New Media Online Marketing Social Media

One More Reason For Damien To…

…set up shop and offer commercial PR services to Irish companies wishing to engage the online channel.

Not wishing to be outdone by Grandad, and just to tell the world that I too joined the illustrious list, I can announce that I too was on the distribution for the PR detailing the latest news about the Irish Times.

No more Pay-Wall, and moving to

I had heard about the changes when I met Roan Murphy (Commercial Analyst at Digitalworx) at the inaugural meeting of the IIA’s Internet Marketing Work Group. Nice guy, and I’m sure quite busy right now. At the time he mentioned some of the forthcoming changes, I of course had to ask about how they intended handling the migration (my mind has now been programmed to think first about crawlers…). It will be interesting to see how that’s all set up tomorrow when the sites are separated out.

But Back To Damien…

I don’t think there’s a brighter mind in Ireland when it comes to using the social aspects of the Internet to create dialogues. Not one that I’ve connected with anyway. I use the word ‘dialogues’ because that really is the basis of the social web – multiple interactions between parties. No more of this push-marketing now you know.

The PR I received is a great example of how old-school media technicians are still grappling with how the rules change online. Here’s a short list of what I see wrong with the Irish Times PR, and why I’m talking about the PR rather than the message:

  1. Email had no message – just the boilerplate signature of the sender;
  2. Not personalised in any way (nothing to personalise) – unlike SeedCorn
  3. No introduction or overview – it’s nice to get a short overview of what I’m looking at (like most people, time is at a premium for me). The PR could easily be paraphrased in a few bullets, followed by why this might be of interest to me, and then close by mentioning that more detail is attached if I need it;
  4. Email was sent from a email address, even though the boilerplate included a contact email. Very weird, and unfortunately spammy-looking;
  5. Combine (1) and (4) above and I cold be forgiven for thinking twice about opening that attachment;
  6. All recipients listed to To: field. Well at least we all know each other now. Not to mention that Grandad got a good chuckle out of it :mrgreen:

The distro list on the mail was quite small, and I saw 6 bloggers on that list. So far it hasn’t been such a successful strategy – Grandad took the mickey out of the distro list, Damien used his usual down-to-earth language in describing the PR, the other 3 blogs haven’t carried anything yet, and I’m being me LOL.

So Seriously Business People…

Use your good-ole PR agency for doing the good-old fashioned PR ‘stuff’. Talk to someone who actually really understands online PR for all this new-fangled Interweb stuff. He might be outspoken, but if you appreciate someone who calls it as they see it, and who really ‘gets’ this stuff, then you need to speak to Damien.

Social Media

Bebo Sells Out to AOL for $850m

I dont see anyone else mentioning this, but CNN is reporting that Bebo just cashed in for the princely sum of $850.

So AOL now own what has become the top social network in Ireland. Nice work Bebo :mrgreen:

Marketing Mobile Internet New Media Online Marketing Social Media Statistics

European Internet Marketing Statistics

I doubt anyone who works in the Internet industry needs any evidence of the huge surge in activity over the past year. Virtually everyone I speak to these days is reaping rewards.

European Online Marketing Spend 2008

We all need figures to back up our assumptions and budget proposals. Here’s a handy prediction from IAB Europe which shows that Europe is fast catching up with our North American counterparts when it comes to advertising spend online:

[O]nline advertising spend within the IAB network in Europe during 2007 will reach 11.5 billion euro, up from 8 billion euro in 2006. This is a like for like increase of 38% on last year’s market value. The spend includes values for display advertising, search marketing, classifieds and directories and email marketing.

The release goes on to mention that in emerging markets the increase is likely closer to 70% YoY, and predicts 30-40% increases in the UK, Denmark, France and Germany.

I like the hypothesised drivers of this growth:

The growth is driven by higher levels broadband penetration across the regions and increased advertiser confidence in the medium.

Of course here in Ireland we don’t actually have demand for broadband… Oh, actually, that was the old eircom…

2008 predictions

Every market identified the same trends to watch in 2008: web TV, mobile internet, behavioural targeting and social media.

I would imagine they were most of the trends we were all watching carefully in 2007. Although, in line with my recent post about Multivariate and A/B Testing, I reckon that BT will take off more and more.

I wonder if their are equivalent Irish figures available? If anyone knows if these stats exist I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Blogs SEO Social Media

Can Excessive Outbound Linking Hurt Your Rankings?

I’ve said it before – links form the fabric on the Internet. On that occasion I was making a point about how silly it was to impose arbitrary rules on how people can and cannot link to your site. Today’s post is more about how links on your site can help or harm you.

And as a case in point, the site I’ll be looking at may be a perfect case study for excessively linking to external sites. Let me introduce…

The cute whore

There’s a saying, I believe originating in Cork, which refers to certain individuals as ‘cute whores’. I’m not sure if it can be taken as derogatory, but when I use it I do so with respect for the individual I’m referring to. That cute whore in question is just about to go on his holidays, so this post may not be much use to him for a short while. But some use I do hope it will be.

The great SEO freebie give-away

Ok – I hold my hands up and say that the last few guys waiting for their free search engine optimisation reviews really have been waiting. So I’m trying to work my way through the last few site now, starting with Pat Phelan’s Roam4Free. But bear with me while I digress for an instant.

The purpose of business blogging (IMO)

In my view business blogging should have just one ultimate goal – to become an authority in your chosen field or niche. If as a business blogger you achieve that goal I am quite confident that business success will follow. I am thoroughly convinced of this.

In fact this belief is fodder for a post that I have been threatening for a long time, and a subject that I have discussed with an increasing number of people over the past few months. (I really should write the post.)

The reason for this interlude? Pat is a business blogger through and through.

Back to the SEO advice

From what I can determine Pat really is a cute whore. He’s a doer first, and a talker after. You cant but admire his achievements, and look forward to some of the new ideas he has up his sleeve (he’s been kind enough to share a titbit or two with me from time to time).


But Pat has also been blogging significantly over the past year or so. In fact, I think he has probably become somewhat of an authority on his chosen niche – telecoms, in particular VOIP telephony.

Back to the post topic please…

So what about excessive outbound linking?

Well in the case of the Roam4Free blog the homepage (as of 9am August 10) had 18 internal and 66 external links. So Pat is really linking out from his posts. Or so it would seem…

What’s really happening here is that Pat uses Technorati and Flcikr (amongst other web2.0 bits & bobs). So on every post Pat assigns some Tehnorati tags, and he hosts his images up on Flickr. I can remember once reading one of Pat’s posts in Greader. He had an image of Roam4Free in the post and I thought I’d give it a visit to see if he had launched anything new. It was a link, but it brought me over to Pat’s Flickr stream. Hello back button and crappy user experience (IMO).

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that Flickr is bad, but I think that people like images, and often click on images, so it’s probably better to link intuitively rather than out to Flickr.

The real problem though is that Pat’s pages are littered with links to Flickr and Technorati, and these links are just spewing PageRank where it could be far better used internally on Pat’s site.

Suggestion #1

Add rel="nofollow" to all the outbound Technorati and Flickr links. If you do want to push some PR to those pages then perhaps do so selectively, e.g. have a link to your Flickr stream from the homepage, or build a page listing (and linking to) your Technorati tags.

I have to be honest and say that I’ve never been a huge fan of tagging, although I know it can have value. In this case those Technorati tags are just sucking the life out of Pat’s blog and really have to go. The same advice goes for the add-to-feed-reader links bottom navigation column. NOFOLLOW those fellas as well.

Suggestion #2

I looked for a robots.txt file and got this:

Error 404 – Not Found

Search bar and other tools go here! If you’re reading this, it needs to be implemented, remind me!

Well Pat, you also need to implement a robots.txt file to block out some of the content that you don’t want wasting Search Engines’ time. For instance, I can see literally hundreds of pages with URLs like index.php?tag=[tag]. At first I couldn’t figure where they were coming from. Then I saw that Pat is using two tagging methods within his posts – one to Technorati, the other within his site.

Well after NOFOLLOWING the Technorati links I think Pat should block access to the internal tag pages. I’m pretty sure that they will produce at least some dupe content, and I think Pat would do better to focus on his posts and categories. (TBH I would drop one or the other tagging techniques)

Here’s the start of what I think should go into Pat’s robots.txt:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /index.php?tag=
Disallow: */trackback

The other benefit of blocking that content is that you wont be wasting PR on non-performing content. Currently it appears that Pat has almost 2.5k pages in the supplemental index. Most of these are comments feed and the aforementioned tag pages. But there’s quite a lot of post pages in there also. Retaining more PR internally on the site by removing the leakage (#1 above) and removing superfluous content should bring more of those pages back into the primary index.

(Personally I would NOFOLLOW my comment feeds as well, but advising that is sure to start an argument.)

Suggestion #3

Another reason for many of the post pages to go supplemental may be because of WordPress’ inherent pagination issues. These can be solved using Jamie Sirovich’s excellent PagerFix plugin.

The pagination issue will be especially important for Pat’s blog as he tends to be a serial poster making multiple posts on a any given good day. More posts = higher level of pagination.

In case you’re not aware of the pagination problem – the basic gist is that when you first publish a page it appears on your homepage. Then over time it rotates down to page 2. And then further again. Each time the post moves to an older page it adds one more click to the path from the homepage. Each extra click means less PR to the page. If you use WordPress’ default pager that is. PagerFix does just what the name suggests – fix the WordPress default pager.

Any further thoughts?

The only other thing I would suggest to Pat is possibly to link a little more to his own properties from within his posts. Pat has links to ‘Our Brands’ in the sidebar, but my experience is that links within the body content carry more weight, so don’t be afraid to Pat to plug yourself more often 😀

I think that Pat might also be well advised to upgrade WordPress from 2.04 as there may be some security issues with that install.

Hope some of that will help you out Pat, and look forward tot he next toy you’ll be releasing soon.

New Media Online Marketing Social Media

Funda Ireland Pulling Down The Shutters

David Behan is reporting on his blog that Funda are shutting down there Irish subsidiary.

Funda were the guys behind Shamrog Island viral campaign that hit the headlines last year.

David mentions an email sent by Funda’s CEO Ronan Higgins (who has been appearing with increasing frequency in my referrals of late) to clients explaining that

it was not possible to achieve the market leading position within the target time frame in order to make the business financially viable.

I imagine that is a bit of a red herring from Funda. I doubt they had any expectation of becoming the market leader, certainly not within a 1 year time horizon.

More likely the decision was purely strategic, and very much tied into the general state of both the economy and, more importantly, the property market. recent declines in property prices will likely lead to deflationary expectations. This coupled with expected interest rises is likely to further lead to a confluence of conditions that makes the Irish property market highly prone to some form of shock.

In effect I imagine Funda concluded that this market was not nearly as attractive going forward as it was in 2005-06 when they first decided on an entry strategy.

[Off with the economists hat, back on with the Internet marketer cap.]

From a marketing perspective, I noted back in September last year that I was underwhelmed by Funda’s follow-through after creating so much buzz from the Shamrog Island. I thought then, and still believe, that the timing of the campaign wasn’t right – they were unable to build on the momentum they generated from the viral campaign.

Pity – the viral really was cracking IMO.

Social Media

Sky Handling Partner – It just gets better and better (and better)

OMFG – this will make case studies for MBAs in the future: “How NOT to handle negative publicity via Social Media”

Good God Sky Handling Partner, who is advising you? Seriously?

Social Media

Sky Handling Partner – Please, Please Lose My Baggage

Some guys have all the luck… some guys have nothing but the same… (you know the rift)

Dear Sky Handling Partner,

Please, please lose my bags. Then treat me like dirt through your ‘customer care’ process. But please, please make sure that somebody using one of the computers behind your IP block signs me up for a whole bunch of dating services (and the more sordid the better).

You see, I need the link love, and the Digg / Techmeme wont hurt either.

That’s the SEO speaking. Now the human:

Dear Sky Handling Partner,

How about apologising to Damien? Although it wont right the wrong, it would be a good start. (Not to mention that you really need to do something to offset the shit-storm that has erupted.)

Here’s the Sky Handling Partner logo from their website (also worth a look to remind us of how good MS Word is at generating HTML :mrgreen: ):

Sky Handling Partner Logo
Sky Handling Partner Logo

I wonder will they put Damien’s story up here?

Short Postscript

Curiously I found this announcement made by Cloch Internet in 2005:

Cloch Internet are pleased to announce the launch of the Sky Handling Partner (SHP) website.
SHP are an airport ground handling services company with operations in Dublin and Shannon.

Their new website is

Might be a good time to learn about the URL removal tool from Google?

New Media Social Media

Hello YouTube, Please Come In, Make Yourself at Home

YouTube bigger than BBC

As if we needed any more confirmation that rich media is the hottest ticket on the Internet.

Heather Hopkins has just released new figures showing that within days YouTube will be more popular than the BBC.

Just wait till G figure out how to really monetise that sucker…

New Media Social Media

User Generated Content to Create New CNN Show

CNN have introduced a new show called News To Me:


“News To Me” is the world as YOU see it. Your videos, pictures and stories showcased in an original, fast-paced and interactive show debuting on Headline News on Saturday, May 19. “News To Me” is your show, so send your videos and pictures. In addition to I-Report content, the show will also feature videos from , , and Source.

The show is a nice example of user generated content making its way into the mainstream media. I have no idea what the show itself is like, but it speaks volumes that CNN would give 2 hours per schedule week to this content. [As an aside, I would have thought that CNN’s Yahoo! driven site search would be a bit better.]

Online, Offline – less and less of a difference?

Again, the main thing I take from this is the blurring of media channels – Internet content is fast making its way onto off-line channels. And how long will it take before those off-line channels become part of the Internet anyway?

As a final thought – can you imagine the RTE version? Responses on a postcard please to…

New Media Social Media

The Charity Ad They Don’t Want You To See, Which Means You Probably Should

This ad has been banned from Irish television and radio because it is ‘Political’. Under Irish legislation (Radio and Television Act 1988, s.10(3)):

No advertisement shall be broadcast which is directed towards any religious or political end or which has any relation to an industrial dispute.

According to the Irish Independent (reg. reqd.), the Commission appently believe that the ad encourages political action by including the Trocaire website address:

The BCI appears to believe that because our website address is in the ad, we are directing people to take political action

The above mentioned legislation does not cover the Internet however (more useful on-line disruption of off-line life), and the ad is quickly going viral in a textbook example of using the web to circumvent ill-conceived State regulation.