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July 2004, Week 2 Marketing Archives

Friday, July 16, 2004

Blogs Are Changing The Old PR Formula

I was reading an interesting post from B. L. Ochman today about how clueless PR folks are in their attempts to begin using blogs as part of mainstream PR campaigns.  Although the entire article was great, there were a few parts that really stuck out.  Here is an excerpt from his post.
Tips for effective PR pitching
Pitching to bloggers (or any journalist!) requires a short, smart, striking e-mail. Nobody wants to get a pitch that everyone and his dog has also received. And no journalist wants to be sold.
Keys to a great pitch include:
  • Address the blogger by his/her name, or just say "hi." Never say "dear editor" or "dear sir/madam" (honest, I get pitches addressed that way.)
  • Don't tell anyone they "must" or "should" write a story or book a guest. Instead, explain why the topic is of interest and why this person an expert worth knowing. Don't be cute.
  • Reporters and bloggers all follow headlines. Explain how the idea or person you are pitching ties into a current news item or a trend.• Let the blogger know you've at least looked at the publication and see if you can find something to praise. For God's sake though, don't say "Loved your great post the other day" unless you read it and you mean it. People who look at dozens of releases and pitches a day can pick up on baloney faster than a hungry hound.
  • Don't whine if you don't get coverage by saying you "can't believe" the blogger didn’t include, won't write about, haven't heard of XYZ company.
  • Bloggers aim to provide a personal view of the news. They write in conversational style as an antidote to the canned news of traditional media. Why would you send a canned PR-speak pitch?
  • Run your content through Bullfighter or similar software to be sure it is bullshit and jargon-free before you send it out.
Inhale > That's some good stuff man, whoa, kind of makes your head spin > exhale :0)

Blogs Are Changing The Old PR Formula By Jason Dowdell at 04:59 PM
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Michael and Mickey Moblogging (M3)

Great recap of the instant messenger session Michael Eisner had with Mickey Mouse while Disney was paying tons of money for him to pay attention at the Fortune's BrainWashing fest.

Michael and Mickey Moblogging (M3) By Jason Dowdell at 04:10 PM
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Hilary Duff Goes Guerilla and Gets Personal!

Word has it that about 250,000 calls have been placed using the "send a personal message from Hilary" feature on the website promoting her new movie, a Cinderalla story.  It reminds me of the choose your own adventure books where you selected one of the canned options they gave you and that determined where the book took you next.  Hilary's site is like that but the canned options are incredibly complex.  If you're a programmer then you know what it's like creating multiple related select boxes, well create about 15 of them with anywhere from 20 - 50 options and you'll understand the kind of data this little app packs. The most interesting part to me isn't the fact that the website will actually call the person who's number you enter with the personalized message you and Hilary created.  But rather all the data being collected without you even knowing it.  I mean, this is like choose your own adventures with the cookies turned on.  The marketers that dreamed this up are sitting in a board room laughing themselves into a riot as they get high on the tons of demographic data they're pulling in every second.  This is a research project even Jonah Peretti would be proud to claim ownership of.   Hilary Duff Does Guerilla Marketing The other sleeper concept that's completely hidden is the company placing the calls using (I assume) voip to all of Hilary's 12 year old followers and the technology used to create the audio files.  In the case of the call I placed,  my wife is more than double the age of Hilary's normal demographic profile. It would also be interesting to look into exactly how the company creating the audio files does it so well.  Hilary actually sounds like she's talking to you and even though you know the words are being dynamically inserted into her message you can't hear a pause or anything.  I'm surprised Hollywood hasn't started using this technology when they dub over curse words for the Saturday afternoon movies on CBS.  Oh wait, they don't have to anymore, cursing is all the rage now.  Ear muffs!

Hilary Duff Goes Guerilla and Gets Personal! By Jason Dowdell at 12:59 AM
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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Jupiter Media's Search Engine Marketing Webinar Breakdown

I attended a webinar today presented by Jupiter Media titled, How to Select a Search Marketing Partner. The presentation was good, covering elements most of us know about but probably never thought to put in a checklist. As the webinar streamed I processed and typed detailed notes for your enjoyment. Don't consider these quotes but rather a paraphrase of what was said. I'm sure there are some discrepancies between the material presented and what I typed as well as a few typos but I think you'll get the overall message of the presentation.

Chris Sherman, who is the associate editor over at Search Engine Watch did the majority of the presenting. I felt he did a good job of hitting on the main points of selecting a firm / partner in the time he had alotted. Some of the more interesting details were the questions attendees presented after the presentation portion was over.

I've posted the summmary of my notes on Andy's blog as well since it's got a wider audience and more people seeing the data is better, than less folks seeing it. Power to the People! Without any further delay, here's my summary of the presentation on how to select a search marketing partner.

Search engine marketing is comprised of these elements.
1. Paid Placement
2. Paid Inclusion
3. Natural Search Engine Optiization (seo)
4. Paid Search Advertising
5. Website Enhancement

You must determine which combination of those elements you need
and then select a firm that addresses your needs best.

Chris Sherman
Associate editor at SearchEngineWatch
President of

Different types of search engine marketing
1. Organic Search Engine Optimization
2. Directory Paid Inclusion - Yahoo, Looksmart (Losing prominence but still important.)
3. Paid Inclusion - Becoming less important and only Yahoo is still doing it.
4. Paid Placement - Paying for top positioning in the sponsored results section (ppc)
5. Contextual Advertising - A text add distributed across a network of sites
(ex: Google AdWords)
6. Specialized Search Engine Marketing - Focused on niche vertical markets, directories
like,, etc...

Before you can select a firm you must
Define your strategy
A. What are you seeking?   
1. Short Term & Temporary? - use paid placement (Overture, AdWords)
2. Controlling which pages are indexed by the search engines?
a. Including & excluding particular pages
3. Long term continuous traffic? - use natural seo
4. Combination of 1, 2, 3?
Goals determine what you're trying to accomplish with your marketing plan. While a good firm can help you reach your goals, ultimately it's your responsibility to determine what those goals are.
Issues with each type of Search Engine Marketing
A. Paid Placement - generating nearly all revenues for google & yahoo on search side
1. Very easy to start, especially with Google but also easy to fail at.
a. Copywriting is critical
b. Competitors are out there and may not care about cost
c. Bid Gapping - running up a bid for the first position so you're
forced to bid higher.

2. Myth: Only the top 3 positions are worth anything.
a. Chris quoted study about positioning and click thru ratios recently
released by Aquantive. The result is all positions have good returns
and ROI must be the key to determing your strategy.
3. Timing may be important.
a. Time of day may play a role but ultimately it's case by case.

4. Broad Matching?
a. Can be dilutive & bring in unqualified prospects

5. Will Ads be Effective?
a. Distributed to content partners
1a. When users are searching they're in acquisition mode but not
necessarily someone surfing around the NYTimes site

B.Organic seo
1. Takes into account dozens of variables in order to do well
a. Not just link popularity, title, keywords, description and content.    b. Poor seo is a major issue
1b. Using the wrong company can be a major problem (one firm is in major
trouble right now for unethical practices)
c. Is paid inclusion necessary?
1c. Controversial - doesn't have to do with ranking (per se's) & se's
have admitted it's hard to keep the bias out of the rankings and it's
too hard to blend pages spiders have found with those who have been
paid to be found.
* MSN no longer accepts paid inclusion
* Yahoo is the only one that still does it out of the   major se's
(inclusion fee plus ppc) and it is extremely controversial and is
probably evaluating their current stance.
d. Interesting Statistic
1d. 85% of commercial results are found through natural results

2. Does seo actually work?
a. Companies using seo report much higher satisfaction rate than those
not using it.
b. Can coordinate with paid inclusion programs
c. Link building campaigns
d. Resolving dynamic server issues
e. Keyword & HTML optimization
f. Address landing pages
C. Does SEM Work?
1. Small and large companies are having a hard time managing their keywords
a. An SEM can help you manage them
b. 48% of small firms are using SEM firms
c. 50% of large companies are having trouble managing keywords and SEM
d. Bid mgmt (very important factor - I'd like to see stats on this one)
e. Position monitoring critical as well

D. Both SEO and SEM Should Include
1. Post click analysis
a. Where does the visitor go once they get to the site>
b. Which keywords are resulting in positive actions taken by visitors?
2. ROI analysis
a. How much money are keywords generating (natural and ppc)?
Determine Your Own Needs First

Are your needs...
1. Make site more se friendly?
2. Want a full service firm?
3. Interested in specific services?
4. Want them to be part of your team or be independent?
5. Want a one time or ongoing service?

Search engine marketing firm website should have clear descriptors 1. A search for "search engine optimization" or "search engine marketing"
isn't the most important thing. Clear description of services is critical,
less fluff more stuff... no jargon!
2. Client list is a must
3. Case studies are great
4. About people section, especially mgmt of company
5. Detailed resources - free tools, articles, best firms aren't afraid to
give this away.
a. They know by educating their visitors they'll be better customers.
6. Look for confidence boosters: code of ethics, practices used, etc...
Selecting a firm
1. Write your own rfp and send it to firms - detail your goals and needs.
a. While this may not always work, it's definitely a good idea.
2. Avoid top 10 guarantees
3. Be prepared to pay - you get what you pay for and it isn't cheap
there is a short supply of qualified firms out there.
During the webinar there were some questions raised to the attendants.
Here are the results of some of them.

Attendees said case studies and challenges similar to theirs is the most
important factor, second is conversations with existing clients and references
followed by references from industry analysts.

Then there were a slew of plugs
Plug for Shari Thurow's book
Plug for Mike Grehan's book
Plug for Buyer's guide for seo firms by Marketing Sherpa
Plug for Sempo - Jupiter Media

Sites Referred To
Webmasterworld - beware of people that think they're experts
SEW forums
iSearch forums just shut down
HighRankings - Jill Whalen's forum

Questions from Audience
1. Audience wants a list of firms. If they're not suppose to search in the
   search engines then where is a good list?
   Chris:    1. Sempo Directory at - does not rate firms
2. Can you explain what kind of usability analysis should be included in a
   good seo firms technique?
   Chris: Websites are built for people, not search engines. If a site is
   people friendly then more folks will want to link to your site.
3. Can you shed some light on how linguistic issues might affect rankings?

   Chris: Great Question! Search engines want well crafted (English) sentences.
   They want language written for people and can understand the diff between
   a well formed sentence and just repeating keywords. Focus on the craft of
   good writing and effective communication.
4. Should paid inclusion really be an insurance policy rather than a requirement?
   Chris: Yes, becaue 85% of commercial traffic comes from natural results.
5. What percentage of a company's marketing trend should be spend on search engine
   Chris: Small percentage of overall budget at the moment, it's still a very
   young field. Especially for b2b companies. As people move from tradl. mktg
   to search engine marketing the number will continue to rise. The key is
   measuring your ROI and putting money where your getting the most return.
   Some b2b companies are seeing high quality returns because the result set
   is very small and one client can bring in a huge amount of business.
6. Aren't some search engines dealing with Bid Gapping?

   Chris: Yes but it depends on the keyword. In competitive areas the change can
   happen so quickly that the engines can't keep up with it. Especially if you're
   using a program to manage your bids.
7. How are Google AdWords different than other sem tactics?

   Chris: AdWords are paid placement and you only pay when someone clicks on
   your listing. These listings can appear on many major media sites in addition
   to the search engine results. Overture's program is simlar.
8. What % of bid mgmt. is software driven vs. human driven?

   Chris: Noone has a clear number on that yet but as the number of keywords
   managed increases the number of software driven mgmt systems will continue
   to rise. Similar to when phone switches and operators became automated.
9. What are your thoughts for paying for a paid listing on Yahoo when you
   already have a top 3 listing for a keyword?
   Chris: It is advisable and suggests you're a player in your field. It
   goes well towards brand mgmt. but should be driven by your marketing goals.
10. Other than lower cost, are there any advantages to going to pos. 4 or 5
   rather than position 1 or 2?
   Chris: Aquantive's research shows the higher positions in general are
   more valuable to be in. However, all positions have value and the
   determining factor should be your keyowrds and the roi on each of
   those keywords. If a lower position still converts well and you're
   generating high quality traffic then a lower position is advisable.
   Depends on your campaign goals and how well you measure the roi.
   You must experiement to determine your own needs.
11. What is your opinion of building information pages? a.k.a. doorway pages,
   gateway pages, etc...
   Chris: Google says they don't like them but if the page has lots of good
   useful information and is a valuable search result then there's nothing
   wrong with it. Boils down to your motivation. Are you trying to trick
   the search engines or users or are you providing valuable information
   a user would enjoy?

Jupiter Media's Search Engine Marketing Webinar Breakdown By Jason Dowdell at 03:45 PM
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Want to Get Rich in Less Than 3 Years? Here's the Formula!

Instead of actually reading the spam, promising you'll make up to $7,000 a day if you just follow their secret formula, you should look at realistic alternatives to building wealth. We all know those emails are just someone trying to get themselves rich at our expense but all too often someone is sucked into the lie and becomes a victim.

Don't Be A Victim!
Take your future into your own hands and build wealth the right way, spend less money than you make and do it over a long period of time and you'll be wealthy. Or start a small technology company focusing on a niche where there is little competition currently but you feel has great growth potential over the next 2 - 3 years. Then by the time your application / technology has matured and is relatively bug free you'll be in a position to become wealthy virtually overnight. Now we all know the "overnight" really means working hundreds of "late nights" with little or no pay but that's part of being an entrepreneur. Look at it from this perspective, if you actually responded to that spam email you would've been taking a much bigger risk and had no control to the outcome. By building up your own technology company you have ALL of the control. Here are some recent mergers / acquisitions in one of the hottest industries right now (search engines) to fuel the fire of motivation we all desperately need. Enjoy!

Here are some recent headlines about who's getting acquired in the search engine industry. Most of the people that own/operate the companies being acquired are sticking around which may or may not be what you want to do. Even if sticking around isn't your cup of tea, it sure beats working a normal 7 - 6 it industry job where carrying a pager isn't optional and you wouldn't dare ask when bonuses are coming out for fear your cubemates and manager will laugh you right out of your dockers and knit polo shirt.

June 7, 2004
WebSourced, Inc. Acquires Search Engine Marketing Company, Engine Studio, Inc. The Global Leader in Search Engine Marketing adds Global Promoter and Turbo Promoter to its KeywordRanking brand.

July 12, 2004
Integrated digital marketing products seller Digital Impact, Inc., of San Mateo, says it's buying Marketleap, a San Francisco-based Internet marketing firm specializing in search engine marketing services, for $1.5 million in cash and 1.25 million of Digital Impact's shares and options.

July 13, 2004
Google Inc., the search engine currently aiming for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq, said Monday it has acquired digital photo management company Picasa.

July 14, 2004
SAN FRANCISCO - Yahoo Inc girded itself for Google Inc's e-mail invasion by acquiring Oddpost Inc, a startup that has gained a reputation for making it easier and more enticing to communicate on the Web.

Some More Marketing / Technology Company Acquisition Breakdowns
I pulled these snippets from an M & A article at

"What you're finding is a lot of undervalued assets in some of these firms," said Don Scales, president and chief operating officer of Ltd., a Chicago online ad firm that on Tuesday, June 29, acquired rival Exile On Seventh LLC of San Francisco for undisclosed terms. "As the market picks up, people recognize the assets are undervalued and are acquiring them for future growth."

"marketing company Return Path Inc. of New York on Tuesday bought NetCreations Inc., also of New York, a provider of permission-based e-mail acquisition and sampling services, for undisclosed terms"

"Seattle online media firm aQuantive Inc.bought Web services firm SBI.Razorfish from Salt Lake City-based SBI Group Inc. for $160 million and a June 24 deal by New York-based Time Warner Inc.'s America Online Inc. to purchase Baltimore-based Inc. for $435 million"

"According to a May report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Internet advertising totaled nearly $2.3 billion in the first quarter, the highest quarterly total since the two firms began tracking online ad revenue in 1996. That figure also represents a 39% increase from the $1.6 billion in advertising in the first quarter of 2003, though only a 4% increase from the $2.2 billion reported in the fourth quarter."

So get up off your butt and make something happen for yourself. Do it now rather than later, cause you'll never know what might have been if you have to use the terms "could of", "should of", or "would of".

Want to Get Rich in Less Than 3 Years? Here's the Formula! By Jason Dowdell at 09:58 AM
Comments (1)

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

No Pottery Barn Catalog In The Bathroom? No Problem

Thanks to Google's catalog index you can view the latest Pottery Barn catalog without even having a hardcopy. Everyone knows shopping is America's favorite past time and catalog shopping is still considered shopping, though my wife would disagree. Add to that the intrinsic desire to read while conducting personal business and "poof" (no pun intended) we're multitasking. All you need is your laptop and a wireless internet connection and you're good to go.

Now you don't have to worry about getting yelled at for creating a mountain of literature next to the john. When you're done just take your laptop back to the living room and continue your multitasking there while you watch tv. Just don't let others use your laptop, it's kind of like when someone takes a book to the bathroom at the bookstore and puts it back on the shelf. You make a mental note to not go within 10 feet of that section of the bookstore.

No Pottery Barn Catalog In The Bathroom? No Problem By Jason Dowdell at 03:08 PM
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Search Engine Report Shows Click Thru Data for Positioning

My coworker, Andy Beal posted an entry today on his blog about a click thru report that was released and showed data about click thru ratios for search engine results. The report was good and fine and gave some data with regards to where you're site shows up and what you can expect for a click thru rate and broke these down into AdWords (Google Only) and natural search result listing (again Google Only). I posted some comments about the data included, or shall I say excluded, from the report. I'm putting those comments up here as well so you don't have to hop over to sel unless you really want to.

Jason Dowdell's Comments on Search Engine Marketing Data Analysis Report:

You know, I find it interesting that whenever someone does research and analysis of data with regards to ranking and click thru rate there are many key items left out of the report. Items like the market the keywords are targeting, the number of websites found for the query, and even the domain name structure of the result set. In my example below I'm going to place a (DNI) next to each item left out of this report. DNI stands for did not include.

For example: If you're looking for a hard to find product like a right handed antique doorknob conversion kit, chances are you're going to have to drill down into the results in order to find exactly what you're looking for.

In cases like this the result set is usually smaller(DNI), the domain names are often hosted on free sites and have multiple subdomains and directories (DNI), total number pages on each site currently in the search engine's index is usually fairly small and highly text based (DNI), etc... All of those are factors that affect click thru rate and oh I almost forgot, where in each result set the keywords actually appear (DNI).

My point isn't to bash anyone about putting out a great report but to point out the fact that we have a long way to go with regards to data mining in the search engine marketing field and I can't wait to help us down that path.

Search Engine Report Shows Click Thru Data for Positioning By Jason Dowdell at 11:37 AM
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Wired NextFest TV Coverage

Well sorry folks, looks like I was too late in getting the schedule posted about the dates the Discovery Channel was airing the NextFest coverage. However, they are airing some episodes on the Science Channel so if you have that you're in luck. I can tell you that I was really disappointed to not see any interviews with Xeni Jardin during the episode I saw. She's got some pretty interesting insights on technology and has cool hair to boot. I thought the tv program was pretty good for those of us that couldn't make it to the show. It's fascinating to see what's going on in our world and to have great events put on like NextFest to showcase the technology that's shaping our lives.

For scheduling info see below.

network: The Science Channel
series: Digital Domain

episode: Nextfest
rating: g

... Digital Domain Nextfest. WIRED Magazine's NextFest presents a unique three-day event, exhibiting the future of things to come from the world's leading visionary ...

— Jul 28 2004 @ 09:00 PM
— Jul 29 2004 @ 12:00 AM
— Jul 29 2004 @ 05:00 AM

Wired NextFest TV Coverage By Jason Dowdell at 09:47 AM
Comments (0) Needs Serious Help

So I'm going to The Discovery Channel Website to get the show times for the Wired NextFest tv show and I'm met with utter disbelief. I typed in only to be redirected to, this is really bad from a search engine spider's perspective. It's bad because they're using a 302 "Temporary" redirect instead of a 301 Permanent redirect. A 301 basically tells the spider that the url has moved permanently to another url. Plus, all of the link popularity has, which is a lot, doesn't transfer to the new url. Here's what is missing out on in the way of backlinks. I know a lot of professionl search engine marketers that would love to get their hands on this number of backlinks :0)

Engine Backlinks
AllTheWeb 1,270
AltaVista 1,300
Google/AOL 9,440
MSN 737
Yahoo 1,600
HotBot 762

Side note: I used the Global Promoter link popularity tool to get the above numbers in one fell swoop.

I'll put up another post regarding the Wired NextFest story but I couldn't resist digging into the redirect issue is currently suffering from.
What a shame! Needs Serious Help By Jason Dowdell at 09:14 AM
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Delta Always Loses My Luggage

I'm reading a Delta Press Release about them investing $15 - $25 million dollars implementing an RFID luggage tracking system. I read a similar story in this month's issue of Wired about a grocery store in France that uses RFID tags to check stock levels, update prices of products on the fly, automatically reorder items when their stock level is low, watch an item as it travels through the store like big brother (woops, that's just my own thought).

Anyway, the reason the Delta article interests me is because they've lost my luggage on two of my last 3 flights with them. Last time my luggage ended up in Cincinnatti and I was in Orlando, go figure! Hopefully they'll get this thing implemented soon so I don't have to keep carrying a change of close in my backpack and waiting up until 3 a.m. each time they forget my luggage. Kind of sucks having to wait up that late after you've had a busy day of travel. Talk about jet lag.

Delta Always Loses My Luggage By Jason Dowdell at 08:57 AM
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« July 2004 Week 1 July 2004 Week 3 »

  • Week 1 (3 entries) July 1-10
  • Week 2 (10 entries) July 11-17
  • Week 3 (7 entries) July 18-24
  • Week 4 (8 entries) July 25-31

Want to Get Rich in Less Than 3 Years? Here's the Formula!
5 years post-acquisition I have to admit that I cr...
by Jason Dowdell Needs Serious Help
i have a coian it's calld qwater dollar one ...
by chandar prakash gupta
Hilary Duff Goes Guerilla and Gets Personal!
Hi Guys,(Just to let you know) Found some cool ne...
by Sando

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