How to Fail at Advertising

I subscribe to Wired magazine, I think it’s the most amazing piece of literature ever produced ever ever. That doesn’t say much for me and my depth of knowledge, but seriously, it is amazing and it’s a very “boyzy” magazine. It’s filled with science, gadgets, business, technology, entrepreneurship and basically everything else that I like. If you had access to see their demographic stats I’m sure they would look something along the lines of:

99% – Male
1% – Undisclosed

Reading my magazine this month, I came across the most misplaced advert ever, it was an advert for a subscription to…wait for it…Vogue. I mean seriously, how can you get a more misplaced advert than that? I only have one word for the media planner of www.magazineboutique.co.uk. Fail.

Magazine Boutique is a sort of supermarket / distributor for a bunch of magazines so you can subscribe to them in one place. Of course they also offer a subscription to Wired so there is some cross pollination going on, but I thought “these two plants ain’t going to breed”. I mean why didn’t they put in: House and Garden or GQ – Twice (Think I already saw a GQ advert in for this month but seeing a different advert for the same magazine would’ve been much better)

I’m really confused as to why they would’ve run an advert for Vogue in what is almost a 100% male magazine? Maybe they thought the male readership would’ve bought a subscription for their girlfriends or wives, but that wouldn’t have worked either as people that read Wired are so uber geeky that getting one is very unlikely, the only woman that we have a chance with resides in a 24″ computer monitor and I don’t think she really wants a subscription to Vogue.

Sorry to slam you Magazine Boutique but your media planner / buyer really sucks at planning / buying media, I’ve never seen a more misplaced advert in my life. At least it made me laugh, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Fail

Fail

SEO Blogs: It’s all in the name

I’ve noticed that there are some cool SEO blog names out there, some of bloggers I know personally, others I don’t. However, as the space gets more and more competitive, people try to be a little different to stand out from the crowd.

Some of my favourites:

1. www.seorabbit.com – Claims to be an SEO Expert

2. www.seoidiot.co.uk – Claims to be an erm…SEO Idiot?

3. www.stuntdubl.com – Claims to be an SEO Stuntman

I mean what next? A Ping Pong Pie?

Jonathan Legard – Best No Value Commentator

I don’t mean to come across as cynical or bitter, but the BBC needs to know that Jonathan Legard is a terrible commentator and offers no value to F1 in general. He has zero understanding of the sport and his commentary is boring and pointless, actually extremely irritating and annoying as he seems to be the master of stating the obvious.

His commentary is pure drivel, I know the BBC have to cater to a wide range of people, but Jesus, if you’re watching F1, you probably know the basics like the cars don’t want to go off the tarmac. I quote: “he’s just gone off the track, he didn’t want to do that”.

The BBC should really improve the show and get rid of him, there is no Chemistry between him and Martin – actually Jonathan thinks he’s the dog’s whatsits and feels that he’s the #1 commentator – so effing arrogant.

It’s clear he’s never driven a lap in anger, actually driven a lap of a racetrack. Ever.

All I can say is Jonathan Legard, you suck and are doing F1 a disservice in the UK; do us and yourself a favour and go back to working in a sport where you are actually an expert.

Castrol Nonsense Rankings

Castrol – in conjunction with Autosport have recently brought out a ranking tool which lists almost every racing driver and “ranks” them according to certain criteria and weighting theories which they have thought up. Watching the rankings over the last six months or so, I have to publicly state that they are a load of rubbish. Never before have I seen something which is packaged so professionally deliver something of such a biased and seemingly poor quality.

Firstly, there is no way to separate man and machine so that you can measure exactly what the performance is of each component, whether it’s flesh and blood or metal and carbon fibre. This brings me onto the first part of the rankings, which has all the top F1 teams near the top of the rankings, and as the teams performance worsens so do the rankings of a particular driver. Does this mean that moving to a top team automatically makes you one of the best, or if you haven’t really had an opportunity to drive equal machinery, does that mean you are a thousand times worse than some of your counterparts. For example, why is Steven Kane number eight hundred odd when he was Mclaren Autosport winner of the year, he’s an amazing driver in my opinion, however you just can’t compare these types of drivers with one another. According to the list and his talent, he should be placed at least as well as Gary Paffett who is a DTM champion and has won in year old machinery who is placed at number forty five! Or what about Timo Glock – is he really sixty four drivers worse than Mark Webber? How can you really tell even with complex theories and weighting systems. Michael Schumacher is only number two hundred – fifty places behind his brother Ralf whom was known to be better(!). Pffffttt.

The trouble with the ranking system is that it’s done by people who have opinions and preferences, and I’m sure the people compiling the data are probably not totally racing aware or as passionate as the editor of Autosport who has put his name to it.

You can’t compare drivers unless they are in equal machinery and certainly can’t even begin to contemplate comparing drivers across different formula. The data is meaningless and pure nonsense built on rules which have no foundation in reality. Sorry to flame you Autosport and Castol Rankings and I’ll probably be dismissed as an idiotic punter that knows nothing, however, anyone with an ounce of logic can see that this list is nothing but a popularity contest.

www.castroldriverrankings.com & www.autosport.com are the websites if you want to have a look yourself.

The Future of SEO Consultancy

I run a SEO Company, and I constantly question the future and how stable it is. I personally believe that pure “seo consultancy” is a shrinking market and that if you don’t diversify your business you’ll find yourself without a company in the next year or two. It is truly a frightening place to be at the moment. This is because Google’s algorithm is each day becoming slightly more resilient to people trying to manipulate the results for their own gain this is partly down to: Google is reducing the area within a particular webpage from where it counts and trusts links and has other factors to determine whether a link is trusted or not. I estimate that 97% of links that are “purposely” built do not pass PageRank and only the very best link-builders are able to create links which can reliably pass PageRank in any sort of volume. There is a very fine line between ROI and not when it comes to paid links in any sort of competitive vertical market, I don’t have any moral or ethical issue with paid links, all my decisions are based on the amount of margin I can make and I don’t think that paid linking with aggressive anchor text linking is where it’s at anymore in terms of securing a long-term future.

Around 30% of my new business enquiries are for Viral Marketing and Social Media Marketing and this number is growing quickly, people are starting to look past the “free listings on Google” and are starting to diversify their online marketing budgets. Pure Search Engine Optimisation is so competitive these days and the diminishing ROI from a clients point of view makes them not want to commit such large sums of money chasing some top terms which may or may not ever appear, makes investing in pure SEO not appear very prudent now or tomorrow.

SEO agencies need to diversify into full service agencies that offer a full bouquet of services and make SEO just one of the 4, 5 or 6 main services that they offer. I predict the term “SEO” will die in the next few years and we’ll talk about Google rankings and traffic growth from a far more holistic “Online Marketing” standpoint which will include everything from Google Organics, PPC, Social Media Marketing, Viral Marketing to video marketing. A company wanting to grow with search traffic and social traffic will need to participate in nearly every form of online marketing to stand a reasonable chance of success.

There are more sharks and less fish these days and the trend looks to continue for many years to come.

Sucky Registrars

My dad since retiring has started a number of micro business and I’ve been delegated the task of building the websites for him; he’s based in South Africa and we’ve been forced to use a South African registrar which sucks big time, it took 5 long distance calls, numerous emails and eventual begging to get them to move the nameservers. Finally the site went up, however, the email to my dads site didn’t work. Now many more long distance telephone calls, repointing name servers and general ball ache to get the most simple of sites up and running properly.

If you’re in South Africa and want to setup a new business, become a registrar and host which half decent customer service and you’ll do very well.

Rant over.

The Metamorphosis of Print Newspapers

Who would want to own an established newspaper right now? Hands up please. Nobody? Thought so.

With the ever decreasing value of news due to the internet newspapers as we all know are in serious trouble and I strongly doubt any of them will make it long-term without making substantial changes to their business models. Rupert Murdoch  has taken the most outrageously stupid step of putting a pay wall up on his non-niche newspapers which will be the death of the NY times and his other publication in my opinion.  Why? Well, it’s okay if you’re the FT and you need that specialist data and news that’s hard to find in other places, but with normal bog standard publications, the news is everywhere and it’s free. Pay Wall my newspapers here in the UK – I’ll just use the BBC website. Thanks.

To survive they need to change and to do it quickly. They have equity in their brand and they need to leverage that into other areas where people don’t mind paying. The Belfast Telegraph has done it with selling used cars in Northern Ireland or the Guardian has used their brand equity to start a dating website thingy. These newspapers kind of have the right idea and I applaud them, but it needs to be drastic and it needs to be soon. Good luck old timers, it’s going to be a tough ride, most of you won’t make it, but the shrewdest just might.

User Generated Content Rules

For someone that vaguely understands how search engines work, one aspect that really gets my blood pumping is user generated content (UGC), it’s terribly exciting from a webmasters perspective, if you can avoid having your site spammed to death. Google and and other major search engines love to gobble up content, their proverbial bellies always hungry for more perceived good quality writing to index and display when queried.

This is a classic example of a brilliant UGC styled website whom are now branching out into building out their business a bit further by offering a sort of Yellow Pages based off the back of their hyper successful Q & A style site.

Taking it a step further, you can  used a trusted site in Google to kick start your new venture, even specific queries like this Newport Beach Facebook should get indexed and start to receive a little traffic. Now imagine, each new search created a new non dupe page – yummy.

Moral of the story: Trust (lots of PR) + A ton of content = Lots of $

TicketMaster Sending Promotional Emails when I’ve Opted Out

Don’t you hate companies that disobey your opt-out request not to be sent any promotional material after you’ve made a purchase? Man it pisses me off, I think it’s completely disrespectful of your wishes and terrible customer service. Anyway, I bought a couple of tickets through Ticketmaster to see a show at the Oxford theatre in September, the transaction was duly completed quite easily, however, there was a box that I unchecked which opted me out of receiving any further unnecessary emails.  Low and behold: Within 36 hours they are emailing me telling me what the benefits of my membership are or whatever.

Also, they sent me an email telling me about my “insurance” which I have bought to cover me in-case I don’t see the show for £5 odd – now what the hell is that all about? I didn’t want any insurance and I certainly didn’t knowingly ask for any, so why have the billed me for it or was it included? More investigation required here.

I hope your weekend was good my dear readers :)

4 of a kind Queens On Full Tilt Poker

For the first time in my life in a real poker game I had four of a kind of anything! What an amazing feeling, to top it off they were Queens so I wasn’t going to lose, no matter what. It happened very early in a Sit and Go Tournament and I crushed the guy who dared to challenge my raise and re-raise. You get this huge buzz, almost like nothing you’ve ever felt before, it’s like an energy or an excitement that’s almost uncontrollable that rises from your stomach and into your mouth, you want to scream but you watch the rest of the hand instead with utter glee knowing the guy that just put all his chips is laughing at his most unfortunate luck.

Here is a picture from the screenshot I took as it happened, It’s the game at the bottom. If you;’re wondering why I have more than one game on at a time it’s because Poker can be really slow so if you multi-table there is usually always action and you can make money faster that way.

Four of a Kind Queens on Full Tilt Poker (FTP)