John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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September 27th, 2006 by john andrews

Google Goes Dark – Webmasters go out of business

Google went “dark” yesterday, accordng to the AP news. They quote a Google statement, which of course includes note of services like AOL and YouTube having such issues in the past. No big deal, right? just use Yahoo! for search, right?

Not right. Let’s assume this is a problem getting to Google domains from Comcast, because of some issue between Comcast and Google. An issue like the one reported here in comment 36 :

This is not the first time Google and Comcast have had problems. Comcast denied access to Google services in 2002 when the search company charged the ISP with hosting some accounts that had abused its terms of service by performing “automated queries.”

You don’t just lose the ability to search on Google.com. Something like this was reported back in 2003 as well. If you lose access to Google domains, you lose access to your email (gMail). And analytics. No stats for 4 days? And slow loading pages as they wait for google analytics to time out with each page load? How about AdSense? So no revenue for 4 days? And AdWords? Your campaign manager can’t check your AdWords account or adjust your campaigns. The SEM company calls with a request for some minor tweaking of the contract a.s.a.p.

Or maybe you manage PPC in-house. Is your SEM worried about that daily or monthly PPC budget? Maybe he just started an expensive compaign intending to watch it and ROI metrics diligently, shutting it off if your page traffic spiked. Now he can’t. Is he supposed to just sit back and wait while the whole world continues spinning the wheels of commerce, spending your money without your participation? What are you freakin’ kidding me?

Back in June, a blogger published his trace route from Comcast to Google, showing packet loss. A commenter stated that was not a loss of service, but degradation. Was the noted 71% packet loss a deliberate degradation of Google service by a malicious or competitive Comcast? A spat between 2 companies and over 7 million broadband customers could lose access to Google for days.

Competitive Webmasters know that reliance on Google services is a risk. Over-reliance is just plain irresponsible. These experiences are noteworthy for their wake up call – we have no reason to expect this sort of competitive behavior to not only take place, but to increase. Is there any wonder the Google is a promotor of the “net neutrality” movement?

In my competitive webmaster training I spend considerable time on operational factors, including overlapping redundancy. It’s a concept which I believe maintains flexibility while remaining cost-effective, protecting against the competitive/anti-competitive behavior we can expect from these big monkeys as we move forward. It will be interesting to see what the public statements are going forward as this is resolved, but behind the scenes we can expect this is all about money: money Google has not been sharing.

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September 26th, 2006 by john andrews

That’s not angry. Let me show you ANGRY!

But that’s not angry, Eric. That just miffed. You should try dealing with Verizon, lol.

You say you sometimes lie when dealing with the phone rep, because you are angry and trying to get help. You are fighting a system that sure seems to have been built to keep you from getting what you need. And that’s frustrating. But actually, you’re being cheated, Eric. It’s not stupidity and ineptness that keeps you away form the answers. It’s greed. And so when you insist and demand and demonstrate short patience and raise your voice in frustration, you’re not being unreasonable. Your just elbowing your way to the sale rack at Filene’s. Filene’s is a business. It put that sale rack there. It set things up that way… in the basement. Regular customers have to pay full price. They have to go along, play by the rules, follow the path, do what they are told. You elbowing your way in to get something not available to everyone is according to somebody’s plan. It’s marketing, Eric (or perhaps merchandising).

I bought a cell phone from Verizon that promised the world. It didn’t deliver Hoboken or even Jersey City. By the end of a month I would have settled for Cleveland (but that would have been a mistake). It’s when Verizon started double billing me that I got miffed. But that’s not angry. Angry is what I got when Verizon’s collections department started calling my wife and my home phone at all hours.

Angry is when you call them back to have fun with them at their expense. Angry is when you answer questions the wrong way because you not only know what the right answer is, but you know how to navigate their support script. Do it right, and you can go from one dept to another and back again. Tell each one how the other told you they would be the right person to ask, even though it’s not at all true. Do that right and you can learn where their own internal conflicts are (that line of hatred that exists between data comm and telecomm, the network guys vs. the tech support guys, who is still unionized over there, and stuff like that). You see, Eric, miffed is when you’re frustrated and willing to settle for a loss if you can just get something. Angry is when you don’t care what it takes, you will cost them money and you will cause them grief.

Angry is not pretty. Angry is when you get a support rep to yell at you, and then get him fired for it. Angry is ugly. Angry is when you manipulate a newly-hired college grad into 3 rounds of “No, I’m not / Yes, you are” and then tell her you just recorded her being that childish and that you can’t believe the company puts completely untrained people on the phone with valued customers (even though you know she just finished her training). I kid you not, she responded with a demand that I cease recording or she would hang up on me, to which I replied “no, I won’t” to which she replied “yes, you will”. You won’t believe me if I say she went three rounds that time, too.

Companies today seem to design their systems to get you miffed. Miffed is a small price to pay. Only a small percentage of customers utilize the features and systems enough to encounter those bugs and errors, so a support system that ties you up on the line just saves them money and justifies buggy releases. The longer you are stalled, the more likely you are to drop the line and go away.

But angry customers? Ouch. They don’t go away. They can cost you time, effort, and reputation. They can confuse your own support systems, because if the reported evidence is logical (even if untrue), the engineers might actually look into it. What does a network engineer cost per hour? A supervisor? And what about that interdepartmental trust? What is an internal reputation worth, if a savvy angry customer feeds a sales rep just what that sales rep’s belief system is waiting to hear about the uncaring, rude and brutish tech support department? How much is it worth to actualy have something added to an internal meeting agenda, when it wasn’t actually an issue?

Congratulations on your integrity and compassion, Eric. You thought you were angry, and you even apologized for it. I hope you never have to learn what an angry customer is really like.

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September 19th, 2006 by john andrews

Ban my AdSense Account? Not so Fast Google!

There is a thread going on over at an seo blog (you can follow it at Threadwatch) that claims you can get anyone’s AdSense account banned by messing around with it on a domain that violates the GoogleRules. It’s also in Digg, which makes me suspicious. These days when I see a Digg link I think “sensationalist nonsense likely”. Maybe that’s just me.

Anyway it’s not exactly true that you can kill someone’s AdSense account *that* easly, but I think it is important for Competitive Webmasters to hold some clarity on this issue. AdSense is a big player in the webmaster revenue department. That makes the issue important for webmasters and their competitors alike. And truth be told, you can get someone’s AdSense account into trouble.
So here are my 10 Steps to get Someone’s AdSense Account Banned: read more

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