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January 29, 2008

Women of Internet Marketing Series - Last Chance to Take the Survey

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing Just an FYI, if you thought about taking the survey and haven't yet, you have until 9 p.m. EST to let your feelings known on the Women of Internet Marketing Series.  The survey is pretty simple - 3 yes/no questions and two "optional" type - if you want to add some information questions.

If you like the series, or if you don't like the series.  If you like the questions, or you want to see different questions asked.  If you think the series should remain weekly or go bi-weekly and if you have a women to suggest to be interviewed.  Now's the Time to Speak Up!

Tick... Tock. :)

Republican Rudy Giuliani: 2008 Presidential Candidates & Online Marketing Strategies

By Li Evans

Rudy_giuliani_official If you've been paying attention to the presidential race on the Republican side, you probably know that Rudy Giuliani is banking a lot on "Super Tuesday".  That hasn't stopped the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign site though, it's been operating since last year.  They have a site that updates its headlines frequently, blogs often and participates in both PPC and Social Media. 

So how does Rudy's campaign stack up against the presidential contenders that we've reviewed in the past few weeks?  Surprisingly, not bad at all.  There can be tweaks here and there, but in general the online strategies that the Giuliani Republican Presidential campaign has put together isn't bad at all.  So lets take a closer look.

Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies

Rudy Giuliani for President website - main pageLooking at Rudy Giuliani's site, the SEO is probably the weakest "link" in the campaigns entire online strategy.  There's some SEO, but it's more by happenstance than by actual planned strategy.  Like almost every other candidate that SearchMarketingGurus.com has reviewed, they have title tags, but, the ending of the title tag just changes to what the title of the page is.  There's nothing remotely optimized with the title tags of the pages of the Rudy Giuliani for President websites, but at least they have them and at least they are not the exact same thing from page to page.

Moving onto the meta description and keywords, unfortunately these are the same throughout all the pages of the website.  Like all the other candidates, it really seems like their presidential campaign teams all went to web designers but never bothered to consult a true search marketing expert to help them capitalize upon those areas that might be able to reach out and get their message to other people - who aren't searching on their name.  Like I said, the SEO is happenstance here - some use of alt text for images (but not optimized), some use of header tags (but not optimized), no meta descriptions so the search engines decide what the snippet is to display in the search results.

Content is hit and miss on some of the pages for the JoinRudy2008.com site.  There's some pages which are content rich, for example the About Rudy page.  Thankfully there's no splash page here.  However, their main page is flash and image heavy with hardly any real content for the search engines to grab onto and decide "Hey this guy's a REPUBLICAN presidential candidate".
SEO Grade: C+

Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site: Social Media Strategies

Rudy Giuliani for President - Flickr Page The Rudy Giuliani campaign team is making a real effort in this area.  In particularly in Flickr, YouTube, BlipTv and believe it or not iTunes.  They also have Facebook and MySpace pages, but the real effort and action seems to be in the other "sharing" social media sites.  They also have a Digg profile, but I wonder about "why" they are promoting it, especially when there's not much activity on it at all

They are really working with Flickr.  Of all the past reviewed candidates, there hasn't been a real effort to use Flickr to the extent that Rudy's campaign has.  They have great photo titles and actually have great descriptions about each photo that is put into their account.  They also use Flickr to produce the photo stream of pictures that is on the campaign's photo page on the official Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign website.  The campaign is actually tagging the photos, too, and using relevant and meaningful tags.  The only thing they are lacking on the Flickr account - links back to Rudy's presidential campaign site, and I bet that's more because they don't realize they can do it, rather than them not implementing that piece.

They are really active with the videos too, utilizing both YouTube and BlipTv.  Unlike the other candidates however, they really use BlipTV to promote the videos when you are on the campaign site.  It's probably because the interface is a lot nicer and it doesn't show the videos all blurred or just as a black box before the user hits the play button.  BlipTv also gives the user a bit more control over which videos can be displayed with a more configurable player that can be embedded in the website.  That doesn't mean though the campaign doesn't utilize the YouTube player - I've seen that utilized in their blog mostly and the account has well over 500 videos in it - only Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have more.

Rudy Giuliania for President - iTune PageAlthough I don't know that iTunes is really "social media", it's interesting to point it out, because no other candidate is really promoting it.  Other candidates have podcasts, but they aren't promoting it the way that Giuliani is, as part of his social networking mix.  Clicking the iTunes icon on the site, brings up iTunes if you have it installed and takes you directly into Rudy Giuliani's "store".  It's recent and has all the latest podcasts, commercials and information the campaign releases.
Social Media Grade: A+

Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site: PPC Strategies

Yeah! Another candidate who understands that they should have a Pay Per Click campaign.  Rudy's campaign team is active on Google (Ask by Google PPC default) and Yahoo!.  I couldn't find ads on MSN/Live for Rudy's campaign site.  I found he wasn't buying "Republican Candidate" or words like that.  He also does not purchase his competitors names, like McCain and Huckabee are currently doing.

What Rudy's campaign does do, which is very smart, is buy the misspelling of his name.  Trust me, I had trouble spelling his last name right up until about 2 months ago.  How many "i"'s would I miss when I first started, would be my daily game! He's got a tough last name to spell and if it's not right in front of you, you'll likely spell it wrong the first couple of times out of the gate.
PPC Grade: A-

Rudy Giuliani Presidential Campaign Site: Blogging Strategies

Rudy Giuliani for President - BlogRudy's site had a blog, and they really use it to communicate what's going on in the campaign.  They integrate videos into blog posts from YouTube, they talk about upcoming events (right now mostly in Flroida), they tag their entries with relevant keywords and they display how many times a blog post has been viewed.  They also allow you to subscribe to the feed through RSS, but as a person who reads blogs (this is more a usability issue), the RSS button is not readily visible at first, it's all the way down at the bottom of the navigation of the page.

Unfortunately that's where the "pluses" stop with the blog.  There's no interaction with the audience beyond knowing how many people viewed the blog post.  There's no comments allowed, you can't email the post to a friend and there's no social media promotion.  Even though Rudy's got a Digg account and promotes that in his social networking area - there's no Digg buttons (I'd argue though about Digg - Diggrz seem to hate Rudy as much as Bush).

It's like the blog is just a megaphone, or a better way to get what they don't have on the main page, out to the masses.  While that's not a bad thing, it really doesn't give users a reason to come back and participate - adding comments would.  If you look at the other candidates' blogs, you can see what I mean, Barack Obama's, John Edwards' and Fred Thompson's (even though he's dropped out) all have comments and all are very active.
Blogging Grade: B+

Overall, if the Giuliani presidential campaign team could tweak a few things, they'd have one heck of an online marketing strategy.  They could really, seriously outshine the rest of the candidates and possibly get their message out even better and farther than they are right now.  Would that translate into votes?  It might, I think Barack Obama's efforts online show it does (how he reaches the younger crowd and energizes them), however Ron Paul's efforts almost shows the opposite.  It's more about knowing which audiences to reach that will actually vote and knowing which online strategies will reach them effectively, if Rudy's team could do that, it definitely wouldn't hurt their campaign!
Overall Grade: B+

Interested in seeing the other reviews done by Search Marketing Gurus?  Check out the online marketing strategy reviews for Republicans John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Fred Thompson & Duncan Hunter, and Democrats Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich.

We've also done reviews on both the Democrat's online strategies for their debate in Nevada and the Republican's debate in South Carolina.

January 27, 2008

Effective PPC Strategies For Political Campaigns

By Account Deleted

Ppcandpolitics In a previous post on SemGeek.com entitled "Study: Search Marketing In Prime Spot To Play Major Role in Political Spending" I discussed the great opportunities that awaits for the Search Industry to get a bigger piece of the campaign spending pie. The only thing in our way is convincing the Politicians and Campaign Managers to see the value in all that the Search Industry has to offer. Especially the "high level" online strategies that can be created, implemented, tested and reported on in Paid Search. If we can convince them of that, then we will strike that "all important" commonality of getting a greater ROVP (Return On Voter Participation). However, it is that same messaging power of the web that also scares them to put more money into it. But over time, Analytics and actionable data will change their minds.

To help reinforce this skepticism, acccording to this study done by Borrell Associates which states “The jury is still out regarding the Internet’s effectiveness for reaching and targeting the undecided,” the report read. “There is a fear that their message may end up going to an unintended recipient. Consultants would need to be convinced of the accuracy of this type of direct advertising reaching and persuading the intended targets before they would find sufficient value to devote much money toward it.”

Who's Helping To Get This Message Out:
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a new company called CampaignGrid which is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA where the goal is to not only educate and persuade the massive opportunities in SEO, PPC, Social Media, Analytics and Testing, but also drive measurable results that help the candidates, non-profits and charitable organizations who need help. In a nutshell, it's all about Raising Money, Advertising and Organizing Online to drive the best possible results. Results consist of online donations, capturing information from volunteers and cross channel support.

Campaigngridlogo2_2

Here are just a few of the things we are doing at CampaignGrid:

  • Behavioral Targeting with Interactive Video and Transactional Banners
  • Using PPC to persuade voters of all parties on the candidates messaging.
  • Counteracting negative campaigning tactics (which is essentially reputation management)
  • Testing different messaging tactics across different Geo and Demographic  audiences.
  • Creating streamlined data flow processes to maximize the effectives of all online advertising
  • Implementing robust analytics tracking to provide political campaign managers with everything from the amount of donations and volunteer submissions on any given day to how effective specific PPC campaigns are doing against others.

In conclusion: There is a big perception problem with political parties that the Internet is a very dangerous playground and it's easier to spend millions on traditional media such as TV, Radio and Print. However, we can bridge that gap by simply educating the political arena that Search Marketing is not only much more cost effective, but it is comprised of "cutting edge" strategies, best practices and highly detailed analytics which allows for a greater understanding of how the campaign's money is being spent.

As an old Mentor used to tell me you need to tell clients "Fish where the Fish are!" It doesn't get any easier than that in Search.

January 25, 2008

Fun Photo Fridays - 2 Kevins & a Sage

By Li Evans

I'm a little late tonight with our Fun Photo for Friday, but we still have it! This week the feature photo is from SES Local that was held back at the end of November in Los Angeles, California.  It was a lot of fun, even though some of us would like 45 minutes from that trip back. :)

Today's picture is of 2 of the 3 Kevins that help make up the Search Engine Strategies/Search Engine Watch team - Kevin Heisler and Kevin Newcomb and the very animated Sage Lewis of SageRock.com.  I caught these guys conversing right before Kevin Newcomb took the stage to kick off the event.  It was Kevin's first time being a moderator and he did a great job, you'd think he'd been at it for years!

2 Kevins & A Sage, Fun Photo Friday at SearchMarketingGurus.com

If you like this photo feel free to comment or favorite the photo of the 2 Kevins & A Sage on Flickr.  Check out the rest of the fun at SES Local 2007.  Keep an eye out, we'll be back next week with Fun Photo Fridays.

January 24, 2008

Why Jason Calacanis For a Third Time at SES?

By Li Evans

Searchenginestrategiesnyc_2 I read an announcement that yet again, Search Engine Strategies is featuring Jason Calacanis for yet another keynote session.  I just shook my head and wondered what on earth has possessed the conference to bring this guy back, yet again, for a third time.  Is it for controversy's sake?

Now before I get to far into this, I have give you all a disclaimer, I speak at SES events, am a trainer for SES Classes and SMG live blogs the conferences.  I also really like the folks on the SES team, the Kevins (all three of them in fact), Matt, Rebecca, Marilyn and Stewart have always been nothing but courteous, gracious and extremely great people to get to know.  But honestly - I really have to ask - why bring this guy back for a THIRD time?

Keynotes should be from people who truly have something positive to contribute to the conversation, people who make you want to be able to really bring something tangible home from a conference, not want to tear your hair out.  Keynotes should be from people who should be respected - how does calling SEO Bullshit, dropping the F bomb numerous times, claiming that he's the greatest SEO there is - garner you respect?

I honestly would rather hear from someone who has TRULY contributed to the Search Industry.  I don't want to hear from someone who sold a bunch of blogs to a conglomerate, not someone who's built a Digg clone, and not someone who promotes a totally gameable "social search engine" just to promote himself, and not someone who totally trashes our industry every chance he gets just for link bait and to see himself in the press.

Apparently I'm not alone, I asked a few people around the industry what their thoughts were, here are their thoughts:

  • Donna Fontenot of SEOScoop
    "It seems fairly obvious to me that any search marketing event that features Jason Calcanis as a keynote speaker is engaging in nothing more than a linkbait ploy.  Obviously Mr. Calcanis will make some idiotic anti-SEO remark, and every blogger and his brother will make a big deal out of it.  Instant buzz, but frankly, I hope it backfires, because we should all be tired of his antics by now."

  • Bill Slawski of SEO By The Sea & KeyRelevance.com
    "The announcement of Jason Calacanis as a keynote speaker for the 2008 New York Search Engine Strategies has me puzzled. 

    The world is filled with bright creative people, who bring value and a positive frame of reference with them to every endeavor that they tackle. People who are articulate, engaging, interesting, and who would draw an audience to see them. People who would make people feel positive about building something online, marketing it, and making it more visible, which is what a keynote speaker for SES should do. 

    It would be amazing to see someone like Trent Reznor speak, who has shown an extremely creative online and offline approach to making people aware of his latest musical efforts.  Or Ze Frank, for his charismatic approach to drawing attention to himself online and his wonderful speaking abilities.  Those are just two folks, but I'm sure that with a little effort, a fairly large list of prospective keynote speakers could be found.

    A keynote speaker should set the tone for a conference, make people excited that they decided to attend, and provide a unique and remarkable experience for those in attendance.  If the words of a keynote speaker define the fundamental or central ideas behind a conference, bringing back someone whose previous SES keynote "central idea" was that "SEO is bullshit" doesn't excite me much.
    "

  • Simon Heseltine of Search Engine Tigers & Endless Plain (Serengeti Communications)
    "J.C. is a great guy.  He built up a company and sold it for quite a bit of money.  He's known for sometimes being controversial, and people love to hear him speak.  Unfortunately John Cleese isn't the keynote speaker at SES-NYC, it's Jason Calacanis.  I've attended 2 of his keynotes in the past, the first was the infamous Chicago '06 "SEO is BS" talk, the second was this past November at the SES-Local / Kelsey ILM show in LA.  Quite a few people told me not to bother going to listen to him, but I wanted to give him a chance to see what he had to say.  I'd like 45 minutes of my life back please.  At SES-NYC, I'm going to spend my time much more wisely, and check out the sponsors in the expo hall."

  • Kim Krause Berg of Crea8PC
    "What?  Why?
    I thought a choice for keynote speaker was about presenting someone the people in the industry respect and would pay money to see?  Or if not that, someone inspiring and informative, which he hadn't been on previous occasions. Has something changed? "

Now you don't think I'd let this all be on the "bashing" side of the issue, did you? :)

If anything Jason Calacanis is the Search Industry's biggest target.  We love to hate this guy.  Some people have even made it their mission in life to garner links from the guy.  Some view him as the "Howard Stern" of the Search Industry, and others even see him as giving the Search Industry a good kick in the ass from time to time.  I agree with some of that (Howard Stern has better hair though).  Our industry tends to get all high and mighty sometimes, and needs to be taken down a few rungs on the proverbial ladder.  Jason tends to do that from time to time.

  • Matt Bailey from SiteLogic
    "I think it’s a great idea to have one of the SEO industry’s biggest critics to a show like this.  Sometimes I think that the SEO industry needs a little smacking around.  This industry tends to have a rabid hunger for links, wrecking everything in its path.  Course corrections are necessary, and I think that Jason brings a good voice of balance."

  • Matt McGowan from Search Engine Strategies
    "A wise man told me a few days ago that Jason is the Howard Stern of Search… people who hate Howard listen to him for hours a day, why those who love him listen for minutes.  Jason has a lot of valuable information to add to the Search conversation and I for one am looking forward to his keynote"

  • Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide
    "My mom always told me that if you don't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything. :) Thus, I'll reserve my commentary until after the event."

Respect_my_authority_cartman Even though I think Kevin Ryan is a great guy, and we agree on a lot of things, I'm just not agreeing with this choice of keynote speaker in this instance.  Honestly, if you give me vegetables to throw at the guy from the front row - I won't even waste my time, I'd rather be hassled by that obnoxious magician that stands at that one trade booth at ever SES (I think that means I'll be tagging along with Simon this time in NYC).

Please SES, don't bring Jason Calicanis back, it just really looks like you can't find any other credible, noteworthy people to interview.  That's something that I know isn't true, you brought in Seth Godin.  Surely you do not have to stoop so low as to having this guy back again?

< / end rant>

January 23, 2008

Women of Internet Marketing Series - Will The Show Go On? It's All Up To You!

By Li Evans

Womenofinternetmarketing Sometimes we all can get to a point in life where we wonder whether or not we should let a good thing end, change it to "revive" it or continue to push on.  I've found myself right in that spot with the Women of Internet Marketing Series, especially after a few rather "not so nice" comments have been thrown in this direction about it.

The last few weeks, I've also been dealing with some family issues that have taken precedent over moving on with more interviews.  Quite frankly, dealing with the issues with my family and then those comments, make me even wonder if I should continue interviewing more women each week?  Basically what it comes down too, is it worth dedicating the time into putting together each week, two interviews if I'm going to get grief/insults/sly remarks and have to deal with family issues on top of it all?

However, please keep in mind, I'm not really one to let things get me down for too long.  I don't do this article series for me, I do it to allow you the audience to meet women from our industry that you might not have gotten to know otherwise.  I like shining the light and giving credit to these hard working, successful and always very gracious women because they deserve it.

So, my audience members of Search Marketing Gurus, I leave this decision, totally up to you, right now I don't feel I could make a fair judgment call (being stressed and a bit jaded can do that to ya!).  If you would like the show to go on  or to end, please take the time to take the Women of Internet Marketing survey.  I'll leave this survey up for one week (until 9 p.m. on 1/29/08) and report the results back next Wednesday.

January 22, 2008

Democrat John Edwards: 2008 Presidential Candidates & Online Marketing Strategies

By Li Evans

John Edwards Official Photo This review is one I was really excited to get to do.  Back in December of 2006, John Edwards was the first presidential candidate to ever use an internet medium (YouTube) to announce his candidacy for President of the United States.  That prompted my closer look at the "potential" candidates and their websites to see what they were doing with social media.  At that time, it wasn't much at all, thus prompting my "Barack Obama Doesn't Know What a Widget Is" post.

John Edwards is an exciting candidate to review, because it is obvious, he recognizes the power of the internet as a medium to get out his message.  However, there is disappointment in my review too.  The enthusiasm that seemed to power this campaign and its connecting through social networking has definitely slacked off and even has fallen off the radar.  So, lets get to it and learn about John Edwards Presidential Campaign's Online Strategies.

John Edwards Presidential Campaign Site: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies

John Edwards Presidential Campaign Homepage The SEO Strategies for this site are hit and miss.  Just like most of the other sites that I've reviewed, their title tags change, but only the "ending" part which highlights what page you are on.  It doesn't include the word "Democrat" or the word "Candidate".  There are no meta description nor meta keywords tags.  Again, a missed opportunity to present the candidates web pages in the manner they want them to be presented in, not in the manner that the search engines choose by pulling snippets from their web page content.  There's also one of those annoying "Splash" pages to contend with.

There's also no use of alt text for the photos or images on the site save for a few here and there.  There is some use of hierarchal header tags, but the text within them isn't optimized at all.  However, there is more content than pictures on most of the pages on the John Edwards Presidential Campaign site.  They also realize that his name is "John Edwards" and not just "Edwards" like so many candidates seem to forget.
SEO Grade: C+

John Edwards Presidential Campaign Site: Social Media Strategies

John There are two great efforts of the John Edwards Presidential Campaign website that his team should be proud of, however, one seems to have really slacked off in the last few months.  That one is the Social Media piece.  John Edwards identified early on that Social Media was a definite key in reaching the younger population and also reaching niche areas with his message.  From his historic announcement, in that he used YouTube to announce his presidency, to is total embracing of all things social, the Edwards campaign was utilizing a lot of different ways to deliver his message last year.

Now, notice what I'm saying here, last year.  Social Media, as we all know very well, isn't a flash in the pan, it takes a LOT of hard work to keep up with profiles on various social sites.  There seems to be phases of when some of the social sites that are publicized on the site "slacked off" and just stopped updating.

The John Edwards campaign still keeps up the YouTube, Facebook (they need to fix the link from the JohnEdwards.com site though), MySpace and Flickr profiles with regularity, as well as podcast and vodcasts.  However, the rest of the 20+ social sites are in serious need of updating and some don't even work right (Ning would be one example).  It reflects badly if you haven't updated your profile, blog, or information on your social networking profile since May of 2007.  Here's some of the screen shots of the social sites that haven't been updated in quite a while.

Social Media Grade: A-

John Edwards Presidential Campaign Site: PPC Strategies

The PPC Strategies for this site are non-existent.  Not even for his name, "John Edwards".  One campaign that is taking advantage of this, is John McCain's, I found his campaign purchasing "John Edwards" on Ask (which I'm taking as they are buying on Google, but funny it didn't come up when I searched on Google).  There's nothing being done on Yahoo or Live either.
PPC Grade: F

John Edwards Presidential Campaign Site: Blogging Strategies

John Edwards for President - Blog The strongest of the online strategies, that I review, for the John Edwards Presidential Campaign site is it's blogging strategy.  When it comes to blogging, this campaign is spot on, and has all cylinders running at top notch speed.  From incorporating posts from John himself, his daughter Cate, wife Elizabeth, campaign team, news pieces from outlets that are friendly to their campaign, to prominently displaying "Your Blogs" (people who blog on Edward's site), they obviously know the power that is here.

It's not just the frequency of the content either, it's the total engagement.  From comments to social media promotion, they have figured out things that no other campaign have figured out yet.  Add on that you can subscribe to different types of blogs (campaign, news, "yours", John's etc), there's no limit to the way you can be updated about this campaign.
Blogging Strategy Grade: A+

Overall the effort the team has clearly placed for this campaign is in social media and blogging.  Two of the more powerful of the online strategies.  If you had to choose where to lay your money and how to reach the greatest number of people, this isn't a bad strategy.  If they could only tweak the SEO and maybe buy "Democrat Candidate" (or similar terms) on Google and Yahoo, it could help make a bit a difference in getting his message out more.
Overall Grade: B

Interested in seeing the other reviews done by Search Marketing Gurus?  Check out the online marketing strategy reviews for Republicans John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Fred Thompson & Duncan Hunter, and Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden and Dennis Kucinich.

We've also done reviews on both the Democrat's online strategies for their debate in Nevada and the Republican's debate in South Carolina.

January 21, 2008

What Affiliate Marketing has Taught Me About Email Marketing

By Michael Abolafia

In a recent discussion with our email solution provider I was asked to potentially speak at their next conference on the topic of Affiliate Marketing.  When thinking about what I may speak about it sparked me to look back at the first 6 or 7 years of my career and how much Affiliate Marketing has allowed me to learn.   I know that I am slightly biased but I cannot think of another online marketing specialty area that touches on so many niches of online marketing.

Email Quick Career Update:  In November of this past year I joined Taylor Gifts as the Director of e-Commerce.  In this new role I am responsible for all areas of online marketing. In the interest of full disclosure it should be known that I am not currently directly managing our Affiliate Program but am excited to be working with the great folks over at Converseon.

Effective Communication is the biggest differentiator between great and average Affiliate Managers.  There are thousands of Affiliate Programs all vying for the same real estate.  Top Affiliates receive hundreds of emails a day all asking for placement.  The affiliate program that can stand out from the others will have the best chance of winning the placement.  The communication techniques that I have utilized over the years for affiliate marketing carry over into successful email strategies that I am implementing today.

4 of the most important strategies / rules that I have learned from Affiliate Marketing that carry over into Email Marketing are:

1.  Be Unique
2.  Segmentation
3.  Offer
4.  Create a Two Way Interaction

Continue reading "What Affiliate Marketing has Taught Me About Email Marketing" »

January 18, 2008

Fun Photo Fridays - Pubcon Gals with Blue Man!

By Li Evans

It's Friday!  Guess what that means?  Another fun photo in store for all of you.  This week's photo is from Pubcon 2007 in Las Vegas.  A group of us went to see the Blue Man Group at the Venetian.  In this photo is Jill Whalen of High Rankings, Jessica Bowman of Yahoo, Lyndsay Walker of WestJet, Christine Churchill of KeyRelevance.com and Andrea Harris.

Pubcon Gals with Blue Man, Fun Photo Friday at SearchMarketingGurus.com

If you like this photo feel free to comment or favorite the photo of the Pubcon Gals and Blue Man on Flickr.  Check out the rest of the fun at Pubcon 2007.  Keep an eye out, we'll be back next week with Fun Photo Fridays.

Affiliate Marketing Is Not on the Decline

By Donna McCarthy

This is my first post for SMG so please bear with me if I don’t follow the usual rules of  blog posting.  I’m sure I’ll pick it up along the way.  My posts are primarily going to be about my observations working in the affiliate marketing space.  One of my biggest pet peeves as you’ll soon find out are those folks who criticize the affiliate industry and who have truly never really taken the time to do their research to learn how the industry works, or put the time and effort required into making a successful program.

I’ve read a lot of posts recently which state the affiliate industry is dying or on the decline. (How the Affiliate Marketing Industry Killed Itself.)  I find this quite fascinating and can only assume these folks are not looking at the same year over year results I am.  The preliminary 4th quarter data I have seen so far indicate the affiliate industry isDollar_arrows  actually on the increase.  Early revenue numbers indicate the 4th quarter of 2007 was stronger than ever.  In most cases, merchants reporting double digit revenue increases over last year.  With results like this I think I would disagree that the industry in a decline.      

Steve Denton, President of LinkShare addressed the same topic in recent interview with Revenews titled “LinkShare 2008 Preview - Part 1 of the Revenews 2008 Affiliate Network Preview Series”.  When Steve was asked about the annual proclamation of the affiliate industry's demise?  His reply was: "It's simply not true." Every year someone is posting something that announces the death of affiliate marketing. You remember when a certain large search engine was going to kill affiliate marketing because they changed their business model? Many people said when they changed their model it was going to kill affiliate marketing, but it didn't. Again, when all the adware and spyware issues first surfaced several years ago others predicted that was going to kill affiliate marketing. But it didn't. As an industry I think everyone works hard to resolve the issues that exist. I think we continue to demonstrate it is a proven, valuable channel." 

I think Steve summed it up best when he said “ Year in and year out this channel continues to deliver. Affiliate marketing is a robust channel that can't be ignored, especially as part of a multi-channel strategy."

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