Webcology #335 – SEO April Fools Pranks

SEO April Fools Pranks

Air Date: April 2, 2015

Since yesterday was April Fools Day, we decided to take a look at the best April Fools Day pranks from the SEO and tech worlds including:

  • Google Backwards — com.google,
  • Google PacMan,
  • Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum displayed Wonder Woman’s Jet,
  • MS Dos for Mobile,
  • CERN confirms existence of The Force,
  • Netfilx Binge Responsibly program,
  • Barry Schwartz Hired as New Head of Search Spam at Google
  • AND… special guest Bill Hartzer joined us to discuss the viral hoax that Matt Cutts was hired by Global Runner.

(bonus: WebmasterRadio.FM’s archive of annual April Fools pranks.)

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Customer Service from Staples Canada

Staples CanadaIn this age of squeezed margins at retail stores caused by mega online retailers like Amazon, customer service is generally one of the first things to go. Sometimes however, a person and the company they work for go above and beyond even old fashioned standards of customer service. In recent years, I have rarely experienced customer service like this so this experience has be noted and shared.

Earlier this week, my son came home from school and unpacked his laptop right in front of me to show me something he was working on. Upon opening up the laptop, he noticed the screen was cracked. He tried turning on the laptop but the crack made it inoperable. I told him don’t worry. Back when we purchased it (about 18 months ago) we paid for accident protection. All I have to do is find the receipt and we can get it repaired.Cracked laptop screen

Finding the receipt proved more difficult than anticipated. I went to the file where it was suppose to be, but it wasn’t there though I did find another receipt for another computer purchased about the same time. I started going through all sorts of files and papers but to no luck. My mind raced all night, depriving me of sleep as I thought where that receipt might be. I continued my search again on Tuesday morning, but no luck. Then I had an idea.

I know I had purchased the laptop at a nearby Staples retail store. So I called the main Staples Canada number to ask if there was a way to get a copy of a past receipt if I knew which credit card it was purchased on and at which store. They said yes, but I’d have to go to store I purchased it at with the credit card and an near approximation of the date it was purchased on. The the store could request the receipt which would take about 5 days. That was a relief, but when did I buy it? Was it September, October or November 2013? Credit card statements should help find the exact date.

At least my credit card company has on-line copies of all my statements so I scanned them for a purchase in or around the cost of the laptop for those 3 months. I couldn’t find anything. I then remembered, Staples had sent me a special coupon as a replacement for a defective item that I had applied to the purchase of the laptop which dramatically reduced the amount charged to my credit card (which is why I couldn’t find it in the statements). I also remember that I used that coupon for the laptop within a week of getting it. I got back on the phone with Staples Canada, this time with the group that took care of my past problem.

I got someone named Sarah on the phone. She was a delight and listened to me as I explained my dilemma. She quickly found the date that the coupon was issued but couldn’t find the date it was used. With that titbit of information I found in my credit card statement a purchase 4 days later and told her about it. She told me to hold the line and she’d look something up. About 3 minutes later, she told me she couldn’t access the receipt, but had escalated the issue. She promised to call me back either way, but warned me it could take up to 2 days.

Less than 90 minutes later the phone rang and it was Sarah. She had located the receipt and yes it was the one for the laptop and the extended warranty. She then started the claim process and assured me everything was in order and not to worry about anything. She gave me a claim number and told me to take the laptop to any Staples store to arrange shipping. I dropped it off and it’s out for repair now.

Why is this Customer Service above and beyond expectations? The first time I called Staples they didn’t offer anything more than telling me to go to the store to get a copy of the receipt. This time Sarah not only helped me find out about the coupon date, she then offered to look up the receipt. When she couldn’t find it, she could have done nothing more and sent me the store route. Instead she took it upon herself to look for the invoice and when it didn’t come up in her system right away, she put in a request for it and then followed-up personally once the receipt was located.

Sarah could tell I was stressed out about the laptop and she not only did her job, she went beyond my expectations. Her demeanour the entire time was of a calm and caring person. I felt safe and comforted in her capable hands. In this day and age, where too many of us only focus on price and companies respond to that by lowering prices and subsequent support services, it is nice to see that people like Sarah and Staples Canada are still there to help.

The next time I try to compare prices at Staples to other retailers including online retailers like Amazon, I’m going to remember Sarah and make that part of the value add equation before I hand over my credit card for an online purchase.

Posted in Alan K'necht by Alan K'necht. No Comments

Webcology #334 – Facebook F8 and Microsoft Googs Mobile

Facebook F8 and Microsoft Googs Mobile

Air Date: March 26, 2015

There was a lot of news that came out of the Facebook F8 Conference. It sometimes looks like Facebook is trying to embed the Internet into itself. In this case, we talk about Facebook and newspapers, articles, and Facebook hosted video.

We also look at a story from Petri.com, Is Android Microsoft’s Plan B for Mobile?

Lastly, weekly meetings with the White House and Google’s persistent presence may have aided in the termination of an FTC antitrust probe.

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The Power of The Handwritten Note

One must never underestimate the power a handwritten and mailed traditionally that a handwritten note has. In the age of where even a coherent email is being replaced by cryptic text messages and tweets, receiving something via traditional snail mail can have an enormous impact on your client or anyone you are trying to impress.
Fan Mail

Back in February, I was a guest lecturer to a Digital Marketing class at San Diego State University. The topic was “Measuring Social Media Efforts”.

The class was a lot of fun and a great success. Many of the students after the lecture connected with me on Twitter and on LinkedIn to say thanks and how much they appreciated the case study I presented. A few weeks after the class, I received a handwritten thank you note from the class professor and it made me feel like my efforts were truly appreciated by the professor. Then 10 days after receiving the professors thank you note, I received a package full of thank you notes from many of the students in the class.

It is hard to imagine the feeling I got as opened and saw all the note, or when I opened each individual note to read all the personalized messages. I know how much more effort it takes to write these notes out by hand instead of just sending a quick tweet or message on LinkedIn. This type of personal contact escalates the on-line social interactions to a new level. This simple effort will make my decision to be a guest lecturer at San Diego State University or other institution in the future much easier to say yes to, because I know it will be truly appreciated.

This same concept has to become part of all of our on-line engagements. It is through personal notes, that we and our organizations stop being impersonal on-line entities, and can become someone others want to do business with.

Let’s never forget the power of the handwritten note in the ever changing age of technology.

Posted in Alan K'necht social media by Alan K'necht. No Comments

Webcology #333 – Vanishing BitCoins, Doorway Pages, Google Mobile Algo

Air Date: March 19, 2015

The “‘scuse me, can you spare a few bitcoin for a fellow who’s down on his luck” edition.

  • Approximately 12 million worth of Bitcoin have vanished, along with the proprietors of the new Dark Market, Evolution.
  • Doorway Pages. Google calls back to 2008 to remind webmasters that doorway pages are discouraged.
  • The significance of Googles Mobile Friendly Algorithm.
  • Windows 10: the Internet Explorer lost and the rise of Spartan.

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Webcology #332 – Cyberlaw, Cyberbullying and the C51st State

Air Date: March 12, 2015

The “This is the C51st State” Edition

This was a special edition of Webcology. Canada’s government has proposed sweeping changes to Canada’s legal code in the guise of anti-terrorism legislation. Several opponents have suggested liking a post on Facebook could indicate support for a terrorist organization. In an age where personal privacy no longer exists and digital assumptions are easy to make, what does the proposed Bill C51 mean to webmasters and computers users?

Litigation lawyer Marck Donald from MF-Law in Toronto joins Jim Hedger and Dave Davies to discuss C51’s impact on Internet users. Mark also discusses structuring and proceeding with litigation surrounding cyber-bullying.

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About those SEO is Dead Articles

There have been numerous articles suggesting SEO is dead over the years. Having been a SEO for over fifteen years, I have seen a lot of change in venues, techniques, tactics, and in the signals used to inform search algorithms. I’ve written before that while SEO dyes frequently, it will never actually die. SEO is about using the most effective tools to make a website or web-content rank well on search engines. Given the increasing number of uses of search, SEO can never die. It can however change, as all things do.

What happens in chrysalis when a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly or moth? After, the emergent butterfly has a far larger and more varied world with a wider array of abilities to enjoy in its short lifespan. It is most certainly not a caterpillar anymore.

The same happens when humans mature from child to teen to adult. You’re the same being you were when you were five but you have radically different personalities, abilities, and responsibilities. When you were five, you got to discover everything and get a basic sense of how it works. In between childhood and adulthood you had a jarring but hopefully amazing period of mild-to-radical weirdness as you learned new and sometimes terrible truths about the world around you. As you grew into adulthood you started playing with increasingly sophisticated toys and making decisions with real implications. You started impacting the world around you in several different and often more meaningful ways. You started doing things so differently, there would be no question you were not the five year old at the start of the story.

At no point in the process did you or the caterpillar die though you both might have suffered from time to time. Such is metamorphosis and such is the way of everything, including SEO.

The better query is defining the role of SEO in a much wider integrated web marketing plan. SEO is about analysis, observation, analysis, testing, improvement, and more and more analysis. It covers a number of parts of the field and seeks to explain how they work together to improve search driven traffic. While the market defines SEOs as players, successful SEOs act as coaches, trainers, and on-field analysts. We’re hardly dead. It’s just as we’ve growing so fast we sometimes hardly recognize us.

Posted in Jim Hedger - SEO by Jim Hedger. No Comments

Webcology #331 – Google Going Mobile and The Homebrew Anniversary

Air Date: March 5, 2015

The “How many graphic designers do I have to beat before they start to optimize their images homebrewed?” edition

  • Google might stop crawling Ajax;
  • Google Going Mobile; Mobile Gets Its Own Index;
  • Google and the Great Goddess Veritas;
  • 40thAnniversary of when computer enthusiasts in Silicon Valley held the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club. Those members like Steve(s) Jobs and Wozniak would go on to have great influence on the development of the personal computer.

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Webcology #330 – Net Neutrality and the Common Carrier

Air Date: February 26, 2015

The “Jim takes a victory lap around the maypole of digital rights” edition.

Net Neutrality Rules!

The FTC is moving forward to classify the Internet as a public utility! By reclassifying ISPs as common carriers, the FTC has effectively mandated all signals must be given the same digital priority regardless of origin or content. This means the tradition of Net Neutrality continues except now it’s a law.


  • Irony thy name is Revenge Porn Dude. This guy named Craig Brittain is the man behind several revenge porn sites. Craig Brittain is a bit of a, umm, jerk. So he’s trying to whip out his ideas about digital law to protect himself and have his personal information removed from the Internet. In other news, Craig Brittain, the man behind several revenge porn sites, was able to exemplify the words Irony and Karma in the very same context. You have to be earning a lot of bad-person-points to do that.
  • Nobody is making money off YouTube. As it turns out, Google’s investment and maintenance costs are so high, and the ad revenues so low, virtually no one is making money at YouTube today.
  • Google issuing SLOW warnings for non-mobile friendly websites;
  • Google WebmasterTools is now warning about WordPress Plug-in Updates

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Webcology #329 – Google Insto, Silverfish Crapware, 5 Questions for Designers

Air Date: February 19, 2015

A “Google is Bouncier than this Gumbo Edition” Edition.

  • Google algo insto-update?
  • Lenovo Crapware Superfish;
  • 5 Questions Your Web Designer Should Ask You (and 5 More You Should Ask Them);
  • Twitter Finally Offers Multiple Logins for Sharing Twitter Accounts Without Sharing Passwords;
  • Net Neutrality Vote coming up next week!

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