Saturday, October 6, 2007 Challenge

Dear Reader,

Many of us were lucky enough growing up to have access to things like cameras, art supplies and various materials for school projects, but we all knew at least one child in our class who didn't have those same advantages. Through teachers can request help to pay for materials that their classrooms need and can not afford.

My challenge to you is to find a proposal and either donate to it directly or challenge your friends and family to help. I plan to send some money in for two separate projects on pay day. The first is for cameras because as a child I loved taking pictures of everything I could find (especially rocks) and a field trip to buy books that the class plans to take just before Christmas. Call me a softy but it will be nice to know that all the children in that classroom will have a least one Christmas present this year :).

Friday, October 5, 2007

TGI Friday and Random Thoughts

TGIF! Have I told you lately how much I love weekends? No? Well I do. Don't get me wrong I have a pretty awesome job all things considered, but there is nothing as wonderful as coming home on a Friday night (especially if I was industrious and did some housework during the week).

For the next two days I can sleep in, wear my jammies all day or I can drag my poor husband out to watch the latest chick flick at the local theater. There will be no keyword lists, no bid tracking and most importantly (at least today) no spreadsheets to occupy my mind. There will be itunes at full blast on my laptop all weekend long, dinner out with my wonderful in laws and many hours spent catching up on my blog reading.

Do you ever wonder what is running through someone else's head? Here is a quick list of the things I have been thinking since I started this post:

1. I really should add links to the blogs I read regularly

2. Why is everyone so obsessed with how Britany Spears looks in skimpy undies?

3. Why does the lead singer for Matchbox 20 always look stone and homicidal at the same time?

4. I wonder if my boss will let me make "Crazy Bitch" by Buck Cherry my ring tone at work?

5. Should I go buy the new Radio Head cd just to give them props for being brave enough to self market and let people pay what they think the cd is worth...and just in case I actually like them now.
6. Is "The Dude" really trying to attract all the vampiric, World of Warcraft playing car dealerships?
Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Microsoft to Help Small Businesses Enter the PPC Market

Today Microsoft announced it's newest "feature" , they are going to offer PPC assistance inside of their Office Live Small Business edition. Personally, I think this is asking for trouble not only for them but for many small businesses who may not be ready for the challenges of adequately managing a PPC campaign. Doesn't this reek of conflict of interest to you? As a consumer I am definitely going to sign up to have my campaigns run by the company who owns the third largest search engine in the world, no questions asked. I am almost guaranteed a fantastic ROI (or so I would think) as it would be stupid of them not to give my campaign a healthy cost per click discount.

The press release says they are going to offer three classes at 19.95 to teach the essentials of SEM and SEO. Wow, I bet my boss would have loved a deal like that when he was spending thousands of dollars training us on SEO and SEM. The reality is that at best these businesses will get a crash course in Live Search, ROI, Adcenter and some basic information on what PPC is. My guess is there won't be real training that covers a/b testing, negative keywords, proper geo targeting by population, the importance of meta data, dynamic landing pages, effective ad copy writing, etc, etc, etc.

If 60 bucks was all it took to become an SEM/SEO expert then every campaign out there would have a fabulous ROI, a 25% conversion rate, and a CPC of under $3.00. The majority of these companies are going to set up their own SEM campaigns and then forget them, which is terrible for the industry as a whole. These businesses need to have a strong, well formed online marketing presence handled by a qualified professional who not only has the time but the skills necessary to coax these campaigns into success. The changes to search engine algorithms change regularly which often sends even the most seasoned SEM/SEO experts scurrying to regain lost conversions. Now imagine the effect one of these changes could have on "Jim the Plumber" who believes the hype that this solution is all he needs to secure his dream of retiring next year. It's Microsoft and they are the good guys... Right? When will Microsoft learn from it's own mistakes?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Parts and Service Leads

Why is it that so many dealerships don't want parts and service leads from their PPC Campaigns? Every couple of weeks I hear from a disgruntled client who is upset that they are getting contacted for their parts and service centers, but I just don't understand why. To me this is like my little brother being upset that people are coming into his bakery for whoopie pies but not peanut butter balls. Eventually all of those whoopie pie eaters are going to be adventurous enough to try the peanut butter balls. No one can resist all that chocolate covered peanut buttery goodness forever...right?

Someday those people who need parts/service are going to have to buy a new car (usually sooner rather then later), and it seems to me that getting someone in your front door is a great way to be added to the list of places to buy cars from. Occasionally, you will even find the golden customer who brings their vehicle in for repairs and realizes its cheaper to buy a new one. Is there a new school of business that says money is bad? No? I didn't think so either...well just in case you are feeling adventurous here is my little brothers peanut butter ball recipe (shhh it's a secret)....


2 lb. peanut butter

3 lb. powdered sugar

1 lb. butter, melted

2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Mix well in large bowl. Make small balls (approximately 150).


2 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips

1 block paraffin wax

Melt together in double boiler. Dip balls and put on waxed paper to "dry".

And for those who don't know what a whoopie pie is :

For cakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 large egg

For filling

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar

2 cups marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff

1 teaspoon vanilla
Make cakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a handheld, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth. Spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter about 2 inches apart onto 2 buttered large baking sheets. Bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed and cakes spring back when touched, 11 to 13 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely. Make filling: Beat together butter, confectioners sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Assemble pies: Spread a rounded tablespoon filling on flat sides of half of cakes and top with remaining cakes. Makes 8 individual desserts