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October 31, 2007

Women of Internet Marketing Wednesdays Part 25

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing This Wednesday's edition marks a rather exciting milestone for the Women in Internet Marketing series.  This edition is the 25th, and closing in on 50 women interviewed.  When I first started this series, never did I imagine this series going on for as long as it has, nor could I imagine the popularity!  Thank you to all of you, you're continued readership and suggestions for women to interview is really what keeps this series going.

Today's edition I'm really excited to present as it has one women who I'm rather envious of, my love of the Japanese culture held my interest since I was young, and this women owns her own Japanese search marketing firm!  The second women I'm interviewing tonight is in a very peculariar business at the moment, that of paid links, so finding out her take on what has been happening as of late is of key interest to not only myself, but probably a lot of you as well.  Let me introduce you to Motoko Hunt and Eleni Ireland.

Motoko Hunt
Motoko_hunt Most people in this industry know Motoko Hunt from her significant other, her husband, Bill Hunt of Global Strategies.  What most people don't know about Motoko is that she has a very successful search optimization company that focuses on Japanese translation and optimization.  Prior to starting her own company, AJPR, Motoko worked as a Senior Marketing Manager at a Japanese trading farm worked with Japan's major corporations and Japanese Defense Agency for 8 years.

Born and raised in Japan, Motoko is now the chair of SEMPO Asia and has been the co-chair of SEMPO Japan since 2005.  She's been active in this industry for at least ten years and seen a lot of changes happen.  Over the years she has found her niche in Japanese Search Marketing, including SEO and Paid campaign.  She also has her own blog that compliments her business.

Q:  What brought you into the Search Marketing Industry?
A: Before establishing AJPR in 1998, I worked for a while localizing and creating Japanese websites for US and European companies. I saw a business potential in providing Japanese Search Marketing services to non-Japanese companies. Japanese was the number 2 popular languages used on the Internet until early 2000's. For many businesses regardless of the size, Japan was an important market, but they weren't sure of how to approach it. I saw many businesses failed to succeed in Japanese market by pushing their way of doing business without any consideration of how the market works in Japan. With my marketing background and language skill, I thought I could help them successfully landing Japanese market.

Q:  What's your most successful industry accomplishment?
A: Hmmmmm, I haven't received any awards or anything. LOL I've seen many businesses come and go during the past 10 years, but the fact that I'm still in business providing the quality services to many happy clients, and many of the businesses come from the word-of-mouth are great accomplishment, don't you think?

Q:  What's it like working being both an interpreter and an SEO/SEM?
A: I'm not an interpreter, but my work involves website localization as most of my clients are non-Japanese businesses, and the SEO work begins with localizing the website or editing localized website for Japanese audiences. It just makes sense to incorporate SEO into the localization process such as keyword research and web site structure/content review. It's time and cost effective way of carrying out the project for clients.

Ajpr_logo Q:  What's the most challenging thing you have to do deal with when offering optimization services to your clients?
A: Dealing with web site owners and especially with webmasters, when they take it personally about me pointing out the issues with existing website. I understand that they like what they have, but if no one is finding it, there's a reasons for that. Having to tell them that their previous SEO company had actually damaged their site and the reputation with unethical methods can be tough, too, but the good news is that I can help.

Also, not limited to SEO services, but it's a challenge to bridge the gap between the Western way of doing business and what appealing to Japanese market.

Q:  You've been the industry since at least 1998, what changes in the search industry have surprised you the most?
A: How important it has become to businesses world wide, and how it's taking over people's life. Actually, I'm more surprised to see more and more people not much older than my children in the industry!

Q:  Why do you love this industry?
A:  Because I've seen this industry grew over the years, many people in this industry are very enthusiastic about the work, and the fact that people outside the industry have no idea about what we do. ;)

Q:  What advice would you give to a woman starting out in this industry?
A: Jump right in! Be prepared to work hard, be open minded, and don't be afraid to be unique. It's a great industry, especially for women.

Q:  Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A:  Perez Hilton. A good laugh to take my mind off of SEO/SEM work.

Q:  Translation or Transcreation?
A:  Transcreation, but it doesn't mean that we change the message or the feel of the website. When bringing something from one culture or market to another, just translating word for word is not enough. You've got to use the "right" words, and convey the message in the style that how they speak.

Q:  Flickr, YouTube or Digg?
A:YouTube. It's huge in Japan. According to Nielsen report, Japanese visited more often and spent more time at YouTube than any other nationalities.

Now for the fun part of the interview!

Q:  What's the silliest/funniest translation mix-up you've ever had to deal with?
A:  When I was in a meeting with companies from Japan and US several years ago, a Japanese guy kept saying "ah-soh" (is that so) every time American said something. I told him what it sounded like in English, and in response he said, "ah-soh" again!

Q:  OK, we know your first choice would be Bill Hunt, so we have to pull him out of the competition, so next in line, who would you choose?  David Temple, Brian Mark (of ToolBarn.com) or Mike Grehan?
A: I have to go with Mike because we do Sushi and Guinness, none of which Bill likes. But, if Jason Statham or any member from Def Leppard (see, I'm not picky, lol) is available, I have to say "No" to Mike. :))

Q:  You and 4 other SEO's are stuck on an deserted island, and your goal is to survive and eventually be found and rescued.  Who are the 4 other SEO and why, and then who is it that finally rescues your group?
A: Danny Sullivan, Joe Morin, Daron Babin, and Bill Hunt. First of all, if these guys are missing, the world would know and immediately set out the global search and rescue operation.

My idea is that while Danny and Daron send out minute-by-minute reports on our lives on the island via blog posts or podcasts... in a bottle or tie it onto bird's leg both of which are optimized to land the mainland where it will be found and picked up right away, Joe throws a party so that we have a good time on the island, because he knows how to have fun! In the meantime, Bill (don't mind his face painted in camouflage, it's just him) has already made a radio with coconut shells and a raft with paper clips and duct tape!  After the party dies down, we safely sail out to the ocean on the raft.

Motoko I have to say, I laughed out loud when I was putting this together and working with these last three questions!  This was really fun learning more about you, was a great sense of humor you have! :)

Now let's get to know our second woman for this Wednesday's edition, Eleni Ireland.

Eleni Ireland
Eleniireland I first met Eleni at SES NYC when Jarrod Hunt introduced us.  I was immediately struck by her presence, this woman could easily command the attention of the total group, it was fascinating to watch.  Then as we talked, I found out she and her husband Troy Ireland, along with Jarrod run not one, but two successful companies and were just launching a third.  Wow!  I knew Eleni was someone I wanted the Search Marketing Gurus audience to meet.

Eleni's been in the industry for over three years now, and helps her husband Troy Ireland, along with Jarron Hunt run Text Link Brokers, Sponsored Reviews and 360 Enterprises, Inc. based in Arizona.  So now let's get into learning a little more about Eleni.

Q:  What brought you into the Search Marketing Industry?
A: I have been working in the marketing profession for over 14 years.  My husband Troy Ireland (who is also the CEO of 360 Enterprises, Inc. & TextLinkBrokers.com) was a pioneer in SEO and very well known from early on in his career for his accomplishments. For years I was fascinated listening to him discuss strategies for achieving rankings on various search engines.  Then came a point in my career where I was looking for a change.  I had been servicing Fortune 500 Corporations for their Strategic IT Solutions and assisting them in achieving various levels of success and I thought to myself it would be great to apply my experience in a way that I could make a significant impact.  TextLinkBrokers.com had at the same time been growing exponentially and it was the right time to bring in someone to assist them with that growth from an operational standpoint.  They offered and I accepted the position of President/COO which required my moving cross country and starting a brand new and very exciting career.  That was over a year ago and it turns out to be the most exciting career move I have ever made and haven’t looked back since.

Q:  What's it like running your own Search Firm?
A: It is very exciting and challenging to run TLB.  There is controversy often around certain concepts and approaches. In addition, the search engine rules and algorithms change often, which means we are changing our strategies often. Establishing ethical practices that achieve quality results for our clients is our #1 goal.  That often requires educating our customers and correcting the mistakes of other less experienced firms.

The most rewarding aspect of running my own firm is dealing with the large range of clients and budgets. When we achieve results for these clients, I am thrilled knowing I played a role in their successes. The feeling that we are doing something right and that we are a part of an “industrial revolution” so to speak, making history is what keeps me going daily and it never gets old.

Q:  With all the latest controversy brewing around paid links, do you find that your companies are finding it more challenging?
A:  The link building industry has always been challenging.  While the current “paid links” frenzy has generated a lot of media attention, it is not the first time Google has made changes that caused a big commotion.

All in all, daily operations are pretty normal.  We are in a constant pursuit to deliver the most effective link building products for our customers.  The more controversy there is the more our customers rely on us.

Q:  What changes in the search industry have surprised you the most?
A:  Honestly not much has surprised me.  I feel that an industry this young is still in the process of defining itself.  As a result, it is going to continuously change and evolve.  I am excited to see where things will be in the next 5 years and I am excited to know that our organization is helping to build the foundation.  If you think about where the industry was even 5 years ago, you would know we have many changes ahead, all of which will make the industry even more exciting.

Textlinkbrokers_logo Q:  What do you consider to be your most successful industry accomplishment?
A: The most successful industry accomplishment I have made was the restructuring of the TextLinkBrokers.com organization so that it can rapidly adapt to the every changing demands of this rapidly evolving industry.  That involved promoting my exceptional staff in defined positions where their skills are best utilized; bringing aboard very talented individuals who posses very specific industry knowledge; improving the customer experience; leveraged the industry expertise of executives Troy and Jarrod to educate the consumer and the staff; and implementing process and procedures to improve the quality and the efficiency of how we manage our business.  We always had success. Now we are just much better at it. 

Q:  Why do you love about the search industry?
A: I love this industry because it is in its infancy and to be part of an ever evolving and challenging industry is invigorating and fulfilling.  You have to constantly stay on top of industry trends and build an agile organization which can adapt accordingly.

Q:  What advice would you give to a woman starting out in this industry?
A:  Partner with someone who really knows the industry.  Ride out the propaganda.  The solid internet marketing principles will remain stead fast.   The reward is there for those who have the persistent and the stomach to handle the controversy.  Do as you say you are going to do.  Be ethical.  There are many companies claiming to be internet marketing firms but very few who can actually achieve results.  You don’t have to do it all. Just be the best at what you do.

Q:  Who's your favorite blogger to read?
A:  I have to answer that question with two bloggers.  I have been a fan of Rand Fishken’s SEOMOZ.org.  There are many commentators who visit that you can really learn a lot from.  My other favorite is a rising star in the industry, Joe Whyte HybridSEM.com/blog. Joe is very innovative in his approaches to internet marketing, especially social media marketing.

Q:  Paid links - hysteria, over hyped, or it's part of everyday marketing?
A:Paid Links are here to stay.  The hysteria is over PageRank which has always been volatile, and will probably continue to be for the foreseeable future. 

Q:  StumbleUpon, Propeller or Wikipedia?
A:  I would have to say that I use Wikipedia for many things.  But the one that is the most fun would be StumbleUpon… its great place to discover new sites and information.

Currently, we are completing our long list of Social Media Marketing services, which include these sites and many more. So, you will see what I think about this more very soon!

So now, it's time to ask Eleni the fun stuff! 

Q:  Have you ever googled, yahoo'd, lived or asked yourself on the search engines? If so were you surprised by the results and why?
A:  I have Googled my name many times. The most interesting result are the number of people who have the same name as me.  My first name is Greek and the last name is Scottish/ Irish. I consider that a unique combination.  So its fun to see how many others there are out there with that combination.  I have also Googled my maiden name Mloukhiyeh which is a national Dish of Egypt, and dates back to the pyramids.

Q:  What's the craziest thing that Troy and Jarrod have managed to pull off?
A:  Professionally, I would have to say their partnership is the craziest thing they have managed to pull off.  It’s not easy to bring two successful businesses together. They “dated” for well over a year before making the leap.  Look for some pretty wild maneuvers in the near future as well!

Eleni, I'm now curious, do you know what Mloukhiyeh consists of?  Guess I'll have to Google that one myself. :)  Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself and the fun going on with 360 Enterprises, Inc. & Text Link Brokers.

Thank you Motoko & Eleni!  You made this week's edition quite enjoyable! 

Next week's edition marks part 26 of this ongoing series, so stop back and check out which of the industry women I interview and let you in on a few of their secrets.  Until then, read up on our many other women in this industry by checking out the Women of Internet Marketing section here on Search Marketing Gurus.


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Truly inspirational. Thank you for such a wonderful post in the form of interview. Recent decades have been witnessed the progress in Internet Marketing industry and women's exclusive role in that.

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