Thursday, September 27, 2007

Gmail Mobile commits the ultimate email crime

I'm not best pleased with the mobile Gmail client on my blackberry.

Why not?

I successfully compose and send emails with it - but it only looks like that. In fact, I'm not successfully sending these emails and they're vanishing into the ether.

This is the biggest crime any email client could commit. I have no confidence in the application any more. I can't trust it to send my emails.

I do trust to send my emails, though, so I'll use that. The main disadvantage of the mobile web page over the mobile application is that you can't mark emails as spam. I get a lot of spam. That said; I don't think the application was successfully marking email as spam either.

Oh well. At least the mobile Google Maps application is still my friend.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hallo bigmouthmedia Germany

I'm really buzzed about this. The talented people in our Munich and Hamburg offices get to be bigmouths!

Today Global Media announced the Germany would re-brand as bigmouthmedia. We even have a shiny new site. I mention that because the old site has an impressive PageRank - 8/10. We'll wrestle with getting 301 redirects on those .html pages and see what we can do about scooping that up and moving it over.

I'm bias, of course, but I don't think there's anyone in Germany who come close to touching the hems of our teams. They're that good.

If that wasn't good enough I'm off to OMD in Dusseldorf (no ad:tech London for me) and then on to Munich this week.

Deleted YouTube Videos found in Universal Search

It's now possible to watch YouTube videos from inside Google search results. Universal Search embeds videos into the SERPs if they match the search term well enough.

What happens if YouTube deletes the video? Do you think Google would adjust the SERPs or just leave the embedded video there?

This is a search result for Oban Star Races Sul and it contains two videos. (Which is a pretty impressive result for such a niche search, I think).

The big black square? That's what you get when you try and watch one of the videos. That black square persists for nearly 10 seconds (in tests so far) before the "this video has been removed" message appears over a still from the video.

In the old days of search - before Google - there was the constant annoyance of finding lots of dead / removed / deleted pages high up in the search results. It's a really bad user experience.

One of the reasons Google maintains the public cache link is to protect the user experience. If you find a web page in Google for a niche term that interests you and for whatever reason that page is gone or changed - you can look at the cache to see what was on the page when Google matched it to your search.

Right now Google's not able to protect my experience of the search in the same way with video. It is really frustrating when you find a video that matches your search, you click, wait, wait, wait some more and then get told "sorry, this video is gone".

Google can't simply cache these videos either - they've been deleted due to copyright concerns.

The solution is to quickly remove the video embeds from the SERPs.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Everyclick hires agencies

Everyclick is a UK based search engine that shares its money with charities. The deal is simple; when people click on the (Ask powered) sponsored links alongside the organic listings, Everyclick gives a portion of that revenue to charities.

They've given £250,000 already to charities and are the UK's eighth largest search engine. I've had noodles with Polly Gowers, Everyclick's CEO and founder, and she's a great laugh - which counts for a lot in my book!


Everyclick have appointed Edelman and Geronimo to make more people aware of Everyclick. This can only be a good thing? They're going to target print and web.

I have to wonder (and hope) that Everyclick run a "feel good" campaign. I think that will contrast sharply against Ask's more gloomy and spooky campaign. I think Everyclick will be more successful.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Widgets or Gadgets? Google does both.

I was at the IAB's Engage Edinburgh yesterday (photos) and got to talk about the Future of Search. I hinted at the future containing Gadget Ads - I guess I didn't need to hint as Google released that news on the same day.

It is also true to say that I was playing safe as Pheedo has been running 'Gadget Ads' for ages now. At least, their offering is effectively Gadget Ads.

I also noticed yesterday that we wrote a story called Google Embraces 'Widgets' for Online Advertising. Our newsletter has a mixed reader base; some SEOrs, some PPCers, some techies as well as journalists, mainstream marketers and senior managers. For the newsletter we need to keep the language at a certain level.

However, back here on my blog I can be more precise. Here's the current rules on whether to say "widget" or whether to say "gadget".

  • Yahoo has Widgets
  • Google has Desktop Gadgets, iGoogle Gadgets and Gadget Ads.
  • Google has Widgets for the Mac Dashboard.
  • Google has Widgets for the Google Web Toolkit
So, in effect, Google builds their Gadgets from widgets (unless you're on a Mac).

Example of a Google Gadget Ad

We've been on the beta test for the gadget ads in a number of countries. I think it's fun to look at a German example which is (currently) live on Kinkaa.

As you're there to look at Google Ads be careful not to click on any of them.

Don't see the gadget? That might be because it's not showing any more. It's more likely to because you're not in the target audience (German, Austrian, etc). So, here's a screen shot!

Once again I'm impressed with our German team. They're way ahead of the curve.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Careful congratulations to Rand and the SEOmoz team

If I had more hours in my day I would actively check SEOmoz. For a start, when Rand and his team write about something you can expect a "mini fashion wave" to ripple through some of your competitors or your clients' competitors!

Today Rand announced a likely $1,250,000 investment from VC funds and that Vanessa Fox might be joining SEOmoz's newly formed board.

It's a well written post.

I'm surprised Rand wrote the post. It shows how much he cares about this community. Why my surprise? You don't normally announce VC funding until it's signed and secured. I don't know if the VC (or partner) is annoyed but I would imagine other VCs are stroking their chin and wondering whether they should put in a last minute counter offer. Was that Rand's plan? I doubt it.

He must also be fairly confident that Vanessa will come on board. If she doesn't then people are going to ask why.

I'm pleased for SEOmoz, I don't think this was a stupid post, it was just a slightly risky one and I wish the team well!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One URL. One keyphrase. Two listings.

Over in the Munich office, Dani noticed a rather rare Google phenomena.

When you search for [hotel paris] you are likely to see in position #9 on the first page and the very same URL in position #11 on the second page. This works if you have 10 listings per page as you only have the URL once if you increase the SERPs to 20 listings.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Zavvi, Zavvi, Zavvi, oih!

Affiliates start your engines. Race!

The Virgin Megastores chain has been sold - to itself. Branson sold all the UK and Irish megastores to a management buyout team.

Here's the SEO angle. The new team is going to rebrand the stores 'Zavvi'. If you quickly pop over to Google and do a [Zavvi] search you'll see that the number one position is up for grabs. In fact, the whole of page #1 is going to be a land rush.

It'll be interesting to see if any of 'Zavvi's' mainstream competitors - HMV, CDWOW, etc, risk a brand bidding strategy. It's not very ethical but I doubt Zavvi will get the trademark paperwork done in time for launch at Google. It's more likely we'll see affiliates brand bidding and that's a different kettle of fish.

Update: I don't think they have the .com. The was registered on the 5th of this month by "Broomco".

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dopez votre audience

I'm back from Paris. What a great city!

French Googlers are great fun! It was a pleasure to meet so many. I don't think I bumped into any one from Google or Yahoo while I was at the E-commerce Paris expo (just private events after it) but Mirago and MSN adCenter were there. I know Google Analytics did do a presentation too.

Okay! It's time to remind readers that this is a personal blog. These opinions are my opinions and not those of the company I work for. Even with that important caveat in place it is also to true to say that the company I work for doesn't engage in mud slinging or slagging off competitors.

It just so happens that the company involved in this post is involved in search (or, if I picked up the French correctly; referencement).

This post is actually an example of why you need to localise your marketing efforts. What may work in one country may not work in another.

One of the companies at E-commerce Paris were handing out pens that looked like syringes. They had a hi-lite end, an ink end and looked pretty funky.

Here's the catch. The other side of the syringes was less funky (to me and my British ways, at least).

The text says "Dopez votre audience" which is best translated as "dope your traffic".

I get the idea. You want a boost in your traffic - here's a syringe with some performance enhancing dope!

Eek! For the life of me, I can not imagine any search agency attempting such a marketing angle in the UK or the US. The association to cheating in sports is just too strong.

If a sprinter does well - people begin whispering about stamina enhancing drugs. Doping charges. Disqualification.

There's no way that professional sport trainers would waltz around an athletics conference handing out fake "dope your results" syringes. They'd get thrown out.

Why would you want to crystallise all that negative imagery and then apply it to your own brand and the performance of your clients websites?

Honestly, I've not checked out the client base of the company in question but I wouldn't be surprised if I discovered black hat techniques galore.

Given all the doping scandal in this year's Tour de France I'm surprised a French company would be promoting doping a wise way to move forward too.

What they should have done, I think, is talk about SEO health checks, keeping the site fit or even remedies to heal sick sites. Then they could have employed a pair of booth babes to strut around in nurse uniforms and hand the syringes out. Now that would have been attention grabbing and a positive message!

Anyway, if the syringes are currently working for them in France then I hope they change tactic before trying to enter the UK market!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When site links become wrong links

As a rule of thumb - a site enjoys site links when:
a) Google is confident that that site is a strong #1 ranking
b) When there are enough searches for the term

Of course, there are always exceptions to rules of thumb but I was surprised by today's results for a search on [Parisians] on Google UK.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bonjour bigmouthmedia France


Today Global Media France became bigmouthmedia France. The Paris office in our family of digital marketing experts now get to be as mouthy as the UK, the United States, Norway and Sweden.

We're not going to translate the words "big", "mouth" and "media". It'll be bigmouthmedia. I can't even even pronounce the Swedish!

It seems fitting, then, that this week I'll in Paris for E-commerce Paris 2007. I'll be talking about the changing face of SEO. There was interest in working out when/how/why to try and keep up with the search engines - and do the search engines change the landscape that often anyway?

I've never been to Paris before! I'm looking forward to it. I'm also super keen about France's mushrooming digital marketing scene. Talk about super-charged growth. I think E-commerce Paris will be a good conference.