Blog Postings for 2005
- See what you can find at andreas.com
Our new SEO/PPC book (fully revised, 2006 edition, 268 pages) went off to the publisher.
Monday, December 12, 2005: We are beta users of MSN adCenter, the new, upcoming Microsoft PPC tool that will compete against Google AdWords. adCenter has new features that go beyond AdWords. Because MS Passport and other MS tools require registration and demographic information, adCenter allows you to see the demographics for a keyword. You can enter a keyword and, before you run a PPC campaign, you can see age (in five brackets), sex, and location.
For example, a Very Large Consumer products company wanted to bid on the keyword "bleach". They knew their market was middle-aged women. However, by using adCenter's research tools, they found that 70% of the search traffic for bleach was 18-25 year old males. Young guys? Why? It turns out that Bleach is the name of a Japanese anime character.
If the corp had invested a major ad campaign into bleach, they would have gotten very high ad displays, abysmally low clicks, poor ROI, and concluded that online advertising doesn't
work. You can't do this kind of research in Google. Not possible.
Once you've done the research, you can then buy on those demographics. You can set bids on age, sex, or location. If we find that it's women, 35-50, in ten top markets, then we can
bid high on bleach there. As for the young guys, we can either not bid or place a low bid.
We've been testing top keywords for our clients. We've found a number of surprises. Some cities can be 30-40% of the US market. Why waste ad money in cities which are 4%? We've retargeted Google ads by using geotargeting to those cities.
MSN adCenter works along with Google and Yahoo PPC. You do the research in adCenter and use that research in Google/Yahoo.
The tool is very beta right now; things are broken, things often don't show up for several days. They are testing, developing, and fixing. I expect it'll be functional in 3-4 months. When it rolls out, a very significant number of Adwords and Yahoo Overture will sign up in order to use the research tools. If Google has perhaps 400,000 AdWords accts, MSN adCenter could pick up a few hundred thousand in six months. If Google has $6B in PPC revenues, adCenter could pick up several billion in 2006 alone.
Yes, there's a war between Google and Microsoft. But both combined will have only perhaps $10B in ad revenues for 2006. The real target is Madison Avenue's $400B in annual revenues, and they are fat sitting ducks, totally unprepared to compete or even defend themselves against Google/Microsoft, those two velociraptors.
Thursday, December 08, 2005: Google upgraded our status to Agency Certification. Our company CCG is now certified an Adwords service provider.
The heater thermostat died a few days ago, so I replaced it. Instead of getting the same kind, I bought a digital thermostat that has a built-in clock. This can set the temperature for four different parts of the day: warm in the morning, normal during the day, warm in evening, and cool at night. For example, if you're gone during the day, there's no sense in heating the house. It can also set individual settings for each of the seven days of the week, so the house is warm all day on Saturday and Sunday. This is only $50. In the first month alone, it'll save you more than that. These are far better than the one-temperature-all-the-time thermostats. To replace, it's very easy. You only need a screw driver and about ten minutes. Disconnect the old thermostat. There are two wires. Note the wires: use a bit of tape or a marker pen to mark one of the wires. Mount the new heater and reconnect the wires. That's it. (BTW, I bought a Lux TX9000 thermostat.)
Thursday, December 01, 2005: Added a new FAQ on wireless laptops and wireless routers for the home. If you have kids, give them $500 laptops, add a wireless router, and they can use their computers in any room of the house, even the backyard. (Note: this is a draft in progress. If you have comments or additions to the FAQ, let me know.)
Wednesday, November 16, 2005: Google started a new service called GoogleBase this morning. Anyone can add content (news, tips, ideas, notes, book reviews, recipes, job ads, your resume, classified ads, etc.) to Google's index. You can add info to Google and make it searchable, without having a website, a blog, etc. I just posted an item to GoogleBase. It's quite easy to add things. What will it do? What is it for? It may compete against Craigslist. You can post a job opening, your lawnmower for sale, that you want to buy an aquarium, a room for rent, or your resume. It may compete against newspapers. All classified ads could be posted there. It could compete against many things. Try it for yourself. Go to base.google.com
Tuesday, November 15, 2005: Yet another book on Google. It came out this morning. I read it and posted a book review of David Vise: The Google Story.
Sunday, November 13, 2005: For the SEO/PPC book, we built Koi-Planet.com. In the previous book, we used Koi-Heaven as an example, but it turned out that someone set up a website named Koi-Heaven. So we had to find a new name for a koi site. Thus Koi-Planet. It's an example of how to do SEO on a website. You can look at the code and see what we've done. Koi & Ornamental Goldfish at Koi-Planet.com
Friday, November 11, 2005: Matt, our network guy, spent several days to modify our server so it's accessible from outside. We switched to a dedicated IP address and increased our up/down access speed as well. This will allow our clients to log into our web analytics tools. In late summer, we installed a web analytics package that can handle 50 clients. For our accountant, we set up a wireless workstation for him. Wireless connectors are only $20 now. Pop one into your computer's USB port and get rid of those cables.
Thursday, November 10, 2005: Very good article on mobile computing and its social impact. I know some of the people in this article. It's well-written and accurate. e-life and mobile computing
Saturday, October 08, 2005: But how does it taste? : A researcher found that you can kill the bacteria in seafood that causes food poisoning (the two-day bout of stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.) Use a 50/50 mix of cranberries and oregano. It works even better if you add lactid acid (joghurt or cottage cheese.) Would that taste good? Joghurt with cranberries would be good, but with oregano on top? Whatever. It works.
Thursday, October 06, 2005: If you're interested in PPC (which means that you know what PPC is), I wrote a few reviews of new books on Google and Adwords: Andrew Goodman's Winning with Adwords and John Battelle's The Search. See Adwords-User-Group.com.
Friday, September 30, 2005: One of the coolest things on the web. National Geographic's webcam at an African watering hole. Watch elephants, zebra, giraffes, and more. Turn up the sound.
Saturday, September 17, 2005: Remember the donkey in Shrek? He's based on Perry, a real donkey who lives in Palo Alto. His stable is in a park a short walk from my home. When Pacific Data Images (PDI) of Palo Alto was making Shrek, they needed a donkey. They found Perry nearby. He's a minature donkey and very lively; he thinks he's a dog and likes to jump around. They photographed him and videoed him, and with those images, they were able to create the digital donkey.
Friday, September 09, 2005: A few weeks ago, I wrote about affiliate programs. Here's more details on LinkShare.com. To be a merchant (a supplier to the affiliates), there is a $5,000 setup fee, a $2,000 per month account fee, and the fee to the affilliates for each click/purchase. It can take about four months before the merchant begins to see traffic. This can be $12-18,000 before you make any sales. They recommend you try smaller programs first and then build up to them.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005: Lost? Don't stop and ask for directions! Get directions on your cellphone! If your celly can do SMS text messaging, you can ask Google Mobile for directions. Try it (free) and see how it works. Read more about Google Mobile. On your celly, use SMS, type the query, and send to 46645 (that's Google). (Thanks to Silvia for asking about this.)
You can also use Google SMS to check prices. In a store and wondering if it's cheaper elsewhere? Use SMS, send the ISBN or bar code number to Google, and get a price check. Folks, this will save you quite a bit of money.
Google SMS also gives you movie times. Enter the movie title and your zipcode to find movies nearby.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005: Looked at Miva's Pay-per-Call service. It apparently is working, but the ads appear only on two sites, mergerplace.com and thebizplace.com. I've never heard of either one. What's the point of advertising on an unknown site? Mergerplace is for people who want to buy companies. What's the point of advertising anything else on that site? The search continues...
Tuesday, August 30, 2005: Ecommerce is now four times larger than at the top of the dotcom boom. Ecommerce sales were $21 billion in Q2/2005 and about 2% of all US retail sales ($940B). At the top of the dotboom, ecommerce was just under $5B. There is as much ecommmerce now in one month as there used to be in an entire quarter. Growth is steady, so ecommerce may reach $50 billion in 2005.
: Here's a good analysis of the dotcom boom/bubble/craze/irrational exhuberance by Thomas Frank.
Monday, August 29, 2005: The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Coming soon to a Kansas school science class near you. More in the NYT on the FSM.
Saturday, August 27, 2005: This entry was posted to the blog from my wireless PDA. Blogger lets you add blog entries via email. I turned on that feature and used the PDA's SMS to send this posting to the blog. To do this: log into your Blogger acct, select Settings, select Email tab, and create a password (firstname.lastname@example.org). Save and exit. Now go to your PDA's contacts list and create a new contact named MyBlog (or whatever), add that password email address (email@example.com), and save. Finally, open to your wireless device's SMS (or email tool), write a blog entry, and send an email (or SMS) to that new email address. This lets you make blog entries via SMS or email from your wireless PDA, SMS cellphone, WiFi laptop, or your Bluetooth-enabled running shoes. You can update your blog wherever you are. This also includes photos.
Thursday, August 25, 2005: Computer Associates' ezAntivirus should be renamed "ezSpam". A few days ago, they "updated" the program. You had no choice; if you didn't update, antivirus protection was turned off until you updated. What's the new update feature? Whenever it detects and deletes a virus, it puts a popup message on your screen and REMINDS you that Computer Associates ezAntivirus has done its job. Oh, about 10-20 times a day. There's no way to turn off this "feature". Popup blockers can't stop this. It's just spam.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005: Looking for a better job? Here's a few search engine for jobs: Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, and Workzoo.com. There's also JobTiz.com, which is a database of public, private non profit companies as well as recruiting firms in CA.
Saturday, August 06, 2005: The Super8mm Home Movie Digitization project continues. I'm digitizing 24 reels of home movies to create a few DVDs which we can distribute within our family. In the Spring, I edited the 24 reels down to 12 reels. I sent off a small 3-min reel to be digitized. It came back on a DVD. It plays on my DVD player and I can copy the files (220 MB) onto my computer, where I can edit them. So that works. The next step is to digitize the large reels (est. 61 GB in files), edit those down, and produce a set of 2-3 DVDs. I'll need a mini-DV tape player and a video capture card. I'll do this in the next few weeks. In the end, I'll write an FAQ on the process.
Friday, July 08, 2005: Several of our clients are asking about affiliates. You can have 50,000 people selling your products on their websites. See the explanations at affiliate programs for merchants and
affiliate programs for website owners. See also about affiliates and more
explanations. See Refer-It.com for comparisons of commissions, companies that offer products, etc. To set up affiliate programs, try Commission Junction and LinkShare.com. Both are establised and have millions of affiliates.
Thursday, July 07, 2005: I wanted a blog that didn't look like a blog. I wanted to put the blog code into my website and post to it. As I wrote below, I stripped out the CSS code and then put the blogger code within a table. This lets you embed a blog directly into your website's pages. I used blogger.com to do this (blogger is free from Google). If you can write and edit HTML, you can figure out how to do this. We use the MoveableType blog for business clients, but it's overkill for a simple blog (and it's $200 plus installation fees...)
By the way, here's the Blog FAQ.
Friday, July 08, 2005: What's a blog without cat photos? Here's Eurydice's nose. Those black spots are freckles on her nose.
Tues, July 05, 2005:
: I'm looking into Print-on-Demand (POD) services for a client. We create a page at the client's website, he sets the price (e.g., $45), people fill out a form (address, credit card, etc.) and press Enter; the order goes to the POD service, they produce and ship the book, they deduct their $13 and credit him with the remainder ($45 - $13 = $32 profit to him.) A 200-page book with a color cover and perfect-bind (the flat backspine binding) is $13 per book ($7 for the cover and 3 cents per page). They take care of all the work: printing, order processing, shipping, etc. The only work for him is to write the book. POD services include CafePress.com and LuLu.com (tip from Scott C.)
Wednesday, July 06, 2005: I took the blog code, stripped out all of the CSS, added my CSS, and placed it within the content section for my website. This lets me put the blog into my website's look-and-feel.
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