Editor's note: We list the companies and people alphabetically according to what company hires what person or another company. Our weekly column is always looking for announcements, so please email them to [email protected]
Accipiter Solutions, Inc. announced that it has strengthened its leadership position with a number of new customer wins and contract upgrades in Italy: Editoriale Domus, BBJ, StudentiMediaGroup, and iNet. A number of customers, including Tiscali, also signed new contracts to increase the number of ads served using Accipiter's AdManager.
BlueLithium has appointed Bill Lonergan to the newly created position of chief financial officer. Lonergan has 25 years of financial management experience helping technology companies achieve significant growth and gains in market share. He will be responsible for leading all accounting and financial activities while guiding BlueLithium towards its business and financial goals.
Bluestreak has hired Mary Byrne as senior vice president, global sales. Byrne comes to Bluestreak with extensive experience in online advertising and marketing sales from DoubleClick.
Donat/Wald announced it has been named agency of record for Movielink, a movie download service. The two companies launched a nationwide print advertising campaign introducing Movielink's new download-to-own service, which allows consumers to buy movie downloads online.
DoubleClick Inc. announced the appointment of Marianne Caponnetto as chief sales and marketing officer. Caponnetto, a pioneer and innovator in the field of digital advertising and marketing, brings more than 20 years of global marketing and sales experience in the media and entertainment industry.
Coremetrics announced that Abebooks.com, the world's largest online marketplace for books, is using Coremetrics web analytics to measure the impact of site redesign efforts, enabling the company to gain insight into how refinements to the site affect the bottom line.
Geary Interactive, a digital marketing firm, has won an Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Award from the web marketing association for Geary's launch of a promotional website for 20th Television's award- winning show "24". The firm received a Best of Show Rich Media Online Campaign Award.
Habeas Inc. announced that HomeGain has selected the company's email reputation services to improve email deliverability to consumers, agents and brokers. Through the Habeas SafeList, HomeGain is ensured residence on the whitelists for a majority of the world's ISPs.
Kanoodle announced a multi-year exclusive agreement with Dow Jones & Company. As part of the agreement, Kanoodle content-targeted sponsored links will appear on websites within Dow Jones Online, including The Wall Street Journal Online, CareerJournal.com, OpinionJournal.com, StartupJournal.com, RealEstateJournal.com, CollegeJournal.com and Barron's Online.
MIVA, Inc. announced it has signed a global ad distribution deal with Data Depth, providers of iCopyright, an automated copyrighting technology designed to protect and increase the revenue of publishers online content.
News Corp. announced that Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam, now director of Consumer Security Outreach & Child Safe Computing at Microsoft Corp., will head up safety, education, privacy and law enforcement oversight programs for MySpace
Publicis & Hal Riney announced that Yo Umeda has been hired as an art director. Prior to Riney, Umeda worked at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners as an art director. Yo has worked on multiple campaigns for HP, Subway and Comcast, as well as interactive campaigns for Emerald Nuts, Adobe, and HP.
Revver, Inc. announced it has secured $8.7 million in Series B funding led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, joined by Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper Richards and William Randolph Hearst III. The additional funding will drive Revver's international market expansion, team-building and technology development from beta to live site in May 2006.
BMW thought it could outsmart search engines by cloaking keyword-heavy content behind user-friendly pages. It recognized the importance of keyword- and content-rich pages, but it did not want to sacrifice functionality and aesthetics. Unfortunately, Google doesn't like being served different content than users. This tactic is looked down upon to protect users from being served pages that are topically irrelevant to a given search term but show up in the results because the search engines have been tricked into thinking a page is much different than what the user sees when he or she arrives.
For this tactic, BMW's German website was de-indexed until it ditched the cloaking and Google approved a request for re-inclusion. This incident illuminates several things that SEOs can take back to their organizations. The most important is that tactics employed solely to manipulate organic rankings, that disregard the core element of providing value to the user, can result in penalties. De-indexation is a severe penalty, and it's one that BMW will never want to navigate through again.
A second lesson here is that there is a balance between site usability and search engine optimization. While SEOs might want to target every keyword under the sun, SEOs are better off defining a niche and excelling in a narrow space. Even if one manipulates better rankings through heavy content and keyword stuffing, these sites quickly become sloppy and difficult for users to navigate. A focused approach on a reasonably sized list of core terms and modifiers promotes a better user experience and more scalable SEO campaigns. At the point when key rankings are achieved, additional terms can be targeted to expand the campaign in a natural way that broadens a site's topical relevance and still provides value to users. While this practice might require a bit more patience, it encourages the development of great content and builds a strong foundation from which social signals and link equity can be brought in and subsequently distributed through the site as it expands.
One of the more recent SEO incidents with J.C. Penney illuminates how some brands are not highly informed about how their rankings are being achieved. J.C. Penney was accumulating low-relevance links at an extremely rapid pace, and the retail giant did not seem to question where the links were coming from because they were working. Its website enjoyed strong rankings, and when the site was exposed for buying thousands of irrelevant links, J.C. Penney claimed it was not aware of the questionable tactics. Whether it was or not, it is important to remember that marketers must keep a vigilant eye on their SEO rankings, links, search engine visibility, and the means by which these are achieved.
This is especially true when evaluating the value of your back-link profile. By most accounts, the quality, relevance, and authority of links pointing to your domain is still a dominant indicator of your site's general authority on topics, which is usually rewarded with high rankings. However, search engine algorithms are not blind to black-hat tactics of farming links from networks or bulk-buying links from irrelevant sites with an overemphasis on commercially viable keywords. J.C. Penney had frivolous links from random pages across the internet, and while it took a while for it to assess a penalty, Google eventually took action. This was a shock to most SEOs, as the ill-advised link buying had been going on for at least two holiday seasons.
Your back-link profile should reflect naturally acquired links that relate to your industry and the content that populates your website. Links should provide value to users on other websites, and if you are working with a provider to build links, it's important that you retain a provider that is as transparent as possible about the links it's facilitating and the criteria by which it qualifies your potential linking partners.
Overstock.com was also recently penalized for questionable link-building tactics. In this case, the retail site was trading discounts for premium link placements on .edu domains. Google viewed this as an infringement of its standards even though Overstock was not technically paying for link placements. It was, however, asking for links and providing recompense for their placement in a very public and overt manner.
Looking at the link placements that Overstock was dinged for, it becomes apparent that the company had another problem beyond its public bartering for links; the sheer number of links it acquired from a limited number of domains -- and a single top-level domain (TLD) -- was unnaturally high. A high volume of links from a handful of domains isn't necessarily a problem; plenty of examples of site-wide links exist. And it's also known that links from .edu domains are considered very authoritative. But it's also understood that domain variance is critical when actively building a back-link profile. If you prefer to avoid sabotage from competitors and manual scrutiny or potential penalties from search engines, it's important to limit high-volume acquisition of links from one particular place (i.e., a specific domain, IP, or -- in this case -- a TLD that doesn't commonly link to retail sites).
The tactics Overstock used to acquire links were construed to be against Google's guidelines, but SEOs can appreciate the importance of domain and anchor text variance for back-link profiles. Overkill of certain keywords or linked pages does not make much SEO sense from the perspective of naturally building relevance and authority. Revenue-driving pages and keywords should still be given priority, but healthy anchor text and URL variance will help ensure your SEO practices mirror natural link acquisition behavior.
Variance can also apply to a balance between long-tail and short-tail keyword targeting. As we saw with the Mayday update last year, Google made it harder for less-relevant websites to employ a strategy geared to rank only for long-tail keywords. This largely affected websites that were targeting obscure, long-tail queries as a primary means of driving traffic. This led to sites with irrelevant content and the creation of pages (or entire sections) that garnered very few links from external sources. However, targeting longer-tail keywords can be successful for marketers who cannot hope to rank for top category phrases. It's important that a strategy incorporates a well-rounded mix of long- and short-tail terms. In this way, marketers can make quicker inroads with longer queries while slowly inching up dominance for shorter-tail keywords.
In general, the recent black-hat SEO mishaps prove that search engine optimization is not a one-time task. It takes constant and strategic implementation that adapts to the hundreds of annual algorithm updates and the competition. SEOs need to keep tabs on the wide spectrum of ranking factors and do their best to keep up. However, this should never be at the sacrifice of the user experience or hinder the ability of searchers to get to desired content. Search engine optimization plans should stem from creating a crawlable structure and quality content.
If you want to see your brand name in SERPs -- but not in unflattering headlines -- make sure your SEO is well thought out and doesn't rely on questionable tactics (or any single tactic, for that matter). The true value of SEO is realized when brands can help users find and interact with quality, relevant content.
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Occupation: aspiring politician
Running as: anti-politician
Former occupation: Hewlett Packard CEO
Campaign slogan: "New possibilities, real leadership"
Political experience: soundly beaten by Barbra Boxer in 2010 senate run -- sent Carly a strong message to give the American people more of what they don't want.
Marketing strategy: Carly is using the time-tested and consistently failed strategy of running as an anti-politician. She often sites her experience in the private sector and lack of government employment as a major asset, claiming, "Our founders never imagined a government led by career politicians." Her campaign has turned a problem she can't rectify into a voluntary status of strength, implementing a classic tactic previously executed by pizza aficionado Herman Cain, who rose highly in the 2012 polls before winning zero Republican primaries or caucuses. Carly hopes to convince the electorate that a vote for her is middle finger to the political system, which would work better if there wasn't already a wealthier businessperson leading the pack. She has also branded her campaign by her first name because no one wants to learn how to pronounce "Fiorina."
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Occupation: retired neurosurgeon
Appeal to Republican base: inexplicable
Similarities to Barack Obama: one
Campaign slogan: "Heal, inspire, revive"
Origin: randomly selected medical documents
Marketing strategy: Ben Carson has the advantage of being the only African American to grace the 2016 Republican debate stage and enjoys a well-deserved reputation of being an accomplished medical professional and groundbreaking surgeon. His strategy is to be the ying to Trump's personality yang, positioning himself as the calm, thoughtful choice for the thinking conservative. His campaign is marketing Carson as a pallet cleanser by creating the persona of a sage grandfather with a few ideas on how to clean up your life and get your act together. He's basically the Republican pre-2014 Bill Cosby.
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Occupation: Vermont senator
Political party: Democratic Socialist
Odds of that being a problem in the general election: pretty good
Hairstyle: "the dying dandelion"
Age: exactly how he looks
Marketing strategy: Bernie Sanders is making a impossible dark horse run for president by focusing on just a few populist ideas and issues rather than running the gamut of common presidential indulgences. His strategy is not to position himself as the viable alternative to Hillary Clinton like 2008 Barack Obama, but rather as the independent voice for income inequality, universal healthcare, climate change, and other progressive stances that make Rachael Maddow giggle with delight. Bernie is on a one-man mainstream crusade against billionaire-backed campaigns and Citizens United, and is hoping his genuine outrage on the campaign trail comes off as liberal and sane version of an elderly Donald Trump.
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Occupation: governor of Wisconsin, 2011
Amount of times nearly kicked out of office in 2012: one
Branded: a union buster
Moonlights as: ventriloquist dummy
Appeal to base: meh
Appeal to Iowans: yum
Marketing strategy: After surviving a recall election in 2012 and signing union-decimating legislation in Wisconsin, Scott Walker burst on the Republican map as an elected leader who doesn't really care what the electorate thinks of him. His marketing strategy involves implementing a milquetoast effort to position himself as the candidate who will sharply turn right on issues when needed, and avoid others when possible to remain general-election viable. His campaign is focused on winning the Iowa caucuses which naturally means the governor will be spending copious time on the trail eating pork-chop-on-a-stick and playing competitive cornhole, all while engaging in menial cheese-related conversations with overweight caucus voters.
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Occupation: former secretary of state
Future occupation: 2020 presidential candidate
Desire to be president: mind-blowing
Stances: everything that affects everyone at any time should be better
Slogan: "It's your time"
Amount of times slogan repeated to herself alone in mirror: countless
Marketing strategy: After suffering a surprise upset by Barack Obama in 2008, Hillary's new strategy is simple: be Barack Obama. Everything from her "arrow" logo, to the barrage of endless progressive campaign tweets is meant to brand the former first lady, senator, and secretary of state as a fresh choice for the future. Unlike in 2008, Hillary has severely downplayed the inevitability tone of her campaign, instead preaching humility while raking in over 200% more campaign cash than her closest competitor. Part of her strategy involves winning the "progressive-off" against Vermont senator Bernie Sanders who is mounting a strong run by battling campaign finance reform and protesting well-combed hair. Hillary is banking on a strategy that critically hinges on Al Gore's continued lack of presidential ambitions.
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Occupation: Florida senator
Previous occupation: West Side Story cast member
Biggest political advantage: youth
Biggest political liability: thirst
Campaign slogan: "A new American century"
Marketing strategy: Rubio's strategy is focused on being the choice for the future. His slogan "A new American century" is meant to brand him as the youthful, energetic and exciting candidate who will bring America into the modern era of digital, social media, and other Millennial hallmarks that the presidency has nothing to do with. Rubio is taking a macro view of the election and hoping his overall message of progressive conservatism resonates with the Republican base, and that young voters lead him to victory in the general election. He is also strategically bypassing the primary process by attacking Hillary Clinton when given airtime, so voters can mentally project him onto a general election debate stage. It's a strategy that's successfully rocketed him to ninth place in the most recent CNN election poll.
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Occupation: former Texas governor
Campaign slogan: "Expanding opportunity for all"
Definition of "all": Rick Perry
Campaign cash: out
Campaign staff pay: none
Despite the glasses?: yes
Other Texas governors who became president that have essentially screwed his chances from the get-go: one
Marketing strategy: Following a 2008 presidential campaign that flamed up and fizzled out faster than you can say "oops," Rick Perry picked himself up by his bootstraps and also bought a shiny new pair of glasses while he was at the clothing store. This new Rick Perry is branded as the smart Rick Perry -- version 2.0. He openly admits he wasn't prepared last time around and his strategy to win in 2016 focuses reminding the electorate of his record in Texas. As the longest-serving Texas governor, Perry did indeed preside over the world's 11th largest economy for 14 years, and his campaign is bent on making Perry's Texas leadership a case study for national appeal. It's a plan that was successful for George W. Bush in 2000, but assumes that Obama too is engulfed in an unprecedented Oval Office sex scandal.
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Occupation: South Carolina senator
Campaign slogan: "Ready to be commander-in-chief on day one"
Slogan's convention chantablity: could get messy
Military experience: yes
Lessons learned from military experience: not the good ones
Interest in ISIS: strictly platonic
Marketing strategy: If you had to sum up Lindsey Graham's presidential strategy in one word, it'd be "war." Unlike the cracker, this Graham is not sweet or harmless. His debate performance and stump speeches on the campaign trail are tailored toward reminding you that ISIS is out there and will kill you. He opening proclaims that must re-invade Iraq and send ground troops into other middle east countries to combat the threat of radical Islam. His entire campaign zeal is focused on branding himself as the strongest candidate through militaristic stances and aggressive geopolitical posturing. Lindsey Graham is also single and has no children, which means his war-centric strategy is also meant to lead voter perception far away from the idea that he is hiding something.
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Occupation: former Arkansas governor and Fox show host
Campaign slogan: "From hope to higher ground"
Resemblance to Kevin Spacey: uncanny
Relationship to Jesus: intimate
Interest in women's reproductive organs: almost creepy
Marketing strategy: Mike Huckabee has the benefit of being an established Republican figure who won seven primaries and caucuses in 2008 before being defeated by John McCain. His strategy is to brand himself as the Christian conservative choice, harkening back to the campaign ran by George W. Bush and the '80s Christian coalition movement that propelled Republicans into modern power. As a former pastor, Mike is not faking his love of god and Christian values and sees his religious beliefs as guiding principles in his governance. Mike hasn't received the memo that the Republican base are no longer evangelicals, but fortunately for him that won't matter in the critical Iowa caucus due to the religious makeup of those voters. He is officially the fallback Republican savior if the Bush and Trump campaigns are crucified.
Donald. Freaking. Trump.
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Presidential qualifications: strong font choice for logo
Frustration level: maximum overdrive
Campaign slogan: "Make America great again!"
Amount of words removed from Reagan's exact campaign slogan: one
Claims to have never used an ATM: yes
Expert in: teaching others the secret of how to get rich
Inheritance from father: $40 million - $200 million
Marketing strategy: The biggest 2016 election shocker is of course the surge of Donald Trump as the Republican front-runner. Trump's strategy is visible from space: America is losing and he will make us win. Trump's strategy falls right in line with his caustic, belligerent personality that made him so popular in the reality show circuit and as a frequent media hungry tycoon. His big issue is trade, and while the specifics of his plans are as absent as his natural hair color, it hasn't stopped the majority of Republicans from responding to his frustrated message. Trump positions himself proudly as the ideal choice for general election poison. Much like a few shots of Trump Vodka (yes, that was a thing) supporting Trump initially feels good until you realize the horrible consequences when it's hangover time. His marketing tactics are taken right from his pre-established personal branding. He hopes to win over the electorate by being the most passionate vessel for conservative woes. While Trump currently enjoys ascendance, it's unclear how the campaign would handle the machine gun barrage of negative ads currently on the Democratic cutting room floor spliced from television appearances, interviews, private recordings, and speeches. All signs point to "not well."
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