Archive for February, 2006

Silicon Valley Sleuth: Things you don’t want Google to find

Wow. Great article. It’s been a while, but I remember when I used to use Google (or Alta Vista in the old days) to look at website visitor statistics from other competitor sites. Take a look at some of the information George Kurtz was able to view when presenting at a Security Risk Conference.

“You almost get bored finding all these password files. It used to be fun in the old days when you found a password file. Now you just go to Google and find thousands of them,” Kurtz said. Full article

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v7ndotcom elursrebmem

The Wall Street Journal published a good article on the v7ndotcom elursrebmem SEO contest. No, I have no ambitions of winning. This is a rough crowd. 🙂

I didn’t even think about the possibility of the following as depicted in this quote from the current front-runner of the contest. (He has the #1 ranking on Google for the phrase  “v7ndotcom elursrebmem”)

But he says that being a front-runner makes you a target for the black hatters. They might, for instance, “promote” your site via the sort of spam that Google is known to frown upon. The end result of that, says Mr. Westergren, is that your site could be demoted.
Full WSJ Article

As I said, they’re a rough group. If you rank #1, the competitors can spam your domain and get you dropped in the rankings. There’s so many angles to these types of contests that they are very interesting to watch.

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WebsideStory: Conversion rates higher at AOL

This has always been an interesting metric to me. I’ve also noticed that AOL converts much higher than the other search engines/browsers. MSN’s new Adcenter is performing well with low volumne and I don’t agree that Yahoo converts better than AOL. I’ve had terrible results with Yahoo and pretty decent results with Google.

For the month of January, AOL Search generated the best conversion rate at business-to consumer e-commerce sites (6.17 percent), followed by MSN (6.03 percent), Yahoo (4.07 percent) and Google (3.83 percent), according to the WebSideStory Index, a new statistical barometer that features techno-graphic and e-commerce trends culled from the millions of users that visit web sites using the company’s award-winning web analytics technology, HBX Analytics. The study includes traffic from both organic and paid keywords. full press release

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The reassurance of personal data security

Cooks Illustrated did a great job of turning a negative technical problem into a strong reassurance that “we will protect your data”

Dear Friend of Cook’s,

As you have probably noticed, our Web site has been offline since Monday. This was due to a file being deleted in the “back office” part of our site over the weekend. We did not know how, or by whom, this file was deleted. As we do retain sensitive personal information from our Web members and registrants, we decided, for security reasons, to take the site down immediately.

As soon as we discovered the problem, we took steps to determine the cause and to determine whether or not any personal information was subject to unauthorized access. As of today, Friday, February 3, we have no indication that any sensitive personal information was compromised, nor can we say for sure whether this event was caused by a purposeful act or by a system malfunction.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have removed all credit card information from our servers before bringing the site back online. That means that all aspects of our Web site are functional except for your personal account information and My Favorites. As soon as we have determined that it is appropriate for us to reintegrate the credit card information with our online services (hopefully early next week) our site will be restored to full functionality.

Although we were, of course, anxious to bring our Web site back online quickly, our most immediate concern has been the security of our customers’ sensitive information, and we therefore wished to move deliberately. This has required a bit of patience on your part and also on ours. Here, as in cooking, haste is no virtue. (Much like you, however, I do find waiting painful.)

We intend to update all paid Web site members by mail or email as soon as we have concluded our analysis.

Thanks so much for your patience.

Christopher Kimball
Founder and Editor
Cook’s Illustrated

Cooks Illustrated could have easily covered up the problem as a non-issue and continued with business as usual. Instead they showed that their customers are their #1 priority.

Kudos to Christopher Kimball and his team for being forthright with their technical issue. Establishing trust is similar to building a brand. You can’t force it. You have to practice it and let the consumers decide where you fall. I will continue to be a loyal subscriber, and now, also an advocate.

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Ice cream company’s blog lures more customers

How creative. Who want’s to read a blog about ice cream? Apparently no one, that’s why John Nardini, Vice President of Marketing for Denali Flavors (Moose Tracks Ice Cream), writes a financial blog about personal finance tips that is sponsored by none other than Moose Tracks Ice Cream. I’ll refrain from comment on the all flash site for now where the only text on the page is the title tag… “Home Page.”

Traffic to the Ice Cream site has increased 30% since he started FreeMoneyFinance.com.

Now it could be argued that Moose Tracks’ traffic increased 30% because they started with a low base of absolutely no search engine traffic because search engines have nothing to index on the page, (who searches for ice cream anyway) but again, that’s another post. But regardless of where they started, John was very ingenious to go the route of a financial blog to direct traffic to the ice cream site.

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