• More On Ad Enhancements
    In my last Search Insider, I wrote about the numerous ad enhancements available to Google paid search advertisers that are enabling page domination. In that column I posed the question, "Are paid search results delivering a better user experience?" Again, I will state that this question is by no means meant to devalue organic optimization. In fact, I believe now you have to be even better at it. In one of the comments on the MediaPost site last week, a reader pointed out that ecommerce searches are a small number of total searches. So this week, I will highlight another …
  • The Jill Hotchkiss Inflection Point
    Technology has reached a critical point in the adoption curve. My wife, who is imminently practical and intolerant of anything that smacks of gadgetry, is becoming intrigued by my iPhone. I can't overstate the importance of this in terms of watershed moments. Steve Jobs, if you can get my wife to buy into your vision, you have crossed the chasm.
  • The New Haiku -- 2010 Edition
    Anytime I find myself in a pinch for column fodder, I know I can always fall back on a little Search Haiku. It's not as exciting as covering the search news blotter, but hopefully it will still be as entertaining for you. So here is a fresh new installment of rhymes adding to my collection from '06 and '09.
  • Three Naming Rules For SEO Success
    I'm the chief marketing officer for a virtual world for kids called MiniMonos, and the process we went through to come up with a name is relevant to anyone creating a new online brand. Here are three lessons we learned about choosing a new brand name in a digital world.
  • You're Asking The Wrong Question
    Far too often, I still hear questions from non-ecommerce-focused advertisers regarding why they should buy search. Beyond the obvious quick replies shouting statistics of how print and TV drive search activity or of how high brand awareness increases CTR for a better effective CPC, I like to ask questions back. Heck, it works with my two-year-old. So my question is this: Why do you have a Web site?
  • The Search Alliance: A Study In Listening To Advertisers First
    We are close to 60 days from the formal transition of most advertisers to the Bing platform as part of the Yahoo-Bing search results merger. Over the next two months a lot of ink will be spilled about the expected impact, with prognostications about the ability of the combination to challenge Google and what could go wrong (which would make the former topics moot). In advance of this, I want to give you one early indicator why this combination is something different from what most in the search space are used to seeing.
  • White Salmon And Black Swans
    For all of human history, until the 17th century, it was commonly accepted that all swans were white. But in 1697, Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh discovered a black swan in western Australia. Why is that important? Black swans are outliers. And outliers are important because they cause us to change our view of the world.
  • Don't Believe Everything You Read In The Paper
    The New York Times recently published an op-ed piece entitled "The Google Algorithm," which detailed reasons why the company's growing influence should be subject to government review (rebutted by Google's Marissa Mayer in the Financial Times). In making the case for oversight, the piece leaves open many critical questions related to free speech, seeming to miss the point entirely that any algorithm that ranks documents and digital assets is inherently biased, and there are always limits to top results.
  • Choice Architecture: Why Search Can't Be Totally Objective
    I am reading a wonderful book. It's called "Nudge," by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, and it deals with the way seemingly small factors can have a disproportionately large influence on the decisions we make. Take, for example, a school cafeteria. You might think that kids will eat whatever they want out of what's on offer. In reality, the order in which the food is displayed can mean the difference between an obese student population and a fit one. Supermarkets and consumer packaged goods companies know this as well, which is why that magic eye-level shelf is so coveted.
  • Summer Reading -- And Year-Round Blogs
    Recently, I was at a meeting where the group I was addressing asked what blogs and sites I regularly read to stay on top of trends in search and social marketing. As I began laying out my reading list, and folks were furiously scribbling the many URLs I was sharing, it occurred to me that it might be fun to list them in this column, together with some great career-oriented reading.
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