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April 23, 2008 - Spotting things you'll want to see today.

Wall Street forgets to read the comScore fine print

On Friday Google's stock price jumped almost 20% and surprised those on Wall Street who had been misguided by comScore data. Many ecommerce bloggers (who are not necessarily comScore fans) felt that the elite financial analysts were just in over their heads when it came to counting clicks and that the comScore data was reliable if you understood what it was saying. comScore itself immediately jumped in with the explanation that their numbers were never intended to measure the 51% of Google clicks that occurred outside the USA or on Adsense, Gmail or Youtube. Former Wall Street rock star Henry Blodgett came to comScore's defense in Silicon Valley Insider with the caveat that Google's domestic search clicks did indeed rise only 2%. SEO Blackhat (caution: adult language) seconded the motion put forth by comScore that the reduction in clicks may be a deliberate result of actions taken by Google to improve quality. So perhaps less is more for online marketers who hopefully didn't fall prey to the Wall Street mentality.
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How to read Digital Body Language

Interactive marketing becomes deeper and more complex with every click of the web 2.0 clock. This means that customers and prospects have new ways to leave subtle but valuable messages that they are interested in your business -- and you are probably missing them. Steve Gershik, blogging for The Innovative Marketer, has pioneered the concept of Digital Body Language and the tools that marketers can use to integrate consumer actions across multiple channels. With so many options available customers will gravitate towards businesses that most closely match their own personal styles, making Digital Body Language a most worthwhile read.

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  Reading habits worth considering

Jeremy Schoemaker’s pragmatic mantra is “prioritize potentially profitable projects". His internet life began in 1995 when a customer (Schoemaker was selling Sears appliances) offered him a job with his ISP. The customer knew that Schoemaker spent a lot of time on the computer, not knowing that it was mostly spent playing games. But the customer, as always, was right. Schoemaker quickly gained the technical skills and retained the marketing instincts that told him there was money to be made with the vast audience the internet was sure to attract. There was, and he did.

He is guided today by a discipline of spotting new trends and keeping an eye out for small changes that can add big profits. Schoemaker's popular blog is called 'ShoeMoney® - Skills To Pay The Bills' and its posts usually point to revenue opportunities (although he seems to have gotten the Twitter bug that is going around). True to form, he now tweets his old mantra.    His blog

A grand old brand tries life as a widget

Pr2.0 points out that an entry on Wikipedia will be reviewed 184 times for every hit on a similar entry on This was probably severely tiresome for the people at Britannica who have devoted aeons of work hours on a product that isn't keeping pace with a user generated counterpart. Finally, a catch-up strategy is emerging. Britannica will now make its vaulted content available to web publishers for free and has unveiled new distribution systems for social bookmarking services. A blogger who consulted on the project, Shel Holtz, provides a first hand account of how a venerable business model can migrate to a social media platform. Britannica will try to maintain a $70 a year online subscription program, a practice that Michael Arrington in TechCrunch feels may soon be found only on dusty library shelves.
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Tools: New and/or improved

  • Backlink checkers that actually help (Search Engine Journal)
  • W3Counter, Another Alternative To Google Analytics! (Search Engine News)
  • 55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love (Search Engine Journal)
  • Metrics that matter — digging into the customer's mindset (Marketing Experiments)

Can you enjoy social media AND have a life?

The blogs are full of examples of people using social media to true advantage, suggesting real value and the emergence of a profitable business model. But will large scale audiences find the barriers to social entry too formidable? E-consultancy borrows the phrase "an inconvenient truth" to make the point that most people are able to fill all 24 hours without much help from Twitter, Facebook and the rest. Blogging in WatchMojo, Ashkan Karbasfrooshan makes a sobering case that social media may never monetize well without reaching a critical mass. The true benefit, however, may not be found in big numbers but in valuable communication with existing customers argues Gino Cosme who warns businesses not to overlook a key link to involved buyers.

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Radar Screen: Ex-Googlers starting 'Mechanical Zoo', a social search tool

Departing from the mother ship, some Google veterans are now working on a 'subjective' search engine that places value on those closest to you:

  • Ex-Googlers working on stealth social search (cNet News Blog / Stefanie Olsen)
  • Former Googlers Ready Mechanical Zoo Social Recommendations Engine (Search Engine Land / Greg Sterling)
  • Mechanical Zoo - Social Networking Brilliancy or Just Monkey Business? (WebGuild)
  • Mechanical Zoo's social search will swaddle you in warm, safe groupthink (ValleyWag / Jackson West)
  • Mechanical Zoo to Tap Into Social Search (Mashable / Stan Schroeder )


Off Topic: The wisdom of the world's oldest tree

It has roots that go back to the edge of the last ice age. The trunk rising from the ground isn't much to look at but it is a recent part of the tree, less than 600 years old. The tree has managed to survive close to ten millennia of climate change by cloning a new trunk when appropriate and playing it close to the ground at other times. The tree is telling us that things feel a bit warm right now, but not quite as warm as when it was just a young sap. The European blog tells us how this elder statesman is suggesting that we rethink the dynamics of climate change.

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