Archive for the ‘Search’ Category

Creative With Adwords

18 Jan 2008

One of the leading car rental companies in Europe is Sixt. In Germany or Switzerland, and more recently at Schiphol airport in The Netherlands as well, I saw their brand gain traction and become more present. They always find cool ways to do offline marketing stunts, as I have previously covered a few times [hanging car, don't forget]. But also in the online market, they have found ways to be remarkable when they experimented with a new way to make their Google Adwords ads stand out from the crowd.


Pretty clever.

Thanks for the pointer, Paul.


Information Revolution

03 Apr 2007

Also around for a little while already, but never appeared here: the information revolution campaign by, the search engine. It all started with a big billboard where lots of stickers were put on, which you could take away. The stickers pictured a hand that held a bunch of cables. Claudia, who sends in this campaign, saw the billboard for the first time in East-London (Shoreditch). She took a sticker home because she liked the image and the copy on it said: “One choice isn’t a choice”. The day before yesterday she saw a billboard with the same image but with this url added to it: She also saw a 10-second spot on TV, in which it looked like the channel was being hijacked. Because of the color-combo, she thought it had something to do with politics and went to the site where she found out it was a campaign from, aimed against Google’s monopoly in search. The forum on the site reveals that fewer and fewer people are enthusiastic about the fact Ask adopted the leftish (politic) symbols for its campaign. Claudia is a little bit disappointed about the entire campaign. I think it’s a great way to create buzz, to lead people to a site, but I have to agree that the buzz leads to nowhere, and that’s not really a good thing. It should’ve been more spectacular. This is an example of how a campaign can turn itself against you because you’re using the wrong symbols to communicate.

Ask Revolution

More about this campaign at:

Thanks, Claudia


Ultimate How Much Are You Worth

26 Feb 2007

Yawn. Another tool to help you measure how much you’re worth. It’s a mix of the domain name analyzer, a domain traffic tool, a domain whois tool, a domain history, a domain popularity, domain appraisal (site value report), a link value appraisal (link value report), pagerank check, an inbound links count, an indexed pages check and more.

It basically pings a lot of services you already knew of, but now in one time. The only thing I find useful about it is that it gives you a sort of overview about the backlinks you have.

dnscoop logo

The tool is definitely made to make money, because the links to Google’s AdSense and TextLinkAds that are given after the analysis are referrer links. First they measure how much you’re worth, then they tell you how much you can make, and then they offer you to sign up. Clever.

Via: Seth Godin

Other tools previously featured on Marketing Thoughts:


Search Update: Virtual Earth & Like

09 Nov 2006

There’s quite a lot of stuff going on in searchland these days, and since I’m kind of really interested in that, I’ll do a write-up on the major things that have occured. First of all there’s Virtual Earth 3D, the upgrade of Live Maps – part of Live Search. What’s special about this release is that, as I’ve predicted in May when Microsoft’s acquired Massive, there’s now advertising in the virtual world, somewhat like the sort you have in Second Life, but this time for actual companies in real life. The maps aren’t a sim, they’re real and for now there’s already 15 cities that have been virtually digitized. In these cities you can see clickable billboards which open a new browser window and load the site of the advertiser. I’m not quite sure if there are rules to follow, but I imagine you can’t have a clickable billboard for 7/11 above a Wall-Mart location. Common sense will be regulated I think. It sounds logical that business owners should be able to advertise in the near surroundings of their business, most likely floating above the business location. What I do wonder about is the fact that you cruise the cities (streetlevel view) and most likely will see the existing billboards that have been photographed as well. It would be cool if Microsoft could cash out on that and have their own ads featuring on those locations, or block out that free and uncontroled advertising to master the essential part, namely those ads they approve of. Here’s an example image of a floating billboard for Zip Realty in Boston. (courtesy of AdverLab)

Next: Visual Search. What exactly is it? Like allows users to find products by appearance. That means as much as: if you see a picture with an object in it you fancy, the like engine is able to render ’similar’ things for you. Check out how that works with, for instance, Brad Pitt. Like scores some celeb pics, defines the ‘hot zones’ that feature accessories and then turns those items into shopable content. There seems to be a co-operation with Getty images, because practically all celeb images have a (c) Getty under them. What’s pretty neat is that when you’ve clicked on a celeb pick to start a search, a lot of items are being retrieved which can then be customized by the user. With a color picker you can set the right color, with a slidebar you can set a price range and eventually you can select a brand, a specific site and a few more options to narrow down your search. Pretty clever stuff for online shoppers. It seems that, for now, the search is limited to jewelry, shoes, handbags and watches, but normally that should be extended as soon as Riya upgrades Like to Beta instead of Alpha. If you’re a manufacturer of products, you can add those through the form, so they’ll be included in the search results. Stay tuned for this one.

Check out Like | via Google Blogoscoped


The Right Audience

21 Sep 2006

Hmm. This one got me giggling on the train to work: Nathan dug up a story from an SEO website, where the admin was thinking about why he shouldn’t select ’suicide’ as a paid adword anymore:

In order to advertise this site, I pay google for certain keywords. One of those keywords used to be “Suicide”. They made up a good percentage of our users. However, I deciced to get rid of the term because they were costing me money to come here, and they were just going to kill themselves anyway. That means they would not be repeat users. No reason to pay to get them here.

Heheheh. Seriously. You can’t make up stuff like this. :)


Microsoft Serves Lobster

01 Jul 2006

A few days ago, on the 28th of June, we were invited over at Microsoft’s Belux headquarters to come see and participate in a product demo for Vista and Office 2007. Nothing new, I hear you say. Indeed, a lot of features were already covered by the Dutch Developer Consultant in the EMEA .NET Platform Evangelism Group, Hans Verbeeck, on the Dev & IT Pro Days event I attended a few months ago. (read the articles here and here). However, since then a lot of updates have been released and recently the second beta has been made public for trial. Tom Mertens and David Boschmans sent out an email to some bloggers to invite them to come have a look at what Microsoft has been up to. They’ve set up a dozen of laptops we could play with to explore the environment of Vista and to see what’s new in Office 2007. A nice move from ‘the’ company.

After Tom’s introduction, David started the presentation. And here’s the twist. To demo just how good things are, David did the entire presentation on a Mac. You read it right. On a bloody Mac. And it didn’t crash or freeze. I was impressed. Not only because it’s not common for Microsoftees to be enthusiastic about Mac, but even more because it’s the ultimate example of compatibility. On a f*cking Mac! Damn. I’m still not over it.

David focused on the upgraded instant search feature, which can be customized for every search engine you like. Then he did a demo of the different options in the file viewer or whatever you call it. We all know about the thumbnail view, which up until now was the largest possible preview of images and various documents in folders (apart from the filmstrip view), but now they’ve added this live preview thing which is pretty great, I think. Yes, I know they already had that on a Mac and yadayada. But I don’t work on a Mac, and now I can have it too. Which is cool. Embrace and hug (or whatever Microsoft’s slogan is).

David also talked about IE7 but I didn’t find anything new there, as far as I can remember. Security is a big issue for Mac users, so Ine (a true Mac-lover) asked if using Vista would make her Mac a haven for viruses. The issue was countered pretty good by Jurgen Van Duvel, stating that IE7 was practically built from zero to what it is, with secured layers, sandbox and a virtual drive to isolate processes that want to write to or alter core Windows files. (I also covered it in the Vista review of the Dev Days). Personally I think all this virus shit is overrated. I’ve been virus-free for over three years. No trojans, no ad or malware. It can all be brought back to 2 issues: a decent scanner and safe surfing behavior. Seriously. If I look around me, to all the people that ask me to take a look at their PC (‘cuz that’s what friends do, right?) I see a lot of things that make me wonder. I have one golden rule for people: ‘if they offer you something you weren’t looking for, just click the red square with the ‘x’. Don’t click ‘Yes’, don’t click ‘No’, just close the offer. Then activate the popup blocker. Add to this rule: scan every 10 days, use AdAware every week. Clean your temp files and you’ll be good.

Here’s the most wonderful part of the evening:
Media Center running on a Mac, as if Vista alone wasn’t enough:

This album is powered by BubbleShare

David ran in over-time, so Tom urged him to round it up. He showed some cool features in Powerpoint (the predefined image cropping, easily added effects and text-wrapping) and showed off the ‘blogging from within Word’ option. He also noted the built-in RSS reader for IE7 and the fact you could also read those feeds from within Outlook. OPML can be imported and exported. Which is nice.

Just before dinner, Patrick Viane, the guy with the dirty job at Microsoft, came to tell us some nice stories of things he had encountered. Patrick tracks mainly the bad guys, which means he sends out mystery shoppers to resellers to find out if they’re illegally selling Windows. He explained about the Genuine Advantage features and the logic behind the idea of validating your Windows version. In the BeLux (Belgium/Luxemburg) region, over 1.000.000 users validated their software within weeks after the release of the program. That’s a very good sign.

So far for the ‘official blabla’. It was time to have more beers and enjoy dinner. And what a dinner it was:

Lobster, courtesy of Microsoft.
Picture by Pietel

After dinner we were invited to play around with the cool Acer -which had a Media Center on it- and the Microsoftees helped us explore the laptops (and the Mac) with the Vista and Office 2007 experience on them. Seriously. Microsoft made a 180° turn in the approach towards bloggers and consumers. I had a great time, once again. Thanks guys!


55 Ways To Have Fun With Google

24 Jun 2006

Free download of the day:

55 Ways To Have Fun With Google

The full .pdf of Philipp’s book, 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google, is now available on As the book is Creative Commons licensed, you are encouraged to copy, read, share, remix, convert, quote, browse, and print the .pdf to your liking. If you do create conversions, e.g. an HTML version, please send the URL so Philipp can link to it from

If you’re a true booklover or papersniffer, you can also buy the book, which contains over 220 pages and is available at for $16.50 or at Amazon for $19.66.

Download the .pdf (7.88 Mb)
There’s also a .zip file with the Word document (7.5 MB)

Read the review I did after proof-reading the book.


Philipp Lenssen’s Book

02 Jun 2006

Yeeeey ! Congrats Philipp !!! I hope you make millions with your new book! Send a card from your island as soon as you get your own postal stamps and money! I’ll start collecting the 500 Lens and 1000 Lens notes as soon as they run off the printer. When you get your embassy in Belgium, I’ll apply for a visum and come visit you, no doubt! See you on the beach!

55 Ways To Have Fun With Google

55ways costs only $16.50 on Lulu |