Getting Noticed at Conferences

Being at an SMX or SES sometimes just isn’t enough. A few people really grabbed my attention at the last couple of conferences, and not because they were speaking… None of the encounters I am thinking about were speaker related.

The best way to get noticed is to be an interesting conversationalist.

It really all started with a Árni Matthíasson who – instead of coming up to me after my spot to thank me for talking or to bring up a problem in his business, came up to take the thoughts in my presentation and leap forward in the argument by a magnitude – leaving me to realise just how much further I needed to think ahead than I had done to date. He told me about the concept of the Panopticon prison. I had been presenting the concept that individuals now – like never before – had the ability to change a brand’s marketing message if they didn’t like it… by talking about their view of a brand or their experience on the scalable mouthpiece that we all live with now day to day. Arni give the analogy that this gave individuals the same power as the Panopticon. We don’t now have to police brands all the time, because brands are imprisoned in the knowledge that at any point in time, someone may be spying on them. Powerful stuff I thought.

Then just a week later in London, I was delighted to find myself drinking with Steve Jackson (Warning… noisy link) whom I had thought was a games designer until that point, but clearly there are more than one. I had several stimulating conversations with Steve. The merits of Finnish saunas probably doesn’t warrant further discussion sober, but we had an interesting conversation about where people turn when faced with adversity. Steve turns to Winston Churchill’s We will never surrenderspeach which – being a Brit – I obviously know. But for those that don’t, you can get motivated via your Iphone. Again, a great conversationalist whom I will look forward to meeting at conferences again.

Neither person, though, quite prepared me for the late night conversation between Jim Sterne and the Fantomaster… Talk about Law meeting Chaos! Jim set about asking Fantomaster what he would want if nothing was impossible. Fantomaster replied “magic”… but then Jim went on to ask “for what purpose”?

That’s when I really understood the difference between Law and chaos. For these two, It was nothing to do with Good and Evil and everything to do with philosophy.

The moral of the tale is to be a good conversationalist if you want to be remembered the next morning.

The thickest Search Marketing company on the planet?

It’s officially Miva.

Miva bought for lots of money. They didn’t redirect the 813,000 backlinks (yet)!

Try going to… here’s what my colleague Andy Langton spotted today and what and I see as I look now… a holding page:

Espotting Holding Page

Here’s our back link tool looking at the relative backlinks of amd


So have Miva decided to entirely ignore 813,000 backlinks? Well… not exactly. Although has a holding page, http::// contains spam link pages! Here’s what I see:

Spam Links?

Now you would have thought that a company SO close to the search community would have paid a professional a few quid to learn how to have migrated those 813,000 links properly wouldn’t you?

Internet Marketing Plan

At some point last year I found myself in Edinburgh, doing an SEO presentation with those guys trying to buy that upstart, Yahoo. That’s where I met David Bain, who said that he had this training course planned and he wondered if I would do an interview with him, which I duly did.

He said he’d let me know when he was further down the road. So imagine my surprise this month, when 4 DVDs, another 8 or so CDs and even the T-shirt arrived for David Bain’s 26 week internet marketing plan! Accompanying this huge amount of work was a short note, saying that it was going “Live” later in February and he’d be interested in my comments. Well – my first comment is that this has been a shed load of work! I don’t know how many hours of video are on these DVDs, but it’s more than a few. Further, they are videos of actual training seminars, so he has managed to keep an audience captivated… presumably over a period of weeks, not all at once. The course assumes that a marketer starts with absolutely no experience of online marketing and looks to be ideally suited to the owner-manager of a lifestyle business or to a person who has had their company’s website performance “thrust upon them” as part of their other daily duties. What is good about the course is that it must be the only Internet Marketing course that is entirely available on DVD and CDs. Most of us have to learn through forums, online books and conferences. Others on the frontier land simply have to learn by trial and error. This takes the one-to-one workshop style training approach and makes it affordable for everyone. On top of that, it comes delivered in a form that allows you to watch it again and again. Though I doubt you’ll be watching again and again for David’s sense of humour.

You WILL learn the theory here, but David has been very practical and prescriptive in his approach. It’s “do it my way, or miss the internet superhighway” really – but any business doing all the things in these DVDs, would all do much better online than the average, mostly for “little or no money down” as they say in the American car and sofa suite commercials. David goes through an online strategy that is suitably generic and would apply to any business. He has split the course into 26 weeks, but in fact, each week is a 30 minute presentation (or thereabouts… I didn’t get so anal as to get the stop watch out). From there, you need to go an apply what you have learned to your own site or sites. In that sense, then, anyone taking up marketing their website full time will not need anything like 26 weeks to get through this. Four nights on the sofa and some CDs in the car on the way to sales meetings will suffice. But hearing it and applying it are two different things, so I guess the plan is to do one thing each week and you’ll be well on your way. The challenge is that the real long term stuff – building links and creating virtual social networks is, not unsurprisingly, a long way into the process. Makes sense if you haven’t got your URL structure sorted yet! But I think that the links are part of Internet Marketing from the start… regardless of whether Google exists at all. There is not a leap from the very practical set of tools that David offers the mindshare jump needed to understand the relationships between brand, offline exposure and online reputation. My guess, though, is that you’d make your own leaps of understanding if you took the course. The second challenge for David will be the same as every other course in this field… progress! Since I got the DVDs, Microsoft announced a possible merger with Yahoo. SEOMoz announced a change to their online tools (not that I use Rand’s… young whippersnapper!), Google probably came out with another products and yes… paid links are now officially bad. (is there another kind?) If you are a practical guy or gal that likes their internet marketing strategy supplied on a plate, then David’s your man. If you want to live your life in 2.0, then Dave’s way will soon bore you, even though you know everything he says makes sense.

If you’d liketo see more – his internet marketing plan is available from the end of February.

SES London has 2000 attending

Just overheard Kevin Ryan and Marilyn talking about attendance at SES London. They’ve got 2,000 people coming over the three days. Te Business Design Center is a strange layout, so it’s not always easy to see how many people are around, but the session I just went to was full. Mind you… the panel included DaveN, Teddy Cowell and the Fantomaster, so you’d be foolish to miss it.

It was fun. turns out that a guy in theaudience was upset about the guy that achieved number one for car Insurance… which happened to be a client of one of the guys on the panel. Who says the old guard SEO guys don’t still have what it takes?

Link Building Case Study

I was looking for a good link building case study the other day. They are hard to come by. Then it dawned on me that there are plenty and that I’ve been giving Linking case studies for ages:

Link Building Video Example

I used the above bits of video in a presentation at RIMC in Iceland last week. Thanks so much to the guys there at Nordic Emarketing, as well as Joost, Dennis, Rob and Ton.

I’ll put the presentation itself up in the next few days, as I also put the presentation on Video.

Why Facebook adverts are not working

Some months back I reviewed FaceBook’s sponsored listings  and found the Click through rate to be very poor. Since then I have tried with a much larger brand and had an even more disastrous CTR. Today I think I found out at least one reason why.

I was going through Facebook and was clicking around. Just as I clicked, I noticed an advert saying “let’s play chess…” but by then I had clicked somewhere else. The advert that replaced the chess one was totally different. I WANTED to get to the chess advert. I started searching… but no joy. Someone had an advert targeted at me and it passed me by before I could click. It might be that I see it again, but there is a problem with the algorithm that dispalys the adverts. FaceBook should try having the advert display for about 5 pages before rotating, to ensure it gets into the “head” of the Facebook user if they really want people to start clicking.

Until they do that, or find other solutions, we are finding unacceptably low click through Rates. Mind you – since I am paying on a CPC I don’t care… but Facebook needs to fix that to generate income.

Microsoft to buy Yahoo

Blimey. Just had a call from Mel, who’s just had a text from Steve Ballmer. Microsoft are going to  buy Yahoo at $31 a share!

 This representings total equity value of approximately $44.6 billion.

 But the more important thing for all of us is that there will be two players, not three.

So I heard the news at 12:08 GMT – I guess it’s been up for 8:00 minutes. Full release from Microsoft here: Mircosoft to buy Yahoo.


OK – Picking up the comments and listing them here… So refresh the page if you want a bit more.

The Telegraph also reveals that they loked at other ways of collaborating, quoting a letter: “In late 2006 and early 2007, we jointly explored a broad range of ways in which our two companies might work together” suggesting that they had already decided between them that they couldn’t take on Google alone.

  • Fox points out that this will be one of the largets Tech acquisitions ever – and way bigger than anything Microsoft have done before (AQuantive was $6Billion)
  • Search Engine Watch has a huge amount of cut and paste, including the whole letter from Steve Ballmer to the Yahoo Board (Nice scoop SEW)
  • BBC are all over it too.

What do Microsoft People think about it? well Mel has put his thoughts up now (rushing to a plane) which sounds positive, but I picked up on my Facebook about an hour before the news broke the Eytan Seidman, one if the biggest names from the algo side of Microsoft is moving on. No idea where to, but maybe he knew what was in the wind and thinks Yahoo’s organic algo will take the high ground.

Other blogger thoughts…

  • Dave Naylor points out that an offer does not mean it will happen. he wonders if Google will step in. I doubt Google would get it past the authorities though.
  • Andy Beal reckons that the takeover’s going to get hostile very quickly.
  • Sphinn has just nuked most of the other bloggers in favour this one (So – I’ve just deleted my Sphinn button.)