Jan 10, 2014

Google+ plus users can now spam more easily

I have a big issue with the recent Google+ and Gmail integration as apparently only users with more than 10,000 connections will receive the spam block instantly.  The big oversight is that unless you have more than 10,000 followers on Google+ then everyone on Google+ platform can send you email, this includes churn and burn accounts setup just to spam people.

The other issue is that while your email is apparently masked unless you reply most people aren't so savy and will reply out of habit asking the spammers to stop.  This will then allow the spammers to harvest their emails and link it back to their Google+ profile.

I really don't think we need the ability to email people directly on Google+ as there are options such as private messages and you can also share updates privately.

I advise everyone to set their personal settings to none or circles only and then maybe change this once Google gets a bit more serious about their spam protection. Even settings such as extended circles still open you spam if people in your network just add anyone to their circles.

Official Gmail Blog: Reach the people you know more easily

May 4, 2011

Google LatLong: We are Stopping Tags

In what is was a curve ball the Google Places experirment that allowed businesess to pay a flat monthly fee to highlight their listing with a bright yellow tag has been culled mid April from accepting new listings and by now a majority of businesses will have dropped out of the platform as they switch off the functionality.

The $25/month product was likely killed off due the minimal amount of revenue it generated for Google but it's the impact on the quality and user experience for thos using Google Places.  The only businesses that might be sore are those who paid to have the upgrading listing will see their traffic and CTR fall through the floor as they return to a standard listing.

The question is has the change come as part of a Google Places refresh that is well overdue?

May 3, 2011

Official Google Australia Blog: Google Shopping arrives in Australia

Finally annouced today Google Shopping has officially arrived in Australia in a move that benefits from the strong Aussie dollar but also the poor effort that retailers have made to move to online shopping. To increase Google's revenues they have enabled AdWords Product Extensions where retailers can submit product information and the relevant product information will be shown within their ads where relevant.

See Examples of Google Shopping Product Extensions
What is different with Google Shopping?
Google Shopping is powered by the Google Merchant Center and supplies all the details on your products to your AdWords campaign match to the relevant user query.  AdWords product extensions shows product images, titles and prices of your products under your standard ads.

Why business should use Google Shopping?
The biggest part is the your competitors will start using them and they have a massive uplift in CTR which means more visitors to your online store?

Who loses out with Google Shopping?
One of the biggest losers are most comparison shopping websites, your affiliates and likely all the resellers of your products.

Video showing more about Product Extensions

Apr 30, 2011

Upcoming change to Google Apps

Google recently announced a big upcoming changes to the maximum number of users for it's free Standard Google Apps accounts. They have notified anyone with an existing standard Google Apps account that, as a current customer, the changes will not affect you.
But as of May 10 2011, any organisation that signs up for a new Standard account will be required to use the paid Google Apps for Business product in order to create more than 10 users. Google advised they will honour their commitment to all existing Google Apps customers and will allow you to add more than 10 users to your account for ..... at no additional charge, based on the limit in place when you joined Google Apps.

This change reduced the maximum number of users down from 50 to a more sustainable 10 users per account, it's also given insight into the number of users that use the standard account are close to 10.

Apr 26, 2011

Official Google Blog: This week in search 4/22/11

Google expands their Instant search product with version 7 that has now been rolled out to IE8 & IE9 users.

The new Instant toolbar is only available in English with more supported languages added later this week.

Most popular searches power prediction
The search term improved their Google instant auto-complete so that it will now function better for less common, longer and more complex queries getting your search results even faster.

Apr 26, 2010

AdWords Agency Blog: A new approach to how we work with advertising agencies

Google announced today on their AdWords Agency blogspot that they have started rolling out a new Google Certified Partner program that focuses on AdWords. The new AdWords certification seeks to improve the relationship and training available to SEM Agencies and Digital Agencies. Much of the feedback has been around not enough training or certification in AdWords and how Google can reduce costs for those using AdWords APIs.
The move also seeks to wind down the Google Advertising Professional program and replace it with a new Google AdWords Certification program. The new Google AdWords Certification program is to provide more up-to-date and comprehensive certification with a focus on training for strategy and how to use the latest tools and new best practice guidelines.

While it seems that some of the more advanced-level exams should address more areas such as search, display, reporting and analysis, will everyone make the effort to get the new certification? The new AdWords certified partner badge shown above takes up much more website realestate than the old badge which may annoy some webdesigners. The new badge also has an interchangeable blue text/icon element that can be use for their other products "Analytics", "Maps", "Search", "Apps".

Google has looks to be in the process of replacing a number of their programs with a central Google Partner program. The new partner program section advises that as a Google Certified Partner, Trainer or Reseller the logo represents Google's endorsement of this partner's expertise and experience. This move by Google continues to resolve some of the issues with private enterprise making claims to being Google SEO Partners, or independently certified as TOPSEOs claims....

The new Google Certified Partners should help you outsource AdWords program management or implement Google tools to measure and improve your campaign ROI. All the Google Certified Trainers have met rigorous requirements set by Google to offer in-depth in-person or classroom training on Adwords, Analytics and much more...

Google Authorized Resellers can provide professional, full-service AdWords account management, from account setup and activation to ongoing campaign monitoring and optimisation and should always provide quality customer support.

The AdWords certification program appears to be replaced with a broad Google Certification Program which provide another indication the product will expand to other Google products not yet listed. The new feature which advertisers might find useful is the Google Partner Search that allows clients to search for agencies within the trusted walls of Google and not use unverified sources such as TopSEOs.com. There are other programs that have joined the new Google Professional Program such as their Website Optimiser website testing product.

What about Google AdWords Professionals?

As Brad Geddes pointed out in his recent blog post that Google has just shut down the GAP program, changing a small item that the old program required a GAP to pass an exam and maintain a level of spend, but the new program has eliminated the spend level but added an advanced exam requirement. So now to gain qualification as a Google AdWords Professional, exam takers must pass both the Advertising Fundamentals exam and one advanced-level exam.

Find Google AdWords Certified Partners (FREE)

The Google Certified AdWords Partners can opt-in and pitch their core attributes and capabilities direct to advertisers. You can offer suggestions on expected budgets, specify office locations and industry verticals supported. There is no charge to the AdWords certified partners to be listed or for clients to pay which may upset a number of sites such as TOPSEOs that currently have a business model where they charge for these leads.

The biggest change to the program is that those using the AdWords API to access, run and optimise their clients campaigns using inhouse software and commercial bid management platforms can almost do it for free as long as their clients spend enough. This change makes it more profitable for agencies using AdWords APIs the more money they get their clients to spend, so hopefully this will result in some reduction in costs for some products that have heavy API usage. The new Preferred AdWords API Pricing model also requires that if you use an AdWords API to manage your clients campaign on behalf of your clients and meet the requirements you can then apply for the preferred pricing. While this is a great step forward it could have been better if it had of been automated and the program doesn't start accepting API applications until the 26th May 2010, so stick around.

AdWords Agency Blog: A new approach to how we work with advertising agencies

Apr 3, 2010

Search Optimisation tools for Marketers

Search is one of the most powerful platforms for business and continues to grow in importance, there are a number of software tools available to assist your project.  A majority of these tools are hosted solutions such as SheerSEO that offer free trials to the more enterprise level solutions from Caphyon who offer both Advanced Web Ranking and Advanced Link Manager as a desktop solution.  The screenshot shown below shows the Advanced Web Ranking interface and how you can graph keyword rankings against keywords, websites or search engines.

We recently reviewed these two software tools with a basic outline of how they could benefit your projects by saving time on reporting and grunt work and spend more time doing link building and search optimisation on the the website.

To find out more please read our product review on our other blog about "search engine tools"

Feb 23, 2010

Small Business Google Ad Manager

Google Ad Manager rolls out a new update and relaunches its product as DFP Small Business.  They advise that your Ad Manager account will be automatically upgraded to DFP Small Business in the next few weeks.

In an effort to make their Adsense platform work more closely with DoubleClick, they have created a new publisher ad-serving platform called DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP Small business).  It is desisgn to meet the expanded userbase of small sites and niche networks who are using Google Adsense but need more insight which only DoubleClick has offered.

It will be interesting to see how the redesigned traffic workflows affects how easily you can manage your campaigns and increase the efficiency.  In a welcome move there are already a wealth of materials available which include its own website, videos and even a webinar.

The new features of DFP Small Business are advertised as:
  • Ad Trafficking and delivery
  • Impression scheduling and pacing
  • Tiered priorities
  • Frequency capping
  • Roadblocking
  • Various ad pricing models
  • Built-in targeting
  • Customizable targeting criteria
  • Creative support
  • Creative preview
The expanded list gives a hint to the actual power of this new platform for publishers who would have typically had to be a high-end advertiser or large agency to get these features in the past.  The revenue optimisation is a key offering that is designed just to get as much money as possible from your websites and combined with the inventory forecasting you can better plan your traffic and campaigns.

The addition of an API is useful if you are using custom solutions or inhouse products as you benefit but don't have to work within the supplied interface.  Most of the features detailed below are of interest just a matter of making sure they are correctly setup to get the greatest benefits.
    Inventory Management
    • Inventory levels
    • Simple ad tag generation
    Revenue Optimisation
    • Google AdSense integration
    • Site targeting
    • Google Ad Planner integration
    Inventory Forecasting
    • Granular forecasts
    • Availability reports
    Granular Reporting
    • Multiple reporting options
    • Customizable reports
    • Save and schedule reports
    • Media Rating Council (MRC) accredited
    Intuitive user interface
    • Usability
    • Quick help
    • Search functionality
    • International language and currency support
    Significant cost savings
    • Free ad delivery (less than 90 million ad impressions/month)
    • Hosted solution
    • Flexible API

    The initial look at the new interface does offer a massive step up for their publisher network to offer more targeted placement and advertisers can now have better data and be more specific in their campaigns.  We have seem some initial issues such as the time taken to setup some of the many features and we currently have some issues with being able to select any ad inventory to new ads we created.

    The other problem is that you need to have an Adsense account linked to the DFP Small Business account, so if you have setup more than one, you might be in violation of Google AdSense conditions...

    So we suggest if you are interested in finding out more about the new Small Business Ad platform, signup and play around with the features and see if they are suitable for your projects or clients at the DFP website.  Google has also rolled out a new Google Ad Manager Partners program, where you can have a Ad Serving Certified Consultant help you.

    If you want to learn more about AdWords and Adsense, I suggest checking out Google Advertising Tools 2nd Edition which i co-authored.

    Feb 17, 2010

    Telstra offers HTC Android Smartphone

    Telstra has annouced that the new HTC Desire smartphone which was announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona will be available in Australia in April 2010.  This new Google Android-powered HTC mobile will be powered by Android 2.1 and will run exclusively on Telstra's Next G network.

    The HTC Desire will use a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, displayed on a 3.7in WVGA AMOLED display for what will be one of the more advanced smartphone displays available. 

    Telstra is depending on the Australian marketing continuing to adopt smartphones in record numbers and using its Next G network to explore the online world with the Android-powered device.

    Obviously Telstra customers will now have access to the suite of Google Apps products such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps and Telstra applications like Mobile FOXTEL.  What is yet to be confirmed is if Google Voice will be enbabled on the device.

    So the HTC Desire arrives in April and you will have to wait closer to the date for pricing and package details, but if you want to see the first hands-on demostration of the HTC device, engadget has several images of the HTC Desire and a video of the HTC Desire in action.

    Source: Telstra PR