Blog Postings for 2008

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008: Fry's Electronics has always had someone at the door to check your shopping bag to make sure you're not shoplifting a 140" plasma screen. Well, maybe they should be checking someone else. It turns out their VP of Operations may have set up his own kickback empire, where he gambled as much as $160 million in Las Vegas casinos and may have cheated Fry's out of some $65 million. Whoa. No Christmas Cheer at Fry's this year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008: Have you been watching the stock prices for Ford and General Motors? Both literally collapsed. These were solid for decades. Both are now a few dollars per share. GM's market cap (the value of all their stock) is $1.9 billion today. Tiny Silicon Valley startups are worth more than that. Why did these collapse? They continue to churn out heavy gas-guzzling cars. Their costs are out of control. So... they're "solving" this by asking for a government handout. Yep, save them from their own stupidity. And that includes a bonus for the executives. Guess who pays the bill? Yep. You and me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008: The Google/Yahoo merger/collaboration/joint venture or whatever it was, anyway, it's over. Google just announced the breakup. Well... there's always Microsoft! :-)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008 I'm settling down with using the gPhone. It works, mostly. The lack of raised buttons, the too-small keyboard, the poor camera, and the somewhat-poor casing design are minor annoyances. Overall, there are benefits: one device for Gmail, Gnews, Gcontacts, Gmaps, Gnote, and Gwhiz.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: This weekend, I bought the new "Google phone" to see how it works. The gPhone is Google's big move into mobile advertising. Because we specialize in online marketing, we have to keep up with Google. In the next few months, I'll experiment with the gPhone to see how this works for marketing. I wrote a review of the gPhone at my website. Here's one item:

Google Phone's Totally Cool Feature
You have to try this on a Google Phone. Go to Google Maps. Switch to Street View and select a location, such as the middle of Manhattan or Chicago. Click Menu and select Compass mode.
It now shows you what you see as you move the phone around. Yes, just move the phone to right or left to look around you. Move up to see the sky, look down to see the ground. Sit in your office chair and spin around and the world revolves around you.
Try this with Paris near the Eiffel Tower or on the Champs Elysee. You can look around in Manhattan or Barcelona. Press the arrows in the view to move along the street.

See the complete review of the Google Phone at my website.

Saturday, October 25, 2008: I bought a gPhone (Google's new phone) to try it out. I'll post a review in a few days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008: We're getting ready for the release of our new book. Here are upcoming events:
- In August, we spoke at a conference for MBAs at Stanford. Andreas followed up at another MBA conference in Washington DC in September.
- Nov. 18: Sacramento: Stephanie speaks at the AMA Central Valley
- Nov. 18: Chicago: Andreas speaks at Coremetrics Client Summit
- Nov. 20: San Francisco: Andreas speaks at Coremetrics
- Nov. 25: Shanghai: Andreas and Maggie at Ad:Tech
- 2009: We are preparing for presentations in Paris, Ankara, DC, and Hong Kong

Sunday, September 07, 2008: Chrome: I gave it a week. Too buggy. Chrome lacks many basic features. I gave up and went back to Firefox. Google released Chrome without basic testing. It doesn't even work with YouTube and Google Adwords, which are Google's biggest properties. Google is using user feedback to find bugs and add features. This may be a good idea for a little startup, but Google? They want to take on Microsoft and they do this as a weekend project? I'll check in again in a few months.

Saturday, September 06, 2008: So that's how they did it? Google's Chrome was built by a 20-person team. What did they leave out? Well... testing. Does the thing work? Not very well. Try YouTube. The videos freeze within a few moments. At many sites, there is no audio. There are many minor bugs with Google Adwords and Google Analytics. Google released their browser without even testing it with the top ten websites, including their own sites. If this is how Google wants to beat Microsoft, well, Microsoft doesn't have to worry.

Thursday, September 04, 2008: Google Chrome: It's a new browser, yes, but it's more than that. We don't need yet another browser: there is IE, Firefox, and Opera. Chrome is faster and has a few clever things. But it's not just a browser: it's the beginning of the next generation of software. Open Chrome and create a few tabs. Grab a tab and drag it away from Chrome. It pulls off and opens like a new window. For web browsing, this is cute but not really useful. But... if that tab had a program in it, such as a text editor or a graphics program, you've effectively turned a web page into software. Click the "page" icon (next to the wrench icon). One of the items is "Create Application Shortcut". If your new web page is a tool, this item lets you turn that page into a clickable icon on your desktop. For example, open Google Adwords or Google Analytics and use the "Create Application Shortcut". Bingo. You now have Adwords as a clickable icon on your desktop. Adwords is now a program.

Chrome is Google's platform to run software within browsers. No more standalone software in a box or on a CD. This will have huge implications for the way software is released and distributed. And of course, it's a major threat to Microsoft (and, yes, Apple); a computer doesn't need a large operating system. It can have a simple desktop, only big enough to run a browser. That's exactly what the Google phone will be: a portable device that can run Chrome and all of Google's applications within Chrome. If a gPhone can do it, then desktop computers can do it. Goodbye Windows and Apple.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008: SES SJ 2008 is the main trade show for the SEO/PPC industry. It was held last week in San Jose. Save yourself $2,500 and four days: Here are summaries of all sessions: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four. The insider's view? Most of these presentations talk about trivial issues or they are based on ideas from one-to-two years ago. Only the presentation on Quality Score is up to date, but the speaker said too little to be useful.

Friday, July 11, 2008: Okay, you know about analytics. Here's another item. Evidence-based marketing uses "best available scientific evidence" for decision-making. It's marketing based on facts, not gut feelings. It's now very easy to get data about your customers with analytics. For our new book Search Engine Marketing (McGraw-Hill, 2008), I worked with Roslyn Layton, MBA to develop the KPIs (key performance indicators) that measure the value of multichannel marketing. Roslyn continues to work in the field to refine the measures even further. Check out

Tuesday, July 01, 2008: Google/Yahoo/Microsoft (GYM) can now index Flash files. Adobe created a tool for the search engines that allows them to index the text content in Flash.

Monday, June 30, 2008: Google Ad Planner is a media research tool. You enter demographics and sites that match your target audience and the tool will show more sites that your audience is likely to visit. You can also see the demographics and related searches for a particular site, or you can get aggregate statistics for the sites to make your media plan. Ad Planner also lets you create and export media plans to a .csv file. Free to use at (This is currently (June 2008) in beta testing. They will open it up to the public soon.)

Thursday, June 05, 2008: Why does Wall Street make such huge mistakes? Why do PhDs in economics and mathematics (incl. some with Nobel Prizes) cause banks to collapse? It's not what they don't know; what they know is wrong. Fascinating interview with Nassim Nicholas Taleb (his blog is at What does this mean for Google? Hmmmm...
: You can get free webpages at Google. Go to and make a page. No HTML required. Just write! Here's an example: Cuz Layton.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008: The End is Near: NPR reported the other day that gasoline prices may reach $6 per gallon within six months and may rise to $10/gallon by next year. That's bad news or good news, depending on your view of SUVs: 36% of the people who tried to trade in a large SUV in May owed more on the vehicle than it was worth. The value dropped by $2,000 to $3,000 compared to May 2007. General Motors will close four of its SUV plants, expand production of fuel-efficient cars, and finally move forward with electric vehicles. They may also get rid of the Hummer (8 miles per gallon).

The Department of Energy estimates it costs 20 cents per gallon for every 5 mph over 60 mph.

Yesterday, I wrote down my car mileage for the month. I do this every few months. For 2008 so far, I've driven an average of 40 miles per day. My car (Miata sports car) gets 25 miles per gallon, so that's 1.6 gallons a day. At $4.20 per gallon (California prices), that's $6.72 per day, or $200 per month. It'll be really interesting to see how the USA deals with $10 gasoline. For the average American household, they may need to spend up to 50% of their monthly income for gasoline.

Sunday, May 18, 2008: Ever thought of living in a Victorian on a park in San Francisco? $3.45m and your dream comes true. See what such a house looks like.

Sunday, May 11, 2008: If you're using Google Adwords, pay attention: the page's load speed is now a factor in the Quality Score. If your page opens slowly, you lose points. Visitors don't like to sit around and wait for pages to open. Get rid of Flash, shorten the pages, etc.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008: Google + Yahoo? Microsoft + Yahoo? I was asked at a conference what I thought about Microsoft's offer to buy Yahoo. I said "Irrelevant." Google has 90% market share. Yahoo has 6% and Microsoft has 3%. If Microsoft buys Yahoo, they have 9%, but Google still has 90%. It won't affect Google. What if Google buys/takes over Yahoo? Again: Irrelevant. Google goes from 90% to 96%. Not much of a difference.

Sunday, March 23, 2008: Have you ever noticed the White House warnings of "possible terror attacks" come whenever there's bad news about the Republicans? Warning? Or distraction? Here are five years of Bush's fake terror warnings.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008: Larry and Sergei forgot to feed the meter. Google Adwords earns around $20 billion per year, but they forgot to pay $35 to renew their security certificate. Shall we set up a Paypal donation box to help out Google? :-)

Sunday, March 02, 2008: I made a List of Breakfast Places in Silicon Valley.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008: If you see a car with a broken exhaust pipe, you can report it to the California Air Resources Board. If the car is smoking, it creates smog and air pollution. See for a link to their form.

Saturday, February 16, 2008: What happens when your doodles get out of control?

Thursday, February 14, 2008: has jobs listings, plus two useful tools:

- Table of Salaries: See trends and comparisons of salaries for your job. Add multiple jobs and compare the salaries (e.g., "blogger vs. webmaster vs. journalist"). This will give you serious ammunition when you demand your raise :-)

- Trends in Job Listings: In a dead-end job? Try "blogger, webmaster, journalist" and see which one is dropping!

Saturday, February 09, 2008: Free Google Analytics Debugger. will check your site to see if the Google Analytics tracking code is set up correctly.

Saturday, January 26, 2008: Time to refresh your website's look? Does your website's design look like 1997? Are your webpages fraying around the edges? Web design is much easier now. You can buy templates for $25-50 at sites such as and Get ideas at a huge collection of website designs Your webmaster should be able to implement these.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008: Microsoft Analytics: Not to be left out, Microsoft is releasing their own analytics tool. It's free. I signed up for it and I'm trying it out. It's in beta and still a bit buggy. It looks very cool. More in a few days.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008: From a Google blog, I read Craigslist has RSS feeds for their pages. Another site is a collection of classified ads from the entire USA. This means you can use an RSS reader to notify you of new jobs. You select the type of job and it gives you a fresh list of new jobs. Learn How to Use an RSS Reader.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008: Google ABM: finally released an ABM tool. This has been one of the most requested tools for several years. This tool is as significant as the release of Google Analytics. ABM (Automated Bid Management) tools automatically adjust your bids for optimal results. Instead of manually adjusting bids (time-consuming and mostly on a rough guess), ABM tools can adjust bids literally every few minutes in increments of one cent. And it can adjust bids based on location, so there can be different bids for ads in NYC and Palo Alto. You get the best possible bid at that minute, for that day, for that city. Best of all, Google's ABM tool is free. Other ABM tools can cost several thousand dollars per month.

To qualify for this tool, you must have campaigns with 200 or more conversions within the last 30 days. If so, go to the campaign's settings and look under budget options.

Sunday, January 13, 2008: "What Goes Up...": The House Bubble has finally burst. In the chart, we see the historic trend for house prices. It has shot up out of proportion. As we know from all bubbles, the price always returns to the base. House prices are projected to fall 40% (Paul Krugman) or 38% (Eric Janzsen). See Krugman's article (with more graphs, etc.). There is also a very good article about bubbles in Harpers Magazine (Feb. issue, not available online).

All of this is bad news: expect a severe recession that will last several years. Large corps have already begun to prepare for recession: they are cutting costs by laying off workers, reducing inventory, etc.

Thursday, January 10, 2008: HDR Photography: There is a new way of taking photos to create some very nice images. "HDR photography" produces photos with a wide range of tones. The eye can see far more tones than a camera (a camera captures 300 tones, but the eye can see 30,000). By adjusting your digital camera, it can take a set of photos, which you then open with a software tool that combines the photos. The result is one photo with a broader range of tones. It looks remarkable. You can take photos in fairly dim light and get great results. This is actually pretty easy to do. In fact, there's a great tool for this, and it works better than Photoshop. Here's another example. The HDR tool is Photomatix at (free, unlimited trial version).

Wednesday, January 09, 2008: Looking for Breakfast in Silicon Valley? Here's a list of Silicon Valley Breakfast Places.

Thursday, January 03, 2008: Have you seen the little taxi in your Treo PDA? Every once in a while, a little taxi cab races across your screen. "Easter Eggs" are jokes inserted by the engineers when they wrote the code. I called Verizon about this; they had never heard of it. Here's a pix.

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