Thursday, February 16, 2006

Efficient Frontier - Hiring NYC Client Services

The firm I work for - Efficient Frontier - is experiencing significant growth in its East Coast operations, and is looking to hire a Client Services Account Manager:

Efficient Frontier is applying portfolio trading applications from Wall St to the optimization of large paid search campaigns on Google, Yahoo, MSN, Miva and others. We have more spend under management than any firm in the world, and that rarest of qualities - a sustainable technology advantage that's leading to 20-50% better returns for our clients than any other solution can provide.

If you are or know anyone who loves SEM, lives in NYC and wants to be part of a growing success in the SEM space, please let me know - I would much appreciate it!

In Support of the U.S. Government's Search Engine Policies in China

[I wrote the below in response to comments others wrote on condemning U.S. policymakers' proposed stance towards search engine censorship in China. The tone is directed to those posters, not you who are reading this now on my blog.]

To my fellow SEM/SEO colleagues who seem to have so clearly grasped the essence of the China search engine policy debate,

You may know link strategy and meta-tagging, but you don't seem to know how to put together a valid argument - hence the name-calling, assumptive tone you take in dismissing US Govt proposed legislation in this area. Allow me, therefore, to disabuse you of your own blatant arrogance, pompous attitude and hypocritical comments, for that is what they are.

1)Acknowledge that the Cold War was won because of the U.S. taking a hard line against the Soviet Union. We forced them into an arms race and economic race that they could not win and which bankrupted the country.

2)Acknowledge that at no point did America ever make compromises in its foreign policy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union. Acknowledge that this consistent show of principles - followed by consistent actions mirroring our principles - is what won the Cold War.

3)Now, admit that Russia - after an expected period of post-Communist turmoil - is finally & clearly starting to enjoy the economic renaissance that goes with capitalism and private property. Please do not expose yourself as a lunatic by saying that people in the former Soviet republics would have been better off had the U.S. not shown steadfast adherence to its democratic principles during the Cold War.

4)Assuming your left-leaning ideology & sparse political education as youths have not blinded you to self-evident geopolitical realities such as those described above, now consider that the U.S. is in the midst of a massive outsourcing of production to China. Otherwise said, the Chinese communist government has been able to improve the lot of its citizens NOT by giving them political freedoms we enjoy in the West, but rather by taking advantage of our free-market economies to supply goods at lower cost. Simply, the U.S. desire for material goods has led us to artificially prop up a communist govt that would otherwise have *more* impetus to democratize than it has had to date.
Following me?

5)In that context it becomes very clear why the U.S. govt is interested in obliging U.S. search engines to align their China censorship position with long-term U.S. policy goals, and, I hope, it's evident even to you who love to jump on the anti-U.S. bandwagon that your vapid arguments have no basis in modern geopolitics. Of course, you could argue that U.S. policy goals are not necessarily the goals of the rest of the world, but you would be wrong. The beauty of American foreign policy is that it is well-aligned with the economic and political uplift of people in all countries, not just the U.S., for free people and open societies make for stronger economies and thus stronger U.S. business partners.

The principled American policy of encouraging democracy overseas is sound, and one needs only consider the Chinese or Russian alternatives to conclude that Google, Yahoo and other U.S. search engines who have caved to the communist Chinese govt are doing the world a disservice in the long-term, an oversight for which lovers of individual freedom, democracy and free-market capitalism would do well to speak up against.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Qualities of a great startup opportunity

OK, this is just a quick cut and paste, but I thought it was worth sharing. Here's a list of the top 25 characteristics of a great startup opportunity, as compiled by Sam Decker, an Austin-based marketing exec who just joined BazaarVoice, an Austin Ventures firm helping companies harness the power of word of mouth marketing.

BazaarVoice is interesting in and of itself, but I'm short on time today. Good luck in the new gig, Sam - I've been fortunate to read your marketing blog the last two years.

Defendable and differentiated
Competitive cost structure
Attractive partnership opportunities
Repeat customers
Word of mouth opportunity
Memorable product and name
Potential for PR
Attractive to be bought or merged
Scaleable staff and systems
Scaleable product -- build once, sell many times
Niche market or fragmented industry
High velocity and large market / industry
High perceived value
Product can be accessorized – revenue synergies
Healthy cash flow –> margin x velocity
Demonstrable felt need, demand – does it hit a primal chord?
Business can be measured for improvement
Can claim leadership
Sales model is scaleable and predictable
Product evokes emotion
Can make big wins – big customers
Limited exposure to legal issues
Own relationship with and information about customers

Friday, February 10, 2006

SES NYC Social Calendar

As a member of the SEM community I feel it is my duty to make everyone aware of all the opportunities we'll have at SES NYC to

-discuss the relative merits of Google and Yahoo's match types
-ponder the future of pay per call, auction-based TV ads and search CTR
-see how few in the vendor community actually have anything intelligent to say
-be in NYC for 2-4 nights
-rage like we were back in college
-see Tim Mayer in action (if nightlife skills were all that mattered, Y! Search would be *killing* Google right now)
-size up the competition, and perhaps put the swords down for just long enough to tie one on.

But where to start? Enter Joe Morin, grandfather of the search marketing conference party scene. While you may know him as one of the world's top 100 SEO experts, his main contribution is in ensuring that as many people as possible know about as many conference-related parties as possible.

To wit, he's put together the Official SES NYC 2006 Party & Events Schedule page on SearchEngineWatch.

YOUR INPUT IS NEEDED. If you know of any parties going on during SES NYC, post them on Joe's SEW Party page. The search marketing community needs your input!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Where Are All The Good Internet Ideas?

I had lunch today with a Silicon Valley VC, a guy who's made some pretty good investments in his time, and we got to talking about interesting business ideas in the Internet and online marketing spaces.

I pride myself on being more up to speed on where the industry's going than the next guy, and spend an inordinate amount of non-work time learning about what's new/next/big in the Internet.

But as we talked, it occured to me that there are far fewer big, new, promising Internet startups than even just 12 or 18 months ago:

Chitika - for a while people thought it would beat AdSense, but now it's looking good, but mortal.

SpotRunner - that *is* a good idea and Google's investment in DMark confirms it.

Technorati - blog search, a cool idea but don't you think that's more of a feature than a company?

Efficient Frontier (where I work) - applying portfolio trading applications from Wall St to the optimization of large paid search campaigns. I'm a believer, so sorry for the self-promo, it won't happen again until my next post.

There are a bunch of problems in the Internet and online advertising that have yet to be solved, but where the heck are all the interesting startups?

Anyone have an idea, or a strong opinion on what startups are out there whose model and potential evokes 9 or 10-figure future valuations?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Buy Danish

Denmark is taking heat from the worldwide Muslim community right now, due to a charicature of Mohammed that appeared in one of their newspapers. Some Muslim countries have gone so far as to recall their ambassadors from Denmark in protest, and many Muslim countries are boycotting Danish products.

We in the West need to clearly voice our support for freedom of speech and expression, and at the same time unanimously make clear to the Muslim world that, while we respect everyone's right to practice their own religion, we consider far, far, far more important the freedoms that our societies have fought so dearly to attain.

That said, I'm going to do two things today:

1)Make 2-3 purchases of Danish products online
2)Ask everyone who reads this to do the same

My personal opinion is that pacifism and appeasement have no place in dealing with the global intifada whose goal is the establishment of sharia worldwide.

I know, I know, this has nothing to do with search marketing - but it will once I start an SEM campaign targeted to Muslim states and whose goal is to educate Muslims as to their general lack of tolerance.

Don't get me wrong - the Western world and Christianity were equally restrictive and close-minded just a couple hundred years ago, but fortunately for us we've made the giant leap of understanding the compounding benefits of individual liberty and freedom of speech.

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