Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Google tests credit card interest rate email service

The news today isn't just that lots more users at Google.co.uk are able to see Google engaged in another Comparison ad test - although it certainly is. Google's actually been testing Comparison ads in the UK for at least 12 months. I can name plenty of suppliers on it.

Weirdly, one of my first thoughts when I saw this today was "I'm surprised to see Google using under scores in their display URL". So, I clicked.

Anyway, here it is;

The new bit of news is the email alert service Google is also pushing. Did you think Google would go into email marketing?

The text says; "Get interest rates updates by email", Google pretends it doesn't know your email address (even though you're probably logged in) and then asks for a frequency.

What next? Vouchers? Email alerts when coupons become available? Hey. That's an idea. Google should buy Groupon and look into that... oh, wait, yeah.

Digital Marketing: Travel

We had another really great Travel Summit at bigmouthmedia this year. It was booked out but we've videoed some of it and you can watch those here.

There was a lot good, sexy, juicy stats at the Travel Summit. One chunk of which came from our Travel Survey into digital marketing spend. We actually give that data away and you'll find all that in the iPaper below this video of the highlights. You'll see everyone turned up in suits, except scruffy me.

bigmouthmedia Travel Summit Event Summary from bigmouthmedia on Vimeo.

Bigmouthmedia Online Travel Report 2011

Friday, December 10, 2010

Digital Marketing Predictions for 2011

This year bigmouthmedia has a 14-pager document for our predictions for 2011. I think that alone shows you how dramatically digital marketing has expanded (not to mention just how far beyond offering just SEO and PPC we've gone) in recent years.

Of course, the prediction document this year features comments and sections from the lovely LBi folks. I'm pleased to say we've got some of bigmouthmedia's many search marketing brains making contributions too.

Here's the big question though. Do you agree with any of our predictions?

Bigmouthmedia's 2011 digital marketing predictions

How much are good reviews worth?

Happy sign is happyImage by Andrew Girdwood via FlickrIt's been a good month in Search. Not only have Google and Bing confirmed that social media can provide trusted Quality Signals, Google actually took the time to adjust their algorithm so that bad reviews can harm your rankings.

Google's decision to react to bad reviews was a quick one. The algorithm change was also a quick one. Was it a surprisingly quick one?

This is just a theory, so much about SEO blogging is about speculation so please forgive this one. The changes Google made to the algorithm to react to bad reviews were born from the same branch of the algo-tree as the anti-Googlebomb rules.

Just a reminder; googlebombing occurred when lots of blogs got together to manipulate the SERPs for political gain or just for fun. George W Bush's bio once ranked first for miserable failure.

When Google made their announcement of a reduced Googlebomb impact I recall many SEOs didn't believe them. These SEOs thought that Google was lying and the announcement was just to cover up manual manipulation of the results by Google.

Dear me. I like still like to give this example of how badly out of touch some SEOs are with the ethos of the core engineering team at Google.

At the time I suggested (based on a patent application Google had filed) that one way to cope with Googlebombs algorithmically was to look for trusted editorial sources that called out the Googlebomb. For example, the algorithm would notice when Trusted Site A used the phrase "Googlebomb" and then detect the phrase "miserable failure" in relation to it.

To support my theory I pointed out that it tended to be trusted editorial sites that rose to the top of the rankings to replace the Googlebomb target.

It's not hard to see how an extension of this approach could allow Google to detect negative reviews on sites that the algorithm trusted and then modify rankings accordingly.

Equally, it's as easy to imagine that Google is aware of positive reviews and success stories for brands. If Google's accepted that reviews can act as a Quality Signal then its no stretch to suggest that positive reviews might positively effect the search rankings for the site.

A good question is whether there would be enough data on the positive review side for Google to confidently take a decision on. People tend to moan about bad service and stay quietly content when they get good service.

It is just a theory but I would suggest some brands do do well enough with customer service to create enough of a positive buzz online.

First direct, for example, was recommended to me by a co-worker as a bank to trust and I still notice lots of positive buzz about it.

Consumer group Which - easily strong enough to be counted as 'trusted editorial' by Google - awarded first direct first place in a customer survey. That was enough for sites like This Is Money to write about it. You could even point to first direct's own social media newsroom as a way in which positive news can be encouraged to propagate through the web.

From a personal perspective it's certainly welcome to imagine brands competing to offer the best possible service, in order to boost their social and Google results and as a business objective. Surely that would benefit the man on the street?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Is this the most stupid thing Facebook has ever done?

Resized I'm with stupidImage via WikipediaImagine the scenario; you’re an administrator of a fanpage on Facebook. You happily engage with the community, posting on the Wall, leaving comments on other people’s contributions, thanking the helpers, spreading the love while carefully acting as admin and moderator.

Sound good?

Facebook has now made this impossible.

A platform change at Facebook, made last night, now means fanpage administrators can no longer comment on wall posts on fanpages (even their fanpage) by fans who are not also their friend. In other words, unless the administrator is a personal friend of the wall poster they cannot comment on their wall posts.

It’s not a surprise that many people thought this was a bug and there’s a helpful insight on the issue on the Custom Fanpage Center.

There’s already, as you can expect, a healthy "debate" on the developers forums about this.

If you’re willing to put a bit of dev time into your fanpage then Fan Page Help Center has a workaround.

I’m not aware of any official response from Facebook on this one. That might be because they’re still trying to escape the plastic bag they’re trapped in.

Monday, December 06, 2010

10 reasons why Google didn't launch Google eBooks in the UK

Google Lego 50th Anniversary InspirationImage by manfrys via FlickrToday, finally, Google launched Google eBooks. It's a place you can go and buy eBooks for the newly launched eBooks Web Reader or Android. You can read the blog post here.

I'm already a Kindle user via my HTC Desire Android phone. I was pleased to see Google stepping forward and supporting eBooks.

Did you know that not so long ago Google suggested that ads for eBooks on their AdWords solution were discouraged, likely to be poor quality products and therefore likely to have a poor Quality Score. How things have changed.

Here's the catch though. There is no eBook store in the UK. It's US only.

How come? Just some thoughts;

1) Legal. Google may have agreed reselling rights in the US but not anywhere else. Outside the US publishers are unwilling to let people sell their books and are content with an Amazon monopoly.

2) Um. Um. Something.

Actually, reasons 2 through to 10 are the same.

I can't think of any really good reason why Google didn't do better with an international launch.

It's just a shame paper books are region protected, like Blu-Rays and DVDs, otherwise I'd be happy to buy any books not available for sale in the UK from Amazon US. Oh, wait a minute... it's practically impossible to find a book that's for sale in the US but not the UK.

What on earth is going on here? Has some Luddite British publisher association gone and shot themselves in the foot? Or is Google really doing all that it can to put itself at odds with Europe.