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Saturday, August 30, 2003

Dirt-Cheap Clicks: You Have 36 Hours

I know, it's not a good time. Let's just hope there's a one or two day grace period lest you be on vacation or just returning.

Some time ago, FindWhat (arguably the #3 pay-per-click advertising service - and in our opinion, often as good a value as the top two) announced that their minimum cost per click will be going up to five cents at the end of August.

The nice thing is, existing bids between .01 and .04 will be "grandfathered." If you have an account with a few keywords, add more now (I do mean now!) and you may get approved soon enough to qualify for the lower CPC's. You can also open a new account and do the same thing.

In most competitive industries, you'll have to bid higher than that for your keywords. However, those elusive penny clicks can sometimes offer a good ROI. Sadly, they're going the way of the dodo!

Posted by Andrew
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Friday, August 29, 2003

AdWords Conversion Tracking to be... Free?!

As one of a "select number" of AdWords advertisers, I was invited to participate in a survey about possible enhancements to Google AdWords. One of the many questions that caught my attention was this little number:

"Google is considering offering a free conversion tracking feature to AdWords to help you figure out the value of the clicks you're getting from AdWords. This feature would allow you to track the activity of visitors who click through from your AdWords ads. You would add a snippet of HTML code that Google would provide to the pages you want to track. The code would include a small image which displays the Google name. Your AdWords reports would track the number of visitors from AdWords ads that landed on the pages on which you include the image. You could also use an optional feature that would calculate the value of your clicks based on a dollar amount you assign to the conversion."

(By the way, the image displayed would say: Found with Google AdWords)

So, once again, if this does actually come to pass, Google will have done something the right way, instead of charging members 50 bucks a month for this feature (ahem, Overture!).

Posted by Cory
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Wednesday, August 27, 2003

New AdWords Interface Goes Live

Thanks be unto Google for finally switching over to the new AdWords interface, which is similar to Overture's DirecTraffic Center and is, IMO, much easier to use and manage.

And, speaking of that, don't you just think the label "DirecTraffic Center" is a bit, well, goofy? It sounds like some kind of highway transportation think tank. It always seemed sort of needlessly grandiose, but it's probably just me.

Posted by Cory
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Viruses and Worms and Firewalls, Oh My!

In case you're one of those lazy types who hasn't taken measures to protect against the disastrous Blaster worm, here are some tips for how I've coped. As someone who normally receives large volumes of e-mail, I've had to devise ways to adapt to the onslaught of the Blaster worm e-mail messages, of which I'm receiving several thousand per day. Here's what I've learned:

1. Set up an Outlook message rule to send any message with "wicked screensaver," "that movie," "thank you!", etc. straight to the Deleted Items.

2. Never, ever open an attachment from someone you don't know.

3. If you run Microsoft XP, turn on the built-in firewall, or download a free firewall program like ZoneAlarm.

4. If you run Windows 2000 or earlier, install the Windows Update program, which can automatically download and install updates so you don't get caught with un-patched OS when a worm comes knockin'. If you run XP, it's already installed, but be sure to enable downloading and installing of automatic updates if you have a broadband connection.

5. Buy Norton AntiVirus, McAfee VirusScan, or any other credible anti-virus software now! And be sure to enable automatic updates of virus definitions.

Now, get out there and impersonate a virus by "infecting" all your friends and colleagues with this vital information.

So, in conclusion:

1. Microsoft is a dangerously careless company that we entrust with our national security, and that has an operating system monopoly and almost zero motivation to make its products secure.

2. The anti-virus software industry is making a killing off this mayhem.

Which leads me to believe that:

1. Microsoft is in cahoots with Symantec and McAfee.

2. Consumers are getting screwed big time.

That's my "fair and balanced" take. Now it's up to you to decide who's right.

Posted by Cory
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Monday, August 25, 2003

ET Phones Yahoo

Much like Amazon.com running the outsourced e-tail sites for big companies like Target and Toys 'R Us, Yahoo is beginning to flex its outsourcing muscles by taking Entertainment Tonight's site in house, according to this article.

This kind of deal makes sense, as Yahoo tries to buddy up to the influential entertainment industry, helped no doubt by CEO Terry Semel's Hollywood connections. I would expect more deals like this to be hatched in the future. The portals have the infrastructure, the engineering expertise and marketing power, so it's a logical fit for these players to take over website operations of large media companies.

In fact, according to the same article above, MSN took over the web presence for Access Hollywood, and traffic to that site soared.

Search engines may have the spotlight right now, but portals may yet have the last laugh...

Posted by Cory
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And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.


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