Archive: December 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Subscribe, and Ye Shall Receive!

I can’t tell you how many of my favorite blogs aren’t on my RSS feed reader. I’m making it a January 1 (one day) resolution to research the 20 or so must-read blogs (the ones I read at least monthly) and actually add them to my feed reader. It’s so much easier to keep in touch that way. I don’t have 200 feeds on the go like some people (that’s too many), but it makes no sense to keep 40 on there and leave another 20 or so favorites in the “sporadic/random” file.

The world leader in keeping me in the loop has to be Mitch Joel. Just when I start to forget about Mitch (which is hard, believe me), he’ll post a link from his Six Pixels of Separation blog, on Facebook… and I’ll head over and read another highly original post. He’s already on my feed reader, but hey, what can I tell you… the multichannel pestering works.

So on that note: you might be one of those Traffick readers that visits here a few times a month, but haven’t yet clicked on the ol’ RSS button (upper right-hand corner) to actually subscribe to the feed using the feed reader of your choice. It’s right there! What are you waiting for!? Thanks for reading. Have a great 2009.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman


Wasn’t It Obvious All Along? Simple Explanations for eBay’s Decline

Happy New Year! At least to my friends in the Cook Islands! Welcome to 2009 y’all!

As we close out 2008 here in the Eastern Standard Time zone (GMT-5), a reflection.

Things that once seemed “complicated” in business and finance often respond very well to explanations a child — or at least any logical adult observer with a Grade 7 reading comprehension level and a dollop of accurate data — could understand. It’s the adult motivations that make people cling to idiotic premises, even as the evidence points to the contrary.

The obvious example is the subprime mortgage mess, and related credit troubles. On an individual level, guess what’s going to happen in an economic downturn when you give out 40-year, no-money-down mortgages to people with poor credit history and limited earning power? And lo and behold, it happened! But anyone could have told you that you don’t just buy a half-million-dollar asset when your household’s gross income is $60k… right? A child could have told you that?

Let’s look at what someone might observe about eBay, without any foreknowledge of market data, financial statements, etc. (On that front, though, the picture isn’t really pretty. It’s 2009 tomorrow, and the stock is back to the same level it traded at in 1999-2002… and down more than 50% from its low in 2007.)

  1. Consumers openly say they’re no longer into eBay because the auction concept is cumbersome and they just want to buy stuff. The hobby element is slipping away, especially on the buyer side. And straight sales, while widely available on eBay, stray from eBay’s differentiator (that it’s an auction). Amazon and other online retailers are better places to buy.
  2. Merchants are dissatisfied with eBay because eBay’s cut is too big. This stands to affect selection and word-of-mouth going forward.
  3. eBay’s brand is decaying because of the recurring problem of people using eBay to publicize grisly or tongue-in-cheek auctions for their own, personal reasons. It used to be great PR for eBay. Now it makes the brand tireder and tireder with every casket or sweat-stained tank top that goes up for auction.

eBay’s strengths? Presumably, diversification is going to drive eBay’s financials going forward. If they can sell off Skype for not too much of a loss, or — mean feat but worth trying — IPO it, they’ll look pretty good on paper. Some of their other brands (particularly PayPal) have strength and don’t suffer from, well, the “eBay problems” listed above.

As the eBay business declines, no one should be surprised. Even a child could read the handwriting on this wall.

Bonus complaint: eBay’s name sucks. The company grew rapidly and so was forced to grow into the name, which always sounded like a sort of local “beta” moniker, but the brand’s legs are affected by the poor name, IMHO.

You could say the same about the name Craigslist. Although an awesome service by many people’s standards, such close association with a guy named Craig, and the image of an experiment started mainly for folks in the San Francisco Bay Area, might also reach its high water mark and begin to decay, as eBay has.

Hmm, maybe that explains why eBay has had to pin some of its hopes on a parallel brand: Kijiji.

The winner in all the confusion? It must be Amazon, a company that seems clear about its retailing mission.


Posted by Andrew Goodman


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Page Zero Paid Search Seminar is Back!

Back by popular demand, Page Zero (speakers: myself and Mona Elesseily, with workshop facilitation help from colleagues) will be delivering an intensive, half-day seminar on the latest paid search marketing tactics. Expect plenty of personalized attention and fresh material along with the core fundamentals. This should be suitable for intermediate-level digital marketers.

Last May’s event was sold out, so take advantage of our early-bird pricing and book early.

When: Feb. 3, 2009. 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Where: MaRS Centre at University Ave. & College St., Toronto

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Posted by Andrew Goodman


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bad SEO Holiday Alert

I’m waiting for the family to arrive, so you get to enjoy the following bit of trivia:

The Geox website is so unfindable that you cannot find it unless you pretty much search for “”

The use of meta description information on this home page could use some work. Look at what the SERP looks like on Google:

Please, get the flash player, click here. P.IVA, Cod. Fisc. e Iscr. Reg. Imp. TV 03348440268 | © 2008 Geox spa – Tutti i diritti riservati.

Sigh. All this from a major international brand. Our work continues.


Posted by Andrew Goodman


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best Gift Is A Platform?

So the frenzy of retail gifting (e- or otherwise) is now nearly finished, save for the post-Christmas bargain shopping, all-important “shop for yourself” me-time, and gift card redemption period of course. The collisions in the liquor store parking lot are slowing to a trickle. Stockings are being hung. Flights are still delayed.

If you’re a digital freak you may have found yourself shaking your head even more than usual this year when faced with the madness of real-world shopping. Especially on a day like today. Here in Toronto we had a heavy snowstorm with the usual “no place to put the snow” problem, followed by today’s rising temperatures and heavy downpour. Combine with chock-full parking lots and harried shoppers, and you get a true test of holiday spirit.

If you’re a digital freak like me, you probably:

  • Have trouble getting past your tendency to see “gifts” as just data or information.
  • And why buy a single SKU when you can give someone their own password and some monetary assistance towards the particular SKU that’ll satisfy what they want, rather than your unlucky guess?
  • And wouldn’t the best place to get a full selection be in a place that covers the full Long Tail of available options?
  • And wouldn’t that place be searchable? Try searching for a book title in a bookstore. Sure, you can try to grab someone on staff, and they can look for the item on their computer. And then, they’ll tell you, nah, it isn’t in stock.
  • Hey, the Lacoste Store doesn’t even carry the Lacoste bathing suits for anyone planning a trip. Shelf space is too precious. I think these “not much in stock” brand stores are some kind of exercise in “branding” and “high price maintenance,” but I don’t know. All I know is I went to another store and bought the Nike bathing suit… because they actually stocked bathing suits there.

On the upside, real world retail has this much going for it: there is, as yet, no “Bromance” section in the physical bookstore. Online, I wouldn’t be able to guarantee that.

Brothers and sisters, have a joyous and festive holiday.

Digitally yours,



Posted by Andrew Goodman


Friday, December 12, 2008

Andrew Publishes Free AdWords Guide: A Brave New World

While you’re waiting for your copy of Winning Results, 2nd ed. to ship, you might want to check out this fun, informative and free PDF Andrew has just put together, boiling down some key current AdWords takeaways (including some wild and crazy stuff about Quality Score), in only 40 pages.

I’ve already read through it (I did the formatting and design, so I was actually one of the first two people to read it) and I can tell you that it did a great job of explaining the newfangled AdWords regime, as I’m a web developer and SEO director by trade and not as involved with day-to-day AdWords campaign management as many on the Page Zero team.

Totally worth a look! Check it out!

Download Andrew’s free Google AdWords guide

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Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt


More on Engagement

For this client, using the “custom segment the most engaged users” method, I isolated the “engaged decile” of site visitors who view many pages and remain on the site for a long time. In the past month, that “decile” is 11.9% of visitors, but anyway… what is remarkable about this group is that they make up well over half the pageviews on the site! In fact, this 11.9% accounts for 56.6% of pageviews, leaving the remaining 88.1% of visitors to generate a pathetic 43.4% of pageviews. Overall, engagement on this site is poor. Many visitors are distinctly unimpressed. The “average” visitor views three pages. The “average visitor” of that engaged sliver views an impressive fifteen pages! (Average time on site: 1:58 vs. 13:22, a difference of more than 6X.) So that sliver of interested folks diverges sharply from the crowd. More proof: your tribe matters a great deal. The rest of the world doesn’t give a hoot.


Posted by Andrew Goodman


Thursday, December 04, 2008

I Just Had Another Baby!

Well, it took 18 months to gestate and another few months for final proofs, printing, and machinations to unfold, but the totally-updated, hot-and-fresh Second Edition of Winning Results with Google AdWords is now in the house! And available for purchase on Amazon (I expect it to be in stock there by week’s end) and in finer bookstores. “This book is a must-read for all marketers over the holidays!”… so says its author.


Posted by Andrew Goodman


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ring My Bell, SEM’s, Says NASDAQ

SEMPO Board Chair Dana Todd, flanked by other SEMPOites, rings the NASDAQ opening bell yesterday. GOOG stock was down 9.2% on a generally horrific day for the tech stocks, but this won’t stop search marketers from forging on through sleet, snow, hail, rain, and recession, to make marketing more accountable. Pictorial evidence below. Everyone owns a suit! Who knew?


Posted by Andrew Goodman


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