Monday, November 27, 2006

A Superbowl Commercial Marriage Proposal - And How We Can Help Make It Happen

I ran across the most interesting blog a little while back, - there is this blogger – ‘JP’ who is attempting to raise money via his blog in order to buy a 30 second commercial spot during next year’s Superbowl on February 4th. He doesn’t stop there, if by chance he goes over in his fund raising efforts or is picked up by an existing Superbowl advertiser – anything beyond his goal or 100% of the money raised not used for the commercial – will go to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital - one of the top rated children’s hospitals in the nation. While at first I thought “Wow, that’s really neat, I hope this guy makes it and pulls it off”, I began to mull over the possibilities and how I would promote this because granted, this is an amazingly large project and in order for him to be successful, he would have to raise $2.5 million or generate enough buzz in both the blogosphere as well as through traditional channels.

Well, it worked for Alex Tews and his Million Dollar Homepage idea, he ended up raising $1,037,000.00 by selling pixels on his homepage creating such a buzz that traditional advertisers jumped into the fray and he ended up auctioning the final few pixels off on eBay. Then there was Kyle MacDonald and his One Red Paperclip blog where he aspired to ‘trade up’ to see what he might be able to get and he ended up doing a series of 14 trades culminated with him receiving as a final trade - a house in Canada.

So, I contacted ‘JP’ as he calls himself on his blog in order to protect his anonymity so that his girlfriend doesn’t find out his intentions and sent him a marketing plan that utilized every resource that I had learned over the past several years doing Internet marketing for a lot of very large web properties using techniques ranging from search engine optimization to Pay Per Click marketing to social media optimization to buzz marketing to traditional media advertising.

JP jumped at the idea, especially because part of my plan was to use this as a case study much like Jennifer Laycock’s very interesting study for the promotion of where she attempted to see how much she could raise for breastfeeding awareness. I realize that I can’t do this alone but perhaps with a little help from my friends, I can help make JP’s dream a reality. I think that this would be an incredible case study to show Madison Avenue and traditional broadcast media the power of the search marketing community – after all this is the Superbowl and to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a search marketer who has undertaken promoting a project on a scale like this in a timeframe that this would require.

So my first thought was to determine if this kid is marketable – I mean, not to sound harsh, but to rally America behind JP, I needed to make sure that advertisers would jump on this as if JP were the next Jarrod from Subway, plus I wanted to be able to quell any critics, including the few posting ‘Is this a scam?’. I asked JP if he’d meet with me and I literally jumped the next available flight when we were both available (to an undisclosed location in America) so that we could meet and talk face to face. Once I got to my hotel, I shot JP a note and we arranged to meet in the hotel lobby. When JP arrived I sighed a collective sigh of relief – this kid was perfect! Traditional Baseball cap wearing, football jersey wearing, middle of the road average Joe so to speak and very marketable and a great personality to boot! Not only that but when he showed me pictures of his girlfriend she was as cute as a button! Ok, we had our story, now we had to kick start our plan.

So here I am calling out to my fellow search and Internet marketers to help make this incredibly difficult project a reality and of course by contributing, also helping a worthy cause – the Vanderbilt Children’s hospital. I’ll be showing progress on any marketer that wants to contribute whether it be funds, links, mentions, press releases whatever. JP has agreed to place a roster of those helping to get the word out on his site and I’ll include all efforts in a journal both mentioned online as well as in a final document – maybe an ebook on how we collectively did a project this large. On last year’s Superbowl, Doritos received 400 million impressions from their commercial. I’m guessing that those of us who contribute and are listed will get an enormous amount of impressions based on this years 90 million viewership projections.

Let’s get started.

Joe Morin

Thursday, November 23, 2006

PubCon Las Vegas 2006 Wrap Up

Last week's PubCon Conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center was a roaring success with a record setting 2,100+ attendee count. To give an indication of how much of a success I believe that it was and to provide a good basis for comparison, one should know that I spoke at or attended 16 conferences all over the world last year (more international than this year) and I've already hit 17 this year (next months SES Chicago will mark 18 this year for me). So far this year I've hit:

Affiliate Summit - Las Vegas
Search Engine Strategies - New York (speaking engagement)
OMMA West - Hollywood
Webmasters in the Sun - San Diego
PubCon - Boston (speaking engagement)
Search Engine Strategies - Toronto (speaking engagement)
Ad:Tech - San Francisco
Search Engine Watch LIVE - Seattle (speaking engagement)
Search Engine Strategies - London (speaking engagement)
Search Engine Strategies Latino - Miami (speaking engagement)
HostingCon - Las Vegas
Search Engine Strategies - San Jose (speaking engagement)
Casino Affiliate Conference - Las Vegas
Direct Marketing Association - San Francisco
Digital Hollywood - Santa Monica
Ad:Tech - New York
PubCon - Las Vegas (speaking engagement)

Now I may be a little bit biased because I'm one of the conference organizers of PubCon, but taking off my PubCon (tinfoil) hat, I can say that last week's show was without a doubt the best show this year thus far. Some excellent coverage of the event has been posted by Barry Schwartz, Chris Tolles, Greg Jarboe, Andrew Goodman and Matt Cutts.

Lee Odden and Yahoo's own Marc Levin provide coverage of the Search Party of the Year when Yahoo's YPN group rented out Hugh Hefner's Playboy Fantasy Sky Villa - complete with a huge terraced jacuzzi overlooking the Las Vegas skyline and a rotating bed where a playful pillowfight between three beautiful unnamed female search marketers took place. Danny Sullivan even provides some excellent party coverage on his blog detailing the three parties at various suites within the Palms Hotel and Casino thrown by Yahoo, MSN and Greg Boser. Pay no attention to bathtub comments made by Lyndsay Walker on her blog - I have no idea what she's talking about! ;)

All in all, the conference keynotes were superb and informative, I really enjoyed Guy Kawasaki's opening keynote (there's your link Guy!) ;) It was really great seeing Danny Sullivan at his first US PubCon and his keynote was fantastic as usual. The sessions were great, I received a lot of great feedback, the networking was probably the best yet at a conference. The ingenious PubCon Drinking Game put on by Nathaniel Broughton of SEO Thursday was eclipsed only by the creativity of Chris Hooley, whose out of the box thinking won the contest. Check out Rand Fishkin's video interview by Lee Odden (I did my best to make Rand look famous with all of the flashbulb effects - lol)

You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to the next one ;)

See you then!


I think the best coverage of the conference was delivered by the 'J Crew' (Jane and Jeff) of SEOmoz.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just wanted to wish everyone in the blogosphere and my search and Internet marketing brethren a very happy Thanksgiving! Its been a great year thus far and looking forward to finishing off the rest of the year in a little more relaxed state...starting right now....with turkey. ;)

Friday, November 10, 2006

WebmasterWorld's PubCon Las Vegas Breaks Attendance Registration Record

Next week's PubCon Internet Marketing Conference by WebmasterWorld at the Las Vegas Convention Center is officially set to be the biggest show in the history of the conference. We officially blew past our largest show numbers in recent history (Las Vegas 2005) about a month ago and the numbers have been rising ever since. With several hundred attendees coming through the registration pages in just the past 24 hours before the online registration sign up goes away (for you procrastinators, I believe that we will keep it open until maybe early tomorrow morning before the staff empties out of the Austin offices and heads out to Vegas).

I think that this show will be similar to Orlando a few years back when the number of attendees surprised everyone at the time - including Brett - who had only planned for a few hundred and more than double expected turned up. Well this show is going to be even more than double those numbers and is shaping up to be the best show ever with a lot of major sponsors, Four fantastic keynotes addressing the ever changing internet marketing marketplace, and of course a lot of great informative sessions, several parties put on at some GREAT locales and of course the whole reason the conference series began - the actual PubCon event on Friday afternoon.

See you guys next week!

PS. How could I forget? There's also the infamous PubCon Drinking Game!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Google to Hit $208 Billion in Sales?

My good buddy Gord Hotchkiss, the Chaiman of SEMPO (also known as the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization), makes some very astute observations in today's Search Insider by Mediapost. In short, at a SEMPO planning retreat in New York recently, Gord made note of several recent trends that may indicate our little cottage industry of search marketing may be 'crossing the chasm' into mainstream marketing:

"Observations included the current build-or-buy-search- marketing-capabilities dilemma faced by the big agencies, the red-hot demand for anyone with search marketing experience, the sudden development of search marketing in-house groups in large organizations, and the current push for industry-wide certification of SEM practitioners. Also, more than a few at the table mentioned that they've noticed a significant change in the prospects they're talking to--and the contact points within those companies. Today, our sales leads are more often Fortune 1000s than the latest online start-up. With increasing frequency, we're starting to get C-level interest at the table when talk turns to search."

I have to agree with Gord and the SEMPO planning committee, I have seen a radical shift towards a change in attitude towards search from Fortune 1000 and enterprise level companies and the types of people in charge of online marketing are increasingly more sophisticated and offer up highly intelligent questions regarding their online marketing strategy. In fact I remember one week in particular recently where in some meetings for new client engagements, in three of the meetings, the CEO was in attendance and this includes a venture capital funded start-up, an Inc. 500 major ecommerce player and a NASDAQ listed publicly held company. At the last meeting of the week, a SVP at the meeting leaned over to me and stated "I'll bet it's not everyday you get the CEO to one of these meetings eh?", to which I quickly blurted out without thinking "Actually it happens all the time, in fact this is the third time this week!". So much for playing it low key. Good one Joe.

Also with running the In-House Forum over at Search Engine Watch and through working with several of my clients Ive noticed a much stronger uptick in SEO and SEM related titles and many of them with more power within their organizations than before. I'm also seeing a level of expertise of these in house marketers that I never saw 3 or even 2 years ago.

So how does this equate with Google hitting $208 Billion in sales? Referencing Geoff Moore's book, 'Crossing the Chasm' (still a must read!) where Geoff discusses early adoptors who migrate into mainstream markets, search is closely following the patterns that Geoff outlines in his book. Gord also does some interesting back of the napkin calculations to come up with his potential forecast:

"According to InfoUSA and the Kelsey Group, there are about 350,000 Web-based businesses in the US, and 4 million businesses with a brochure-ware site. That leaves almost 10 million businesses without a Web site at all. That's a total of almost 15 million businesses. There are no hard numbers for Google's advertiser base, but an educated guess would put it somewhat north of 300,000. So, even with businesses with a Web site, that means Google only has 6.9% market penetration currently...

...Based on Google's reported revenue of approximately $6 billion, that averages out to about $20,000 per advertiser. That may sound impressive until you remember that a substantial portion of Google's advertisers are large, multi-million-dollar companies.

Let's assume that over the next three years search marketing does cross the chasm, and Google manages to capture 50% of businesses with a Web site. Also, let's assume that budgets loosen up substantially as search moves into the mainstream and more advertising options are open, increasing average spend up to $50,000. Neither of these predictions is overly optimistic, given a chasm-crossing scenario. And that doesn't even touch the 10 million Web-less businesses that are likely prospects of local search, or the global market. That puts Google's potential revenue at $208 billion. Currently, that would put Google at number 3 on the Fortune 500, right behind Exxon and Wal-Mart, and ahead of GM and Ford. Even if I'm wildly optimistic, those are numbers to pay attention to."

Even if Gord is only close to being right, I think those of us in the online advertising business have a lot to smile about right now.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gizmodo: Lexus LS 460L Self Parking Car

Pretty amazing, from the Gizmodo blog, the new Lexus LS 460L has a feature that automatically backs up the car and parallel parks for you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Incisive Media acquired by Apax Partners for $375MM

Ah, now the puzzle is looking more complete. Many of us in the search industry were shocked over Danny Sullivan's recent decision to leave Search Engine Watch citing:

Last year, Jupitermedia sold the site and the series to Incisive Media. I wasn't unhappy with the sale and chose to let my contract be extended through the end of 2006 as part of it.

I was concerned about moving forward with Incisive, however. I'm far from the only reason behind the success of SEW and SES, but I've played a major role. I helped build both of those assets. Then I watched one company sell them to another without me having any formal capital stake in the sale. That left me wary of history repeating itself. I wasn't going to help this new company grow the business out of the sheer kindness of my heart.

Last Thursday, Incisive Media agreed to a buyout by Apax Partners for 199 MM pounds sterling or $375MM US. Apax Partners is a private equity firm with $20 Billion under management and over the last 30 years has taken 65 firms to the global markets with a combined market capitalization of $34 Billion. According to Reuters the deal represents a multiple of around 23.6 times Incisive Media's earnings per share before exceptionals and amortisation for 2005.

Now with Incisive Media itself having been on the auction block with a subsequent sale to Apax Partners, its beginning to make more sense and their overall rationale in not retaining Danny's services. Why negotiate to disperse additional equity percentages when you are on the verge of cashing out?

Tim Weller, Incisive's CEO garnered $20.8MM US on the sale. Since Search Engine Strategies was a small percentage of Incisive's overall holdings, one can sense their strategy in not negotiating with Danny.

Danny I applaud your foresight in getting out while you could, you certainly deserved some equity in that deal and to your words: Why watch history repeat itself?

It also makes sense as to why Incisive didnt reach out with more of an effort after all of the outcry from Danny's departure - they knew they were in play. I do wonder however if Danny's move caused the deal to be sold for less than it could have? I can't imagine that it would when dealing at that kind of level but it certainly is food for thought.

More on Apax Partners.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Danny Sullivan's Departure from SES/SEW

There has been a lot of activity already mentioned about Danny's sudden announcement that he is leaving SES/SEW so I'm not going to excerpt any of Danny's comments on why he is leaving. I first got a hint that this might be the case during SES Latino in Miami when I went sailing with Danny along with Daron and Brandy from Webmaster Radio, Massimo Burgio, Jessie Stricchiola, Vanessa Fox from Google and Rebecca Kelley from SEOMoz.

When you have a tight group sail for hours on end watching the sun dance on the horizon, race a few dolphins across the bay and eat fabulous seafood at a seaside restaurant, you cant help but have some great conversation and gossip just a little bit about the industry, and after a lightning storm held us captive onboard Daron and Brandy's beautiful yacht (until 4:00 a.m.!) a LOT of industry gossip was bantered about. It was the first time that I began to imagine life without Danny on the SES circuit, a circuit that I have been a part of for many years and have been intimately involved with during the past several.

I've also been lucky enough to work along side Danny as a SEW Forum Moderator, participate as a speaker at Search Engine Strategies, work the SES after hours crowd as the 'Official SES Party Coordinator' and even attend his 40th birthday party.

Through the years, I've had the priviledge and honor to call Danny both a friend and colleague and the impact Danny has had on a big part of the SEM community is far reaching and quite amazing. I think that I owe the successes that I've had today to two men, two great resources and one great community - Danny Sullivan and Search Engine Watch and Brett Tabke and WebmasterWorld and their respective forum community members both those I've learned from online, but more importantly to those that I've learned from offline - where the real nuggets of information are and the best introductions that can be made happen and can potentially be life changing. The best information that I've ever gleaned has been from the conference circuit and from the participants of the global conference community. The first SES conference that I ever attended was SES San Jose at the Doubletree hotel when GoogleDance I was held and there were maybe 600 there are around 6,000.

I had been contacted by Jefferson Graham - the author of the USA Today article on Danny that had recently come out, unfortunately between travelling and working on a very large new project (more on that later) I didn't have the time to spend with Jefferson talking about Danny and his impact on the search community, I'm rather wishing I had made the time now. Anyway, I might have talked about how SES has had quite a pattern of growth and Danny Sullivan has been a major part of that growth... so I agree with Danny 100% and fully support his decision to leave and understand his reasons and rationale why. I truly don't think Incisive Media knew how big of a repercussion this is going to have in the search community. But they will.

So what's in store for Danny? Well for one, Danny has many, many resources, resources that I'm very certain Incisive Media underestimated and did not factor in to their decision to not keep Danny on board whatever the stake. Danny has the respect of the SEM community and if the blog explosion that occured today is any example, then we're sure to see a loyal following behind Danny in his next foray. He would also have access to a major contact list that is an enviable who's who in corporate America as well as in the mass media in order to get the word out. Many venture capitalists would back Danny in a heartbeat, I know this because I've got several VC's as clients. ;)

As a conference promoter for the PubCon conferences by WebmasterWorld I know first hand how difficult it is to throw a search marketing event. First you need a venue, and one that can accomodate the number of attendees that most assuredly will make a showing, then you have to find a date that doesnt go head to head with another internet marketing venue that may possibly split attendees, sponsors and exhibitors between two major events (very difficult), then once that is finalized, is the venue even available during your prime conference timeslot? Many of these venues demand 18 months of planning time to coordinate large crowds, not to mention hotel availability or any hotel guarantees that the venue may demand (regardless of natural disaster or terrorist threats). Let's not even get into speaker scheduling, keynote availability, vacations, transportation logistics, airfare cost consideration to attendees (conference in Bora Bora anyone?) and then marketing costs to actually push the event.

Unfortunately for Incisive Media, they ultimately shot themselves in the foot, because the most logical thing that Danny could do if he were to compete head to head with Incisive - is to compete head to head with Incisive by coordinating a competing conference on the exact same dates that SES shows are scheduled and force the speakers, attendees and sponsors and exhibitors choose which venue to align themselves with. Its gutsy, but who do you think all of the aforementioned would go with? I know where I would go and judging by all of the outcries in the blogosphere by the search community, I'm guessing thats where they would too. This would make sense for several reasons, (1) Most larger companies have already factored the SES timeslots and locations into their budgets. So no difference to attendees and we already know these cities work. (2) Competitor elimination - a new conference run by Danny at the same times could literally kill the existing SES show, especially if attendance declines dramatically and SES is on the hook for a large scale venue, (these hotel/convention center contracts are negotiated 18 months in advance).

I'm sure that Danny is going to write a book or just maintain a low profile for awhile while he sorts things out. In a note that I received from him today he states "At the moment, I'm just kind of sitting back to get comfortable with the leaving part". So I dont think that he is going to rush into anything and I imagine that he will spend a lot of time sorting through offers and opportunities. I do hope he stays with the conferences though.

As for me, I'm not sure that I will stay on with SEW as a moderator or continue to run the party circuit for SES, I'm waiting to see what Elisabeth Osmeloski and Chris Sherman do, whether they will stay on board and run the forums without Danny or follow Danny's lead. Regardless, it will be a very different place

Friday, July 21, 2006

Search Engine Strategies Party Thread now Posted

Due to the size that SES is now growing to and as we've started to see occuring from the SES New York 2005 party scene there are now a rash of 'private parties' that are invite only to a particular company's set of clients, vendors and partners. Therefore, the best advice I can offer is to contact all of your vendors and hit them up to see if they are sponsoring any events this year.

Sunday Night August 6

Marriott Bar

Downstairs to right of reception at Marriott is usually the place to be.

One known private party.

Monday Night August 7

Two known private parties.

Tuesday Night August 8

Google's GoogleDance V

7:00 - 11:00 p.m.

Come party the night away at the Google Dance at SES San Jose.

Can you believe that it´s the fifth annual Google Dance? We host this event every year to show you, the loyal SES attendee, our appreciation. The theme for the event is "Google Labs," so bring your lab coat if you have one and stop by for goodies, great food and drinks. You´ll get into the swing of things in Club G, where you´ll be able to listen to cool sounds coming from our own Google DJ´s, as well as enjoy some live music. We think you´ll have fun in the Google Labs technology playground area, where you´ll be able to meet people who work on our products, and test drive our latest creations. If you´re lucky, you may even get to play with a robot or two.

Location: Google Headquarters

1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043


Wednesday Night August 9

Webmaster Radio's SEARCHBASH 3

7:30 - 10:30 p.m.

SEARCHBASH continues in their quest for the ongoing lubrication of the SES set. The following companies are again contributing to our delinquency:

Bruce Clay, Inc.
True Local
Webmaster Radio

Location: Studio 8

8 South First Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Thursday Night August 10

Nothing yet!

There is a rumour of another major party to be added to this list with details coming early next week so keep checking back for new information, I will update this list as I get more information.

Hope to see everyone there! If I have left any party event off, please PM me and I will add it to the schedule.


Monday, May 01, 2006


I heard the funniest thing in an elevator during SES Toronto. Apparently Google has finally replaced Chef Charlie Ayers - the former CFO (Chief Food Officer). For some reason we got to talking about it and Danny Sullivan mentioned an affliction that affects some of the GoogleGals at the 'plex as 'GoogleButt' or the widening of the posterior due to the three gourmet meals a day served up in the Google cafeteria....

Too funny

Sunday, April 30, 2006

April - 15 Nights, 7 Cities, 3 Countries

I just noticed that I tied my friend Rae's month at 15 nights in hotel rooms for April. Funny thing is that I saw her and Jake in many of those cities and for most of those nights. I would have beaten her with 17 nights except that I was sick for the first two nights of Webmasters In the Sun 5 and came down late. Rae threw in the towel in Toronto and didn't make it out to San Francisco Ad:Tech.

So my month looked like this:

Home -> Pre-WITS in Las Vegas (with Champagne Jimmy) -> Home -> San Diego WITS -> Tijuana B.C. Mexico (also WITS) -> Home -> Silicon Valley (client meeting) -> Home -> Boston PubCon -> Home -> Toronto SES -> San Francisco Ad:Tech -> Home


Miles flown: 10,600
Hotel nights: 15
Cities visited: 7
Cities I was also in with Jake Baille: 7
Countries visited: 3
Countries I was also in with Jake Baille: 3
First Class segments flown: 5
Hotel Suite upgrades scored: 5
Parties thrown in my suite: 4
Limo rides: 7
Bottles of $700 Dom Perignon: 1 (Jimmy thanks for splitting that one!)
Industry luminaries I managed to get interesting photos of: 13
Number of those photos I can post safely: 0

It doesn't usually get this busy until 4th quarter. We'll now its time to play catch up and attend to the very long list of client engagements I have looming before me so if you dont hear from me for awhile its because I'm buried!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Matt!

Just wanted to send a shout to Mr. Cutts to wish ya a happy birthday...oh and a happy Easter too. ;) You look amazingly young for forty!

Update - OK Matt's not really 40 but when Danny pinged me to ask if he really was 40 I figured I had better make the correction. ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Official SES Party Schedule is Now Posted

For those of you heading out to New York for the upcoming Search Engine Strategies Conference February 27 through March 2nd, I have posted and updated the "Official SES Party Schedule" much like I did for SES last August in San Jose.

For SES Chicago this past December, there were no planned, sponsored parties and if it werent for BruceClay, TrueLocal and WebmasterRadio who pitched in for a last minute party at BuddyGuys Jazz Club near the conference hotel, we wouldnt have had a single party during SES. This after the previous SES where we had four competing parties on one night and majors battling it out to outdo each other with Google hosting their annual GoogleDance and Yahoo actually renting out Great America amusement park for party revelers to get as much roller coaster action as they could muster.

So here it is - check out the Official SES Party and Events Schedule and make plans to be at all conference networking events. was the first to announce a major party. I heard from Jim Lanzone, Senior Vice President of Search Properties at (they will officially drop the 'Jeeves' name at the end of this month) who wanted me to remind folks that this year they are going to outdo previous parties that have included music, food and festivities and names such as 'William Hung' and 'The Dan Band' and that this was going to be a MAJOR bash. I'm guessing that this coincides with their new branding effort to promote and wish Jeeves a fond farewell.

I hope to see everybody there!