digital marketing, experience, automation, developer

spam comments – what is their true value

Why do spam comments keep hitting my blog? Are they getting responses? They must be, or I wouldn’t receive the spam in the first place. As a marketer, do i want the spam to stop? Yes… errr… maybe?

I understand marketing. I even know the fancy acronyms like ROI, SEO, ASAP (sigh), and EOD vs. EOW. Marketing industry smarties like Seth Godin, SEOmoz, marketing sherpa, etc. say you should be happy with a low response rate. The very diluted average is 1-3%. I based this off of my personal experience, a swath of marketing studies, and a WAG. Using this WAG, if I send out direct advertising to a list of 100,000, I should expect to receive 100-300 responses (did i get that right? i always mess up the decimals).

For the record the 1-3% is an average response rate (and i’m sure this number will change once i post this). The average is determined by factors such as industry, advertising vehicle, brand recognition, etc. And it’s always debated. I found a way-back-Marketing Profs forum enlightning.

Someone dared to ask “Hi, does anyone know what the industry average response rate for direct mail AND email campaigns in the high-tech (B2B) space?” The answers are all over the place. In fact it’s quite humorous considering their post was back in 2005. Would they dare ask that question today? But i’m getting way off point, sort of.

So i receive spam comments. I’ll assume they spam not just me but thousands of blogs. Does the spammer assume they’ll get a 1-3 responses per 1000 spams sent? Or maybe the scarier question is in fact, do they get responses? I assume they do, or they would have stopped spamming me.

Now bear with me, as I take this thought process one-step further. What happens when the spam stops? Before you start cheering (especially those of you in the ad industry), think about it. Wouldn’t that mean that advertising is next? In a way, spam is a metastatic form of advertising. It’s annoying, inbox-filling, and virus-laden, for sure. But it’s a form of direct-marketing advertising, nonetheless.

With that i guess i’ll keep hoping for spam comments to hit my blog, bots to follow me on twitter, and ever-stranger spam to fill my inbox. I’m afraid of what would happen if it stops.

60′s sportscars, Speed Racer, and the ultimate shape

coolest car

childhood car still makes me go wow

I’ve spent 30-some years going from school, to college, to work, and work and work. During those years I’ve always found one thing that instantly sends me back to childhood – a 60′s sportscar. There’s a few that pull my strings; Porshce, Jaguar, some MG’s. But they all remind me of the spinning wheel background and the title “Speed Racer” zooming into the screen.

Why cars? Maybe because i’m a boy. Why cars shaped liked rockets? again – i’m a boy. I’m sure there’s a M.I.T. or D.A.A.P. class offering a metaphysical explanation to my fascination.

Muscle cars, or monster trucks don’t do it for me. And watching racing? The bug never did bite. Myself, I own a pre-2000 Toyota 4runner. So the 60′s sportscar style never came to fruition for me. Nor would i want one, to be completely honest.

But when a friend of mine posts a tweet about the 1967 Porsche 910 Spyder Coupe… (Speed Racer them music begins) I see the wheel, and the title, and am transfixed to screen for at least 20 seconds.

Google Website Optimizer

Google Optimizer Code – or How I learned to survive the “test”
I was fortunate enough to have a client in need of comparing two callouts on one page. Like most clients, they use Google Analytics. They wanted to run the Google Optimizer tool on a couple pages. This is also supposed to enhance SEO performance.

Initially they wanted to try two different layouts of one page. So we ran a simple A/B variable test. After running the test live, they found that users interacted with option B almost twice as much as A. These were great results.

Developing and refining the code was not so simple. There are several forums out there that helped me determine the correct way to implement the test. There are at least 4 different ways to integrate the optimizer code into the existing GA tags. Each integration depends upon how the tags are included on the page – SSI’s, hard-coded – and the type of server – apache, jsp, .Net.

Google provides a “testing” page to check your code. It has to pass the test in order to be recognized by Google. I finally finagled the code into the existing GA tags. And it passed the Optimizer testing page.

The client was happy and now wanted more testing. This time they wanted to see compare callouts on one page. In other words, 1/2 the users would see callout A on page 1 the other half would see callout B also on page 1. Now I really had to flex some code muscle.

I built the two versions and ran them through the Optimizer test page. After several modifications, I still couldn’t get a “pass”. So I had to delve into the world of “multivariate” testing.

I’ll save the gory details, and just say that it took a good week of development to successfully build the pages. I think i held a small party when the Optimizer test gave me a “pass”.

The client could see click-thru rates on the same add with different wording. A very granular test with amazing results. Who knew that a couple words could change a buyers’ mind so drastically.

After surviving such a code-intensive workout, I kept all the clips, bookmarks, and trial code for future use.

If another client decides to test, I’ll be ready. Let’s just say, it wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

I would like to add that other sites use the A/B testing as well. Just saw this note from Nieman Lab about how the Huffington Post uses A/B testing for their headlines. Pretty cool stuff. Then again Nieman Labs is just plain amazing!

Better design through misery

Why are most of the artists that became famous all messed up? Look at what the Medici family did to thier artists, Warhol, Delacroix, and of course Van Gogh. Is it the expression leads to crazy, or does the crazy need an outlet?