Isobar Aquires iProspect - Search Marketing Industry Consolidation?

Thread Title: Isobar Acquires iProspect to Create World's Number One Search Engine Marketing Entity Thread Url: Thread Description:

Threadwatch member toprank points out that Isobar Aegis have bought iProspect - possibly making the worlds largest search marketing outfit.

Here's a little PR drivel for you:

"This is a major move in the development of Isobar's global vision," said Nigel Morris, Worldwide President of Isobar. "Our clients now have access to iProspect's world class tools, best practices, and outstanding management team. We believe in their philosophy of how search fits within the context of marketing, and look forward to creating the future of digital marketing together."

Earlier we raised the question of whether SEM companies would drop like flies in 2005 - consolidation would seem to be a part of such a prediction.

Q. Is this the start of search marketing industry consolidation?

Is SEO a Dying Profession?

Thread Title: Death of SEO? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Aaron Wall of threadlinked above points to a post by renagade moderator Sebastian over at SEW that states that SEM companies will be dropping like flies in 2005.

I tend to agree with Sebastian and Aaron seems to agree in part:

General broad SEO services for some random set fee to tons of clients will be a business model that provides less and less value as time passes and search advances.

Which is pretty much where I stand. Many SEO outfits will drop im thinking. It will be dinasoars that can't/wont move with the times and a large number of "the kiddies" - those seo's fresh out of school that have thrown up a website claiming seo-expertise.. (the ones that litter the forums with google-worshipping noise).

Good ridance.

Aaron goes on to point out that niche SEO and highly specific SEO services will always have a place as long as search dominates the way we find information - arguably that day may come to an end, but not for a few years yet i reckon.

For those willing to hustle and adapt rapidly, i'd say the future is bright whatever the search engines throw at us next year. For the incompetent or decrepit, it's game over...

Thoughts from TW boys and girls on the state of SEO in 2005?

Stealth Viral Marketing and the Subservient Chicken

Thread Title: Entertaining Web Sites Promote Products Subtly Thread Url: Thread Description:

NYT are running a piece, threadlinked above on stealth viral marketing, a trend seen most prominently this year with Burger King's Subservient Chicken campaign.

The article looks at a number of campaigns that run along similar lines: To discreetly and virally market a message to a younger audience that does NOT want to be advertised to. Well worth a read, here's a snippet:

Michael Borosky, vice president and creative director at Eleven in San Francisco, said specialty sites enjoy technical and creative support from the marketers, but do not have to observe the conventions of the corporate site. Eleven has created sites for companies like Barclays Global Investors and Eastman Kodak.

"I do consider them kind of like pirate radio stations," Mr. Borosky said. "You're kind of borrowing some bandwidth from the brand, but it allows you to do things the brand may not be comfortable with on its own corporate site."

I think these kinds of sites have a lot of potential based on what we've seen this year - consumers, particularly younger consumers are getting more and more ad-angry and certainly ad-blind so finding new ways to get their attention without triggering annoyance at brand intrusion seems sensible - at least as part of the overall mix.

Tell me what you think, do you like these kind of things? Think they have potential or are they just todays fad and tomorrows dust?

New White Paper Promises an End to Google Domination

Thread Title: Widget Chav PDF Thread Url: Thread Description:

Threadwatch member JasonD has written a spoof white paper on a new algorithm based on neck color:

1.2 Widget Chav Algorithm Overview Our approach is based on the same assumptions as the other connectivity algorithms, namely that the number and quality of the sources related to a person are a good measure of the person's quality. The key difference consists in the fact that we are only considering "expert" sources – criteria that have been analysed as having specific purpose of being used collectively by those with a tinge of red in their necks. In response to a new user visit, we first compute a list of the most relevant experts for the potential person. Then, we identify relevant links within the selected set of experts, and follow them to identify neck colour. The targets are then ranked according to the number and relevance of non-affiliated experts that point to them. Thus, the score of a target person reflects the collective opinion of the best independent experts on the query topic. When such a pool of experts is not available, Widget Chav provides no results. Thus, Widget Chav is tuned for result accuracy and not query coverage.

Just a little xmas funny for Threadwatchers :-)

IntelliTXT Testing Image Ads

Thread Title: Vibrant Media Testing Image Ads Thread Url: Thread Description:

Clickz are reporing in the threadlink above that Vibrant Media, the creators of IntelliTXT, the somewhat naf contextual ad program recently ditched by Forbes are to test image ads.

According to sources close to the company, Vibrant Media recently began a beta test of IntelliTXT Plus, which it plans to launch in the next quarter. The images will appear in the "tool tip" displayed when a user mouses over certain keywords within the content of a page. Keywords are marked with a double green underline.

Q. What do you do when users and publishers find your contextual ad approach annoying and cumbersome? A. Make it more annoying and cumbersome of course!

Jenstar has some comments on the swing back to image ads:

What is most significant, however, is the trend that the resurgance of image ads bring. It is interesting to note the trend swing so quickly from image ads to text ads with the launch of Google AdSense. But now it seems to be tentatively heading back to image ads once again, as a sideline to the currently offered text ads. Perhaps old school execs are adament on image ads, which is starting the swing back towards images. Or perhaps there are other reasons behind this new image ad trend.

I quite like image ads personally, not sure why really as i tend to be a rampant Firefox adblocker but if it's hightly relevant, images certainly catch my eye a bit better.

For or against contextual image ads?

Crunkie - A Location Based Mobile Social Network

Thread Title: Thread Url: Thread Description:

This new mobile, location based network comes in via smart mobs via mcd and is, as far as im aware, one of a kind.

The idea is that via a map interface, downloadable to your phone you can blog about a location and network with friends. It's feature list reads like this:

A Find Me and Friend Finder applications for users to locate either themselves or family and friends on a map-based interface Mobile J2ME (Java) & BREW application with vector-based map-based interface Advanced location capabilities such as pan and zoom controls, sophisticated visualization and navigation Location-based Messaging (to SMS) and blogging to friends -- from both Web and mobile phone Multiple search criteria such as location, category, author popularity, time

I understand it's now being offered by WaveMarket in the US with Asia, Europe and Latin America in 2005

It's this kind of social app that will really make mobile fun i think, interesting eh?

Who the $@#! are Alta Vista?

Thread Title: Happy Belated Birthday to AltaVista Thread Url: Thread Description:

Aren't they dead yet?

Does anyone actually still find AV useful? There has to be some point to them surely seeing as they're still going...

Just how connected are you?

Thread Title: but are you a member of the "Smart Mob Generation"? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Funny but cool wiki post threadlinked above asking if you're a member of the "smart mob generation".

In brief:

Do you wear a computer? Do you text? Are you wacky when you're not wified? Have you have turned some of your “remembering” over to a technology object? Do you participate in online reputation systems?

This makes me feel a bit old, my wife even discovered my fist grey hairs a few weeks back and i bloody hate SMS heh... However, it's a good point i think. Just how connected are you?

Personally im more than a little uncomfortable if i have to spend any more than about 3hrs from a connection. I regularly eat dinner whilst posting/reading and if i get up in the night i cant help but check what's going on - sad but true...

via smart mobs

Worm Defaces phpBB Forums via Google

Thread Title: Santy Worm Defaces Web Forums Thread Url:,1759,1744722,00.asp Thread Description:

If you're not running the very latest version of phpBB then you'd better get cracking. A worn called "Santy" is using Google to find phpBB sites and replace files on the server through a security hole in PHP.

By targeting the freely distributed phpBB, the defacement worm has become a major nightmare for some businesses that use the forum software to handle customer-service queries and other support issues.

In an advisory, security research outfit Kaspersky Lab said the Santy worm is "extra tricky" because it replaces several files on the server with its own code, meaning that other sites using the same host get infected.

Kaspersky Lab's advisory carries a "Red Alert" rating.

Anyone hit by this?

Marketing Discoveries 2004 - What have you learnt?

So, come on, what did you learn or discover this year?

Allow me to start, im bored out of my nuts as things wind down for xmas, sheesh! What is everyone doing? it SUCKS out there...

Nick's Discoveries for 2004

The Power of RSS for SEO Syndication marketing in all it's forms was one of the biggies for me. I knew about RSS almost from the get-go but it wasn't untill early 2004 that i first really started to use it with promotion in mind.

Bloglines In theme with the discovery of the beautiful mix of RSS and SEO comes the discovery of Bloglines - I've found im quite the information junkie and seem to have an insatiable appetite for new feeds on topics of interest both for Threadwatch and other projects - yummy!

How to Break Sandbox - In so many ways... Some of them still not proved to my 100% satisfaction but at least one, that i've seen demo'd again and again but not had the chance to use. Luvveryly (no pm's im not tellin! :-)

Not all White hats are Wankers Now that was a shocker! It's true though, honest guv..

To Learn about Search Marketing - You need to look outside of SEM Media Forget (well almost) SEO/SEM docs and dig deep into other areas - you can learn an awful lot about marketing in general by reading the right blogs/sites and apply those principles to your sites - it's gold..

It's not what you know... it's who you know. I've made a lot of good friends this year, and those seemingly random, without alterior motive meetings have turned up trumps on a number of occasions - im none to sociable by nature but i forced myself to be nicer this year and feel much the richer for it.

Your Enemies can provide the Strongest Marketing for You Thanks doug, i owe you a bomb mate..

Come on, post yours....

I know you're out there, i know you're lurking, so bloody well sign in and tell us all about your year :-)


Skypecasting - Create Podcast Interviews via Skype

Thread Title: Skype + Podcast Recorder = SkypeCasters Thread Url: Thread Description:

So, you know what Podcasting is by now right? When you record audio (soon video) and distribute it via RSS in mp3 format.

Well, imagine being able to conduct interviews or conference calls over skype and have that cast out in the same manner. Pretty neat huh? I can certainly think of a few things i'd like to do with that for this site...

The threadlink above contains full instructions on how to skypecast and looks like losts of fun aswell as potentially empowering many content sites to add real value to their offerings - can you tell im dead keen on this stuff?

Santa has been informed of my wishes...

Got a Ringside Seat for Google vs Yahoo! 2005?

Thread Title: Google/Yahoo Rivalry Moves Into 2005 Thread Url: Thread Description:

Google and Yahoo! have had a fun year, we've seem all manner of innovations in technology and services from both companies. What's coming for 2005?

The AP story threadlinked above looks at just that:

Mountain View-based Google devotes significantly more of its budget to research and development, with more than $300 million — about 30 percent of its operating cash flow — earmarked for capital expenditures this past year. Meanwhile, Sunnyvale-based Yahoo is expected to spend $215 million to $235 million on capital expenditures, or about 20 percent of its operating cash flow.

Schachter believes the capital expenditure gap will widen in 2005 when he projects Google will spend $450 million while Yahoo allots about $250 million. If those estimates pan out, Google's capital expenditures, broken down as a percentage of operating cash flow, will be similar to such technology leaders as Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp.

link via gary

So, what will we see in 2005, and more importantly, how will affect marketers?

SuperBowl .Coms are Back! - Godaddy and CareerBuilder

Thread Title: Why Are 'Net Execs Buying Super Bowl Spots? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Fox is charging a rumored $2.4 million per 30-second spot for the Super Bowl this year. Two Internet companies, and, bought a piece of that game, casting their lots in with Budweiser, Ford, Visa and the other usual suspects.

I really hope to see some sockpuppets myself.

Brand Ads to Hit the Net Hard in 2005

Thread Title: Brand Ads Will Change Look of Internet Thread Url: Thread Description:

eMarketer report in the threadlink above that CPG's (Consumer Packaged Goods) are to spend a whole bucket load of cash on internet marketing next year in a bid to balance flagging effects offline.

Significant online advertising growth can be found in those campaigns with a branding objective — the classic province of CPG marketers. According to eMarketer projections, online ad spending for branding will increase by 22.4% in 2005, compared to a 19.8% boost for direct response advertising. In each of the three years following, spending growth for branding goals will match or outstrip direct response growth.

Funny, from what I've been reading lately (a LOT), brand ads are having less and less impact daily, what would make online any different to off?


Mobile Phones Alter Human DNA

Thread Title: Mobile phones 'alter human DNA' Thread Url: Thread Description:

The BBC report on an EU funded research projects findings that mobile phones do indeed alter human DNA - they're not clear whether this would have long term effects or not.

The scientists behind the study said more research was needed to determine the actual effect of the phones on health.

But they said, as a precaution, people should not use a mobile if there was a land-line available.

And there was me, just itching to go 3G next year...

Amazon: Giving Away The Store ~OR~

Thread Title: Amazon: Giving Away The Store ~OR~ Thread Url: Thread Description:

...There Goes The Neighborhood: Datafeeds, Love 'Em or Hate 'Em

Malcom Gladwell - Tipping Point author discussed at FC

Thread Title: The Accidental Guru Thread Url: Thread Description:

A pretty facinating read at FC threadlinked above detailing Malcom Gladwell's past present and future - Gladwell is author of "The Tipping Point" - i've not read it but you'd have to have had your head in a bucket since 2000 not to have heard of it right?

But nowhere is Gladwell's influence being felt more than in business. Starbucks' Howard Schultz publicly attributed his company's success to the tipping-point phenomenon. The public- relations agency Ketchum created what it infelicitously named an "Influencer Relationship Management" database that emulates Gladwell's model of connectors, mavens, and salesmen. One tech company even named itself TippingPoint Technologies Inc. The mere mention of his name to creative directors or product developers results in nouns not typically associated with business thinkers: He's a rock star, a spiritual leader, a stud.

This story really makes me want to go out and buy his books (inc. the new one "Blick"), for those that have read him, are they really that good?

Movable Type Should Listen to Comment Spammers

Thread Title: Movable Type 3.14 released Thread Url: Thread Description:

SixApart have just released MT 3.14 which addresses some of the server load issues relating to comment spam.

They appear to have made no progress toward solving the root problem though. Over the weekend I wrote about The Solution to Blog Spam where a number of folks talked about how to actually deal with the problem head on.

Some of the folks in that thread (but certainly not all!) have experience with comment spamming from the spammers end. Although i didn't go much past the testing phase, i cobbled together a relatively sophisticated bot myself for just that purpose. Many issues conspired to stop me from embarking on a blog bothering mission of awesome proportion but the point is, many spammers would be quite happy to talk about ways to solve the problem.

Are SixApart listening? Are they bollocks...

The Social Networking Meta List

Thread Title: Home of the Social Networking Services Meta List Thread Url: Thread Description:

Judith Meskill has a wonderfully comprehensive list of social networking sites and services over at the threadlink above. If you're looking into this area (and i'd argue that any future looking web dev should be) then it's a great way to scope out the scene.

Thanks Judith!

Knoppix Development to Split - Lite vs Maximum

Thread Title: Knoppix To Split Into 'Light,' 'Maximum' Versions Thread Url: Thread Description:

Slashdot report in the threadlink above the news that Knoppix is to split into lite and maximum branches.

If you're not familiar with knoppix, let me get you up to speed fast: It's a Linux distrobution based on Debian that comes in the shape of a "live cd" - this means that you can burn a copy, pop it in your cd tray and reboot directly into a fully functional linux system - no messing with hard disks etc, it runs straight off the cd and is an excellent way to mess with Linux if your unsure of it.

Currently only one version of the Live CD is produced, on both CD and DVD. It is based on the Debian distribution and contains more than 2,000 executable applications and utilities. But Knoppix developer Klaus Knopper says that users will soon be able to choose between a fully featured version and a slimmed-down version of the CD.

"We will split the mainstream edition of Knoppix into two versions: a 'maximum' DVD edition with a complete Debian installation, and a 'light' edition on CD that contains the most popular desktop and server software only, for older computers or smaller systems that don't have a bootable DVD drive yet," said Knopper.