Archive for May, 2006

Dayparting Google AdWords – Coming Soon

Posted at the Search Engine Watch blog…

New Google AdWords Dayparting & Ad Scheduling Coming
The new features will allow advertisers to schedule the ads to show on weekends or weekdays only, or on other set days the advertiser specifies. Dayparting is also included allowing advertisers to schedule their ads during specific hours, such as to run late at night or at lunchtime only.

Internet Retailer recently reported the value of dayparting over here at and the addition to the Google UI will be very welcome. As Jennifer says, it's a move to catch up to Microsoft adCenter's dayparting and demographic targeting options.


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Last 60 Days of Riya – launch of a startup

Munjal Shah, Founder and CEO of one of my favorite new companies, Riya, started blogging the experience of the last 60 days of Riya's launch…

Last 60 Days of Riya

"I will recount the days following our launch, the cocaine like high and subsequent crash of the Techcrunch effect, the final analysis on whether Riya's technology worked, the feedback we recieved from users, the competitors we beat (at least in traffic), the flaw in the Riya business strategy we uncovered, the crisis it precipitated, the concern I developed for the entire Web 2.0 industry as the numbers rolled in, the search for a new strategy as Azhar, Burak, and I sat in a conference room for almost 10 days straight, the customer data that lead us to a counter-web 2.0 and counter intuitive strategy, the board meeting and debate about it, and the first execution around it."

This should prove to be a very interesting read. Riya has shown the power of developing a great product and letting the consumers and word of mouth drive growth rather than the push of ad dollars to drive growth.

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Incredibly poor customer service

I was rooting through some old email looking for something and found this entertaining email thread from a friend of mine that tried to purchase a phone card from

First Message from

Hello xxx,
Your attempts to order were not complete. You have not been billed for your attempts. Check the credit card number and transaction information to make sure they were entered correctly. If this does not resolve the problem, call the credit card issuer to resolve. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you, and thanks for choosing World Phonecard.

Best Regards,

WPC Support Team

Reply from xxx:

I tried to purchase a card twice and both times my browser locked up.


Now for the good stuff from

Hello xxx,

Sorry to hear that. We hope you don't think it was our fault?

Best Regards,

WPC Support Team

Does your customer support team treat your customers like this? It seems to be an attempt to reclaim an abandoned checkout that could be very effective at driving revenue from a customer that you've paid good money to acquire. That's a sure way to run your business into the ground. 🙂

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Slow Gmail with Firefox

I find that Gmail is incredibly slow in rendering with my FireFox browser. Not sure if it is FF in general or if it's extenstion related, but I found a workaround that speeds up Gmail considerably.

I use a "User Agent Switcher Extension" for other areas of my job including SEO and debugging internal applications. This extension allows you to change the information that you send to the host website and specify whether you're using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or anything else that you want.

I found that if I use the extension to change my user agent to something like "Googlebot 2.1", Gmail reads my request as an "unsupported browser" and switches to an alternative mode which renders many, many times quicker.

Another benefit to claiming that you're Googlebot 2.1 is that you can sometimes get into password protected areas on news websites. 🙂

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MSN adCenter targeting and conversion tracking

I've been beta testing MSN adCenter (PPC Search) for quite a while and have not been impressed with the application so far. They've made tremendous improvements to the UI now that it is out of beta, but it seems that every feature that should be a positive tick for MSN works out to be a negative for the advertiser. It seems they're putting revenue potential ahead of their customer's requirements and expectations.

MSN has a great set of ad targeting options, at least they could be. One example is the demographics targeting or, "Incremental Pricing for targeting" as they call it. This sounds great. I'm in the golf industry so I would like to target the "Males" "35+" demographic.

At issue here is that AdCenter only allows a "positive bid increase" in multiples of 10%. Doesn't sound that bad at first until you think about the 10-100 or so keywords I'm bidding on within the same "order" (an order is the same as an adgroup on Google), all at varying levels of CPC. If I already know the maximum CPC I'm willing to pay for the keyword phrase "Titleist Pro V1", how do I determine what percentage to increase my bids for males only? For the 35-50 demographic? For the 50-65 demographic?

If I assume I can increase my bids 30% for the term "Titleist Pro V1" for those given demographics, how does that affect the keyword phrase "Titleist golf ball" that is also within the same adgroup and subject to the same increase? So if I increase bids by a percentage for a given demographic, then my individual keyword bids should be lowered to maintain my target CPC. What happens when MSN can't determine the demographics of the searcher? I assume I'll get outbid because my base CPC bid is too low.

It would be easy for MSN to offer "negative bid percentages" rather than forcing me to place positive bid percentages for the demographic options. This way, I could maintain my set Max CPC on the keyword level and decrease my bids by 70% for women and 18-25 year olds. No offense to women or young people… you get my drift.

Naturally that would seem to decrease my adspend on adCenter, but it would actually play in the inverse as the more optimal my campaign is running, the more money I'll throw at it. That's why Google commands over 50% of my Search budget and second tier engines get 0%.

One way to get to the true ROAS is to use adCenter's conversion tracking tool in addition to the Omniture Analytics package I currently use. This way, I could manipulate the incremental pricing and keyword CPC until I hit my target ROAS. Again, great in theory, but adCenter does not track conversion on the keyword level, but on the Campaign level. If you're not familiar with adCenter's heirarchy, it's: Campaign>Order>Keyword. So adCenter tracks at the most macro level it possibly can which is of little to no use to the advertiser, but good for MSN's short-term revenue.

MSN conversion tracking also advertises their adCenter services on all checkout confirmation pages, regardless of how the customer was referred.

So I won't be using MSN's new targeting options or their conversion tracking. Google will continue to dominate my adspend and I'll hope that MSN gets it together and builds their applications for their advertisers and consumers and not primarily their pocketbook, because when advertisers and consumers win, their pocketbook will follow.

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Advertising in the real voice? – Philips Bodygroom Shaver

Philips has a great site to launch its Bodygroom shaver. It's a flash site that talks about men's bodygrooming and why it's important. A good bit of the dialog is censored because it brags about such things as women "eating frozen yogurt off of your bleeep" if you are clean shaven.

I enjoy when a large brand with strong brand equity gets off of its Ivory tower and creates advertising that the consumer might actually be interested in. I hope it proves successful and we we get see more of this in the future. It's not exactly Cluetrain, as it's not a bi-directional dialog with the consumer, but at least it's stepping away from traditional "corporatespeak" and "positioning".

It would be interesting to see if this type of viral site could drive the next generation of affiliate sales. Currently affiliates offer coupons or malls that drive traffic to a merchant in exchange for commission on sales. What if this Philips website was actually an affiliate produced site and the "where to buy" link as well as every other external link was funneled through Linkshare or CJ? Provided it was effective and viral, I wonder how the Earnings per Click (EPC) would translate?

Anyway, check out the site as it's is very fun and entertaining. By the way, it is a European site which explains why it is a little more risque than we would see in the US.

EDIT: It's been eating at me that I mentioned Cluetrain in the above paragraph. To be clear, this is not Cluetrain, it's just an entertaining advertisement and nothing more. A better example of Cluetrain is how WordPress (the maker of this blog software) is communicating with it's users about why their blogs are not being served all the time. Matt is completely open about the network issues they are having and does not attempt to hide anything. If you read the comments, you will see the true effect of Cluetrain and Pinko Marketing

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