Apr 27, 2006 Blog General
Sometimes I get emails for other Jason Murphys. As I pointed out a while ago, there are a lot of us. But one Jason Murphy gets me in trouble in particular. Not sure as to his whereabouts (I think East Coast), but somehow we get our email addresses on a popular email service mixed up a lot (yes they are that close). Sometimes it takes a few lines of reading to realize that the email is not meant for me, but meant for the other Jason. Take this one for example:
You probbaly already got your follow up package but I received your welcome packet back in the mail today so I am senidng you those forms electronically. Please let me know if you have trouble opening any of the attachments.
Summer Abroad Coordinator
School of Law
University of San Francisco
At first I was confused and it took until I read the signature to realize this wasn’t mine. It sounded important enough that the sender and the intended receiver needed to make the connection. Since I was the one holding the ball I took action. In jest, I had to respond:
Hi K.,As thrilled as I am to receive this information, I believe it ended up in the hands of the wrong Jason Murphy. Yes, there is another. I’m JasonMurphy. The other goes by Jason dot Murphy. One of us is evil, the other is a metropolitan hero (with proper spandex, cape and mask of course). We’re both genius! As to which is the evil, when left to our own devices it is difficult to tell. So I’ll let the other Jason fill out the forms you need and you can determine the goodness within his soul by the answers he provides. That, or you’ll be able to ward out his alterior motives for wanting to visit the sunny state of California. My alterior motives would include an education in proper Beaching. Not sure about his.
Bye Bye Miss American Pie,
JasonMurphy (O Draconian Devil!)
personal secretary for Jason dot Murphy (O Lame Saint!)
Hope it went through this time. Good Luck J.
DISCLAIMER: I usually forward or delete or bounce these back to the original sender without meddling in them (out of respect for privacy). But like I said, sometimes it takes me a couple of lines of reading to realize that an email is not meant for me.
Apr 24, 2006 Business & Marketing
You most likely have heard of FreeIpods.com. They were the site that pioneered giving away a large techy-prize-that-is-coveted-by-web-geeks in exchange for signing up for an offer, and then telling your friends about it.
Everyone was sceptical at first. FreeIpods was labeled a scam, a “pyramid scheme”, MLM, referral spam, and everything in between. Few believed you could get such great prizes for free.
But then, someone did. A few someones actually. They really did receive their well earned free iPod, and along with it a T-shirt that shouted “I ♥ freeipods.com!”. They proudly put the shirt on, unwrapped their ipods and took pictures wearing their free shirt and licking their iPod. They then scattered the photos across the web as proof saying “I told you so”.
The rest of the world went “Huh?”
And that is when the masses understood there really was a solid business model here. The press ate it up and we saw article after article about this new type of business. We started seeing links for free iPods everywhere. Then it mutated. We started seeing bloggers and forum trolls plastering their links for free DVDs, free laptops, free PSPs, free gift cards, free luis vuiton handbags. If it was coveted by the blogosphere, Gratis Network (the owner of freeipods.com) probabaly had a “free” portal for it. You signed up, bought something or subscribed to a magazine or applied for a credit card, then told x number of friends to do the same.
Gratis Network has given away over $19 million worth of free “stuff” since inception. Hard to prove they weren’t on to something there.
That was 2005, this is 2006. Gratis Network is no longer. They changed their name to FreePay for better brand recognition. Which, if you ask me, doesn’t really seem to work as well. Freeipods.com is now ipods.freepay.com. The old domain is still active and points to the newer one, and Freepay can now have [anyprizehere].freepay.com. However, people get “free ipods”. Something gets lost in the name “ipods freepay”.
They then started having issues supplying the heavily demanded Xbox360. Delay after delay after delay. There hasn’t been a single reported delivery of a Xbox360 earned by a FreePay member. The Xbox 360 was launched 6 months ago, and you can own one if you are willing to pay for it. Don’t count on getting one from Freepay anytime soon, even if you earned it.
All in all FreePay was still a legit company. They changed their name as a sign of growth. They are having vendor issues with a single product and that’s not unheard of in the business world. FreePay is still delivering their promised iPods, PSPs, computers, handbags and giftcards. And once they have supply, I’m sure they’ll deliver the 360s too.
But now, I must warn, that I would not recommend working with Freepay to earn free products. Yes, they will still give you a free product if you earn it. But that’s the trick, it is now harder than ever to earn free products through Freepay. You will be scammed into thinking it is easy. You’ll see the pictures of 20-somethings unwrapping their technogizmo like it was a Christmas present fromt their childhood. Don’t fall for it.
As of March 1st, Freepay has started putting time limits on their accounts. If you don’t meet all the requirements for your free product within 90 days of when you sign up, your account WILL BE DELETED. This is a near impossible feat for most average internet users. And average internet users are Freepay’s most profitable userbase. It can easily take 6 to 9 months, or even more, for an average user to meet the requirements, but seldom under 3 months. You have ninety days to A) complete an offer B) refer a large amount of people to the site because less than 5% of signups actually complete an offer C) Hope that 5% of signups that do complete an offer do it before your deadline. Freepay gives credit for completed offers 2 to 3 weeks after it was completed. So for a free prize to be feazible, you really must get it within 70 days. Hope your recruiting skills are top notch.
File it under Creative Accounting. This leaves a lot of “dangling chads”. I call them dangling chads because Freepay will never have to account for them (to the user at least, I’m sure the IRS is still very interested). Freepay will have increased revenue, earning a lot more money in the short term. They will be able to delete accounts that they already collected affiliate monies from, and never have to pay out a reward to them. But in the long run, users will start realize the impossible. Freepay will notice less and less conversions and signups. They will start selling their database (if they haven’t already) to make up for lost revenues. You will get more and more spam, junk mail, and phone calls.
And you won’t get your iPod.
Apr 23, 2006 Search and SEO
Ok, the majority of the search engine marketing industry was wonderstruck with PubCon this week, and most of us had heard this was happening, but on Monday, April the 17th, the Google sponsored DaVinci Code “Quest” launched on an actual Google hosted redirect at google.com/davincicode. And yet a lot of us missed it. Or at least didn’t think it was important to mention.
Do a Google search for “davinci code” AND “google” and you’ll see what I mean. I found one faithful SEO’r informing us of the launch, and he found it on a digg story published on April 13th–with over 1200 DIGGS as of this writing! I also see it on clickZ, who wrote about it on the 18th, the day AFTER the launch. Joystiq, a gaming blog, discovered it on the 16th, although didn’t follow-up to tell us when it went live (and they most likely didn’t have to). There are many other bloggers and marketing sites mentioning it, but hardly any SEO sites. I’m suprised that nothing appeared on SearchEngineWatch, or DigitalPoint forums, or SearchEngineRoundtable (oops, see below. -ed) or several others out I frequent. I thought many other Search Engine Marketers would get a kick out of this marketing partnership Sony Pictures has with Google. So no one is talking about it. It’s not even a week old yet. No big deal.
I just finished reading the book myself. I hate getting spoiled by a movie before reading a book so I decided to finally add to Dan Brown’s royalties and buy the book (since I would be seeing the movie for sure). Now I’m all caught up in the hype. After finishing I want to know more. I have questions and theories and am thirsty to dive into any online community discussing the book and its facts vs its fictions. So, the first thing I do is jump online, go to Google and type DaVinci Code. I find in the sponsored ads that Google has a deal with Sony. More specifically that Google is sponsoring a game that Sony developed. Ok, no biggie. Sounds like fun (and it is, seriously)! With most of its programs Google puts a “sponsored ad” or, as we know them, an Adwords ad using their own inventory. Search for “DaVinci Code” and it is the first ad. No big deal. They’ve been doing this for years. Search for their known brands “Adsense”, “Adwords”, or even for “Maps” and you’ll see google ads. This is expected of them. They have the inventory, they want to be sure you get relevent results, what better way to do it than to have the first sponsored ad in case for some reason their index results doesn’t give it to you. So no big deal.
But here is something I potentially do see as a big deal. Below the sponsored ad, before the first indexed result, lies a vertical search result. Most of the time this spot is for vertical results for the searched term within finances, images, local, news, froogle, etc. Google is just trying to do their job and give you the info you are searching for. But this time, when searching for “DaVinci Code” it was an ad. Not a Froogle ad to buy the book either. No, it was an ad for their sponsored game with Sony that stated “New! Crack the Code: Play the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google.” See the picture below:
Ok, I’m typically laid back and don’t like to make too big a deal about things, but this vertical search gets me thinking. Did Sony pay google enough that they actually did a guaranteed inclusion for the search term? Are there other search terms? Did they guarantee a set amount of traffic to sony? Did sony play a flat fee or are they paying per click for that listing? Are they paying anything at all? Are they going to be doing more of this in the future? Are they doing more of it already and I’m not seeing it?
Its silly to be asking these questions, because Google owns the page and can do what they want. But I feel this opens a lot of possibilities to corporations in the future.
“Dear Google, how much would a guaranteed vertical inclusion for “Cpayscom Online Casinos” cost? Thanks, Jason.”
[UPDATE: I erred. SEroundtable DID in fact mention the DaVinci Code Quest. Sorry Guys! -Jason]