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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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March 13, 2013

Thinks Out Loud Episode 22: Everybody Hates Google

March 13, 2013 | By | One Comment

Screw-gle?

Headlines

Happy Pi Day, Big Thinkers! Big show today, including the following:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using a Shure SM57 microphone
through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 13m 10s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google’s killing Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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February 25, 2013

Enhanced Search Campaigns: What You Need to Know

February 25, 2013 | By | No Comments

Google Enhanced Campaigns seem to work best for Google, not you.While I did a quick overview of the Enhanced Search Campaigns in our Thinks Out Loud podcast a few weeks ago, last week was my first chance to spend serious time with the product. Now that I’ve spent some time, I have to say I’m not any more thrilled than I was then. As I note in my latest Biznology blog post:

“…Google giveth and Google taketh away.

Nowhere is this more obvious than Google’s approach to mobile devices. Going forward, all campaigns target all devices by default. This is a major bummer. Even worse, you can’t target specific operating systems (for example, iOS vs. Android). Today many AdWords advertisers improve conversions and drive down cost-of-sale by targeting campaigns to specific devices in a way that will no longer be possible. For instance, if you find that you get more conversions from Android users and fewer from Apple’s devices, you can no longer bid less for the Apple fans or vice versa. (To be fair, managing that level of sophistication was not simple; however, it was possible).”

If you’re interested in using Google AdWords for running campaigns — and you should be — I’d encourage you to check out the whole piece over at Biznology.

Interested in more? Sign up for our free newsletter and get more information on how to build your social, local, mobile marketing strategy. And check out our past paid search coverage here:

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Tim Peter

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February 8, 2013

Thinks Out Loud Episode 17: What's Wrong With Google's Enhanced AdWords Campaigns

February 8, 2013 | By | One Comment

Google's Enhanced AdWords Campaigns might enhance their bottom line

Headlines

Now stay warm and dry, Big Thinkers. Watch out for Winter Storm Nemo this week.

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using a Shure SM57 microphone
through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 47s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed or download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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January 30, 2013

3 Key Tips for Search Campaigns that Convert – Biznology monthly post

January 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

Search successPaid search remains one of the most powerful tools available to marketers. And many marketers use paid search to drive traffic and sales to their sites. Search marketing, both paid and organic, offers relevant information exactly when your customers need it most. It’s “permission-friendly,” and, when done right, extremely effective.

Despite these features, though, some digital marketers struggle to realize the benefits of paid search in their day-to-day efforts. To help close the gap, I use my latest post for Mike Moran’s Biznology blog to look at “3 Key Tips for Search Campaigns that Convert”.

Tale a look at the post and see how you can put paid search to work for your business.

Interested in more? Sign up for our free newsletter and get more information on how to build your social, local, mobile marketing strategy.

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Tim Peter

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March 2, 2012

Google now offers airlines a CRS platform. Is this a Good Thing?

March 2, 2012 | By | No Comments

OK, this I didn’t see coming. Google just built its first airline CRS. Big G has worked with Cape Air to provide a reservation system,

‘That may not look all that different from other airlines’ systems on the surface, but Google says that there’s plenty different going on under the hood, noting that it was built “from scratch using modern, modular, scalable technologies.” That last bit is perhaps the key one, with Google further adding that the system is “built to scale to support airlines of all sizes.”‘ [Emphasis mine]

On many levels, this makes loads of sense both for airlines and for Google. The search giant offers server power and engineering talent on a scale unlike, well, just about anyone. And what better way “…to organize the world’s information and make it universally available” (Google’s stated mission), than get airline information (and, eventually, I would assume, hotel information and car rental information and…) directly from the source.

Further, I can imagine many airline executives (and hotel executives and car rental executives and…) drooling over the notion of letting Google do all the heavy lifting on the tech front. And the idea of the large players in the space (Sabre, Amadeus, IBS, etc.) facing further competition is a good thing. Isn’t it?

Probably.

The one possible downside here is that for airlines (and hotel companies and car rental companies and…), Google represents one of their largest advertising partners, too, with huge market share for search, display and mobile advertising dollars.

Giving Google access to all inventory, rate and passenger data could potentially lower distribution and reservations systems costs for its future customers. But it could also potentially cost a lot more for advertising, too, as Google learns more and more and more about these businesses.

Which is definitely something to watch in the coming months and years.

Tim Peter

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December 16, 2011

Biznology: 2 Huge Search Marketing Risks in 2012—And What To Do About Them

December 16, 2011 | By | No Comments

Most of the businesses I talk to increasingly have shifted their media spend towards paid search. And given its growth, who could blame them?

But, between the growing importance of alternative information channels and the possibility of serious antitrust oversight, next year will challenge Google with the largest threats in its history.

How can you be sure that this doesn’t turn into the worst possible time to start search marketing for your business? My latest post on Mike Moran’s Biznology blog, “2 Huge Search Marketing Risks in 2012—And What To Do About Them” seeks to answer just that question.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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November 1, 2011

Why the mobile web scares Google to death

November 1, 2011 | By | No Comments

The mobile web has Sergey Brin quaking in his Vibram five fingers shoesI know Halloween was yesterday, but it isn’t goblins, ghouls or ghosts that have Google quaking in their funny toe-sock shoes. Nope. It’s the mobile web.

And in case you think I bobbed for apples in a tub of Rumple Minze last night, check this out. ReadWriteWeb reports that Google launched GoMo, a site dedicated to broadening the use of mobile web among businesses. And one with a name that’s kind of scary in its own right. Anyway, the site is filled with case studies touting the advantages of the mobile web and with links to developers to build your mobile site for you.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, let’s pretend you’re the world’s most popular search engine. Let’s also pretend you make the world’s second most popular mobile operating system. But I repeat myself. Now, let’s pretend you don’t charge consumers for either of those — and that you still managed to make a few billion dollars last quarter.

Sounds like you’re sitting pretty, right? Why would you care so much about mobile websites?

Here’s why:

  • Mobile web use grew about 6% over the last 6 months.
  • Mobile app use grew about 23%.

I’ll give you one guess which one of those Google makes money on.

Google thrives on searches, whether conducted via the desktop web or the mobile web. But, per internet analyst Mary Meeker’s latest report (as cited on Flurry.com),

“In 2011, for the first time, smartphone and tablet shipments exceed those of desktop and notebook shipments.”

In a couple of years, we’re not going to be talking about the mobile web. We’re going to be talking about the web. Period.

And, unless Google can get developers to build mobile sites with the immersive qualities apps bring to the table, we may also be talking about the good ol’ days before Google was just a ghost of itself. Scary stuff, indeed.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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October 18, 2011

Google removes marketers' access to valuable data, but, maybe, doesn't protect privacy. Have they lost their mind? (BREAKING)

October 18, 2011 | By | No Comments

Ugh. Google announced today that they’re going to make search data more secure by hiding search query and referrer data. Except for when they don’t.

Huh?

It seems Google is going to hide the query and the referrer on searches for anyone logged into Google. While this will only affect, according to Google’s Matt Cutts, “single-digit” numbers of searchers, anything that makes it harder for marketers and e-commerce types to segment their customers, well, sucks.

Now this wouldn’t be so bad if it applied to all logged-in customers for all types of searches. At least then Google could fully claim they’re protecting privacy. But, Google isn’t doing that. The data from paid clicks (i.e., the type Google makes money from), continues getting passed to your analytics tool. Not sure how that’s protecting privacy. Google’s got enough trouble with potential regulators right now. I’m not sure this approach helps them there.

And, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with Google protecting users’ privacy. I have argued repeatedly that protecting privacy is in marketers’ long-term best interest. I’m just not sure this accomplishes much in that regard.

Google’s announcement came earlier today, so many details are still up in the air. But the best analysis so far comes from Danny Sullivan:

“Not only does the policy discriminate against the SEO side of the search marketing family, it also sends a terrible signal to consumers. It says that referrer data is important enough to protect — but not important enough when advertiser interests are at stake.

To be fair, Google is concerned that people are more likely to do sensitive searches that somehow reveal private information in referrer data through clicks on its free listings. But this could still happen in relation to ads, as well.

I appreciate that Google’s trying to get the balance right, something Cutts said to me repeatedly, as well as all this being a a first step that will likely evolve. I also appreciate what he said about even this already improving things: “What you’re getting today is better than what you were getting yesterday.”

But still, it would seem better if all referrers were blocked. As a marketer, I hate saying that. But as a consumer, it does provide more protection. And for Google, blocking them all doesn’t create this mixed message that might backfire on them with privacy advocates.”

Admittedly, his analysis and mine align pretty heavily. But stay tuned for more. I’m sure we’ll hear a lot about this in the coming days.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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September 23, 2011

Rounding up the meaning of Google and Facebook's big week (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – September 23, 2011)

September 23, 2011 | By | No Comments

Google and facebook news and what it means to youWeird week in the web world, with all the news centered around the two big players: Google and Facebook. First Google spent a day getting grilled by members of the US Senate. Then, yesterday, Facebook introduced a whole new look and feel. So, today, we’re rounding up the best posts outlining what these changes mean to you. On with the links:

  • Leading off, Mashable looks at what Facebook’s changes mean to marketers that’s definitely worth reading.
  • GigaOm says that Facebook’s changes will make media companies revisit their AOL days. Since Mashable’s article argues all marketers are publishers, its a good idea to pay attention to how the best publishers leverage Facebook as a content distribution platform.
  • Mark Ballard at Rimm-Kaufman Group (one of our 2011 E-commerce and Online Marketing All-Stars), looks at 5 key takeaways from the Google antitrust hearings. In particular, Ballard’s discussion of Google in a larger context underscores the nature of competition between Facebook and Google. Your business is almost certainly going to rely on one or both of these players (along with folks like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft/Bing, Twitter and review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and TripAdvisor) for the next handful of years. What happens to one can affect what happens to you, too.
  • And, further underscoring that prior point, Business Insider’s Chart of the Day uses comScore data to illustrate Facebook’s dominance of social network activity. That’s not to say someone couldn’t come along and steal mind-and-market-share (hello, Google+). But, at present, Facebook leads the pack by a mile.
  • Finally, take a look at Rafe Needleman’s CNet editorial “Yes, Google really should worry about Facebook”. Facebook’s inherent knowledge of consumer behaviors, interests and desires–both now and in the future–threaten Google’s business model going forward. And may change the game for how you grow your business down the road.

Oh, and if you haven’t seen Facebook’s Timeline (the replacement for Profile going forward), check out the following video:

Have a great weekend, everyone. And hang on to your hats. We haven’t heard the last of either of these big stories.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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September 22, 2011

What Google vs. FairSearch.org and the US Senate Means to You

September 22, 2011 | By | No Comments

Google vs. competitionWell, it finally happened. Yesterday, Google and members of “industry watchdog” FairSearch.org testified before the Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. (The subcommittee could sure use some lessons in naming from that watchdog group, couldn’t they?) Search Engine Land has an excellent recap and also live-blogged Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s and the rebuttal testimony.

I put “watchdog group” above in quotes because, despite raising some excellent questions about Google’s practices, FairSearch was founded by Google competitors such as Microsoft, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Travelocity and Kayak (the latter three feel threatened by Google’s purchase of ITA Software and subsequent Flight Search product launch. I should also point out that I use Google AdSense for some of the ads displayed on this blog and conduct business on behalf of some clients with TripAdvisor, Expedia and other FairSearch sponsors—standard disclosures apply).

In any case, as Chris Sherman from Search Engine Land writes about a recent FairSearch study:

“Fairsearch.org has released findings from a new study that raises serious and important issues about Google, its influence on searcher behavior and whether the search giant’s actions are deliberately hindering competition. Unfortunately, the study results are tainted by flawed methodology and a blatant anti-Google bias, implicitly favoring the agendas of the companies that sponsored the research.”

The article concludes:

“Like most consumer watchdog groups, Fairsearch.org deserves credit for raising awareness on important issues that cry out for rational discussion. Unfortunately, the organization’s apparent single-minded goal to cripple Google, coupled with its disingenuous argument that this hobbling will be good for consumers (rather than helping the interests of its own patron companies) make it a source most people should eye with considerable skepticism.” [Emphasis mine]

I think the Search Engine Land folks are right. Some of Google’s practices are worth looking into. For instance, their approach to review sites isn’t entirely fair to those sources, no matter the benefit to consumers. I’m just not sure that government is well positioned to regulate such a dynamic market. After listening to some of the questions yesterday—and ridiculous pandering for broadband by several senators—I’m not sure our elected officials remotely understand the market they’re investigating. And the actions of FairSearch are, to quote Search Engine Land, as well as my friends Robert Cole and Henry Harteveldt, disingenuous at best.

Long term, increased access to information—whether provided by Google or others—creates increased price transparency for consumers. As I have noted for some time, Google’s antitrust trouble was inevitable. One company with that much power can harm the industry—and potentially your business. Which is why, I’ve also offered recommendations on what you should do about Google’s antitrust worries, including how to grow your business in a world without Google.

I’m not suggesting that we’re there yet.

But, given the lack of understanding of displayed by members of Congress (including, in a couple of cases, what looked like obvious bias against Big G), and Google’s less-than-stellar transparency in its responses, nothing would surprise me. It’s time you’re ready no matter what happens.


Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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