Thanks for the Spam, Google.

Last week via Gmail, Google sent this to one of my Google accounts:

Get more from Google Analytics with Google AdWords
Begin advertising today with a $50 special offer.

Hi,

We'd like to show you how to get even more out of Google Analytics with the Google AdWords advertising program. With AdWords, you'll get additional reports in Analytics that will help you increase your traffic and conversions. Many Analytics customers already use AdWords everyday, with impressive results. But there's no need to take our word for it. We'd like to offer you $50 to experiment with AdWords risk-free.

(etc.)

Naturally, $50 USD for PPC disappears in a heartbeat for just about anything. Free money is free money all the same, so I figured take them up on it to try reactivating some ads on one project that I'd previously shut off entirely, not just because I'd been funding it out of my own pocket but also because the conversions had been in the gutter (as easy as it might be for us Web Marketers to forget, the fact is there are some things for which PPC is a fundamentally inappropriate advertising channel).

When I tried to though, I got this:

Sorry, your account is too too old... Boo hoo, eh?

Dear Google, 

As much as you're in a war against Web spam, 
you are seemingly fine with sending email spam 
in context of its current campaigns: Offering 
hand-outs to help solidify market share, 
encourage marketers' paired Google Adwords and 
Google Analytics usage, and also adoption of 
Adwords for things beyond PPC 
(i.e. traditional media).

I'll take my $50 in the form of a personal check 
as compensation for that bit of my time being 
wasted, thanks.

[sr]
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Gmail's Big-Ass Button

The world of how to balance usability with tasteful design and also conversion optimization is a constantly fascinating one. It's an area where one can run a lot of creative tests and have a lot of experience but still end up surprised at which test one, yet one often consistent theme is how often it helps to really create as much intuitiveness and simplicity as possible... i.e. to the degree that what might seem boring, ugly or rude from the producer's perspective is actually needed from the user perspective. One of a Web marketer's hardest jobs is to practice learning to get over themselves - and to learn to trust both indirect and direct intelligence (site/ad-side reporting, industry benchmarks, statistics and other data) - in striving to find "what works." With very, very few exceptions... you are not your audience and you never will be, so you realistically only can have so much instinct for how to put yourself in their shoes.

Case in point: One thing that took me a long time to warm up to was the idea that users often need big-ass buttons, as a very clear way to keep their eyes on the desired action. Personally I find large buttons easily gaudy, yet time and again marketers produce test results showing that they can make a world of difference.

Check out the latest update to Gmail's main page. Even if you're a long-time Gmail user just looking to look up your stuff, you simply can't help but notice that the main thing that's on Google's mind here, in this test that they're running, is the importance of driving acquisitions:

Gmail's Big-Ass Button

Google is a great behemouth in terms of how much data they have at their disposal, to help them make smart design decisions, so count on this being a pretty calculated experiment on their part... (and if you're like I used to be and are still holding dogma against big buttons - welcome to the club of the respectively schooled).

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Microhoo: Back on the Table

As reported on NPR and everywhere else, game on!

Compared to last time, I think the odds of a deal going through now are much better.

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Myspace, Meet SEO 101

To-day one of the profiles I manage there was down for a few hours, for "routine maintenance." Shortly afterward I noticed a couple changes on Myspace worth noting:

Their robots.txt file changed since the last time I mentioned it, moreover this change happened just to-day actually. I know this because to-day I was, pseudo-paranoid that I am, looking up my temporarily-downed profile in archive.org in case for some off-the-wall reason I was about to lose it (I've heard of people losing profiles innocently on occasion). In the morning I was able to get to some older caches of it, yet now at nearing 11pm Pacific time it's no dice: They have now at last issued their first 'bot block, and it's of ia_archiver.

My guess is this is to make it harder for spammers or or other undesirables to scrape content, for generating profiles and/or restoring banned content in fresh ones. The other big reason to do this would be user privacy issues. Pretend for a moment that you're a female Myspace member being harassed by an ex-boyfriend (statistically a cyber-stalker would probably be male). You're pushed to extreme measures and delete your profile(s) altogether. Here raises ye olde SERM quarry: Is it deleted everywhere, truly wiped from the face of the 'Net into a sheltering oblivion? Maybe, maybe not. Depends how it was removed, and whether someone copied it down first even if it was removed thoroughly upon being subsequently cut.

That's the best theory I have for the reasons behind a change of this ilk. Anyway, despite whatever higher purposes this one inhibits me from illustrating something else of interest (though many active Myspace marketers will see this next one plainly upon checking), also a change at least somewhat recent:

They are also making progress with adopting basic tagging standards, by now making profile TITLE tags more descriptive. This is happening now with both regular user and band profiles. Not long ago, if you has one of these its title would just mirror your custom URL, e.g.

<TITLE>www.myspace.com/yourURL</TITLE>.

Now though, if you have a regular user profile it's something more like

<TITLE>Myspace.com - yourName - yourAge - yourGender - yourCity, yourState - www.myspace.com/yourURL</TITLE>.

The same principle applies if you have a band profile. In that case, your new tag template is

<TITLE>Myspace.com - yourBand - yourCity, yourState - yourGenre1 / yourGenre2 / yourGenre3 - www.myspace.com/yourURL</TITLE>.

Obviously this item is also a simple but very significant edit. It helps to reduce duplicate content issues some, to be sure. If you've ever tried to find someone on Myspace you probably already know it used to be pretty difficult sometimes. Various parameter values can be shared limitlessly and logically. But now, Presto. Pinpointing people - or at least who/what they say they are - on Myspace, and also searching for such profiles within Google and other engines, just got a whole lot easier. On sites as huge as this, there is no such thing as a minor SEO change really.

It looks like Myspace may be taking a few SEO 101 lessons from Google since buddying up with them. Or perhaps, certain SEOs now within the FIM ranks (you know who you are 😉 ) are behind these gradual however serious improvements.

Ironically, the TITLE tag changes actually make it easier for targeted social marketing or other structured, granular queries in some ways. To target specific demographics and point-of-interest indicators, scrapers now don't necessarily need to look to the Myspace domain itself anymore. Now, when one wants to do simple filtrations like weeding out a solid sampling of 30 year-old males in San Francisco for example, one can just use Google operators.

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SEO + The Mark of the Beast

The "evils" of SEO, Google and many other things in web marketing are, yes, a sometimes tired topic... though popular nonetheless, as evidenced in the Result counts of queries like this and this. While I usually dismiss such lines of thinking to a degree, for being too linear, too sensationalist and too many other things... alas I just came across something a little concerning:

Behold - Forces of Darkness afoot!

666

Oh, come now. Quit pretending you're so surprised.

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For Black Hats Going Green

Blackle

Blackle: The Google of choice for not just environmentalists, but also Black Hat SEOs!

OK well, perhaps not exactly... but it could (should?) be. Normally of course the "Green" one would normally think of when discussing SEO would be money, but in the wake of globalwarmingawaeness2007 and ensuing discussions, another view rears its head again.

Saving a whopping 750 Megawatt hours a year? Oh yes, G. You know you wanna. Feel your inner blackness. 😆

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Microhoo ("Micro-WHO?!?")

Microhoo (R)

Regarding to-day's Valleywag:

Google reported serious profits last quarter.

For a while now Microsoft has been called a big old giant getting left in the dust trying to reawaken (lots of $ in the bank left, just not enough to buy Google). Apps are moving off the desktop (they traditionally rule) onto the 'Net so they need to be able to evolve with that, if it's going to really be the future.

Yahoo posted unfortunate numbers from last quarter. There was a time when Yahoo could've bought Google, but Yahoo's CEO at the time particularly - a veteran not of Silicon Valley but of Hollywood - reportedly balked at Google's asking price. That move that may go down in infamy on par with the legend of the disinterest HP showed in Steve Wozniak's early prototypes for what (after he left HP to start Apple with Steve Jobs) eventually became the first Macintosh computer.

Google's eaten both of their lunches in search and has other strategic developments well underway:

  • Google Apps (like MS Office only from Google, and web-based instead of desktop-based)
  • Projects like Google Base raising eyebrows with everyone from commerce companies like eBay and Amazon, to media companies (e.g. Viacom) and others.
  • Petascale datacenters being built around the world to scale with the rapid growth of the Web and the world's information, which is a pretty serious concern (geek flashback: in the early decades of computing, machines big enough to fill much of our 3rd floor had less power than what currently lives in a modern cell phone).
  • Increased business development in China and other parts of Asia
  • A cozy-up with Apple around the pending iPhone (supports Google Maps as unveiled at Macworld)
  • And of course, recent acquisitions of YouTube and Doubleclick to expand their lifeblood advertising empire...
  • ...and who knows what other acquisitions of tiny startups or other companies they occasionally make without announcing it.

The idea of Microsoft and Yahoo in potential merger talks again hardly sounds illogical. Bring it, I say!

Predictions, anyone? Remember if you place any serious bets on it, there's always the option to do it in Second Life instead of meatspace... because it's also not so illogical that this could be bullshit (with one or more agendas behind it). 😉

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The Many Names of Google

  • The West Coast G
  • GooTube
  • Tooble
  • Gooliath
  • Googlamesh
  • Googlezon
  • Grandma
  • Googantuan
  • Googleclick
  • Googfellas
  • G Forces

I know I'm forgetting some. C'mon, it's Friday. Time for a little mental downtime fun (Keep it on and on, keep it on and on)...

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Wanted: Senior Analyst

Job Description

The Senior Analyst manages the data processing, testing, analysis, and determines data-driven strategy for our client advertising and marketing campaigns. This position will also work closely with their respective media, account and project management counterparts in ensuring campaign objectives are appropriately tracked and optimized. The Senior Analyst will design relevant marketing tests within the context of our campaigns that lead to improved learning and performance, analyze campaign activity from a variety of sources and provide compelling case studies by employing their analytic insight and present their findings, highlighting the key trends and learnings to our clients.

Responsibilities

  • Develop measurable campaign objectives, and enable their tracking through site or 3rd party measurement tools: selection, implementation, usage
  • Define base metrics to inform current and future campaigns
  • Collect, normalize, and report on campaigns histories and current activity
  • Analyze performance reports for optimization and learning
  • Develop and present analysis to clients
  • Provide team leadership with media, creative, and account management
  • Manage day-to-day relationships with 3rd party vendors
  • Other duties as assigned

Requirements

  • 3+ years web analysis experience including SEM (PPC, Paid Inclusion)
  • Excellent writing and editing capabilities
  • Familiarity with online analytics measures, terminology, benchmarks
  • Detail-oriented, with high standards for data accuracy and integrity, and quality of thinking and presentation
  • Excel skills, including pivot tables and vLOOKUPs for data manipulation
  • PowerPoint presentation skills
  • Ability to recognize and correct data problems and inconsistencies
  • Self-motivated, deadline-driven, ability to support multiple projects at a time
  • Understanding of strengths, challenges and complexities of online tracking
  • Skills with 3rd-party ad servers: DART, AtlasDMT, Mediaplex
  • Skills with 3rd-party site-side tools: Omniture SiteCatalyst, WebsideStory Hitbox, WebTrends, Coremetrics, Google Analytics
  • Understanding of statistical analyses, databases and site building basics
  • Bonuses: Experience with A/B and multivariate creative testing, experimental design, SAS or SPSS, e-mail campaign analysis, SEO

Agency.com San Francisco
55 Union Street
3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
View map
V: +1 415 817 3800
F: +1 415 817 3801
careers@agency.com

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Google Spams Itself?

Aaron Wall has seemingly highlighted some potentially suspicious activity over at Threadwatch. I suspect spamming one's day job employer for personal cash on the side would tread outside the bounds of whatever they'd internally indulge in as acceptable Black Ops. Even the idea of it, talk about scandalous...

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About

Based out of Northern California, bl.asphemo.us is a bl.og dedicated to the advocacy and study of high-impact, data driven marketing disciplines and related concerns: Analytics and Data Mining, Marketing Automation, Integrated Advertising (targeting, retargeting), Demand Generation and Lead Nurturing, Social Media / Social Engineering (Crowd-hacking) and the new PR, Privacy, Security, CRM, SEO / SEM, CRO, ROI... more TLAs (three letter acronyms) than any sane person's daily lexicon should include.

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