I Sold My Soul For CPC

Ramblings of an online Ad Guy, offering a *mostly* unbiased look at the world of online advertising and happenings in search engine marketing, advertising, optimization, etc. Even though it seems like I'm in love with Google, I'm really not. I mean, I love them - I'm just not in love with them. Enjoy yo self...

Location: The Great State of, New York, United States

I write the ads that make the SERPS sing...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

MSN Fremont = Google Base, but better

Microsoft just released the beta version of it's classifieds system called "Fremont": http://expo.live.com/

There's no significant content yet, but on the surface it looks a lot more appealing from a UI standpoint than Google Base. (Visually engaging, but not too cluttered) Plus it doesn't look like you can do bulk uploads or feeds (yet); that should keep the proliferation of crap held back, at least for a little while...

Google Gmail for Domains

Google is now offering Gmail for domains now. It's unclear whether they will be serving ads around the accounts, but I would venture to guess that yes, they will be. The prospect of that begs the question: why would anyone want to do this? I guess it could save a small business some money, but you have to keep privacy in mind here - especially if you are in an industry where client confidentiality is a concern. Nonetheless, people love "FREE" and nobody is showing a better understanding of that these days than Google...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Search Engine Strategies New York

Sorry for the lag in posting recently. I've been at SES New York. Good times...

Google Pal

Here's a sneak peek at Google Payment - Google's swipe at Paypal. Competiton is definitely good, especially if Paypal keeps raising its rates like its the only game in town. I'm not all that excited about buying things off of the wild west that Google Base is right now. Lots of crap out there. Google needs to start policing something fierce before they can really be considered a competitor of Ebay...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Yahoo Search Marketing Bans Bidding on Trademarks

Apparently, in an attempt to stop comparison advertising, Yahoo is planning to ban bidding on competitors trademarks in PPC campaigns. Personally I think they're gonna fall flat on their face with this one. They need to spend more time making advertisers happy with their clunky product than trying to piss them off with new rules. Either way, it smells like a regulatory shitstorm is headed their way.

Read about it here.


Google released a free WYSIWYG web page editor/creator. I'm all for empowering the masses, but this is just like Tripod & Geocities - anyone else remember all the complete crap that got put up there by people? Hell, there's a lot of it still there out there...

I wonder if the sites will have AdSense built right into them as part of the template structure? Eesh. Them Google boys would be mighty sneaky...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A View Inside Google

Time did this photo essay on life at the Googleplex - Google's Headquarters in Mountainview, CA (aka The Land of Milk and Honey).

Criminy! It's like all the dotcom excesses revisited. Kudos to them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How Much Is Too Much For Search Marketing?

"The point of diminishing returns" It's something I end up having to discuss with clients more often than not. How much is too much when it comes to Search Engine Marketing? At hat point is the cost too much to bear? (FTD & Blue Nile found it too late) A few years ago, companies could afford to dump thousands of dollars into search because clicks were cheap and the cost-per-acquisition on the back-end easily beat just about all other forms of media.

O' how the times have changed. With the rising cost of clicks, many retailers have found what once was the land of boundless opportunity, has become the proverbial overcrowded mining town in the middle of a gold rush.

Read the article here.

IP-Based Geotargeting Issues

It's a poorly held secret that IP targeting is far from an exact science. Many ISPs (AOL, Verizon) have bases in Virginia and thus assign their users Virginia IP addresses. In the eyes of Google's IP-based geographic targeting, all of these targeted consumers live in Virginia.

This discussion on SearchEngineWatch goes into some good detail.

Google Extends Print Deadline

I'm a little behind on this one, but I figured it was worth a quick rant. Google has extended the deadline for people to bid on Google Print Ads. They don't really give a real reason, but I'm inclined to think that it is because no one is bidding or that the bids they have received are less than commensurate. You decide.

All I know is that the whole process is very vague and confusing as all hell. Blind auctions are for farm equipment, not ad space...

Google Maps at Night

Pretty freaking cool right here, kids. It shows Google maps at night, day and dusk. Useful? Barely. Creative and fun to play around with. Totally.

Check it out here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

AOL Converts the Best?

Websidestory released a study claiming that AOL of all sites has the best conversion rates - followed by MSN. (Yahoo was 3rd and Google 4th) The study includes traffic from both organic and paid keywords.

Obviously this is a very broad/general study and all it talks about are median averages, but it's still interesting that AOL would be first...

Read about it here.

UPDATE: Users Grab Said Carrot from MSN

Baaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! In a delicious follow-up to yesterday's piece about MSN rewarding searchers with prizes, it appears folks have figured out how to beat the system. Apparently MSN left the "winning keywords" right in the source code of the page for all to see. (As simple as it was, I'm kinda bitter that I didn't figure it out myself...) I'm sure Uncle Bill's gotta be just happy about this...

The list of keywords is posted here if you care to look.

Read the article here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Google Desktop Privacy Concerns

Interesting piece by the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the latest release of Google Desktop Search. Having worked in information security, I can definitely see where he is coming from, tthough I do't feel the picture is quite as bleak. Maybe I'm just a naive babe in the woods though...

Read it here.

MSN Dangles Search Carrot

Let the Easter Egg Hunt begin! MSN is offering searchers prizes for using their search engine. According to the article, when users "query on a 'winning' keyword, a link informing them that they may have won a prize will appear in the sponsored link space".

Good God, what a bad idea. I think the idea of paying searchers to use their product smacks of desperation. So minor league. Instead, why not just buckle down and continue to improve the quality of your search results instead of giving away free IPods and Caramel Macchiatos? It reminds me of the late 90's when everyone was giving away anything and everything just to get people to come to their site. While I loved Flooz and free tchochkes, I almost never returned to the site onece the well had dried up.

Read about it here.

Time Frame for SEM Results?

While my experience tells me that there is no set-in-stone timeframe for results from SEM or SEO, it's good to see that someone has made a fairly objective stab at writing about it.

Read more here.