Thursday, December 02, 2010

Blog Disclosures

I've been using blogs and bloggers for promotional purposes for half a decade. About four years ago, I adopted a disclosure policy and a year after that, I started urging our collaborators to disclose any relationships.  I think its a good healthy trend. I'd like the government to mostly stay out of it and I'd like an educated readership to expect and insist on it from writers they follow.

In case you don't know, I run and founded Time4Learning.

I just read a great review, with a clear disclosure on it which made me smile.  Its a Time4Learning review.  And I quote:

As I've said before, homeschooling has not come to me as naturally as I'd anticipated.
I had visions of very structured mornings - first we'd do our daily devotions, followed by quiet playing for Brooklyn and Simeon while Lincoln read and practiced his handwriting and I taught Judah how to read. Then we would seamlessly transition into handwriting practice for Judah while I went over math lessons with Lincoln. In the meantime the younger kids would be done playing with blocks and would quietly begin putting together Lego castles....(continued)

 I won't spoil the surprise but as you can imagine, homeschool days don't really run like that...Surprise!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Link Building - Hit on your vendors!

One simple way that I can think of to build links is to hit on all my vendors.

If you've done some graphics work for me, before I've even paid your bill, I have sent you an email with a quote endorsing your work and suggested that you post it on  your website. And, I've included the link back to me that I want.

My graphics people feel that I'm being helpful to them by providing them credibility to help with their marketing. And I'm getting links.

To like or share, to tweet or to follow?

I've put together a reasonable social media strategy across my range of sites. I'm now interested in optimizing it.

In places where I put up Facebook icons, I've had to decide whether to ask them to:
- like our facebook account
- like our web page
- share it to their Facebook account

On Twitter, I have to choose between an icon that:
- tweets a suggested message
- follows our tweets

Does anyone have any insight or methodology or case studies on how to compare the benefits or optimize at this level?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Private domain registrations hurt email deliverability

I read (on The Institute on Social Internet Policy website) but I'm not sure that I believe that: of the first things many email delivery and anti-spam specialists will do when presented with a “is this spam?” situation, is do a WHOIS lookup on the domain - either the sending domain, or the domain being advertised as a link in the email.

And guess what happens if that WHOIS returns nothing but “this domain is privately registered”, with no way to really determine who is behind the domain - with nobody willing to take responsiblity for the domain - nobody saying “if there is a problem, the buck stops here”?

You look like someone with something to hide.

And if you have something to hide - or even look like you have something to hide - your email isn’t going to get delivered. After all, if you aren’t willing to put your name to your business, then why should you expect an ISP to deliver the email from that business.

They won’t, and you shouldn’t.

Private domain registrations. A bad idea for legitimate email sending businesses.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Book Worth Reading

I've been told and so I'm making a note of it that this is worth reading:

The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture

by John Battelle
I'll sample it on my Ipad and see if its worth it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I know Bob! His business advice is good.

I just got this email (paraphrased and edited) from Bob Reiss.  I met him maybe a decade ago when he gave a talk at a local HBS business group about how he had taken advantage of the Trivial Pursuit craze long ago. It was great stuff.

I've just posted my first two You Tube  videos with the hope it'll help a Small Business audience. Check it out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blogs, links, and canonical URLs

If on different articles on a blog, we include links to the same page, is this a total waste of time?

I think of it like this:

If the canonical URL for each article is the name of the article, then each article is a different page. So the additional links might be a little worthwhile.

If the canonical URL for articles is either by tag, month, or the front page, then many of these articles on the same topic are a waste of time.

How does blogger and wordpress treat this? Is it a setting that we have control over?
Matt Cutts, I just watched your video on canonical URLS, you didn't mention how blogs fit into this....

Friday, August 06, 2010

Education: Learning to Write Links that Count!

Learning to blog has been a fantastic educational experience for me. As a modern form of literature or writing, the blog is a popular media and motivating topic for students learning to write. Public self expression is a very motivating writing prompt that has kicked many students into caring about what they say. Reluctant writers are not born—they’re made. Instead of assuming your child doesn’t like to write, try a little motivation in the form of a good writing prompt. An interesting question that is much discussed is whether writers can be made or not.  My answer is that anyone can be taught the mechanics of good writing. It starts with a language rich environment no later than the preschool educational years.  The preschool curriculum should primarily be a life style, it's too early for formal education but still, you should make an effort to speak with real sentences and rich vocabulary.  Books should be a constant companion.

The preschool years are educationally the most important years of children’s lives. Research demonstrates that in the first three years of life, participating in a lively language-rich environment with plenty of adult interaction and attention are vital to building foundation skills. From ages three to five, the stimulation should start to include some activities focused on building specific skills in language, math and fine muscle control. These are the primary areas where an online preschool program can contribute to children’s development.  

The homeschool community is beginning to think more about literature in terms of how they are portrayed. The first directory of homeschool literature has now appeared on the web.

This post builds on the materials convered in link mechanics.



The above is an example of a very nice SEO effort.



  1. Each link is to a different website. This avoids the decreasing value of each link. When placing ads or writing articles, avoid wasting links by multiple links to the same website. If you must link several times to the same website:
    1. Put the most important link first
    2. link to different pages each time.
  2. The paragraph includes many keyphrases important to the sites that are linked to. Even the page title (article title) works in terms such as education, learning, and to write which build the perceived relevance of this post to the target sites.
  3. Deep linking. A number of the posts link to content deep in the site. The anchor text is relevant to the targetted page.
  4. Try to quote a bit from the page that you are targetting. This saves a lot of writing time and it appears to be a more natural citation.
  5. Title tags could be added to each of these links.
  6. Efficiency, speed, and effectiveness are important. This lesson both teaches and, at the same time, I squeeze a little juice out of it. This is the standard of effectiveness that we strive towards. Getting the most impact for the least effort.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

How many and which social media icons?

Here's a collection of what others are doing: Notice that there is both a fb share and friend. forum - Notice that their share list is kept to a small list.  The obscure ones are left hidden behind the More button.  This way, real users, can find the icons they want without getting discouraged.

T4L Plan - The top level list is good. Arguably, it should also have FB-like but maybe that would interrupt the flow of someone across the site.  The More (plus) button takes users to an unrefined list which needs to be refined.  The next step in design is to review what it tweets or shares as a message. Is it the same for every page? Does it take the page title? How does it work?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

To like or to share, that is the question!

y big question, can you have a combined facebook/bookmark and facebook/like icon? Are they distinct?   As I researched this question, I found this row of icons on a forum....

{Grrr. it's not cutnpasting...take a look:}

 Background.  Like many, I have littered my sites with little icons or widgets such as the following:

But, my other sites have other icons related to bookmarking such as:
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Stumble It Delicious Email This More...

Another site has a single icon which has everything in like this:
Bookmark and Share

Some others focus on RSS subscriptions:
 Subscribe in a reader

Or, we ask you to subscribe as either an email or RSS reader:

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

In addition to bookmarking and subscribing, you can friend (now like/facebook) or follow (twitter) or visit (facebook).


Visit SpellingCity on Facebook

You can write your own code or, if you google "facebook twitter icons", you'll get oodles of sites that will provide you icons and generate your code for you.  I wonder if their code will on Facebook, both create a link and an icon.
Widgetbox will give you icons and generate the code.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Link Mechanics

Here's a quick summary of  the link quality portion of an internal seminar that we had on SEO. 
1.  If I put two links from one page to another page, does the second link help at all?  NO. NOT AT ALL! The second anchor text and link are totally ignored.
2.  Are links from images or links from text more valuable from a SEO perspective?  Text links are preferable.
3.  Are text links within the body content more valuable then links elsewhere on the page?  Links from within the body of a paragraph are considered more likely to be organic references and hence, count more.
4.  How many links per paragraph is considered too many?  A very rough rule of thumb is that one link per hundred words is optimal.
5.  Is a sidebar link superior to a content link?  This is really a repeat of question 3 above.  In content links are considered the best.
6. Is it better to use a shotgun or a rifle?  Of course, what I mean, is it better to target a page by using the exact same anchor text over and over again or to vary it slightly?   Slight variations are more natural. So if you are targetting "delicious hot dogs", you might try variations such as "hot dogs","hot delicious dogs","tasty hot dogs","delicious dogs","delicious  sausages","yummy frankfurthers". The idea is for it to be natural, not highly organized.  I'm betting that Google will start figuring out synonyms soon (ie latent semantics in the jargon of search).
7.  Are run of site links valuable? It's hard to tell, they certainly aren't very valuable. On one hand, Google might consider them to be bought and worthless like so many footers. Or, like so many blogs, they might be considered truly natural endorsements. 
8.  How important is the relevance of one site to another, of one page to another, in terms of the value of the link.  VERY Valuable.  If you are on a site called homeschool freaks and you link to another page using homeschool freaks as the anchor text and that page is titled homeschool freaks,Google takes that endorsement very seriously.
9.  How much more important is a good site from a great site, a PR of 6 over a PR of 3?  This is a great mystery but I would guess that each PR (all else being equal) is one order of magnitude more important than the previous level.  So, ten links from sites with NO page rank equal the value of a PR of 1.  A link from a PR of 5 is ten times more valuable than a link from a PR of 4.  Note that I say; "all else being equal" which means relevance, number of outgoing links etc. Also note that I have not seen anybody else even attempt to quantify this which means that they are all wimps.
10.  Does a site's organization matter in terms of link quality? Yes, Google likes content sites organized into content areas that it understands.  This is a confusing and ambiguous area. Is Google looking at internal link structure or to folders? One one hand, I hear that they discount pages that are far from the root directory by every folder so I try to keep everything close to the root. On the other hand, this simplistic rule makes no sense to me so I don't want to take it too seriously.
11. How can you tell how credible a site is to Google? Easy, search a bunch of relevant terms and see how high in the search engines it is?
12. Is there a simpler way to see how credible a site is? Maybe, try using a link counter and then evaluate the quality and relevance of the links. Also, check out how old it is. And see if the links come from .govs or .edus which probably count more. There are tools for this.
13.  Do title tags on text links and alt tags on image links help?  What about adding a title tag on an image link? All the tags help, the title tag on the image is a little extreme but maybe worthwhile.
14.  What's the best links to focus on?  This is really a rehash of much of the above especially the rifle vs shotgun and run of site vs natural questions.  The best thing is to have a natural looking mix of links which grow steadily.  Growing by 10% in a day or a week is, for established sites, an upward limit. More is weird an merits being looked at.  Just keep tryign to get more links of many different types on an ongoing basis focusing on mixing it up and mixing it up.  This is the natural pattern of the messy world and shows that the links are natural. LOL!

yahoo website explorer
Google's wonder wheel


title tag
alt tag
halo link

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Statistics and Online Marketing

This being my personal blog to ponder the mysteries of online marketing, I'll take it in a different direction. I am testing the market so if you have a reaction, would you please leave a comment? I wrote this email today which reminded me of a set of articles, book, or even online course that I'd like to create. It would be about online marketing and statistics. Here's the excerpt from the email...It was in response to one of my colleagues commenting that she's giving up on predicting what will work in terms of online marketing efforts.

Here's my experience,

I generally feel that for every three or four things that we try, one works.
Then we take the thing that works and try to improve on it or at least do a lot more of it.
And we study the ones that didn't and see what we can learn from them

Then of course, usually whatever worked the first time stops working.  
The things that didn't work get tried again and work the second time.

Is it random?  Maybe,
My personal theory if that the logic is in the numbers.  We are usually working with small numbers so that the statistics are misleading. It's only when we have tens of thousands of examples that patterns become clearer but we're often trying to interpret results based on dozens or hundreds of examples. Which is too small.

BTW, if I ever get to do my own math curriculum, interpreting data and statistics will move from a peripheral  issue to a mainstream one. It horrifies me how many people can take differentials (ie do calculus), calculate sines and cotangents (geometry 2), and solve differential and quadratic equations (algebra 1 & 2) but can't answer the basic questions of, "we need a 25% response rate for this effort to be cost-effective, we've sent out a hundred random  emails. Ten people responded.  Should we keep testing or is it decided?"  (BTW, I too am not sure that I know how to answer it).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Canonical URL and Multisite Architectures

We had our wise and well-informed SEO guru in today and asked many questions about how to construct a few sites that we're planning with many thousands of overlapping pages.   He answered our complex question with a single magic phrase.  Canonical URLs.

I said huh and he answered with, but I'm not sure that it'll work for multisites. So I googled multisite canonical URLs and learned from the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog:

Ways of handling cross-domain content duplication

 you can use the rel="canonical" link element across domains to specify the exact URL of whichever domain is preferred for indexing. While the rel="canonical" link element is seen as a hint and not an absolute directive, we do try to follow it where possible.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Link Tools Roundup by Search Engine Land

Another Big Roundup of Link Tools

by Debra Mastaler

One of my previous columns here on Link Week showcased a number of tools commonly used in link building. Since that post, a large number of new tools and services have come online, so I thought an update would be helpful. Not all of the sites listed will be traditional linking tools, I’ve also included a number of social media and general informational sites which can be used to find link partners.

Before we move on, the obligatory disclaimer. I have no financial involvement with any of these tools, they are presented as source options only. Some are free, others are not, always read their fine print.

This looks like a great list.It's from Search Engine Land. Thanks!

Standard link building tools

When you hear the term “link building tools”, the type of tools listed below are usually what comes to mind. Most of the tools here are anything but standard, they all come with multiple options (except Yahoo SE) and share one point of commonality… they list out backlink results.

Here’s a handful in alphabetical order:

•Analyze Backlinks

•BackLink Watch


•Link Diagnosis

•Light Insight

•Link Manager


•Majestic SEO

•OpenSite Explorer

•Raven Tools

•SEOBook Tools

•SEO Spyglass

•BackLink Summary

•Who Links To Me

•Yahoo Site Explorer

•Yoast Link Analysis

Using backlink data to create a strategy and determine tactics is important when building links, so find a tool (or three) you’re comfortable with and start checking out who’s linking to whom. Most of the paid tools have free trial offers. Take note of the sites your competitors are linking to and any media mentions they’re getting. Start a database with the journalists you find and include them in future press release submissions.

Non-standard, outside of the box link tools

One of the biggest challenges in link building is finding quality sites to partner with. Competition for link real estate is keen, so be aware of opportunities popping up in your niche. Since you can’t spend 24/7 in research mode, having leads and opportunities sent to you goes a long way in securing good links. Here’s a handful of tools to help identify trends and uncover link potential.

Backtype is a “real-time conversational search engine” which indexes blogs and social media networks. While it’s helpful for finding hot trends/ideas to write about, the real link building juice lies in their Connect and Backtweet services.

Connect is an email alert service which monitors blog comments for keywords while Backtweets searches Twitter for URL’s. Both tools are great for finding sources/enthusiasts talking up your industry. Often, I find links in comments are better resources than those in the feature post! Go after those sources and find a way to secure them as a link partner.

Xmarks is a bookmark sync service with multiple options, but their Smarter Search feature is a great way to find pages being bookmarked in quantity. Why? People tend to bookmark sites with good content which means the source sites have potential to be good link partners. Find out what’s being bookmarked and work to get your link-filled content on those sites.

Over on the Spiced2 blog, there is a great article on How To Check To See If Your Email Has Been Blacklisted. If you send email link requests and aren’t seeing the response rates you’d like, this might be a good one to read.

Two Twitter tools we can’t live without are Twitter Feed, which adds your RSS to Twitter and Facebook automatically and Twilert which tracks specific keywords being used in tweets. When the alerts come back from Twilert, we use the information to look for potential host sites and for quality people to follow. Hopefully, they’ll follow in return which broadens the base of people seeing the links to our blogs and/or other web properties.

Widget marketing is all the rage and with good reason, it’s a great way to take a link campaign viral while building brand and driving traffic. If you’re not a programmer, no worries, sites like Widgetbox and the Widgipedia Forum are around to help. Spend some time there and on StickiWidgets looking at popular widgets and see if you can create something similar for your niche. Once your widget is done and launched, announce it’s creation via press release, to your customer base and on the forums you frequent.

Lastly, check out and Feed For All, both applications create RSS for static pages. Keep in mind you can create a feed for pages on your site as well as link embedded content you’ve placed on other sites. (Think article directories.) Submit the feeds you’ve created to the RSS directories as another way to drive link popularity.

Link building may be hard, but it’s not impossible if you consider the opportunities behind each of these tools. Look beyond the basics and find unique sites to host content and pull links from. Broaden your reach and the links will come.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Google juice question...

I just got this in an email from a lady who I do a blog with....

"I wanted to ask if you know anything about Google Juice for the blog? I know that both you and John mentioned it before but didn't know if that was something that needed to be set up? I haven't had any experience with it, we didn't use it on my husband's blog."

Woops, I wonder which of my comments confused her....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Unsubscribing and Can-Spam

Is this compliant?

A company sends me an email. There's no unsubscribe button but it says, "forward this to" to unsubscribe.   But it doesn't work.  Are they compliant or not?

Here's the next level of detail. I have my mail forwarded from one email box to another.  If their bot is only reading the "sent from" account, it cannot connect it back to the original email in their database.  But if their bot reads the "reply to" or looks at the attached email and who it was sent to, they could remove me from their database.  They do neither.

Instead, they send me the basic: "you now need to login to your account or email from the original account message:.  Here it is, the name of the company in question,, is included:

 to me
show details 9:16 AM (14 minutes ago)

This is an automated response.

We were unable to locate an account with the email address provided.

Please choose one of the methods listed below to change your email opt-out status with us:

1.      Reply to this email and let us know your full name, Audible username and/or
   an alternate email address that may be listed in your account. The email
   address in your account should be shown at the bottom of emails that we send
   to you.

2.      If you can send email from the address listed in your account preferences
   (this address should be shown at the bottom of emails that we send to you),
   resend your request to from that address.

3.      If you know your Username and Password, go to to remove the check from "Please
   include me in's email updates."

   If you have forgotten your password you can go to

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The New Online Better Business Bureau

Am I the only one who noticed that the BBB, the Better Business Bureau, has just made a dramatic shift in online policy?

Previously, the BBB has a BBBOnline logo that looked good and helped us look credible. 

I recently got a call from the BBB that they were obsoleting the old logo and I had to switch to a new one.  Oddly, although it's an important trademark and logo, it comes with no guidance on its usage such as whether  we can change the size or color to make it work better on the page. 

More interesting, I just clicked on it and it turns out that there is an entire review program built into the system. A sort of Angie's-list-or-Ebay-rating&review-the-site program with all sorts of opportunities for competitors to do damage and for people on my side to generate positive reviews.  So they are a late-comer to the user-generated content party.

Is this well done? Anybody have experience with it? Do they have any idea what they're doing? I  wasn't told anything about this new review system that I was putting a link up to from my website by them but in terms of truth in advertising, it's a pathetic effort. I've noticed that the BBB has cycled through several online programs in the five years that I've been in business. They had a kid safe program and logo and a privacy seal and logo both of which were obsoleted two years ago. When I joined, I had to first join a local group which cost a few hundred dollars just so I could then join the online group which cost another few hundred dollars. Now, that program is being obsoleted for this new one called Trustlink.

The BBB  told me it was a different logo, they didn't say that it was a different program with reviews that anyone could post which were now linked to from my site!  I'd like to see them off the web since they just don't seem to have any idea how to behave or what to do.

Anyone know a good alternative for online use with decent credibility?Maybe I'll drop them.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

My Online Identity - Windows Live

I'm following up on my previous post about my online identity by tracking my experience with Windows Live.  As background, everytime I have booted my computer for the last few years, the Windows Messenger software has asked to get updated. Until this past week, I've always said no.  And in my office computer, everytime I start a Microsoft Windows application, it asks me to participate in Windows Live. In neither case did I have any idea what would happen if I said yes.

This past week, I accepted the Messenger update which was a long update. Near the end, I unchecked a bunch of boxes so that my search engine (Google) would stay the same, my home page would stay the same, and that my computer would not be tracked to help Microsoft for their debugging or marketing.  I note that the choices were clear and visible in plain English so no complaints there. There was one pop-up which I dislike both from websites and software installation. This one asked me if I would install some of their software on my computer "as a thank-you."  Being very suspicious of such things, I declined.

Urchin vs Googl Analytics: Score One for the Old School

Query - Name a very useful feature of old Urchin (analytical tool) that newfangled Analytics doesn't do?

Answer - Track downloads.

Urchin was bought by Google a number of years ago and their software was upgraded and repurposed to Analytics which we all use.  But many of our hosting companies still provide for free the old Urchin software. Recently, when I wanted to track the PDF downloads from my site, I found that Analytics somehow doesn't have this feature (or I just couldn't find it) so I fired up old Urchin and found how many people had downloaded my handy-dandy ebook, Learning about Homeschooling.  It's free, take a gander.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Feng Shui for Websites

Feng Shui can guide designers, architects, builders, and planners towards a harmony that provides health, peace, and prosperity for the residents and visitors.  It is increasingly popular in modern American culture.  Great strides are being made to understand the balance with nature and what can be done to protect it or recreate it within our structures.

There is also an art of Feng Shui for designing websites. I have dwelved in the ancient mysteries and science and commissioned some new translations so that I can work with the most traditional principles of the art.  Soon, I will reveal and publish:

The Feng Shui Guide to Web Design.

I cannot at this time announce my collaborators but I have had some very significant luck in finding authoritative collaborators.  Soon, the net will know a new harmony.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Online Identity

It used to be that when I surfed the net, I was anonymous. If I wanted to comment on a forum or blog or group, I could use my name or create a new one. I was an unknown.

I'm now often astonished to be linking at some random website and see that there is a list of recent visitors that includes me.  Amazing and scary. I think they do it through my blog catalog identity.In fact, if you look to the right side of this column, you'll see a recent visitors box put there by blogcatalog which tracks visitors.

I also have been amazed to visit some groups on the web and find that I have another persistent identity which has announced me. My Ning ID.

Of course, once we get started on this, I realize that my blogger ID appears everytime I try to comment on a blogger-based  blog.  On the other hand, I have a number of wordpress blogs and my identity does not seem to travel with me.  Does anyone know what Wordpress identity is used around the web?  .com?  Or any wordpress blog that I've installed and it's just a question of activating something.

I'm thinking about this since of course, the big one, is my Facebook and LinkedIn IDs which I've noticed a number of sites asking about recently.  Lastly, I just accepted to update my Windows Messenger software (whatever that is) and in the notice, it talked about my Windows Live ID which I think is their effort to be the central internet passport office.

The future sure is going to be fun....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

MMO Affiliates - Very Aggressive These Days

I run the advertising on a very large educational games sites which is a great advertising location. I thought I'd share this correspondence with you. I've removed the names for discretion.

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: "Jonathan ***>
>> Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 11:33am
>> To:
>> Subject: Business Proposal: Other
>> This is an enquiry e-mail via from:
>> Jonathan  l<jonathan@***.com>
>> Hello,
>> My name is Jonathan ....from .....
>> I would like to buy some traffic from your site. I have a very
>> interesting Business Proposal for you.
>> Please contact me back ASAP. I want to close a deal with you.
>> Thanks,
>> Kind regards
>> --
>> Jonathan 

>> Jonathan,
>> Thanks for your inquiry.
>> You can site-target in Google AdWords by using their
>> placement tool.
>> Alternatively, if you prefer, you can advertise directly with us.
>> The cost for 300 x 250s is $2CPM. Minimum purchase is $1,000.
>> Other information is available on the site.
>> If you have other ideas, please email them along.
>> john

On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 5:31 AM, Jonathan Eshel <> wrote:
> Hi John,
> Hope you have had a great weekend and thanks for your response... :-)
> We would like you to place reviews (which we can provide)  for our MMO games
> on your site with a link to join the game. Every user that then joins the
> game will earn you a commission in addition to your display advertising.
> Please can you let me know:
> 1) What countries does most of your traffic come from?
> 2) With what companies are you monetising reviews for?
> 3) How many MMO players are you having visiting you each month?
> I am looking forward to your answers and to progressing forward...
> Best regards
> Jonathan
> On 17/02/2010 22:54, Mayor, wrote:
You are about the fifth MMO world vendor to contact us this month with the
promise of riches based on performance. The answer is no.

If you'd like to advertise, you have the info.  I think at least one
of them is currently advertising on the site.  Good luck.


BTW, the MMO vendors targetting SpellingCity:

JumpStarts 3DOnline World
Adotomi - This seems to be an affiliate network focused on games.
and some others whose names I've forgotten....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hardest Unsubscribe Evers - What are yours?

The CAN SPAM law has helped but there are emailing lists that it is hard to get off.  What's your worst experience in trying to unsubscribe?  I had two this morning. I'm tired of getting so much email that I don't read so I'm trying to get off lists.

Here's one from Home School Enrichment, Inc. When you click unsubscribe, you get to a screen that requires you to fill in a captcha and enter your email address. Seems like a lot.  But then, you still have to click on another email that they say that they'll send you to get off the list.  Of course, I clicked on it twenty minutes ago and so far, no unsubscribe email has arrived (surprised?).  Probably, they make sure that their marketing emails are not labelled as SPAM and filtered out. Is it too cynical of me to wonder if they make the same effort for their unsubscribe confirmations? Of course, to be clear, I think the idea of adding an email to confirm your unsubscribe on top of the two manual steps of correctly typing in your email and filling in a captcha (type these hard-to-read letters into that box correctly) is an aggressive antisocial way to maintain their mailing list designed to make it difficult to get off their lists.  Is that compliant with the Can-SPAM?
PS - I just rechecked my email and their email confirmation did arrive. I clicked on it and got a pleasant: "Sorry to see you go" message. I still think that last step is one step too many but it did appear to work.

The Lowe's Hardward store list unsubscribe button generates an email back to them automatically to unsubscribe.  Nice concept but not if you are me trying to get off their lists.  Here's the gotyas. 
- Unless you are  in the email system that has the email on the list, it won't work (to explain, I forward my home email to my work email so since I was in my work email system, they'll get an unsubscribe email from an address that they don't recognize so I won't be unsubscribed)
-  Unless you are on a system in which they can call up Outlook, it won't  unsubscribe. This is where it gets funny. My home email system is a web email and when I hit the link, it tries to open a mail handler on my system (Outlook Express) which I have never connected.  And of course, while my office has Outlook, it's got a different "return-to" email address. So as far as I know, there's no way for me to get off their mailing list. 


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Press Releases in 2010

I'm interviewing for a new head of marketing in my little company and I've heard all sorts of people talk about their marketing expertise.  So far, I'm not all that impressed. I've met some very self-assured people who talk broadly about their expertise and accomplishments in SEO, PPC, social media, affiliate, PR, and so on. But, when I get specific about these areas, I find that there tends to be less solid expertise than just routine experience.  One exception was when I asked one lady about her approach to press releases.

She explained that in addition to having them get picked up by automated aggregators, you need to write them a certain way for them to be used by publications with human editors.  She explained that in the old days, press releases were supposed to provide the fodder for human writers to build an article around. Today, they need to be republishable pretty much with zero editing. So she writes like a journalist, not like she's writing a press release.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google leaves China - What does this mean?

In todays news and discussion about Google leaving China, nobody seems to have dug into what that actually means.  Does that mean closing a physical office and laying off some employees? Yes. I saw that in was estimated that $300M in revenue, roughly 1% of Google's revenues, would be lost.  How?

I googled Google China and found, in addition to an official statement by Google, that there is a which means a Google search engine for China.  I suppose they spider all the .cn domains and provide them as preferred results on searches conducted from .cn sites.

But, if a person in the US using googles using Chinese characters or another search which is best served by providing a web page in China, will Google still provide them in their results? Or are they going to completely stop spidering anything with the .cn suffix.  Now what about searches that originate inside China but go to, will they be completed or will they be shut down too?