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Saturday, November 12, 2005

You Know More Than You Think...

It's not yet four years that Google's been running the PPC version of AdWords.

It really made me think back to Day 1 of the program when I read Dylan Parker's blog entry from that day. Parker was a web developer who wrote of it: Apparently they are positioning themselves to compete more directly with overture.com. "Who?" you ask? That's what I thought as well. I had never even heard of these guys. Apparently they make a bundle every year from selling search results hits to the highest bidder. They've got ties into the results of AltaVista, Lycos, MSN etc etc etc..

A blast from the not-so-distant past, when few in Silicon Valley or elsewhere had heard of this "Overture.com" that Google planned to compete with. And those SE names! AltaVista! Lycos! Parker was still getting his news from an AP feed on Excite.com.

Only nine months later, Parker began blogging of his new job... at Google.

(I stumbled on his blog because I saw his recent post on the Official Google Blog. And I came across *that* not because I watch this blog like a hawk, but because it showed up as a "related headline" in the margins of my GMail account. Whew!)

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Well, Isn't That Silly

I made it to London, and sitting here in a Starbucks I thought there probably couldn't possibly be anything relevant to blog about, since I haven't done anything search-related or talked to a soul yet. And posting about the Maserati that keeps circling around Gloucester Road station, or the sunny weather, or the cute dog that just walked by, just won't cut it.

Well how 'bout this: since the wireless service in the coffee shop is run by t-mobile, here I am in the heart of London trying to use Google, and it defaults me to the German home page. I then type Google.com into the address bar. Same. Eventually I find the link for "go to Google.com in English." Wacky.

Speaking of Hotspots, I am keeping score:

International transit area in Warsaw airport: free wifi, and inexpensive Polish vodka at the duty-free.

Laguardia: You'll pay for it.

Departure lounges, Terminals 1 through 3, Toronto Pearson Airport: even in the beautiful new $300 trillion Terminal 1, a complete absence of wireless Internet connectivity.

Is it just me, or does much of what passes for commerce in airports have a decidedly "B2C" flavor, in a venue loaded with business travelers?

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

AutoBlog Says "Hey Stoopid" to GM's Ad Agency

It's funny, and it's about advertising, and about industries that are slow to change, thus it qualifies to be posted here.

Excerpt from Autoblog's take on General Motors sexist madness:

The stupidity starts right on the first inside page, with bold print proudly proclaiming “Boys play with trucks. Girls play with dolls. Let’s start there.” Things don’t get any better. The whole thing just reeks of ad guys who are trying to act tough, when we know damn well they’re not driving pickup trucks to their chest-waxing appointments.

It doesn't lose any steam from there. :)

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Visionary Joins the SearchBlogO'Sphere; A New Keyword Tool Joins the Fray

All I can say is: great post Chris Zaharias! on the implications of Yahoo! potentially factoring CTR into their ad ranking formula in 2006.

It's not every day a visionary joins us in the SearchBlogO'Sphere. OK, maybe visionary is the wrong word, given Chris' history as described by him. But I'd rather try to look ahead one year than three, since in this business the latter is nearly impossible.

In other (not unrelated) news, sitting next to Kevin Lee at ad:tech is a useful exercise. He was playing with the new keyword tool available to those who are early MSN AdCenter clients. Whoa! Some of the features are a bit better than Google's, Yahoo's, or the available third-party tools. Real life data for any given searchphrase is available. I liked the monthly "trend report." You could be looking for "delta dentists" and seeing how many searches there were day to day - typically, there were notable weekend troughs in search volume (apparently people have a life, backing off their search usage on weekends even when it comes to searching for non-work stuff). Of course, you could always get this data more or less by actually running an AdWords account and tracking impressions, but the MSN group have added a couple of easy-to-use reports that make it cool. Moreover, MSN's keyword tool gives you fun demographic breakdowns. For those users for whom this info is available (through Hotmail mostly, I'm assuming), MSN Adcenter gives you a pie chart for the age groups (for example) searching for this keyphrase, and one for the leading city locations from which such searches are initiated. ("Delta Dentists" is most searched for in Los Angeles.) Not bad for 6% search market share. :)

Notwithstanding great efforts by Miva, Kanoodle, Enhance, Quigo, and other second-tier players, this three-way competition amongst three paid search heavyweights bodes well for advertisers -- better than the two-way competition we've seen thus far, which has tended to produce a mix of innovation and obtuseness.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Peru is Overrated

It may surprise you to learn that online mapping excites people so much that there are even blogs devoted to it... such as Google Maps Mania.

It might surprise you even more to learn how many programmers have already created applications based on the mapping technology. This post mentions a game of Risk that uses Google Maps.

The problem is, it's way too easy to think of ideas similar to this. (I'm thinking of one right now.) This stuff is addictive!

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Why Marketing is Hard

It's Sunday.

Will I:

  • Watch the football game?
  • Do yard work?
  • Catch up on work work?
  • Work on my presentation for a conference and pack my bags?
  • Go for a run?
  • Watch this TV ad about Chuck Schwab, or reach for the remote?
  • Spend more time with family?
  • Read RSS feed #52.3?
  • Search for a BENQ projector? Buy the projector? Buy a competing product? Do nothing?
The attention deficit is very real - see Chris Tolles' great post on this. Meanwhile, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is studying ways of making us pay more attention to golf in November. But isn't Finchem fighting the attention deficit? Isn't that just a zero sum game, a game where you want to take a bit more attention away from 30+ football teams, 30+ hockey teams, 30+ basketball teams, 5,000 shows, 10,000,000 movies, 10,000,000 websites...? Better Finchem sticks to preserving the greatness of what he's already got, rather than asking people to care about golf during football season. Even better, for those who aren't Finchem, is the opportunity to invent whole new categories that get talked about for their own sake - like the golf reality show The Big Break or something relatively pedestrian, even, that reaches directly out to the average player, like the Golf Channel's Playing Lessons with the Pros. People talk about these shows among themselves.

Chances are the same lesson applies to most marketers. Don't ask people to pay attention when there is no reasonable expectation of doing so. Faced with so many choices and messages fighting for one's attention, raking leaves seems like fun.

Attention is finite. You can catch people's attention when they're actively seeking to solve a problem or indulge themselves or buy a gift or do something special. Not when they're, um, not seeking anything of the sort.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Speaking Engagement

I am speaking at SMX West

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Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.

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