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January 03, 2007

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesdays Part 4

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing_3 Each week I find myself anxious to bring you the interesting things I'm learning about each of the women I feature here on Wednesdays.  I have a love of learning new things, especially new things about people.  Each and every woman I've interviewed so far has taught me more than they'd ever know, and I hope its the same for all of you!

As always you can find our past featured Women of Internet Marketing in its very own category (on the right).  In the past we've featured Jill Whalen, Kim Krause Berg and SugarRae, just to name a few!

This week's set of featured internet marketing gurus is no different, with their "Dazzlin'" skills to their "award winning blog"-ing, Donna and Gillian are definitely women to keep an eye on!

Dazzlin' Donna (aka Donna Fontenot)

DonnawesternpicDonna is a Tech Industry veteran that stumbled into SEO and Affiliate Marketing after figuring out that in order to sell her Cold Fusion applications on the Internet, she first had to get her website found in the search engines.  Donna first started in the Tech Industry after deciding Teaching wasn't as fruitful as she thought.  She then found her way into the tech industry doing data entry via keypunch cards.  Over the years, she then migrated from data entry to PC repair to programming, and ended up being a ColdFusion web developer.  Wow - talk about touching a lot of areas of the Tech Industry!

When Donna isn't blogging for SEO-Scoop, she helps out with moderation over at the Search Engine Roundtable Forums under her blog title handle of "dazzlindonna" (of course!).  Being in the Search and Affiliate Marketing industry Donna's become an expert in niche affiliate marketing, but admits that it's definitely been a learning process.  Each new client brings their own set of challenges and the refreshing creativity SEO brings keeps her planted in this industry.

Now for some Q&A with Donna:
Q:    Why do you like/love this industry?
A:  I love the freedom that comes with creativity.  Coming from a technical, programming background, SEO was refreshing, as it enabled me to free my mind from the constraints of precision coding, and allowed ideas to propagate.  I'm an idea gal at my core, and while I don't have a formal background in marketing, SEO enables me to run with those ideas and use some innate marketing skills.  I mentioned the failures in the question above, and no doubt I've encountered marketing failures (and idea failures) as well.  But even the failures involved degrees of creativity and fun, and of course, they contributed to my overall knowledge base as well.  I know it's going to be a fun day when I say out loud, "I have this idea...".  (My family usually groans at that point).
Seoscoop Q:  Who’s your favorite blogger to read?
A:  Wow, that's a tough question.  I read (or at least skim) over 40 blogs daily.  Each of those tends to be a favorite at some point or other.  But I guess if I had to choose one that most consistently provided a good read with great information, I would choose Stuntdubl (Todd Malicoat).  I think I first got hooked on the Mr. Ploppy series of posts, and have since looked forward to anything that Todd blogs about.
Q:  Who do you feel is a leader in this industry and why?
A:  With so many different aspects involved in this industry, it's difficult to choose one person.  There are leaders in different areas, and there are people who lead in different ways, but Kim Krause Berg stands out for me.  She leads in a more understated fashion than some, but she would be the one I believe could most effectively lead a team of newbies to success.  And for me, that constitutes a better leader than one who might be a leader in the conference circuit, for example.
Q:  Why “Dazzling Donna”? (Li: And notice I was using the G!)
A:  Actually, it's DazzlinDonna (with no "g"), which is a mistake most people make.  Being a small town gal, I tend to leave off the "g" when pronouncing many words ending in "ing", so it seemed natural to leave it off for the name as well.  As to why...well...that's a bit of a story.  When I turned 40 years old, I went into a deep depression.  My instant messaging nick at the time was Loof (which was Fool spelled backwards).  When a friend of mine figured out what it meant, she was furious with me and nagged me for what seemed like a century to choose a more "positive" nick.  Just to shut her up, I chose DazzlinDonna.  She was pleased, and I didn't have to hear about it anymore.  Funny thing is, that choice was the start of a complete change in my own thinking.  One of my mottos (that I often use in forum sigs) is "You'll never shine if you don't glow" which is a line from a Smash Mouth song.  I adopted it around the same time, because I was realizing that attitude is everything.  I discovered that if I pretended to be happy, the fake happiness would eventually rub off and turn into real happiness.  So, DazzlinDonna, the gal who chose to glow, was born, and it just stuck with me.
Q:  Do you Google on Ask, and Ask on Yahoo & Google?
A:  Funny you should mention that.  I just completed a 3 week series of tests that I blogged about, where I went on a quest to find my new default search engine.  I'd gotten tired of relying on Google (out of habit), and dedicated myself to using the other Big 3 on an exclusive basis, hoping one of them would satisfy my search needs.  Happily, one did.  I now Yahoooooooooooo.
Q:  Matt Cutts or Rand Fishkin?
A:  Rand, all the way!  I kind of think of Rand as a nephew in some ways.  Long ago, I answered a few questions he had about the wonderful world of SEO, and I've watched him blossom over the years into a kick-ass Internet Marketer.  He's just a great guy and I couldn't be more proud of him.

Perfect segway to our next lovely lady, a lady who sure is proud of Rand not only because he's definitely a Search Industry leader, but because she's his mom!

Gillian Muessig
Gillianmuessig For those of you who don't know Gillian's the "Chief Cook / Head Bottlewasher" at SEOmoz.  She's that stabilizing force at SEOmoz that reigns in those "crazy kids" and gets them back to work when it's needed!

Gillian has a remarkable past and I as the interviewer am just in awe of her accomplishments.  She's truly an inspiring figure that people in this industry should get to know.  With over 26 years in marketing and the last 13 years in Internet Marketing, Gillian's seen a lot go on in this industry, probably a lot more than most.  She started as a marketing consultancy in 1981, became involved in internet marketing with Market Link International in 1993, just as the web began to stir.

"We scanned business cards and put them on a website (wow – pictures!)", Gillian commented. "By the time we were done, we had a real-time live translation service for trade negotiations between nations. It was very exciting."

Gillian then went on to be the President of Outlines West a marketing consultancy. SEOmoz began as a project of Outlines West and, later on, the company was re-branded in 2005 as SEOmoz.

And now some Q&A:
Q:  Who’s your favorite blogger to read?
Seomozlogo A:  SEOmoz! (Now really, did you expect anything other?)
Q:  Right now, how many women bloggers/writers/journalists do you read blogs/columns from?
A:  I regularly read about 8 – 10. I read Kim Krause all the time; I keep tabs Elizabeth Osmeloski, Vanessa Fox, Jill Whalen, Laura Lippay, and, of course, our own Rebecca Kelley as well.
Q:  Who do you feel is a leader in this industry and why?
A:  Danny Sullivan meets the requirements of leadership – integrity, strength of character, and clarity of communication. He spends the time to ensure that his technical abilities remain honed and at the cutting edge of the industry. I see Rand moving up as a leader as well, which pleases me both personally and professionally.
Q:  What do you think of those yellow shoes Rand is famous for?
Yellowshoes A:  A stroke of genius, the shoes were the brainchild of the world’s most natural marketer, Mystery Guest. I am a long time fan of Mystery Guest; her innate ability to market ideas, people, and products in a natural, honest, joyful manner makes her one of the finest colleagues it has been my pleasure to know. When Rand was a relative ‘unknown’, heading to the NYC SES conference, he looked for a way to be recognizable to the people emailing him with invitations to meet at the convention. Mystery Guest suggested the yellow shoes and I noted immediately that they would become his symbol. I joked that when the book about Rand Fishkin is written, the cover will display a pair of the shoes and the name of the book will be, “The Yellow Shoes; The Story of the Wizard of Moz”
Q:  Did you know your son has become a Search “rockstar” – he’s got a fan club just like Matt Cutts (I believe Rand’s are lovingly nicknamed Fishkin Heads?) – and do you keep a pin handy to not let his head get “too inflated”. :)
A:  I do indeed. And now, I’ll take a bow (where is that pin when I need it?). I raised him well enough that his head has not swollen and he is not full of himself. When Rand was a little boy I promised him, “When you share, you will get more.” I built a company on that principal and Rand continues to do so in a really big way. I could not be more proud of the outcome.
......And on that mushy note, I’ll call it a day.

You can see now why Rand is such a likeable person, and is extremely well grounded (even if the "Fishkin Heads" follow him around),  Gillian raised him well! :)

I hope you all enjoyed learning about these wonderful women in our industry!  They are both really great professionals we should all get to know.  Now if you know of a great woman who should be featured here, drop a comment - really, let me know who you want to get to know!


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» SearchCap: The Day In Search, Jan. 5, 2007 from Search Engine Land: News About Search Engines & Search Marketing
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Hats off to you Donna

Fishsticks! :)

I really enjoyed these interviews, especially with Gillian. It is always nice to hear the story of a great company like SEOmoz from the true mother of it all!

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