Friday, December 5, 2008 - Stop Calling Me, Please?

Guess what? Yep, I got another message from on my voice mail yesterday, I stopped counting at 30 so I don't know how many times they have called me to date. They want to sell me paid advertising because I signed up for a free listing. This time I wrote down the reps name and number and called him back. I said, "What can I say to you today that will make you never call me again." This guy is a machine, it didn't even phase him. He went into his sales pitch.

If you don't have a number to call and complain about getting excessive cold calls from their sales force call this number and ask for this sales rep:

Michael Marshall
(314) 588-2995
or toll free at (800) 723-9552 x85267

Give him my regards and remind him not to call me when you get him on the phone. Good luck with Free listing, it was anything but a free listing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

United States Postal Service - Obsolete?

As I walked past my neighborhood post office, I saw a man that looked like a deer in the headlights. He was holding a Netflix DVD in one hand and was standing in front of a row of five USPS mailboxes. With a confused look on his face he turns to me and says, "Which one is for letters?" I graciously say, "All of them." He says with a big sigh of relief, "Thanks, your a life saver."

So I ask you, when was the last time you mailed a letter at the post office? Barring my obsession with Netflix movies, which now I download and watch on my computer, I don't remember the last time I sent a letter. Oh, well last week I sent in my car registration, however you may agree that the USPS system is now obsolete for personal use.

With email, instant software downloads, and online bill pay; what we have used in the past for sending letters may have become obsolete. The USPS needs to shift their focus to packages and retail business delivery. This is a trend that will cause an increase in taxes, as we have seen recently, to fill the gap from the money we pay for postage to the United States Postal Service.

The trend will be toward more instant software and video game downloads, online payment of bills, instant messaging, and company collaboration in the virtual world. No more snail mail, Best Buy video games, and ATMs. Not to mention that being "green" is better for the environment.

All of this said, you will see a shift in purchase behavior over the next 18 months from in-person, in-store purchases to purchases from the comfort of your own home. Log on, research, click, buy, download.

Friday, October 24, 2008, The Final Chapter (Hopefully)

Last Friday I called the number that was given on the "pre-recorded" message trying to up-sell me into paying for placement in the network of local websites. By the way the pre-recorded message says, "We wanted to make sure you get what you really came to" What I really came for was a "free listing."

So I had already removed my listing from and still was receiving one call a day (now from an automated recording). I called up last Friday and got a message saying, "Thanks for calling someone will be right with you, etc." Two minutes later I get a message that says no one is available to talk with me and that I can leave a message to have someone call me back. Then a pause and a quick message, "Please be patient their may be a long pause before you can leave a message." Hmmm?

Long story short, I leave a message with my name and phone number (trying to speak as plainly and slowly as possible so they get the information), then I say, "I have received over 20 calls in the past month, Please Stop Calling Me, Thank You." And I hung up. So far seven days have passed. No calls from, however I am not stupid enough to think that they are not going to call me in the future (or another third-party that sells my information to).

I don't know how many times I need to say it but don't apply for a free listing with unless you are ready to get call after call asking whether you want to upgrade to a paid listing, and they will not take "NO" for an answer.

Monday, October 13, 2008, The Saga Continues

So today, you guessed it, I got a call from a sales rep at with a message that got cut off before he got to the end of the call and didn't leave a phone number so I could call him back and tell him to stop calling me.

I understand that someone applies for a free listing at and they want to up-sell you to the paid search portion of the website. I get that but I got over 12 calls in a matter of two weeks from 5 different representatives from Sure I am in the Search Engine Marketing industry and I may have contacts with other local search marketers that could use Stop calling me, this is just like Dell Hell. I submitted a listing to and no sales calls.

While I am on the topic, please go out and use, but please whatever you do don't apply for a free listing with All you will get is sales call after sales call. Even if you return the calls and tell them you are not interested, more and more calls.

Stop Calling Me! Please, stop!

Sunday, October 5, 2008 No Free Lunch (or Listings)

After researching local directories I came upon They offer a free listing to local businesses, so I submitted my name and information. I think to myself, great a free listing in in my local area.

No Free Lunches (or Listings)

The day after I submitted my "free" listing I get a voice message from a salesperson. Ok they want to thank me for applying for a free listing (I delete the message and move on). The second day, I get another voice message from a salesperson. Day 3, a voice message from a different salesperson. Day 4, you guessed it a voice message from a salesperson. Day 5, oh my, another voice message from a salesperson.

Day 6, I finally pick up the phone when a salesperson calls me. I answer the phone and get an angry salesperson saying, "Are you Alan Rothstein." Yahda, Yahda, Yahda, is this your primary business phone. I say, "No this is a supplemental business phone, etc." Needless to say I get a lot of weird, specific questions about my business practices and why I don't want to use for more than just a free listing. I finally cut the conversation short and the salesperson finally thanks me and hangs up.

Day 7, finally no voice message from Was the free listing worth the hassle and multiple voice messages on my phone? Well, the listing was definitely not "free." Submit your "free" listing to at your own discretion.

UPDATE - Day 10, calls to say that my listing is incomplete and that I need to call to rectify the situation. Day 10.9 I deleted my listing on Stop Calling Me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Change is Good, Except When it is Bad

Remember when Coca Cola changed their recipe to be more like Pepsi, and created New Coke? Then everyone stopped buying Coca Cola because it was different, even though studies said people preferred the taste of New Coke?

Mashable, my all-time favorite blog recently had a make-over, new logo, and new slogan. I have to assume that the information they are offerings is still the same (or the same themes), however Mashable has revised their blog layout. Yes, they took away the soft pink and blue colors and replaced them with a more neutral color layout, but something is just not right.

What is wrong with the new layout? The advertisements used to pop and now they blend into the background (maybe that is a good thing). The fonts are different, the color scheme is different and the background is much lighter. Everything on the page just blends and nothing really stands out, except the photos of the bloggers. Those photos are ridiculous looking.

I guess my point is, change is good except when it is bad. Keeping a blog fresh and new is good. However, you can have the best ideas in the world but it is all about the execution. It hurts my eyes to look at the Mashable website. Will I still continue to read it? That remains to be seen. By the way I like both Coca Cola and Pepsi. Like fine wine different soda goes good with different meals.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

8 Google Blogs for Search Marketing Professionals

Google has blogs on almost all of their products. Here are a few Google blogs that Search Marketers can read and get a jump on the competition.

1) The Official Google Blog Insights into Google products, services, and algorithm.

2) The Official Google Webmaster Tools Blog Insights and information about Google Webmaster Tools.

3) The Official Google Video Blog - Showcasing cool new videos from across the web and keeping you current with the latest news from Google Video.

4) The Official Google Analytics Blog - The latest news, tips, and resources straight from the Google Analytics team.

5) The Official Google Base Blog - The latest news, tips, and resources straight from the Google Base team.

6) Official Google Mobile Blog - News and views from the Google mobile team.

7) The Official Blog - News and notes from Google's philanthropic arm.

8) The Official Google Checkout Blog News for sellers using Google Checkout.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

7 Advanced Google Tools For Internet Marketers

Search professional or business analytics that is responsible for Internet marketing and search strategy? The following are 7 advanced Google tools that will help you be a better marketer:

1) Google Analytics - shows you how search rank correlates with conversions and revenue for every keyword you buy or rank on in natural search results.

2) Google Analytics URL Builder - Building URLs for Google Analytics so you can keep track of campaign source, medium, term, content, and name.

3) Google Local Business Center - Help customers find your business on Google Maps.

4) Google Webmaster Tools - Improve your site's visibility in Google search results, diagnose problems on your site, discover your link and query traffic, and share information about your site with Google.

5) Google Website Optimizer - Google's newest tools to test copy, layout, images, and buttons to convert the best.

6) Scholarly Papers Written by Googlers - A partial list of publications by people after joining Google about Algorithms and Theory and more.

7) Google Insights for Search - Compare search volume patterns across regions, categories, and time frames.

Monday, August 25, 2008

2009 Search Trends: Like BK, Have It Your Way

If you are used to walking into Burger King and having it your way than you are going to like the 2009 trends in news search and content consumption.

Eight years ago MSNBC and many other 24 hour news TV channels got a much needed boost in viewership, launching them into what we now know as "news all day, every day." Four years ago bloggers and online news portals got the boost they needed to go mainstream with the shear amount of political news readers that shut down servers left and right for online news website including and The Onion.

What is in store for late 2008 and 2009?

Live streaming news, lets you keep up-to-date with the presidential election (and shortly after everyday news). Internet television is in it's infancy and many of us are watching movies and television shows on demand with services like NetFlix and Websites offering live streaming news mashups will help you keep track of your news (and have it your way).

How about those that aren't iPhone enabled?

Personalized news search, think RSS feeds, widgets, and personalized home pages. How can you capitalize on this future trend? Content consumers will get used to building their personalized home page with iGoogle, chocked full of RSS feeds and widgets. Help customize their content consumption and news habits with your own RSS feeds, widgets, and iGoogle gallery submissions.

As social bookmarking begins it's decline and users become less satisfied with traditional online news sources, what will reign supreme this election year 2008? Bet it sets the standard for news consumption for the next four years.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

10 Google Tools For SEO Professionals

As a Search Engine Optimization professional you can always use a few good Google tools. Here are 10 Google tools for SEO professionals, that will actually help you optimize websites.

1) Google YouTube Video Channel - Google updates their official YouTube channel on a daily basis with product demos, guest speakers, webcasts, and more. Get Google news and information from the source.

2) The Official Google Blog - "Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture."

3) Matt Cutts Official Blog - Learn from Matt Cutts about gadgets, google, and SEO. Some very informative information about Google, the Google algorithm, and SEO for more prominent search rankings.

4) Google Developers YouTube Video Channel - Are you a web developer? Want to get some information and news directly from Google developers? Watch videos about coding, learn about Android, and set by the CampFire with Googlers.

5) Google Webmaster Central Blog - "Official news on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index."

6) Google Dance Tool - Ping three different Google data centers and see if Google is updating their search algorithm.

7) Google Maps for Enterprise - Web-based mapping technologies to internal websites for any organization to use.

8) Google Mini - Access to relevant and secure searches across intranets, file servers, and business applications.

9) Google Ad Planner - A free Media Planning Tool to help refine your online advertising.

10) Google Search Appliance - Integrated hardware and software product is designed to give businesses the productivity-enhancing power of Google search.

Friday, August 22, 2008

37 Google Tools to Enjoy the Internet

Google SketchUp - 3D software tool for intelligent drawing.

Google Pack - A free collection of software for your computer.

Google's Blogger - Free and easy blog creation and hosting.

Google Web Accelerator - Speeds up your computer for searching on the web.

Google Docs - Free web-based word processor and spreadsheet, for online collaboration.

Google Maps - Driving directions, interactive maps, business search, local search results.

Google News - News aggregate and news search engine.

Google Video - Search and watch millions of videos from all over the Internet.

Google Groups - Search over 700 million Usenet postings and speak with Google experts in a Q and A style forum.

Google Earth - Maps and satellite images for regional search.

Google Image Search - Search for photos aggregated from the Internet.

Google Toolbar - Add extra functionality to Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Google Book Search - Search a collection of digitized books from old to new.

Google Scholar - search scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, books, abstracts, and articles.

Google Code - Official weblog about Google development projects.

Google Finance - a broad range of information about stocks, mutual funds, public and private companies.

Google Translate - Free online language translation service to translate text and web pages.

Google Desktop Download - Sidebar for your desktop with a news widget and feed reader widget. Customize with the Google Widget Gallery.

Google Mobile - Google's mobile search and product offerings.

Google Gmail- A free email services and email hosting.

Google Labs - Showcase of your favorite Google ideas.

Google Store - Get all your Google gear, apparel, and accessories.

Google Checkout - Complete online checkout and shopping cart software solution.

Google Health - Medical records online organization software.

iGoogle - Create a personalized landing page from your Internet experience.

Google Notebook - collect information as you browse the internet on your web notebook.

Google Patent Search - Search for patents easily and quickly, the full text of US Patents.

Google Product Search - Product search aggregate for products to buy.

Google Calendar - Organize and share your events with family and friends.

Knol - Google's platform to share what you know.

Orkut - Google's social network platform to keep in touch with friends and meet new people.

Picassa - Find, edit and share your photos online

Google Reader - Get all your blogs and news feeds aggregated in one place.

Google Sites - Create your own free website or group wiki.

Google Talk - Instant Message or call your friends from your computer.

Google Directory - A DMOZ mirror site.

YouTube - Just when Google Video isn't enough.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Analytics is the Key To Search Success

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it make a noise? This is a very well known argument but illustrates my point about analytics. If you don’t see how many people are looking at your website, where they are located, the website that referred them and the conversion funnel that your readers took; than you can’t make any informed decisions about optimization or paid search strategy.

Free Analytics Packages

If you don’t have a lot of money (or you do have a lot of money) and need to keep track of your websites analytics register with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. With easy website verification and pixel placement, you can start tracking the traffic to your website.

Paid Search Analytics

It is very important to keep track of paid search traffic so you know what source is referring the most amount of traffic and conversions. By knowing exactly where your conversions are coming from you can make informed decisions about fund allocations. Set a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) goal to guide you in your paid search strategy.
Finally, don’t let someone else keep track of your data and have exclusive rights, make sure you have access to your own analytics for future strategy. Having a full years worth of data can help you make better strategic decisions rather than starting from scratch.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Quantified & Forecasted

I just picked up my Magic 8-Ball and asked, “How many clicks and conversions will I get if I optimize my website for the search engines.” The Magic 8-Ball said, “Ask again later.” If you need to justify your Search Engine Optimization spend to your manager, you are not alone. Brand managers (and really all marketers) must quantify the value of their marketing spend. How do you keep track of brand awareness? How can you forecast future clicks and conversions?

Sometimes it is about creating a road map so you know the destination. Without knowing where you are going, you can’t figure out how you can get there. Set goals that are attainable but don’t over promise. But still, how can you forecast the gains from optimizing your website for search? Fortunately, SEO is data driven and the industry offers forecasting strategies and tools to help you quantify the ROAS for website search optimization.

Competitor Analysis Tips & Tools

Competitor analysis can help make quantifying the benefits of Search Engine Optimization easier (if they have optimized their website properly). Use competitor websites to forecast gains since they are in the same industry with the same target market. Don’t however put on blinders and only focus on your competitors. Why? You will miss out on all the new ideas other industries offer that can give you a competitive advantage.

How do I spy on my competitors’ organic rankings? You can manually pull search data for hundreds of keywords or you can use tools like Spyfu. Spyfu allows you to spy on your competitors for both paid and organic search. Keep in mind that this is a forecasting tool and may not be 100% accurate. Spyfu can however offer a good competitor benchmark to help you get started with forecasting and quantification of search optimization.

The Organic Search Delay or Sandbox Effect

You may have heard the term, Google Sandbox. This is a theory that Google will wait until your website “grows up” and stops playing in the sandbox before it will offer prominent rankings. This is partially true but the sandbox is just a time delay. Google has to crawl trillions of Web pages and may only visit some websites every week or so.

What does this means for your search engine optimization? On-page factors can offer quicker gains than off-page factors and external links. Once Google crawls your website (as long as you are not starting this website from scratch) it will use the new info about your website to improve rankings. It is however the external links that fall into the Sandbox Effect. Google will need to crawl your Web page and the external links that point to your Website. Then, crawl the external links to your external links (I think you get the picture). This takes time and the solution is to start building external links with a new website ASAP to quickly increase your rankings in Google. Take this in consideration when forecasting the gains you could receive from optimizing your website for search.

The Good, The Bad, and The Conversion

Search optimization will help you get prominent rankings; optimized organic ads will assist in click-throughs, but to forecast conversions and ROAS take a look at your website. Does it offer a clear path to conversion? Do people land on the best Web page and find the products and services they are looking for? This is an important consideration when making predictions about future search successes.

Under Promise and Over Deliver

If you have the ability to offer a range, this is the best scenario. Don’t offer a very large number as a goal unless you can actually meet this goal. Many times a 200% increase will be enough of a goal to satisfy upper management (and a client if you are an agency). Then you can work towards an increase of 800% in click-throughs and conversions. After reading this article, you pick up your Magic 8-ball and ask the same question. The Magic 8-Ball says, “Outlook good.”

Monday, August 4, 2008

Local Marketing Strategy – 11 Tips for Local Search Success

Looking to market yourself in your local area? Here are 11 tips for local search success:

1) Keep your data consistent across all local websites;, Google Maps, and your own website.

2) Optimize your website for local search queries; Include throughout your website keyword phrases about your service and geographic location.

3) Sign up and participate in industry specific social networks. Participants of social networks are actively looking for subject experts and additional information, fulfill their needs.

4) Improve the ranking of your website and name in the major search engines. When someone searches for you in Google you want them to find your website or name as high up on the search results as possible (ideally in Position One).

5) Include your website in all forms of communication; email signatures, business cards, etc.

6) Get customers to review your website on third-party review aggregates; Yelp, CitySearch, etc.

7) Optimize other media for local search queries on the Internet; videos, podcasts, webinars, press releases, blog articles,

8) Keep all of your local listings up-to-date if you change your business information quickly make the change so you don’t lose any potential customers.

9) Use geo-tags in your websites code to help the search spider index your website for local search queries.

10) Obtain external links to your website from professionals in your industry and your geographic location.

11) Make contact information easy to find to improve your conversion rate and requests for additional information.

For professionals in the legal, real estate, insurance, financial, and medical industries, local search marketing can be a great way to reach new customers and clients without spending an arm and a leg.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Google PageRank Update - July 2008

I just noticed this weekend that my blogs have updated PageRank. The Google PageRank update usually happens every quarter so expect another PageRank update in October. Google PageRank however can fluctuate in real-time, and is only updated so the general public can see it on a quarterly basis.

PageRank is calculated on the quantity (not quality) of links pointing to a Web page. Approximately 100 links will get you a PageRank 2, 1,000 links will get you a 3-4 PageRank, 10,000 links PageRank 5, 100,000 links PageRank 5-6, etc.

PageRank can be an indicator of success or failure in the Google engine. If you suddenly see a major drop in PageRank the website is probably doing something it shouldn't (spam or paid text links) and Google is momentarily penalizing your website. Rectify this situation and submit a Reconsideration Request in Google Webmaster Tools.

Friday, July 25, 2008

SMX Local & Mobile Recap

If a panelist at a conference says something, does it make it the truth? The lowdown on SMX Local & Mobile is that much of the opinion was presented as fact. It is not to say that there wasn’t some golden nuggets of information.

The Local & Mobile Conundrum

Not only is it hard to reach your target audience with traditional search but take in consideration that your mobile consumers are moving from one place to another. Mobile Search Marketing is a moving target and the only way we are going to deliver truly targeted mobile advertising to our consumers is with a little help from our friends (Big Brother that is). Cell tower and IP address targeting are a good start but like many panelists alluded to; it would be nice to know where the consumer is travel to or from, the time of day, and what your current purchase behaviors are to better target your mobile search experience.

Some of the stand-outs from the SMX Local & Mobile Conference included:

Gib Olander

David Mihm

Bryson Meunier

Raj Singh

Cindy Krum

The main theme that ran through the conference was that your mobile and local strategy depends on a lot of factors including how much time you have to experiment with the mobile vertical, whether it makes sense stacked up against other options for your ROAS, the products and services your business offers, and most importantly your consumer base. If your users are mobile consumers they are more likely to use the mobile vertical, making both Natural and Paid Mobile Search more important to reach this moving mobile target.

If you are looking to access the presentations from SMX Local & Mobile you are in good company (if the login is needed you can leave a comment or email me). Hopefully next year mobile will have evolved enough so that the SMX Local & Mobile Conference is more mobile and less local.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On August 28, 2008 - Turn off Your Google Content Network For One Day

By a show of hands, how many people are happy with the current state of the Google content network? The Google content network is a shotgun approach to a one-to-one advertising medium. You get a lot of impressions and a fair amount of click-throughs, but how many advertisers actually make a solid ROAS? Instead of supporting Yahoo! with the Google paid search network, Google should look into their own content network for improvements. If everyone turned off the Google Content Network for one day, Google would have to do something to improve it. In the short-run and long-run everyone would save a few dollars (except Google of course).

Keyword and Placement Targeted Google Content Network

The buzz on the blogvine is the introduction of placement targeted content network ads integrated with keyword targeted placement. Now you can pick the websites you put your ad on and show it only when a specific keyword theme is present. Many of us don’t have the time to research every niche website to find that needle in a haystack. What will this do for us advertisers? Give the Google and the content network publishers even more power to spend our money with an abysmal conversion rate. If you want to participate in the Google content network be prepared to either spend a lot of money or a lot of time. Your best bet is to advertise on a niche content network that focuses your ad spend with behavioral targeting to a specific theme or lifestyle.

Behavioral Targeting

Google falls short with opt-in Web history aggregation and behavioral targeting for paid ads. It is opt-in and how many people want to give Google a list of their search queries? Who wants to give Google anything for free?

Google’s Content Network Pitch

“The Google content network reaches over 75% of unique internet users in more than 20 languages and over 100 countries. As a result, if you advertise on both the Google search network and the Google content network, you have the potential to reach three of every four unique internet users on Earth.” So you can send your Google Content Network ad to everyone in the world and waste an exurbanite amount of money in the process.

Turn off your Google Content Network for One Day - August 28, 2008

Unite with the rest of the Internet and turn off your Google content network for One Day, August 28th, 2008 and show Google that we mean business. What would each of us lose? A couple of poorly qualified leads that don’t amount to anything!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pay For Answers Model - Human Powered Search

I have recently noticed search results including pay for answer landing pages from human powered search. You pay $10 to ask a question and see what the answer is for similar questions. Although many people want to pay for answers to their technical questions, do these listings make good organic search results?

Excel Formulas for $10

I recently searched in Google for an Excel formula and typed in a "How to" search query. The first search result looked promising, so I thought I should click on this. It stated in the top left-hand corner that I could pay $10 and see the answer to similar questions and ask my own question on this topic. The only way I would pay $10 for this is if I was on deadline and needed it right away. But I ask you, is this the best "organic" search listing for a Google search query?

Many of these landing pages should be part of paid search results. I almost expect that I will have to pay for something, if I click on a paid search result. Maybe Google needs to change the algorithm to identify these pay for answer search queries in organic search results. I don't however have a problem with services including JustAnswer because they offer an archive of answers with the ability to ask follow up questions for a fee. At least you get to see older answers for free.

Something for Google to think about in the next search algorithm update.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Google Search, 3 out of 4 Doctors Approve

As my primary care physician walked into the exam room, I saw something out of place. Remember the Highlights we enjoyed as a kid, they asked "What is wrong with this picture?" I saw my doctor tapping this high tech machine, I squinted (not the optometrist office mind you) and saw that my doctor was using a computer to keep track of my vitals and make notes in my file. Hopefully they don't put Iron Mountain out of business.

Search Engine Optimization that Saves Lives

74% of doctors say they used a search engine to find prescription drug information monthly (or more often). 77% of doctors find clinical information monthly (or more often). The shocking thing is that only 37% of doctors plan to use specialized health search engines more often during the coming year.

If doctors find the best results on Google, this further validates the accuracy of Google search results. It is fair to assume that our doctors are searching Google and clicking on one of the many health related verticals that prominently rank in the search results.

Health Care Brand Advocates

So if you are a drug company or pharmaceutical distributor traditional search engine optimization may be more important than ever. To get your product in front of the health care industries' brand advocates it is a good idea to supplement the in-person efforts of pharmaceutical sales with a savvy SEM strategy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Image Search Rankings Revealed

With billions of images indexed in Google and other image search engines, how does Google choose images for search results? Many of the basics still apply.

Image ALT Attributes

When you hover over an image you see the image attributes, these attributes are used when a visually impaired person searches the Internet and need audio explanation about a picture. SEO professionals recommend that images offer a full description for the visually impaired and include keywords that help explain how the image should rank in search results.

Photo Description

Of course standard SEO best practices apply. Make sure the title and description of the image are optimized and follow SEO best practices. Save the image with a file name that includes the keywords that you want to rank on, and use underscores between words. Underscores will assist the search spider in separating words in the file name and the use of underscores will allow the file to resolve on both PC and Mac computers.

Image Quality and Resolution

Many times the higher the image quality the better a photo will rank. People that are looking for images want a picture that looks good.

Visual Facial Recognition

Google is beginning to look into facial recognition to choose the best image out of the many images indexed on the Internet. Search engineers agree that profile photos and pictures of individuals are much easier to sort through and find the most accurate image. Also easy to identify is well-known art including the Mona Lisa.

How will image search engines choose an image to rank prominently in image search that is not a profile photo or image of a famous painting? Similar to facial recognition and finger-print software, images will be broken into unique sections and compared to thousands of other similar images that have similar title, descriptions and ALT attributes. The image search engine will choose the image with the most unique attributes based on the similarities to other images with similar visual attributes.

This is of course a theory put forth by Google search engineers. You can expect that this type of image attribute recognition is going to be implemented into image search results, if not already.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Full Participation Social Network Advertising

With the top social networks saturated with advertising it might be time to advertise on a social network in your niche.

Whether you are a real estate agent working with ActiveRain, a business professional writing articles on or an online flower retailer working with CafeMom (the #1 parenting social network on the Internet) it takes more than a display ad to create a buzz around a product or service.

Many marketers make the mistake of just posting one ad on every social network and spend all of their ad dollars getting impressions instead of conversions. The best way to capture conversions on social networks is to focus on a few specific networks and fully participate, advertise with rich media, and saturate the ad modules with interesting, engaging, and interactive ads.

Full Participation in Social Networks

Creating a branded group or landing page can be good but having real employees start profiles will put a human face on the brand. The employees can participate in the network, answer questions, join groups, and make contacts; all with a link back to the corporate website.

The employee profiles in conjunction with full participation advertising will launch the consumer past the introduction and research stage, directly to the conversion stage. Serving up qualified traffic to your website, ready to buy. Try to be a big fish in a small pond, rather than a goldfish in the ocean.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Word of Mouth - Online Marketing

How many times have you been ready to purchase a product or use a service and you asked a friend or family member for shopping advice? According to a January 2007 Forrester study, Consumers look to friends and family 83% of the time to learn about products or services.

Social Networking Online

Many people will ask friends and family for a referral for a doctor, lawyer, financial advisor, insurance agent or other business professional. The more contacts and connections a business professional makes in a social network, the more validated their service and expertise.

If a friend or family member links to a professional in their social network, this can be seen as a recommendation. Connect with your customers and clients, get referrals, and offer advice to social networkers. It will do wonders for your online reputation and increase the amount of qualified leads you receive.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When Subject Experts Speak Community Members Listen

63% of people trust the recommendation or review by a known expert (Forrester: Leveraging User-Generated Content, January 2007).

When Subject Experts Speak Community Members Listen

Traditional online advertising is a push tactic and a monologue, pushing advertising on users. What if there was a way to get consumers to listen and ask for your advertisement? Participating in Yahoo! Answers is one way to answer questions and become the subject expert on a topic. Many people don't have time to browse through a hundred thousand answers to find what they are looking for.

Target Niche Networks

If you are a physician or health care professional participate in online networks that focus on health and wellness ( and Sermo). Are you a financial advisor? Participate in Linkedin and some niche financial networks. As a business professional you are the subject expert in your industry. People are actively looking for information and recommendations when they visit social networks. Take advantage of this active participation and satisfy the consumers wants and needs. Who knows, they may tell a friend or family member about you.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Alan Rothstein - Photobucket Album

The world of widgets is best when viral in nature. Photobucket and many other photo sharing websites allow users to post their photo album on other social networking profiles. Click on the photo and you are taken directly to the user's Photobucket profile page. What a great way to market your website with word-of-mouth on the Internet.

The Internet community is also more likely to trust a friend or "person like them" when choosing services and products on the Internet. This is a great way to do just that, advertise a photo sharing website advertised by people just like you.

Photobucket Album
alan rothstein,alan, rothstein

Social Networking: Practice What You Preach

A Web 2.0 way to promote a social networking and advertising conference, a widget. It seems like common knowledge but even some Search firms don't optimize their own websites. However the company (TAOW) promoting Lisa 08 (Lessons in Social Advertising) understands that you have to practice what you preach.

Add LiSA08 to your page

LISA 08, a conference covering Social Advertising Lessons kicks off in San Francisco on June 18th. The LISA event will try to answer many questions on the minds of marketers including:

* What is social advertising?
* Why are social networks important to consumer brands?
* Does conventional advertising work in social networks?
* What are successful methods for deeply engaging consumers online?
* How is the role of content changing in advertising?
* Are user-generated content campaigns here to stay or a passing fad?
* How do you measure ROI with social advertising?
* How should social advertising efforts coordinate with other parts of a media mix?

I have not yet attended a Lisa O8 event but it looks promising. Let me know what you think about this event and whether it is worth the time and money to attend. Maybe we will attend Lisa 09 if we get some good feedback.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The SEO Bible: Most Recommended By Amazon

If you are looking for a Search Engine Optimization book on Amazon, what additional SEO books will Amazon make a personal recommendation for? Use TouchGraph's Amazon Browser, it reveals the intricate network structure within purchase pattern recommendations at Amazon.

The Center of Amazon's SEO Book Universe

The book that has the highest ranking on Amazon considering the purchase pattern recommendations, for books related to the search query SEO, is the SEO Bible. Is it the best book on the shelf about SEO? Have you purchased the SEO Bible? Many Amazon shoppers have and the advanced technology of the TouchGraph offers insight into purchase patterns for books on Amazon. And it makes recommendations on the most popular books to boot.

History in the Making

Up until now the TouchGraph technology was visually appealing however not too advance because you can see the same information with Google's related search operator. This tool was more of a show and tell for TouchGraph's product line. However, now with the Amazon book search and the Facebook picture feature you can actually get some hard to find information. The Facebook TouchGraph tool lets you see how your friends are connected, and who has the most photos together.

TouchGraph, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are taking research to a more visible level and offering some interesting insight into book purchases, photo sharing, and related websites. Hopefully we will see more of this kind of technology available to the public from TouchGraph.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Is the .mobi domain obsolete?

With the influx of mobile phones with larger screens that support full-size websites, do we still need .mobi? Even though many mobile phones can browse any website, a more concise and straight-forward website is easier to navigate on the mobile web. Does that mean we keep the .mobi extension? That remains to be seen.

Take eBay for instance, their mobile website is hosted at As the internet evolves mobile websites will adapt to the .com world not the other way around. Although we should see a marriage between the two.

So what are we all going to do with our .mobi domains? Is Google giving special treatment for .mobi domains in mobile search? I suspect we will see a change in the next couple of months with the partnerships between Google and Nokia (and recently Yahoo! and HP).

So are .mobi domains obsolete? Maybe you can sell your .mobi domain to the singer moby? Or, maybe not.

Widgets Help You Go Viral

If you can think of a unique widget that actually adds functionality, makes something easier, or is really interesting than you got something good.

If you want people to use the widget you have to do more than add an RSS feed to it (unless you are very well known that is). Try to make something fun and different. People will share it and your brand advocates will advertise your product and service for you.

If you Build it, They will Pass it on

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Welcome to Alan Rothstein's Blog

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to Alan Rothstein's blog. I will be sharing with you some insights, business pundits, interesting companies, random thoughts, and interesting tidbits of information.

This blog is not endorsed or a reflection of my current or past employers. This is my own thoughts, insights, and interests in the business world. If you have any comments or questions I welcome them.