• The Spring Search Insider Summit And My Hidden Agenda
    I have an odd reaction whenever I get an email from Ken Fadner in my inbox. My face contorts in the strangest way. It's half a bemused smile, half a wince, with a dash of anticipation thrown in. For those of you who don't know him, Ken is the publisher of MediaPost. I've been working with Ken in putting the agenda together for the upcoming Search Insider Summit on Captiva Island, Fla. Ken is remarkable in that, as far as I can tell, he reads every single post and column that goes up on the MediaPost site. In fact, Ken …
  • It's Time To Get Connectual
    Sometimes in the worst of times come the best of opportunities. You just have to know where to look. And when you find one of those diamonds in the rough, you have to act quickly. It's all about timing. And gumption.
  • Searchers Don't Pay Retail
    It's no secret that Google isn't the best search engine for everything. We saw that in recent explorations of live search and bathroom search engines. Another such area is finding coupons.
  • General Public Ain't Cool
    GPAC. I've heard it's the mantra of a certain television network; for all I know, it's the mantra of them all. It stands for "General Public Ain't Cool," and it's what the TV execs say when they get pitched an idea that's "edgy" or "dangerous." Don't try to be too cool, because the general public ain't there with you. The phrase may sound a bit condescending. Or a lot condescending. But you could also choose to look at it differently: if you're playing in a mass market, what's important isn't what you think is cool; it's what they think is …
  • Can Search Build Brands?
    Advertisers are gravitating to more measurable forms of marketing and also looking to channels that produce higher ROI. Makes sense, but when you look at some recent findings from SEMPO's annual search survey, you start to see a disconnect. In their '08 study, SEMPO asked both advertisers and agencies what metrics they track and the findings were interesting. In the case of brand impact, the agencies surveyed said - by a wide margin (20%+) - that they measured this more so than the direct advertisers. If marketers are moving dollars online because ROI is better, then why are their agencies …
  • Microsoft's Talk Vs. Microsoft's Walk
    Not so many columns ago, I urged Microsoft to do something amazing in search. Last week, they did. But it wasn't in a good way. I was on the road last week, and I saw three different things land in my in box about Microsoft and its search efforts. With each email, my frustration mounted. Finally, Friday as I was sitting in Seattle airport, I couldn't contain myself anymore. I sent an email to the most senior person I knew at Microsoft Search. The gist of the email was "don't do it," Yesterday, I got an email back thanking me …
  • 20 Funny, Clueless, Weird, And Existential Google Keyword Searches
    A couple of weeks ago, I lost my keys and must have searched my entire house and car at least three times trying to find them. After that last round of searching, I plopped down in a chair in front of my computer, exasperated. With an open search box in my peripheral vision, I continued to ponder where they might have possibly gone. At that moment, I could have used something like a Google Key Finder. Imagine an RFID setup for the keychain, combined with a more detailed version of Google Latitude (complete with a home floor plan), and then …
  • Why Google Needs Twitter Search
    Google's probably not buying Twitter, despite rumors last week that it might. Whether Google should do so depends on many issues, including the price and monetization potential. Yet it's increasingly clear that Google needs something like Twitter to fill a gaping hole in its search portfolio that didn't exist until Twitter exposed it. The hole is real-time search or live search (lowercase, as opposed to Microsoft's Live Search). Google's index updates rapidly, but not fast enough. Right now, Google has a number of assets that vary by how useful they are for recent searches.
  • Search Has Won The Advertising Culture War
    For the past five years, "we" in search have been fighting "them" at the ad agencies for that slowly shifting piece of the overall marketing pie. In large part, we've been talking past each other the same way that jocks and geeks do in high school. As long as the jocks continued to win the affections of the pretty girl with the big marketing budget, the geeks were marginalized, making them an angry, depressed bunch. Well, you know what? Times have changed, and we've won.
  • Wanted: No-Cost, Top Search Results, With Little Effort
    I had an insightful discussion recently with a long-time client. We were in a healthy dialogue about how the components of his program ought to be modified for the next year of our engagement, and we were specifically discussing how to integrate social media marketing into the equation. Disconcertingly, I felt like I spent the majority of the call "selling" the fact that social media needs to be an integral dimension of their program moving forward. It was reminiscent of a call I would have had seven to nine years ago touting the importance of SEO Best Practices
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