Thursday, November 29, 2007
I'd like to thank the Kelsey Group and SES for giving me the opportunity. More specifically, thanks to Stewart Quealy & Kevin Newcomb from Incisive Media and my panel-mates Sage Lewis and Ian McAnerin. You guys made me feel really comfortable and I appreciate that.
Most people in our business know Sage and Ian. They're both a wealth of knowledge and are definitely seasoned pros on the speaking tour. Being a newbie-presenter, it was great to have these guys up there with me.
There were more people than I thought there would be. I heard there were about 300 people in the room during our session, which is cool. The Q&A was great and a lot of people came up to me afterwards with questions and kudos.
Although I didn't get to spend too much time at the actual show, I did have a chance to peruse the venue a bit. Good crowd and the show was put together nicely. It was a great experience and I'll look forward to doing that again sometime down the road.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I feel sorry for all the publishers out there who have been running scared and wondering what to do. There's really nothing for them to be worried about because all they're losing is PukeRank at this point....not authority or rankings. I know, I know....a lot of folks are worried that a drop in PR might mean they will lose advertisers, but that's unlikely. As long as advertiser's positions in the SERPs remain stable, so will their linking campaigns.
Trust me on that. I'm more than a little tuned in to any fallout or ripples in this area.
That could change down the road, sure. You never know where this thing will go. But for now, whether this is merely just a shot across the bow of the link industry or Google is really so full of themselves that they think a drop in PR will force webmasters from far and near cower with fear and concede; it's still business as usual.
PukeRank - the new page barfometer.
Monday, October 1, 2007
My day began at 4:30am. The alarm wasn't going off for another half-hour but I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep...my mind was racing already (rock me!). I had to be in McKinney by 6:15 so I needed to be out the door by 5:30. So I got up, had a protein shake, finished packing my race bag and headed out.
I met up with Henrik at about 6:30 where he so graciously delivered a bike for me to use. A bike, I might add, that I'd never seen before...much less ridden. In retrospect, this was piss-poor-planning on my part. Spilled milk, though...whatever. I'll get to that later.
We made it to the transition area where the volunteers wrote our race numbers all over us with magic marker. (That was kinda cool, actually. Not sure why, but it was.) Henrik showed me how to best set up my area and gave me a quick run-down of what to expect during my transitions from swim to bike and bike to run. After fielding all of my questions, we headed over to the lake where the swim would take place.
Now, out of all 3 events (swim/bike/run) I was sure that I'd do the best in the water. I swam some in high school and I've been training A LOT in the pool....so I thought this would be my strength. Well, had it been in a pool, maybe it would have. But an open-water swim is NOTHING like swimming in a pool. In a lane. By yourself.
This is not that. At all. Not even a little bit.
The starter gets everyone in my group into the water. We paddle out to a buoy where we're to tread-water until they give us the "official" start. 60-70 guys just treading water in one big bunch. Hmmm....how the hell is this going to work?
At the word "go" we all took off in this chaotic mess of arms, legs, and water. I couldn't see shit. I couldn't swim, either. I'd try to stroke, but my hand or arm would land on someone else...there was no "traction" at all. In addition to that little hiccup, I was being bludgeoned with arms and feet in the head, face, back, arms, and legs by the other swimmers. It was INSANE! My goggles were pulled down my face and were at one point just dangling around my neck like a necklace.
So you expend all this energy and effort to simply fight for position. (And in my case, fight to tread water while putting your damn goggles back on!) Forget about the fact that there is still a half-mile's worth of watery terrain to be covered before you can get out, you need to stay above the water to breathe! It was nuts, man....very intense. At one point I was sure that they were going to have to pull me into one of the many small "safety" boats around (just as we'd seen happen to a couple other people in the previous wave) so I wouldn't fucking drown but somehow, some way, I was able to finish. I had a pretty shitty time...like 18 minutes and change, but I finished it. And come to find out, I did better than a lot of people in this event.
I limped out of the lake. Most people who compete run from the water to the transition area to get their bike. I was so exhausted that I could barely manage to walk. Oh, and I might as well tell you that I had to stop and puke a few times on my way to my bike, too. Nice, huh? One volunteer said to me, "Hey 789 (my race number), you need some help?" And I wanted to say, "Hell yeah, can you give me a ride to the finish line?" but all I could muster was, "No...just struggling." It would have been SO easy and convenient to quit and blow it all off at that point...but that wasn't going to happen.
Now I'm on the bike, which I've never ridden before, for a nice 12 mile jaunt. Did I mention that I've never ridden this bike before? Yeah. Great. So, as I'm settling in, the first thing I realize is that the toe-clips are too tight to get my shoes in completely which isn't good. You want to be able to pull-up as well as press-down on the pedals for maximum efficiency and ill-fitting toe-clips puts the kabosh on that idea quickly. But I decide to press on because to be perfectly honest, that was the least of my concerns. I was still so exhausted from the swim that I was still in tunnel-vision. Seriously. You know, when everything is sort of black around the edges of your field of view? I assumed it would go away and it did a bit later.
What seemed more alarming now was that I had no idea how to work the gears on this bike. Henrik told me that one of the derailers was broken so I only had 12 gears instead of the normal 24. No big deal. But since you no longer move a gear-lever up and down like you did 20 years ago, I had no idea which way to shift using the brake levers; which on really nice bikes like this one, you just sort of push the brake lever to one side and the gears engage. The problem was, I'd never ridden a "nice" racing bike before! Part of it, too, was that for the first 6 miles or so I was living in a very surreal state of mind...probably from the oxygen deficiency I picked up in that damn lake, I'm sure.
At any rate, I ended up finishing that leg feeling a lot better than when I started it. My time suffered the most here. The 12 mile bike that should've taken me a half-hour took 48 minutes with the vomiting, sloth-like transition, and bicycle-related technical difficulties.
As I'm dismounting the bike in transition, where I'd ditch it in exchange for my racing belt and sunglasses, I noticed that my left calf seized up again. It happened the first time on the puke-walk from the lake to the bike, but I was paying more attention to the simple fact that I was still alive at that point and was just elated to be out of the water. Now, though, I had to think about running a 5k with a semi-bad wheel. I quickly came to a conclusion; just go.
About 200 yards into my run, I see Henrik finishing his run. DAMN! In passing he says, "finish strong, dude" and that was exactly what I intended to do. He had just ran a half Iron-Man a month ago and does these sprint triathlons all of the time. He's an animal and I have more respect for him today than I ever have before. I, on the other hand, am a complete newbie...just struggling to finish...but that very short pep-talk put some gas in my tank.
All things considered, I had a pretty good run - 3.1 miles in 29 minutes. I did have to walk a little bit in a couple spots, but I was fucking exhausted! What else?! At least I was no longer in danger of drowning or having to be shamefully extracted from the race by volunteers. I did sprint (that's a relative term, I'm sure) the last couple hundred yards and crossed the finish line feeling like a million bucks.
I was tired and a little beat-up, but the feeling of accomplishment took the sting out of all that. Well, until I saw the results, that is.
Out of the 371 participants that actually finished the race, my official ranking was a very sad 328. I don't know how many didn't finish it...could've been another 50 people or more based on what I've heard today, but I'm obviously not real happy with my performance. First time, though....screw it.
I'll definitely be more prepared next time. Maybe I'll train for a little 10k run or something to keep in shape while I decide how I want to proceed from here. The only thing I do know is that I could've done much better...and I will next time.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I've noticed a huge increase in industry-related groups popping up here and there on Facebook and that's honestly what really got my attention. In addition to who you'd expect to find like Sugar Rae, Todd, and Neil; you'll also find some cool offshoot groups like the one Chris Hooley put together called "Drinking Your Way To Popularity." This one seems to have some shtick and I'm in! Drinking, puking, and being stupid is right up my alley...let's get this on.
I started a LinkWorth group and I'm looking forward to having some fun with that. Maybe some of the people that join can show me what the hell to do next! :D
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Since our inception almost 4 years ago, two employees have quit. Before yesterday, that total was one. (And the first guy that quit rejoined us soon after learning that the grass was browner on the other side. So I guess you could really say we lost our first one yesterday, in a sense.)
Several have been fired (mostly by me) and those were just bad hires to begin with. Sometimes you have to take chances on people...especially in an industry with a relatively small pool of talent.
But this one has been tough for me to deal with because it came down to money. Simply put, there were two conflicting perceptions of the value this employee brought to us: his and ours. He wanted more cash, we didn't think his experience or quality of work demanded it....so he bailed. And to be honest, it sucks.
I'm pissed-off, bitter, and sad all at once because I liked this kid. And now I have to put more shit on hold until we find a replacement and that makes me very grouchy at this point. Damn.
So what's the point of this post? I'm not sure, it was just something on my mind, I guess.
Friday, August 17, 2007
It's a far cry from the outdated interface we've been using, but I think this is very fresh. It's a lot easier to navigate and should be MUCH easier on the eyes! I know we'll probably run into a few bugs at first, but I certainly welcome that by comparison. We already know of a few things to improve but by and large, this sucker is DONE!
Now we can begin the additional modifications to the front end and roll out some new stuff that we've been sitting on while this piece was completed.
Lookout world, LinkWorth 2.0 is here!
Thursday, August 9, 2007
A lot of people can't stand the pre-season and dismiss it as "meaningless" or "boring" or whatever else the non-fan can come up with. But for me, this is a really exciting time.
I've been reading everything about training camp. I know who's competing at every position. The battle to win a roster spot begins tonight and I'll watch every down at least twice. BRING IT ON!!!
This is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. So, let's go, Cowboys! Show me whatcha got!!
UPDATE - 8/10
How 'bout them Cowboys?? Yeah, yeah...just pre-season, I know. But it was still an ass-whippin'!!
Friday, August 3, 2007
I was actually told this by a client today who, I might add, also decided to award me with his business. Apparently his RFP was down to two firms: ours and another. I was informed that my competitor was "real slick" and that I "should hear him on the phone...he's unbelievable."
(Duly noted, sir. I'll keep that in mind next time I feel the need to brush up on my line of bullshit. Giggle!!)
I chuckled audibly when I heard this for all the obvious reasons only to be interrupted with "but I'm a lot more comfortable with you and what you've had to say...so I'm going with you."
Ummm....alright. Thanks, I think?
So, as the animated question mark hovered above my head, a confused smile broke over my face while I tried to stifle my laughter along with the other folks in the conference room that heard this transpire. I mean, am I missing something here?
Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not complaining and I wasn't offended by his remark. A little amused and confused? Yes, but offended? Not at all. In a weird way I actually took it as a huge compliment. I mean, I'd rather be someone you can trust than some slick-rick golden throated used car salesman but the wrapper this compliment came in was new to me.
But back-handed or not, I'll take it.
No, I'm not the best salesman in the world. I'm pretty sure I've never claimed to be, thought I was, or even wondered about it. But who does?
These are good times! The only bad news, however, is that now I feel the need to seek out this competitor of mine and offer him my job. Because my job is to do what's best for LinkWorth and he's "unbelievable!"
Monday, July 23, 2007
I've been a reader of his for well over a year now and he always has great insight on paid search, SEO, you name it. He's also not scared to throw out some tasty recipe ideas!
How's that for keeping your blog fresh and informative??
My wife has agreed to make the Gourmet Meatloaf for Hungry SEO's and I'll be prepared to give a critique. I mean, I'm from Texas and we know our meatloaf, dammit! And his doesn't even call for ketchup, so I'm definitely intrigued.
Anyway, go visit him....buy stuff from him....click his links....all that jazz.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I was thinking about this last night about after the introduction of Sphinn, which I'm really kind of pumped about. I mean, shit, every time I join one community it seems like 5 more pop-up that everyone is talking about. And I don't think I can ever "catch up" and manage to learn, network, and be effective on any of them...much less all of them. It gives me tired-head just thinking about it. So many sites...so little time.
Digg, Twitter, Technorati, del.icio.us, Reddit, MySpace, Facebook, Technorati, Sphinn, StumbleUpon, Fark, Furl, Spurl, Slashdot, MyBlogLog, YouTube, Squidoo and the list goes on and on. Are you kidding me? How the hell am I supposed to keep up? I know they all have their place and they serve different purposes, but DAMN!
Does anyone else feel this way? It's a full-time job just trying to stay current. And here's a newsflash; I already have a full-time job! A really busy one! Then throw in a wife, a couple kids, and a bunch of friends that I hardly ever see and I constantly feel like I just got quadruple-sat with big parties, the computers are down, and we've 86'd half the menu. (Pardon the restaurant speak, but some of you may actually get that!)
But wait a second. Take a deep breath. Chill. Do I really need to be plugged in at all of these joints?
No, I don't. For some reason I feel like I have to be because of what I do for a living but you know what? I just have to choose. Carefully.
I just think to myself, "Self, what am I looking to get out of this site? How can it help me?" And when I put it into perspective like that, it's easy to figure out. I'm far from a social media guru. I'm more like a social media newbie.
For me, the conundrum relates to my professional life. There are things that have to be done that require efficient use of this social media space. I have to produce for my clients. I have to be on top of industry happenings. I have to educate them. I need to network and build relationships. I need to grow our company. So for me, at least, I'm focused on the sites that I can benefit the most from in a selfish way.
If it's just for fun, I don't feel sorry for you and you're on your own. Go throw up a MySpace page and get out of my facebook...
Thursday, July 12, 2007
This comes straight from the loins of Search Engine Land and its called Sphinn (pronounced "spin") and the reason I'm so interested is because it's the first Digg-esque type social media site dedicated to our industry that I think will be worth a shit.
This will be like the one and only social media site that I'll ever be able to say I joined the first day it was open. And since I'm horrible about keeping up with most of them, I kinda have the most hope for Sphinn because I know I'll be there daily simply because I'm already at Search Engine Land everyday.
Now I just need some friends there. So stalk on, stalkers! Let me hear from ya!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
We came to Miami to see if Affiliate Summit could be a good venue to generate leads and gain publishers by exhibiting at a future show. A recon mission, if you will. And although we haven't totally figured that part out yet, I will say that it was a lot of fun.
The sessions were somewhat disappointing but that happens at most stops on the conference circuit. (Okay, SMX Advanced was good, but whatever.) I was really looking forward to seeing ShoeMoney speak again but that session really turned out to be more of a Q & A where he and Lee Dodd took questions from the audience. It was cool of them...they gave people suggestions and all, which is nice...but I was hoping for more of a presentation as opposed to hearing about other peoples' problems.
We had a few good meetings that could turn out to be productive down the road. One in particular was with Nevada Shane & Caroline Mason from Lead Flash. I think there's some opportunity there and it will be cool to expand into yet another revenue channel.
We also met with John Grosshandler from eComXpo and it looks like we're going to participate in the next couple of virtual conferences they offer. This is a cool concept although I have no idea what to expect. I mean, will people really log on to this thing? We'll see. But John seemed cool and there are a lot of big names associated with this gig so I'm pretty optimistic.
Miami kicks ass. The weather was phenomenal. The venue was great. The conference was put together nicely and things ran very smoothly.
But probably the best part of the Miami experience was The Police show. They still have it! And our seats were great:
Dophin Stadium needs to learn how to throw a party because that venue SUCKED for a concert. I'm so disgusted with that place that I won't even go into it.
And last thing, prior to arriving in Miami, we flew from Dallas to Washington DC to attend Juan & Juliana's wedding. CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN! Thanks for the unbelievable hospitality guys. We felt like we were the guests of honor and we talked about it the whole time so thanks again.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Thursday, July 5, 2007
But the news on this is crazy. Is that because he’s a Gore? I mean, the Gore’s have a history with getting high, right? Al’s dalliances in partying have been well-documented and I’m not mad at him for that. Hell, he burned while campaigning in ’76 but how can you blame him? That must be some stressful shit! He was just getting his head right and an old friend sold him out…lame.
I’m no supporter, though, let it be known. And one of the two things we should never talk about is politics. (The other is religion…fyi.) I was shocked that #3 was hit with a $20k bail, though. In California of all places? That’s like the most laid-back place in the world outside of Amsterdam when it comes to stuff like this, isn’t it?
Anyway, the reason this whole thing is so ironic to me is because I keep seeing his dad promoting this Live Earth concert that takes place today. He’s all about global warming and being green…and I keep hearing him say those exact words. So, the comedian in me can’t help but get a chuckle out of the double-meaning of the word “green” since his son’s second marijuana-related arrest. Especially whilst driving a Prius!
Friday, June 29, 2007
But let's be honest...this isn't earth-shattering news, is it? I mean, we knew this already, right?
Sure, I was in Las Vegas last November at Pubcon, too, and I'd swear I heard him explicitly say that there was nothing you could do to negatively impact another website's rankings.
But don't you kinda have to take that with a grain of salt? I mean, what else is the guy gonna say when asked in front of a bunch of people? "Actually, there is a way to game our engine by being evil...."
Nah. And I can't say I blame him. He's just a loyal guy toeing the company line.
Now, to keep things fair, my memory might not be serving too well. We did some drinkin', that's for sure. And that was the trip that a long-time client and I both had LinkWorth logos inked on us...so I wasn't necessarily at my sharpest during the sessions. But I'm still fairly certain that I heard what I think I heard.
Do I care? Nope. Am I shocked? Not at all. Do I feel betrayed? Negative.
I've heard a lot of chatter about it today so I wanted to mention it. I'm also really familiar with one of the "sources" from the Forbes article and he's certainly more than credible.
So what do I think? Nothing really. Just another topic of conversation on another normal day in SEM.
Well, except that I think Threadwatch is really closing down. :(
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I'm just gonna say this. Aaron Wall, next time I see you at a conference I'm going to introduce myself and shake your hand...finally. I'm a fan of yours. I see you at all the shows...just haven't come forth and said hello before. That kinda sucks.
The closing of Threadwatch, if it's really done...86....finito, is kind of a sentimental kick in the nuts for me because I've always loved that site. I should've contributed more, but when I first started going there and hardly knew shit about SEO, I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of all you guys who had all the answers.
Bad excuse, but you're with me, right?
Anyway, it was awesome. You could get the information you needed laced with heavy sarcasm. Greatness.
So, although I haven't done my part and am one of the lazy ones that Mr. Dubl referred to in his comment on the announcement thread, I still feel bad. And I feel worse because Todd is absolutely right. I won't put on the dress blues or anything, but it's a shame.
Alright. So for now I'll just continue the watch. It's 10:45pm on Wednesday. I guess I should know in 25 1/2 hours if I should delete this post.
(Nah....screw that. I don't post enough on this site to delete anything.)
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Since this blog isn't confined to SEM, I thought I'd send a quick shout-out to BJ Penn who just bitched Jens Pulver tonight. NICELY DONE, BJ!!
Don't know how many people that read this are fans of UFC, but us LinkWorthers are...bigtime.
It's been a long 5 years, but I'm sure this redemption is well worth the wait. A tap-out, no less. Beautiful.
Anyone see Jens' hair? That's why he lost. Why the hell would you do that to yourself? And especially before a nationally televised event? Stupid. (I mean, Jens would whip my ass and all....but screw it, I'd out-SEO him in a heartbeat!)
For the non-interested folk, ignore this post. It's all good. But for the record, I went 6 for 6 in my picks on tonight's card and I'm happy about it. (Made a little cash, too. )
Rock on, rockers....nighty night.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
If you're a talented SEO, a newbie looking to grow a career in SEO, or a displaced marketing/sales professional with a great personality and communication skills who's coachable, please contact me now! I might have just the job for you. Email me....matt at linkworth dot com.
You don't have to be local to Dallas, but you'd have to be willing to come down for a few days (on us, of course) to get 'knowledgified."
We're bursting at the seams and I need some help...STAT!
The pay is good...full bennies....the opportunity is phenomenal...and the LinkWorth environment is really cool. Let me hear from ya!
Friday, June 15, 2007
I better explain myself real quick: I had knee surgery yesterday so I'm sitting at home today all hopped-up on vicodin and I'm going stir crazy. What should be a nice relaxing day of recovery - especially since the wife and kids have been gone all day - has turned into this bizarre passing of time.
Sitting in front of my TV, I've got my laptop, leg's propped up, pretty much everything I need is within arm's reach. It seems like I should be loving this but I'm bored out of my mind. And sick of sitting here.
I keep thinking that I'll get some work done. Yeah, that'd be a great idea except for one thing: I'm not sober. 2 vicodin every 4 hours, as the doctor prescribed, has turned me into a fuzzy, scatter-brained, giggling zombie that is best suited staying away from any matters that could be deemed important. I mean, it's kinda fun and I'm enjoying the ride for what it's worth, but damn...this kinda sucks, too.
I've been reading lots of blogs today and noticed that SearchEngineLand was nice enough to link to my SMX vs. SES post. That'll be the best inbound link this blog ever gets, I'm sure! HAA!! This blog SO sucks...but I embrace that. The suckness has actually made me want to post more lately, too. Ironic, isn't it?
So this post, as you have probably guessed by now, contains nothing of value. It's merely a way for me to kill some time. And the title of this site has never seemed more appropriate than right now. And as ambiguous as it is, I'm still not really sure what exactly it is on my mind, but there's something there for sure.
(Am I drunk? Wait, I haven't had anything to drink other than water. I guess not. Wow.)
I feel like I should go put on Dark Side of the Moon and watch The Wizard of Oz with the volume turned down. Or listen to some Beatles backwards on the ol' record player.
I'm giggling again. Let's all say it together: "Train-wreck"
But for anyone that cares, the surgery went great. They removed a bunch of cartilage but didn't have to do the lateral release...so there's no drain in my leg. I'm happy about that. Look out, Iron-Man, here I come! OK....we'll start with the half-Iron, but now that my knee is fixed I can get back to training.
OK, I'm tapping-out. As f*cked up as I am right now, even I can't listen to this incoherent babble any longer. I can only imagine what someone else reading this might think. But I don't really have to worry much about that.
Monday, June 11, 2007
I'm having almost as much fun playing around with it as I was having this weekend in my 70's getup for Harrelson's 40th birthday bash. (Almost being the operative term. I mean, check out Yvette in my lap here...good times!)
It instantly catalogues every image on your hard drive (or whatever folders you allow) and it's really quick. The biggest pain in the ass to me is always the searching for pictures, having to have several windows open to know what pictures I want to move where, flan, flan, flan. Picasa is different.
Beyond that, you're free to edit all of your pictures and add whatever cool effects you like. Crop, tint, add captions....whatever. Organize and edit all of it right there. And as soon as you upload new pics, it's got 'em in chronological order (or whatever order you prefer, I suppose). So for me...the horrible, lazy, apathetic picture-sharer this is the bomb.
I'm gonna get back to it. I just couldn't resist when I saw the "Blog This!" option...I had to give it a quick spin.
That's all, folks...
Friday, June 8, 2007
I'm not going to bore anyone (not that anybody reads this awful blog) by summarizing all the session info or anything like that. I'm just going to tell you why I dug this show. Matt Stoddart style.
I was really curious to see how SMX Advanced in Seattle was going to stack up against the established alpha male of the SEO conference circuit, SES, and I was pleasantly surprised right from the get-go. I assumed that it'd be good and my hat's off to Danny Sullivan. SMX Advanced is the best conference that I've been to.
Not the most fun...no. But the best? Yep.
But why? There were no new names...few new topics. So what was the big difference?
Lots of reasons. In no particular order, here they are:
Unlike SES or Pubcon, SMX Advanced didn't have the same regurgitated presentations that everyone's already seen twice. No, Danny made it a point to keep it as interactive as possible by dedicating at least half the time to Q&A. And that's where you really get useful information. From real world scenarios, not squeaky-clean dreamworld scenarios where everything is always perfect on paper...or PC, that is.
Also, it just seemed more intimate. There were a lot fewer people there than what I'm used to and I even heard that it sold out. (Whether or not that's true, I have no idea.) And the panels were very laid back thanks to Danny. He did a great job of keeping it light and was actually a lot funnier than I thought he could be. Sorry, bro, but it's all good!
I'm big into the creature-comforts of these things because I think it's a pretty big deal. I mean, you shell out all this money to get your passes/airfare/accommodations and you get there only to have the most mediocre sustenance known to man - the box lunch.
SMX? Two words - carving stations.
It might sound shitty, but it went a long way with me....both lunches were fantastic. Salad bar, buffet with pasta, seafood, chicken and yes...carving stations. Roast beef on Monday and turkey breast on Tuesday.
The refreshments in between were awesome, too. I'm a chocolate guy and at 3 in the afternoon when the food-coma from lunch has officially kicked in, I need some coffee and sum'n sweet to eat and SMX delivered. Gourmet malted-milk balls, endless bags of Peanut M&M's, cookies, Cracker Jacks, you name it. I was in heaven and I'm pretty sure Ron was, too.
The search engines will typically host cocktail receptions at the end of the day that feature cheese, crackers, beer and wine. Well, Yahoo stepped up big with a full-on open bar and nice hors d' oeuvres. And being a whiskey drinker, this was great news for me.
The Google Dance was cool, too. They ponied up a couple drink tickets and also had the option of a cash bar beyond that. At first I thought we walked right into a rave. There were glow-sticks, people flailing all around to Bon-Jovi retro dance mixes, and sweat flyin' all over the place like everyone there but me was on a hit of old-school ecstasy.
And it was there that I was really able to meet some people and talk to some others that I'd been wanting to catch up with. Quick shout-out to Rand Fishkin, Todd Malicoat, Rudy DeDominicis, and the bartender with the gigantic fucking tongue! WOW. Anyone else see that shit? I think Ron has a picture that he'll put up on the LinkWorth blog, so check that out if you're interested.
The Shwag Bag
Forget about the horrible canvas bag that you're flat-out embarrassed to carry around because it feels like you're carrying a purse, SMX came strong with the sling type, one strap backpacks. It's kinda cool and something you can at least use. I have a feeling mine will be toting my gym gear to Lifetime Fitness every morning.
Lola - Not SMX-related, but kinda
We have a really good friend that works at Lola, one of Tom Douglas' top-notch restaurants. So we went in and had absolutely the best dinner I've had in a long, long time. (There I go on food again). Hanger steak, giant prawns, octopus, dungeonous crab, Copper River salmon, roasted potatoes, asparagus, and for dessert - homemade donuts and coconut cream pie....wow. Truly amazing.
And while we were there, we happened to notice that Matt Cutts and Tim Meyer were having dinner together with their wives at another table. So we bought their wine but left before our buddy (the manager) dropped the check. Hope that all worked out!
So there it is, kiddos. A simple man's view of SMX Advanced and why I think it puts SES in a rear-naked choke.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Dustin, Tom, Juan, & Ron....you guys kick some serious ass.
Gots to go....still testing everything....
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
It might sound like an overly obvious statement, but I'm here to tell you that it's commonly overlooked. Especially in long-term consulting arrangements such as the ones we engage in with clients on a daily basis.
Success is a goal. A marathon worth running. It's not a quick-fix, a sprint, or anything thing else easy. We're not selling cars here...people have to stay with us month after month after month if we're going to succeed. (And if they're to succeed, as well.) I have several clients that are entering their 3rd and 4th years of continuous LinkWorth patronage and without them, we'd be nowhere. And I'm so appreciative of the lessons they've taught me over the years.
So what do you do to keep people around? Easy. Give a shit. Every time, with every client, no matter what.
It has to be a mentality. A "not-so-corporate" culture, in our case. To me, every client we get is like a little piece of gold. Something to be coddled, prized, and nurtured. Sure, not all clients can be classified the same way in regards to revenue generated or the depth to which we can build a relationship, but they all share one thing: they pay us to provide them with a service. Period.
So shouldn't they all be treated the same? If you ask me, the short answer is: absolutely.
Salespeople can become put off by their clients because of one reason or another. Happens all the time. Not just here, but in every setting. I've been there...I know...I get it. But you have to fight through that and do the right thing. For example, demanding clients become extra high-maintenance when their rankings slip. Instead of being whipped by their inquisition, put yourself in their shoes. I mean, it is their money, they have the right to freak out a little, don't they? After all, we're the experts...not them. That's why they're here...they're looking to us for answers. You can't ever forget that.
It's easier said than done, I realize. And I'm one of those guys that is in a great mood 99% of the time. I'm happy and upbeat unless I have a reason to be pissed-off, bummed out, or whatever. (I get razzed about it quite frequently by friends...but they can kiss my ass!!)
But every now and then I realize just how far a positive attitude can take you and it's during these moments of enlightenment that I want to reiterate this to my salespeople or other employees here at the 'Worth…just so I can provide some type of evidence to back up what I usually say or the way I usually act.
Today, I had one of these moments.
In the midst of rolling out a new website, the normal end-of-month hurdles to leap over, and everything else that goes on around here, I had the opportunity to speak to a disgruntled client. (Well, previously disgruntled if I don't suck.) There had been issues, communication had been less than stellar, he was confused about some things, and the "somewhat negative" aspects of his personality had been become amplified to the point that everyone here was throwing their hands up and writing him off. Everyone except me, that is.
See, I love this part of my job. Talking people off the ledge. Not selling them, necessarily, because the service we provide sells itself. This guy just needed someone to listen, be responsive in a positive way, and offer some type of remedy.
I did nothing more than inform this guy how important his business was to me and that I would do everything I could to accommodate him. I didn't promise him things that I have no intention of delivering, didn't give away the farm to keep him around, didn't make any lame excuses, and didn't bullshit him in the least. He vented, I listened. And I hope we have him around for another 13 months to match the 13 months that he's already been with us.
I believe that adversity actually helps to grow business relationships if you treat each adverse scenario as an opportunity. Every company can do at least some things well. We do LOTS of things really well. But it's not until you get yourself in a little hot-water that you can really show your clients what you're made of. And that demonstration can go a very, very long way.Good talk, Russ...
Friday, May 18, 2007
As I mentioned before, our new site's front-end is almost ready to go and Ron and I both (along with the other LinkWorthers, too, I'm sure) are itchin' to get it up. Ron's been busting his ass to help Dustin get it all together so they can move it to our staging server and start putting in all the back-end stuff. Our site is friggin' huge, so there's literally TONS of shit that has to be done in order to pull this off seamlessly.
Have I mentioned that I'm happy to be the sales guy and not the technical force behind LinkWorth? Well, I'm telling you now.
Ron's a workaholic by nature anyway, but the guy is probably putting in 18 hours a day right now. God love him, but I hope for his sake we can get this taken care of sooner than later. Once it goes to the programmers, from what I understand, it's off his plate. I'm pretty much useless when it comes to this. I do what I can to help when I can, but it's all really minor stuff. Sorry dudes!
I've been working on a couple projects myself...stuff that we'll roll out once our new site is rockin'. One of the things I'm most excited about is our SEO consulting service that will tie in to our Managed Account "life-cycle," for lack of a better word. Consulting is a new focus that I'm thrilled about and I've mapped out a pretty cool approach that will keep our clients involved and in the know...with proper expectations set, which can be a big problem in this gig if you're not careful. People need to know what they can honestly expect. If not, they get skittish (understandably) and want to bail out of fear or uncertainty. My job is to make sure that doesn't happen. I'm still blown away by our client retention rate (in a good way) and this should really build on that.
We're doing some fun things on the new site, too. The "Our Team" page, is a good example. Ron and I split the office in half and wrote profiles for everyone. It was a lot of fun and since we're taking these kids on the road with us to all the upcoming conferences (beginning with SES San Jose), hopefully people will give 'em some shit about how they're represented! Good times.
We leave for Seattle in a couple weeks for SMX and I can't wait for this trip. Not only does one of my best friends in the universe live there and the city itself kicks ass, but I'm looking forward to spending a few minutes with some people that I met VERY briefly in New York: Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel, to name a couple. I shot 'em both an email and they seemed open enough to it, so hopefully that'll work out. Even more importantly, we're going to get to spend some time with Partners and Advertisers that we've never met in person. (Todd, I SO can't wait to meet you, bro! ACCT ID 11??? You're OLD SCHOOL, my friend.) The sessions seem pretty cool, too, for a change. Not the same ole redundant shit. Er, at least that's how it's being presented and I'm diggin' that.
What else? Hmm....let me think. I mean, there is something on my mind, I think. Well, there was. Was there?
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Good news for me? This S.O.B. is free through blogspot. (Google: I hate you, but I love you.)
There is so much to talk about right now and I'm so jazzed about so many things that it's almost nonsensical to talk about it so randomly. But, it's in my nature so I'm gonna give it shot.
LinkWorth 2.0 - I don't know if anyone has been reading the headlines lately, but we've had some massive press release attention because of several new product launches. It's been absolutely killer....loads of new inquiries/advertisers/partners sign up with us in anticipation of our new roll-outs. Our long-overdue rebirth is finally almost here.
The interface is head and shoulders better than what we've ever had because it compliments all of our new stuff. It looks very cool. And it's really functional, easy to navigate, and all that stuff. Word on the street is we're taking it live THIS FRIDAY! COME ON WITH IT!
Anyway, that's all I've got for now. Out of sheer guilt I had to post something....anything....today.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Ron and I arrived in NYC on Monday night (4/9) and although we really wanted to attend the charity event sponsored by TLA & BOTW, we couldn't. I think we made it to the Hilton some time around 9:30 or so...thanks to "Antonio: the 1983 Town Car hustler." After a long flight and the beating that was Laguardia airport, we decided it best to just grab a bite at the hotel and call it an early night. Smart call...this was gonna be a long week.
After a quick workout, we went down to get some grub and check in at the show. After being disconnected repeatedly at the not-so-hot spot that was set up as a wifi lounge, we blew off trying to communicate our people at the office and decided it was show time. Umm...yeah. We quickly found out the Tuesday was a "session only" day and the exhibit hall was still just being set up. Seriously? Well, there's that. Wait, hold on a sec....we've got nothing scheduled for the rest of the day and we're in New York? SWEET. Things are looking up!
I called one of our long-time clients (who lives in NYC) asked if he could meet us out later for some dinner and drinks and we made plans to hook up at 8pm. It was now about 1:00pm. 7 hours, huh? Cool, we've got some time to kill. So we walked around Manhattan for awhile until the executive decision was made to duck in to a really cool bar called Faces & Names. This would be our home for the next 5 hours until we had to meet Jeff at Smith & Wollensky.
At about 7:45 it was time to stagger a few blocks to meet for dinner and food was definitely in order by then. We had an awesome dinner with one of the best waiters I've ever seen. (And I spent years in that biz...this dude was impressive.) My every request was met with an emphatic "DONE!" spoken in a thick New York City accent. Man, I need this guy on our sales team. Whatever, though, the night is young....it's time to do some drinkin.
Jeff took us on a tour of several local bars after dinner and I couldn't tell you the name of a single one of them. (**As a quick side note, Jeff is an old friend of ours who we used to work with in Dallas. I happened to cold call him a couple years ago and he's been with us ever since.) We stacked plenty of beers, whisky, and shots on top of each other for the rest of the night until we ended up at this one bar known for its peculiar draw: Boggle. Yes, the game with all the letters. You shake it up, turn the hour-glass upside down, and write as many words as you can find.
It's 3:30am, I've been drinking for more than 12 hours by now, and you want me to do what?
A couple of Jeff's friends had joined us, one of whom works for Google, ironically. So we played teams. This was short-lived because we all sucked. Understandably, right? Ron had bailed at the last bar and I was beginning to fade, too. So, I somehow managed to tell the cab driver where I was staying and he got me home safely. I assume, anyway.
I'll admit that I've felt better, but now was no time to be hungover or incapacitated. We had meetings to attend, people to see, an exhibit hall to peruse, and yes....this was our day to hit a session or two. (OK, it ended up being just one, but we all know that they can be somewhat redundant if you've gone to enough of these things.)
Our breakfast-turned-lunch meeting went well. A belly full of Reuben sandwich helped me rejoin the human race. It was time to visit the exhibit hall that had turned us away the day before. We visited with several folks for awhile, grabbed a pair of those cool magnets that ABC Search had, and went to our one session: How to Make Money From Contextual Ads.
We're not publishers, but we do sell contextual ads and it made sense to hear commentary on this subject from some of the power-hitters in the industry. Namely, Shoemoney and JenSense. I'd never seen them speak before and I quickly realized how much they knew their shit. I was especially impressed with Jeremy...who I'd be briefly introduced to later this evening. He's got a very cool, laid-back way about him and it's no secret that he's got a terrific head on his shoulders. Sharp cat, to say the least. I enjoyed his insight and even learned a trick or two.
Conference + over = Bridges. We were set to meet with Patrick Gavin at 6:30 and this was another conference highlight for me. I've met Patrick before and we've spoken several times by phone and email, but it was great being able to hang out with him for an hour or two. When I went to grab Patrick in the lobby bar, he was talking to Jeremy Shoemaker so I was able to at least shake his hand. I hope to spend more time with that guy at some point. We also met several members of the TLA crew and I've got to say, he's got a good group. Jay, Chris, Scott, and the others were all really cool and I'll look forward to seeing them again at another show down the road.
After those guys went out for dinner we realized we should probably eat again, too. So we went to the critically acclaimed Halal gyro stand at the corner of 53rd and 6th. All I can say is, "Wow." I'd never had a gyro and these bad-boys are really something special. Give me white and red sauce, brotha! It's hot, but daaaaaaaaaammmmmmmnnnn good. Now, back to the Hilton.
After a smoke, I was meandering back through the lobby and saw Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel. I know it's rude and all, but I had to briefly interrupt them to introduce myself. After years of lurking, you kinda feel like you know people. You don't...at all...but you know what I mean. It's like listening to local radio. After awhile it's like these guys are your friends yet you have no real reason to feel that way! Anyway, I wanted to mention that because I was really glad to meet those guys. And it was a great way to finish the day. Need sleep. See ya tomorrow.
After dealing with a shit-storm at the office remotely for a few hours in the morning, we were finally able talk to everyone at the exhibit hall. New York has a weird set-up with the booths scattered throughout 3 different floors. From most accounts, this year was slower than years past. This was magnified by the fact that you had people dispersed in 3 different areas. But, I don't plan these things and I doubt you can find a place in NYC that can do it all on one floor anyway. But we talked to everyone and I look forward to cultivating some of these new relationships.
After what we considered to be a successful few days, Ron and I decided we'd go out tonight on our own. And since we're in a band here in Dallas, it made sense to go check out the local music scene. I forget exactly where we were, but we went to a couple clubs before making our way to The Lion's Den. We saw this one band that we instantly dug. They're called The Vanguard and their sound is very similar to one of the bands Ron plays in called Pull Eddy. It was bizarre how many similarities there were! After their set we started talking to these dudes and they were really cool. We bought 'em a couple beers (maybe a shot....I don't remember) and chatted awhile before moving on.
We wrapped it up at some point and headed back to our favorite gyro stand for a night-cap. What's funny about this is once we were back in our room, we both wanted another gyro. So we farkled (rock/paper/scissors) to see who had to leave, walk down to the stand, and pick up two more. Well, I lost. Screw me. But it was worth it! Those bitches are tasty!
This was supposed to be just another travel day but as it turned out, Ron and I had been invited along with our wives and a few other couples to attend the Mavericks vs. The Jazz at the AAC in one of the Platinum Suites. Although I really wanted to hang out with my kids that night, it was too hard to pass it up. So, we landed in Dallas at around 5:30, headed home through tornado weather, grabbed the girls, and headed south to downtown.
Mavs won. I got drunk again. Good times. Long week.
Monday, April 16, 2007
One minute I'm in New York having a blast at SES and the next it's reported to me that I might as well kill myself because the "paid link business" has been officially shut-down forever. What a buzz kill. From bar-hopping in NYC to talking about some dude that works for Google. I just got a soft-on.
I guess I'll talk about New York and how great it was later. Now, let's get super serious and talk about Matt Cutts and his majesties new orders... (insert sarcasm here)
Report paid links, huh? You want people to do what? HAA!!! Come on, dude! What a joke.
Who wants to do that? Have you really had that many people asking you to put something like this together? Pardon me if I question that, but I'm not a Buttcutt or whatever they call themselves.
Can I ask what's in it for the tattle-tales? Better rankings? Higher AdSense payout? Free radio spots? Gimme something! Sad truth is, people want shit if they're gonna sell other people out for no reason. Oh wait, there is one HUGE reason that I haven't mentioned yet. And I'm sure Matt and those boys at Google already have contingencies to deal with this potential catastrophe.
What reason, you ask? Why, it's "competitive advantage," of course!
I can hear it now, "Sure, Matty, I know some people buying/selling links. They're kicking my ass in the SERPs! Bring 'em down, brotha! Go, Matt, Go!! Google rules!!"
This is a disaster waiting to happen. For some people, anyway.
People adapt and if this "paid link reporting" decides to grow legs and go somewhere, then people will be gaming the "new" system too. What, so now you have to buy links to knock off your competitors? Nice. It'll happen, I know it. And I think its way worse that way.
We'll have in-house people calling us up freakin' out. "Dude, I need to buy $2 grand in shit links for www.mycompetition.com. I've got budget-approval." Then they turn around and report them. HAA!! Kinda funny...
Is it wrong, then, that I actually think this is all pretty great? Let's be honest here. The world hasn't ended. I've been almost exclusively entrenched in the gray world of linking (full-time) for more than 3 years now and this is the most attention I've ever seen the industry get. And any pub is good pub. Yes, even this right now.
Don't worry, people. These are good times.
Next post: SES NYC
Saturday, March 31, 2007
But the fact that we will soon be offering this service to our bloggers & advertisers is. OOPS! I guess it's not anymore...
Apparently Ron and the 'Colombian Crusher' have been working on a "top secret mission" for the past several weeks:
I was thrilled when I heard the news. Double C told me on Tuesday that he'd been working on a 'surprise' for me but he wasn't at liberty to say what it was. So, after Ron had some fun with it, too, he gave me the scoop. We'd talked about doing this a few months back but as usual, it's tough not to get swept up in the day to day chaos and let good ideas sit on the back burner.
But, it's a done deal. Literally, too. Like, it's ready to go.
SWEET! THIS IS GONNA ROCK LIKE A CONCERT!
There are a few minor improvements we're planning to make before we launch it, but it's awesome. The goal was to take a cool service and put a LinkWorth spin on it. I think it's a great mix of the best features already available through other venues with a few more perks. I can't go into it all right now, but it will kick ass.
This will be a great value add for our bloggers...70% payout, baby!! NICE. Add that to the simple fact that our salespeople are now chomping at the bit to include multiple LinkPosts in all their client campaigns means bidness for the blognation and even more success for our advertisers!
More details soon. I wouldn't be surprised if this is another service that will be introduced with the unveiling of our new site, but don't hold me to that.
Until next time,
Matt Stoddart. Out.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
All is going according to plan and I couldn't be happier. I've mentioned that we're going to get out amongst 'em this year and ol' Ron has taken the bull by the horns. He's being the ball. He's got the eye of the tiger. He's thinking outside the box. He's every other super-generic business cliche you can think of, too. Why, you ask? Because he just ponied up and booked us at every industry conference he could think of between now and November. We'll even be exhibiting for the first time at SES San Jose.
Hello, world, here we come!
Here's a quick rundown of where we'll be...
- April 10-13 - SES New York
- June 4-5 - SMX Seattle
- July 8-10 - Affiliate Summit Miami
- July 31-Aug 1 - Ad-Tech Chicago
- August 20-23 - SES San Jose
- Oct 16-17 - SMX New York
- Nov ?? - Pubcon Las Vegas
Now I need to do my part which is making sure we make the most of these trips. And by that I mean making the best use of our time. And by that I mean buying some folks some drinks, cheeseburgers, or whatever else may float their boat.
Eric, let's talk links, brotha!!
Rand, can I interest you in a nice cold beer or four?
Patrick, we've already talked about New York...still on?
Rae, I want to talk blackjack and Sopranos!
Okay, okay....one step at a time. Don't hate me because I get excited. Oh wait....nobody is listening....
Monday, March 12, 2007
Ron (as in "Wicker"...founder and President/CEO of LinkWorth) and I have been good friends for a long time and currently I'm his EVP of Sales. I've been around since LinkWorth's inception. It's been a great ride so far and the fun has just begun.
That said, '07 is really shaping up to be an exciting year for us. We're 3 years in to this thing and we've come a long way. We're busier, we're more productive, we're smarter...fun things are happening. What exactly? Well, here are the top 5 reasons I'm excited about LinkWorth...
- New Website. I don't have to explain to anyone why this is number one, but this is going to be great! Our current interface is overwhelmingly informative and that coupled with the fact that we've "outgrown it" make this a great time for change. Look for clean pages, efficient navigation, plus all the information you need AND MORE tucked away neatly in places that will be easy to find if you need them.
And it's gonna look AWESOME.
- New Products/Services. We have rolled out a few new offerings over the past few months and will roll out a few more in the months to come. I'll go into more detail about all of these later, but this bundle of services is designed to fulfill more of our clients' needs within the realm of SEO/SEM. Press release services, directory submission services, article submission services, SEO Consulting, LinkWords (our proprietary in-content pay-per-click product), LinkIntxt (tell you soon enough!!!), content services, and more.
I'd love to go into each one right now but it'll have to wait. No doubt, though...I'M FIRED UP!
- Our staff. We've been doing a lot of hiring (and unfortunately some firing, too) over the past year or so and I feel great about the pieces we have in place right now. This industry doesn't have an overwhelming pool of talent just hanging around out there waiting to be hired, you know. And even if there was, our little startup has a certain methodology and vision that must be taught. I think we've done a great job with that and have some powerhouses on board that will be integral components once we open up the flood gates a little bit. And one other thing that's pretty cool; nobody has ever left. My background tells me what a testament that really is!
- My Office. Our entire office is great, actually. It's new, it's big, there are a bunch of cubes, there are people that work in them, blah, blah, blah. But my office in particular kicks ass. I just love it. Ron recently hooked me up with a 2nd monitor and man, it's like going from a Yugo to a Cadillac. My chair rocks, too. Not 'rocks' as in rocking-chair (although it does that, too) but 'rocks' like Motley Crue. Very comfy. The windows in my office (although now a bit obscured by flat screen displays) tell me a story everyday. We're on the first floor with lots of foot traffic and people watching is serious business.
- LinkWorth Just Saved A Bunch Of Money On Their Car Insurance. (Are you lol'ing, Ron?)
Seriously? The future couldn't be brighter and I'm so all-about this journey. Ron and I were talking just the other day about how small our industry really is and how we should be more involved in it. We've been to a few conferences and met some people but aren't nearly as active as we should be. I am going to take personal responsibility to do this. After all, I'm the "sales guy" right?
So, that's the plan. We're hittin' the road. We're gonna hang out with our friends, clients, peers, and whoever else wants to tag along. (No more tats, though. Well, ok....maybe one or two more BUT THAT'S IT!)
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Sadly, I can't contribute any of the aforementioned qualities to this particular blog.
There's something on my mind...I think. And I just might want to talk about it.
I'm pretty excited about some things going on in my professional life right now and my personality requires me to express my feelings somehow. And opposed to beating my family or friends into complete submission with the minutiae of shop-talk, I figured I'd just write another lame friggin blog. Nobody will read it. It's for me, so screw it.
Here's my blog-oath to myself:
- I will not discuss my gorgeous wife or my two beautiful daughters. (Maybe I watch too much Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator)
- I will not attempt to monetize this lame blog
- I WILL blow off steam at will