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November 2004, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, November 19, 2004

UPS Worker Loves Google

Today I had one of those "I work in an incredible field at an incredible time" experiences. My wife sold Florida State University Football season tickets for the FSU vs UF game on eBay and it was my duty to get them mailed out during my 15 minute lunch run. Well, I've gotten use to going to the UPS store and these tickets need to get to their new owner by tomorrow morning. I trust UPS to get them there so I figured, what the hay, UPS here I come. Well, I'm chatting with the owner of the UPS store (they're a franchise you know) and she's making small talk and I'm smiling and thinking (thank god I'm not in front of my laptop right now). She says she was looking for a phone number the other day and couldn't find it in the phone book and on a whim she decided to try Google. Now remember, this is now a high tech user, this is a mother of 3 that gets online only when she has to. So she says "...I couldn't believe it when I found the phone number in Google, they have everything in there..." That was when I thought, well duh! Then she says that because she was so impressed at the fact she could find a phone number in there that she decided to just search on her own name... aka she decided to 'google herself' (remember she doesn't know that google is a verb as well as a noun). Then she says something really freaking cool. "I searched for my own name and found my grandmothers obituarie...". Then I thought to myself, I work in an incredibly cool field at an incredibly cool time. You know this woman is going to be a Googler for life. And that stuff is happening all over the country to non-technical people who have no idea what's out there. And I'm able to help those kind of connections happen, man that's awesome!

UPS Worker Loves Google By Jason Dowdell at 04:36 PM
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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Chief Blogging Officer Launches launches as... " tongue-in-cheek hack on the proliferation of Chief Something-or-Other Officers in business these days. So hey, why not a Chief Blogging Officer? But please don't take it too seriously. I don't. My name is Chris Locke and I've written a couple-three books about business and the Internet. You do that enough times, you won't take anything seriously anymore either. It's an unavoidable occupational hazard." The lineup includes some heavyhitters like Doc, Cory, and Joi Ito to name a few and is funded by HighBeam Research... whom I've never heard of before. Not sure if that means I'm out of touch or not but it doesn't really matter anyway. Cause right now I don't really give a funk. It will be interesting to see if this involves into a corporate-centric version of boingboing.

Chief Blogging Officer Launches By Jason Dowdell at 06:01 PM
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MetaFilter Opens User Registration

It's been 2 years since MetaFilter allowed new accounts to be created. Holy crap, MeFi's open for business er blogging er posting or whatever you wanna call it. Thanks Matt! Remember, trust is what made mefi good and good contributions are what will keep it good.

MetaFilter Opens User Registration By Jason Dowdell at 04:08 PM
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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I Thought Orkut Was Dead

It's been so long since I last logged into Orkut that I wasn't even sure if it was still around. Well, it appears they've decide to launch a media version of Orkut. This based on an email I got from Orkut this morning. The Orkut media site mostly reminds me of MetaFilter. Basically, there are posts from Orkut members, but they're randomly selected and accompanied by photos. The site's broken down into the porch, lounge, and the studio. The porch is simply the homepage, the lounge is where the columns contributed by Orkut members are shown and the studio is where photos are stored and seen. Here's the Orkut Media eMail

Dear Jason,

Today all of us here at orkut are pleased to announce the launch of orkut media, a weekly collection of writings and photos by our very own orkut members. When you land at, you'll venture into the realm of love and politics and beyond. Here's a quick lay of this new land: the "Porch" offers a variety of columns ranging from the hot and humorous to the thoughtful and thought-provoking, along with galleries of riveting photos from around the world. The "Lounge" and "Studio" will contain archives of all the collected orkut media material (on the off-chance that you miss a week), along with tidbits about contributing writers and photographers. Orkut media can be viewed by anyone surfing the Web. And it's open for you, the orkut member, to submit your own work. Got something to say? A perspective that you think needs to be heard? Go ahead and send us a column, write us a letter, or forward a photo.

As always, you can make your thoughts known in a community forum and start a discussion. So tell us what you think, in whatever way suits you. We just hope you enjoy your experience at

Stay beautiful, the orkut team.

I Thought Orkut Was Dead By Jason Dowdell at 10:52 AM
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Google's 8 Billion Page Index: How Unique Is It?

I noticed something interesting last week just before Google announced it had over 8 billion web pages in its index. I received a much higher than normal amount of GoogleAlerts for my name "Jason Dowdell" and a few other queries I monitor the results of. When I looked at the alerts I noticed that several my alias domains for were showing up in the results. These aliases were purchased well over a year ago and most of them don't 301 or 302 over to the main url ( Each of these aliases resolve to the same ip address, and virtual web server root directory so the sites are 100% identical. Additionally, since the main site uses absolute urls, there's no way Google could mistake these aliases as separate sites since they don't use relative urls. My main issuehere is that prior to Thursday of last week when Google made the announcement they had indexed over 8 billion web pages, these sites didn't show up in "site:" searches on Google. But after Wednesday many of them were returning results for "site:" searches.

Now, I don't have complete historical stats but I do have a compelling breakdown of the current state of affairs that Matt Cutts from Google has initially reviewed and promised to dig deeper into when he returns from the WebmasterWorld conference in Las Vegas. Matt was kind enough to give my data a quick look and offered up one possible explanation that makes perfect sense to me. However, I'm not going to hold him to it until he has more time to review my findings and data in greater detail.

Matt Cutts:
"...It can always take some time to establish pages or sites as duplicates of each other... I wouldn't be surprised if crawling more deeply recently led to finding these pages, but it can take time for duplication classification to happen..."

I have no doubt Google has indexed 8 billion plus web pages, that's not hard to believe at all. My main issue is whether or not the additional 3 billion pages that have been added to their index add any signifigantly unique content. As Matt said, they were recently "crawling more deeply", looking in every nook and cranny to find and index pages. But when you're drinking from the firehose it's hard to focus on quality, even if you're Google. As a result, I'm afraid that a significant percentage of these freshly crawled and indexed pages consist of the same or similar content as pages already found in their index. But because they reside on a different domain name, they're now included in the latest index. If that is indeed the case then even though their index has increased by over 60% the quality of web pages included may have decreased.

That's the biggest issue.

Now obviously Google wants to provide quality results to their users, otherwise the users will perform their searches elsewhere and advertisers will only follow the users. I'm just wondering if playing the "my index is bigger than your index" game won't ultimately have a negative impact on the overall quality of the search results.

I spoke with Nate Tyler, a PR person at Google, and he said that Google has no statement to issue at this time and won't be able to comment on the issue until it's looked into further. Which could be as early as Friday of this week but no promises were made. Until I hear back from Google I'll hold off on any more conclusions regarding the relevance of their increased index size. But I will give you the same data I gave Matt.

Here is the Google test data I've been working with for this blog entry. Although I limited the scope of the data represented here to a single site I have reviewed multiple sites and found the same results.

Google test case data used in my analysis

Summary of My Findings Thus Far
I believe Google is not at fault if my theory is proved true. Because Google is only crawling sites it finds via links from other sitesand from their submission form. But in order for Google, Yahoo, MSN and every other search engine to know which urls are duplicates or aliases of a main url and shouldn't be crawled, there needs to be a standard. The current limitations of the robots.txt are numerous so I'll not delve into them in this post except to say something needs to be done soon to remedy this issue. Until the search engines are told by web site owners which urls are just aliases for a parent domain things will remain the same. Search engines will have insanely large amounts of duplicate content to sift through and crawler bandwidth will continue to increase at exponential rates. Expect an initiative from me on this issue very soon.

If you have feedback and don't want to leave a comment you can email me directly at [jason.dowdell at]

Google's 8 Billion Page Index: How Unique Is It? By Jason Dowdell at 02:28 AM
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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Feedburner Stats A Stroke of Genuis

Recently, Feedburner rolled out a feature they call 'item stats'. It allows you to view the amount of traffic coming in to each one of your rss items (aka blog posts). It's great because you don't really have to do anything other than flip the switch inside feedburner and you're rss feed is automatically changed to use feedburner tracking urls instead of your own urls. It's a great little app, especially since it's free, that allows you to really see which posts are popular and how much traffic each is receiving as well as what kind of software made the request. Whether it be bot, aggregator or browser.

The genius comes in the for of linking. In doing this, feedburner is able to increase the number of links pointing to it's site for each post on your blog. How so? Many sites syndicate your rss feed, usually without your permission, and post it as content on their own site. Then all of the links to the source posts are still in tact but instead of them pointing to your site they will point to FeedBurner, thus increasing their relevance in the eyes of the search engines. I must note that it doesn't convert the links found within the blog post itself, only the links to the actual blog post are changed. Also, a feedburner statistic url looks something like this...

I'm sure that wasn't the intention of Feedburner but it's definitely a side effect. I've found that when you have an incredibly controversial post there are numerous ways for you to get screwed in the "giving credit where credit's due" department. Feedburner is a great company and I'm extremely grateful for their free service. That being said, it's still important to be made fully aware of the effects a decision will have before you make it. Isn't that what expert blog commentary is about anyway? :)

Here's feedburner's explanation of how the stats work.
"Captures detailed traffic stats about individual feed content items.

Purpose: Get closer to your readers on a content item-by-content item basis. Use Item Stats if you'd like to get detailed item-level statistics as well, such as which links in your feed subscribers are clicking through. (FeedBurner tracks hits and new subscribers to your feed automatically.)
Feed EffectRewrites
item URLs to track and maintain your item popularity statistics."

Feedburner Stats A Stroke of Genuis By Jason Dowdell at 01:47 PM
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Monday, November 15, 2004

Jason DeFillippo Joins Technorati

Another popular blogger is scooped up by an emerging technology company looking to get the inside edge on its competition by hiring the most talented folks they can find. Congrats Jason, best of luck on your new adventure!

Jason DeFellippo and Sean Bonner are the minds behind And Sean says that Jason moving to San Francisco shouldn't effect his work on their joint venture. Strangely, Technorati doesn't mention the hire in a press release, at least not yet anyway. In case you're interested, Jason uses MovableType v3.121 as his blogging software of choice on his personal blog.

Jason DeFillippo Joins Technorati By Jason Dowdell at 03:40 PM
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Quality SEO Costs and Scammers

Anil points out a Clickz article discussing the cost of seo compared to your ROI. I've long been an advocate of only spending money on marketing where you will make it back. Call me crazy but I think that model works. Why else would you spend money on marketing (in this case search engine marketing) if you didn't think you'd make it back? Obviously, anyone who employs a search engine marketing firm "thinks" they'll generate enough in revenues to pay for the cost of optimization, otherwise they wouldn't be spending the money. But it's hard to determine who's for real and who's not.

The search engine marketing industry isn't a regulated one and doesn't have a "real" advisory coucil yet. Even though attempts have been made to put one together. So you're best bet is to go with a company that eats their own dog food and has enough satisfied clients to make you feel comfortable.

Anil also talks about content being key. I whole heartedly agree with him on that point. If you have good, unique content, the search engines will love you and 50% of your ranking problems will be over. But it's also critical that your site is spiderable. That is, can it be crawled by the search engines. If your site can't be crawled then it doesn't matter if you have thousands of pages of unique content. If the spiders can't find your pages then they won't get indexed. If they don't get indexed then they won't rank. Site architecture is critical in ensuring success in any seo campaign. Combine that with a solid linking program that emphasizes a win/win scenario for your visitors and yourself and good content and you've got a winning strategy.

Quality SEO Costs and Scammers By Jason Dowdell at 12:14 PM
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Ashlee Simpson Karaoke Edition iPod BlogPost

Ashlee Simpson better watch out! Greg Story's blog post about Ashlee's Karaoke Edition iPod now ranks no. 2 on Google on a search for Ashlee Simpson without quotes. There are a couple of major ironies in this. One of which is the fact that it's all a joke, based on her horrendous appearance on SNL.

Ashlee Simpson Blog Post Ironies
1. Greg's post is really just a mockup of Apple's site and the Ashlee Simpson Karaoke iPod doesn't even exist.
2. Greg's ranking is only beaten out by Ashlee's own site.

Blogger's Are Loving It has a post dedicated to the karaoke ipod with these comments.

"Like no other, iPod Ashlee Simpson Karaoke Edition stands out. Virgin white, it features the new Apple Fast-Forward Click Button and, on the flip side, complete how to use instructions. Available for just $349, it comes with enough money to use a pay phone for calling your daddy, your agent or both, when you get caught lip syncing live on national television. We have also included some Kleenex for those special times when your entire fan base realizes your nothing but a talentless hack."

You gotta love the power of blogging in such a time as this.

Greg's Final Comments
On the bottom of the simpson ipod page you'll find Greg's comments. Quite clever. I'll quote him on these.

"-Until the Ashlee Simspon Re-Mix CD is out, then that will bring the collection to a total of 8 sucky songs. 1 good song and 1 commentary track.
- Please consult your Los Angeles physician before trying to lip-sync for 12 hours straight."

Ashlee Simpson Karaoke Edition iPod BlogPost By Jason Dowdell at 11:44 AM
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« November 2004 Week 2 November 2004 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (8 entries) November 1-6
  • Week 2 (13 entries) November 7-13
  • Week 3 (9 entries) November 14-20
  • Week 4 (1 entries) November 21-27
  • Week 5 (1 entries) November 28-30

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