Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What did we learn in 2009?

Maybe it's just because Tiger Woods's woes remain in full surround sound at the moment, but I believe 2009 will talked about as the Year of Online Reputation Management (ORM). How many pro athletes (and even coaches) were traded or otherwise publicly maligned for less-than-professional tweeting — or on the flip side, immediately fired up their Twitter accounts to apologize or explain themselves after an indiscretion? Twitter was even banned by the South Eastern Conference's media policy in an attempt to avoid rapid-fire surprises or untoward messaging. And the above-mentioned were only examples from the world of sport.

With the forthcoming launch of Google's next-generation search infrastructure Caffeine, which promises to integrate social network activity in its real-time search results, you'd better believe we've only seen the highest tip of the iceberg. And as we all know, the immense power of the search algorithm will propel right to the top your worst nightmare if the digital public latches onto it. Then try and get that new job (or explain to your spouse why that off-color joke you tweeted about your mother-in-law two years ago was just a Google search away {:B ).

The author of The Book on ORM – Radically Transparent and founder of the social media monitoring service Trackur, Andy Beal, takes a moment to speak to TopRank's Lee Odden on the subject of ORM and its importance in the coming year and beyond:

Monday, December 07, 2009

Britney Spears vs. The Moon

If you think you've got a good grasp on the web and its population, I have a question for ya: Which of these two topics generates more online activity — the moon or, say, Britney Spears?

Now take a look at their respective Google search results numbers (as of Dec 7, 2009), understanding the fractal geometry of search algorithms and their ability to associate pretty much anything with everything:

NOTE: For those of you who question my use of the keyword "moon" versus "the moon," there are considerably more results for "the moon" — 54,700,000 as a matter of fact — so for the sake of argument I went with the lower number to prove a point.

And that point is, as marketers it's easy for us to overlook even the most obvious elements in our audience's world in lieu of what's "new" or "hot” or “sexy.”

When was the last time you talked, texted or tweeted about the moon? You probably can't remember. With the exception of cloud cover and the occasional solar eclipse, the moon is visible Every. Single. Rotation. Of. The. Earth. Yet it's so much a part of our lives, we're guilty of paying it little-to-no mind.

There's no way the moon's been featured in the news or enjoyed as much global chatter as often as Ms. Spears has since the dawn of the mass internet in the mid-'90s. Yet this dead ball of pumice located roughly 400,000 km away from earth (depending on the time of year), which doesn't even make hit singles or find itself mired in sex scandals, is approaching four times her search results. Just something to keep in mind next time perspective is in order.