LookSmart Deactivates Wisenut.com

The index had not been updated for some time and traffic hovered around the 30,000 rank of sites worldwide for some years now so it's no real surprise that LookSmart shuttered Wisenut.

The "About Us" page offers the following message;

"We're sorry, but this site is no longer available.
Please visit www.looksmart.com to learn more
about other LookSmart products."

This action follows the sale of Grub.org to Wikia, the closing of Zeal.com with no explanation, the "fire sale" of Netnanny.com and the most recent removal of the vertical search sites.

As mentioned in the post below LookSmart revamped their home page this week. They demoted search to a tiny box lower left of the new page that returns results from their Findarticles site.

In other LookSmart news today Board president Ted West was promoted to (interim?) CEO. Along with compensation details was a healthy dose of verbiage including this quote;

"If during the term of your employment, there is a “Change of Control” event and (1) you are terminated without “cause” by the surviving corporation within twelve months after the Change of Control, or (2) you voluntarily resign for “good reason” within twelve months after the Change of Control, then all of your unvested Option Shares shall vest and become immediately exercisable." SEC Filing

I understand this is standard disclosure on SEC documents of this nature but it seems to me the company is polishing the fuselage for parking in a different hangar..

Disclosure; I own shares in LOOK but have no contact with anyone in the company and any speculations posted here are only that, speculation.

Update: Mashable and others caught the news 4 days after the fact!


New Look For LookSmart

LookSmart has revamped their home site with a cleaner, more direct message to advertisers and publishers. Take a LOOK!

Gone from the home page are the verticals search sites developed under the former CEO David Hills. There is no reference to FindArticles either. Last week LookSmart revealed the vertical search sites have been "folded" into their FindArticles index.

You can find the 180 vertical sites throughout Vortal.com, a Network Solutions site under the umbrella of web property giant General Atlantic.

I find the new look of LookSmart more appealing. It speaks to the heart of their business model, providing private label ad and publishing solutions to others.

It's apparent too that they are now deeply involved in display, something already being seen on Wikia.com, their recently announced ad partner.


PPC For Grocers Works, Cereal Case Study

Adtech, a majority owned subsidiary of Advertising.com points to this case study that cites how proper targeting of Kellogg's Special K increased sales volume. Please read the excerpt from this older press release.

"Frankfurt, Germany – 22nd January 2007. The French survey NetImpact 3 bis has proven that online advertising has positively affected the sales of the fitness cereal Kellogg’s Special K in the supermarket. Firstly, advertising increased the sales volume in the retail business. Secondly, banner & co generated new customers for Special K in stationary trade.

Participating on the implementation of the advertising impact study were the online advertising provider ADTECH (www.adtech.info), the IAB France, the advertising customer Kellogg’s and the market research company Marketing Scan. Within six weeks, from mid June to end of July 2006, ADTECH delivered the online ads for Special K on numerous French websites – Advertising.com, Alice, Au Féminin, Benchmark Group, Doctissimo, France Télévisions, Hi-Media, Lagardère Active Publicité, Lycos, MSN/Windows Live, Orange, Régie Obs, Skyrégie, TF1 Publicité, Voyages SNCF, Yahoo!, Zefir Web.

Via geographical targeting, the ADTECH ad server adjusted the cereal banners in a way that only internet users from two French towns – Angers and Le Mans – got to see them. The market research company Marketing Scan had installed test panels in these two towns and was in connection with all supermarkets in the area. To compare the sales figures control data was collected twelve weeks before the virtual campaign and six weeks afterwards..."

Did you know?
"ADTECH is a leading international digital marketing solutions company. The company's flagship product is the Helios IQ ad serving platform. It enables web publishers to manage, serve and evaluate virtually any kind of online advertising campaign including display, video and mobile formats. The Helios IQ ad serving platform differentiates itself via its scalable, enterprise-class infrastructure and publisher-friendly tools, providing publishers with increased efficiency, reliability and ROI for their online advertising business.
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, ADTECH is an independent and majority-controlled subsidiary of AOL's Advertising.com division. Globally, ADTECH AG works with customers in more than 25 countries."

Attractive, Affordable CUSTOM Websites

As marketers for small to medium business we are pretty good at what we do. Website design is a separate skill and we do marketing better than we design.

As such we have teamed with WebsitePros.com, who offer attractive, affordable CUSTOM websites . They offer the best, most affordable price points we've seen.

Take a look at their pricing and sweet design options.


Oddest Headline Ever

Mashable posted this headline to an article today:

FireAnt Joining Odeo at SonicMountain

I can happily say I don't know OR care what any one of the above does alone or in combination with each other.

This is a little liberating for me because honestly reading news of the alphabet soup of start ups and angel backed ideas has worn me out.

It's far easier (but not easy) to follow trends and news involving Local Search Marketing.


Domaining Slowing Down

If you are holding domain names hoping someone will email you with a big offer you may have to wait awhile longer. DNJournal hints that sales are slowing. My reading of their weekly sales listings have been pointing to this for a few weeks now.
I hold a few very nice names and have sold almost a dozen over the past few years but offers are not to be had.
I guess it was only a matter of time.

For Sale








Branding, Nice Tips

With an entire week dedicated to Local Search Search Engine Land today talks about branding done on the cheap.
I wish SEL was pushing their local search expo every week, some very useful information for the local search marketer has come from their pages since Monday.


Google Shifts News Delivery Part 2

Again I'll venture off topic from the "local search marketing" scene to changes implemented by Google News over the weekend. The clearest example I have relates to how I report fire news from my hobby blog, Firefighter Blog.

Normally, up to this last Friday you could type in the name of a major wildfire into Google News and were presented with a couple of hundred news links from newspapers worldwide. Most of the links were to the same article licensed from UPI or AP, duplication was the order. Quaint but useless to read the same article from India, China and other points on the globe. This point was made beautifully in the screencast linked to in the post below.

Here is the immediate "new Google" news world I am seeing. Try a search for the 8,000 acre wildfire burning out of control in Henry Coe State Park in California named The "Lick Fire"....

Google News results for Lick Fire

You see the UPI story as well as 86 related stories but when you follow the link to the 86 related stories you really only see about 20. Among those results are only a couple from out of the area and most are unique, written by local journalists.

This would cause me to alter my reasoning Google will kill local journalism if this is the way they are headed. Indeed if this is Google's intended path local journalists will be rewarded on the new look Google News. Before this weekend local news sources were buried by larger dailies like the Houston Chronicle and Washington Post as well as the Chinese new agencies.

For purposes related to Firefighter Blog there may be a down side. Normally I am successful posting about a fire event and having Google index the blog content on their blog search engine quickly. For some time now I have been able to trump local newspapers on Google Blog SERPs on these incidents.
Now two quick (and relevant) posts on the Lick Fire have drawn blanks. Google has strangely decided to ignore Firefighter Blog altogether. If you want Google Blog Search results for the Lick Fire you are served up near useless information for the keyword phrase.
Embarrassingly you see little but X-rated blogs related to licking and some odd blog posts about the Lick Fire on Flickr and even (gasp) MySpace.
Approximately two weeks ago I noticed Google Blog Search results showing local television news station stories about the Zaca Fire.. These were clearly not blogs, not even in the same category and I wondered how Google missed that. Now I believe they were tests.

So my conclusion is if this holds Google will downplay blog results in favor of pushing local news on the main Google News pages. This would be going backwards in my opinion. Blogs are only now finding their feet as contributors to breaking news events. My logs show a definite hunger for blog coverage of news events.

I am not drawing any hard conclusions just yet, what I am seeing may just be further testing by Google. If this is the way it will be in the future it looks like the local journalist will get top billing by Google. If so that's a good thing for newspapers and their employees. It will also force bloggers of good intent to keep up best practices to invite return readers.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out too.....


One Foot In The Grave; Local Journalism

Yeah I know this subject has nothing to do with local search or search engine marketing but there is a game changing event occurring in the way news is delivered. Google has changed their stance on how they present news.

This very well constructed video, (screencast) tells the story about Google's new approach to delivering your news.

Local newspaper websites worldwide will suffer. As for the print newspapers they are dead but just don't know it yet. I quit reading my local newspaper two years ago. I don't need the liberal bias with my morning coffee and it's far more comfortable to sit at the computer to scan for news that matters.

Donnelley & Yahoo Partner For Local

Caught this on The Kelsey Blog;

"R.H. Donnelley announced today that it will partner with Yahoo! to give its advertisers a more substantial presence on Yahoo! Local. This will come in three flavors.

From the release:

  • Featured Listings — Sponsored listings with guaranteed placement on the first or second search results pages for broader exposure in a specific geography or category
  • Enhanced Listings — Sponsored listings that offer the ability to add a detailed business description, photos, tagline and coupons to create greater online visibility for businesses and enhance their appearance within organic results
  • Yahoo! Maps Business Listings — Sponsored listings within the context of a map-based view"
Smart for Yahoo and Donnelley, bad for the individual who is looking to get a Yahoo! Featured Listing with little competition as Yahoo! is working hard to fill every vacant sponsored spot.

When Bob the carpet store owner goes to place a featured listing on Yahoo! Local he will be jousting for one of the top three spots with big ticket advertising clients from Donnelley and SuperPages .

If you are a small business and you found your way this far you know you must expand your Internet footprint to stay with or rise above your competition. It's confusing as no blueprint for doing it right exists.

Your options are as follows:

  • You can place your money with an IYP rep from R.H. Donnelley or SuperPages or your local print directory sales rep and let them guide you. (the same guys who have been roping you onto their print books since the beginning of time).
  • You can learn the search marketing angles yourself. Cut out the agents and reps and have some fun learning this fascinating end of the market. (do you have the time?)
  • You can hire an independent marketing agent to educate and guide you through the Internet marketing maze. (and save you a ton)

Option #2 is the best if a person has the time. Option #3 is the best if you want your business represented across the board, with a full presence on all the local directories, search engines and review sites. Option #3 also brings you a full time one on one Pay Per Click practitioner dedicated to making your business grow.