Threadwatch Weekly Round Up - 1st - 7th Nov 2004

It's been a great week! The focus has been very much on forums and communities, with liberal doses of marketing/branding - linking and so on. One hightlight that stands out for me personally is the fact that Searchengineblog.com linked to us! - thanks Peter!

Without further ado, here's the weeks best of the best forum and blog threads with news and mayhem posts largely filtered out. Follow the title link above for the full list.

Link Building Resources / Why Link Building is Evil

Thread Title: Link Building 101 Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=2616 Thread Description:

Nacho posts a good long list of link related threads and link building resources. Doug Heil quickly makes a guest appearance to remind all that:

excessive link building (is there such a thing) is evil; link building is destroying the web; & the sky is falling.

Google Bowing To US Political Pressure? Or....

Thread Title: Where is Lynndie? Where is Lynndie? Thread Url: http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=52&threadid=1410716 Thread Description:

We dont generally do politics at Threadwatch but when politics start to affect Search, we'd be fool not to report it right?

Andy pointed this slashdot post out to me just a few minutes ago. It shows that Google have apparently tweaked their image search to not show photos of Abu Ghraib being tortured in prison. Now the G search just shows sanitized pics taken outside the prison. Go try the same search at other engines, apparently this has happened very recently though i have no exact date..

What does it mean to the search industry when the current biggest player appears to be bowing to a US administration over politically undesireable searches?

The other, more sinister theory What if, like Andy you beleive it's not government pressure at all but self imposed censorship? - We know big G take steps to erase certain forms of hate sites from their serps, but for me at least, when a major SE starts bowing and scraping to governments right after an IPO it spells trouble. Big trouble...

LInk Theming & The Hilltop Magic Pill

Thread Title: Anyone besides me not swallowed the "Hilltop" magic pill yet? Thread Url: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/26504.htm Thread Description:

This thread over at webmasterworld is jam packed with conpiracy theories, wild speculation and misinformation. Im sure it's not quite what moderator bakedjake was looking for when he asked if it was only him who hadn't swallowed the hilltop magic pill

It's also full of some very well thought out theories on post florida google and some first hand experiences to corroborate those theories. Take this from Caveman:

Evidence of affiliation assessment is apparent to me, but with a caveat. We saw after Florida (when I believe Hilltop kicked in) that - in several commercial categories where we had multiple site entries with insufficient identity safeguards - we lost a bunch of those sites...meaning that their positions in the SERP's dropped dramatically. That was interesting. What was also interesting was that in most of those categories, our lead site maintained its overall position or even benefitted.

Of note, after taking care of items related to methods for determiniming affiliation, we saw most of the sites come back. And those that did not come back happened to use common templates to others that were again thriving. This seemed to reveal one of the roles that filters were playing in the weeding out process.

That's on page 2 at msg13

Some of the discussion is quite eye opening for me as i've not paid that much attention to any of it thus far, i just trundle along doing what i do and apart from (possibly) gettting a whack on a few sites that may have somthing to do with the discussion i've been pretty much ok.

Well worth a peek.

Forrester urges Companies to Monitor Blogs

Thread Title: Forrester report on corporate blogs Thread Url: http://forrester.typepad.com/charleneli/2004/11/forrester_repor.html Thread Description:

When And How Businesses Should Use Blogs

Although Weblogs (blogs) are currently used by only a small number of online consumers, they've garnered a great deal of corporate attention because their readers and writers are highly influential. Forrester believes that blogging will grow in importance, and at a minimum, companies should monitor blogs to learn what is being said about their products and services.

From Charlene Li's blog.

Russell Beattie also made some notable comments about blogs, content & communicontent today..

Seems everytime i hit bloglines someone is saying somthing about corporate blogs these days...

ROI - Paid vs Unpaid Traffic

Thread Title: Organic vs Paid Traffic ROI? Thread Url: http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=17767 Thread Description:

if someone clicks a google link for a given keyphrase, overall would you consider the conversion on PPC to be equal to Organic?

Paul_H provides some useful first hand observations in this thread:

One great thing about PPC ads is you can turn them on and off, and experiment. At first I thought by having an ad show for a word we are number for was just throwing money away, so i turned the ads off, profits dropped, turn them back on profits increase, repeated just to make sure.

Results could suggest a few things, 1. Our ad text appeals more to some people more than the description/title in the serps – can’t please everyone. 2. Some people will click on the ads first, so its either us or a competitor.

No major difference in conversions, if anything the PPC converts better as i make sure the ad is very relevant.

Good stuff from cre8..

Definition of a Link Farm

Thread Title: LInk Farming 101 Thread Url: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=4795 Thread Description:

I think the views in the above linked thread are a little simplistic, link farming is far more sophisticated than that. C blocks, domains, scripts and network server layouts are all factors in a modern, sophisticated link farm.

The adult guys would know far more about this stuff than I but would anyone at Threadwatch care to expand upon the above in defining a link farm?

See also: this thread at SG Define me a link farm

Age of Sites = Better Rankings @ Google?

Thread Title: Proof Of Search Position Based On Age Of Domain? Thread Url: http://forums.seochat.com/t17923/s.html Thread Description:

Wormman at SEOChat starts a discussion that blossoms into some nice small scale research about the age of websites being a big factor in their ability to rank well at Google. Very intelligent and cogent results start showing up on page 2 - so keep reading..

Ad:Tech in New York Next Week - 4K Internet Marketers

Thread Title: Ad:Tech in New York Next Week - 4K Internet Marketers Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=2582 Thread Description:

From the thread in SEW forums, I just found out that Ad:Tech in New York is next week. This is the biggest internet advertising conference there is (afaik) and some real pros will be there, I'm sure.

If you know me & you're going, drink one for me too, eh? And stop by to give us the scoop if any new Search stuff gets announced!

SMA-UK Release Member Subscription Rates

Thread Title: Nothing to link to, goes to sma-uk.org Thread Url: http://www.sma-uk.org Thread Description:

The Search Marketing Association UK have just sent out a introduction pdf to all the folks that requested info from the website.

Im almost certain that they wont mind me making it available to you here at threadwatch, im sure they'll let me know if there is a problem :)

Rates are as follows:

£250 - individual members £1000 - corporate - plus *benefits* £*** Associate memberships - case by case basis £125 - students Ex SEMPO - 10% discount

Much to discuss on this, but i figured you' like to see it NOW rather than wait for me to read it rhough eh?

Wired: The aristocracy of brand is dead.

Thread Title: The aristocracy of brand is dead. Thread Url: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.11/brands.html Thread Description:

Great article.

"A study by retail-industry tracking firm NPD Group found that nearly half of those who described themselves as highly loyal to a brand were no longer loyal a year later."

"Marketers may consider the explosion of new brands to be evidence of branding's importance, but in fact the opposite is true. It would be a waste of money to launch a clever logo into a world of durable brands and loyal customers. But because consumers are more promiscuous and fickle than ever, established brands are vulnerable, and new ones have a real chance of succeeding - for at least a little while. The obsession with brands, paradoxically, demonstrates their weakness."

"In this environment, companies that slip up - even if it's simply failing to match customer tastes - can no longer count on their good names to carry them through. And consumers have become far more willing to experiment with products, because the amount of information out there makes taking a chance far less risky."

Blocking Trolls - A useful way to keep bothersome posters off a forum.

Thread Title: Blocking IP of anonymizers - Foiling Trolls Thread Url: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum39/2780.htm Thread Description:

This isn't a highly technical description of how to do this, but then again, I'm not a highly technical guy. It's nice to have some good ideas to PASS to the technical guys when problem users arise. Those really annoying trolls can be a real pain, so it's nice when you can make it difficult for them to be difficult. keyplyr suggests a nice simple way to keep away some of those difficult users in one fell swoop.

Next Steps for SMA-UK & SMA-EU

Thread Title: SMA & SEMPO - Communications & Information Thread Url: http://www.threadwatch.org/node/263 Thread Description:

Ammon Johns of SMA-UK and Mikkel deMib Svendsen of SMA-EU talk about their next steps in the formation of the kids playing office alternatives.

In light of Andy Beals revelation about continued elitism and general stupidity of DUMPO I hope you'll find it interesting what the SMA guys have planned for the near future. The comments were made in the new Threadwatch Confessions blog.

Killer Toolbar or Vamped up Gimmick?

Thread Title: One toolbar to rule them all! Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=2552 Thread Description:

Not even having a copy of Windows in the house, let alone on a wilson critical machine I have no idea what this is worth im afraid: http://www.toolbarbrowser.com/

Anyone care to tell me what im missing?

SEO/Webmaster Forums and the dreaded bell-shaped curve

Thread Title: SEO/Webmaster Forums and the dreaded bell-shaped curve Thread Url: http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum103/218.htm Thread Description:

"Did you ever launch a forum only to watch it die a prompt or slow, agonizing death?"

It's a familiar story to the old forum refugees. Having pointed many times to Clay Shirky's "own worst enemy" article (you can search, find it youself), I'm not sure if the death spiral can be broken --extended perhaps.

Alexa graphs and the big bad bell curve:

ihelpyouservices webmasterworld

cre8asiteforums

searchenginewatch

v7n

highrankings

MOI is back to his best

Thread Title: SEGuru and Brandy launch new show Thread Url: http://www.ihelpyouservices.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16740 Thread Description:

Link is to ihelpyou but it relates to the press release at http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2004/11/emw175356.htm

There is no doubt that Guru can talk, Brandy too [:)]. I struggle to see a revenue model, but maybe thats why I'm me and SEGuru is...well SEGuru, but I can forsee some good shows ahead. If they get the promotion right it could be a blast.

Worthy of support, seek it out, make a note of the times and listen!

SBC & Bellsouth Acquire YellowPages.com - Local Search Heats Up

Thread Title: SBC & Bellsouth Acquire YellowPages.com - Local Search Heats Up Thread Url: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1035_22-5439147.html Thread Description:

According to Zdnet, SBC & Bellsouth communications just acquired yellowpages.com. With Google just recently acquiring mapping technology, Yahoo! just launching Local, we have many players positioning (and repositioning) themselves to take advantage as old school, traditional local advertising dollars move online.

Dunno about you guys, but my hard copy yellow pages collects dust - I just use a local search provider. What do you guys use?

Ethics of PPC Management for Clients in the Same Field

Thread Title: grnidone starts a corking thread Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=2567 Thread Description:

"Because the company I work for makes a percentage of the total spend, we could, conceivably bid these companies against each other for the same terms, thus increasing the spend for both companies, and thus making more money from both."

I think this one will be a hot thread, many of the issues raised will related to PPC's older and wiser brother SEO. I'm expecting a great post from Andrew Goodman even though I'm sure I won't agree with a single word of it.

Whitehat / Blackhat Yet Again!

Thread Title: High Ranking Newsletter Article Discussed Thread Url: http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=10583&hl= Thread Description:

"Neither one is necessarily right or wrong -- just different."

A very good thread and will be to some an eye opener re: Jill's stance to the dark side.

Original article is here http://www.highrankings.com/issue119.htm

Good Directory Scripts

Thread Title: Best Directory Script - Revisited Thread Url: http://www.v7n.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11347 Thread Description:

Here is a brace of threads about directory scripts and contain some good leads and information for anyone looking to start a directory.

The first is in the topic title at V7 forum the second is Good Directory Scripts? at SearchGuild.

It's all low tech but way more fun than PPC spreadsheets. And there seems to be a lot of interest in directories these days.

Nick W:The threadlink we have covered once but since then it has grown enormously, hence the revisit.