Thursday, July 1, 2010

This is It! Yahoo & Bing: Not Michael Jackson Though

Here is a letter received yesterday concerning the migration of Yahoo! Search Marketing to the MSN Adcenter interface. The word on the street is that this transition will begin in September or October 2010.

Dear Advertiser,

As part of the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance, you’ll soon be able to reach potential customers using Yahoo! Search, Bing, and other partner sites with the convenience of one account. To do so, you’ll transition from using your Yahoo! Search Marketing account to an account with Microsoft Advertising adCenter.

This email kicks off a series filled with tips and advice designed to help you prepare for this transition. We strongly recommend that you follow the provided guidance to help make your transition experience smooth and to get your ads live within adCenter as quickly as possible.

Make some changes now
You can start editing your Yahoo! ad copy now so it will be ready to meet adCenter’s length guidelines.

• Shorten ad titles and descriptions — While Yahoo! has a 40 character title limit, ad titles in adCenter may be no more than 25 characters. In addition, Yahoo! ad descriptions may be up to 71 characters, versus 70 characters with adCenter. To prevent your ads from being truncated in a way that may cause them to read improperly, or be ineligible for display, please revise your ad text now. Doing so now also gives you plenty of time to test ad copy variations within the new character limits.

Prepare now for changes to apply later
There are important differences in keyword mapping and bid requirements that you should prepare for now to be able to apply to your adCenter account after the transition. Learn more about expanding your keyword lists and checking your bids.

Stay informed about the transition. In a few weeks you’ll receive the next email in this series. In the meantime, please visit the following resources:

Transition Center — The Yahoo! Transition Center includes articles and downloadable materials designed to help Yahoo! advertisers learn more about their transition to adCenter.

YSM Blog — The Yahoo! Search Marketing blog will make regular posts about the transition.

Until the transition is complete, please remember that you'll still want to continue to manage your Yahoo! Search Marketing account to maximize your Yahoo! network traffic. Our goal is to provide a quality transition experience for advertisers in the U.S. and Canada in 2010 while protecting the all-important holiday season. If we feel that it would improve the overall experience, we may defer the transition to 2011. If this should happen, we will keep you updated. We appreciate your business and look forward to bringing you the benefits of the search alliance.

Your Partners at Yahoo!

The fun has just begun! Oh and by the way, Yahoo! will be buying back 3 billion in stock so get your pocket books out and get ready to make some serious money on your Yahoo! stock.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Free Negative Keyword Tool - Wordpress

I was reading SearchEngineLand and I got really excited about the "First Free Negative Keyword Tool" offered by Wordpress. I immediately clicked through to the Sphinn, then clicked to the Wordpress Blog, and finally to the Tool (fhew!). Wow, it looked so cool and then (no and then!)...I started using it. Granted it is an easier way to get Wordpress keyword suggestions and choose whether the keyword is relevant or not, but this is really nothing new (just a repackaged tool with a really interesting name). Will I use it in the future? Probably not, but if it suites you then check it out. More than likely it will be free for a couple of months and then a paid tool.

My Negative Keyword Tool
Google Adwords Search Query Reports, Google search results, Google Keyword Tool, Search Suggest for all search engines, my brain :), my other campaigns on the same themes, and my brain. Fortunately my brain is bigger than Homer's brain.

Remember "free" doesn't always mean good, unless you are talking about chocolate cake...that is good!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Microsoft and Yahoo! Receive Regulatory Clearance

As I opened up my mail on Thursday morning three copies of the Microsoft/Yahoo regulatory clearance email were setting in my inbox eagerly awaiting me. I opened up the email like a kid on Christmas. Here is the email for those that didn't get it yet.

Dear Alan,

Microsoft® and Yahoo! have now received regulatory clearance to form the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance in the United States and European Union. This milestone is an exciting step in our effort to give your business a time-saving and cost-efficient way to connect with a larger combined audience of potential customers.

How the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance benefits you

After the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance is implemented, you will:

• Reach more potential customers: Search ad inventory from both the Yahoo! and Microsoft networks will be joined in a new, unified search marketplace powered by Bing™ , with a combined audience of over 150 million searchers in the U.S and nearly 577 million searchers worldwide.

• Save valuable time and effort: You'll use a single platform—Microsoft adCenter—to manage your campaigns easier and faster. With just one buy, your search ads will reach users on Bing, Yahoo!, and other premium partner sites and networks, such as The Wall Street Journal Digital Network,,, Facebook, and

What's ahead

For now, it's business as usual; there is no change to your account or service. Your ads will continue to serve on Bing search results pages, and you will continue to receive the same great service from Microsoft.

Both companies are committed to making this transition a seamless experience. Our goal is to bring the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance to the U.S. by the end of 2010, prior to the crucial holiday season, with additional countries following on a staggered schedule beginning in 2011.

As our transition dates approach, we will contact you with information about what to do next. In order to ensure you continue to receive important service updates, please verify your contact information is current in Microsoft adCenter. View our help topic: Change contact information.

How to learn more

In the meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance by visiting our new resource,, where you'll find plenty of additional details, including press releases, FAQs, and more!

We appreciate your business and look forward to bringing you the benefits of the Yahoo! and Microsoft Search Alliance.


The Microsoft adCenter Team

Need an example of what is to come? Take a look at AOL Search (Enhanced by Google)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Oddcast Widgets: Hours of Entertainment

Oddcast is making the funnest and funniest widgets where you (or your friends) can be apart of the entertainment. Go to Oddcast Widgets and enjoy the hours of fun that ensues.

Best Widgets
My personal favorites are the Biggin Strips commercial, the e*trade baby widget, and the Poppa Cheeto voice modulator.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Renewable Energy: Sunny D has Solar Energy

Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). Can we survive without oil? Will we finally have technological break-thorughs in alternative fuels, eco-friendly products, and a sustainable future? Start by watching the CNBC Executive Vision about Energy in the modern day and pick up a Solio Solar Charger that can power over 3200 mobile devices with the power of the sun.

CNBC Executive Vision - Episode 5

From the industrial revolution to the modern day, energy has propelled us farther than ever before, but currently the energy industry is going through a change that is leaving leaders to adapt and reinvent their business models.

In this episode CNBC explored the following leadership themes:
- Leading a shift to alternative energy
- Innovating to reduce our dependence on foreign oil
- Stabilizing an industry that can be volatile
- Aligning global interests

T. Boon Pickens is the oracle of oil, a self-made billionaire who earned his fortune in crude. Now he’s become a somewhat unlikely environmental crusader on a mission to replace our use of oil with wind and natural gas.

As CEO of SunEdison, Jigar Shah invented the pay-as-you-go solar business model enabling hundreds of companies to go green, and see green too. Now CEO of Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, Shah is advancing renewable energy solutions.

Here is a quick segment on going nuclear from CNBC's Executive Vision five-part series:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 Super Bowl Ads: Preview

CBS reports that 2010 Super Bowl Ads will cost between $2.5 million and $2.8 million for a 30-second ad during the game, down from the $3 million that NBC charged in 2009.

Social Media meets Super Bowl Ads
A trend is sweeping the 2010 Super Bowl ads, fan voting. With social media in full swing, advertisers finally understand the concept of group think and the power of community. Careerbuilder will be asking viewers to vote for the best commercial produced by over 1,000 amateur producers. Vote and see the winners of the 2010 Hire My TV Ad Contest from Careerbuilder.

2010 Super Bowl Ad Bench
Pepsi and FedEx decided to sit out the 2010 Super Bowl Ads but we will still get some of our favorites, including, Doritos (PepsiCo Brand), KGB, Volkswagen, Dodge, Turner's TruTV, and Careerbuilder.

Movie Trailer Debuts
Iron Man 2 (and The Last Airbender) will be gracing our TV screens this year during the 2010 Super Bowl. In his Iron Man sophomore appearance, Robert Downey Jr will fight the evil forces of Whiplash (Mickey Rourke) and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Mickey Rourke star of the Wrestler, continues is comeback to the big screen in a highly anticipated Stan Lee epic, Iron Man 2. We are all in anticipation for the 2010 Super Bowl Ad of Iron Man 2.

3D Super Bowl Ads?
2009 offered a Sobe and Chuck (NBC) 3D extravaganza. With Avatar 3D hitting the top of the box office, it is a good guess that we will be watching something in 3D during the 2010 Super Bowl.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

3DTV Revolution or Skirmish?

Avatar 3D, directed by James Cameron, brought 3D movies to the masses. Now 3D is billed as the next big thing. People are saying that every movie, television program, and video game is going to be presented in 3D in the very near future.

Discovery, IMAX, Sony 3D TV Channel in 2011
The 3D channel will be broadcasting 24 hours a day for seven days a week, providing viewers with adventure, children’s shows, natural history, science & technology and space programming, all in 3D.

ESPN Jumps on the 3D Bandwagon
ESPN confirmed at CES that it will launch a 3D TV channel for the US sometime in Q2 2010 featuring only live sports events.

Samsung Tries to Out 3D Sony
Samsung introduced a full line-up of 3D flat screen televisions, including several LCD and plasma sets that are capable of converting any 2D content into 3D.

Does 3D Programming have legs? Is it a fade? It will be a niche at best for TV programming, like 24 hour news channels, ESPN, and MTV; 3DTV will only be a small part of your entertainment viewing at home.

Think about watching the news in 3D? Boring! Catch an episode of The Golden Girls in 3D? Don't make me gag. What about the cost of 3D programming? I can't image it will be broadcasted to the masses for at least 3 years. Most people have standard cable and won't want to buy an expensive 3DTV to watch one or two movies a month. We haven't even gotten finished with Blu-Ray. It is too soon to say that 2010 is the year of 3D (or even 2011).

What Can We Expect?
Lots of great sci-fi and horror movies, animated films, first-person shooter video games, and select tv programming in 3D. As for a 3D revolution? It is more like a skirmish or police action at best.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CNBC: Must See TV (Part 3)

With the introduction of the Google Nexus One, Planet of the Apps: A Handheld Revolution (Premieres Thursday, January 7th, 2010 on CNBC 10pm PST)is already outdated but should be a good hour about how the App Revolution has changed our everyday lives. I know that my iPhone goes everywhere with me and is a part of much of my day.

MacHeads: Welcome To Macintosh
MacHEADS explores the world of Mac, a cultural phenomena that created a cult fan base, and made Steve Jobs a modern day hero in the process. Although many MacHEADS are disappointed with the new "Apple Inc" as they removed Computers from the corporate name. Many say that the Mac culture is dead and replaced with a company, but hasn't it always been a company?

The same folks that would never use any other computer than a Mac are replaced with consumers that have no allegiance to the Mac brand. They own an iPod or iPhone but are not fanatical about the Mac Brand.

Inside the Mind of Google
A rare look at the world's most powerful technology company the Google Internet search engine. Google changed the way we interact with information, the Internet, and each other. See how Google came to dominate the search industry and how the company plans to address arguably the biggest controversy in today's digital age: privacy.

Did you know that Google wanted to sell the search engine to Yahoo! in the late '90s but Yahoo! refused (suckers!). What was once an idea in the minds of two Stanford graduates, Google has become the most widely recognized logo in the world.

Yahoo! Paid Inclusion: No More!

As of Midnight January 5th, 2010, Yahoo! Paid Inclusion is no more. Don't know what YSSP! or Paid Inclusion is? Don't worry then.

The Bad News!
With the alliance of Bingoo (Bing and Yahoo!), Yahoo! has shut down the paid inclusion of URLs in organic search results. If you participated in Paid Inclusion, you probably saw a decrease in organic search results (mainly because if you where already ranking well in Yahoo! you wouldn't have paid for special placement in Yahoo! in the first place).

The Good News?
If you are an SEO firm, you don't have to answer the question from clients, "Where would we rank if we weren't paying for position in Paid Inclusion."

Shortly, Bing will supply organic and paid search results for Yahoo!'s Search Engine interface. A move by Microsoft to take back some search market share from the behemoth we call Google. On the heals of Bingoo is Google Caffeine. Google Caffeine is billed as a boost in indexing for Googlebot but I am sure it will come with some personalized search enhancements.

SEO changes so quickly it is hard to keep up. That is why I love SEO!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Learn the Rules of the Game

A smart man once said, "You don't have to know all the answers, you just need to know where to find them when you have a question to answer." Looking back, he was a college librarian and was showing us the Dewey Decimal System (Pre-Internet and Pre-Google, boy I am old) but the quote still rings true today. If you had all the answers you wouldn't be able to take the time to solve any problems or look for any opportunities, you would just be stock piling information and that is what tools like Google are for.

Is Google the answer?
What did we do before we had Google? Lexis-Nexis, Encyclopedia Britannica, and the Dewey Dismal System were all low-tech versions of Google, and some day something will organize information better than Google....yes I said it.

What does this mean for us Search Engine Marketers?
Whether you are in the SEM industry (or any industry for that matter) you have to learn how to solve problems and identify opportunities. It won't help you to know everything about CSS or JavaScript because in a few years they will be replaced with Flash or another software that renders Websites on an Internet Browser better. And believe me, Google is not the only answer to this question. How many of the proprietary reports, studies, documents, and information from you company are posted on Google?

Learn how to solve problems and identify opportunities
What are the rules of the game, whether it be a search algorithm or demographic of consumers? Do you have historical data, are you listening to credible trend setters, and keeping up with information from industry experts? It is great to learn all about your industry and the day-to-day changes but don't forget eventually the information you have will become obsolete (especially in the Internet age).

Learn the Rules of the Game
Look into what has worked in the past and identify a set of problems or opportunities that make up the "Rules of the Game." Create a "Plan of Action" and a hypothesis for what you want to find when you are done. Analyze the data until you feel comfortable with your data set and have exhausted the majority of the options available. Use your proprietary information to assist your data set, adding some context to the information compiled.

Then it is time to implement your solutions while closely measuring the outcomes of the implementation. Analyze the outcomes and see if you found what you are looking for. Identify the changes in the rules of the game and anything missing and continue the process until you get results that are acceptable. Most importantly, keep a close eye on the competition so you don't fall behind, any game has multiple players and they are always trying to out score you.

The Bottom Line
Create a set of steps that fit your needs, industry, or problem, and solve any problem or identify any opportunity to become the High Score in any game. All things are a game, and all games have rules. Figure out the rules and you will know how to play the game to your advantage.