Localization, Unique Data Sets & the Future of Search

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Aaron Wall’s impressive overview of Google’s new Local SERPS and where he thinks Google is headed in the future.


October 31st 2010 Uncategorized

Turn Old PC Fans Into Battery-Recharging Wind Turbines

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If you’ve built your fair share of PCs over the years, you probably have quite a few old fans lying around. Here’s how to quickly give them a purpose by turning them into small wind generators. (more…)

October 31st 2010 Uncategorized

Marketing Halloween

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4057062477_4ff7fdd9f5
Some things to think about while the doorbell rings…

There are communities that have moved Halloween from today, because they don’t want it to be on a school night.

There are communities that abhor Halloween, arguing that it is a day for Satanists and other ideas that are anethema.

And there are communities where the goal is to obtain as many chocolate bars as possible. (The hobo costume will always remain the official teenager get up, because you can make one in three minutes).

How did fruit end up as treat non grata?  How did the few giant candy companies end up stamping out variety, selling giant bags of cheap chocolate instead? (Hint: there’s huge pressure to do ‘the regular kind’ as many consumers/homeowners are afraid to stand out in this regard). A great example of peer pressure meeting the race to the bottom.

And in the last few years, how did a trivial kids’ holiday turn into a multi-billion dollar bacchanal for adults, complete with ornate houses and bespoke costumes? Is it because of some well-orchestrated Halloween Marketers of America initiative? It just seemed to happen, didn’t it?

My take: Marketing home runs usually happen because the market/tribe/community is itching for a void to be filled, not because a marketer committed some brilliant act of promotion or pricing. The art, then, is to pick your niche, not to freak out about how to yell about it. You can’t make a perfect storm, but you can find one.

October 31st 2010 Uncategorized

On Google Growing Up, Losing Employees & Being The New “California”

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Google’s lost yet another high profile employee, apparently to Facebook. Another sign that Google’s slipping, to some. Perhaps. For me, Google has become the new “California,” stealing that role away from Yahoo. Come along a tale of equity refugees and companies growing up.
California: The Former Golden State
I’m a California native. I grew up in […]

*** Read the full post by clicking on the headline above ***


October 31st 2010 Uncategorized

Are You A Pirate?

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I read blog posts by Don Dodge and Glenn Kelman today about people jumping from Google to Facebook and it got me thinking about entrepreneurs.

Most people have an aversion to risk, my college economics professor told me. Which means they have to be rewarded to take on that risk. The higher the risk, the higher the possible payout has to be for people to jump.

We make risk/reward decisions every day, all day. Do I go skiing, and enjoy the rush of flying downhill even though there’s a small chance I’ll blow out a knee? Should I go to college or just get a job and start earning money now? Should I eat the high fiber and generally healthy thing on the menu, or go for the cheeseburger? Should I hit the restroom before the movie starts? Etc.

Every time we do something, or don’t do something, there’s a risk/reward algorithm being calculated in our brain.

Entrepreneurs, though, are all screwed up. They don’t need to be rewarded for risk, because they actually get utility out of risk itself. In other words, they like adventure.

The payouts for starting a business are just terrible when you account for risk. A tiny minority of entrepreneurs ever get rich. And the majority of entrepreneurs would probably make far more money, and have more stable personal relationships, if they just worked for someone else.

In my youth I was a corporate lawyer, making a very nice salary for representing technology startups in Silicon Valley. There was a good chance I’d make partner after 7-8 years and could be earning maybe a million dollars a year by the time I was 40. All I had to do was work hard, and bring in clients. I was good at both.

But I left the law after just three years to join a startup. And the reason I did it was adventure. I wanted to be in the game, not just watching it. My parents thought I was crazy. They still have no real idea of what I do for a living, and they were, frankly, pissed off that I spent their money getting a law degree, only to throw it away before I was 30.

But I did it anyway. And then I left that company after a year to start my own company. And I’ve never looked back since then. That first company I started made a lot of money for the venture capitalists – nearly $30 million – but next to nothing for the founders. The companies I started after that varied between failures and mediocre successes. But at no point did I ever consider getting a “real job.” That felt like a black and white world, and I wanted technicolor. Also, I hate working for other people because I’m really bad at it.

When I talk to non entrepreneurs about the startup world I often use a pirate analogy. Not because I know that much about pirates, but the the general stereotypes work well as an analogy.

Why did some people way back in the 17th century, or whenever, become pirates? The likely payoff was abysmal, I imagine. There’s a very small chance you’d make a fortune from some prize, and a very large chance you’d drown, or be hung, or shot, or whatever. And living on a small ship with a hundred other guys must have sucked, even for the captain.

But in my fantasy pirate world these guys just had really screwed up risk aversion algorithms. Unlike most of the other people they actually lusted after that risk. The potential for riches was just an argument for the venture. But the real payoff was the pirate life itself.

Also, it was nearly impossible to be an entrepreneur back then.

Now it turns out that most people in Silicon Valley are actually normal risk averse types. They carefully calculate the potential rewards of a startup before they join, taking into account stock options as well as salary. And also the resume value of a company.

Some of the richest people I know aren’t really entrepreneurs. They worked at HP and then moved to Netscape when it got hot. They made a fortune and then jumped to Google and made another fortune. And now they’re jumping to Facebook.

They may be very good engineers, or sales people, or marketing, or execs. But they ain’t entrepreneurs. They’re just resume gardening and they’re really no different from everyone else.

I don’t care if you’re a billionaire. If you haven’t started a company, really gambled your resume and your money and maybe even your marriage to just go crazy and try something on your own, you’re no pirate and you aren’t in the club.

That thrill of your first hire, when you’ve convinced some other crazy soul to join you in your almost certainly doomed project. The high from raising venture capital and starting to see your name mentioned in the press. The excitement of launch and…gulp…customers! and the feeling of truly learning something useful, you’re just not sure what it is, when the company almost inevitably crashes and burns.

Now that person is interesting. That person has stories to tell. That person is a man who has been in the arena.

There are lots of things that I will probably never experience in this life. Military combat. Being dictator of a small central American country. Dunking a basketball. Being a famous rocks star. Or walking on the Mars.

But one thing I have been, and will always be, is an entrepreneur. And damnit that feels pretty good. Because if I was a lawyer right now, even a rich lawyer, I’d always have wondered if I had what it takes to do something a little more adventurous with my life than work for someone else.


October 31st 2010 Uncategorized

Q and A: What is Keyword Stuffing?

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Question

Dear Kalena,

Is keyword stuffing a bunch of the same keywords or is it a bunch of unrelated keywords?

Willie

Hi Willie,

The term “Keyword Stuffing” describes the practice of  repeating a particular phrase (often many times) within the text on a single page.  Typically this would be done with the same or closely related keyword phrases – with the aim  of trying to raise the profile of that particular web page for search queries on that keyword.

Usually a few mentions of a particular keyword phrase (or related phrases) would be acceptable (and normal), but it quickly becomes very obvious to users if a particular phrase is repeated over and over again within the content of a single page.  This type of “unnatural” repetition of keywords can be very annoying from a users perspective and may actually incur search ranking penalties. If a search engine considers the page to be “over optimised” it is unlikely to achieve good rankings.

Whilst mentioning your target keyword a few times within the content of your page is sensible, overdoing it can be detrimental.  In most cases when you are writing content, you should be trying to write it for the benefit of  the user rather than the search engines.

If you are concerned that some of your pages might be “keyword stuffed” an easy test is to simply read them through.  If the pages read well, are informative and feel “natural” then you are probably OK.  If the content is awkward and there are obvious repetitions of particular keywords, I’d suggest that you consider re-writing the page.

A handy online tool that I often use to get a feel for what a page is about is Tag Crowd.  This tool allows you to specify a URL, or paste in text, and it will create a Tag Cloud of the content provided.  If one or two keywords jump out at you from the tag cloud it generates, it is possible that your page may be over-optimised.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting SEO (Brisbane)

October 31st 2010 copywriting, Keywords, SEO

on: jay-z: decoded

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Screen shot 2010-10-31 at 11.13.22 PM

Jay-Z has partnered with Bing! to create an interactive treasure hunt . When you discover places in the book, online and off, you can “decode” them.

Check out the Decoded site – http://bing.decodejay-z.com/?fbid=bx5X8b8DMcd&wom=false

October 31st 2010 Uncategorized

Publishers’ iPad Apps: Hot or Not?

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The iPad dreams of magazine publishers could be the latest death by irrational exuberance. Despite the optimism that greeted the new device, there is a danger that publishers are squandering an opportunity with clunky apps, bad pricing strategies and unsustainable ad tactics. The iPad itself is on its way to being a hit, although not as quickly as many predicted. And apps suffer from a problem of product vision — folks won’t read content that way over the log haul.


October 31st 2010 Uncategorized

9 Ways to Improve your Website SEO

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Today I am focusing on improving SEO on a specific page or post with some tips that I implement here at Web Dev Diary.

October 31st 2010 Uncategorized

Using Google Adwords Keyword Tool

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Choosing the right keywords for an article or page can have a great impact on how well your page will perform on search engines. In this tutorial we will look at using the Adwords Keyword Tool to help…

October 31st 2010 Uncategorized