Trada.com CEO Niel Robertson on “This Week In Startups” Tomorrow

April 1st, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

Well, I’ve been busy packing the last few days. Getting ready to leave Utah in the next week… tomorrow is my last day at Backcountry.

Anyways, I wanted to send a qucik note that tomorrow at 4pm EST, Trada.com CEO Niel Robertson will be on “This Week In Statups”. About TWiST, from the “This Week In Startups” website:

Entrepreneur Jason Calacanis and a rotating group of guest experts bring you this weekly take on the best, worst, most outrageous and interesting stories from the world of Web companies.  Calacanis, a podcasting pioneer, gives you an insider’s look at what’s happening in the tech industry with his trademark blunt style and good humor.  Looking to start your own company?  Need strategies for improving your business of motivating your team?  Just want to catch up on what’s happening in Silicon Valley and beyond?  Your journey begins here.

Since my review on Trada.com earlier this quarter, Trada has been gaining a lot of buzz around the SEM industry.I am looking forward to watching the program tomorrow to hear about the recent updates that have been made to the platform, as well as the future of the company.

Should be a good episode… tune in at 4pm EST.

Peace!

Utah, How I’ll Miss You!

March 29th, 2010 by Greg Goodson 3 comments »

Well, it was a very tough decision, but I have decided to leave Utah and Backcountry.com. I’ve been out in Utah for two years on the nose… each day has been a blast. Living in Park City was a real treat. From an outdoorsy perspective, it blew away all of my expectations. I’ll miss the many canyons, peaks, ski slopes, and trails that Utah has given me.

To keep a long story short, I am relocating back to Atlanta to be involved with a start up project with two college buddies. We’re very excited to kick this thing into the next gear. More to come on this idea soon!

I had a great time working at Backcountry.com. I made a lot of great connections and will miss the folks and atmosphere. It was a real treat working there for the last 24 months.

Having said that, does anyone need a Tempur-Pedic bed, big screen TV, or Blue La-Z-Boy? They gotta go quick.

I am due back in Atlanta around the weekend of April 17th… looking forward to getting back in touch!

Viglink.com Review… A Smart Way to Monetize Blogs

March 3rd, 2010 by Greg Goodson 1 comment »

“I just got this awesome book from Amazon… it’s called ‘Twitter Power’. You should totally buy it if you like to tweet.”

“I just bought a rockin’ iPod Nano from Walmart at a great price… you should check it out!”

“What? You haven’t heard of the kindle yet? It’s a wireless reading device… in 10 years everyone will have one.”

In these above sentences, I am testing out a new program that I’ve installed to my blog called Viglink. Viglink is a quick and easy way to monetize your blog (or website) through links that you may have already placed on your site. From Viglink’s FAQ page:

VigLink enables you to get paid for doing what you normally do on your blog or site. Whenever you link to a product, website, or promotion, VigLink turns that link into an affiliate link so that you receive a commission for any purchases made.

So in the above three sentences where I mention the book Twitter Power, the iPod Nano, and the Kindle, I linked to Amazon.com twice and Walmart.com once. However, Viglink inserted some tracking code on the end of the URL that tracks users coming from my site. If you then buy those items, or any item on those sites in a certain time frame, they’ll see that I referred them to the store and I’ll get a commission. It’s affiliate marketing 101, but it’s interesting because Viglink makes it easy for you to become an affiliate. There are many affiliate programs out there that anyone can gain access to; the problem is that signing up for them is very time consuming. It’s a great concept, and while there are other companies that have done this in the past, Viglink does a great job explaining how it works.

In case you were wondering, Viglink makes their money by taking a slice of the revenue made from your sale. Considering how easy it was to set up, I’d gladly give them a slice of the pie.

Because some companies have been building sites based around the same concept (SkimLinks, DrivingRevenue, Chango), Viglink has been backed with $800k seed funding, some of which coming from Google Ventures. I expect bigger and better things from Viglink, especially with Google backing them… that says a lot. I wouldn’t be surprised if they moved this concept to monetizing tweets, amongst other things. Only time will tell…

Give it a shot @ Viglink.com.

Charles from Binder and Binder & His Cowboy Hat Commercial: What’s the Deal?

February 23rd, 2010 by Greg Goodson 31 comments »

Before you read further, watch this Binder and Binder commercial (it’s only 25 seconds long):

Maybe you’ve seen these commercials and have wondered the same thing…there is no way I can be the only one that feels a little bit turned off by the cowboy hat. Did he just get back from the ranch? So… what’s the deal with Charles Binder’s cowboy hat dude?

I have the answers… props to my mother who e-mailed Binder and Binder asking these questions. And ‘hats off’ (har har) to the folks at Binder and Binder and their communications department for responding to the request.

Hi Barbara,

I’m the guy responsible for the Binder and Binder commercials. I understand how you feel about Charles’ semi-disreputable hat. The reason he’s wearing it is simple. It was chilly on the day the commercial was recorded. It’s his hat, and he always wears his hat on a chilly day.

His line? We’ll deal with the government, you have enough to worry about,’ was the result of a question I asked him. I said, ‘If I were a client, what would you tell me was the most important thing that Binder and Binder would do for me.’

That line came from the heart. It wasn’t written for him. I think that comes through on the commercial. So we kept both the line, and the hat.

Some people say they don’t want to be represented by a guy who wears a hat. I think it’s what’s under the hat that counts. Nobody wins as many Social Security Disability cases as Binder and Binder. Nobody.

I think that leaves people with a choice: Hire the guy who wears a dorky hat, but gives you the best chance of winning your case, or go with a guy who doesn’t have that kind of track record but doesn’t wear a hat on a chilly day.

I appreciate the time and effort you took to let me know how you feel about our commercials, and I’d like to send you one of our nifty Binder sport shirts as a ‘thank you’ gift. So could you please just return this note with your shirt size and an address so I can send it to you.

Thanks.

Dick Summer
Communications Director

This is such an epic response. To break it down, he is wearing the hat because it was cold. I guess they were filming this outside… after all the Empire State building is in the background. It is Charles Binder’s hat, and he always wears it on a cold day. Don’t ask him to take it off because chances are he won’t (especially on a cold day).

The line that Charles says is “We’ll deal with the government, you have enough to worry about’. Fair enough… I probably would choose to say something else, but this isn’t bad. And if you couldn’t tell, that line came from his heart. There’s no doubt that he completely meant that. You can tell by his tone, his expression, and his hat.

It is true, some people don’t want to be represented by a man in a hat. Does this mean Charles Binder wears his hat to his meetings with the government? Is it common etiquette to take your hat off in a government building? Maybe when he deals with the government, they do it in a neutral location. Or maybe on his ranch. Regardless, it’s definitely what’s under the hat that counts. Are you kidding me? Seems like a fourth grader response (I feel obligated to mention that Charles Binder is bald).

Before being offered a ‘nifty’ Binder shirt, we are given an ultimatum: chose the guy with the hat, or chose the guy who doesn’t wear a hat on a chilly day. I’ll have to think about this one for a bit.

So what’s the deal with this?

I don’t know who is to blame for a botched commercial and a crappy PR response to a question. Should we point and laugh at Binder and Binder or our good friend Dick Summer who appears to be the communications director for Charles Binder and his cowboy hat. Maybe a bit of both.

Google ‘Binder and Binder’. As you type in the search query, look at the suggested queries that Google recommends:

What this means is in general, when people search for Binder and Binder online, folks are trying to find information about scams and complaints based around Binder and Binder, as well as the commercials with his hat. It looks like the commercial is creating quite the stir… about Charles Binder’s hat.

Watch the commercial again. Remember the guy that went all the way to Alaska? Well, it turns out that the picture of the advocate who went to Alaska is a picture of our very own Dick Summer, Communications Director. It wasn’t very hard to find the image on the internet that they used in the commercial. Seriously?

Looking at Binder and Binder’s and Dick Summer‘s website, it doesn’t seem like they’re too web savvy (in case you can’t read, there is an audio introduction to each of Dick Summer’s pages on his site). And judging by what we’ve found, it doesn’t seem like they’re great at producing commercials, either. I guess their target market consists of people who watch the ‘Price is Right’ or late night re-runs of your favorite 70s sitcoms, and people who don’t know what the internet is… it’s easy to find the warning signs of Binder and Binder by several web searches.

How can anyone take this company seriously? No wonder folks are getting scammed by them. I got nothin’ else. I really hope that we get some ‘nifty’ shirts out of this, though! Charles Binder, give me a MacBook and a few hours of your time, and I’ll be happy to create your next commercials. Only next time, we’ll have you wear a cape… after all, we all enjoy lawyers wearing capes. Both Dick Summer and Charles Binder are just a few french fries short of a happy meal.

And don’t forget to join the Charles Binder’s Hat facebook group!

Tiger Woods: Google Trends Appear In SERP

February 19th, 2010 by Greg Goodson 1 comment »

Throwing out a short post in between other action items, but I am watching the Tiger Woods press conference. I have been following this story since it’s unfolding only because I am a golfer (7 handicap last summer… very proud of that). Anyways, I searched “Tiger Woods” during the press conference and was interested to see a Google trends graph on the bottom of the SERP (search engine result page).

Here is a screenshot taken from the bottom of the SERP during Tiger’s press conference:

ThisNext.com and Social Shopping

February 18th, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

Working at Backcountry.com the last two years  as a comparison shopping manager, I’ve taken a liking to some of the comparison shopping engine models. I’ve seen good ones, I’ve seen really bad ones, but most of them are very transactional. About 95% of the shopping engines you’ll see fulfill demand. A lot of them have very robust search engine marketing campaigns, as well as a strong SEO presence. Just because a shopping engine brings in a lot of money to retail sites like Backcountry.com doesn’t mean they’re great… some of the biggest revenue-producing shopping engines are still grouped as “really bad ones” in my eyes.

If a user goes to Google and searches for “north face jacket”, you’re going to see paid placements for a lot of retailers (including Backcountry.com, of course). However, you’ll also see some comparison shopping sites bidding on these retail keywords. In this particular search, I’ve scanned over the first two pages and have found two shopping search engines. One being Nextag.com (a major shopping engine), and the other being Netshoppers.com (a site powered by Pricegrabber.com… more on them later).

The problem that I see in most of the comparison shopping sites is that they are in it for the money; they are more interested in earnings than providing their users with a great experience. And to make more money, most of the time these sites will put up a lot of ads… ads that are meant to trick you into clicking on them (click-arbitrage) . In fact, all the product listings are essentially ads. Every time you click on a product that you find with the best price or from a store you recognize, the site that you click through to is paying that shopping engine. When you go to Nextag, or Shopping.com, or Shopzilla, a lot of the products that you see listed on top after you do a search are up there not because they are the most relevant product to your search, but because those advertisers are willing to pay the shopping engine more per click than the people below them. Hence, more money for the shopping engine.

Score: Shopping Engine, 1 – Consumer, 0

This is where ThisNext.com enters the room. From their website:

Founded in 2006 by a team of seasoned internet entrepreneurs, ThisNext changed the way people discover and shop for products online. Today, Santa Monica-based ThisNext serves millions on consumers every month as the Web’s best place to discover the brands, products, trends and people that shape the future of what’s next.

ThisNext is taking a different approach to shopping search. They are helping users discover unique products in specific verticals thanks to other passionate users on the site.  ThisNext, unlike most other shopping search engines, uses web-based crowdsourcing, meaning they rely on their site’s users to provide content. Right on their homepage, the company states that ThisNext is where you “explore great product recommendations, get personalized shopping suggestions, and rave about products you like”. In comparison, Nextag’s mission is to “compare prices before you buy”. Can you see the difference in value between the two?

Simply put, ThisNext revolves around the shopper. The shopper who actively uses ThisNext vs. someone who stumbles upon your typical CSE may be more of a browser than a person ready to convert. However, despite the current state of the economy, the community based around ThisNext is very passionate around specific verticals of products listed on ThisNext, and seems to be very loyal. It’s a different approach to the shopping search game, and with the internet becoming more social, it will be fun to watch ThisNext expand in the next few years. They are already on the move, acquiring a company called Stylehive, a company similar in nature that concentrates their presence around fashion, beauty, and style. ThisNext also reported a Series C round of $1.2 million. Good for them!

After listening to CEO Scott Morrow discuss ThisNext on This Week In Startups, I’ve taken away that ThisNext makes 66% of their revenue through the leads that the generate through advertisers listing their products, and then the other 33% through advertising. If there is one thing I don’t like about ThisNext, it’s their Google Adsense listings all over the page. Hopefully these ads will vanish with time, but I guess as a start up content site, you gotta do what you gotta do.

In comparison to the other CSEs out there, I dig what ThisNext is doing. It gives more power to the people, and while it’s still small, hopefully ThisNext is the new wave of shopping search engines.

Follow CEO Scott Morrow on Twitter here.

Dale Begg-Smith: Olympic Medalist and Ad Guru?

February 15th, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

The Olympics have been on television now for three days and have been the hot topic of blogs, tweets, and searches across the internet. To say the least, it’s been fun following the winter Olympics this year. The internet has made this Winter Olympics probably one of the most interactive Olympics yet.  During the Olympics in 2006, Twitter was just an idea; now you can follow the Olympics in real time. At the games in Torino, internet television wasn’t openly accepted and Hulu hadn’t been created yet. Now, NBC is frantically trying to stop internet users from finding live video and illicit video clips, essentially playing a game of digital whack-a-mole (serves them right… this time delay is no good!)

Missed the opening ceremony? Not a problem! It’s a new age to say the least.

All of this aside, I had the television on in the background earlier, where the medal ceremony for the men’s mogul freestyle skiing event was taking place. Then I heard about the silver medalist, Dale Begg-Smith, who was a skier who had helped fund his training through his internet marketing company, which essentially made him a millionaire.

I looked into it and found some articles about his business. It seems that he started several companies with his brother when he was a teenager years ago that was based around pop-up and pop-under internet advertising. While no one likes pop-up ads, we’re talking about the internet just after the dot-com bust. The internet in 2001. I can’t believe how much has changed since then.

Regardless, it seems that Dale Begg-Smith’s company was controversial – not because of pop-up ads (as annoying as they are), but because of the adware and spyware associated with it. I am not going to pick a side, but considering he was able to scheme this while training to become an Olympian (he won gold in 2006), and become a millionaire all while he was a teenager, that’s just beyond me. As a wide-eyed teenager sitting in front of my computer in 1999 picturing all the opportunities the internet could provide me, whose to say I wouldn’t have done the same thing. I mean come on, my group of friends had our own money-making schemes (think AllAdvantage.com… man, that’s old school).

It was funny finding out about all of this. I never thought I would be reading about a gold medalist who was into this kind of form of internet advertising. My opinion: Dale Begg-Smith is a smart guy. The internet back in 2000 was like a free-for-all in some respects. Of course, I don’t condone adware and spyware. I think it would be cool to sit down with Dale and talk internet advertising over lunch.

Google Buzz Appearing in Real-Time Search Results

February 10th, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »

Looks like Google Buzz is going to be included in Google real-time search results the same way Twitter has been since Q4 of 2009.

Google released real-time search around December 7th. When I say ‘Google real-time search’, I am talking about up to the minute search results… that means that anything from Twitter updates, to blogs, to up-to-date news articles will be able to appear in the organic search locations on a search engine result page. If people are googling information about a recent event, it makes sense to show the most real-time articles and publications, doesn’t it?

With the “snowpocalypse” ripping through the east coast, I decided to Google “snow”. Because this is a hot trending word right now as more of the powder dumps all over the east, there was bound to be some Google real-time results. I was surprised to find a good amount of live results coming from Google Buzz (click the picture for a better view):

Of course Google Buzz is only one day old (yes, it was born yesterday), but showing Google Buzz results in their real-time search shows me that they’re pretty serious about this tool. I’ve heard various reactions from the community, some people hate it, and other folks think it has de-valued Facebook by 50%. I’ve tried it, I like it, but I’ll hold my opinion for a while.

Not quite sure what Google Buzz is? Have you seen the Google Buzz logo in your g-mail account, but still not sure what it does? I am still wrapping my head around it myself, so I would recommend you checking out their landing page at http://www.google.com/buzz, or watch the video:

I realize I have been posting a lot about Google, but hey… Google is so hot right now.

Google Street View… for Ski Slopes?

February 9th, 2010 by Greg Goodson 3 comments »

Quick story: I am a half-decent skier… I can make my way down all the black diamonds at The Canyons Resort and feel relatively confident about my ski style. Last year I was skiing a few diamonds on a March afternoon when I thought “I think I’ll give 9990 a try”. 9990, named after the elevation of the peak, offers more advanced and technical terrain at The Canyons. As I was going up the lift, I started to get more and more nervous as the lift went higher and higher. Long story short, I made it down safely, but I wish I was able to see slope-side images before I got myself in over my head.

As usual, Google seems to have the answer. I recently discovered that Google is using their street view technology to attack the slopes. Naturally, with the Vancouver Olympics starting in a few days, they snowmobiled their way around Whistler Blackcomb resort, taking pictures in a ‘Google Street View’ fashion.

What they’ve done is set up the Google Street View camera on the back of a snowmobile, and took that baby for a ride around the slopes that were navigable. The result is Google Street View for ski slopes.

Google has created a street view gallery where you can access the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, as well as street view technology associated with other Olympic venues, such as the bobsled course, the alpine skiing course, the ski jumping venue, etc. All can be found here: http://www.google.com/help/maps/streetview/gallery/#the-games

And if you’re curious how they were able to get these incredible pictures of the ski terrain in Vancouver, check out this behind the scenes video:

I hope the resorts out here in Utah can get in on this. It would help me and vacationers alike.

Google Superbowl Ad

February 8th, 2010 by Greg Goodson No comments »
  • study abroad paris france
  • cafes near the louvre
  • translate tu es tres très mignon
  • impress a french girl
  • chocoloate shops paris france
  • what are truffles
  • who is truffaut
  • jobs in paris
  • AA 120
  • churches in paris
  • how to assemble a crib

These were the search queries used in the Google Superbowl Ad last night during the 2nd half of the game. Maybe I am a search nerd, but this was probably my favorite commercial of the night; very tasteful, told a good story, showed how Google is used, but at the same time was very emotional. To me, Google comes off as a “warm fuzzy” every time I watch the ad.

Besides, what on earth is “search overload” anyways?

This particular “parisian love” video has actually been around since November 2009, but it was a day before the game when I learned that this ad was going to be on TV (thanks @johnbattelle). For those wondering why this is such a big deal to me, it’s because Google is known for not advertising… ever. From Google CEO Eric Schmidt:

We didn’t set out to do a Super Bowl ad, or even a TV ad for search. Our goal was simply to create a series of short online videos about our products and our users, and how they interact. But we liked this video so much, and it’s had such a positive reaction on YouTube, that we decided to share it with a wider audience.

The ad got a lot of talk around the office. OK – probably not fair that I am waist deep in search engine marketing at Backcountry.com. But hey, I think it was a tasteful and effective ad.

P.S. If you ‘google’ the the search queries from the video, you’ll find six ads linking to their ‘Search On’ Youtube channel page… smart move!