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Musings About Online Marketing

More on The Google Monster

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Google’s announcement that they will be dipping a toe into the ISP business awoke the paranoid freak part of my mind once again. Sure, it’s going to be cheap, but what’s the real cost to you as a user?

The more I thought about the last post I made on this blog, the more I think it just comes off like a half baked opinion, so I thought I would highlight how Google uses your online data, including search behavior, etc. First, watch this interview with Eric Schmidt back in December as he makes the “…maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” comment.

Here’s where he goes into a little more detail:

Okay, so it’s not down to the computer level… UNLESS you are logged in to Google at the time you’re doing the searching, then no IP address is needed (although it still can tell Google where you physically are). And the data is anonymized within 18 months, right?

Not so fast, my friend.

Google Dashboard displays a lot of info about your activity while you’re logged into your Google account – YouTube videos viewed, search history, web history, blogs, documents, and much more. The info gathered that is tied to your account is not anonymized – as this report states, it shows the history for the past 4 years! The CNN report below is quite the eye opener if you weren’t sure about exactly what Google knows about you.

If you want to disable Google from tracking your account in this manner, you can go to your Google Dashboard and follow the instructions on how to disable the history.

Do you really want all those breadcrumbs for hackers to determine where you shop, gain access to personal info, and more? The recent cyber attack on Google from China are a reminder that the bigger you are, the bigger the target you become.

This video of Rachel Maddow discussing these issues with Eric Schmidt is also very interesting:

From that interview, it’s better to not think about what Eric Schmidt is saying, but what he isn’t saying. More food for thought as we think about exactly what Google knows, and just how powerful they could become.

Written by rogersikes

February 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Misc, Online Marketing

The Google Monster

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This whole rant/post is going to come off kind of strange, considering my income is fairly dependent on effective advertising via Google, but it’s just something I want to toss out there and see what others might think on this topic.

Google scares the crap out of me.

They know far too much about us, and the vast majority of Google users aren’t even aware of how their behavior, data, everything is being used by Google.  “Big Brother” is not a myth.

Google knows a LOT about us.  I think the depth of the information may surprise you.  I’m really not comfortable with Google watching every move I make…  you know, like that Sting guy did when he was with the Police.

Okay, back to the topic – how do you go about educating the general public to be savvy about what not only Google, but any Internet company knows about them? Considering that we live in a world where someone can put out a kiosk that says “Win a FREE Boat!” and many people will give their name and address freely, not thinking of how their info will be used, it’s not likely. It’s likely many people care far less about this than I do.

I’ve experienced extreme privacy freaks in my day – people who will not accept cookies on their browser at any cost, even though some cookies simply enhance a site experience. They’d rather not risk their information being captured at all. I’m sure they are the same with the way their personal info is handled offline. These people feel that all information collected on them will be used in “evil” ways. Even though marketers can all attest that the information is being helped to improve user experience, you still have to wonder about how much a company that can follow so many unaware people as they go from website to website, and stores the information for future use.

Right now, I don’t think Google’s intentions are evil. I really think that they are looking at all the ways they can make life better. They are providing a lot of services and products that are useful to people, often free of cost. However, at what point does Google decide that all of this information they control should be used for the “greater good?” What does that even mean to them? Are we headed towards a future where ads are everywhere, and they are all personalized for you? Think Minority Report.

Somehow, Google has gotten this far with things by keeping a relatively low profile, even though Eric Schmidt has recently made some fairly inflammatory comments about how Google views our privacy on the Web.

Microsoft has been smacked in the nose how many times?  When will Google finally get theirs?

Just some food for thought as we head into the weekend. My advice – be savvy about how you do things on the Internet – don’t put all your eggs in one basket, even if one company makes it extremely easy to do so.

Written by rogersikes

January 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Misc, Online Marketing, PPC, SEO

10 Predictions for Online Marketing in 2010

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I’m really going out on a limb here, so wish me luck:

  1. Someone will declare SEO dead.  Again.
  2. Google will create more than 100 new products.  2 will be of any use to a significant number of people.
  3. Twitter will see a decline in post activity by human posters (in other words, more spamming, more people leaving for greener pastures).
  4. Hulu will begin charging for premium content.  No one will buy in.
  5. Hyperlocal newspapers begin to grow online, utilizing local bloggers and the strength of highly relevant content for their readers.
  6. Advertisers will continue moving more of their budgets to online.
  7. More companies are going to realize the value of social media, but not understand the necessity of engaging customers, not just throwing specials and sales announcements at them.
  8. Agencies will see significant growth in number of social media clients after numerous companies struggle to build a compelling online identity for themselves.
  9. The first pair of fashionable Augmented Reality glasses will become available.
  10. Bing will gain 5% of search share from Google.

Only halfway serious on these, but it will be fun to see if any of them become true.  😉

Written by rogersikes

December 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Posted in Online Marketing

Social Media’s Going to the Geriatrics!

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Yesterday, I tweeted about an article that says the 55+ demographic grew by almost 514 percent in 2009. While I’m not sure what this means in terms of what 2010 has in store for social media trends, it will be interesting to watch the growth of demographics on sites like Facebook over the next 35-40 years to see how the 55+ demo grows (or shrinks).

My initial thought is that with more parents moving into the social space, kids are going to move to the next big thing, as referenced in a blog post a while back. What sort of platform that might be, I don’t know, but with the rapid adoption of mobile internet, it’s likely that it will be mobile based.

What do you think? Will Twitter and Facebook weather the emergence of the 55+ set and keep the younger demographic? As with anything, if you lose the younger set, you’re probably not long for this world.

Written by rogersikes

December 29, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Posted in social media

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Keeping It Simple – Client Communication

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Having been doing search marketing for a while, I’ve come across a plethora of possibilities – what could be wrong, what is wrong, what to do to fix what’s wrong, what’s working, what’s not working, and what to do to make what’s not working work better.

Once again, I think I just confused myself with that last paragraph.

Sometimes it’s easy to inundate a client with too much information in reports and feedback that we give them. It’s always a good practice to keep in mind that most of the time, they are not as well versed in SEM as we are, and they just need to know the numbers that are most relevant to the overall performance of their campaigns, not the deep and dirty details. If you give them too much, they might be left wondering which metrics really matter, and get the wrong impression on what truly defines success or failure of a campaign.

By no means am I implying that you hold back on information. Always make the client aware that you can provide any data they might want (as long as it’s available, of course).

Written by rogersikes

July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Online Marketing, PPC, SEO

Follow-Up: Southwest Airlines Rapping Attendant

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I just got this link passed on to me today. The Southwest Airlines Rapping Attendant explains Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) at the company’s Dallas headquarters.

Written by rogersikes

May 20, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Posted in marketing, Misc

Testing PPC is Good

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MarketingSherpa has some tips on researching and determining a budget for new PPC clients (or existing, if you are re-evaluating the existing budget). It’s pretty informative and just reconfirms what most experienced PPC marketers already know and practice.

The one part in this article that really jumped out at me was creating a 10-15% portion of the budget for testing. This is key in growing business with any client. In quite a few cases, you can get maxed out on spending, and even to the point where optimizations don’t make a significant difference in CPC or anything else to allow you to get more traffic to a client’s site. Adding a test portion to the budget means that you have a little more elbow room to add keywords, change bids, etc. and not affect the base performance of the campaign. I really like this idea. Testing is good. It’s the only way to get a competitive edge. If you create the campaign and change very little moving forward, you can do fine, even great… but you’ll always just be treading water.

Written by rogersikes

April 9, 2009 at 10:42 am