Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Google News Growth Hack Exposed

In the past I’ve found Google News to be an acceptable source of headline news because it organizes a ton of information very efficiently and collects similar articles on major topics. For example, stories on the Ukranian crisis often include several links to news agencies in the US and Europe, thus offering me the latest content from various angles. This is great because users of Google News can synthesize the gist of recent world news very quickly.

For serious journalistic inquiry I do not recommend Google News. And now, I hesitate to recommend it to anyone for any use:

Today I was casually browsing Google News on my iPhone and I saw an interesting story about the Egyptian pyramids:

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After clicking on the Egyptian pyramid story, I learned a bit about the pyramids of money some Google News publishers are making…

I expected to be linked to a news story on “The Standard Digital News” about this interesting discovery. Instead I was redirected via the url “” to the tracking domain “”:

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I was confused, so I tapped the screen. Any click on this screen, not just the two buttons, leads to an automatic redirect to the app store:


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According to, a publisher who refers a download is paid about $1.75 for a US user. The payment is likely via the company “MobPartner” as per the redirect above.

To summarize, I was interested in reading more about the Egyptian pyramids and instead I was redirected to download a game named “Dragon City”. At this point it was abundantly clear that Google News is being gamed by some of their publishers, and those publishers are definitely making a hefty profit from this simple mobile redirect.

So how does a news organization get onto Google News in the first place? First, you don’t need to be a vetted news organization. Any site can be added once it is approved based on Google’s explicit guidelines found here.

The second guideline states:

Journalistic standards. Original reporting and honest attribution are longstanding journalistic values. If your site publishes aggregated content, you will need to separate it from your original work, or restrict our access to those aggregated articles via your robots.txt file.

Let’s go back to the original article that I hoped to read:

Scientists say they have finally solved the mystery of how the Egyptian pyramids were built 4,000 years later

You may notice at the bottom of the article the author name “Mirror” makes it clear that this article is aggregated content. Try copying + pasting the first couple of sentences into Google and you will see this story has been published on hundreds of other news outlets. Thus, no original reporting here.

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The fifth guideline states:

Readability. Clearly written articles with correct spelling and grammar make for a much better user experience. Limiting your use of distracting ads and auto-load videos also allows users to more easily focus on your article content.

For mobile users, this publisher “The Standard Digital News” practices a “sneaky redirect“. Again, a clear violation of the Google News guidelines.

Thankfully, Google has a form for submitting problematic publishers and articles found here. But you may notice that the default issues are heavily directed towards existing publishers who are having trouble getting their content properly syndicated.

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The form appears to be just a user support feature for the publishers of Google News, not a reliable Spam reporting tool.

Sounds like the wild west of news, right? “The Standard Digital News” is a real news organization based in Kenya, but I bet they aren’t the only publishers violating the guidelines. The frightening reality is that anyone can make their own news site and in just a couple of days see their content on Google News. Take a look at this thread in an online Internet Marketing forum. All a person has to do is follow a handful of steps:

  1. Setup your domain with a new WordPress news theme.
  2. Hire writers from oDesk to rewrite news articles for $2 each. (Being sure to use copyscape to ensure “journalistic quality”.)
  3. Start with 150 back-dated articles to show that the site has some momentum.
  4. Setup a nice logo and real phone number.
  5. Double check that the site complies with the google webmaster guidelines.
  6. Submit for approval.


And then boom! You could be a publisher on Google News, and you could deploy “sneaky redirects” for the thousands of mobile users referred to your site. This is a harsh reality and I sincerely hope that Google will monitor the quality of their Google News results as closely as their SEO guidelines.


05 2014

My Internship Experience at MediaTrust

This is a little more about my recent internship with MediaTrust this past summer in New York City. Originally posted today on the MediaTrust Blog.

Back in June, when the summer of 2009 began, many of my friends were off traveling throughout the world or simply taking in the sun on the Jersey Shore. For me, a 16 year old student at the Hun School of Princeton, I decided to see what it’s like working for an internet company by interning here at MediaTrust. This experience was my first taste of the corporate world, largely thanks to the MediaTrust CEO Peter Bordes who responded to my Twitter message, which lead to me being invited to join the MediaTrust team.

Leading into my first couple days as the new intern in the New York City office, I was unsure of how I would be accepted being that I am much younger than the typical college intern. Also, as an affiliate marketer myself, I know that very few affiliates have seen the other side of performance marketing networks in depth and my opportunity was invaluable. My official title was “Marketing Intern”, and I spent the majority of my time working with both the marketing and sales teams under guidance from Trip Foster, the MediaTrust CMO.

As I started out, my main goal was to get a little taste of everything within the company. This allowed me to gain perspective of the areas within a company that I would likely enjoy working in, as well as the areas where I would be most effective and efficient. One great thing that I noticed is that right away once I started is that there was a mutual learning relationship between me as an affiliate marketer (the demographic which MediaTrust currently caters to) and the performance marketing network themselves which I as an affiliate, heavily rely on. I was able to provide insight to the affiliate managers of my experiences as an affiliate so they could understand the tools and techniques savvy affiliates use, as well as provide the sales team with information on hot offers to bring onto the network.

My experience shed light on a lot of the good, bad, and ugly parts of managing a company that is growing at an astounding pace. One of my most memorable parts of working with the MediaTrust employees is their entrepreneurial spirit. Quite frankly, I am glad that I was actively involved with MediaTrust this past August because as you are probably aware, MediaTrust was recognized as the 9th fastest growing company in America by the Inc.500. They really do deserve the prestigious award. Their hard work is a testament to the award along with the entrepreneurial drive within each employee that motivates them to be the best in this industry.

Just to put this in perspective: eBay’s employees generated $527,238 per employee in 2008.( 2009) Meanwhile, MediaTrust’s employees generated $638,333 per employee in 2008.( 2009)

I am really glad that I was able to give my input and contribute to this fast paced and fast growing internet marketing company throughout the summer. I really can’t thank the MediaTrust New York City team enough for taking the time to show me how you guys do business. Chantelle White, the Senior Sales Manager had one clever way to describe it: “This is a company full of achievers; you have to be on top of your game.” In case you guys haven’t noticed yet, MediaTrust is making things happen. I am truly proud and privileged to work for MediaTrust, I could not have asked for anything more.

Now as I leave MediaTrust for my junior year in high school, I will surely miss this internship and I will always remember the core values of the people here that made my experience so memorable. I look forward to contributing to the MediaTrust blog throughout the year. Stay tuned throughout the year for more affiliate tips that I discovered this past summer!


09 2009

Case Study: Going Viral With Stride Gum

Now that I have digested the wealth of information offered to me while attending the Affiliate Summit East in New York City, one particular video mentioned by keynote speaker Peter Shankman has stood out; the mention of Stride Chewing Gum’s viral marketing initiative. Large corporations pay millions to develop marketing campaigns that they hope will go viral, for the sole intention of making a particular piece of media go viral (with their brand name splattered across the entire campaign).  Often the yield on the initiatives launched by most large corporations is not nearly equal to the cost of promoting the campaign.

Stride took a different approach to making their marketing campaign go viral. Peter Shankman said, “You can make something viral, but you can make something good.” That’s exactly what Stride did, instead of focusing on making the actual content go viral, they focused on producing really unique and interesting video content. Especially today, us humans love to share great things we find online; the people working for Stride knew this. So, Stride searched for a unique and inspirational video channel on YoutTube, figuring that YouTube is one of the most common launching platform for viral content. The result was choosing Matt Harding to travel, film, produce, and most importantly dance, all around the world with all types of people. Matt was chosen for his previous dancing video, and took the offer up from Stride, who allowed him to fulfill his dancing potential all around the world.

The production cost to Stride was minimal, simply covering all of Matt’s expenses while filming. The entire process took 14 months, from filming to publshing. Nearly 14 months later, the video has accumulated 23,000,000 views. Notice that Stride only reserved a small portion of advertising in the final seconds of the video, this was key to maintaining “good” content. In short, this viral video practically turned Stride into a popular gum choice for people across the globe very shortly.

If you haven’t already seen Matt dancing in “Where the Hell is Matt (2008)”, then I highly suggest you check it out. The movie is incredible, simply one of the best videos I have ever seen on the web-


08 2009

New Media – Effectively Marketing To Todays Youth

With the rise of people  being more connected to their own media, the youth in our society are becoming most responsiver to marketing that tells a story about themselves.

Graham Brown illustrates this best in his newly released slideshow on


06 2009

Tracking Your Social Campaigns

Many online marketers have built up strong profiles in the social web, and there are plenty of great reasons why they are doing so. Meanwhile, many smart companies are building their profiles online too. Either way, if you are in this socialsphere for more than just fun, (aka business) then you probably wonder everyday about how much the profiles have an influence on the people interacting with them. This is called social metrics/analytics. In the recession there are many people turning to the social web to launch new marketing strategies because the costs are way more efficient compared to traditional advertising. So, many people are told to take “stock” in their brand and see how much awareness their brand has, before spending money on more advertising.

How many of you online marketers and business owners actually know your brand’s equity online? Not too many… Why? Outside of large specialized online analytics agencies, there really have not been many affordable tools to measure your brand’s influence online.

The first step to measuring brand influence in the social web is by defining your success metrics, and knowing what goals you want to accomplish with each campaign. But first, Yong Fook, a social web developer said:

“filter out the noise” and “be strict and choose metrics that actually translate into a business context for your organization… ignore meaningless metrics like ‘number of followers‘. A successful campaign is about more than just getting attention.”


Then you measure your campaigns qualitative returns, or quantitative returns. To do this, I highly recommend you use this newly released social metrics software called Peashoot. I signed up just this week for a month long subscription for $15. Peashoot is developed by Yong Fook and Egg Co.. He built the app specifically to measure social media campaigns, which are built and measured through your own custom Peashoot domain and url shortener. Personally I have not seen any free or paid software that comes even close to this app, making it worth every penny. Plus Yong Fook is most definitely an experienced professional internet developer and marketer, he delivers a top notch product.


Highlights of the Peashoot App include:

  • Real time stats tracking.
  • Geographic overlay of all campaign clicks.
  • Custom goal setting such as blogs, tweets, clicks, etc..
  • Google Analytics integration.
  • Multiple members for each account, allowing easy data sharing.

With each new social campaign you launch, I know you’ve heard it thousands of times over and over again: Test, test, and keep testing to create the most efficent and optomized campaign possible.

If you are not already measuring your social campaigns, then you need to start doing so! Whatever tool you use, just make sure that your campaigns are developing your brand’s equity online and ultimately more ROI for buisness.


06 2009

Are Affiliate Links In Twitter Abuse or Opportunities?

There is always a time and place for everything, but c’mon now, are affiliate links about to enter into Twitter for high volume profit? Mitch Joel wrote a post today on how poor of a choice it is to market on Twitter, here: Affiliate Links In Twitter Will Sink Marketing To A New Low

For sure, there are now thousands of mainstream Twitter users thanks to Oprah, Barbara Walters, etc. All of these new mainstream users are susceptible to being marketed traditional products they would see ads for anywhere else on the web. Please keep it real, Twitter is a place to converse via public messages. Twitter is one of the strongest platforms to speak and connect to the world. It is not a place that needs to be infected by a few dozen users who are looking to make a quick buck. So, please prove me wrong, affiliate links on Twitter are abuse, not an opportunity to spam more people.

In an earlier blog entry, Joel said:

And here’s the kicker: we really are speaking to each other, and that is way more powerful than marketers telling customers what they want them to hear.


05 2009

Objective: Earn Your Media

Across the web there are countless platforms that enable “paid” media. In other words, you pay for the exposure of a brand/product that you want to be promoted. The problem is that it is harder to achieve earned-media, due to authentic time and effort, but the rewards are much greater if executed right. Earning your media has become a more popular marketing strategy for brands because it’s very cost effective compared to paid media. Recent innovations such as Twitter, Facebook, and other social media properties give a stronger leverage point for brands to earn their media.

When I read marketing news sites, I usually see something like “Advertising Revenue Predicted To Decline”. Yes, this is correct. Meanwhile, I continually see headlines such as “Social Media Advertising Revenue Increases Amid Recession”. Advertising agencies face the challenge of switching from traditional paid media, to “earned” media. So, with the marketing industry flipped upside down, only handful of agencies have been able to make money with this new marketing mentality. One of which is Crispin Porter + Bogusky, they were the master minds behind Burger King’s “Whopper Sacrifice” Facebook un-friending campaign.

Now, all of that is great for major advertising agencies and marketing executives to know, but how can that trickle down into affiliate marketing? If the appropriate social media/crowd-sourcing tools are used, a long term affiliate campaign can be successful with earned-media. Just take a look at already successful earned-media campaigns, and build your own from their. Just be aware that a lot of the time earned-media is involved with offline marketing strategies, so campaigns with strictly online actions would work most efficiently. Get started now with an earned-media affiliate campaign, performance pays!


05 2009

Innovation Within Internet Marketing

I was inspired to write this post after a recent talk with the MediaTrust CEO Peter Bordes about innovation within the internet marketing industry.

Online advertising spending is projected to reach $25.7 billion in 2009, and $42 billion by 2013. A 78% increase over 2008’s $23.6 billion in online spending.( For an industry that is growing at astonishing rates, most of the companies that are heavily profiting have not put much back into researching and devloping new tools to capitalize on this growth in the coming years. To all affiliates out there, please name 3 recently released tools that allow you to be more productive, your campaigns to be more efficient, and ulitmately more profitable. Not so easy, huh? This lack of innovation will only hurt affiliates in the future. This is because the few networks that are investing in developing better ways to market online now, will blow past competition when growth slows. The affiliates who are associated with the networks that are investing in the right places will benefit tremendously, no doubt.

There are a few reasons for a lack of innovation by both affiliate networks and advertising networks. First, a lot of affiliate networks don’t care because there isn’t a lot of competition, and today they are growing strong. Their antiquated tracking systems work, and affiliates continue to promote their hot offers, which not to mention always “higher payouts than anyone else”. Secondly, advertising networks keep seeing gross clicks and impressions increase as the web is used more and more. So, advertisers will have cheaper rates and the publishers will make more and more money. In other words, the mentalitly of the affiliate and advertising networks is that people will continue to go where the money is. That’s definitly not a sound long term business strategy.

So, the question is which people are setting the right example and more importantly, are setting themselves up for strong business in the future? Most certainly Advaliant/MediaTrust, Motive Interactive, and Wes Mahler/Prosper202. Both Advaliant and Motive posses the leading affiliate interfaces that will soon posses algorithims to match offers with an affiliates past history promoting other offers, and maximize the relationship between affiliates and advertisers. Wes Mahler is worthy of being thanked by every single successful affiliate today, thanks to his opensource PPC tracking system Prosper202.

On the flip side, the companies that are lacking in the innovation department (among others): MaxBounty, and almost all networks using DirectTrack. Take a look at MaxBounty’s homepage, when I applied at first I thought  I was in the wrong site. Their site is straight out of the dot com bust. Seriously, would you feel safe putting your PPC budget into very technology developed 9 years ago?  Remeber that’s like 100 internet years. To the networks using the DirectTrack interface, great, you are making lots of money. However, DirectTrack serverly limits the amount of customization in the affiliate interface. Not good when it comes to 2010 and several other netowrks have more powerful tracking sytems and limitless opportunities to help out affiliates even more. Props to Ads4Dough for initiating their own switch over to their own custom tracking platform.

So, to the affiliate networks out there, take the hint, you will be ahead of the competition down the road if you invest now. As for the advertising networks, first make an effort to be friendly with some of your biggest spenders, then innovate. Watchout in the coming months for industry leading changes by Advaliant. They are brewing up some pretty neat features for affiliates, not seen anywhere else.


03 2009