Archive by Author

Atlas Search Eliminates Self Service Accounts

31 Jul

If you are familiar with the background of Atlas Search you may view the following change as inevitable with any acquisition or in this case, a triumvirate of acquisitions:

  1. Atlas acquires GoToast, brands as Atlas OnePoint, later rebrands as Atlas Search, and then again as Atlas Solutions;
  2. Microsoft acquires aQuantive, parent co of atlas;
  3. Domainer acquires acquantive.com, misspelled URL for parent co
  4. and so on and so forth

    Important News Regarding Credit Card Processing

    Dear Atlas Search User,

    We wanted to let you know that we will be discontinuing the credit card payment option for Atlas Search effective September 1, 2008.

    This policy change reflects an evolution in the market for search marketing services, and represents a decision to align the Atlas Search product with the needs of large enterprise users. Atlas believes that search marketing will continue to be a vital and effective channel for advertisers as well as an essential element of the Atlas Advertiser Suite.

    For those clients currently using the credit card payment option, your business remains important to us, and we hope you will continue to work with Atlas Search. Given the significance of this change in policy, we would like to invite you to transition to our monthly invoicing plan, which will be the default billing plan for all users as of September 1, 2008. You will be able to enjoy all the existing benefits of the Atlas Search toolset – you’ll simply be sent a monthly invoice based on your product usage, with a minimum monthly fee of $750.00. Your Atlas Search representative will be able to assist you with this transition and answer any questions you may have.

    For those clients who choose not to transition to the monthly invoicing plan, we would like to invite you to continue to use Atlas Search free of charge through the end of October, 2008. As of November 1, 2008, this option will also close and Atlas Search will be available to clients only on the monthly invoice plan.

    Note that the final credit card billing date will be August 16, 2008. Charges on this date will relate only to billing cycles with a start date between August 1 and August 15; any client who does not have a billing cycle with a start date in that date range will not be charged for their August/ September billing cycle. No clients will be charged for October.

    While it may be disappointing to see the credit card option go away, Microsoft and the Atlas team remain committed to serving the needs of search advertisers. We will continue to add new features and enhancements to Atlas Search throughout the year, and hope to continue to work with you to maximize your search marketing potential.

    If you have any questions, please contact your Atlas Search representative at SearchCS@Microsoft.com or 1-800-416-8389.

    Best regards,

    The Atlas Search Team

ymarketing was one of the first (100?) customers to use Atlas Search way back in the early adopter year, 2001, for Search Engine Marketing Campaign and Bid Management, literally building a business on what was at the time, a cutting edge technology. On a side note, I also personally contributed to the growth and evolution of the atlas search product by recommending specific management rules and enhancements over the years (‘shooting holes’ in the app as some may say).

With this new model and min price point of $750 per month, it will become cost-prohibitive for many in the self-service [read long tail] market to continue using this service. The good news, on our end, is we strategically migrated all of our clients and internal process to Omniture at the beginning of the year which will officially be more a cost effective and true enterprise solution; atlas search has fallen very hard downhill since the first round of acquisitions back in ’03.

I wish you the best of luck to you, atlas!

-The MADD Man

PS: This was my first attempt at creating a blog post using MS Word and you see the formatting outcome. :(.

Yahoo! Search Marketing to Terminate Ambassador Program

23 Jul


I received the following notification today which is fairly big news related to Yahoo! outsourcing their Search Marketing to Google:

Dear Current or Prospective Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador:

The Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador program was specifically developed to help marketers drive sales leads to their clients. For the last four years, Yahoo! has made an effort to enhance the program to provide the greatest added value to our users. After a thorough evaluation of the program, we have decided to discontinue the program.

The Ambassador Program, except for the limited use of the Ambassador Logo as noted below, shall be terminated as of September 30, 2008.

For Prospective Ambassadors
Yahoo! stopped accepting new registrations to be an Ambassador on April 29, 2008. Ambassadors with pending certification have until July 31, 2008 to qualify to become an Ambassador.

If you have registered but not yet obtained certification to be an Ambassador, you have until July 31, 2008 to complete the training and take the test to become eligible to be an Ambassador. Once certified, landing pages will be delivered to new Ambassadors no later than August 31, 2008.

For Current Ambassadors and Prospective Ambassadors Who Become Certified
Ambassador commissions will no longer be earned or paid for any Managed Advertiser Account created on or after July 31, 2008. No Ambassador commission will be earned by an Ambassador or paid by us for any Managed Advertiser Account created on or after July 31, 2008. All Ambassadors that are due payment of an Ambassador commission will be forwarded such payment no later than September 30, 2008.

The Ambassador Logo may Still be Used
Ambassadors may continue to use the logo of the Ambassador Program on their web sites only to exhibit their designation as an Ambassador by Yahoo!. However, all other sales, marketing and promotions relating to the Yahoo! Search Marketing Ambassador Program must cease effective July 31, 2008.

New Program Terms reflecting the above changes are set forth at
http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/ysm/sps/start/overview_ambassador_directory.html, or at such other location as we may designate.

We thank you for your support, dedication and participation in the Ambassador Program, and for your business with Yahoo! Search Marketing. For further information on these changes, please contact us at ambassadors-ysm@yahoo-inc.com.

Sincerely,

Your Partners at Yahoo! Search Marketing

This is just one of a series of steps Yahoo! is taking to transition their core, outsourcing it to Google; ironically, the same company they helped establish as the world’s largest most powerful brand by, once again, outsourcing their search exactly 8 years ago but in this case, their natural search engine results. Remember the good ole ‘Powered By Google’ icon? Who said display, er icon, advertising does not effectively build a brand!

History repeats itself once again, the blue whale is already in the room and there will only be one player in the Search Engine Marketing Business; unfortunately for the good of a competitive marketplace.

-The MADDMan

Google learns to crawl Flash…Finally?!?

7 Jul


Allegedly, Google finally learns to crawl Flash. well the folks at ymarketing are putting this to the test and have launched the first, but possibly last ALL flash-based site!

Flash is an SEO’s worst nightmare and a faux paux from a best-practices perspective for the following reasons:
1) The major engines could never effectively ‘read’ the content which means your site will never effectively well rank for it unless you had a high number of external links with a wide variety of different anchor text.
2) Internal links could not be followed which means their anchor text would also not be ‘read’ making your entire site appear to contain only one page, er in this case a ‘swiff’ file.

But hey, it’s only our natural search rankings…what do we really have to lose :).

-The MADD Man

George Carlin's – 7 Words You Can’t Say on [Offline] Media: TV or Radio

23 Jun

It was a sad day in the comedic forest yesterday when arguably, the tallest tree fell; so tall the sound was loud enough for the entire world to hear in less than 24 hours.

George Carlin was one of the most influential comedian’s of all time; not just for folks in the comedy biz but also those with careers in broadcasting and advertising. If you are familiar with his work you may also know his father was an Ad Man which I would presume sparked his rant on BullShit:

“Every time you’re exposed to advertising in America you’re reminded that this country’s most profitable business is still the manufacture, packaging, distribution, and marketing of bullshit. High-quality, grade-A, prime-cut, pure American bullshit.

In honor of one of the greatest, here is my tribute to George:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFmRypAYz_E]
…which sparked a debate on censorship eventually running all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court and a landmark decision resulting in the created of the family hour.

Farewell GC; an old friend is indeed gone but not forgotten…we will always celebrate your life.

-The MADD Man

PS: I know he would appreciate the publishing of this list, so here they are, the seven words [uncensored] + the 3 that did not make the cut:

  1. Shit
  2. Piss
  3. Fuck
  4. Cunt
  5. Cocksucker
  6. Motherfucker
  7. Tits
  8. Fart
  9. Turd
  10. Twat

PSS: for those with a little more free time on their hands, here is the whole bit with an explanation of each:)
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvvUmnnxoIM]

Gangsta' Search Marketing

8 Feb

[yt]c96LTLlaXew[/yt]

It aint nothing but a G-thang!

(Google?)

There is a whole series of these over at Mo Serious’s YouTube.

It’s nice to go out this week with a laugh.

Happy Friday!

-The MADD Man

Is Yahoo! Search Marketing Overcharging you for Content Match?

21 Jan

I received a few of these emails for various Yahoo! Search Marketing Accounts today:

===================================================================
Yahoo! Search Marketing
===================================================================

Dear Advertiser,

Our systems experienced an unexpected technical issue that caused a
limited number of Content Match clicks to be priced higher than we
intended. As a result, we have credited your account XXXXXXXXXX
in the amount of $XX,XXX.XX.

To protect the integrity of our systems, we unfortunately cannot
provide you with more specific details associated with this
issue. However we want to assure you that we have identified and
corrected this issue.

Your credit should now be reflected in your account balance. You can
see this adjustment by viewing the Billing Transaction Detail Report
within the Reports section of your account.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at
866-YAHOO-SM (866-924-6676).

Sincerely,

Your Partners at Yahoo! Search Marketing

Now the funny thing is I can’t recall the last time we enabled Content Match for any of our clients due to what we view as ‘lack of quality traffic’ (i.e. it never converted well). Therefore this credit has to be for traffic delivered back in the first half of 2007.

Timing aside, what is most intriguing is how “a limited number of clicks” became a 5-Figure credit; I wonder if this is what their engineers had in mind when they rolled out the new Quality Based Pricing Model last year :).

-The MADD Man

PS: Yahoo! cutting 20% of their workforce is starting to make a little more dollar$ and $ense!

Jeffrey Lindsay thinks Yahoo is worth more if broken up

8 Oct

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Yahoo Inc would be worth far more to shareholders if it broke up its Internet businesses or embarked on a major overhaul, including a departure from Web search, but management is unlikely to do either, according to an analyst note issued on Friday.

Jeffrey Lindsay, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said Yahoo’s operations viewed separately could be valued as high as $39 per share, compared with a current share price closer to $27.

The shares rose 2.4 percent in pre-market trading to $27.80 from a close of $27.15 on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

The company, which lags Web search leader Google Inc and faces greater competition for its e-mail services, could be worth as much $45 per share with a dramatic overhaul that would include outsourcing its paid search, cutting staff by 25 percent and restructuring its graphic display advertising, according to Lindsay.

“It appears that Yahoo will not take bold measures to right the ship,” he wrote in a research report. “We believe that Yahoo still has a potentially high intrinsic value. We believe, however, that to stop the inevitable slide into irrelevance the management team must consider more radical actions and strategies.”

Yahoo’s main display advertising business appears to have deteriorated, mainly due to the company’s troubles in effectively capitalizing on its ad network, Lindsay said.

He reiterated a “market perform” rating on the stock, with a $25 price target.

Lindsay said he based his valuation on Yahoo taken as separate businesses on the recent spate of Internet advertising acquisitions, such as Google’s planned purchase of DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, among other factors.

He also recommended that Yahoo give up the fight on paid search and outsource that segment of its business to bigger rival Google.

(Reporting by Michele Gershberg)

I disagree! This sounds more like a pump and dump scheme by Mr. Lindsay than anything else to me.

-The MADD Man

What Women Want?

11 Sep

The New MADD Men’s Law for this Age Old Question (adage).
Women really only want two things:

1) Love
-&-
2) Money

Fortunately Mel is good at making both!

-The MADD Man

I Took the Red Pill to Hack My Own Life

8 Sep

Admittedly I borrowed this idea from JB’s Searchblog, as I used to work off of a setup like his several years ago. I also have to give credit to the original Lifehackers.

As a Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) by trade, my obsessive compulsiveness (OCD) has poured over into my every day personal and work life. I now end up ‘twacking’ everything, work stations included!

Also, as a serial entrepreneur I am always extremely busy and do everything possible to increase productivity; in addition to working for my Search Engine Marketing Firm I also own/operate a Sports Nutrition Company and am producing a TV Show (will have more info on this shortly).

The System

What we have here (besides failure to communicate) is a system comprising of 5 machines (from left to right):
-PowerBook G4
-HP Pavilion (backup box)
-Apple iPhone (8 gigger)
-HP Dual Core Pavilion (primary box)
-HP Pavilion Tablet PC

All computers share 1 primary terminal (keyboard + mouse) and 3 19″ Samsung Monitors via the use of software (synergy) and hardware (IOGEAR KVM Switch) .

The End Result?

1) 300% increased productivity
2) ZERO Downtime
3) A lot of toys to play with (=’s fun)

-The MADD Man

PS: Please feel free to tap me on the shoulder during lunchtime at the next industry event and I will gladly show you how to optimize a sandwich :).

Mazda Trumps Pontiac

7 Aug

This is an oldie-but-goodie that I was reminded of after noticing the abundance of product-placement in Transformers. The movie was literally sponsored by GM’.

I also could not share this juicy little tidbit until now as we had been managing all of Mazda’s Search Engine Marketing Programs for the past several years but were sat down in the conference room last quarter and told ‘you’re fired’!

Anyway, this is the actual video we created as a case study for the original ‘Mazda Miata vs Pontiac Solstice’ Conquesting campaign:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrg8XPi3gNg]

Background

We got word through Mazda corporate that Pontiac was going to break their new ‘sexy gorgeous two-seat roadster’ (aka the Pontiac Solstice) on fox’s The Apprentice about 4 weeks before the show was scheduled to air on NBC (Thursday, 04/14/05).

That is all we knew.

In that short period of time, we put together a program strategy, created a data collection micro-site for Mazda’s New MX-5 (formerly known as Miata) comparing it to the Pontiac Solstice (to meet Yahoo! Search Marketing’s editorial guidelines) and set up our search engine marketing program. Based on past experience with offline awareness driving online activity, we had the foresight to know this episode would drive searchers to the web looking for the ‘apprentice car’ so we added it to our list of keywords.

What we didn’t know is that NBC, through a partnership with Yahoo!, would literally tell people at the end of show: for more information on the vehicle you saw in this week’s episode of the apprentice, go to Yahoo! and search for ‘apprentice car’.

I guess someone at Yahoo! also didn’t know because they didn’t purchase ‘apprentice car; for Pontiac!

The Scrub

The next day (Friday 04/15/05) at just past 6 pm our Overture (now Yahoo! Search Marketing) rep forwarded us the following notice:

    • apprentice video
    • apprentice car
    • apprentice pontiac”
  • “The Content Quality Team is currently involved in an emergency scrub of the search term mentioned below.

    The listing have been deleted for violation of the Content guideline:
    Search Terms:

The “Makegood”

About 3 months later (07/19/05), I received the following invite to attend the company formerly known as Overture (and GoTo for that matter), Yahoo! Search Marketing’s annual brand summit at the W Hotel in West LA:

    “Please join us for our inaugural Brand Summit–where we will be spotlighting an agency panel discussion to increase awareness of how search complements other forms of marketing and positively impacts brands. Executive-level panelists from the following agencies will present case studies where search was integrated into the overall marketing mix.

    Tribal DDB | RPA | Carat | Performics

    We will also be featuring keynote speaker Bob Garfield, co-host of NPR’s On the Media, author of Advertising Age’s widely read column “Ad Review” and the recent “Chaos Scenario.”

    And one lucky guest will take home a flat-screen plasma TV.

    We hope you will join us for the Brand Summit–and cocktails and conversation afterward!”

They sold me on the cocktails and conversation so I decided to show up after work on August 18th. When I arrived I was handed a pretty purple day planner (PPDP for all you acronym junkies) with the words “Yahoo! Search Engine Marketing Brand Summit” engraved on the front. Nice Branding!

After I squeezed into the room that was definitely undersized for the overbooked event, I decided to flip through the pages of my PPDP. The names of the first few panelists listed on the inside of the cover were not surprising as I knew from experience and a few agency credit allocation sheets that I have been sent numerous times on accident by my YSM reps (they show ALL of Yahoo!’s credit allocations by account) that they were the largest advertisers on the west coast (Performics, Carat, RPA, Tribal DDB, etc).

However, I did not recognize the name on the last page as it was the advertiser (client in my world) not their agency; an Associate Media Director over at ‘GM Planworks’ by the name of Jennifer Simkins. Her team was listed as being effective in generating new lead volume for GM, primarily through search across all GM divisions. Knowing that GM is the parent co of Pontiac I thought this name stood out a bit and might be interesting.

And it was. The case study she presented was on the successful integrated (online/offline) launch of Pontiac’s New Solstice using Yahoo! Search!

I almost fell off my chair. To make good on the um ‘slight oversight’ during the debut of the Solstice after airing The Apprentice, Yahoo! honored the Media Director at GM.
It was unfortunate that people could no longer go to Yahoo! and do a search for ‘apprentice car’ and see what we saw 3 months ago. Unbelievable. I really thought someone over Pontiac/GM had also been told “you’re fired” after that one.

The Trademark Policy Change

Fast forwarding 6 months and almost immediately after the headlines were buzzing about ‘Google Pontiac’, on 02/23/06 by Danny Sullivan, John Batelle and SEOMoz (amongst others), YSM sent out the following Yahoo! Account Alert to all of their advertisers:

    “Dear Advertiser,

    We wanted to let you know of a policy change that will affect your account.
    On March 1, 2006, Yahoo! Search Marketing will modify its editorial
    guidelines regarding the use of keywords containing trademarks.
    Previously, we allowed competitive advertising by allowing advertisers to
    bid on third-party trademarks if those advertisers offered detailed
    comparative information about the trademark owner’s products or services in
    comparison to the competitive products and services that were offered or
    promoted on the advertiser’s site.

    In order to more easily deliver quality user experiences when users search
    on terms that are trademarks, Yahoo! Search Marketing has determined that we will no longer allow bidding on keywords containing competitor trademarks.

    Our records indicate that you currently have one or more listings that were
    allowed under the competitive advertising guideline. On March 1, 2006, these
    listings will be removed from your account, and we will no longer accept
    listings containing search terms comprised of your competitors’ trademarks.

    For more information on our trademark policy, please visit

    http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/legal/trademarks.php.

    Please note that Condition #3 (“Competitive Comparison Site”) will be
    removed when the policy is officially implemented on March 1, but advertiser
    listings that qualify under the reseller or non-competitor information
    guidelines may be allowed, subject to Yahoo!’s discretion to accept or
    reject listings. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this issue,
    please do not hesitate to contact us at (866) 924-6676 or by submitting a
    Support Request Form from your account.

    While we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause you, we
    r />believe that this change in our policy enhances our ability to provide the
    best experience for users.

    Sincerely,

    Your Partners at Yahoo! Search Marketing”

I was told by an inside source at the company that this was a direct result of Mazda’s Search Engine Marketing Strategies. I guess they took GM serious when they threatened to no longer advertise on Yahoo! :).

Until Next Time,

-The MADD Man

PS: Sorry for ruining the party for everyone.
PSS: YES, we did sell A LOT of cars for Mazda via search over the years.
PSSS: I am very curious to know why their new vendor did not claim them as a client when they got acquired.