Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stage Invasion for Spain and Twitter - two Eurovision enhancements

I'm still amazed at just how much Twitter transforms the Eurovision experience. If you've any doubt there is a future in interactive social media TV then track #eurovision next year in Twitter. Get someone in the room to read out the best tweets.

In case you didn't know about this new media cheese secret - here's a video of the stage invasion of the Spainish entry. A man in a silly hat runs on the stage, larks around before politely escorted off by polite Norweign security.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You thought Wolfram|Alpha was scientific and neutral?

There's a surprise for any digital marketer or geek who searches Wolfram|Alpha for the word meme.

If you're in social media then you should be talking about memes a lot. Many of the most powerful social media campaigns are memes or wrapped around a meme.

So; what does Wolfram|Alpha say about it?


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Boy falls from escalator in Turkey; caught by shop keeper

This 4 year old toddler falls from an escalator in a shopping mall in Turkey.

He was playing on the stairs and quickly found himself too high. Luckily, a shop keeper had been made aware of the problem and was able to catch the boy.

This video of the boy falling from the escalator looks like its been ripped from the news so apologies in advance if it has been YouTube yanked.

I think this falling toddler video is a classic example of local news that will go global because of social media.

If we could plot news stories by type across interest then I would suspect we'll continue to plot an increase in both mega news and in these human stories. It's the national news in the middle that gets caught out. Perhaps that's something newspapers will begin to factor in as they battle with paywalls and loyal readership issues.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is this the most dodgy link on the BBC ever?

SEOs always aspire to get client links on the BBC. It's worth it but it's not easy.

First off; you need the BBC to write about your client or write about a story in which your client is involved. Then the BBC has a strong tendency to link to the clients corporate site - many people say that's the BBC's policy, but I can't find that written down anyway.

I give you this story about a UK-based test of super fast broadband.

The companies involved in the story are: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), BT and Virgin Media.

It might come as a surprise that the BBC is linking to Opal (part of Talk Talk) in the related links section. It might come as even a greater surprise that the BBC is linking to a product page within Opal. It's linking to the product page using the money term keywords.

What do you think? Is this an extremely curious choice of link by the BBC? Or is my SEO-addled mind seeing phantoms in shadows?

Update: It's the day after this post first went live; less than 24 hours later, and the link has been removed.

Monday, May 17, 2010

SMX Advanced?

SMX-Advanced-2009 003Image by BrentDPayne via Flickr

Day one of SMX Advanced London has finished. You’ll find far less live blog coverage or even write ups than in previous years as Twitter coverage is stepping in to replace this.

I’m certainly aware that many people are questioning whether this was really an advanced seminar at all.

I guess the important background piece is that no search conference is particularly advanced. Not in comparison to the US. The reason for this is that we’re far less “My friend X” and “My friend Y” here in the UK than in the US. In the UK speakers really don’t bring their good stuff to the panel. They just don’t. This is combined with the fact that the UK search market is incredibly advanced. That’s why so many foreign agencies have simply failed to import themselves over here. Given, then, that the audience is advanced and speakers are unwilling to do share the good stuff it’s perhaps not surprising to find a disjoint.

It’s also true, I think, that the pitches for SMX started off as pitches for SMX London and the process was then evolved into SMX Advanced.

I’m hopeful but worried for day #2 (I’ll be there for most of it) as the social media presentations in past years (and not just at SMX) have typically been the most 101 of them all.

There are a few stand outs from today, though.

Chris Sherman, of course, does a good job at introducing speakers, sessions and then keeping them going. Experience matters.

Sam Crocker from the internet marketing company Distilled did very well. Not only was his presentation engaging but it also happily revealed some techniques Sam had found useful; including some tools the audience hadn’t seen before. He added value. The audience, and I, thanked him.

I thought Jonathan Beeston from Efficient Frontier added value in the Amazing New PPC tactics. Not because we really got any amazing new PPC tactics but because he flexed the brief enough to actually be useful – and talk about the importance of building PPC accounts that can scale. I bet many in the audience just let that insight roll over them but they’ll regret it as they attempt to grow their campaigns and their own companies.

In the morning session Rand Fishkin was able to present some statistical data. This wasn’t data that had been shared in London before and so it added value. It may have just confirmed what the advanced players in the audience knew, but it was fresh data and so it added value.

The morning’s key note; by Barak Berkowitz of Wolfram|Alpha, had value towards the end as he was able to share some of WA’s plans for the future. He’s a brand new MD so perhaps might not have expected the audience to be so aware of WA’s capabilities as we where.

And me?

I went to SMX Advanced to try and pitch a progressive way of link development. I’m really worried that cowboys in this business – there are still agencies who convince their clients they can link buy without being noticed – will ruin SEO’s image for everyone.

What do you call the letters that get pushed through your door in the morning’s mail? Junk mail? I call it junk mail. That represents the damage done to the direct mail industry. Can you imagine how much better off direct mail companies would be if the world didn’t refer to their marketing medium as ‘junk mail’? They’d be in a much better place. SEO runs the same risk. We won’t die because of the barrel scrapers but we will be held back.

My presentation was in two parts;
  1. I wanted to argue that links were once a trusted way to suggest a site had value. That things have changed. Now links are worth far less and, in fact, it is just as easy to harm a new site with poor links then help it.
  2. I also wanted to show how SEO agencies and in-house teams could combat this. The future of link development, I think, is through social media-like relationship building. However, it’s also possible to engage in some agency activity such as being able to produce the sort of content that people are about to search and link to before anyone else does and some easy ways to show linkworthy content to people likely to link.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. As it turns out the panel agreed with me; the future of link development is through relationship building. If I had known that then I would have spent less time on the first point and more on examples from the second.

That said; I’ve enjoyed my chats with people during the event and am pleased that people are willing to shake things up and push for a better, more advanced, industry.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quick Post: SMX Advanced London

I think the title pretty much says it all. I'm going to SMX Advanced London. I'll be there to talk about link building - how I think if you're "building links" that you're doing it wrong.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Foursquare adds check-in trends

File this one in the "new to me" bucket. I went to check into Sloe in Paddington Station on Foursquare on my HTC Desire - and was told that Paddington itself was trending.

What does this mean? Aside from making flashmobs and swarm badges easier it will help surface popular venues to Foursquare users.

For example, bigmouthmedia took a stand to Internet World (London) this year. I noticed people checking into "Internet World" and (perhaps more correctly) Earl's Court 2. A marketing idea would have been to get the bigmouthmedia crew and visitors to check into a sub-venue, our stand number, as that would likely encourage more visitors (the social savvy sort of visitors I like too).

SMX London is up in a few weeks. I should very much hope we get the 50 or so check ins required there for us to unlock the swarm badge. If not we should certainly get a trending topic.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Unofficial Labour Twitter campaign confuses many

As it turns out this wasn't the General Election that was dominated by social media.

I'm aware that most of the voices saying it was traditional media that was most effective in the 2010 campaign are voices from the traditional media camp fighting for a much needed "told you so" but I do admit there wasn't as much volume in social media as I expected.

It certainly wasn't the Mumsnet election, either.

It may turn out, however, to be the social media hung parliament.

Right now, there's a growing volume of tweets asking (begging) for a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition. They're trying to whisk up a large number of retweets.

The catch? These tweets were not started by the official Labour Party Twitter account. The official account doesn't have a Verified Badge (it would have been good of both Twitter and the UK parties to have got that right) but the official Labour website makes it easier to find which Twitter account is legit.

Mind you; that's a heck of a lot of work. There might be something to be said for marking "verified" in Twitter's new and native retweet functionality.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Lynx paying to show Jessica Jane Clement's bum on Facebook

This is one part clever and two parts risky. It might even be one part luck.

Rightnow, Lynx are promoting a new shower product called Lynx Rise. The angle is that it'll help your brain wake up in the morning. It's also a Lynx product so they're making sure the ads ooze sex appeal which is why famous names like Jessica Jane Clement are being used. Okay, I only found out her name was Jessica Jane Clement for this post... but let's move on from that.

I'm a geek. A gaming geek. My favourite type of game is the RPG. So it comes as no surprise to discover that I'm playing Wizards of the Coast's famous D&D Tiny Adventures on Facebook. Roleplaying games in chapters.

Check out the bum advert. It does catch the attention. I'm a little surprised Facebook approved it. Not much. Just a little.

If you're curious, the add then goes to

So, other than grabbing male attention with bums and suspenders - how is this clever?

It's a simple case of interest based targeting. The Lynx ad the bum photograph is taken from is a roleplaying joke (not that you get to enjoy that if you click on the bum). So it's clever in so far its targeting gamers. It's not clever in so far as gamers (who've not seen the ad) won't actually get the joke.

As it happens I've got the ad to show below (via Unruly Media; a pay-to-play video ad company).

Brian Bremner is the face of Amazon UK support

Okay, the title of this blog post is misleading so let me explain.

I'm trying out Rapportive. Rapportive integrates with your Gmail to show you the social network status/presence of the people you're emailing.

It taught me that a large percentage of the emails in by inbox these days are from no-reply addresses at social networks and e-tailers. It's great for reverse blogger outreach though. When I get an email from a PR company or digital agency (generally in relation to another blog; not this one) I can see a little bit about the person emailing me and it helps me quickly workt out whether they're established or not (in one case; whether they're real or not).

Rather amusingly one e-tailer in particular doens't come up blank. As it turns out Amazon UK is on Bebo. Brian Bremner, in particular, is the kindly man asking me about my order.


I do see a growing problem with people using publicly known / corporate email aliases in relation to social media profiles. Sometimes you can't verify these addresses. Sometimes that doens't matter.

There's also the risk of false positive in with services like Rapportive. I'e used Xobni, for Outlook, in the past (unstalled because my Outlook is slow enough) and it would run the similar risk.