Skip to content

Category Archives: Competition

It’s all about competition. It really is.

Not entropy, not atrophy, just notrophy

Not entropy, not atrophy, just notrophy.

You, Robot.

The other day I noted that so many people I meet in the everyday life these days have nothing going on. People I meet in passing, at the store, or in a restaurant, or perhaps during travel… are “non-employed” or under-employed. Upon casual review, such as light conversation or interaction, they exhibit no signs of […]

SEO Security, Threat Intelligence, and Competition

I was reading about a security course over at Black Hat when it dawned on me… this is just like SEO. The US Special Operations Forces pioneered a methodology called F3EAD, which enabled amongst other things the ability to take out insurgent and terrorist networks. Acronyms aside… F3EAD sure sounds cool. And “taking out” insurgents […]

It’s OK to be Late

It must be a slow news month, because I’ve been seeing a disproportionate number of people whining in public about other people being late to their meetings & appointments. Mostly these are people I do not respect: social media gurus, self-help experts, “authors” of pop business books, professional speakers, venture capitalists, placed startup CEOs and […]

What is SEO Link Building?

At first it seems pretty obvious what “link building” is… it is the practice of building back links to your site. But in the SEO marketplace, it is NOT clear today what “link building” is. What, exactly are you getting when you hire and pay a link builder? What are reasonable expectations for paid link […]

Web Prescience, Coming True Every Day

I’m working on a newsletter I call WebPrescience. I will host it at It will highlight insights into the future of the web, as I and others see and describe it, or hint at it. I hope it will ultimately replace this blog, and significantly advance my objective of noting, describing, and questioning what […]

Google Docs: Is 3 Weeks too long to fix a Privacy/Security Issue?

Saturday morning is slow time for viral distribution of news, but if the news sticks the viral component tends to last longer than usual, often re-distributed by the Monday morning back-to-work crowd. “Checkout what happened over the weekend”, such as this Google Docs privacy leak. First, this is important news. If you used Google Docs, […]

Google’s Brand Arrogance & Typo Domains Revisited

I can count on one hand the number of SEO consultants I have met who understand Google’s perspective on brands. That’s not a good sign for those of you hiring SEO consultants. And, given Google’s recent public statements about brands, it’s also not good for the majority of the SEO industry still trying to optimize […]

How Much Does LinkedIn Pay You?

They don’t pay me anything, and so I don’t participate. How much do they pay you? I’m willing to accept discussions of how much value you get from LinkedIn, if that is what you prefer. I have little expectation that anyone can highlight much real value, although I am sure there will be a handful […]

Competitive Web Publishing

I’m always thinking about web and Internet from a competitive perspective, because that’s really what we are doing when we optimize, seek search traffic, buy links, and forge alliances with like-minded website network operators: competitive webmastering. But that concept is not always palatable to people. There are plenty of pie-in-the-sky web publishers (and SEOs and […]

Research News: Old Boys Clubs breed more Old Boys

I know this is outside the realm of Internet marketing, but my background is scientific research and I left that world for obvious reasons…that were not very obvious to everyone else at the time. Chalk this new research out of the SPIE and Academy of Arts and Sciences as one for the “duh” column, representing […]

Airline Domains: TAM Airlines doesn’t own

TAM Airlines (TAM) is the largest airline in Brazil, and has been expanding operations. They used to compete with Varig in Brazil, which owns as well as, the Brazilian equivalent, and GOL. Airline web sites are notoriously badly configured for SEO, and these are not exceptions, but TAM airlines doesn’t even own […]

Starbucks Losing Key Customers Over WiFi Glitches

I’ve been a regular Starbucks customer for many years. I spend about $250 per month at my local Starbucks, separate from WiFi access fees. I pay $7 for pre-made, cold sandwiches so I don’t have to leave my table. I visit Starbucks nearly daily when on travel, and I even buy stuff from their over […]

Competitive Intelligence Quietly Works; 3G iPhone Lands

Or not so quietly, if you are promoting your website for traffic. Many years ago I got my first taste of competitive intel, while working for a marketing agency in New York. Later, in New Jersey, I was surrounded by pharmaceutical companies and their execs and managers, whom I met through my own work with […]

Get Out and Live Life

[youtube: 600 400] Via the remarkably inspiring

Facebook Penetration Testing is Illegal Legal Permitted Investigative Reporting

My how things change in just a few years. Today, AP reporters proudly proclaim their “investigation” of a security loophole on Facebook, describing how they used the hack to peruse materials that clearly were posted to Facebook with an expectation of privacy: “A security lapse made it possible for unwelcome strangers to peruse personal photos […]

Internet Activity Data: What’s it Worth?

I followed a link to, a Web 2 ot Doh! application that keeps track of your time. You install a piece of spyware toolbar widget timer app, and RescueTime keeps an accounting of how long you are using a particular desktop application (like Word or Excel or Outlook) or web site (like Sphinn). I’m […]

mobile phone novels (keitai shousetsu) – not in the USA

When my American friends discuss innovation, I often get annoyed at their dedication of passion to their uninformed opinions. If only they would put some of that energy into study, eh? TechCrunch (today’s version of Red Herring, according to some lol) is reporting that “In Japan, half the top selling books are Written on Mobile […]

Rose Colored Glasses and Rose Colored Kool-Aide

Someone emailed me today and called me curmudgeon-y. So I looked it up. Grumpy old man. Hah. I am not that old, and I am not grumpy. And I dislike that SearchEngineLand has labeled it’s hard-core SEO blog roll as “Old Fart SEOs”. I like appearing there, but I don’t like the label. Yeah yeah, […]

Is The Web Honeymoon Almost Over?

The “honeymoon” is the initial period during which much is forgiven. The situation is new, overreaction is dangerous, and a decision was already made to “try it and see how it goes“. You aren’t usually thrust into a honeymoon — you decide to go there: you manage the risk. The web, from an SEO perspective, […]

Google, Users, Domainers and SEOs

Warning: Sometimes a blog post is less an essay than stream of consciousness… and some people may get headaches from wading through such a post (see the first comment – sorry!). The rest of you have been warned. By the way, according to the wiki, “stream of consciousness” was first defined by William James, the […]

Is your registrar worthy of your domain assets?

This morning’s “Meet the Registrar” session demonstrated the importance of the registrar in domain asset management. We all know this, and have been aware, but have we been truly aware? As domains increase in value, they become more valuable than money, yet how many are “stored” at registrars where security is not exactly top priority? […]

More from TRAFFIC East… things are looking good

I will post here and there live from the TRAFFIC East domain conference, because the overlap of SEO and domaining is just so darn interesting I can’t help myself. This is just one of those posts from the floor of TRAFFIC  East in Hollywood Florida…. notes 2 separate camps meeting at the Google/Yahoo! trading […]

Unavailable-After the Dirty Bastards are Gone

Last week Google revealed a new meta tag called “unavailable_after“. It provides webmasters with a means of telling Google in advance that a page of content will become irrelevant after some future date. When Google acknowledges unavailable_after, it schedules a removal of the page from the search results. The page is still indexed, according to […]

Google Finds Unregistered Whois Data

A few weeks back I was Matt Cutts Watching when I noticed he was participating in a Law Bloggers meeting. Mental note made; move on. Now I see Matt report from his blog about the Bay Area Blawgers meeting. Best bit: Matt notes how the US Copyright Office houses a database of domain names associated […]

Failing Cheaper: Good for Who?

Josh Kopelman from First Round Capital blogged “Failing Cheaper” which makes some very good points. It is cheaper these days to try a new business idea. It is easier to try and then fail than ever before. He says the role of seed funding is to validate or disprove the working business hypothesis, so as […]

If you won’t listen to me, maybe your customers will?

Hey BigDesignFirm. Yeah, you… the one listing all those Fortune1000 clients on your website. The same one that wouldn’t listen to our SEO guidelines during development, because SEO just gets in the way of the BigFatFollow-On PPC contracts you like to sell your clients when their BrandSpankinNewFlashyWebsites don’t get any traffic. I’m talkin’ to YOU. If […]

Two Routes to Online Success

One uses a lot of words to make the point (and no coincidence, gets paid for engaging the user in reading lots of stuff about stuff). The other uses few, but choice words to deliver the same message (and, not coincidentally, earns his keep by doing stuff). Pick your poison:    

Competitive Webmastering: I Can’t Beat This Wiki Guy

I don’t believe in the word CAN’T because it implies that one can predict the future. To know that you CAN’T do something is to accept a static future; to deny change. It suggests fate. I deny fate. And so, I deny the word CAN’T based simply on the fact that one can’t ever know […]

2-2-2 Every Day

It started as an exercise in personal improvement. One of those Entrepreneur things.  A Basic Plan of Action. A way to get it done. One time it was about getting out of a career rut:  Every day 2 calls, 2 letters, and 2 questions. Two calls to old contacts to get in touch and see what […]

Don’t Let Web 2.0 Fuzzy Focus Blur Your Competitive Business Vision

My first job was as an engineering tech for a small electronic instrument manufacturer. The company actually made things here in the US of A, by hand. They bought boxes of screws, drilled holes in sheets of beautifully-painted metal, and manufactured scientific instruments from the ground up. I put them together. Later, I was hired […]

Google Negotiating Access to Lightpoles for Google WiFi

This is not SEO, but it is about Google and Google’s desire to “own” municipal WiFi. Google and Earthlink have a partnership for WiFi in San Francisco, and it seems Google is also, in addition to the partnership with Earthlink, asking for separate “real estate” rights on 1500 light poles in San Francisco. Light poles […]

The Competitive Web and Affiliate Marketing – doomed?

At Pubcon I got into a conversation about affiliate marketing. I hold the position that affiliate marketing is a temporary opportunity, and not one for long-term investment. By my read, an affiliate is useful for only as long as the more traditional sales process is unable to satisfy consumer demand. As soon as a more […]

Now that I found a way to read the unpublished draft posts in your WordPress blog, I understand you much better

There is a draft post in my WordPress system called “Hand over your Lupins”. I never published it. I haven’t finished it yet. I don’t want anyone to read it in the current form, because it contains notes and suggestions for further development, including references to some key figures in SEO Celebrity Land. If that […]

You’re not here to do a job: You’re here to Help Us Win

I was asked by the CEO of a healthcare company why I thought his people (managers and employees) didn’t exhibit the “killer instinct” that he saw in highly competitive companies. He was about to once again go outside the company for a new management hire, but only because he didn’t feel he could promote from […]

Microsoft Mouse: A Symptom?

This week Microsoft unveiled a new ergonomic mouse. It was a long time ago that microsoft unveiled their first mouse, and that coincided with the promotion of Windows, the new graphical operating system that moved users away from their keyboards and into repetitive finger clicking. Selling that mouse was clearly in the best interests of […]

Counter to Google

A few years ago I attended the MIT Research Director’s Conference. The Research Director’s Conference is part of the MIT Industrial Liason Program, which provides member companies with access to MIT’s research labs and staff. I have worked with two companies that participated in the ILP, and each spent considerable money to belong so that […]

Have you claimed your FREE online cell account?

I just read about HP’s board hiring investigators to find the source of a boardroom leak, and admitting that pre-texting was used by the investigators to obtain the cell phone records of reporters and board members. Pre-texting is the name given to a social engineering technique – you call the phone company and pretend to […]

Walk your client out of the meeting, or I will

Here’s a competitive intelligence tip for all you Starbucks Mobile professionals (especially the wanna-be SEO types): walk your client to her car next time. Never, ever be the first to leave. You probably won’t listen to me if I suggest you keep your voice lower, not discuss tactical or strategic issues in a public forum, […]

Google says you don’t need a web site any more

You don’t need a web site any more These days, everybody needs SEO. Why? Because they need traffic, and the only traffic many business web sites get these days is the traffic that the search engines send to them. And of the search engines sending that traffic, Google sends the most by far. So the […]

Ayyye, me fickle mistress The Google

When clients and associates talk about SEO they sounds so deterministic, causal, and definitive. They often make statements like “much of the SEO advice on the web is untrue” and “very few SEOs realy know what they are talking about”. It’s easy to get defensive but there is no reason to: the client’s are venting. […]

On your Mark, Get Set, Falsify WHOIS!

I have a one hour seminar called “On Your Mark!, Get Set! Falsify WHOIS! where I discuss the public WHOIS database, and how competitive webmasters might best approach that issue. I submitted that talk for the New York PHP Conference this past summer, but my schedule didn’t allow me to follow through. Maybe I will […]

SEO Cannibals for the New Age

One of the more interesting aspects of my work is competitive intelligence. Who is competing in the market, using what tactics, and with what success? When limited to online activities, CI shows you what they *have been* doing, not what they may be doing now. However, as I learned quite well during my 10 years […]

MAC notebook wi-fi hack

Yes, it’s “Hack a Mac in 60 seconds” and “Macbook easily hacked” and all about the Mac being susceptible to a remote wireless hack that gives the hacker complete access to the local machine. Is it true? Well, not really. The hack attacks a device driver that is used by some companies wireless cards, and […]

Modern Day SEO: Running Routes from USA Track & Field Association

I think the US Track and Field Association have executed an excellent “modern day SEO” opportunity on their web site at As many of you engage is “SEO” for your web sites, and we touch upon the numerous aspects of Competitive Webmastering and some of the opportunities for your particular web sites, it is […]

Flock Feed Reader – why redirect to FeedBurner?

A friend just asked about getting up to speed with RSS and I sighed. What to suggest… Bloglines is so slow, I’m enjoying Earthlink’s new Feedreader but it’s…well, it’s Earthlink. So why not just put him onto Flock so he can enjoy what a modern browser feels like, and use it for feeds as well? […]

Feedburner in the Shadow of Google

Feedburner bought BogBeat for analytics, and got a new analytics exec. Everybody is busy watching Google.

Getting Competitive: Think like a Dirty Bastard™

I am a consultant. People hire me to think for them, and communicate my thoughts to them and their “enablers”. They tell me what to ponder, and I ask that they introduce me to their people (those enablers… the people who work for them, you know, enabling them to be rich and successful and whatnot). […]

Google Competitive Intel – for free

It can be very interesting (and entertaining) to watch experts at competitive intelligence at work. Especially when they are racing to compete with each other. Why, it practically makes CI a spectator sport! Seriously, when the target is Google, any new info rapidly becomes the target of competitive intel research by some of the most […]

How easy is Black Hat SEO?

Let’s say you learn of a Drupal security flaw. Let’s say it permits an unauthorized SQL injection. Let’s say you figure out how to insert a backlink into the Drupal link list using that exploit. Drupal is a popular Open Source content management system, in use on hundreds of thousands of websites. Itis very good, […]

Coca-Cola Secret Formula is a Reminder

This week Coke and Pepsi cooperated in an investigation that led to the FBI arresting 3 alleged conspirators. They allegedly conspired to sell secret Coke information to Pepsi. One of them worked for Coca-Cola in an administrative role. The news is big, because the payout was in the millions. The finer print reveals that the […]