Et tu, AdSense?

We’re all aware that Google AdSense “matches ads to your site’s content” right? (At least in theory.)

And I think it’s safe to assume that we know how Google feels about paid links, right? Ahem…

Well, that’s precisely why I think the subject of this post is so ironic.

Early on there were countless instances where Google would display AdSense ads that were completely off-topic to the publisher’s site. I remember reading all of the grumbles and growls about it…especially a couple years back. Now, though, I think they do a pretty good job of sending targeted ads to the right places, wouldn’t you agree?

Keeping this in mind, I was doing some research for a client today and I came across a post on Search Engine Land that caught my eye. It wasn’t the title of the post that caught my eye nor was it the author. (Although I have MASSIVE amounts of respect for Barry…just stay with me.) No, what caught my eye were the AdSense ads being displayed a couple paragraphs under the title.


It wasn’t until after I had wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes that I was able to take that screenshot.

What’s so funny about it, you ask? If you’re aware of the whole Google Mini link debate you’ll know what I mean.

Basically, in return for purchasing the Google Mini search appliance you are rewarded with a link to your site. Now, let’s piece that together real quick: you buy something from Google and they link to your site. Sounds like a paid link, right?

Of course it does. It is.

But that’s old news and I’ve already heard Google’s defense that these links don’t pass juice blah, blah, blah.

The true irony to me is that Google’s own product seems to be “turning the knife” on Google itself here. I mean, right smack-dab in the middle of a blog post about paid links is an AdSense ad for the Google Mini…which doubles as Google’s own paid link product! Giggle.

I guess maybe Google is doing too good of a job at matching AdSense with relevant content, huh?!

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The Ultimate Up-sell – When Is It Too Much?

If you offer a multitude of products and/or services online, it’s always beneficial to up-sell or cross-sell your customer. It provides an extra benefit to the customer and it adds to the companies sales. But when is it too much?

This idea hit me while on looking at their computers. The great part about Dell is you can build, or customize your computer to exactly what you want. What I think is not so great about Dell is all of the up-selling they throw at you while doing so.

I decided to see just how far Dell would take customizing a single computer. I wanted to select every option and the most expensive of each option. I was presented with 173 options while building a single computer. What did a $1,200 computer end up costing with all of the up-selling? $45,784!

Dell Up-Selling

See Entire List (pdf)

I think up-selling is a wise choice for any business that is building a shopping cart, but I think there is a cut off point when it becomes too much. When putting together an order process, you typically want to make it as quick and painless as possible and your sales will greatly increase. Too many options gives the customer too many chances of getting frustrated, confused or changing their mind.

In my case, I planned on purchasing a computer and never did.

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Being Creative With Google Search Operators

A while back this little trick was being passed around how to search for free tunes through Google. A year and a half later, people have really taken the power of Google search to a whole new level. I was shown a site where you just enter a song or artist and it does the complicated query for you and spits out the Google results. After a little more digging around, I found several pretty cool sites for finding music, video and other files that Google knows about.

  • Musgle – Free music search that requires a song or artist submission and Google tells you where to find it.
  • G2P – (Google to Person) After a first search, a top frame remains with a search field and drop down options to narrow your search down. In the bottom frame you’ll see the Google results.
  • Search Hacker – this tool uses the Google Coop search to display results. Once you enter your search, it will then provide a list of extensions to narrow your search. You click that extension and it shows the results you’re looking for.
  • Papaiti – a MP3 search tool. Enter a song and the artist, then search. You can enter one or both. Results are displayed in an iframe.
  • Tyoogle – is a very unique name, almost confusing. The home page is also a bit confusing, but that might be the whole point. Right above the search box you’ll see two links “searchtype” and “advanced”. Searchtype will let you pick what type of search and advanced will let you select the file types you’re looking for. When you’re ready to go, click the shocking button labeled “Die in a Fire” and you’ll get the Google results. For a new search you’ll need to go back to the start page.
  • Index of – Another Google coop powered tool that applies the same type of operators as the others. Plug in your search term in the left sidebar, pick the file type and search. The results will display in an iframe in the main body.

Now this is where I say this post is purely for educational purposes. Always be careful downloading files and consider using something like Tor for a little protection. Almost like putting a nofollow on your downloads. 🙂

This does illustrate the power of Google’s search and the fact you need to be sure and hide those directories if you run Apache. Especially if you have files stored you do not want to share, or bandwidth to lose. If you want to hide your directory listings, two easy steps:

  • Options -indexes – place this in your .htaccess file.
  • Blank index.html – place an empty html file inside the directory to hide. This method requires a blank html in all directories to conceal.

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Facebook Social Ads – Not So Great

In case you haven’t been around lately, social networks have been the craze lately and everything that comes out now has some sort of social spin to it. So, if you own a business, it’s imperative that you try to reach out to maximum number of people on social media with the help of the Marketing Heaven. Realizing networks like Facebook are full of millions of people, it would only make sense that advertising in their network would be a great thing. I’m here to disagree.

I setup an ad with Facebook’s “Social Ads” on November 26th to see how it would perform. Not knowing what to expect, I started off slow with a low CPC (cost per click). I cautiously watched, day to day, and was shocked at what I was seeing. I slowly kept increasing my CPC up to $5.00 per click. Impressions were increasing and clicks were nowhere to be found. I decided to hold off and just let it ride on the $5.00 per click.

As of today, here are the stats:

  1. Impressions: 147,258
  2. # of Clicks : 11
  3. CTR (%) : .01

Some may say, “You aren’t doing something right”. This might be right, but it’s not like I’ve never worked with online advertising before. I’ve tweaked, read information, moved bids and several other things. I think it comes down to something that I’ve thought for quite some time now; social networks are not that great of a place for small businesses to advertise. Looking for a little reassurance, I found this from someone who is fairly knowledgeable in the online space. I usually don’t buy into much he says, but I think he hit the nail on the head with this one. I think promotional products like a Custom Towel can be a more cost-effective way to convert visitors to loyal customers.

Have a better result with social ads? Let us know.

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Our Gift To You – Scotch Mist

This gift is going on the assumption that whoever reads this likes the same music that I do. If you do, this gift will be one of your favorite gifts. If you don’t, this will be nothing but a waste of space. 🙂 I hope I make most people happy with my gift selection.

Who likes Radiohead? I was lucky enough to get their “In Rainbows” cd for free, like a lot of fans. Matter of fact, we had a vacation in New York City and our soundtrack was “In Rainbows”.

Here we go, Radiohead performing live from their studio for New Year’s Eve:

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LinkWorth Participates in Salvation Army Angel Tree

Angel Tree

Christmas is a time for celebrating, eating good food, opening gifts and being with the ones you love. Most would say it is the most joyous season of the year. However, others might disagree. Simply put, although some of us are fortunate enough to provide gifts for people we care about, the lady that lost her husband and is working to support her three kids making $20,000 a year is not so fortunate. To her, it is a time of struggle and a time of disappointment because she can not provide what she would like to for her children.

Fortunately, there is a program called the “Salvation Army Angel Tree” that makes it all possible for families like this. The Angel Tree was created back in 1979 by Majors Charles and Shirley White. The Whites had each child write their gift needs on Hallmark greeting cards with pictures of angels on the front and place their cards on a Christmas Tree at the local mall. The first year it was created, over 700 children received gifts and had a happier Christmas.

Since then, the Angel Trees are now located in 9 metroplex areas in shopping malls, churches, corporations and other organizations. They are now helping over 41,000 children each year to have a better Christmas. It’s a very admirable program and LinkWorth is pleased to say we were able to participate in it this year for the first time. LinkWorth, along with Easeley McCaleb, Multigraphx, Cornerstone Staffing, Minister Search, Mercy Hospice, Z Option, Pepperidge Farm, Ameriprise Financial, Roch, Paycom, Select Insurance Agency and Orbin and Cooper Wealther Management, Inc. were able to sponsor 40 children this year. It’s a great feeling to know that you are making a difference in someone’s life like that. What’s even better is that we actually were able to have the angel tree in our office and had all the angels hanging on the tree.


Once we had all of the gifts bought and bagged up, we took them down to the Salvation Army headquarters of Dallas and actually walk around the warehouse where all of the magic happens. It was quite an experience. I have never seen so many toys, clothes, etc. in my life.

bags of toys


If you are considering a generous deed during the holidays to participate in, this is a great organization that I would highly recommend. It is a well recognized organization and the volunteer staff are very helpful. After the positive experience we had this year, I know that we will continue on with the “Salvation Army Angel Tree” for years to come.

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Google Pulls Ads for Link Buying Keywords

While searching for something this evening, I was hit with an odd sight on Google. The results looked like the old days with no advertisements. Of course, I wondered if Google might be having technical issues, so I did a few more queries and what I found was quite surprising.

It appears Google has decided to fold to peer pressure and pull all ads that show for popular keywords related to the link buying industry. I’ve heard the question asked at several conferences, asking why Google complains about link buying, but then turns around and lets the link buying industry advertise their service through AdWords. I can only assume this is the reason the ads are not showing now.

I ran several searches and it seems like a half ass attempt because a search for ‘buy link, sell links, buy link popularity’ show ads, but a search for ‘buy links, text link ads, buy text links’ show no ads. I think it’s pretty hilarious that they’re going to such lengths to hide the obvious fact; their algorithm is flawed and they can’t fix it.

Here are the results I searched:

Text Link Ads
Text Link Ads
 Buy Link
Buy Link
Buy Links
Buy Links
 Buy Text Links
Buy Text Links
Buy Link Popularity
Buy Link Popularity
 Sell Links
Sell Links

Maybe they’ll pop back up, but I would bet they’re trying to portray a dominant image. I compare it to when a guy breaks up with a girl that he really likes, but he’s trying to play the ‘cool guy’ in front of all his friends. In the back of his mind he wants to whisper in her ear to come to his place later on, but in front of the public, he acts like he doesn’t need her.

Eventually, they’ll be left with an index full of AdWords and Wikipedia results.

This is a confirmed story. Straight from the horses mouth.

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More Hypocrisy By Google – Nofollow?

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about Google selling links for a cheap annual price of $1,995. It was a story that I read some time ago but could not find the real owner, until today when Rustybrick sphunn what I had just sphunn and provided a link to the original story. I appreciate someone finally telling me who I could credit because I don’t like duplicating stories without giving kudos.

As I’m reading the comments on sphinn today, I see where people are saying the backlinks are not showing up. I would suggest they are not looking very hard. I researched several when I was blogging a couple of weeks ago and found the google backlinks on several of the domains. This made me want to do even more research today and I happened across even more google links that are essentially links that were bought. Oddly enough, the nofollow tag is absent on all of these. Something Google is forcing everyone to do if it is paid for in some fashion.

Now the original link farm style page was a hit and miss for finding google on their backlinks. Lucky for me, I stumbled on a gold mine of hard evidence they are nothing but hypocrites over at Google. Let me introduce the enterprise superstars!

These people are Google customers who have paid for the Google Mini and because they paid, were recognized and highlighted. The first page is a list of the “Current Winners”. Each person from the respective company is highlighted and given a Pay for Post style write up on a Google blog. (example)

Now let us move on to the real gold, the success stories page. If there were doubts about passing juice before, this page should seal the deal with proof.

I did the daunting task of checking all 187 links on this page ( farm?) and the results paint the picture:

  • 171 of the domains have appearing in their google backlinks.
  • 10 of the domains do not have in their google backlinks.
  • 5 of the domains have no cache and/or no website present.
  • 1 of the domains has a typo and the link does not work.

In summary, if you want a good solid backlink or even a backlink and a blog review on the google blog, then pay for the google mini and become one of their superstars.

I have put the entire list with results in this PDF called Google Link Selling if anyone wishes to check my work.

Their new motto should be, “Do As I Say, Not As I Do!”

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Buy A Link On – Only 1995.00

Isn’t it fun when people don’t practice what they preach? Google offers a link to anyone who spends at least $1,995.00. Most have seen this page before, but I read it over on Sphinn the other day and had to bring it up again.

Basically, Google will give anyone who spends a minimum of $1,995.00 per year for one of their Google Mini‘s, a free customer testimonial and a link back to their site. Oddly enough, they aren’t playing fair in their rel=nofollow game they’ve been pushing on everyone else. Maybe we should start selling text links on Google for $2k per month and use the Google Mini for our own needs. I would imagine most companies would happily pay 2k per year for a solid link on Google. That’s only $166.67 per month or $38.46 per week or $5.48 per day! That’s EASY money. And for those taking notes, their links DO pass PageRank and they do appear as valid backlinks for the sites they link to. Shame, shame spammers.

I couldn’t remember where I originally read this, but as I’m making the topic public again, others are riding my wave and pointed out where it was brought up originally.

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Fun Biking in NYC Video

While in NYC last week, a friend showed me this video which is some sort of bike messenger race through NYC. The music makes it even more enjoyable, personally, but give this a watch if you have a few minutes to spare and enjoy:

Actually, it’s Matt and I going to the conference 🙂

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