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?

johnon.com  Competitive Web & SEO
September 7th, 2006 by john andrews

I love Starbucks, but not for the Coffee

Starbucks is a wonderful invention. Coffee house for those who need a coffee house, meeting place for those who need a meeting place, and mobile office for those of us who like to work and meet people in a coffee house. I spend about $200/month in Starbucks, not including the funds I add to Starbucks cards used by others. Many of the Barista’s know me by name and drink, even across the nine or so different Starbucks outlets I frequent. One time I got a frantic client call from a client on my cell, about an urgent “opportunity”. I said I’d call back in 5 minutes from my computer, because I was confident I was not farther than 5 minutes from a Starbucks. In Seattle, I doubt I am ever more than 2 minutes froma Starbucks, but I had to allow for bootup and log in time.

I sat at an outside table at the next Starbucks, opened my ThinkPad and dialed the cell. As I started with the client, a Barista came outside and said “Hi John” and asked if I wanted my regular. Wow… awesome service, but no, thanks, I was only stopping for a minute, but really appreciated it! Talk about being treated like a King! That  is a great customer experience. But that’s not the end of the story.

The client call went overtime… as everything does… nothing takes less than 30 minutes these days… and about 40 minutes later I was still there, still on the phone, and oblivious to my surroundings. Someone then placed a venti half-decaf drip coffee (my drink) onto my table. I looked up. The Barista smiled and said “You look like you’ll be here a while; this one is on the house”.  Outstanding.

Keep it up Starbucks. I’ll continue to pay $6 for the egg salad sandwiches,  $18 for the travel mug, $4 for the half-decaf soy no-foam lattes, and $30 a month for the t-mobile even though there are a dozen open routers on any given block, a government test of municipal wifi, and a community wifi project under full steam. And remember, this is Seattle – I don’t go to Starbucks because it’s the best coffee in town.

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September 6th, 2006 by john andrews

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, or speak in secret code, so this is the least I can offer you. If you finish your overly loud public “search marketing” pitch and walk out leaving your dream client behind, I will feel compelled to hand her my business card and offer her a free review of your written proposal. Like I just did.

I over hear public private conversations all the time. I can’t help it. I have headphones, Ekova at 8 audio bars on my Thinkpad, and *still* I hear all sorts of gooey gossip and sob stories. Chatter is part of the American culture of coffee houses. But pitching prospective clients in public? That’s just asking for trouble. Not only do you expose your hot prospect as a…. potentially hot prospect, but you provide a forum for outsiders (like me) to witness the two-way interview, learn everything you know about the prospect, and everything the prospect knows about you, and all for free.

In this case the prospect was not hot, nor was the wanna-be SEO. Neither seemed to know it, and I suppose that is what helps the economy go around, including the hookup I will gain from my offer of a free proposal review. The prospect, upon hearing my very simple pitch that I could be helpful at 10% of the contract price, and will prove it with a free review, stated she wasn’t the one to speak to about that but would put me in touch with her CEO. Then she made the call in front of me. Bingo.

In this case I was not eavesdropping. I was there first, and wore my headphones. They started talking about search placement and organic SEO. How could I not listen? And what I heard was so bad, so egregious from an SEO perspective, I was compelled to speak to this potential victim as a public service.

Addendum: Just as I posted this, the realty pro at the 3 person meeting next to me said (too loudly) that’s an acre, which is… about… 100 x 300 feet…. so then half acre you’re looking at about 50 x 100 lot”. Huh? I’m no realtor, but Google’s define:acre shows an acre is 4,840 square yards. That means 100×300 feet is 3,333 square yards, not 4,840 (off by what, 30%?). The noted 50 x100 is not half an acre, but roughly 1/8 of an acre? Geesh. Again, I guess that’s what keeps the economy going around.

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September 6th, 2006 by john andrews

Danny Sullivan Handcuffs

Danny, Danny, Danny,…tsk tsk… what did you do to deserve handcuffs?

Mr. Sullivan (Danny to most SEOs) was “handcuffed” but is now free. And while some call them Golden Handcuffs, and others call Danny Sullivan’s handcuffs “pink fluffy handcuffs” or “pink furry handcuffs“, they are, nonetheless, handcuffs.

The Danny Sullivan handcuffs link love will outlast the SEO interest, for sure.

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John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

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