Marketing

I have read Seth Godin's blog consistantly for the past year. I also believe I have read every book that he has wrote in the 5 years. I even went to his office one day to hang out. In the past he has made some comments about SEO which were a bit off mark, but in the end I agree that for most people SEO is not going to be a long term business model. If you really know your stuff well you might be able to get by just doing SEO, but for some people that will eventually get old. Technology will continue to advance. SEO can enhance distribution but if SEO and selling stuff cheap are your longterm brand strategy you could be making more money creating legitimate value for a growing social network which may eventually market your products for you.

Seth is a smart marketer and knows that on the web it is virtually impossible to give away too many good ideas. Stuntdubl just spent a day in Seth's office, and from his post and an IM chat he said it was great.

A few things you really learn when you visit hyper successful people who are still down to Earth:

  • You don't need a suit to do well.

  • Hard work does pay off.
  • More than you realized you probably share a lot in common with that successful person.
  • Being successful does not have to change who you are.
  • Many of the people who are successful in your field may be more successful primarily based on past experience or time in the field.
  • It is more lucrative being yourself then acting a part.

How does this relate to SEO?

1.) SEO Software:

I recently read a book which recommended a decent SEO tool and appoligized for mentioning it due to sleeze sales copy.

I recently tried another SEO tool, which has recurring monthly fees. The tips newsletter immediately offered me a special deal not promoted on the site - some Cory Rudl affiliate links. I even replied to the person to tell them that I thought it was sleeze.

If you are charging me a healthy recurring subscription on a low cost system do you need to sleeze upsell me? Is an extra $4 a month worth me not wanting to recommend your software? Worse yet, the how to manual for the SEO tool had three pages reminding readers how they can become rich reselling the software. Gross.

[disclaimer: within my sites I market my ebook heavily, but as time passes my sales letter will probably become more and more soft sell. My end goal is to be able to have no need to have a sales letter, but that might still be a bit down the road. ]

2.) Consulting & Services:

As a consultant or person working in a related field the best position to be in is to have more leads than you can possibly use. That way you get to chose what hours you work, set your prices, pick your clients, etc.

By not being a hard seller you miss out on some sales, but it also helps to build trust if you don't immediately go for a hard sell. Taking time to review things and build a relationship you are less likely to waste effort trying to sell to a person who is not interested in buying.

I think Jill Whalen has worked rather hard at developing a soft sell system which lets her pick and chose who she wants to work with.

3.) business meetings:

When I go to SES or related conferences many people are like "do you have a business card?", and I never do.

In that situation I look stupid, confident, or both. If you want to remember me that is great, if not I don't want to be another card in the stack.

Sure you want to build relationships over time, but if you give a few hundred people your card you might get a couple leads out of it. I have a huge stack of business cards and know few of the people.

As long as you appoligize for any mistakes you make or any inconvenience you cause someone they will probably think better of you than if everything just went smoothly off the start.

The added effort to get or give someones data without convenient little cards makes it more personal. If you want to remember me I probably do not need a card.

If you don't have cards and chose to meet a few people really well you might be better off as you will likely stick out a bit more than the average card in the stack.

[disclaimer 2: I might be full of crap, but these are my opinions, and I am sharing them. Please let me know what you think of them in the comments below]

When to Trust Someone...

How do you know when to trust someone?

When talking face to face motive is not always easy to judge, but it is usually a bit easier than it is over the web.

Hucksters & Spammers:
Golden rule #1 for me is if you are so good at what you do there is no reason for you to be wasting your time cold calling me.

If you waste my time in any way: bulk email, cold call, random pop up, etc there is no way in hell I want to do business with you. But beyond that it gets a bit harder:

Sales Hype:

  • Tons of affiliates openly endorse crap. They lie about how good something is to make a commission. From what I have seen the single hardest part of being an affiliate marketer is finding someone who wants to give honest advice.

  • Many testimonials are fake or favors for friends.
  • I could probably at least double my conversions by putting a bit more hype in the sales letter, but I feel guilty being promotional at all. Most of the parts of my sales letter which are hype sounding were wrote by someone else. Some sales letters are litterally 40 pages long.
  • I write a 5 start press release for customers, but usually write a 3 star one for myself.

Selling Things:

  • Credit card fraud is huge. Sometimes not only is the price refunded, but your account can be subject to significant fees.

  • Many people sleezeballs buy products and then ask for a refund within the first minute.
  • One of the people who said my ebook was not a fit for them last June just asked me if they could join my affiliate program. Why would you want to sell something you do not like? Certainly there is at least a little bit of dishonesty hidden somewhere in there. But I suppose that is the standard on the web.
  • Others lie to your credit card processor, saying they never got a product and tried to contact you. Some of which even subscribe to your updates and ask why they are not getting updates after getting refunds.
  • Rarely do people who want a refund give a single reason they are displeased.
  • Multiple thoughtful people have copied my ebook and placed it on their site for free.
  • You can place electronic products or other things in formats to make it harder to steal, at the cost of inconveniencing your legitimate customers. I have not done that yet, but as I grow older and less idealistic it becomes easier to see why so many people do.

Helping Friends:

  • I have helped people promote products and ideas only to later find out that defending them was stupid because their actions were short sighted and driven by greed.

    • Even shittier of them, while I was actively trying to help them, they were planning on turning the project into crap and did not tell me.

    • Instead of creating a legitimate business model they now email spam for a living.
  • Other friends pitch a great idea. You help promote it as a partner and then they do stupid short sighted things to destroy the value.
  • Sometimes you can write a testimonial only to find out that other market forces or a lack of updating can make your testimonial quickly outdated.
  • I tried to lend a ton of help and credibility to a friend and now they make the bulk of their living off blog spam. One of my friends had workers manually comment spamming one of my blogs. Not that blog spamming is entirely wrong, but when it is easily traceable is it entirely stupid.
  • You can help others by creating add on promotional guides for your products only to find them write the same price on their site and write the verbiage in their sales copy as though that bonus is the same or better than your main product. Fairly short sighted IMHO.
  • Some friends later are the first to laugh if you or your site fails to meet their expectations in any way. I have not had this happen to me much, but have seen it over and over again. Not that I am generally friends there, but the IHY forums is usually cutting edge in this category.
  • If you help out charities you get many requests that start with something like "My cousin goes to church once every other week..." Can you give me your business model free?

Community Sites:

  • There are a ton of systems set up to automatically spam social networks. The better the network the harder some of them will try to spam. Some are automated, some are manual.

  • Some of the people who work hard to help others build communities are later burned by the same machines they helped build.
  • It is hard to scale labors of love into profitable business models without offending people.
  • If you have a profitable business model and are opinionated some people like to judge you and use the forums or other community sites to market hate messages. It is far easier to make ludicrous statements over the web. Flame wars are a natural part of broken social software.

Various SEO / SEM Related Problems:

  • Link relationships are based on trust. Most link trade offers are bogus and / or automated.

  • Sometimes even paying for a link in a directory is an issue of trusting the owner not to sleeze out their directory, which is counter the the stream many current directories are swimming.
  • from 10 days ago, many other problems in BadRank & the Ugly Side of SEO

For one reason or another I think many sites and many people are afraid to give people something they can trust. Something they can believe in. From what I have seen Danny Sullivan seems to be one of few unifying forces / people in this industry.

How do you breed trust? How do you know who you can trust? Are there some books I should read? Am I screwing up by reading books and so many web pages? etc etc etc?


On a related note my favorite T shirt designer just put his limited edition shirts online. YIPPIE! Please look through his collection and the first person who comments below that they want one gets one. Comment below and send me an email with your sizing and shipping details.

Adobe to Buy MacroMedia for 3.4 Billion in Stock

Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Macromedia (Nasdaq:MACR) in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.4 billion.full release
Not entirely search related, but MacroMedia DreamWeaver & Adobe GoLive are two of the more popular web design software programs on the market. Additionally Adobe created PDF, PhotoShop, and Illustrator. MacroMedia has Flash and ColdFusion.

MacroMedia was also one of the first large software companies to have many employees blog about their work and products.

random tidbit: My old roommate's girlfriend used to work as the secretary for Allaire before MacroMedia bought them out.

Currently Adobe PDF is in a partnership to have their PDF search done with Yahoo! Search. According to the Wall Street Journal the combined Adobe / MacroMedia company looks to be taking on MicroSoft on many fronts.

Mr. Chizen, who took over as chief executive in 2000, has his sights on a larger business-software market, built around Adobe's document-management capabilities. Adobe's sales of such document-management servers were only about $100 million last year, but the company has revamped its salesforce and marketing efforts to push those products, which carry price tags of $50,000 and more.

Documents are the lifeblood of business and governments, and the ability to secure them, sign them and let everybody view them with the free Reader gives Adobe a major head start, he says. "The only other vendor that has that kind of penetration is Microsoft," Mr. Warzecha said.

Macromedia has been working to build its business selling multimedia tools to corporations and media companies. It wants to make Flash the underlying technology to enable users to work with a broad range of applications and devices, such as cellphones, in which small screens and the lack of a full keyboard present special challenges.

In Japan, for example, Macromedia says Flash is used by 60% of the more than 4,000 content suppliers for NTT DoCoMo, Japan's top mobile carrier. Macromedia predicts that in five years, 75% of mobile phones sold will have multimedia capabilities.

Could MicroSoft be fighting on too many fronts?

Self Publishing, Writing Articles, When is it worth Optimizing?

Transparent Business Model: overlapping ads. Ads actually cover the words in the articles. How annoying. And worthless.

The average surfer is not going to be able to read that article. The average webmaster is not going to link to that content. Who the hell is that article for?

Self Publishing:

Gmail Feeds?
Evehead noticed a feed in his Gmail.

Google Hype:
Google founders only take $1 in pay this year.

No Mamma NO!!!
Copernick says no to being purchased by due to government probes. has become a day trading favorite and is currently out of season on prettymuch all ends.

Ranking a New Site in Google?
can suck.

Not Worth Optimizing:
another article talking about why it is not worth performing SEO services for many people.
also covered here here and here

As a person who gets many inqueries I see many many many prospective clients want $100,000 of results on a $300 spend. If that opportunity was worth doing it would be just as easy to become an affiliate of a competing site, spend $1,000 to throw up your own site, and make $5,000 a month on the same work without needing to deal with clients.

Marketing SEO Services:
Many SEOs who sell SEO services remain somewhat faceless on the web, which is a huge mistake IMHO. I have yet to find a single type of marketing which worked as fast at driving SEO sales as writing and syndicating an article can.

The trick to doing well is to simply be a good salesmen on the phone and ensure your audience is more ignorant than you are. While Stuntdubl thinks it is a solid article, he also points out that DG shows the other side of the coin.

The main portion of my current business model banks on the fact that the misleading confusion of various outdated or incorrect articles, blog post, and / or forum posts will lead some people to want to buy an up to date linear guide about SEO and related topics.

If you do sell SEO services I can't stress enough how well writing articles works. The more you learn about SEO the more you see that many of the branded experts are only experts because they have a strong brand. Articles are a cheap way to building brand. Many businesses outside of SEO could use this technique far more often as well.

Automated Content:
becomes academic. hehehe

The Architecture of Participation

Lots of Various Links

Spainish Ask Jeeves

Lycos to use AlmondNet to target contextual ads

Who Owns Culture?
Webcast at 7pm Eastern tonight. Steven Berlin Johnson is one of my favorite writers, and he will be chatting with Jeff Tweedy and Lawrence Lessig.

Like Search Research?
DG's Desk links to a bunch of research papers.

this looks like a cool new blog about eBay, but why not spend the $8 /yr to buy a static domain name?

also, Gawker media lagunched Sploid. I think they come up with some pretty cool names.

Try Again:
Google alternate searches being tested? that or spyware...

Gel Conference:
April 28-29, 2005 New York City. Looks pretty cool.

of MSN Search.

Across the Ocean:
apparently in the UK Online ad spend trumps airwaves

A Good Blog:
about social, legal, and economic issues.

Dirty Words:
Marcia. hehehe

Paris Hilton:
still looking for that video? view the Paris Hilton porncast podcast. you KNOW stuff is overhyped when a megacorp has Paris doing something.

Yahoo! Shopping:
rss feeds

AOL tries to be undead, launching a VoIP service. pricing structure hosed from the word go?

Outsourcing & a Tim Bray Interview

Outsourcing & You:
It's a Flat World, After All (found on SEB)

An Interview:
of Tim Bray (found by Gary)

Interesting News for the Day

Try Google Gulp. buy the gear on eBay

Special Offers:
MSN Personalization
Google Search Today

Yahoo! Adds Weather:
forcasts a big index change.

Stormy in Austrialia?
Google wiped you guys off the map. sorry mates :(

Blog & SEO Business Models: Hosting Content Spam

SEOs Are Scum:
For a long time many bloggers have stated that SEOs are scum, as said best by Anil Dash.

I've always had a pretty low opinion of the Search Engine Optimization industry. Though there are of course legitimate experts in the field, it seems chock full of people who are barely above spammers, and they taint the image of the whole group.

Content Spam:
Blog comment spam is one common type that bloggers know all too well, but creating tons of rubbish content is another type of spam.

HotNacho hires writers to write low quality articles for $3 each. The articles, being of low quality, have little value by themselves. However, if you can get an authoritative site to host the articles you can make a ton of money from advertising.

Affordable Quality Hosting:
WordPress - an open sourced blog software make which is part of the anti spam brigade - hosted over 100,000 HotNacho spam pages, linking to them from the home page using a negative div.

Hmm... manipulating search results for personal gain by posting complete crap to a hidden section on your site.

What makes that action more ethical / better than actions of the average SEO?

Is this the type of openness we should expect from open source software? Where is the transparency? hehehe.

Google Funds Web Pollution, Again:
Google is funding that web pollution with their AdSense program.

If the stuff is bad enough that it needs kicked out of Google's index then how were they displaying ads on over 100,000 pages on that site without noticing the problem. Why are the ads still there?

I think this is the real story that everyone is missing. Google's AdSense quality control is a complete joke.

Advertisers and content publishers should be disappointed in Google's lousy policing of their AdSense program. Much web pollution would not exist if Google did not lucratively fund it.

The WordPress moto has never been more true:
Code is poetry!!!

Google Funds Information Pollution

Yesterday I was using that Hub Finder tool I had made.

In not so competitive industries it can help find some good resource pages & potential links, but in some competitive industries I was amazed at how many scraper websites were running AdSense. I knew it was going to be a ton, but sometimes you just have to see it to appreciate it. When I called out their AdSense product manager at the SXSW conference he used the whole concept of people and technology to say that is how they are dealing with bogus AdSense sites.

I think a friend of mine recently described the AdSense quality control process a bit better:

and they dont even kick out that scum when its reported!

I would guess there are probably hundreds of thousands of sites which are nothing more than AdSense on top of a search engine results page.

Google says you should control who you are linking to and then adds autolink to your site & Google News displays Nazi news. hmm...

They also are funding a ton of useless clutter. In some cases I am seeing both Yahoo! and Google cache live Google search results through caching the AdSense for search program.

Some Google search technologies are a bit more advanced than some of their competitors, and perhaps that gives them a bit more of a competitive edge to be profiting from sites that undermine competitors relevancy algorithms? And maybe they want to clutter the web up with junk so it is hard to sort through it?

Any way you slice it, it is hypocritical for a company which has the mission statement:

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Not so long ago GoogleGuy spoke on the coop ad network leaving this comment:

Seems like a very ill-advised program to me, because it's quite likely that as spam creeps into this link network, it will greatly affect the reputation of the people that link to the spam. Just my hunch though.

replace the word link or link to with ad and advertise on and you get:

Seems like a very ill-advised program to me, because it's quite likely that as spam creeps into this ad network, it will greatly affect the reputation of the people that advertise on the spam. Just my hunch though.

Google does not let advertisers opt out from being seen on individual sites and generally ignores the concept of publisher quality control. This

  • limits how much good publishers get since companies will be more inclined to opt out.

  • could hurt the advertisers brands.
  • may lead to quicker text ad blindness.
  • tarnishes the Google brand.

What am I missing? I thought the whole point of AdSense was to help fund the creation of quality content?

Then again, Google did give me a black hat and maybe I am seeing things wrong ;)

AdWords Professional Hat.