the frequency a kenny chung blog

March 27th, 2013
according to

The following notes are from the presentation titled “Spy vs Spy: Key Insights to Outperform the Competition” at SES NY from Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

Note that these are just my notes, and I am not necessarily endorsing any strategies, tactics or POVs stated therein.

Link: Microsoft Blasts Google’s Ad Policies

Here’s a synopsis of the article: Microsoft denounces Google AdWords policy for hindering online advertising competition. Specifically, Microsoft execs feel that Google intentionally makes it unnecessarily difficult to transfer account/ad information from Adwords to other search engine advertisers, such as Microsoft AdCenter (for bing) or even Yahoo Marketing Solutions.

I’m going to cry foul on this one: Microsoft doesn’t have a leg to stand on in its accusations. From personal experience, I know for a fact that users can export Google bulksheets and upload them to both Yahoo Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter to be converted. I’ve also found it easier to do through Yahoo than Microsoft. So what is this difficulty that Microsoft execs are citing? Is it within their own ad platform? If their argument is that AdCenter doesn’t make converting Google PPC account data as easy as Yahoo does for the end user, then I agree. Microsoft would also be shooting themselves in the foot with this argument though. Consider it Microsoft cutting off their own nose to spite Google.

From my talks with vendors in the past, I know that Google has forbade third party SEM/PPC management platforms (such as Clickable, SearchIgnite, etc.) from including a native feature to automatically port Google AdWords campaigns to other advertisers. It’s still easy enough to do with step-by-step instructions though. Here are Yahoo’s instructions for importing Google AdWords data, and here are Microsoft’s instructions for uploading AdWords accounts. Not exactly a secret.

Considering the anti-trust suits against Microsoft (here’s one from last year that led to EU users being given the option of not installing Internet Explorer with Windows 7), this is essentially the pot calling the kettle black. What is Microsoft’s strategy here? The people who are familiar with PPC Advertiser platforms will know that Microsoft is over-exaggerating their claims. Perhaps Microsoft is counting on other people to use their statement as a talking point against Google? It does seem like it’s all the rage to criticize Google’s policies these days…

Microsoft is just being incredibly petty.

Link: China v Google Not About Free Speech

The above article is written by Mark Pilatowski, who works in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Speaking as someone quite familiar with the industry, I can tell you that us SEOptimizers have a unique view of Google. Our perspective of its business practices and user-oriented changes are a lot different than the average person’s.

That said, I do believe that he has some good points regarding Google as a business. What a lot of people don’t consciously realize on a day-to-day basis is that Google is out there to make money. I also manage some Paid Search (SEM) campaigns, so I actually see the kind of money that goes to Google.

I’m not quite sure where I stand on the whole Google/China issue. On the one hand, censorship is wrong. But it can also be argued that Google having any web presence in China is for the greater good, in terms of spreading knowledge and intelligence (even if it is pre-filtered).

But then again, Google does seem to be dabbling on the Dark Side lately…

July 13th, 2009
according to

Link: The Time Has Come To Regulate Search Engine Marketing And SEO

Here’s a quote from the article that speaks volumes to me (with my emphasis).

“Here’s where the parallel to free trade breaks down. There are no perfect paradigms looking at free trade and import/export laws that exactly define or address this challenge.”

And now my thoughts regarding the rest of the article:

1) I believe that the article is most definitely written by an employee of a competing search engine challenging the Google model.

Google is the gold standard of online search, which means they are and have been doing something right. If users didn’t find results to be consistent and relevant, then Google would not be as dominant as it is. This may come off as common sense statement, but I think a lot of users just take it for granted that Google exists and is as powerful as it is.

2) It’s true that the Internet marketplace is incredibly saturated. And unlike the real world, where people choose a store based on location, personalized customer service, and visual appeal, the Internet doesn’t work that way. Google will tell you which sites are the most relevant based on what your keywords say you’re looking for. The overlap between Internet and real-world shopping is word-of-mouth. Where the Internet trumps real life is that word-of-mouth travels at lightspeed over the Net. Think about how many times customer service horror stories have made their rounds on the Web. The Internet is both the best tool for PR and its worst enemy.

3) Google is not the be-all and end-all of online commerce. Certain specialty “watchdog” sites that compare products, prices and merchants (the latter two of which Google has a market share) via user reviews are really where experienced buyers will look to first. Seasoned Internet shoppers know how to find the best prices for goods, the best sites for individual product reviews, and ratings for online stores. I feel that the author of the article underestimates the ingenuity of the Internet populace.

4) Wikipedia probably has the best model of collaborative effort on the Web. But how would you apply this paradigm to the search industry? First and foremost, you would need community moderation- the staple of Wikipedia. You would need people willing to spend their time in order to improve results, eliminate biases, and ultimately convey the “truth” behind the SEO smoke and SEM mirrors. I am certain that Google believes that those they employ can do a better job than the combined efforts of the Internet community. And who can blame them? Look how far their trust has brought the company.

5) Google pretty much singlehandedly drives the SEO/SEM industry. The ever-changing and evolving secret algorithm keeps these marketing and optimization companies in business while also helping to prevent abuse.

I interned for a successful search marketing agency, and I can tell you that results can be delivered for new companies without using black-hat tactics. It takes hard work and real insight (which is why so many companies outsource).

And here’s one of the most important lessons I learned while working there: You have to believe in your clients. If you don’t, then your chances of improving pagerank will certainly diminish. On the other hand, if your clients believe in their goods and/or service and your SEO/SEM company informs them of changes they should make to improve both content and User Experience, then you’re already many steps ahead of the competition.

6) Google does not police the Internet. Google polices its own service. The article’s main analogy is flawed in that it doesn’t consider other continents. I suppose comparing Google to a country is more apt. The country imposes its own laws on its citizens the same way Google moderates search results. And there are smaller continents with their own sets of rules for those who don’t wish to become citizens of Google. Google is not a monopoly. Of course, it would be ignorant to state that Google is not a huge factor in online business success, but there is definitely room for improvement. Do you think Microsoft would sink upward of $100 million into Bing had they not done their market research? If Google doesn’t give the people the kind of search engine they want, then there is definitely room for another company to develop one. Bing offers a somewhat fresh search model based on their own laws. But only time will tell how big and powerful Bing country becomes.

7) Google is not a malicious dictatorship. I firmly believe that both profit and user experience are equal drivers of development and innovation for their products. It’s true that Google will pull site listings that are, for lack of a better word, ‘fishy.’ SEO/SEM veterans have warned me about how to avoid angering Google moderators, but have also told me about how Google can be merciful. There exists an appeals system and Google will consider reviewing your infraction. You just have to make a case that you’re above using sneaky methods and that you really deserve a spot on Google.

That last part is so important that I’ll repeat it: You have to make a case that you deserve a spot on Google. The search spiders and Ad buying will only take you so far. User behavior will let Google know which sites people like the most and how accurate meta descriptions and keywords really are.

At the end of the day, it’s the users who have the most power, and not a single search engine.

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