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?  Competitive Web & SEO
March 26th, 2007 by john andrews

“Brett Tabke Hates Me”

“I had people come up to me at Pubcon and ask me why I was not a speaker. I told them its cause Brett Tabke hates me.” – Jeremy Shoemoney on his blog.

Wow. I loved that comment! It’s classic for SEO world. Looking past the obvious “come on Brett, can’t we make nice” aspect of the public statement, Jeremy is expressing a common experience around PubCon and webmasterworld. But it might not be hate. I think it’s partly due to geekiness. It’s partly due to ego (on all sides?) but also partly due to the self-conscious independence that Internet entrepreneurialism allows.

When geeks are in charge, they behave differently than regular people in charge. And I don’t mean modern day geeks (those raised in a world where Geek is fashionable). I mean pre- South Park days, when Geek humor was restricted to sysadmin caves, Popular Mechanics was Make and no one laughed genuinely with an unrestrained open-mouth smile except salesmen and Geeks (and the salesmen were smart enough to shower daily and wear clashing plaid outfits for the distracting comedic value). Back in the day of Brett’s rise to tech geek status, Geeks were ugly. Remember “Revenge of the Nerds?” It was actually funny when it came out. Really!

Today I suspect it’s like Brett brought the only baseball and he’ll take it home if you don’t want to play by his rules, even if he wants to change them in the top of the ninth. Does he hate the players who disagree with him? Nah… but maybe he thinks he just doesn’t have to let them play with his ball. Maybe it’s just Brett’s own rendition of Revenge of the Nerds. Maybe PubCon doesn’t need to be as excellent as some say it could be. Maybe PubCon is good enough for Brett.

Why did I write this? In ’02 I had a less than pleasant experience with Mr. Tabke, and the experience has colored the Pubcon/WMW landscape for me ever since. It might be me realizing my expectations for Brett, but with every new encounter I seem to re-confirm for myself that Mr. Tabkey and I simply don’t speak the same language. It’s like the guy at The Whatever Club you simply can’t stand. You’re both members, you share common friends, you have the same interests, you pursue many of the same goals, and it looks like it would be so cool to hang out and do Whatever together but it simply will never work. But that’s not hate. 

Now will Shoemoney be speaking at PubCon anytime soon? My bet is yes, eventually, but not because he and Brett make up. It’ll be because Shoemoney continues to do what the market appreciates, the market continues to demand speakers who can cover the important topics with authority and in an entertaining way, and Brett is forced to for-go certain personal preferences for economic reasons. And that’s my personal interest in seeing Jeremy speak at PubCon — as soon as I see that, I’ll know that substance finally matters more than personal connections at PubCon, and then maybe the quality of the sessions will improve!



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March 26th, 2007 by john andrews

SEM Scholarship – Show Me Your Links

The “SEM Scholarship” contest has been announced, and this year the no-cash-value prize is described as “worth more than $10,000″. I’ll refrain from critiquing the assignment of dollar value to things like “One month of industry coaching and training from search marketing expert Andy Beal” and “The winner’s article will be published in the industry print magazine“, but I suppose free registration to a conference is worth something.

This “contest” is open to “the next generation of search engine marketing experts”. Your submission is judged by how much traffic it brings to the host web site, and then the top 5 traffic drivers get judged by a panel of SEM “judges” for things like “content, style, topic and many other factors“. Since no article will draw contest-worthy organic traffic in the short term of this schedule, it’s really about driving traffic the good old-fashioned way — the hard way. Ask for it, beg for it, or do like last year’s winner and buy it.

And so, in anticipation of the usual requests to “link to my article” and “highlight my article” and “mention my article on your blog”, I am calling all wannabe SEM contestants to step forward now, while it’s still early, and identify your own properties from which you are able to provide links in return. That’s right, I am throwing in, for free, apprentice-like training for SEM wannabes. I guess that has a value of…  skip it.

Anyway, that’s how the real world works — you wants links? Show me what you’ve got in exchange. But do it now, in advance, because honestly once your article is in the hopper the traffic needs to be flowing if you expect to make the top 5. Tick tock, newbie. Better get crackin’.

What sites do you control, where you could place a back link?  Each  site has a theme, and a review will reveal the opportunities. I, like most competitive web masters, SEOs and SEM people, have web sites and clients and partners across numerous niche markets and I can use back links from all sorts of web pages. But it’s not willy-nilly, silly.

Good luck to you all, and I sincerely hope you emerge from this contest with at least a realization that yes, yet again you worked hard for someone else, for free, so they could get traffic and attention to their website, at your expense, and you did it for a chance at a prize that has no cash value, but an opportunity value somewhere between zero and $10,000, depending on how much you would already have paid for the rubber throwing stars and other stuff you were going to buy anyway. If that were the case. Which it is not. Anyway. Good luck. Let me know if you want to exchange links ;-)

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March 25th, 2007 by john andrews

Where are the Contextual Job Listings?

I write a blog post about PHP, and in the sidebar should be a link roll of PHP jobs.

I write about SEO and in the sidebar should be a link roll of internet marketing jobs.

If I were hiring a web designer, I would target a beautifully rich long tail of attractors for my job listing. I imagine I would appreciate a system that combined these automagically, according to some smart ruleset. I bet, given the vast experience of the contextual advertising engines and the relative uniformity of job offerings, that it would be cake. I bet it would be amenable to optimization, too.

Job click thrus convert as resumes, or at least a conversion lead better than most. And job link click thrus don’t have to go direct to specific jobs… they can go through a lead refinement filter, which, of course, would be like an MFA page, helping to land the job prospect onto the optimal match of a job. “So you like the PHP job, did you see these PHP + MySQL jobs, and these PHP + Perl jobs? Which do you like best (chose one or more…” Taguchi doesn’t apply, cause each lead is unique, and so why rely on initial page context, trying to match perfectly when job seekers expect to seek anyway? That’s why PPC doesn’t pay for individual jobs. Instead, use contextual ads to draw them in… but not into a monster job site. Draw them in to iterate the contextual job text link (MFA) system recursively… it doesn’t break any rules (if the initial job exists), and lets the seeker navigate the way nature intended.

Job placement recruiters get what, 6-10% of the first year’s salary at least?

So in 2007, where are the contextual ads for jobs?

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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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