Category Archives: SEO

Fast Company, The Mob, and Influence

I’ve recently received a flood of strange emails.  They were regarding the Fast Company’s Influence Project (check it out).  At first, it seemed like a great noble endeavor.  An experiment in discovery.

Here is the premise:  You get invited to the project and the person that invites you gets points.  They can then create their own link and get points, etc, etc.   In a perfect world, the person with the most influence would yield the most points.  The fun part of the project is a very well done user interface that visually shows you all the people involved.  You can navigate through connections and influence points.

I want to thank John Sumser for creating the post that influenced me to review the Project.

After I clicked on John’s influence link I had a blast reviewing the site and then went back to my work.  Enjoyable experience.

Then the mob took over.

Emails, Twitter direct messages, even a phone call.  People were asking me to use *my* influence to help promote them so they could be near the top of the list.  Influence?  It is no secret that Broadlook, the company that I founded, develops list generation technology.  People wanted “my list”.  One individual even offered to purchase a list on behalf of their chief executive.

If you are reading this and you are one of the people on LinkedIn or Twitter or some other social disaster and you want be at the top of the list, (1) you can’t have my list and (2) think about what Edgar Allan Poe said:

The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.
-Edgar Allan Poe

In reality, the Fast Company Influence Project will not come near to predicting real influence online.  What it will do is spotlight some people who desperately want to be leading the mob. Guy Kawasaki, while well respected, also seems to want to be at the top of the mob. He talks about it in this article.  I think it would be more fun to pick a person of total obscurity and put them at the top.  Similar to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) initiative that pointed the search for “Miserable Failure” to George W Bush.

I would welcome human suggestions as to the most influential person online. How about the web master at Google?  What if Google posted a single link on their home page “Vote for Sergey”?

Overall, I am disappointed, it would be nice to have seen a scientific study.  I’m somewhere on that list, but shouldn’t be.  Thanks John ;(

Caveat: My friend, John Sumser did influence me, but did not ask.  Big distinction from the “help me be influential” contingent.


More mob quotes

The nineteenth century lynching mob cuts off ears, toes, and fingers, strips off flesh, and distributes portions of the body as souvenirs among the crowd.
Ida B. Wells

The vision that the founding fathers had of rule of law and equality before the law and no one above the law, that is a very viable vision, but instead of that, we have quasi mob rule.
James Bovard

There can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions to an individual, but permitted to a mob.
Ayn Rand

There is no logical reason why the camel of great art should pass through the needle of mob intelligence.
Rebecca West

There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.
Oscar Wilde

There is nothing more foolish, nothing more given to outrage than a useless mob.

We grew up as kids watching those movies and we were exposed to themes of civil rights, unfairness, bigotry and fathers struggling against the kind of mob of the town, so you remember how you felt as a kid being taken seriously, that you are part of the human drama.
Rachel Griffiths

When the theater gates open, a mob pours inside, and it is the poet’s task to turn it into an audience.
Franz Grillparzer

An amazing (1 in 84 billion) iPhone coincidence

What happened today is about 1 chance in 84 Billion.  Here is what happened.

I was using the URL shortening service http:\\  This service takes a long URL and shortens it into something manageable.  The utility of the service is that you get a short URL which can be used on venues such as Twitter, where every character counts.

In fact, I was going to tweet about a new product, Contact Capture for the iPhone.  The latest iPhone is the 3GS.   I typed in the long URL, as shown in the picture below.


Next, I pressed the [TR.IM] button and got the following:


If you haven’t picked it up, the iPhone is the 3Gs, the trimmed URL is “x3Gs”

Now for the fuzzy (very fuzzy math)

There are approximately 96 usable ASCII characters.  ASCII is the characters on your keyboard plus a few more  (A-Z, a-z and 0-9, etc) .  There are about 96 usable ones that the TR.IM service can use.

With 4 unique characters in the URL, that means there are 96 * 96 * 96 *96 combinations or 84,934,656 combinations.

This itself is interesting, but the fact that the URL was for an iPhone 3Gs we have to look at this question:  Of all trimmed URL’s, what percentage are for iPhone related content?  I am going to be  conservative and sale 1 in 1000.

So 84 million multiplied by 1000 is one in 84 billion.

The bottom line is that this was a coincidence, it made me smile and I thought I would share it.

Here are the links I made today:

Contact Capture for the iPhone:

Contact Capture for the Blackberry:

If the Blackberry link included something like a Blackberry model number, I would be heading out to buy a lottery ticket…no such luck.

This all made me think about Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Outliers.  One of the concepts I gathered was, basically, when opportunity knocks, you need to take advantage of it.  Sometimes an opportunity is one in 84 billion.

Fun with Tag Clouds

Tag Cloud
Tag Cloud

I’ve had some recent fun with Tag Clouds.  These are the sections of blogs that show the most frequently used words in blog postings; the most used words are shown in larger text, less frequent in smaller text.

Tag clouds are great summary tools.  In my next presentation at the Specialized Information Publishers Conference in DC,  I am presenting on The 7 laws of Internet List Generation.  I thought it would be fun to start the talk with the first slide that shows a Tag Cloud of the most frequently used words in the PowerPoint presentation.

Continue reading Fun with Tag Clouds

One reason for CRM failure; The Nature of Contact Information

Most CRM implementations fail.  This is a fact.  Look it up.

In my years in the industry, I’ve worked with many vendors on the consulting side to help reduce the possibility of CRM failure.  While there is a whole host of reason that failure occurs, I have a very unique perspective into one of those reasons.  The Nature of Contact Information.

The nature of contact information is fairly finite (i.e. Company, URL, Name, Title, Email, Phone, Social Network membership, etc). In addition, the concept of contact information is a simple one to grasp. It is so simple, in fact, that if often gets overlooked.

One of the most important concepts in business is “be brilliant at the basics”. If you are brilliant at your basics many more complex processes will fall naturally into place. So how are you treating contact information?

The miss-handling of contact information can lead to dire consequences across your company.

Take the following work flow as an example:
Continue reading One reason for CRM failure; The Nature of Contact Information

Micro squatting: Domain squatting for the next decade


Is your brand safe?

Getting a good domain that is a real word or combination of real words is almost impossible these days.  Now, for someone like me that has a new product idea every week or so, this poses a problem.  Sometimes I get “stuck” when I can’t either name a creation or get a good domain to put it on.

I’m done with picking real words.

I am one of those people that *refuse* to pay more than 7 bucks to GoDaddy to get a domain.  I won’t do it.  Paying for a domain that someone else squatted on it simply against my DNA.

Now I have no problem with domain farmers…that’s what I call them.  These people take a domain, build it to have some valuable content, and then sell it.  The squatters are the ones that do nothing, create nothing, they scarf up someones (trademark) in some cases and hope to play leech until they get blood (yes this happened to me).   He lost.

Sometimes, paying a squatter good coin is just unavoidable, however, many companies have simply avoided this trap by making up words.

Look to the future.

What is the equivalent of domain squatting now?  Where is the wide open frontier?  Here are some things on the horizon.

Username SEO: What happens if you create a username of wwwgooglecom?  or RecruitingSoftware?  Try it.

URL shorteners: most of us have seen and  Both of these services are used widely in services like twitter, where cutting down a long URL can be important.  Both of these services now offer vanity URL’s.  For example try these: (I secured this one for a friend…and let him know about it)

Yes, I made sure I got these before someone else did.  I used each of these in a twitter post where cutting the URL to a reasonable size was important.  Am I saying that is the next big thing?  No. I am simply making a point.

Forum names:

Think about it.  What is the value of having the username BarackObama on facebook?

What is your brand or trademark?  Do you have the tinyURL,, facebook, etc for at least the important ones?

Spend 1 hour and secure them.  Don Ramer and his company Arbita does a great job in reversing the “brand highjacking” that happens when a company’s job postings start showing up first on aggregator sites like Indeed. For the large corporations that are unhappy when a google search with “Jobs” + “your company”  does not yield search results to your company… you need to call Don or George LaRocque, head of sales.

This is the large scale stuff… What about smaller stuff like a product name or trademark?

Perhaps there is an entirely new business model here to protect clients important product names.  For a fee:

-Secure the major trademark names & product names for all the major social media sites
-Wrap them up and turn them over to the user via a single-sign on interface
-Facilitate cross posting across all sites  (in many cases, you must keep accounts active to keep them)

This may exist already, but probably not in the form I am thinking here. There was a company called NameProtect.  From what I remember, they are reactionary to protecting a brand or trademark once a violation has occurred.  I’m talking more about a proactive approach to registering your brand under every major site, forum, etc.   This would be too hard for anyone to do themselves.  Ahh the wonders of automation.

Among my 12,000 readers… I can hear the vendors running to

Think I’m silly?   try this and these are not owned or controlled by Microsoft or Google.

Hopefully they are really running now. Take this to the next level.  Shut eyes and think (after you read this senario):

1. Someone correctly secures a vanity URL and correctly assigns it to  So points to

2. He starts using twitter and does real tweets about salesforce, using the   URL

3.  Others using twitter start using that URL to shorten their messages

4. Remember, someone controls that URL, not salesforce.  After that shortened link gets very popular, the one who controls it, changes it to point to  (a salesforce competitor)

5.  Brand highjacked!

Is your brand safe?

*Note: as to not have someone misuse brand in any way thinking I was suggesting it, I registered salesforce to point to the correct location of