Friday, March 30, 2007

Finally! Common Tote Sense

A couple of days ago I was in the office rummaging through four large storage containers looking for the spare laptop battery. I had to dig under mountains of conference totes, books, pads of paper, pink brains, and other assorted junk but finally in the 3rd box I found the battery.

But not before I had gotten majorly irritated and thrown the 36 conference totes I'd collected from the last several years of SES conferences as well as a handful of other seminars - on the floor. They were everywhere. My kids use them occasionally to carry toys around and I've used to carry books to the library but I bet even then I've only used 2 or 3.

So when I read Max Kalehoff's column this morning, I said YEAH BABY and headed out to buy a lottery ticket. The coindence between my fit and his column was just too great so I decided to see if my luck would hold! Enjoy!

21 Practical Applications For Your Extra Conference TotesBy Max Kalehoff

How many marketing-conference tote bags do you have piling up in your office? Be honest, you know what I'm talking about! They're usually made of canvas, and are messenger, mailman or backpack style. They are typically black with a conference logo on the front and logos of sponsors scattered around.

They're most often handed out when you arrive at marketing-conference registration booths, filled with keynote authors' books, conference brochures, and sponsor schwag. Sometimes they are cool and stylish, though most are dorky.

Unless you're at a Coach event, all are cheaply made. If you still don't know what I'm talking about, just
click here for a few hundred thousand examples.

Now let me be clear: I'm not picking on any conference organizer. I'm grateful for those handy bags, really! For all I know, those totes play some terribly important role. Perhaps they legitimize the very events they accompany. In my early professional years, I really dug those bags. I felt they were highly desirable handouts.

But for me, times have changed. Conference totes have lost their appeal. They've reached saturation, and this is underscored by the fact I've received at least 21 of them since the beginning of 2006. I even came home with two this week! In fact, I already had a stack of five or six in my office, and another stack at home. They've become as ubiquitous as the plastic grocery bags that accumulate in my kitchen closet.

Conference totes have become so terribly abundant that one could argue they're now an environmental hazard. In an age where
sustainability is becoming a key dimension of social and corporate responsibility, we simply can't continue along this path!

Until our marketing and events industries kick the habit, I'd like to offer 21 ways to make good use out of the propagation of conference totes:

1. Use one as a briefcase in case you lose yours.

2. Give them to colleagues as incentives for company brainstorms or project

3. Store them under your desk for when you have to haul junk home from the office.

4. Give them to your young kids, who still think totes are cool; a great souvenir from your business trip.

5. If you have very young children, store diapers in them while traveling -- clean or dirty, there'll always be more.

6. Use them instead of disposable plastic bags at the grocery store.

7. Use one as a carry-on for small pets while flying on airplanes (it works for my sister's miniature Yorkshire terrier).

8. Store your lingerie or jewelry in them. (sidebar Debra -- I don't think so)

9. Turn one into a first-aid kit.

10. Turn one into a toolbox; some have great utility pockets which are excellent for holding screwdrivers and the like.

11. Create planters out of them, and hang them; just remember to drill holes in the bottom if the bags are watertight.

12. Use them as picnic baskets.

13. Use them as Easter baskets.

14. Give one to your wife to transport her breast pump between work and home (I did).

15. Use one to store onions and garlic in your pantry.

16. Use them to transport wet bathing suits on your way home from the beach or pool.

17. Use one as a waste bag in your car.

18. Scissor out the side panels of one and use it as a firewood tote (
like this one).

19. Recycle the canvas to make patches for your kids' ripped jeans, especially the knees.

20. Double-up two tote bags and use them as a beer cooler in the summertime.

21. Cut out squares and sew a quilt. (sidebar Debra - huh?)

These are just 21 applications I've found useful. How about you?

Max Kalehoff is vice president of marketing for Nielsen BuzzMetrics, a global measurement service for consumer-generated media

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Getting Clean Links From NoFollow Lemons

I was just as dismayed as the next link builder when places like the Wikipedia, and YouTube decided to turn all their outbound links pink by adding nofollows. I had spent a good deal of time getting some of them placed and thought – oh well, there goes the neighborhood.

But! After thinking about it a bit I decided if I couldn’t get the juice from the link I’d focus on getting the link to the juice.

As a link builder it’s my job to find the best sites to secure links from. I’m after topically relevant, reputation heavy, growth oriented sites that host my demographic. Basically – popular sites in a given niche. If I find those top sites are using nofollow I'll still utter a curse word or two but it won't stop me from going after the link.

Why? There’s a very high probability the demographic frequenting the site will click through to mine because they trust the host site and assume any link they offer has to be relevant. It also doesn't hurt that I'll use the most alluring anchor text I can think of to further entice people to click. Once they land on your site it's up to you to do everything in your power to capture their information and attention.

With emphasis on their information. If you’re establishing new links, point them to pages with special offers and free giveaways that require registration to download. Give away whitepapers, discount coupons, survey results, newsletter memberships… anything with a perceived value that allows you to capture an email address.

This also works for established links now color coded pink. Change the content on the destination page and include the special offers. Once you have the email address, develop a link incentive and send it back to those people who downloaded your info. They took the first step in showing you they liked what they saw and wanted more info so follow-up with another offer and request to link. People link with sites they like or make them look good so take time to develop an incentive that’s mutually beneficial.

Just because someone found your site through a nofollow link doesn't mean they won't link to you using a clean one. You just need to find out who they are and then do the follow-up.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Interesting Links.

Some interesting link related tidbits from around Internet Land...

Have a beef with your beer boss?

Use YouTube to get the word out. Personally I think it should be against the law to give a webcam to whiney people.
(Sidenote) If they were Anheuser-Busch employees that video would have a link at the end pointing people to a well crafted landing page asking for donations toward their retirement fund. ;)-


A post on the HR Forum asks - Are there any specific tips on getting edu sites to link to my site?

My buddy Randy Cullom responds: How to get .edu links? Have a site with subject matter that appeals to the education market. Without this connection as a reason for them to link to your site you're basically SOL. As to whether .edu's carry any special weight, we've discussed 'em around here a few times before. The short answer is: No they don't carry any magic link juice. Their magic, if you want to call it that, is they're usually very large, very diverse, usually decent quality sites that attract a lot of links from other diverse, quality sites. In other words, it's not the .edu TLD that carries any extra weight. It's the fact that they're high quality sites, just like you can find in .com's, .net's and every other TLD.

Google's released a new patent application..

Here's some interesting info on how they may determine the quality score of a blog. Bill Slawski has done his usual great job picking apart the patent application and highlighted some of the more interesting parts, here's a few:

Number of times search terms appear in a blog post.

Places where search terms appear within the document (such as title or the text within the body of the post),

Characteristics of search terms appearing on thepages (such as font, size, color, etc.),

Search terms may be weighted differently from other search term when multiple search terms are present.

Proximity of search terms when multiple search terms are present may influence the IR score, and;

Other techniques for determining the IR score for a document can also be used.

Reading through the criteria I was struck by how similar sounding some is to a previous patent app that made the rounds a while back.


Calling all Nine Inch Nail Lovers...

Talk about thinking outside the box to promote your product! Not sure I want to use anything I found hidden in a restroom but hey - the rest is pretty damn interesting.


A number of new direstories have been added to Might find one to add your site to.


The art of *nicheyness*. and
It's no surprise these niche sites are popping up given the success of "general" networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Since they're still new and relatively small, it would be a good time to build a profile and get involved as well as buy ad space.

Although MomCafe isn't just for breakfast anymore..... "The site has around 100,000 registered users and is expected to do 20 million page views in March, up from 1.8 million in December 2006."

Power to the soccer moms!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wikipedia Died And Rose Again

If it's on Wikipedia it has to be true - right? Thankfully for Sinbad that's not the case.

MIAMI - Actor-comedian Sinbad had the last laugh after his Wikipedia entry announced he was dead, the performer said Thursday. Rumors began circulating Saturday regarding the posting, said Sinbad, who first got a telephone call from his daughter. Read rest.....

To make matters worse, they haven't issued an apology to the man or added a new category on verifiable resurrections which would be rather apropos so close to Easter don't you think?

It makes you wonder which professor posted this one......

Update: Simon pinged and told me it's Sinbad's career that had died, not the man himself. Good to know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Link Forum

I pop around to the various link marketing related blogs, forums, elance and techie sites a couple times a week to see what's going on in link marketing land. With so many resources to keep up with it's almost gotten as time consuming as link builidng itself!

I've pulled together a number of informative posts, articles and stories from these sources and will continue to do so as I find them. My formatting is a little off so patience as I work on it to be sure everyone gets proper credit for saying their piece. Here's what's up:

"Imagine how much effort has been devoted to generating links.... it would probably pay off the US National Debt."
Debra : LOL...

"I do not think that directories per se are being devalued by Google merely by the fact of them being directories. Instead what I see is a ton of people attempting to build fly by night directories, inflate their value by renting a few high powered links, and then once they have sold their slots dropping the link rentals. Even though the PR of those directories stays until the next PR update, whatever value they had is of course lost once the links are no longer pointing at them. Since the practice is widespread, it does give the appearance of directories in general losing their value. "
Debra: Agree about the directories not being devalued because of what they ARE. Just by what their silly owners DO.
------------------------------------------------------------------- ..."The slick part is getting other people to put your articles with a link to you on their sites. Getting them to do it for free is time consuming and gives you no guarantee of anyone doing it or anyone keeping doing it. It does work, but in my experience not as well or as cheaply as just finding and renting the links you want. Making this the least slickest way I'll post here."
Debra: The slickest way to build links is to have other people do it for you. ;)

"Perhaps Google took a second look at your inbound links. 100 links to 50 pages is not enough, especially when most of them are from DMOZ clones or ugly dynamic (forum) URLs. These links don't carry weight. Get more related links from blogs and from within the textual content of related articles on authority sites."

"Given that over half the sites that get listed in DMOZ were never even submitted, then thats not a record. Over 10 000 sites have been added in the last 4 weeks." (post was made 3/10/07)

"Retailers are taking a page from MySpace. They know that customers, especially the younger and more Net-savvy, want to be heard, and they also want to hear what others like them think. So increasingly, retailers are opening up their Web sites to customers, letting them post product reviews, ratings, and in some cases photos and videos. "
Debra: Good ideas for ecommerce sites who find it difficult to attract links.

"The deal was still warm when MacDonald was contacted by the Mayor of Kipling, Saskatchewan. The town of 1,100 traded MacDonald a three-bedroom house on Main Street in exchange for the movie role. The town plans on holding an "American Idol"-style competition for the part, with entry fees going to charity. "
Debra: Shouldn't that be "Canuck Idol'? (just for you Ian!)