Online marketing

Analysis of the use of online technologies in marketing. Related subjects include:

December 2, 2007

Danny Sullivan thinks blended vertical search is a game-changer

Danny Sullivan thinks blended vertical search — which he’s calling Search 3.0 — is a game changer. (In this context, “vertical” search denotes alternate result types such as video, image, map coordinates, or product listings.) In saying that, he’s focused on search marketers, who now have a lot more ways to try to get their messages onto Google searchers’ top result pages. But I presume what he’s really saying is that there will be a feedback effect — if Google tells all web searchers about videos and product listings, then internet marketers will be more motivated to post videos and product listings, and hence there will be more interesting choices of videos and product listings — which Google will naturally wind up featuring more prominently in its search results. And so on.

Given the Youtube explosion, I find it hard to argue with his claim.

November 29, 2007

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and other SEO spam explained

I average upwards of 100 spam comments per day per blog, very little of which actually gets through (although that very little is obviously enough to be quite annoying!). Recent research from Sunbelt explains part of what’s going on. (More here in Computerworld.) What’s going on is this:

1. Aggressive black-hat SEO is being done for all kind of long-tail terms and phrases, by posting comment spam filled with little except links on those phrases. For example, one of the first spams I checked for this post consists simply of 10 links to the same .cn, with anchor text, with anchor text and subdomain name being the same keyphrase. Keyphrases included “an occurrence at owl creek bridge”, “allegheny assessment county tax”, and “am been hate i ive who who.” As this kind of spam came by, I’d been wondering why people bothered, since it didn’t seem terribly easy to monetize. Read more

November 7, 2007

The integrated marketing communications blog

Following up on a piece earlier this year, I just published a Monash Letter called “Online Marketing Shortcuts.” As always, it’s proprietary to Monash Advantage members, but I’ll share one key idea here. That’s the integrated marcom blog, which is pretty much the single most efficient thing a marcom department can do to communicate multiple messages to multiple audiences. Here’s a brief excerpt from the Letter:

Marcom does a lot of different things. But most of it can be categorized as the dissemination of four kinds of information and opinion:

  1. Customer success evidence – since everybody cares a lot.

  2. Technical strategy and theory – especially for high-end evaluators and influencers.

  3. Technical facts – for anybody who cares.

  4. Other kinds of facts and news (e.g. events, major executive hirings, awards, etc.) — in case anybody cares.

By a combination of original articles and pointers to pre-existing resources, one blog can provide major help in all four areas.

Most important, a marcom blog gives many opportunities to enhance customer success story-telling. For example, you can:

  • Call attention to stories you publish or place elsewhere (on your own sites, in the media, whatever).
  • Add detail and context to the stories you publish elsewhere.
  • Follow up when there are deployments or expanded usage at previously announced customers.
  • Summarize customer stories presented in conference speeches.
  • Allude to customer stories you’re not allowed to publish in full standard multi-page success story formats.
  • Aggregate information about groups of customers – e.g., ten installations over 50 terabytes or 15 sales to retail/CPG.
  • Point to information your customers themselves reveal.
September 30, 2007

A tip for submitting to DMOZ — make your site description clear

I just picked out a few of the many unreviewed sites in my DMOZ categories to evaluate, and listed most of those I reviewed.

How did I choose them to get screened? Mainly, I picked out ones with focused descriptions, titles, and so on, that just seemed likely to be listable based on that info (which is the essence of what I see on the page where all the various submitted sites are linked). I correctly guessed that I’d be able to quickly understand what I was seeing and judge whether to list the site or not, quickly write the official site description, and so on. Read more

April 30, 2007

Wise Crowds of Long-Tailed Ants, or something like that

Baynote sells a recommendation engine whose motto appears to be “popularity implies accuracy.” While that leads to some interesting technological ideas (below), Baynote carries that principle to an unfortunate extreme in its marketing, which is jam-packed with inaccurate buzzspeak. While most of that is focused on a few trendy meme-oriented books, the low point of my briefing today was the probably the insistence against pushback that “95%” of Google’s results depend on “PageRank.” (I think what Baynote really meant is “all off-page factors combined,” but anyhow I sure didn’t get the sense that accuracy was an important metric for them in setting their briefing strategy. And by the way, one reason I repeat the company’s name rather than referring to Baynote by a pronoun is that on-page factors DO matter in search engine rankings.)

That said, here’s the essence of Baynote’s story, as best I could figure it out. Read more

March 6, 2007

Online marketing checklist for enterprise IT vendors

A recent Monash Letter covered online marketing strategy in considerable detail. The complete seven-page Letter is exclusive to Monash Advantage members, but I thought I’d share a summary checklist here. If you’re an enterprise IT vendor, and you don’t do all these things, you’re probably missing some major marketing opportunities. (The good news is – nobody, including your competitors, is doing all of these things yet.)

Read more

February 6, 2007

Fact and Fiction: DMOZ and the ODP

I shall explain. Read more

January 30, 2007

A great new (to me) phrase – “Adversarial Information Retrieval”

I’ve just discovered a great new phrase – adversarial information retrieval. It’s not really new, since papers are now being accepted for what will be the third annual conference on the subject. But it seems to have gained currency over the past few months.

Edit: The term seems to have been coined in 2000.

I think this area is really where the bulk of the research into public search engine algorithms goes. And that’s another way of saying that web and enterprise search are very different things.

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