Month: October 2008

Fake Car Jacking or Real ?

It’s things like this that have a habit of going viral…

funny BUT too close to where I live

Google to allow gambling ads on its UK Adwords SERPs

Pretty big news from Latitude,  Google are to allow gambling ads on UK Adwords!

Due to recent changes in legislation laws surrounding online gambling advertising, Google had decided as of tomorrow to allow gambling PPC adverts to be shown in the UK. They have been speaking direct to clients to ensure all the correct licensing information has been processed in time and there will be a frantic scrap for both clients and their respective agencies to get their accounts setup and put live in time for tomorrow, of which there is no guarantee.

Interesting times indeed, huge move which will shake up the market no end. All sorts of speculation as to why, the obvious one being it’s about the money dummy 🙂

What next? Alcohol, PR0N? Lean times call for harsh actions, especially when you have a profit annoucement in the offing.

Consciousness Shared – Tweet Sensations

Twitter is a communication phenomenon

Remember those things called blogs? The things that enabled people to publish their thoughts and share their passions , enthusiasms and ideas with the world?

It’s moving on apace, it seems that every cat and his dog is doing the tweet thing lately, and if it aint raw tweets then its tweets with flickr links or blip links or qiks or 12second or …(insert any other aspect of the broadcast your personality type of media we have today).

I’m undecided if its a symptom of some kind of fucked up state of I want to be a celebrity lemme into here or just some kind of natural evolution of phones and texts and communication generally. Celebs like Stephen Fry are tweeting, people like John Cleese are seesmicing, and the interesting thing about these guys is that yup, they are middle aged men. Not some hip 20 or 30 something techno nerds, but mainstream mass media global figures. Ok, so Stephen Fry might not be the real Stephen Fry (though he says he is) but it’s indicative of a certain something and an interesting recognition from them at least that this thing we all take for granted and love is on the verge of mass market take up.

Tweeting is so addictive

What struck me as I drove along in my car is that I’ve become one of these people who tweets almost incessantly, one of the few places I don’t is in my car or in my sleep, and of course when I’m working very hard (hi guv’nor) .

I don’t yet do the whole qik thing or twitpic thing cos, I haven’t gotten that granular yet and I don’t yet have a phone that is really suitable for it (god help me if I ever do) but lots of people do. I tweet when I’m up I tweet when I’m drunk, I tweet on the train, over my morning coffee, my walk to work, my walk home and sometimes when I’m in bed unable to sleep.

Intertwexting intertwactions

I’m not alone either, take girlonetrack an interesting person who defines herself as a sex blogger, she sometimes qiks aspects of her life as it happens. If you happen to follow her twitter stream you’ll get insights into her and who she is, her hopes, her humours, her fears, the types of events she hangs at, who she hangs with etc etc blah.

Now, in a world of shit TV, stuff like this can be interesting, and the beauty of it is that one day, you might just have 1000’s of ‘channels’ to choose from. This stuff really is going to continue to shake the whole entertainment/communications industry is ways we just haven’t really thought right through yet.

Tweknology has driven it

It’s like the bar has been raised and like aspects before it, the technology has enabled it.

In the pre web 2 world, I would be able to read a blog and get personal or professional insights that way. A person could either switch me on or switch me off, dependant upon how crap or how brilliant their posts were. Following a lot of people this way via feeds and stuff was limited in that, I could only follow so many people and read so many posts at any given time. Today though it’s all changed.

The whole micro blogging climate of twitter allows me to get the zing on far more many people. I can laugh or pity with the ridiculousness of some peoples self absorbed narcissism I can read and follow the highs and lows of start ups I can spot new ideas and trends in the market, moods and perceptions of opinion formers in the space. I can banter with colleagues, exchange ideas with respected peers offer people solace, share my highs, my lows, my exasperations all in one simple place, it’s healthy , it’s productive, it’s communicative. It enables me to interact with others in ways that might otherwise of been extremely difficult. People can either back @ me or just ignore me, it doesn’t really matter. I can communicate directly with people who might just otherwise filter me out, it doesn’t matter if they ignore me, or engage me (although the engagement part is preferable) the point of it all is that I can on some level communicate an idea a thought or a process – heck this very post will also ping my twitter stream too. My facebook page has a twitter embed which means that my tweets are posted to my facebook status updates. My offline friends have even asked me if I’m ok, having seen multiple facebook status updates from me in short timeframes of varying perspectives! This very blog has a further tie in with twitter too, evident in my sidebar to the right.

I know others who use it for a means of talking with others in various areas. They tweet their locations, or their plans, they have tweet ups and go on the twiss its used to network and draw strands together, make new friendships.

Yup, no shit I love twitter. Twitter rocks.

Twoogle likes it too

None of this has been lost on those folks at Google either, and if you ever wanted an insight into the freshness aspect of the algo, just go look at a serp or two for various tweeples names; look at the speed in which the tweets are being referenced, it’s awesomely quick.

Twammers love it too

The myriad of platforms that exist that use the twitter API are a boom time for content creationists too. Some clever mother fudders have seen the potentials and have come up with ways of creating multiple twit accounts and as a result are parasiting on the thing to get those old trusty back links to their spam and crap. A shame of course, but a takeaway of this is that it shows that if used legitimately, it does of course offer all manner of opportunities for brand or product development, as whilst links are often tinyurlised in peoples tweets and slapped up with nofollows, the obverse is true in apps seeking to re-orientate the content.

As for the Twuture

Who really knows how this thing will all evolve, it wouldn’t susrpise me if one day, some people start qiking from their cars via specially adapted cams stuck to their dashboards with an on switch on their steering wheels directly streaming via their satnav hookup, baseball caps that hook direct to their 12second streams pinging back to their tweet streams, a day when we can all just tap into each others lives.

Forex blogs make money – as can any niche you just gotta add value

Any niche can make money

I was on twitter earlier and saw a tweet from Patrick saying that you can’t earn a commission from a car blog.

Whilst I get what he is saying on the traditionally available content and relationship route ( ) etc, the reality is though that (IMO) you can of course, make money from virtually any subject all you need to do is create the relationships with the suppliers and do what you choose to do well.

It’s an interesting subject and very evident throughout most SERP’s. Successful blogs and sites with developed affiliate models are doing very well indeed, just go do a query for anything, you might find this site called ebay or moneysupermarket or amazon.

The great thing about online is that you don’t need a million quids worth of stock to earn a pound note, you just need to get the positions and add the value. The value add part being the hardest.

It could be interesting to explore it a little and see where it all goes. So let’s look at the thing and consider the sorts of questions someone should ask himself, what are his options, is it a closed playground, those kinds of things.

Local or Global – Macro or Micro Choosing a Start Point

Does he specialise and zoom on in to a particular facet of his target, or does he go broad and address a wider sphere? What will be his USP? How can he improve on what’s out there? Will he get a ROI? How long will it take? Will he lose his investment? Are just a few of the questions our imaginary Mr X would need to ask himself.

He might want to cast his net wide and have as broad a platform as he could. Let’s say he has a blog or a site where he talks about eggs. He talks about the sizes, the types, the suppliers, the politics, the news items, the market, the industry in general. As part of this offering, he might also set up up a little egg wholesaler directory of suppliers categorised into localities and specialisms and discuss the relative merits of each, giving suppliers an option to appear high or low in the offering for a small fee.

Sooner or later he’ll have a resource that’s textually rich. He’d soon find his site ranking for related phrases like “Egg wholesaler location”. Once he’d attained the rankings, it’ wouldn’t be so difficult to persuade people of the benefits of paying that little extra fro a premium slot. Newspapers and offline media do it that way everyday, it’s worked well for decades. Pixel space versus column inches, there’s very little difference, it’s about bums on seats and eyes on the message.

Alternatively, he might want to keep it all reasonably tight, focusing on a sub aspect of it all. He might want to develop the whole agricultural angle; developing relationships with farmers, the impact on prices through drought affecting crop yield, the environment, animal welfare. Drawing stories and strands globally, through the creation of forums and community tools, enabling producers to share and debate ideas and topics and ethics and what not.

Whatever he decided, if he done it well, injecting passion ,enthusiasm and added value to the space for those people with the need, he’d soon find himself earning money.

I picked eggs as an example as it is a topic that on the face of it, isn’t that interesting to most people so is probably a whole lot harder to monetise than most. It’s probably a whole lot more fun to look at something that’s closer to home or perhaps easier to think of in terms of practical everyday applications with mass appeal.

Developing the offering and doing things better than your competitors

A look at any vertical out there will show you that there are various levels of maturity. Take forex or finance as an extreme example and you’ll see that it’s a very developed space. Loans, stocks, shares and trading is one of those areas that offer huge potentials for return with lots of products and offerings. Content that empowers investment decisions is one of those premium facets that people pay for, people want choice, people want options, they like to feel in control of their purchasing decisions; a site that assists in that process is a definite asset.

I like the idea, it’s a great site to use as an example in illustrating this point. A very simple concept, attempting to answer a question that’s asked a 1000 times a day by a 1000 different people worldwide. “Do you know where I can find a good, painter, decorator, plasterer, tiler etc?”. This site puts people in touch with tradespersons who can bid for jobs and services, read reviews of their work and find answers to their needs. Give it a few months, with the right SEO and they’ll be ranking for terms like “where can i find a plasterer in london?” and other such questions.

It’s very niche, very targetted and very useful – Whilst the gumtrees and the craigslists of this world have their place, much of what they offer is presented poorly or just too damn anonymous to be trusted. People want to have confidence in an offering after all, no one wants to get burned.

A look at the search volume for related terms is kind of tricky to measure definitely (people search in diverse ways) but to keep it general there is obvious volume out there for related terms

If they were to buy this traffic on exact match from google then they’d be looking at these kinds of CPC’s. The table below shows CPC and volume data for UK specific traffic for the search term followed by location, so ‘builder in London’, ‘plumber in london’ etc.

Multiply these globally and add in a little phrase variances and the potential for such a tool becomes a little more obvious for all stakeholders, owner, service provider and user.

At the moment, gumtree and craigslist get the volume for these searches (dependant upon locale and query) , simply because they’ve been around longer and have better authority scores and link citations. Yet a look at the difference in offering shows a huge disparity between what is presented SERP wise and what is known to be out there.

Search for Builder in London and Google gives you lots of choice, but not very much else to go on. The sites it returns are a mix of local results (google local) and other basic one service offering type business, directories or advertorial services. This isn’t a bash Google type post, I’ll save that for another day; however what I’m trying to say is that in terms of what is presented, the options are still limited. There are no ‘confidence’ builders, there isn’t anything in that SERP to differentiate a poor service provider from a good one. I’m still left to do the whole research and due diligence thing myself.

A click through to Gumtree shows a random offering of things. Various providers, but nothing that really installs any confidence, nothing to make me think, cool – I’d have to email them and ask them questions and ask them for references and do all the usual due diligence.

The type of site that I’d like to see there isn’t there though, I just happen to be lucky in that I know it exists already.

The site is far superior in that enables people to sign up and register and offer their services and for people seeking such services to review and put out quotes for tender. I can select by area or service type and I get an ebay style profile page with reviews and feedback and price guides and various other bits of information that I’d use to help inform a decision.

Confidence is increased and as a result I’m more likely to purchase or enquire.

So what am I saying? Without sounding like an advert for, I am saying that within the SERPS there are hundreds upon hundreds of opportunities to do things better and succeed. has taken a commonly asked question and developed the idea further, fulfilling the need that exists.

Go ask any lazy travel affiliate marketer out there today about Google and bar raising and you’ll get a good idea of the facts around how you just can’t afford to lay back and rest on your laurels. You have to keep pushing the technology, you have to offer service and usability over and above those of your competitors because if you don’t then you are just a click away from some SERP evaluators death clicks somewhere, and heh, if you need an idea then maybe you can go to Y! answers for inspiration (caution contains potentially offensive textual material of the dumbest kind)

Agree with what I say? Disagree even? Do feel free to comment. 🙂

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