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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Et tu, eBay?

eBay launches an AdSense competitor. Suits me fine. While I'm out enjoying a movie, site monetization expert Jennifer Slegg will have to be holed up inside reading up on the details of the new program! :)

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Cat Reality Show


The only question is -- will they have their own blogs?

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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The Weight Loss Secret (for Busy Prima Donnas)

In my last post I expressed bemusement over the spate of weight-loss posts around the related blogs. In fact, having never had to lose 50 lbs., admiration and not bemusement is the appropriate response to Jeremy Zawodny's story of how he lost it.

I've noticed a lot of high achievers tend to brag about their fitness regimens. To those not into running in triathlons, that can be a bore. Everyone's goals are different, too. Triathletes take in as much as 7,000 calories a day when in heavy training. Not everyone's looking to lose weight. And what the heck are all these super-achievers trying to prove? :) But I'd wager that most of us are looking for ways to perform better... to optimize, so to speak. Or simply to lessen risk of heart attack and stroke, etc.

No one is perfect, so it usually is a matter of mutual encouragement. I think it's a good thing that people talk about what they're going to do even before they've reached the perfect lifestyle or ideal weight. If that provides motivation, so be it.

I couldn't help but notice in Jeremy's post how long it took him to start zeroing in on the nutrition aspect. It takes a long time for most people to get that down pat, especially in the behavioral department - cooking and preparing all that healthy food (to say nothing of bringing it home). There's no worse feeling than looking in a fridge full of produce you bought and didn't eat... and then surveying the landscape of your takeout containers. A victim of a busy lifestyle, again.

Shouldn't there be a way of getting straight to that result without having to know so much or think so hard... or cook for yourself? Of course, there is. For years, companies like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers have sold meals to their clients and coupled that with counseling and support.

What if you're more self-directed, though, and just want the meals?

The AdSense ad I saw below Jeremy's post gives away the game: "Toronto Diet Delivery: Receive Gourmet South Beach Meals Delivered Right to Your Door."

I began experimenting with a similar service - ostensibly to save time because I was finishing a book - last year. It's called In the Zone Delivery, based on the Zone Diet by Dr. Sears. I tried that diet myself a few years ago and found it left me with too little energy. Somehow though it's working better now. The secret is to add in more of the healthy fats, which add calories and reduce appetite naturally. If you're very active, I'd suggest throwing in "unhealthy" carbs as needed to get your mojo back.

With the Zone delivery service, three healthy meals plus two snacks come to your door in a cooler pack each day. My neighbors all make fun of me. It's great. One odd neighbor came over at 1 a.m. after the delivery to tell me what he'd seen, a suspicious character dropping off something that looked like a bomb on our front doorstep. :)

Their counselor interviewed me first and found that I weigh 185 lbs. and exercise frequently, so the meals come with x number of calories to take that into account.

Result? Although I never stay on the diet for more than a couple of months, the change from 185 to around 180 is painless and takes only a couple of weeks, and the next leg to 175 depends on how much cardio I do. :) I'm not really looking to lose weight, anyway, just to gain health. And I want to think less. I have stuff to do.

The change in weight is not the only side effect. I actually believe in the principles behind some of the diets that give you low-glycemic index carbs, and healthy fats, in proportion with protein, at every meal. There is no energy dropoff after a meal.

Because it's expensive, and because my wife and I are such stupendous cooks, I don't keep on this all the time. But it's pretty much foolproof. I'd even say there's a little "web 2.0 long tail goodness" mixed into this. You can simply log in, and get rid of the meals you don't find tasty and dial in one of your favorites. You can exclude vegetables you dislike. And the food preparation is supervised by a gourmet chef.

If you're a "Don't Make Me Think" person, and have had your interest in nutrition piqued by the blogo-weight-posts this week -- and you live in a larger city -- I can't recommend the In the Zone Delivery type services highly enough. As an added benefit, it plugs right into work. Either eat the meals at home, or take them with you and zap them.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

SEM Thought Leaders in the News

The days are longer, so naturally, you spend longer days at work-like tasks *and* aimless junk, too. That must explain all the surfing I've done this evening.

First, what's up with the epidemic of weightloss posts from Zawodny and other blogosphere notables? Danny weighs in on his personal blog, and is proving to be a true now-Brit by invoking "stone." My feeling, as sycophantic as this likely feels to the reader: Danny's only "weight problem" is thinking that 182 pounds is heavy. Maybe it feels heavier when they're stone. But I do agree, it's the travel that gets you. I'll probably weigh in on my personal blog ... just as soon as I can figure out how to log into that Blogware interface. Hint, though: Anne Kennedy knows my secret. I told her over ... wait a minute, is this ironic or something? ... delicious Italian food. As most of us know, the secret (other than the dietary one I discussed with Anne, which only works when adhered to) is tantalizingly simple: don't work, don't travel, and live the life of Lance Armstrong or Beckie Scott. (Time to do a search on that second one, eh?) Oh well. Did I mention I got some new blades yesterday? K2's. Big wheels. Yeah! Told all my colleagues I'd blade to work once a week. "That's far," they said. They're right.

In other news, although she mentioned the interview earlier and it's now two weeks old, it deserves some linkage. Mona Elesseily of Page Zero is quoted extensively in this story in Direct Magazine, commenting on the exciting changes slated for Yahoo's Panama platform in the fall. Our subscribers can hear Mona's more extensive comments by listening to our recent "PZCast" podcast.

And thanks to the dude who phoned to help us with the popping p's on the podcast. This was a listener who left a phone message, and I called him back - and woke him, because he works the midnight shift.

Podcast perfection: we're working on it! As it happens I'd already discussed microphone technique at length with veteran radio man and SEO expert at large, Mike Grehan. He mentioned the fabric trick, too. But Mike, bless him, has a full mixer getup complete with two high-quality microphones... that he totes with him all around the world. So IT SEEMED LIKE A TERRIBLE WASTE when Mike and I finally sat down in London for an interview... and we wrapped up a good one... and he left his computer on... and then later in the evening after some Thai food and maybe a couple of Irish coffees, he convinced another colleague to be interviewed. Since the Audacity project on his desktop was still open and still running under my filename, he simply recorded over it. The veteran radio man owes me one!!!

It must be time to eat one of those small, healthy meals. Ciao!

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Google China Misgivings: Brin

Sergey Brin is now saying he's not entirely sure Google did the right thing allowing a censored version of its search engine in China. (He also took the trouble to point out quietly that savvy users in China know how to get the uncensored version.)

In January, I tried to explore Google's motivations for their decision - and argued that they should "set a time limit" on the effort. It sounds like this is something Google is now doing, essentially putting China on a shorter leash as stories emerge about the spread in scope of censorship and the lack of availability of Google.com in most Chinese provinces.

Did Google do the right thing by going in, on a trial basis? Will they do the wrong thing by reversing course and pulling out, should censorship efforts increase? In my view, yes to the first, and no to the second. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. If new data comes in, you're allowed to change your mind.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

#1 With a Big, Giant Bullet

I don't know how he did it, but Frank Rumbauskas' new book Never Cold Call Again is at #1 on Amazon as I write this -- up from 58,000th yesterday!

We've been helping Frank with his paid search campaigns over the past couple of years. He's a great salesman (obviously) but more importantly, a smart guy with a heart. He's going to help a lot of people with this book.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Third party bid management: a thing of the past?

Google took the interesting tack of pre-announcing dayparting, a significant new AdWords feature at Search Engine Watch Live in Seattle recently.

Dayparting is such a straightforward matter, it's nice to know firms won't have to bother automating it through the AdWords API, if that's the most complex thing they want to do.

Combine that with a simplified bid-to-position (not true bid-to-position, but "position preferences") feature, and it seems likely that Google will release proper bid-to-position within 9 months, and possibly bid-to-ROI within 18-24 (providing you use their analytics, which is a big "if").

The way things are evolving, the third-party campaign management tools shouldn't go away, but they'll likely not grow as fast - they'll just hold their own. They'll be important for advanced campaigns involving lots of dollars and high complexity. Other, simpler campaign management features will get built right into the campaign interfaces. It's not too much fuss to set your dayparting parameters three times for all three major search ad platforms you're using, even if a third-party solution is still valuable for more complex tasks, like bidding.

The impending release of Yahoo's Panama platform, and the rich feature set of MSN adCenter, are putting significant pressure on Google to accelerate its product development for AdWords, and that's a good thing for advertisers.

Posted by Andrew | | | Permalink

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Speaking Engagement

See Andrew Goodman speak at ClickZ Live New York

Need Solid Advice?        

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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.

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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