The 12 Days of Christmas Online Scavenger Hunt

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santa-sackIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And what better way to kick off the holiday season than by receiving a Christmas present from Search Engine College?

All last week, we were tossing about ideas for how to gift our blog readers and members at Search Engine College in a fun and unique way this holiday season. We could have sent out an animated snowman card; we could have given out a boring discount coupon; or we could have had a one-day Black Friday sale that many people would have missed out on.

But this year, we’ve come up with something completely different. Presenting: the 12 Days of Christmas Online Scavenger Hunt!

How to Win

Every day for the first 12 days of December, we are giving away a 6 month subscription to Search Engine College. Each subscription includes access to ALL our online courses and training videos, as well as our exclusive discussion forums and industry discounts area. Each 6 month subscription is worth USD 594. That’s over $7,100 in prizes to be won!

All you have to do to win is be the first person to find the Christmas icon hidden somewhere on our web site at The icon will change daily and will look like one of the following:

As soon as you spot the Christmas icon, simply tweet the page URL to us @secollege so we can verify and send you your prize. Make sure you follow us and use the hashtag #xmasscavengerhunt in your tweet. If you don’t have a Twitter account, simply post the URL and hashtag to our Facebook Wall, or our Google+ Page, or you can email the URL to us study [at] searchenginecollege [dot] com.

We will have a countdown banner at the top of every page on Search Engine College reminding you which icon you are looking for and how many hours/minutes/seconds you have left to find it. When someone has found the icon, the banner image will change to WINNER FOUND and the clock stopped until the next icon is posted. And NO, the banner icon does not count as a find – it must be within the page body ;-) . Also, category or tag archive pages don’t count. We need the individual post/page URL please.

There will be 12 winners in total (1 each day) and if the icon isn’t found one day, it will carry over to the next day until all prizes are won. If you win and are an existing paid member of Search Engine College, your free 6 month subscription will be tacked on to the end of your existing subscription.

We will send out clues to the icon’s location and announce our winners each day via Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you are already on our mailing list, we will also email you a picture of the day’s icon in advance to give you a headstart.

Starts 1st December

As this competition is a global one, we have tried to plan the daily start time to suit as many timezones as possible. The fun kicks off at the following times:

  • New York (U.S.A.)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 5:00 p.m   EST  UTC-5 hours
  • Los Angeles (U.S.A.)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 2:00 p.m   PST  UTC-8 hours
  • London (United Kingdom)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 10:00 p.m   GMT  UTC
  • Sydney (Australia)  Monday, 2 December 2013 at 9:00 a.m   AEDT  UTC+11 hours
  • Wellington (New Zealand)  Monday, 2 December 2013 at 11:00 a.m   NZDT UTC+13 hours

So don’t miss out, – make sure you brush up on your searching skills in advance and join us for the scavenger hunt fun from December 1st.

Happy Holidays from Search Engine College!

November 30th 2013 News

Is there a reason for the friction?

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If you want to visit DisneyWorld, you’ll need to buy a ticket and wait in line.

If you want to see the full moon, you can go outside and look up in the sky.

Often, we’re tempted to create friction, barriers and turnstiles. We try to limit access, require a login, charge a fee… sometimes, that’s because we want control, other times we believe we can accomplish more by collecting money. Clearly, people value the moments that they spend at Disney–with hundreds of dollars on the line and just a few hours to spend, there’s an urgency and the feeling of an event occurring.

On the other hand, far more people look at the moon. Just about everyone, in fact.

If your goal is ubiquity, significant friction is probably not your finest tactic.

There used to be very few resources that were truly scalable at no cost, resources where we didn’t need to use money or queues to limit who would use them. In the digital world, that number keeps skyrocketing. It doesn’t cost a cent to allow more people to look at the moon, just as it’s free for one more person to read this blog.

If you’re going to add friction, if you’re going to create urgency and scarcity, understand that it always comes at a cost. By all means, we need to figure out how to make a living from the work we do. But with scalable goods, particularly those that have substitutes, don’t add friction unless there are enough benefits to make it worth our hassle.

November 30th 2013 Uncategorized

What’s on BBC Red Button November 30 – December 6

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Coming up in this week we have all the action from the UK Snooker Championships from York as well as highlights from the BBC Four Blues Collection with music from classic artists such as B.B. King, Blind John Davis and Booker White. You can also join Noreen Khan and Tommy Sandhu and relive the best in 2013’s Asian Music with Asian Network Rewind.


Sport highlights

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Make sure you don’t miss the goals from the Football League Show, which is on the Red Button from 2.30am on Sunday 1 December. Also make sure you keep up-to-date with the latest football scores with Final Score from 2.30pm on Saturday.

Finally, catch up with the latest action from York as the world’s snooker elite compete in the UK Snooker Championships, available every day between 4am and 11pm, Sunday to Friday. 

The year’s championship is one of eight snooker events where all 128 players enter at the first-round stage. Seven amateurs are participating after the same number of professionals pulled out – and they will face some of the biggest names in the sport.

The top 16 players have lost their protection in ranking events, having previously gone through automatically to the last-32 stage. Look out for 15-year-old Shane Castle playing Mark Selby and Rhys Clark, 19, facing Ronnie O’Sullivan.

For a full list and times of sport coverage on Red Button see the BBC Sport website.


BBC Four’s Blues Collection

BB King in London

BB King in London

Enjoy a collection of archive performances that delve into the world of American Blues Music. Immerse yourself in well-known performers such as B.B. King, Blind John Davis and Booker White, but also lesser known artists travelling the American music circuit in the 1970s.

More performances, including Muddy Waters, Billie Holiday and Sonny Boy Williamson are available in the BBC Four Blues Collection.

Sat 30 November, 11pm-12am
Sun 1 December, 11pm-4am
Mon 2 December, 11pm-4am
Tue 3 December, 11pm-4am
Wed 4 December, 11pm-4am
Thu 5 December, 11pm-4am
Fri 6 December, 11pm-4am

All details correct at the time of publication


Asian Network Rewind

Join BBC Asian Network as they count down the Top 10 outstanding moments in Asian Music from 2013. Presenters Noreen Khan and Tommy Sandhu celebrate and relive the highlights. Make sure you tweet with #RedButtonRewind

Fri 6th December, 1pm-3.55pm
Fri 6th December, 6pm-7.55pm

All details correct at the time of publication

Please note times are subject to change. 

Keep up with all the latest news by following us on Twitter @BBCRedButton

November 30th 2013 Uncategorized

Comic for November 30, 2013

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Dilbert readers – Please visit to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to

November 30th 2013 Uncategorized

Dairy Farmers Thick & Creamy yoghurt goes gourmet in latest campaign via AJF Partnership

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DAIRY-FARMERS_TVC.jpgDairy Farmers Thick & Creamy yoghurt has gone gourmet, the Dairy
Farmers’ way. By generously combining the best country ingredients with
full cream milk they’ve created thicker and creamier yoghurt in a range
of delicious flavours like Caramelised Fig, Lemon Cream, Yellow Box
Honey and Raspberry & Coconut.

It’s as sophisticated as yoghurt
gets, and as the TV campaign developed by AJF Partnership shows, by
trying it you’re sure to develop a taste for sophistication too.


Comments (2)

November 30th 2013 Uncategorized

SearchCap: The Day In Search, November 29, 2013

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Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the Web. From Search Engine Land: Black Friday – A Cautionary Tale From An Online Retailer Back in 2010, I wrote a post entitled,“Black Friday? Bah! Cyber Monday? Humbug!” in which I…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

November 30th 2013 Uncategorized

Join Bing at Donate & Learn – Online Marketing Expo in Toronto Next Week

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Bing is proud to sponsor Donate & Learn – Online Marketing Expo this December 4 th at 6pm in Toronto, Canada. This promises to be a great event where you can learn how to increase your business leads, sales and effectively manage your online marketing budget. The Expo Agenda is full of helpful tips on how to successfully market your business by developing an integrated search engine and social media strategy. Topics range from:

Can ‘Pay Per Click’ effectively increase…(read more)

November 30th 2013 Uncategorized

It’s Illegal For Offline Retailers To Collect Email Addresses–Capp v. Nordstrom

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The California Supreme Court issued a decision a couple of years ago holding that a zip code is “personal identification information” under the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1974, making it illegal for retailers to ask consumers to provide zip codes in connection with credit card transactions. (See “California Supreme Court Rules That a ZIP Code is Personal Identification Information — Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma.”) Extending that precedent, this case holds that retailers can’t ask for email addresses during credit card transactions. (Note: the statute does not apply to online or other “card-not-present” transactions, so online retailers are off the hook.)

Plaintiff alleged that Nordstrom requested his email address as a condition of completing the sale. Nordstrom allegedly asked plaintiff his email address so it could email him the receipt. According to plaintiff, this resulted in promotional emails from Nordstrom “on a nearly daily basis” as well as a general increase in email traffic.

An Email Address is Personal Identification Information: The statute prohibits retailers from “request[ing] or requir[ing] as a condition to accepting the credit card as payment . . . the cardholder to provide personal identification information.” Personal identification information is defined as information concerning the cardholder, “including but not limited to, the cardholder’s address and telephone number.”

In Pineda, the California Supreme Court held that this statute should be construed broadly, given the statute’s protective purpose. Nordstrom argued that Pineda is distinguishable because an email address is something arbitrarily chosen by the holder of the email address and can frequently changed. The court disagrees, noting that someone’s email address “permits direct contact and implicates the privacy interests of a cardholder.”

Nordstrom also argued, citing to Apple v. Superior Court, that as a new technology that was unlikely to be anticipated by the legislature at the time of enactment, the definition of personal identification information should not cover email addresses. The court says that although the California Supreme Court in Apple concluded that the same statute did not apply to internet transactions, the court’s holding was not premised on the legislature’s inability to anticipate these transactions but rather on the fact that zip codes could be collected for fraud-prevention purposes.

Nordstrom also raised the argument that defining the statute to encompass email addresses worked an undue surprise on retailers and was unfair, but this argument gets no traction with the court.

Plaintiff’s allegations were sufficient: Nordstrom argued that the plaintiff’s allegations were not sufficient to show that the plaintiff was required to cough up the email address, but the court says that at the pleadings stage, the allegations suffice. Moreover, while there is an “incidental purpose” exception to the statute, this exception does not envision collection of an email address in order to email a receipt to a purchaser.

Nordstrom also raised a First Amendment argument, but predictably this fails. The court says that collection of an email address is conduct and not speech.

Preemption: Nordstrom also argued that the plaintiff’s claim was preempted by CAN-SPAM. CAN-SPAM preempts state law that “expressly regulates the use of [email] to send commercial messages.” The court says that this means that the only state laws that are preempted are those that expressly regulate the use of email addresses. This statute does not expressly speak to email and concerns the collection of an email address rather than the transmission of email. Additionally, the court says that it’s possible to comply with both statutes. Complying with one statute does not generate the risk of not complying with the other. Finally, the court says that preemption would also be contrary to the purposes of CAN-SPAM, which is concerned with curbing the transmission of unwanted email.


Yikes. Something tells me that an enterprising class action lawyer will use this decision to target something we all see as a convenience and innovation of the retail experience: the Apple store. Please don’t. It’s so great to have the option of getting receipts emailed to you. I never understood why paper receipts were mandated by law, but I love electronic receipts. For what it’s worth I use a throwaway email address for this purpose but don’t seem to notice any uptick in email, at least not from Apple. Admittedly, a retailer can exploit this information in a variety of ways, including to bridge the on and off-line gap when building a consumer’s profile. Nevertheless, to me, the use of an email address to avoid a paper receipt is a great convenience.  [I haven’t thought through what this decision means for retailers who use Square, but in my experience they also typically ask if you would like your receipt emailed to you; I think Square stores an email address once it has been associated with a credit card, so retailers technically do not have to request it.]

Unlike junk mail, which is what something like your zip code ostensibly generates and that is not addressed by another statute, in this case, we have statutes expressly dealing with the ills that are caused by the collection of email addresses: California’s anti-spam statute and CAN-SPAM. This shouldn’t necessarily be the court’s primary consideration in construing the credit card statute or answering the preemption question, but it’s worth noting.

This is one of many decisions answering the question of whether a bit of data is personal identification information. We’ve had rulings addressing zip-codes, IP addresses, and now email addresses. The decision demonstrates courts’ willingness to construe personal information broadly, and the lack of a binary “personal” versus “non-personal” distinction when it comes to data. (See generally Prof. Paul Ohm’s work: “Data Anonymization and Re-identification Lecture Featuring Paul Ohm, SCU, April 7“.)

Eric’s Comments:

(1) Is it clear yet to you that the Song-Beverly Act isn’t aging well? It was written for a different era, and its application to the modern retailing environment is nonsensical. It seems quaint, but not in a good way, to be “protecting” email addresses only offline given how much commerce has moved offline. The offline exceptionalism is indefensible, and its application to a shopping feature (the emailed receipt) not contemplatable in the 1980s shows how the language creates unexpected barriers to new technological developments that consumers like and value. Who would like to work with me in an-almost-certain-to-fail effort to repeal the Song-Beverly law?

(2) What drives me absolutely batty is that the California legislature KEEPS MAKING THE SAME DRAFTING MISTAKES!!! Their tsunami of new privacy laws show the legislature hase learned absolutely nothing from the mistakes they made a couple decades ago–including, most damningly, still making technologically rooted laws that won’t age well. See, e.g., the huge number of drafting ambiguities in the online eraser bill.

(3) Decisions like this typically act as green lights for massive numbers of new lawyer-driven lawsuits that do nothing to help consumers. Yay.

Case citation: Capp v. Nordstrom, Inc., No. 2:13-cv-00660 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 21, 2013)

Related posts:

* California Supreme Court Rules That a ZIP Code is Personal Identification Information — Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma

* California Supreme Court: Retail Privacy Statute Doesn’t Apply to Download Transactions – Apple v Superior Court (Krescent)

* Ninth Circuit: FACTA Does not Cover Emailed Receipts — Simonoff v. Expedia

* Men’s Journal Beats Lawsuit Alleging Violation of California’s “Shine the Light” Privacy Statute — Boorstein v. Men’s Journal

* “Electronically Printed” Does not Include Automated Merchant Email — Shlahtichman v. 1-800 Contacts

November 30th 2013 spam

Who’s left?

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The classified section of the Sunday New York Times used to be more than twenty or thirty pages long. Now it’s down to one.

Part of this is due to the lack of new jobs in the post-industrial economy, but mostly it’s due to job listings moving online. I was fascinated to see some of the jobs in last week’s paper, and confess befuddlement at the thinking of those that ran them.

Here’s one, from Amazon, for a level II programmer in their New York office. Just a mailing address, no online method for contacting or applying. They’re using the newspaper to search for programmers unable to apply online, perhaps the best place to find this sort of programmer, but really, do they want them?

Or the ad from Paul, Weiss, a prestigious big law firm in New York. It’s the biggest ad on the page, and goes into a long, long list of requirements for the job–Magna Cum Laude from a famous law school, more than three years with one of their competitors, etc. Which high-powered New York lawyers are reading the last single page of newspaper classifieds?

And my favorite, an equally long ad for Deloitte that instructs the applicant to go to a website and enter a 15-digit code, including several “1”s, some “I”s and a bunch of letters and numbers. Almost unreadable in the paper, and hard to transcribe. More than a billion combinations… why not just enter NYT1124?

Lots of time and money being spent chasing the wrong people with the wrong ads.

My point, and I do have one, is that if your HR department is run by policies that were established a decade ago, worth a new look. And if you are serious, truly serious, that talent is your competitive advantage, please understand that the way you look for and sort that talent is the highest-leverage way you’ve got to increase what you end up with.

[Update: sorry to let facts interfere with a good story. Further research seems to indicate that the paper ad was a freebie that came with running a month of online ads. My guess is that the advertiser didn’t even care it was going to run in the paper. I’ll leave this post up as a reminder to me that I should poke about a bit more before running with a riff sometimes.]

November 30th 2013 Uncategorized

GE Designates Dec. 3 as ‘3D Printing Day,’ 3D-Prints Xmas Gifts

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Peanut butter has a day. So do donuts. So why shouldn’t 2013’s most-hyped technology also get one? General Electric is on it, folks. It has designated Dec. 3 (D3, geddit?) as the official 3D Printing Day, and has also launched a new campaign that hopes to gives elves a rest for the holidays, by 3D printing gifts instead.

Here’s how it works: On Dec. 3, people can pick a prototype and tweet their wish, along with the hashtag #3DPrintMyGift. The prototypes themselves are designed by celebrities including weatherman Al Roker, host Stacy London, Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow, as well as companies, like the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and Spotify. They’re all working with CAD designers, who will customize the prototype, then ship to your house, for free, just in time for the holidays.

Prototypes include penholders, iPhone 5 speakers, and even a cat charm (this is the Internet, after all.)

Continue reading at

November 30th 2013 Uncategorized