Monday, March 30, 2009

Monsters vs Aliens [MvA] - the PPC embarrassment

Would you look at this display URL? Look at that link text!

Here in the UK the TV adverts for Monsters vs Aliens are encouraging us to search for MVA. Gosh! I'm sorry I did.

Is there any excuse for having MvA in the link text?

There's no sign of a tracking URL in the redirect or destination page either - although the server for the microsite identifies itself in the header as an 'AdClick server'.

At the time of posting the ad's not running on Yahoo or MSN Live. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Google's webmaster guidelines are broken

Looks like the technical gremlins have struck at the UK URL version of Google's webmaster guidelines.

These 'Learn more...' options attempt to link through to: 1 2 and 3.

There are no such pages.

Google UK supports World Tuberculosis Day

In a very rare homepage update Google UK is putting their great weight in to supporting World Tuberculosis Day.

The text, which sits below the search box, reads "Tuberculosis is a global threat. Get tested and treated." The link takes you to this support page which supports World Tuberculosis Day while putting nearly as much effort into explaining how other causes could win Google's support.

It may just be a time zone issue - it's not yet World Tuberculosis Day in the States at the time of posting - but despite calling this a global threat does not yet carry the same message. Neither does Google Germany, France or Spain... so this is likely to be a local decision from the UK team.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Google's EMEA structure

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

With Dennis Woodside leaving his position in 'UK, Ireland & Benelux' to replace Amstrong I've noticed that some people are confused why Google even has a 'UK, Ireland & Benelux' concept.

Heh. To be honest. I've even seen a thread where some people where trying to find Benelux on Google Maps! First off; Benelux isn't a country! It's three. It's the name given to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

In Google language we're talking about EMEA Region 1 here. Here's the rest of them.

  • Region 1 - UK, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg
  • Region 2 - Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway
  • Region 3 - France, Italy, Spain and Portugal
  • Region 4 - Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Turkey, Israel, Russia, South Africa, Greece and Romania
EMEA, by the way, stands for 'Europe, Middle East and Africa'.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day - Google's Universal search results NSFW?

What do you think?

Moderate SafeSearch is on.

Is Jade Goody hate site milking Google while breaking the rules?

Google's rules on AdSense are clear. Sites may not include "Violent content, racial intolerance, or advocacy against any individual, group, or organization".

So surely "Is Jade Goody Dead Yet?" breaks that rule?

The meta tag content of the site also illustrates the owner's intent.

International readers may not know who Jade Goody is. She rose to fame in the UK by staring on TV reality show 'Big Brother'. She was controversial then.

She then returned to Celebrity Big Brother where she made comments which were widely seen as racist and reduced actress Shilpa Shetty to tears.

If Goody's comments had appeared on a web site then Google's AdSense terms and conditions - which also ban racist comments - would have prevented that site from running the ads.

Jade is now dying. During a 'come back and apology' tour of India it was announced she had terminal cancer. Jade's made the decision to allow as much of her life to be broadcast and her story sold as possible. Why? Her publicist Max Clifford explains that the money is intended for her two children.

Only time will tell whether Google will continue to allow "Is Jade Goody dead yet?" to run AdSense. In the mean time brands run the risk of appearing on the site - I've seen Peta and Joost there.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Facebook Connect for the iPhone

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Today's big announcement is Facebook Connect for the iPhone.

It's easy to see why this is big news. It means that social networking and mobile (two hot trends) continue their evolutionary and symboic progress in leaps and bounds.

For a start it means people will be happier about logging into newly installed iPhone applications - they can just use their Facebook Connect details.

For seconds it means the daily use of the iPhone will port back into Facebook's Wall. If allowed the iPhone could update your Wall to tell your friends where you are (and in a single bound you almost have Dodgeball, the mobile social program bought and shut down by Google). Using applications on the phone could equally update your status.

There's a downside though. I don't have an iPhone any more. It was stolen.

The first thing I had to do after reporting the phone stolen was change lots of passwords. The iPhone was my gateway to Facebook (the app), Twitter (Twitterific) and many more. My password security was good. My pocket security wasn't.

Facebook Connect on the iPhone may mean there are less passwords to change but it also means the mobile device is an increasingly tempting portal into someone's social media profile.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Comic Relief: Twitter & @bobbyllew more powerful than TV

Okay; so Blogger is struggling to show my dull video of it taking about 2:30 to wrack up 100 posts about Comic Relief.

Clearly the timing of the research is important. However; audience is also important. Robert Llewellyn's thoughts on the best way to raise and apply charity funds have also shown what Twitter can do.

Nearly 500 @comments in 2 minu

Here's what he said:

And the response?

Comic Relief: Using Twitter to measure TV


Disclaimer 1 - This isn't a dramatic video!

Twitter is a good way to measure the impact of a TV program - or, if you're lucky, a TV commerical. Right now in the UK we've the fund raising event of the year; Comic Relief.

The idea of this test was to count how many seconds it took for Twitter to wrack up over 100 mentions of "Comic Relief".

The answer: Over two minutes.

That's actually longer than I expected.

Disclaimer 2 - Under UK law I actually have to disclose that I have a 'commerical' interest with Comic Relief. Bigmouthmedia is the charity's SEO agency. Please, therefore, don't take this post as advice or a suggestion to donate. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Interest Targeting: Should AdSense publishers ask for more money?

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

Google is trying very hard not to use the phrase 'behavioural targeting' in describing their new 'interest targeting'.

The 800 word blog post introducing those agencies not part of the beta test and the rest of the world to the program doesn't mention the word 'behavioural' once (not even with the American spelling). We've also had quick fire news from Google Reader and Google Voice. It's all go at Google.

I'm not a privacy freak. I like behavioural targeting and found myself saying so many times at meetings today. In my opinion behavioural targeting is not an invasion, it does improve my web experience and in some cases is more appropriate/ethical/kinder than demographic based targeting. (I like 'nofollow' however so perhaps I just naturally prefer the unpopular option!)

I do wonder whether AdSense users will wake up and start to demand more cash from Google.

Right now AdSense users are paid on a per click basis. No clicks means no cash.

Some people might argue that that's a little unfair if Google's Interest Targeting starts to get traction, though.

Google makes use of DoubleClick's network and their AdSense partners to use cookies to track users while the ad platform work out the user's possible interests. For example, let's look at Anonymous User A:

  • Visits Travel Blog 1 (on AdSense) - does not click on any ad (no money for Blog 1) - Interest Targeting 'learns' the user may be interested in Travel
  • Visits Travel Blog 2 (on DoubleClick) - does not click on any ad (money for Blog 2 as they have a CPM deal with DoubleClick) - Interest Targeting gets more evidence that the user may be interested in Travel.
  • Visits Travel Blog 3 (on AdSense) - does not click on any ad (no money for Blog 3) - Interest Targeting is now pretty sure that the user is interested in Travel.
  • Visits News Site 1 (on AdSense) - the user is shown a Travel ad by AdSense and clicks (money for News Site 1).
In this scenario three blogs have helped Google "win" the click before the News Site finally hit the pay day.

You could argue that Google used the data supplied by the Travel Blogs without paying the Travel Blogs for that. You could also argue that the Travel Blogs played a vital role in persuading the User to click. They acted as a pre-sale. DoubleClick's own Click Path Tracking studies would suggest that all the Travel Blogs could be attributed in the final ROI analysis of the ad campaign.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Micro seasonality

Rather amused by this Twist Twitter trends chart for Church. Pretty sure this is driven by American use of Twitter. Also interesting to see how strictly 'micro-seasonal' it is.