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
April 27th, 2007 by john andrews

XAMPP Security Vulnerability – Have A Safe Weekend

If you don’t watch the mailing list you might not know, so if you use XAMPP for dev work on Windows, check out the security warning today.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
April 27th, 2007 by john andrews

It’s the client! Get the Search Guy on the phone…

Looking at notes from SES NY, I came across a discussion of how Agencies employ people like me for their search expertise, yet don’t always know how to handle that “secret” when dealing with the client. Do they allow transparency, telling the client they have a search guy on board, or do they pretend to have all the expertise in house? And if they hide the association (as they frequently do), how does that serve the client when in fact, the closer the SEO is to the client, the better and more cost-effective the SEO? I loved this part and wish I had been there:

Sara Holoubek, a free-agent consultant, moderated the session. She asked the agency panelists to comment on the issue of transparency. Should clients be told that their Agency of Record is sub-contracting to a search expert? Should the search marketing firm have direct access to the client? Or should the agency keep the relationship under wraps and “white label” the search services as their own?

Amy Auerbach, former VP Group Director, Media Contacts feels that in general ad agencies and media buying companies just don’t have the search marketing skills and competencies required—particularly in the area of search engine optimization (SEO)—so she believes that partnering with search experts is absolutely necessary. But, according to Auerbach, the bigger question is, will the ad agency bring the SEM firm into the project at the appropriate time. She admits that there is risk associated with partnerships and when push comes to shove… many agencies tend to be conservative and keep tight control over the client relationship.

The challenge, according to Dori Stowe, former president of Tribal DDB Health, is that to be successful, the search marketing expert must be fully integrated into the project very early on. She believes that this requires transparency. Dori thinks it’s important to have a full disclosure policy and to be able to honestly say to your client, “Let me get my search expert on the phone.”

This is one of the reasons I went public with a professional profile as an SEO last July. Better than saying “Let me get my search expert on the phone” is saying “Let me get John Andrews, my search expert, on the phone”. Sure there’s some liability for having picked the search guy, but if you pick the right search guy, that liability is more than offset by the benefits of holding both the search guy and the client accountable through transparency. I’d hate to burn my reputation with your client under any circumstances, but in the face of account management blunders you might make, I can’t say I worry as much about your reputation with your client.

Of course, such transparency can be threatening to some firms and their managers. I think it follows the age-old truism: A people hire A people, and B people hire C people.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
April 25th, 2007 by john andrews

Hook Humility: Matt Cutts Got Me This Time

I love to compete, but I don’t hate to lose. I love to see challengers challenge, and winners win. This time, via clever but admittedly deserved hook-humility, Matt has set himself above the crowd once again. Kudos to Matt Cutts; he’s right.

Background: Hook-Humility is that age old trick of saying something humble just to get someone else to tell you it isn’t true (and thus, stroke your ego). It goes on all around you. Classic example: “Do I look fat in this?“, asks the perfectly fit high fashion girlfriend of her overweight shopping buddy.

So what did Matt say this time? Well, in a carefully-worded private opinion called “Google and Privacy“, Matt explains how he feels Google works hard to protect our privacy. According to Matt, Google works harder than other corporations to prevent the sort of privacy-invading commercialization of our Internet use and computer search data we worry about these days. For example, Matt notes:

My short answer is that from working at Google for the last 7-8 years, I’ve seen firsthand how much Google works to protect users’ privacy. I personally believe that we take more precautions and safeguards than any other major search engine.

Matt notes that Google was the only one of 30+ companies to resist a subpoena by the Department of Justice last year for search data, and that Google’s legal team won the right to not disclose user data. He’s right. They did.

Matt also notes that Google doesn’t require more than an email address and password to sign up for Google accounts. He’s right. They don’t.

Matt then goes on to compare Google to ISPs, the companies that actually know your clickstream data. Those companies like Comcast and Verizon and Qwest actually know everything about what you do and also know your credit card data, and thus your true identity. If you worry about privacy, suggests Matt, don’t worry about Google who knows only your email address, but worry about the ISP that knows and may even sell your clickstream data. And again, Matt’s right.

But then there’s the hook. The part that makes me say, “But Matt, you’re much smarter and more capable than the Verizons and Qwests of the world“. Damn. He got me. I’m complimenting Matt and Google, openly admitting how smart and capable they are. That’s the hook humility. Google is a great company. Verizon sucks, and everybody knows it. Comcast? Geesh. Do we need to even talk about them? And Qwest? The company that double-confirmed my business DSL line was installed and operational, when in fact there wasn’t even a cable connecting the entire office building to the Qwest network? And Earthlink? I don’t worry about them having my clickstream data, Matt. They wouldn’t know what to do with it, even if they could do something with it. But Google? Heh heh heh. Come on Matt. Google is wicked smart.

Yes Google fought the DOJ. But Google did it to protect Google from disclosing details of Google, right? Google only asks for an email address, true, but Google knows your IP number and Google has tons of cookie and toolbar data, so it can probably figure out the rest, no? Google could buy most ISP’s with pocket change, let alone make offers for clickstream data that cannot be refused. Hell Google could pick up GoDaddy (a privately held company) if it wanted to, and get all that domain activity data. Bob Parson’s seems edgy of late. I bet it’s available.

You see Matt, we hold you and your colleagues to a higher standard. You’re not an ISP, you’re Google. We don’t worry about you having access to our data. We worry because of what you have become capable of with your massive powers and near-monopoly status as a definer of the Internet experience for so many users. Everyone can buy guns, but we don’t fear everyone. We fear the crazy ones who are clearly capable of killing. We don’t want them to have guns, because it would be so likely that they would kill us.

When Matt compares Google to an ISP, it’s clever hook humility and it works. I admit it – Google is a very powerful, capable company of brilliant people, capable of amazing things. And you, too, Matt. You’re a great personality, friendly and thoughtful, and a good listener. You represent Google well, and do a bang up job walking the fine line between public relations, investor relations, and customer support. Even in the face of fire, you do well. And spin? I hate to impart intent, as that’s a double-edged sword I never want to see wielded by Google. Kudos to you, and the Google machine for having garnered so much forward momentum you’re basically unstoppable on your way to bigger bijillions that Microsoft, IBM, and even GE someday. But I don’t trust you Google, and that’s the bottom line.

Trust. That’s the only real tool we have. You know it, and I know it. Google wants to measure trust as a means of controlling search spam, and to maintain the advertising market it has helped create and dominate. We all need to know how we can trust a company as large, powerful, and wicked smart as Google. Yes, it would be worse if Google was openly evil, I agree. But is that really the point?

The best part comes last. There is hope. I may not trust you, Matt and Google, but I do have faith in your abilities. If you really want to show me that I can trust Google with the power it has, don’t show me how Google looks good compared to less capable, more evil companies. Show me how Google uses it’s power and brains to actually secure my personal data, not only from abuse by Google but abuse by anybody. Show me how Google rewards me for my trust, by helping the world advance the Internet to protect everyone from abuse, and encourage everyone to participate. Show me that Google is not only not-evil, but good. Even better, since you’ve got all those Ph.D.’s over there, prove it.

I look forward to the day. Maybe that’s what the FYIFV employees should do for giggles in the second third of their professional lives… form a foundation to advance the Internet along these lines and make it a safe place for everyone to trust. It would be great for business, for society, and even for Google.

References: I apologize for not providing an Internet link to a definition of hook humility, but it seems I already rank #1 in Google for it, so that would be redundant anyway. I have to give credit to Brother Harold at Chaminade High School, my first Creative Writing instructor, for introducing me to the term. I still remember my “11 common linking verbs” along with so many other aspects of that inspiring 9th grade class in creative writing.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine

Competitive Webmaster

Wonder how to be more competitive at some aspect of the web? Submit your thoughts.

SEO Secret

Not Post Secret

Click HERE


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




comments policy



Recent Posts: ★ SEO Industry Growth, Widespread Failure, and SEO Industry Challenge ★ Do you want to WIN, or just “Be the Winner”? ★ 503: GONE ★ Cloud Storage ★ Identity Poetry for Marketers ★ PR is where the Money Is ★ Google is an Addict ★ When there are no Jobs ★ Google Stifles Innovation, starts Strangling Itself ★ Flying the SEO Helicopter ★ Penguin 2.0 Forewarning Propaganda? ★ Dedicated Class “C” IP addresses for SEO ★ New Domain Extensions (gTLDs) Could Change Everything ★ Kapost Review ★ Aaron Von Frankenstein ★ 2013 is The Year of the Proxy ★ Preparing for the Google Apocalypse ★ Rank #1 in Google for Your Name (for a fee) ★ Pseudo-Random Thoughts on Search ★ Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or a Blog ★ The BlueGlass Conference Opportunity ★ Google Execs Take a Break from Marissa Mayer, Lend Her to Yahoo! ★ Google SEO Guidelines ★ Reasons your Post-Penguin Link Building Sucks ★ Painful Example of Google’s Capricious Do Not Care Attitude 


☆ about

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

☆ navigation

  • John Andrews and Competitive Webmastering
  • E-mail Contact Form
  • What does Creativity have to do with SEO?
  • How to Kill Someone Else’s AdSense Account: 10 Steps
  • Invitation to Twitter Followers
  • …unrelated: another good movie “Clean” with Maggie Cheung
  • …unrelated: My Hundred Dollar Mouse
  • Competitive Thinking
  • Free SEO for NYPHP PHP Talk Members
  • Smart People
  • Disclosure Statement
  • Google Sponsored SPAM
  • Blog Post ideas
  • X-Cart SEO: How to SEO the X Cart Shopping Cart
  • the nastiest bloke in seo
  • Seattle Domainers Conference
  • Import large file into MySQL : use SOURCE command
  • Vanetine’s Day Gift Ideas: Chocolate Fragrance!
  • SEM Rush Keyword Research
  • ☆ blogroll

  • Bellingham SEO
  • Domain Name Consultant
  • Hans Cave Diving in Mexico
  • Healthcare Search Marketing
  • John Andrews
  • John Andrews SEO
  • SEMPDX Interview
  • SEO Quiz
  • SEO Trophy Phrases
  • SMX Search Marketing Expo
  • T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2007
  • TOR
  • ☆ categories

    Competition (39)
    Competitive Intelligence (15)
    Competitive Webmastering (547)
    Webmasters to Watch (4)
    domainers (63)
    Oprah (1)
    photography (3)
    Privacy (16)
    Public Relations (187)
    SEO (398)
    Client vs. SEO (2)
    Link Building (3)
    Search Engines vs. SEO (1)
    SEO SECRETS (11)
    SEO vs. SEO (1)
    ThreadWatch Watching (5)
    Silliness (24)
    Social Media (7)
    society (31)
    Uncategorized (23)

    ☆ archives

  • November 2014
  • September 2014
  • December 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • November 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006