Archive for the 'Web' Category

Universal Search Mocks Me

Oy, Google. Why do you do this to me?

I have a client who is very happy with the service I’ve provided him. Since I got started working on his site, he’s expanded the business considerably and still can’t keep up with all the customers he’s getting. He’s so happy, in fact, that he keeps telling me he doesn’t need me to do any more. He doesn’t even want me analyzing his traffic.

Now, I’m not going to waste my time having ClickTracks go through his log files just to satisfy my own curiosity, but now and then I’ll check up on some aspect of the site to see how it’s doing. Today, I was in Google Webmaster Tools, checking on a couple of sites and figured I’d have a quick peek at the data for this guy. When I went to look at his top clicked queries, I saw this:

Google top clicked queries

See that on the first line? It says the site is #4 for searches on mouse. Just mouse. The single word. That’s number 4 out of a total of 261,000,000 results. There are 11,500,000 results for pages with the word “mouse” in their titles. I know I’m good at what I do, but damn, that’s good.

Obviously, I just had to go to the SERP and see what pages we’re sharing the top five with.

Google results for mouse

Just look at that: two pages from Wikipedia, and two from Apple. That’s some serious company to be in. But where’s my client’s site in this fancy-schmancy neighborhood? No, I didn’t cut off the image before his page’s listing. See those three pictures at the top of the results? The first one — the cute little mousie backed into a corner — that’s from my client’s site.

Damn you, Google! Don’t call that the number four result. It’s just a picture. Yes, the page on which it’s published is optimized pretty well for the word “mouse”. So put that at number four! So, people who want a picture of a mouse land on his page. Do they call him? Do they hire him? No! All they do is look at the picture, probably steal a copy of it, and make his server work a tiny bit harder than it ought to.

This is just unfair. It doesn’t give him business, and it doesn’t give me bragging rights. Universal search. Feh.

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The Pride of a Nation

From deep in the lair of the crab of ineffable wisdom, home of those Rather Good / 7 Seconds of Love folk, comes this rousing ode to brave Prince Harry.

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Lessig on Obama

Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig created the video below to explain why he supports Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Even if you’re not familiar with Lessig’s work on Creative Commons, the Free Software Foundation, or the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I still recommend you listen to what he has to say here. It’s about 22 minutes long, but it’s well worth it.

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Money Bomb Report

five dollar bill and penny

No, I don’t have a report; I’m hoping to get one.

In case you’re not up on this, it was recently suggested that supporters of Barack Obama make contributions in multiples of $5.01 on February 12. It was to be a money bomb, a la Ron Paul (only this time for someone who actually has a shot at winning). Why $5.01, and why February 12? The five dollar bill and the penny both feature images of a certain president who, like Obama, started his career as a legislator in Illinois, and February 12 happens to be his birthday. Get it?

The idea got picked up and spread throughout the social networks, with more than 2600 diggs. It was discussed at length (and with great petulance, as usual) at reddit, a reddit/Obama group was created, and it was added as an event on facebook (and another, and yet another).

All of these sources pointed people to Obama’s donation page, and I assume it convinced quite a few people to contribute. Hell, even I contributed, and I’m notoriously cheap and cynical — a combination that tends not to lead to financial support for political campaigns.

So how much was raised? I don’t know. I’ve been searching blogs and news sites for the past 15 hours or so, and I can’t find a thing. When they ran money bombs for Ron Paul, it was always easy to find the results. I know the Obama campaign has made numerous announcements of how much they’ve raised in a given quarter, week, weekend, etc. and I’d really love to know how this went.

Has anyone out there located any information I haven’t been able to find in spite of my extraordinary internet fu?

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Not too shabby…

What is shabby is the code I removed from the badge:

<small>Meet <a href=””>North Carolina Singles</a></small>

What is that taste in my mouth…?

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I Lost

I was a finalist for a SEMMY. See? Down there.

→ 2008 SEMMY Finalist ←

You could say I was a “SEMMY finalist,” but that would be pretty confusing, and not particularly amusing.

It wasn’t for a post here at qwerty’s qoncepts. It was for a little something I wrote for isos, called “This Just In.”

Did I win? Did you look at the title of this post? No, I didn’t win. In fact, if you look at the results for my category, you’ll see that I tied for last place among the finalists.

I’m over it, though. It was an honor just to be nominated…dammit.

Besides, with the WGA strike going on, the awards weren’t televised, so it’s not as if I had to rent a tux to find out I’d lost.

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Know Your Audience

I was doing some research last week, looking for niche directories in the medical/health vertical, and there are quite a few out there. Some of them are quite general, others deal with specific parts of the field, such as various medical specialties, exercise and fitness, alternative health care, men’s health, and women’s health. One site in the latter category is the aptly named Women Health Links.

Based on its content, it looks to be a serious, authoritative site. I didn’t see any trashy or off-topic listings. The directory doesn’t have a ton of backlinks, but they all seem to be on topic. It’s been online for a couple of years, and it looks like it’s updated on a monthly basis.

It’s pretty clear why the site exists: to provide access to trusted sites that provide information on women’s health — sites on reproductive health, sexuality, menopause, pregnancy, abortion, infertility, etc. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that women make up the majority of the directory’s users.

And that makes me wonder why the advertising the directory displays is the sort you see below, in the lower-left of the image.

page from

Oooh. Hotties. Babes galore. Just what every red blooded male breeder wants.

Anna Nicole Smith in an advertisementHere’s another ad from the site:

But how many red blooded male breeders are checking out this site? Yes, I was there, but I was on the clock, so I didn’t click any of the adverts. Had I been on my own time… yowzah! (Well, maybe not.) Could I have been wrong in assuming that the directory’s audience was mostly female? No, I don’t think so. I certainly don’t think that anyone hoping to find porn is going to go to a directory about women’s health.

Maybe these ads are for porn sites for women… No, only if those women are looking for pictures and videos of women. And this doesn’t look like porn that’s being marketed to lesbians. I’ve been shown such things by real, live lesbians, and this ain’t it.

So what’s going on with these ads? They’re being served by a company called CPX Interactive. So, what do they have to say about themselves?

CPX is a different kind of ad network, focused on leveraging the underlying truths of the Internet to unlock unprecedented efficiency in the buying and selling of online display advertising. Advertisers leverage the network to receive optimized global reach at dynamically efficient pricing, while Publishers realize the benefit of 100% inventory fill technology.

The underlying truths of the Internet, such as “everyone loves boobies,” I suppose. And how do they do it?

Campaigns are continually optimized across our entire network, shifting placements, on-the-fly, toward sites where the offer is converting most cost effectively and away from those that are not.

How it works:

  1. Specific campaign goals and targeted audiences are honed.
  2. Maximum CPM necessary to deliver on goals is identified, based on historical data.
  3. Campaign is trafficked with a RON strategy developed to reach targeted audience, maintain maximum designated CPM and efficiently deliver ROI goals.
  4. Placements and CPMs are continuously monitored across network and optimized, in real-time, based on client’s specific goals and strategies.
  5. Conversion efficiency is continually “ratcheted down” as system “learns” perfect network mix for specific campaign.

So apparently the system has “learned” that straight porn delivers the best ROI for this site.

Drill-Down Targeting

Unlimited dynamically-created demographic channels.

More than 20 pre-defined psychographic interest channels (with more than 200 subchannel categories):

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Entertainment
  • Automotive
  • Hobbies & Interest
  • Family, Home, & Health
  • Business / Finance
  • Lifestyle
  • Shopping & Retail
  • Career & Education
  • News & Reference
  • Sports
  • Dating & Social Networking
  • Science, Tech, & Web
  • Travel & Leisure

So which of those categories would include Your Tit Parade? Maybe a better question would be whether any of them doesn’t include it.

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Google Playing Dumb

I noticed today that someone came to my site recently via a Google search for [how to seo my site]. I’ve never checked that one before (and I sincerely doubt it’s ever brought me any business), so I ran the search myself, and found that my site is in fact number one, showing up before a couple of pages from Webmaster Guidelines. Pretty cool, apart from the fact that it’s a search just about nobody ever runs, and I’m not likely to ever earn a penny from any traffic it brings me.

Google results for the query how to seo my site

Then I noticed something else about the SERP. Have a look:

Google results for the query how to seo my site

Did you mean: how to use my site

Who do they think they’re fooling? Suddenly Google’s forgotten that “SEO” is a word? Sure, the acronym isn’t usually used as a verb, but I’ll bet more people are curious about how to seo a site than how to use one. After all, sites can be used in lots of different ways. The question is terribly unclear. You’d think that a search on [how to use my site] would bring up Did you mean: how to seo my site. It doesn’t.

I for one find this a bit insulting. I know Google doesn’t have the utmost respect for people in my line of work, but to pretend we don’t exist? That’s cold, Google.

Let’s look at Google’s competition. Maybe one or two of them will be more respectful.

  • Ask has no problem with the query. In fact, they put a couple of videos about SEO in the right column, and a link to “Seo Tips” in the left.
  • MSN doesn’t seem to be having any difficulty figuring out what the user is looking for.
  • Yahoo has the gall to ask, “Did you mean: how to see my site.” Duh. People really ask that? You’re looking at a browser right now, genius.

Worst of all, my site doesn’t show up on any of the SERPs apart from nasty, disrespectful Google. So am I better off with an engine that ignores me, or one that recommends me while pretending I’m a typographical error?

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Supermarket 2.0

It’s shopping the ultra-modern way: Tags! UGC! Wish lists! Feeds! Wiki!

Hat tip to Brand Infection.

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Say It Ain’t So, Karina

Karina StenquistThe interwebs are weeping tonight. Karina Stenquist, host of Mobuzz TV and my absolute favorite American expat who does a vlog from Madrid, has retired. She did her goodbye show on Friday.

For those not familiar with her work, she is a wondrous combination of smart, snarky, geeky, and sexy. And as fond as I am of Joanne Colan and Cali Lewis/Luria Petrucci, neither of them can match Karina’s on-air (do you call it on-air when it’s online?) banter. And she has a pierced tongue. Gotta love that.

Here’s an example of Karina working it on the show. You think Dan Rather ever went this far to report a story? Not a chance.

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