Search marketer slams Canadian advertisers

Some harsh words for Canadian advertisers regarding their use — or non-use — of paid search:

Toronto seems to be the epicenter of the orifice that Canadian advertisers have lodged their collective heads in. The city doesn’t get it, the province doesn’t get it, the country doesn’t get it. When it comes to search, Canada (with a few exceptions) is clueless.

That’s from a Canadian, by the way. Gord Hotchkiss is president of search marketing firm Enquiro and he lives in the United States British Columbia. 

He’s been in Toronto this week for the Search Engine Strategies conference, but it sounds like he’ll be glad to get back across the border. He may be safer there too.

Massive staff cuts at web publisher Geosign

As many as 100 of the 215 employees at Guelph, Ontario-based niche web publisher Geosign have lost their jobs.

The story seems to be that the company, which less than two months ago captured $160 million in private funding, was caught in Google’s crackdown on AdWords arbitrage.

[Click that link above for a video explanation of AdWords arbitrage, using some Geosign sites as examples.]

Geosign runs 180 consumer-targeted sites, including gizmocafe.com, hockey.com and thewheelchairsite.com.

Geosign isn’t saying much, and has posted no information about the layoffs on its website. Nor can I find anything about this on the Globe & Mail or Toronto Star sites, even though the layoff notices apparently went out four days ago.

But comments posted online by people identifying themselves as workers laid off by Geosign suggest the layoffs affect anywhere from 38 to 100 staff.

More from Dave Forde at Profectio and at threadwatch.org.

Optimizing baby’s name

Selecting a baby’s name was seldom easy. You had to please the parents, and the grandparents, and make sure it wasn’t going to be an invitation to playground taunts.

But nowadays savvy parents also have to be sure their child’s name is search-engine optimized.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the occurrence [I’m not sure we can call it a trend yet] of parents-to-be selecting a name for their child that will appear high in search engine rankings.

It’s essential for these parents to find a name that is uncommon, otherwise their child may be on page 89 of results for “Britney Jones” or “Jason Smith”. That’s virtually unsearchable, which is only a step away from non-existent.

According to the WSJ:

US internet users conduct hundreds of millions of search queries daily. About 7% of all searches are for a person’s name, estimates search engine Ask.com. More than 80% of executive recruiters said they routinely use search engines to learn more about candidates, according to a recent survey by executive networking firm ExecuNet. Nearly 40% of individuals have used search engines to look up friends or acquaintances with whom they’d lost touch, according to a Harris Interactive survey commissioned by Microsoft Corp.’s MSN unit.

But what if the parents cannot find, or agree on, a search-friendly name? That’s when it’s time for Search Engine Marketing. Just make sure you bid high on the keywords for your child’s name. It’s a small price to pay for the kind of visibility that could help your kid succeed.

David Berkowitz at Search Insider goes even further, with some excellent marketing ideas. Here are just a few:

Write a press release the day your baby’s born with the baby’s name in the headline, and optimize the entire release. As soon as the little one takes its first breath, he or she can even appear in the body of Google’s natural search results thanks to universal search.

Buy all potential domain name misspellings of your baby’s name. If you’re blessed with ample foresight or come from an ages-old tradition of arranged marriages, buy versions of the last name of any potential suitor you have in mind. Redirect the names to your baby’s main dot-com domain.

Googlebomb your baby’s domain around the phrase “world’s cutest baby,” “future Nobel laureate,” or “Harvard class of 2025.”

While Berkowitz claims his advice is tongue-in-cheek, he also says some of his ideas would work just as well for, say, your business, as for your baby.