SEM Archive

August 21, 2009

Trademarks: Where have all the words gone?

@ 4:42 PM
Buffalo.jpgGoogle adwords do a good job for us. There is no other way that we can drive highly qualified buyers to our sites at the 5 or 6 pence we currently pay.

There are challenges - succinct messages, effective calls to action and maintenance of real time prices to name a few.

Maintenance is taken care of by the increasingly impressive Mooch Engine. We can now receive a voucher code at midday, apply it to every relevant price immediately and include all of those prices in adwords within 10 minutes. We can now often get the price to market before the issuing merchant... which is good.

My recurring annoyance is the unrestricted spread of trademarks. Merrell don't want us to use their name to sell their products, neither do Ferrari, Brasher and a host of other name brands. This I can cope with (albeit we are actually trying to increase their revenue). These aren't words commonly used in conversation outside of the brand.

But how about "dancing on ice" this phrase, that used to belong to everybody, now belongs to a private company for the purposes of making money. No one is now allowed to use this three word string without the permission of a faceless marketing man... bad, but not the worst.
Imagine my delight when today I found out that buffalo is now a trademark. Someone owns this word and they won't let you use it (at least not on adwords).

This annoys me, but I bet it annoys mozzarella manufacturers, close relatives to bison and those gals who dance round the outside, a hell of a lot more. Not to mention the residents of that US town in the state of New York.

It is stupid but not unassailable - you see BuffaIo is perfectly acceptable... do you see what I did there... You should come here for Blogging tips!

Oh and while I'm at it could someone tell Google that Speed is more often used to describe motion than it is to describe amphetamines and Need for Speed is not a junky mantra it's a movie and a Wii game.
So use the words while they're still in the public domain, you'll miss them when they're gone.

June 23, 2009

Yahoo Search Marketing. First Impressions or lack of...

@ 11:20 AM
We have a small problem: we can't move our ad budget through Google without compromising margins. As a result we decided to offer some money to the Yahoo people through their 'Sponsored Search' programme, which whilst sounding like the latest fund raising idea for the local primary school shares most of its characteristics with Google Adwords.

The initial sign-up process was largely uneventful although I'm not sure why all of the networks insist on the creation of a complete campaign, adgroup, keyword list and ad before being able to seriously look at how you're going to structure the account or anything else.

We had established that it was possible to upload our Google campaigns using csv files and chose the most straightforward example as our test - 6 ad groups in a single campaign. The import process starts with an export from the Google Adwords Editor. Top tip here is to only export one campaign at a time, since the Yahoo upload can get a bit lumpy otherwise.

Next you use the Yahoo interface to convert the file to its format before uploading it as a bona fide Sponsored Search campaign. This proved a bit tricky. The interface shows two fields where the link 'download' could be shown, unfortunately if there are errors in your file this lionk only appears in the comments box, and if you don't immediately realise that this combination of box and term are negative you assume all is well and try to continue.

At which point you have your first encounter with the message: 'The upload file you selected does not contain a valid header', which is Yahoo code for "You haven't sorted out the errors yet because you've taken this from the comments field and not the Converted Campaign File field where the nice downloads hang out".

yahoo.pngThe way you go about breaking the code is to do the same thing 3 or 4 times again before googling (sorry yahooing) the term and surfing the forums and blogs.

So if you're arriving here at this point in a similar journey I can tell you that "the upload file you selected does not contain a valid header" is almost certainly a result of negative keywords in the original Adwords Editor csv -  just delete them, start again and you'll be back in business.... or will you?

No, you won't. Yahoo want to check your site out before running your ads and this will take them.... 3-5 business days!!

So our first impressions are, well none yet, unless we're talking about being a customer of Yahoo which, so far, is significantly less impressive than being a customer of their major competitor.

I think I'll go and see what Bing is up to....