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So while I was away I made it onto the Most Influential Online Marketers of 2008 list. Not that I don’t appreciate everyone who was nice enought to vote for me, and all the hard work that went into putting a list like that together, but I wonder about the culture we create and want to live in where people strive to be on lists like this and use them of some measure of personal or professional validation.People who set out to make sure they are known by the “right” people or make it onto the “right” lists worry me. Sure it’s cool to be a celebrity and get inv
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ited to all the cool parties, but it’s much better if you actually did something other than stroking the egos of the right people to get there. Let’s face it who wants to be “that guy” who poeple invited because they had to, not because he was interesting or informative (and I use he to mean everyone male and female not just men so don’t be hatin’ on me).
So please don’t be playing the fame game and like Loren Feldman says don’t be obsessing over personal branding, instead focus on doing good work. At then end of the day making onto some list and being internet famous is a waste of time unless you can figure out how to make some money with it, because it’s “tough to pay the bills with a wallet full of famous” (credit Lee Odden).
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So I Made it Onto Some Silly List


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“But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.”
So says Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello and, while he may be a villainous, lying, manipulative bad guy, he is right. Fail to protect your reputation and your new business levels will suffer.
A good reputation has always [...]


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Here’s the reality -  you’re not always going to rank #1 for all your keywords all of the time.
Faced with this constraint, you should put some serious thought into how you plan to legimately ’steal’ clicks from competitors ranked above you. Remember - ranking is not an end unto itself; it is the click that [...]


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While most of our time is spent online, conferences are the one spot where people are in the same spot, so it’s a perfect spot for interviews. As we all know interviews are perfect tool for shameless ego stroking and linkbuilding symbiotic cross promotion. Here are some recent video interviews I’ve done in the past few months.
SES Chicago 2008
Click here to view the embedded video.
Youtube: Michael Gray Pocket Cam Interview SES Chicago 2008
AimClear Blog: Thought Leaders at SES: Michael Gray V-Interview
Blog World 2008
Click here to view the embedded v
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ideo.
Youtube: Michael Gray at Blog World 2008
Search Engine World: Interview with Michael Gray at Blogworld Expo 2008
SES San Jose 2008
Click here to view the embedded video.
Youtube: Michael Gray and Todd Malicoat talk about Twitter for Retailers via GetElastic
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Michael Gray on Video


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Modern SEO is not about PageRank, rankings or traffic or not solely. Modern SEO is about conversions (and ultimately ROI).
“Twitter is a social site that drives traffic in dozens not hundreds or thousands in most cases. So there must be something else in it.”

Creative Commons image by remediate.this
Twitter is a social networking site where [...]


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The Borgle is doing it again - after Google Maps ripping off MapQuest, Youtube is out to jack SoundClick.
Before I got into the search marketing community, one of the first online communities I really got involved with was the hiphop community. I’d seen 8 Mile, loved the ’seize the day’ message in its theme song and gone home to look up lyrics to the rap battles in it. As things happened, one such community site ranked for the longtail phrase I’d looked up, one thing led to another and the next thing you know I was writing, producing and recording my own songs. Of
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course, I wanted people listen to them, so like my friends who were already sharing their music, I joined Sound Click - a music social media network that was around ages before Myspace.
SoundClick combined some features to make its site very, very addictive.
First, it had charts. So once you uploaded something, it would get played and assigned an arbitrary spot in the charts. Then, as more people listened to it, downloaded and voted for it, your song moved up the charts. As anyone who’s produced egobait knows, competitive folks will make a big effort to rank higher.
Soundclick Instrumentals Charts
Second, it gave you the ability to make your own profile page, answer questions about the types of music deals you’d do (which let us mediocre unknowns delude ourselves like someone cared enough to read it ) and so on. While I can’t speak for others, I spent countless hours editing and refining my answers. If you bought a membership, you were given greater ability to customize your page with layouts, additional information etc.
Third, SoundClick gave you some rudimentary analytics such as how many plays a song had gotten, highest positions on the charts etc. Just like standard web analytics, these were highly addictive numbers. Paid members got even more data to gnaw on.
SoundClick also offered advertising and promotional options. For paid members, this meant that your new songs got a certain visibility on the site’s ad blocks, and for unpaid members, this meant the opportunity to buy visibility for your tracks. The Borgle is now offering the same opportunity: https://ads.youtube.com/index
Of course, SoundClick’s genius lay in the ability to stroke your own ego: you could manipulate the charts and analytics if you bought their promotional packages. Bragging rights about hitting number were a big deal.
And some people even got truly attention from it. I recall some guy recording a mixtape song with Nas as a result of his success on Soundclick.
Turns out, as Danny Dover has explained, Youtube has a community that is really competitive. Which is understandable, since Youtube has a number of charts that correlate explicitly with particular metrics - and more so than what Soundclick had (they rolled all the metrics into a single chart per genre/subgenre). And get this - Youtube is offering its own custom analytics to advertisers (hattip: Greg Sterling’s post on the new Youtube ads). Barry Schwartz has screen shots.
Is 2009 too aggressive of a goal for Youtube to break even? All it’ll take is a couple of success stories showing up in the media about people whose ads on Youtube bought them the distribution that led to a record deal. Then the copy-cats will flood in, bid up the ad rates and Youtube will become a cash-cow.
Of course, this buy-distribution-and-make-it-big idea can work beyond just music. The video highlighted by Danny Dover lead to an advertising agency buying the rights to the video so they could make a TV-quality version. Aspiring screenwriters, playwrights, actors and so on could use it to advance their careers, or even sell subscriptions to premium video content of their own.
While we’re jacking other people’s business plans, why not throw in a Taxi or Major Contacts like setup and shout the opportunities with record labels from every rooftop?
Methinks that if you’re not too concerned about ethics and the Borgle’s monopoly of the web or perhaps creation of its own web, now’s a good time to buy their stock.
Is my Tin-Foil hat adjusted too tight or am I on the money? Are you worried about GOOG’s constant expansion and duplicating other folks business models? Their control of the distribution of information lets them get around needing a unique value proposition when launching copycat products since they can easily take market share by aggressively integrating the site into search results (OMGz! They’re producing thin sites with low value-add??! Spammers! ) . Let’s hear your comments!
Gab Goldenberg also writes his own search blog, as well as offering link popularity services.
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Mapquest v.2: Google’s Attack On SoundClick.com


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By now everybody serious about social networking agrees that you have to be on Twitter .
OK, I’ve been on Twitter for a few months now and I admit to tweeting almost daily. I use Twitter mostly for business blogging reasons and have roughly 470 followers by now just due to my blogging and tweeting activity. So [...]


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Hi I’m Kelly Barrass and have just joined SEOptimise as a Marketing Assistant. I am an undergraduate at Oxford Brookes University, studying Marketing Management and English Literature. I have previous Marketing Experience for an award winning business in Surrey, and am keen to extend my knowledge and awareness of Search Engine Optimisation.
What Being a [...]
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So last night I was chatting with Rae about Partnering for Profits program on Copyblogger. I paid signed up and downloaded my PDF copy. I sent myself a copy of the PDF by email so I could read it on my iPhone. When I did I encountered a problem I see with a lot of other products so I thought I’d share.
The PDF is printed in a serif font (fonts with little thingys hanging off them) at the end. This is a carryover from print days when newspapers like the New York Times or Wall Street Journal used them. However they are really bad for usability/readability on the web. For web based mat
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erial you are much better off using a clean sans-serif font like Arial or Verdana. Think I’m being a baby take a look at the screen shots below and tell me which you find more readable.

#1) serif font in a PDF
#2) sans serif font in a PDF
#3) PDF converted to a web page in instapaper with user selected sans serif font
IMHO #1 is unreadable. Maybe for an email or single page but at 150+ pages, never going to happen. #2 is better and I could power through it. However #3 which removes the content from the context and lets the user choose the font size and style has the highest usability.
I don’t know that the authors ever considered I’d be reading it on a iPhone, but as smart phones become more ubiquitous it’s going to happen. Maybe I want to read a chapter while I’m waiting for my kids in karate class, or maybe other people will take their blackberry into the bathroom to read, or maybe someone will want to read the PDF they bought on a plane to a conference. The takeaway here is make it easy to consume your content, consider things like formatting, and font selection, allow some fexibility or wiggle room when you sell or distribute your product.
epilogue:
for people who want to convert things here’s how, use foxit to save your PDF as a text file, import it into your document editor of choice (I use google docs). Save it as a PDF or export it as an HTML. Upload the file and use Instapaper to pull it in, make sure you pull it in locally on your device then delete it.
Is taking someone’s copyrighted document and publishing it a copyright violation, technically, I’m sure it is. Putting it up temporariliy on a secret URL feeding it to instapaper and then pulling it down, IMHO follows the spirit of the law, but not the letter. I didn’t give it to anyone I just converted the it to a preferred format. Giving it away to other people IS breaking the law, and just bad mojo.
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Why Font Selection and Usability Matter on Your Product


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There are times when I’m maybe a little harsh on the lifestyle blogging community, but more than anything it’s a Judge Judy kind of  tough love. What I really want is for people to grasp the concept that just because some people (who happen to be exceptional writers) are able to make money being  lifestyle bloggers, doesn’t mean everyone can. However there are steps everyone can take to make their blog more attractive to advertisers, and increase the likelihood that they will turn a profit from their blog.Trevor Edwards, Nike’s corporate vice president had this to say abo
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ut television advertising:
We’re not in the business of keeping the media companies alive, we’re in the business of connecting with consumers.
Like television stations too many bloggers and blogging advocates think advertisers owe them a living, this is especially true of bloggers on webmaster welfare using google adsense. Few bloggers give any thought to what an advertiser is looking for on a blog, and what they can do to make their blogs more attractive to the people who actually spend the advertising dollars.
During the last economic downturn when a lot of people where home, unemployed, and under-employed blogging flourished. As the number of layoff’s climbs higher I suspect blogging is going to change again, and it will be just as violent an upheaval.
Newspapers are dying, slowly but surely people are switching away from dead tree dinosaur media. There will never be a world without newspapers, but print newspapers will play a smaller role in every-one’s lives, and people consume more of their information in distributed forms. Reporters and writers will start shifting to the web, squeezing out bloggers who are popular solely because of their legacy status. Hobby bloggers who do it out of love, and not because it’s a business, will still exist, but unless your are a top tier author, the only way you will be profitable is to offer a space that an advertiser wants to pay to be in.
You can go the display advertising route or the affiliate marketing path, or if you’re really clever, evolve and use both. Whichever way you go, now isn’t the time to sit on the fence, paralyzed with fear, embrace your passion, and find a way to make it profitable.
Reminds me I really need to get to work on my new theme cause it looks kinda old and clunky round here.
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This post originally came from Michael Gray who is an SEO Consultant.
Is Your Blog Advertiser Friendly


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