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ASW08 Looking Back at My New Friends at Affiliate Marketing Summit West

Apologies for the lack of posts during the conference. My Dell Inspiron, as well as several other people’s, could not connect to the Affiliate Summit Internet signals. This is Dell’s fault, not Affiliate Summit’s. On that note, Dell needs to finally take responsibility for the many flawed drivers and poorly designed hinges in these machines and do a complete and total recall. I’m gathering horror stories for a future post since Dell is not taking these problems seriously and correcting them fully and globally. If you have a Dell Inspiron horror story please drop me a note.

OK, back to my highlights of Affiliate Summit West 2008!

– On Saturday meeting Ned Farra from Zappo’s, Patrice Kaddatz from, Heather Paulson, Chris Graham from Syntrx and Carsten Cumbrowski was great! Learned some great things.

– On Sunday at the Meet Market I had tons of great conversations! I met John Chow for the first time and he wasn’t anything like I expected him to be! He was amazingly down to earth and easy to talk to. I ran into Kevin Lee from Did-it, we had a nice catch up chat. I met Dominic Sofia from DGM, Richard Forster from and George Hansen from Digital River about their quality offerings – really awesome people I’m glad to now call friends. Also had a great talk with Geofferson Marcy at Advaliant about how they uniquely manage publishers.

– Meeting Shawn Collins on Monday during Jason Calacanis’ speech. Shawn complimented me which was quite unexpected but a nice surprise. As you know I attend alot of Internet conference however this was my first time at Affiliate Summit. I was immediately struck at how difficult this conference community is to manage and program due to it’s highly fragmented and unstandardized nature. The accomplishment of not only satisfying this community but growing it in the way that they have is something that both Missy Ward and Shawn Collins should pause to appreciate. The use of Twitter in a group manner as they did at the conference is also brilliant (note to self – I need to get instructions on how to set up a group Twitter like that – maybe Shawn will point me in the right direction!). I look forward to building an outstanding long term relationship with Shawn and Missy over time.

– Speaking of Jason Calacanis and Mahalo, you see me asking a question of Jason in this photo after his speech. Regardless of whether you love and/or hate Jason, I’d highly urge anyone to listen to his speech in the Webmaster Radio link (on Affiliate Tip). It was highly thought provoking talk that replaced the word seo with affiliate spam. So what did you ask him Dave? Let me set some background first. Since meeting Jason Calacanis in December, 2006, he sent Linkedin invites to his whole address book while an entrepreneur in residence at Sequoia and then did not participate in the ecosystem there, he’s sent me dozens of Facebook invites, yet last year when I was in Santa Monica and gave him a jingle and he didn’t call me back. Jason has stated that Digg was “Brilliant” yet Digg is causing content to be recycled and stolen from small blogs and pushed to the lazy masses. Mahalo also has the Alexa toolbar installed on all of the machines at Mahalo, which games Mahalo’s Alexa rating.

So Jason what is your role in creating and contributing to Internet spam? You are certainly not a totally white clean angel virgin here. Listening back to the recording today though, I admit you acknowledged and didn’t deny anything I said when I stated and asked my question. I gotta respect that. I’m left mildly confused if that is the blogger in you that is taught to engage the one that questions you or whether it is truly how you feel. I’m conflicted. To me a friend means going beyond the surface level, I’m still not convinced you are fully capable of it. I’d love nothing more than for you to prove me wrong. I’d also like to thank the dozens of people who came up to me during the rest of the conference and stated that they appreciated my bringing up relevant examples of how Jason (and everyone else) participates in polluting the web, some are more guilty than others of course but nobody is completely innocent.

I’ll ask you another question Jason, “You mentioned how you you have ego alerts during your speech, then you attacked Seth Godin and Squidoo. How can you reconcile how you are urging the creation of content with your ego alerts and how that is terribly different than your personal views on Seth Godin’s creation?”

Alright enough about what I think, here are the other posts on Jason’s talk:

Mahalo’s Missing DNA back at you Jason Calcanis

Affiliate Summit West Thank You

Calacanis is and the Real Hurdles for Affiliate Marketing

Live Blogging the Jason Calacanis Keynote at Affiliate Summit

Jason Calacanis Urges Affiliates to Think Big, Stop Holding Up Checks

Message board discussion of the keynote

“Don’t pollute the river”, affiliates told.

Jason Calacanis Keynote Recap (Affiliate Summit)

-Other people I met on Monday include Jamie Birch from Converseon, Mark Kirschner from Linkshare, Krissy Mitchell a Northwestern University Kellogg alum who works at Avon in New York City. Also met Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV who will be speaking at the TECHcoktail conference in May. Dan Murray at Ravenwood Marketing and Steve Schaffer from Vertive gave an truly educational talk about how to manage affiliate managers.

– Affiliate Bash – WOW!!! Daron Babin and Brandy really outdid themselves at this one! The Blue Man Group performance during party was amazing. The venue was awesome! Special thanks to Kris Jones at Pepperjam for being the primary sponsor of this event.

– On Tuesday, I sat at a table and there was a talk about WordPress with Karen Jackie and Dana Rockel from Content Robot. Fun folks who know their WordPress.

Attending Affiliate Summit was an outstanding experience, if you attend many other Internet conferences you’d benefit highly by attending the next Affiliate Summit and seeing how these folks fit into your existing web strategy – irregardless if you are a search or a brand marketer. See you in Boston in August! If you met me at Affiliate Summit, please feel free to add me on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin. See you soon.

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Lee Odden’s Top Ten Online Marketing Tactics for 2008 Survey

Lee Odden has posted the results of his online marketing survey. The blog result is likely directionally correct, but is likely skewed on the high side a bit due to the survey being on a blog. Go figure. 🙂

  • Blogging (25%)
  • Search engine optimization (14%)
  • Email marketing (12%)
  • Pay per click (8%)
  • Blogger relations (6%)
  • Online public relations (5%)
  • Viral marketing (5%)
  • Corporate web site (4%)
  • Social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn) (4%)
  • Webinars/Teleconference (3%)

Continue reading Lee Odden’s Top Ten Online Marketing Tactics for 2008 Survey

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SES Chicago 2007 : Troubleshooting Dynamic Website

Anne Kennedy, Manager, Managing Partner, Beyond Ink
Marketing Speakers:
Laura Thieme, President and Founder, Bizresearch
Matt Bailey, President, SiteLogic

Begin Your Research Project:

URL Structure
Search Engine Indices
Current Rankings
Spider Activity (Net tracker gives great spider research…)
Determine Target Terms
Overcome technology, resource and/or political challenges
Index, Optimize
Monitor improvements

Your Page Titles: Are they Really Optimized?

Example: Wine racks (Pier 1)

Page title – is it right?

Dynamic versus static – do they need to be static? No.

Basic Optimization Tactics – keyword embedding

Home page title matters – a lot!!!

Relevant Page Title page, Footer – best first quick steps

Are pages titles enough? H1, H2, Intro optimized, URL optimized, page rank updated.

Hierarchy of a website – URL, how deep and often is the crawl?

What We Found

– We found minimum of 3 issues

– Additional reports and trending are important

When that isn’t enough?

Universal Search?

Update the robots.txt file to remove things.

Canonical issues, soft 404’s get it right!

301 redirects – are they still in place?

Matt Bailey, Sitelogic

IT for marketers

IT and marketing need to work together.

Robot.txt is the welcome mat to your house…


Use Webbug

Architecture – if you using JavaScript, it will not work properly

Duplicate content – avoid it!

Cannibalization problems

Legacy spam – invisible text links…

When Google finds pages though natural crawling, its’ better – Using Webmaster Central helps…

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SES Chicago 2007 – Digital Shelf – The Search Marketing Opportunity for Packaged Goods (CPG)

Kevin Ryan, Vice President, Global Content Director, Search Engine Strategies and Search Engine Watch
Marketing Speakers:
Matt Wilburn, Senior Category Director, CPG, Yahoo!
James Lamberti, Senior Vice President, Search and Media, comScore, Inc
Dana Todd, Board of Directors, SEMPO
Randy Peterson, Search Marketing Innovation Manager, Procter and Gamble


Everyone on this panel clearly put a lot of long, hard work into the concepts, thought and research into this panel and this blog post won’t do the great conversation the justice it deserves. It’s bleeding edge, this is fun and interesting stuff that will eventually transform the way consumers chose products and discover need brands that specifically meet their needs.


Does search help CPG? Comscore and Yahoo! provided the data for the SEMPO study.

James Lamberti, Comscore

The search marketing opportunity…100 million unique visitors in food alone, and babies

Who are these searchers? Average income, dramatically higher, 80% female

They enjoy cooking and entertaining.

Allergy sufferers are a prime underserved demographic. The opportunity to build brands via presences made through educational experiences.

Matt Wilburn, Yahoo!

Order of importance to searchers

– Information & Help

– Purchase Decision

– Promotion

– Company Website

Content matters more than a direct navigation. (I see a pattern developing here)

Consumers expect a digital shelf to be similar to a store shelf.

Out of stock, hard to find are issues.

Are you visible in paid and organic? Are you creating a nice impression?

Dana Todd, Sitelab

This is a compelling proposition. We believe in the promise of search for branding issues.

We need to think outside ROI. Back away from the spreadsheet. You need to get people thinking outside direct acquisition.

The first brand for cheese is on page three of the Google organic listings. Why?

Chinese toothpaste issue was a counter reaction to the ingredients article in Wired.

Develop problem and solution content.

If searchers are special, treat them as such!!!

End of session comments…

67% of searchers found a brand they weren’t aware of… (Kevin Ryan)

The term PPC is useless outdated and should be changed – Digital Point of Purchase? (Dana Todd).

Question by me in Chicago: Dana brought up the cheese in PPC and no brand organic terms, to use the Liz Strauss conversational blogging element, there are actually 10 posts on toilet paper on Technorati today, shouldn’t brand managers be engaging this, not only for the SEO benefits, but the innovation road map as well?

(all panel heads nod in agreement) Using the data during the planning process is the next frontier after this issue (which is still in the early days)…

This is certainly an area where the conversation will continue and evolve, it’s a challenging area due to the issues of massive change.

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HR Technology Conference : Lehman Brothers Leverages Recruiting Beyond Talent Acquisition

Heather Redderson, VP, Global Talent Technologies, Lehman Brothers
Derek Mercer, CEO, Vurv Technologies

When I saw this description I knew I had to attend this session…

The HR systems at Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest investment bank in the world, have traditionally been siloed, probably just like yours. But, competing with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, VP Heather Redderson knew she had to integrate them all so her 27,000 employees could collaborate around their careers and new opportunities for internal mobility. She’ll tell you how she aligns and compensates them and tries to leverage best practices, and fill you in on the internal community she’s created for employees with new tools and competitive intelligence on those other, bigger guys.

When Heather arrived, Lehman Brothers systems appeared disorganized. How disorganized? A Summer intern gets to give a presentation to a C-level team during the first month she is there. The intern’s presentation? Two slides. One basically system mapped out the systems Lehman has. The second with all demonstrating how many don’t talk to each other. The intern stated that “this was a problem that needed to be fixed” and then sat down.

I don’t know if the intern got a full time job at Lehman upon graduation. If they didn’t I’d love to hire this person at the next company I work at. Why? People who can point out the root cause of problems and say this is what needs to be fixed are all too rare. The intern likely created the vital executive sponsorship for the magnitude of the changes that Heather is now making.

In reference to internal mobility, internal employees were frustrated as they were applying and never got hired. Hiring managers were frustrated with volumes of people applying for roles at the wrong level. Employees were frustrated with lack of execution.

Using Vurv and Congos there is now rule driven reports and drivers. They now focus on the relevancy of resumes and are trying to add other data elements to the mix.

$12 million dollar savings in just four months by reducing outside contingency recruiter fees! Put all new initiatives for 2008 on hold and reallocated budget money. Focused on utilizing what we have better.

Discovered that there were many people in roles with job descriptions that didn’t match. Fixing that through transparent conversations is occurring at a rapid rate.

Lehman HR mantra:
To recruit talent
To protect our employees
To gage our landscape

They are also creating an alumni site. (I wish that BlackRock would create an Alumni site, it would bring me joy in so many ways.

It’s clear that Heather’s efforts are not only transforming HR, they are transforming the process and way the whole organization operates. That’s what it’s all about effective execution with what you have. Develop a data strategy and process then iterate and improvement. I’ve always loved Lehman Brothers scrappy style when I worked on Wall Street, it’s good to see them laying a foundation for future transformation and differentiation.

More on this when I have time to elaborate on an element I saw that fascinates me. Soon.

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Jason Alba Author – I’m on LinkedIn — Now What???

Recently I blogged about how retained recruiting firm executive search activity on Linkedin was rising. Maybe they got an advance of Jason Alba‘s new book, I’m on LinkedIn — Now What???, and started putting the concepts to immediate good use! I had this to say about the book:

“Jason has written a highly practical guide to Linkedin that will quickly allow a new user to understand and utilize Linkedin. It’s also a great guide to the Linkedin’s hidden gems – finding high quality people through endorsements and off Linkedin content such as groups and identifying thought leaders through blogs linked from profiles.”

I’m honored to have been asked by Jason to contribute ideas to the book as well as some Linkedin best practices at the end of some of the chapters. Jason is one of the people I’ve met via Linkedin and I know my life is much better for that as he always makes himself available to talk and help my goals in any way he can.

While certainly any Linkedin novice would benefit, Jason’s book most needs to be read by c-level executives, all HR executives and recruiters who don’t yet understand how to fully utilize Linkedin. There tools on Linkedin besides last company worked at and job title – the community would function better if people learned to use the community more wisely and this can happen quickly if people read Jason’s book.