What would @mattcutts do with this link outreach?

17 Feb

We received an interesting link solicitation on the Search Influence info email that I thought I’d share. It’s interesting that they never ask for a “link”, but they do offer payment for posting content.

Here’s the email, names changed to protect the (maybe) innocent:

Hi,

My name is Michelle of [name removed].com. I came across your blog searchinfluence.com and loved it. I know your site is not exactly about bowling but you seem like you enjoy staying active and participating in group events. I think your voice and energy are perfectly in line with the kind of people we’re looking to attract to our brand.

Our bowling stores carry products that are not just functional but also fashionable. We carry fun bowling accessories that will personalize your style and improve your game.

I’d love an opportunity to work with you, in one of two ways. You can review our products in exchange for one piece of merchandise or publish an article on our behalf. Below are the details for each option:

1 – You can choose one pair of Elite bowling shoes ($40 max) from [name removed].com (We’ll ship either of these to you for free). Write a review by talking about your experience, whether it’s our website or our products. Please take note, this option is only offered in the USA at this time, due to high overseas shipping costs.
Check out the flyer for more details here: [link removed]

2 – You can post a bowling related article we give you with pictures on your blog for us. For this we can pay you $20 for posting it. The article will be very well-written and the topic isn’t centered aroun bowling perse, you can also edit it however you like.

Here’s a sample article we did for one blog:
http://ampedupmag.com/2013/11/20/unexpected-yet-popular-places-get-great-comfort-food/

As mentioned before, we’re always looking to building future relationships with our bloggers. If we get a good amount of referral traffic from your site, we’re totally open many more collaborations down the road.

Not to rush you, but please respond ASAP. We’re contacting a lot of other similar bloggers, and we only have a limited budget for the month for both giveaways and articles.

Keep up the great work with your blog!

Regards,
Michelle
[name removed].com

I left the example post link above because I think it’s instructive for a couple reasons. 1. they are using very targeted anchor text on a followed link. 2. it’s not particularly interesting meaning it’s unlikely to get a lot of social traction or pass-through traffic — i.e., it’s just a paid link.

What do you guys think?

Scam Alert – eGumball

30 Jan

Scam Alert!

One of our clients made an update to his map marker location, shortly after which he received a phone call from someone identifying themselves as a “Google Specialist”. The caller identified that there was a location update. Verify the correct address and then said “your business is listed as miscellaneous” — our customer indicates that they were actually properly classified — “you’re not showing up in the top 7”, “We have a place that can help you if you’re interested”.

I’m going to transfer you to Loren who will give you rates and options for getting listed.

Loren as it turns out works for a company in Irvine CA called eGumball.

It would appear from this client report that eGumball is posing as Google to qualify the lead prior to passing to their sales staff. Further, eGumball is making false statements, in this case “your business is listed as miscellaneous”.

Before posting this I did a little web searching and discovered the same approach reported on another site:

“Hi my name is […] am I speaking with the owner of […]?” Yes. “We wanted to let you know that your business category is showing up as miscellaneous and therefore not ranking well. Would you like to change that?”

Whether or not this is fraudulent is for the courts to decide, but it is clearly deceptive.

This kind of behavior gives our profession a bad name. Have you received a call from eGumball? Have you received calls from other services who deceptively tried to make you believe they were with Google? What were their scammy pitches?

Hey Will why aren’t you at #Pubcon?

23 Oct

Some of my friends (thank you) have noticed that I’m not at #Pubcon. I’m really bummed that I’m not there. I was really excited, both to speak on two panels, and to visit with industry friends.

I wanted to write this so that everybody would know what was going on with me, from the horse’s mouth. I know a little bit of information can go a long way. Usually picked up like the game of telephone a story becomes much worse or much better by the end of its telling.

So here’s what happened from the beginning.

I am blessed with the heredity of the Scotts-Irish drinking class. My brother is a year and a half older than I, and at 46 years old, is the oldest living male in our line. All of the men in our lineage, on my fathers side, have died young from heart disease. My brother and I so far, have been lucky. As of last week he is more lucky than I.

Over the last couple years I have had occasional chest pain upon exertion, commonly known as angina. In the last year it had grown progressively worse, prompting me to see a cardiologist for the first time in over a decade. Not seeing the cardiologist for over a decade was a big mistake, as it turns out, in my case.

After some testing the cardiologist came to the conclusion that I likely had blockage in some of my coronary arteries. She then prescribed a test, an angiogram, to which I was resistant because of the test’s invasive nature. So, I scheduled a second opinion visit with another cardiologist. That visit is scheduled for the 2nd week of November, and as it turns out that would have been too late.

Lest Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, while taking a shower I had a small heart attack. From what we can tell, this was my first. In every other instance where I might have chest pain I was smart enough to stop before it got bad enough to knock me down. So, after I came to I’m looking up at my wife from the floor of the shower while she is clearly on the phone with 911, based on the words coming out of her mouth. Given my state of denial I said to her “hang up baby, I’m fine.”

Just so we’re all clear I was far from mother-loving fine.

After dressing, and visiting with some of the fine folks from the New Orleans Fire Department and EMS service, I walked downstairs and got into a waiting ambulance and was taken to Touro Hospital. On arrival I was whisked into a private room where I was greeted by the ER doc who had already been on the phone with my cardiologist.

As it turns out, I have a great relationship with a personal physician. Shaminder Gupta (yes, we need to work on his site), is a friend who is starting up a boutique medicine practice in New Orleans. I am one of his beta patients, and as I’ve told him, he really needs to charge me more money. I had texted and then spoken with Shami while in the ambulance, he had called our cardiologist and she had primed the ER prior to my arrival. The ER doc when he walked in said “You’ve been blowing up my phone already”. Clearly my investment in personalized medicine was paying off.

After several visits with cardiologists of varying subspecialty I was convinced to go ahead and have the angiogram. I had steeled myself for the idea that I might have sufficient blockage to require a stent or two. Unfortunately, the damage to my coronary arteries was so bad that the cardiologist running the exam said “I think the only way were going to fix this, is with coronary bypass surgery”.

This is the same cardiologist to whom I’d said there wasn’t a “snowball’s chance in hell” they were going to crack my chest open. So much for that.

I have one artery, which on the test showed as completely blocked, and several others which showed 90 to 95% blockage. For those of you not familiar with cardiac patients, this is pretty stinking serious. The fact that I was up and walking around and had played, albeit very poorly, laser tag with the team the Friday prior was pretty crazy.

This was my moment of realization. I had no choice.

So, after an agonizingly long day and night in the hospital Tuesday I was scheduled for coronary artery bypass surgery on Wednesday morning.

We are not going to talk about the shaving.

As I’m laying in the prep room waiting for the anesthesiologist to come and see me I’m getting more and more nervous and kind of depressed – I’m really looking forward to the meds kicking in. As the anesthesiologist walks up, I recognize him. My anesthesiologist is my former neighbor, a wonderful guy named John Jin. I was so freaking relieved. You can’t imagine the anxiety at that point in my life and the relief of having this friendly face, this guy I know to be a loving and competent person was going to be there with me in the operating room.

You guys, John was ridiculous. He was calling Angie on the hour texting her updates sending her pictures of my vitals it was wonderful, wonderful. I cannot express my gratitude fully enough, ever.

So the next time I wake up, I’m in the ICU, I am alive. It’s fantastic. Okay, the breathing tube was not fantastic. Taking out the breathing tube is one of the worst experiences of my life. If you’re looking for a good analogy, think “water-boarding with snot.”

I survived. And I learned that I had had a quintuple bypass. This means that from a vein harvested from my leg the very talented surgeon, Gene Kukuy (why don’t these guys have decent websites), was able to create five new channels of blood flow from my aorta into my heart muscle. Yes, a quintuple bypass is a lot of bypass.

So, now I’m home. I’m doing some couch time – Percocet is my friend. I’m doing great. I’m told everyone expected this because I was young and in great shape for a guy who needed a quintuple bypass. I’m still surprised that a week after I had my ribs spread and my heart stopped that I’m up and moving and feeling as good as I am.

I’m not at Pubcon and that kind of sucks. But I’m alive and primed for a much better rest of my life.

So let’s talk for a minute about what got me here. I know a lot of you will be like “my God will, you are young and while maybe a little chubby, from time to time, in pretty good shape”.

Well, you’re right. I am young, and I’m in pretty good shape, but you can’t screw with heredity. There are a lot of you who can get away with smoking all your lives and eating foods that aren’t very good for you. The bad news for me, is that I was not one of them. With my family history, I should have known better.

I love cheese. I love steak, and hamburgers, and fried chicken sandwiches, and bacon. From my teens through my early 30s I also got away with smoking regularly. Okay, today I would really enjoy smoking, too. It’s a lot easier to give up meat than it is to not smoke.

Who’s to say which of these was the cause? I don’t know, and I don’t care. I wish I had seen the cardiologist 10 years ago, but the great news is I’m doing excellent right now and I’m going to spend the rest of my life in a much better place. And hopefully, the rest of my life will be much longer, too.

So, if you are someone who I see mostly at Pubcon, hopefully we’ll see you at Pubcon New Orleans. And I’ll see the rest of you after the turn of the year. I’m probably going to drastically limit my travel through the holidays, and I’m hopeful this gives the team an opportunity to step up and introduce themselves.

Thank you for all the well wishes! And, please know how important you all, my family, friends, colleagues and our communities are in assuring I have a productive and full recovery.

Image

Economic Development: Louisiana Top 10 for Doing Business via @GNOInc

22 Oct

I received an email from Michael Hecht of GNO Inc., our regional economic development corporation in which he talks about this recent report from “Area Development Online“.

  • #1 in Cooperative State Government (best of 50 states in the USA)
  • #2 in Incentives Programs
  • #2 in Economic Recovery
  • #3 in Leading Workforce Development Programs
  • #3 in Speed of Permitting
  • #4 in Overall Business Environment
  • #4 in Cost of Doing Business
  • #5 in Labor Climate
  • #6 Best State for Doing Business

So, we no longer have to fall back on the Quality of Life argument. We’ve got empirical proof this is a great place to work and live!

And we’ve got quality of life too. So there, Texas :P

Writing About Raccoon Removal Is A Delicate Art

21 Aug

This is an honest to goodness excerpt from an exchange between our production manager and one of our writers.

It’s true, but hilarious nonetheless:

Writing about raccoon removal truly is a delicate art. On the one hand, you can’t come down too hard on raccoons, because while they may root through your trash, they also kind of look like burglars, which is pretty awesome. On the other hand, you can’t appear too pro-raccoon, because the business is all about removing them from your property. So you really have to walk a fine line, which you did very well.

I’m extremely happy the comment made your day. That’s always great to hear. Keep up the good raccoon removal work!

Cute Raccoon Picture

I really love my job!

Photo Credit: Trevor Blake

The Elevator Pitch Template

16 Jun
  • For [target customer]
  • who [statement of need or opportunity]
  • the [product name]
  • is a [product category]
  • that [key benefit, compelling reason to buy].
  • Unlike [primary competitive alternative]
  • our product [statement of primary differentiation].

From: The Agile Samurai

Spammers Can’t Spell

1 Jun

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