Archive for August, 2007

A Viral Classic in the Making

August 29th, 2007 No comments

I don’t forward around time wasting, though funny, internet phenomena often. Maybe once a year. Mainly I don’t have time for time wasting internet jokes, I am not living in 1999, and I have work to do. Clearly I am in a minority as many other people do in fact have time for this. While waiting for a to go order of delicious Burmese food, my brother (a person with plenty of time to waste on the internet) introduced me to (basically a funnier lolcats). And I saw the picture below, which I immediately forwarded to a few select recipients.


I know now that this one is destined to be a classic because it got forwarded to me from a totally separate friend I did not email, who also does not normally send forwards. Stupid viral funny thing, you got us! You got us good.

ps – This also means that two years from now my aunt and mom will forward this to me.

Categories: I Love the Interweb Tags:

Affiliates, Trademarks and SEM

August 29th, 2007 No comments

We terminated an affiliate today that was a pretty decent revenue driver for us. I am always bummed a little when we have to do this, but push came to shove and they had to go. We have a very strict trademark policy with our affiliates. Affiliates cannot purchase keywords which are our brand name, or the brand name of any of our supplier partners who’ve requested no search engine marketing (and we list them, explicitly). Unfortunately this affiliate ignored that policy, as well as our policies requiring that all affiliates need to provide a website (don’t just buy keywords and link to our site, add some value!). We always issue a warning first, an affiliate might have missed the policy once, but if we catch them at it again, they’re out. It was literally within days of the first violation that we spotted a second, even worse one, from the same affiliate. At the end of the day its a trust issue, we just don’t trust them to abide by our policies. That and we want affiliates that provide customer value and aren’t trying to spam the web or game the paid search system. That’s how we roll.

Occasionally, and mainly its from affiliate networks like Linkshare, I hear that you should let your affiliates bid on your brand name, or I hear that you don’t need to bid on your brand name if your site ranks first in natural search. I think both of these are generally nonsense, though there are exceptions to both.

First off, if no one else or an irrelevant or policeable amount of bidders (people you can scare into stopping with mean legal notes or by politely asking) are bidding on your brand name, there’s no added value to having affiliates there, you’re just cannibalizing your own traffic from your brand name, and paying someone else for those transactions, and maybe also losing some potential customer loyalty to their site instead of your site.

Secondly, even if you rank well in natural search for your brand name, its worth buying it in your paid campaigns. I did a test when I was at a former company where our brand name ranked first in natural search and we had little to no other paid ads showing up for our brand. We turned off the paid link and just measured the natural links’ traffic and transactions, and quite a bit of the formerly paid transactions did disappear (though not all). Why? Not sure, maybe other natural rankings absorbed that traffic. Maybe distribution partner sites that only display paid (or more paid and less natural) didn’t have a link for us appearing. Either way, it was worth buying the paid link. Also, the paid link for your brand name is usually dirt cheap and you’ll have a fab quality score.

Exceptions: If your brand name is a generic word, like say Shoes, then its tough to defend as a trademark and its likely other bidders are going to appear, so maybe it makes sense to have your affiliates in place of those other ads. Getting more real estate to edge out the competition is maybe not a bad idea. On the flip side, if you have a generic name like that it might be prohibitively expensive to purchase the keyword and maintain a healthy return on investment, you might want to pass.

Categories: Affiliates Tags:

MSN AdCenter Hears from Me

August 29th, 2007 No comments

Funny, shortly after the post below I got contacted for a survey by MSN, which I completed. Then a follow up email came that they may contact me by phone. Good luck to them!

Categories: Wag of My Finger Tags: