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Friday, April 20, 2007

SES Toronto's Coming! June 12-13, 2007

It's nearly the end of April, and *finally*, true spring has taken hold around these parts. Out my way, just west of High Park, the forecast is for sunny & gorgeous all weekend, which means it won't be just the diehard runners frolicking in the park. Warning to swans: a horde of Torontonians will be stopping by to see you! In a perfect world, I'd be strapping on the rollerblades, but we'll see if that perfect world gets sidelined by the workload.

And speaking of hordes. I'm going to wager that this year's SES Toronto is going to be the best ever. Those of you who aren't on my LinkedIn list, or who didn't hear it through word-of-mouth at SES New York, may not be aware that I'll be this year's SES Toronto program chair. It's a very exciting opportunity to rethink some of the content, and also a really easy job in those cases where all I have to do is re-invite top-rated speakers. More detail about that will be posted next week. Also to come: confirmation of a terrific keynote speaker.

This is my own (co-)blog, not the official SES blog, so here I'll only be posting comments and maybe some photos of Toronto in Spring to entice you to come to the event. If you're interested in more official details about applying for one of the few available speaking slots, visit the SES Blog for instructions. Or visit the SES site for program, sponsorship, exhibitor, hotel, and registration information.

One thing to note is that for a two-day event, you have to be very well-organized if you do attend, or you're going to miss stuff. You also have to figure out a way to get to the parties and networking events on top of that. To make sure people don't miss out on the social and business networking side of things, in addition to official events, you can sure there will be some "additional" events planned; some might be for the day before or the day after the conference.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Friday, April 13, 2007

Admitted: "We Do Arbitrage"

At Search Engine Strategies New York this week I had the opportunity to model a panel on the latest with buying contextual ads with particular focus on the top contextual programs through Google, Yahoo, IndustryBrains, and a couple of others.

One of the most fascinating was by a major cable television network that uses low-cost, broadly-based terms to drive traffic keying on all kinds of current pop culture related content. It's an actively managed campaign that requires constant innovation to stay ahead of the curve. What's so interesting about it is how cost-effective this is as a way of generating buzz, if you get the tone right. It's basically using online media to deflect user attention back into the media vortex, in a subtle manner.

The two main economic benefits stated by the panelist were:

* Low-cost awareness-building for their flagship hit programs;

* Traffic arbitrage, sometimes breaking even or better on the ad inventory they show on their own sites.

Let me repeat that again. In a world where we've suddenly been conditioned to believe that PPC arbitrage is wrong, this marketing executive unabashedly admitting to doing it.

This paralleled my own presentation the same week, on how Google currently measures site and landing page quality. In short, I wanted to make clear that you could technically call a lot of the media companies advertising on Google "arbitragers," because they know the rough CPC's and effective CPM's on their ad campaign with Google, and they know the rough payback on an impression basis from their already sold inventory. So in fact the distinction is not a literal one, where you point a finger at someone making a profit on a media buy/sell and call it evil; rather, Google's quality scoring formula aims to disincentivize certain advertisers from offering deceptive or particularly annoying user experiences as defined by user input and user behavior. In an upcoming column I'll look more at the distinctions between "arbitrage," "nearbitrage," and "garbitrage."

In short, to have an exec admitting to arbitrage is not scandalous. If they have advertising on their site, and are buying ads to drive to that site, anyone could have figured it out anyway. That's what they're doing. As a bonus, they get cheap promotion for their TV lineup. And some publishers get paid too. Win-win-win.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Saturday, February 24, 2007

Culture Shock in Comic Form


A little late, but Christine C. just reminded me of the hilarious SES-London-made-into-a-comic effort by Rebecca over at SEOmoz.

How come we don't have linkbait like dis, boss?

It was great meeting Rebecca and Scott at SES. That's what the shows are all about (other than the sessions I mean).

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cutts Causes Polite Scrum in UK

Across the pond, they have actual scrums - in rugby. No need to talk about those metaphorical media scrums.

And then there is a third type of scrum, the table near the door after Google's Matt Cutts completes his keynote conversation at Search Engine Strategies. A bit smaller and more polite than the U.S. Cutts Scrums, this one still had Matt pinned pretty good against a piece of furniture.

You can find my full writeup of Cutts' wide-ranging keynote conversation with Chris Sherman at SES London last week, over at Search Engine Watch.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




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