I love WOOT – they crack me up all the time. There’s a WOOT OFF happening right now and they let me know about it with a fake internal email. It made me laugh so hard I had to share:


Attention Woot employees –

We are now entering the final phase of preparations for the Woot-Off planned for midnight tonight. This is when we depart from our usual deal-a-day model and sell one product after another, offering a new deal as soon as the previous one sells out. For some reason, Woot members like oilmanseo continue to have high expectations for this event. We must make every effort to ensure that they feel disappointed and betrayed.

All workers should be physically and mentally straining to make this Woot-Off a success, like every muscle in a wolf’s body strains to capture and devour its prey. We expect total compliance with the following objectives:

  • Make sure the stables are thoroughly cleaned and the horses properly groomed and shod. As you know, Commander Rutledge prefers to lead us on horseback during Woot-Offs. Charge!
  • Customer Service department: all vacation requests for this week and next are approved. If you have not filed a vacation request, take one anyway.
  • The little green pills in the kitchen are there to keep you alert and working. Take as many as you need. Officially, Woot does not believe in the concept of “overdose”.
  • Take at least one of our servers offline, just for laughs.
  • Go to the landfill and dig up some more Sansa media players. If you see any Digipro Graphics Tablets (and you will), grab those, too. If you want to know the definition of led screen related to graphics, visit
  • Place crap bags in company latrines so those orders can be “filled”. To this end, the company will provide free lunch today from El Feo, the filthiest burrito joint in Dallas. Do your worst, guys.
  • Neutralize all negative thinking among our members. We simply cannot tolerate any more posts like “do not want” or “Woot-Off killer”. If electronic means like word filters and IP bans do not work, we must reactivate the rapid-response teams to physically eliminate all threats to our reputation.
  • Last time, spot checks revealed that approximately 25% of products shipped are broken, incomplete, or excessively dirty. This is unacceptable. For this Woot-Off, defective shipments must make up at least 40%.
  • Remind SmartPost that there’s no need to hurry on these orders. Prompt delivery makes our customers spoiled and argumentative. Let them learn humility and gratitude while they wait.

Above all, we must strive to make this Woot-Off even more tedious, disappointing, and lucrative than the last one. The employee who achieves the most toward this end will be rewarded with one brown Zune. Second place: two brown Zunes.

Forward into battle! Remember: to give one’s life for Woot is glorious!

Larry Stalin
eCommerce eKommissar
Woot, Inc.


Vote Damnit! I Would If I Could.

Generally when somebody tags me in one of these blogger meme things I just ignore it but this one is worth commenting on. So watch the video then read the post then have a beer or three if you like.


You all know by now that I’m Canadian.  I know you all know because pretty much none of you pass up the opportunity to make a joke about it. I’m cool with that. I’m secure in my Canadianism. With that security and national pride comes a propensity to vote. Voter turnout in Canada in 2006 was 47% of the population or blazing 64.7% of registered voters vs 59% in the US. Honestly, until I researched that I thought the numbers would be way lower. I thought that because, to be blunt, I simply don’t care. I should say I simply DIDN’T care. Now I do. What’s changed?

I don’t live in Canada anymore. I move to the US just in time for an amazingly interesting election and just in time to watch the economy fall apart around me. I also have kids and I worry about their future. When I lived in Canada I didn’t (free healthcare etc etc). In short, I’ve grown up and it occurred to be that part of being an adult is doing my part to make the world a better place. Yeah, I know, that’s a nice platitude and you can probably get it printed on a decorative plate to hang on the wall but there’s simply not a better way to say it.

Make the world a better place. Go vote. I think the world will be better when we use your voices to propel it in a direction. We may not agree on the direction we want to move but we can all agree that where we are right now is not a place worth staying.

I can’t vote but you can so don’t waste it. I’m gonna go hassle my wife right now to make sure she’s registered.

What are you doing still reading this? Go register…

Tagging: Jeremiah Andrick, Rhea Drysdale, Kenny Hyder, Lindsay Perkin, Monica Wright

Cuz I Know Y’all Been Wondering…

ADDED: I’m not moving. I’m staying in the Seattle area 🙂

Well it’s been a long, weird year so far but it’s finally settling down for me and life is resuming a normal routine very similar to what it was back in my days at Range Online Media.

I don’t really like typing so I’ll keep this breif and bring you all up date.

In January to this year I left Range after 2 and a half amazing years there and struck out on an adventure with a tech startup in Seattle called Visible Technologies. To be honest it was a rocky few months and in spite of the good people and great products and services it became clear pretty quickly that VT and I were not a good fit so with the blessing of the VT management we parted ways in a very amicable fashion. The only hitch was that I am a Canadian (toque, aboot, prOcess, zee) and I was on a work visa through Visible and once I quit I was not allowed to work for anybody else. 

Long story short…while I waited for my new work authorization I simply took the summer off and stayed home and drove my family nuts. Three and a half months later I have some new papers in my hands that say I can work for whomever I want. Talk about a freeing feeling. The timing could not be better since my wife is about to kill me and we’ve pretty much burned up the savings account.

So where am I going? What will I being? Who will I be doing it for? Good questions.

I’ve accepted a position as VP of Search for Position Technologies. PT is based just outside of Chicago in St Charles IL and also has an office in Santa Barbara. Jim, the founder, and I are long time friends and have talke about working together for years now and I’m ecstatic to finally be part of the PT family. I’ll be running the SEO and consulting department as well as representing PT on the conference circuit. 

So there you have it. A brief explanation of where I’ve been for the past few months and if you can put 2 and 2 together you’ll also figure out that leaving VT was the demise of TrainTalkWithTodd. TTwT may come back in some form once I settling into an official office space and a daily routine. We’ll see.

The brief side trip into startup land was fun but it’s good to be back in Search doing what I know and love.

Shame Shame Shame Findlaw

So we all know who is. Yeah – those guys – the largest legal website out there. In their words:

FindLaw is the #1 online destination serving legal professionals from law firms, corporate in-house legal departments, and government agencies nationwide and globally.

That said I was a bit surprised to find out they are now expanding their service offering in the most logical direction possible: Search Engine Marketing. How do I know this? The sent me a very nice email:


I’d like to help you increase your company’s visibility, rank and penetration within natural search results on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and more with our new FindLaw Search Engine Marketing Product (SEM-C).

Search engine marketing, or SEM, is the art and science of increasing qualified leads to a Web site from search engines and other Internet sources. When people search, they’re looking for answers. If they receive search results that will get them those answers, they’re more likely to convert into a customer.

Studies by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, a respected nonprofit research organization, show that more than 73% of American adults use the Internet. More than 60 million Americans use search engines on any given day according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

The results of implementing this product are to gain more clients by generating more traffic to your company’s Web site and converting those prospects to clients at a high rate.

If you’d like to learn more about our new SEM-C Marketing Product, please call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Best Regards,

xxxxx xxxxxxx
Account Executive, Corporate Sales Department

That email isn’t really that bad other than it was unsolicited. My guess is so whois info was harvested from a legal related site I own. So why a post about Findlaw offering SEM? Cuz it gets so much better. Enjoy this email a friend of mine got:

Hi xxxx,

I’m delighted to announce the launch of Findlaw’s new Search Engine
Marketing (SEM) program specifically geared for for legal software and
service providers. Whether you are a software company, a legal
recruiter or an expert witness service, Findlaw’s new SEM product will
help you generate more business from all of the major search engines by
leveraging Findlaw’s authoritative position as the top online
destination serving the Legal Professionals market. The goal of the
SEM program is to help position your natural search results more
prominently on Google, Yahoo and MSN, which account for 90% of all
searches conducted online. SEM is something we have been providing law
firms exclusively for the last 4-5 years, so I am very excited to be
able to offer this impactful program to you.

Here are the details of the program: up to 3 hard coded links will be
placed on editorially relevant pages of content. Links will be placed
at the recommendation of our SEO specialists, who have been assisting
law firms with these programs. They will conduct a brief audit of your
site and submit their link recommendations. You will also be allowed
to submit up to 5 articles to be placed in the area mentioned above.
Each article will have a hard coded link. So essentially the program
consists of 8 hard coded links on relevant, high value pages of Findlaw.

We will provide a White Paper that explains how to write web and SEO
friendly content and a White Paper detailing standard SEO practices.
We will also provide a piece that explains how you can monitor
performance, as value is determined by increased traffic to your site.

The program is set up for 12 months with the option to cancel by
providing a 30 day notice at any point after the first 30 days (minimum
60 day run required). The cost is $1k per month for the package. We
have 5 different SEM modules to choose from: Legal Forms/DIY (4
remaining) , Legal Experts/Consultants, Legal Technology, Legal Careers
(3 remaining) and Corporate Counsel / In-House Legal.

Please let me know if you would like to secure one of these. We have a
limited number of programs available.

xxxx xxxxxx

xxxx xxxxxx

Account Executive

Holy crap! Is it 2002 again? That’s just a straight up link buy on a high PR site. The price isn’t too bad – 3 links for $1000. I can practically hear Matt Cutts firing up his burn tools right now.

Hold on. It gets better. I’ve managed to get my grubby paws on a copy of the word document that outlines the whole program. I’ll just highlight the fun bits below:

Product Elements for SEM-C
The SEM-C product runs for 12 months and includes the following:
1) Link modules – to be placed on relevant content pages. The product includes 3 links.

Link placement will be determined by chosen audience segments/industries which are as follows:
o Legal Technology
o Corporate Counsel
o Career/Education
o DIY (Do It Yourself) – i.e., Forms, Contracts, etc.
o Experts – i.e., Expert Witnesses, Practice Support & Consultants, etc.
An advertiser selects an audience segment/industry and then FindLaw’s engineering team will place links on contextually relevant pages. These links will appear on pre-determined buckets of pages and are chosen at FindLaw’s discretion.

2) Articles that appear in various sections and are provided by the customer. This product includes up to 5 articles. Articles will contain a hard coded link to advertiser’s web site. Like the link modules, placement is determined by audience segments and at the discretion of FindLaw.

3) White Paper detailing standard SEO practices. Advertiser can use these practices to optimize their site, and thus improve and monitor traffic. The value of this product is determined by increased traffic to a Web site.

Ok – so we’re selling text link ads and embedding links in articles. Pretty standard fare. Next…

FindLaw can measure page views to advertiser’s articles but with the SEM-C product, the Corporate Team will not be able to monitor traffic to the advertiser’s web site. The advertiser will need to track this performance.

The advertiser will need to track? So that means no redirects, counters etc. A nice straight up text link.

Next and last if the Creative Suggestion section of the document that helps the customer determine how to decide what goes in their anchor text. I’ll just past the whole thing but I guarantee you have a chuckle points 1,2 and 3 like I did.

Search engines consider anchor text when evaluating inbound link quality so it is important that this text is optimized appropriately. Anchor text is highlighted words on a page that link to another web page or resource. Clicking on the text, called hypertext, loads the linked resource in the user’s browser. Anchor text is important to the user and should describe the content of the target page and subject matter.

Before creating anchor text, keyword research is the first thing that should be done. What are people searching on that relate to a product or service? After answering this question, decide on the terms that would be most effective. By identifying pages through relevant keyword links, you are “telling” the search engine which keywords the linked pages represent. An inbound link that includes keywords in the link title (anchor text) is more important than a link that just says “click here.”

Anchor text will be successful if the guidelines below are followed:
1. Do what’s best for the user
2. Make it easily understood by the user
3. Don’t try to hide your intentions
4. Be honest about the anchor text. What it says is what you should get.
5. Avoid “stop words” such as and, with, by, from etc.
6. Mix and match the keyword phrases targeted through anchor links in order to associate keyword phrases with specific internal pages

It’s been nice knowing you Findlaw.

Unfortunately the reality here is that Findlaw won’t be going anywhere but it’s likely their links won’t be worth $1000 a month anymore. Damn shame really. That was a hell of a price. The should have stayed underground and partnered with a decent broker.

I Bought A Toy – Flip Mino

Microsoft Advance08 Live Blogging

Hi all – I know it’s been a long long time since I posted anything to this blog so I thank all you that have stayed on as subscribers 🙂

Today I’m attending Advance08 at Microsoft. The line up of speakers for this event is absolutely amazing:

  • Bill Gates
  • Michael Eisner
  • James Cameon
  • Arianna Huffington
  • Philippe Dauman
  • and more

I’ll be live blogging several of the key presentations but here’s the catch: I’m blogging it over at the Visible Technologies blogs at  So tune in and enjoy the day with me.


Where is Communicado? Not sure but I’ll mostly be hangin out there for the next few days as we pack up the big truck and move the fam to Gig Harbor WA.

It’s funny how right after a conference the Linkedin and Facebook invites start flowing in fast and furious. I’ll get to all you folks in a week or so and confirm all your friend requests.

To all you long lost friends that have emailed…I got the emails and it was great to see you all again as well. I’ll work on some specific replies when I can. Yeah MDS, I’ll drop you a line soon 🙂

Hang tight peeps – see you on the flip side.

Viva Las Vegas

Well I’m part way to Las Vegas for Pubcon. Based on the weather reports rolling in last night for the Pacific Northwest, it was doubtful I’d be in Vegas today, but after reading a morning weather post on, as usual, it turned out that the weather people were a bit off. Seems there’s a Pineapple Express rolling our way but it’s moving slower than expected. Yay for me cuz now I can play craps today. I’m on 6 or 7 panels this year – a couple as speaker and most as moderator. I really need to not be so helpful. Hopefully craps and booze will still figure prominently into the mix. Stop by a session and say Hi. Here’s a shout to the Victoria SEO Posse I met on the flight down here. First round of drinks you guys when we get back. Let’s hit Swans and scare away the ladies with our wit and geekiness. Here’s a pic of how a Pineapple Express is formed (from wikipedia but no link – choke on it wiki).

Video Professor And The Continuity Model

Continuity programs have to be the number one industry being dogged and harassed by online reputation issues. I figured out why. Hang on here…this is profound…people are DUMB!! Totally, unabashedly, ridiculously, box of hair dumb.

Continuity programs, for those of you not familiar with the term, are also known as auto ship programs or some variation on that theme. Basically you order a product then every month they ship you another order, or the next CD or whatever. Typically the first month is free and you just pay shipping. These programs are hot in the affiliate space and quite often backed with late night infomercials. Big deal right? I’m sure we can all agree that there is no free lunch and if you stop and think for even 2 seconds you can probably come to the conclusion that nobody can pay for infomercial time by giving away their products. Clearly common sense eludes the masses.

Probably the most well known continuity player is Video Professor. John W. Scherer (the Video Professor himself) is a very recognizable face today. You all know who he is. He looks like your favorite uncle and by all accounts he’s a phenomenal business man that’s build an empire teaching people how to add numbers in Excel or get rid of red eyes in their digital photos.

I poked around a bit to see how hard it is to miss the small print that explains that you are enrolling in a program and will be sent more DVDs and be charged for each one. It was pretty damn easy to find. When you fill out the order form there is a check box that is unchecked (you MUST check it to order) that says:

I have read and agree to the details of this offer by reviewing the HOW IT WORKS and Use Agreement program overview.

How It Works and the User Agreement are hyperlinked and one opens a popup and the other opens a new page. I’ll bet the language is confusing and cleverly obfuscated though…

How It Works:

ANY TWO of the three computer tutorial CD-ROMs are yours free without further obligation, PERIOD. Take 10 days to decide if you want to keep the complete set of CDs. After your 10-day free trial, if you decide to keep the complete set, we’ll conveniently bill your credit card just $89.95. Or simply call our customer care number at 1-800-503-3536 if you decide to return any one of the lessons. You will be charged nothing more, and get to keep two computer learning CD-ROMs! You can also return everything within 10 days and receive a full Shipping and Processing refund upon your request.

Hmmm…that’s pretty plain english. Just like you’d expect from your favorite uncle.

User Agreement:

At the end of any Trial or other promotional period, we will begin billing your credit card for subscription fees at the current rate in effect for your use of the SoftwareKeep plus any applicable sales taxes. For your convenience, we will charge the subscription fee (plus any taxes) to the credit card you provide to us during registration (or to a different credit card if you change your account information). Your subscription, whether it is Trial or another promotional period, unless it is a Direct Purchase, will automatically renew for successive subscription periods, without prior notice to you, unless and until you cancel your subscription or we terminate it. You must cancel your subscription before it renews in order to avoid billing of subscription fees to your credit card. We will continue to bill your credit card on a monthly basis (or other periodic billing, depending upon the terms of your subscription) for your subscription to the Software until you cancel your subscription. If you are not satisfied with the fees or billing methods, you may cancel your subscription at any time, but Video Professor will not refund any remaining portion of the monthly (or other periodic) fee when you cancel your subscription. If you subscribed to a free or paid Trial period to the Software, you should understand that your subscription runs continuously from your initial subscription regardless of your use of the Software, and to avoid being charged a subscription fee, you must cancel your account before the end of the Trial period. Video Professor reserves the right to change our fees or billing methods at any time, but we will give you thirty (30) days advance e-mail notice of these changes if your subscription fee(s) will be affected. In certain circumstances, termination charges may apply if you cancel prior to the end of a designated term, if, for example, you have obtained a bonus product.

Certainly that copy is more formal but it’s still pretty damn clear that you aren’t getting anything for nothing.

The real problem here isn’t that continuity programs are hard to describe. It’s also not really that people are dumb. It’s that these dumb people are still smart enough to blog. The bar is too low. I know this sounds totally arrogant but I kinda liked it better when my idiot cousin didn’t know how to work the internet or didn´t know anything about great fonts for resume.

QuickBooks Online lets you see how your business is doing instantly. Access and manage your books from your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone anytime you choose. Create access privileges so that your colleague or accountant can login and work with your data online but make sure your portfolio looks great for your business, see to learn more. Created by accountants, Swizznet is built to satisfy the critical standards and specific needs of financial teams — with the latest QuickBooks cloud hosting technology for seamless sharing, simple collaboration. Okay, this this website will tell you everything.

I found a couple great videos too:

Video Professor

Video Professor

YouTube Canada? Take Off Eh!! Buncha Hosers

Wheee – YouTube is launched in Canada. I can barely contain my excitement and appreciation that someone has recognized us in the Frozen North and…wait…excitement contained and anger rising. This is about the lamest, insulting, piece of crap I’ve seen in a long time and it’s your lucky day cuz I’m gonna rant about it for a bit…EH!! Let’s start with the YouTube Canada home page:


First off, YouTube Canada get’s a teensy weensy little Canadian flag up in the top right corner of the screen? C’mon, where’s the love? Where’s the Canadianized version of the YouTube logo? You know, the one where the red box behind “Tube” is a maple leaf. We don’t even get It just redirects to ca. Next is the blog. Here’s my favorite bit:

In developing territory-specific YouTube sites, we wanted to bring YouTube to you, in your language..

Your language from naati translation services? I’ll be the translation was a bitch…all those extra U’s in words. At least YouTube did a nice promotional video for us. You can see how the highlighted above with the fancy title bar and the great name: “YouTube Canada, Eh?”. Yeah, we say Eh. At least it sounds like a letter of the alphabet and not the unintelligible American grunt of “huh?”. Funny stuff YouTube. You sure nailed it. How well you’re endearing yourself to the Canucks. Let’s watch the video… Are you freakin kidding me? I had to look at my calendar to make sure this wasn’t a horribly ill conceived April Fools joke. Nope. It’s November 6. You really think some total tool with the personality and screen presence of piece of drywall (sheetrock for you Americans) wandering filming Canada flags is engaging? Oh look he’s trying to make the flags flap by blowing…hahahahha…pffft. The best part of this is the complete and utter slap to the face of Canadians when this retard says “you disappointed me again Canada, but not YouTube Canada…”. What? You launch a service in my country and then tell me I’ve disappointed you? What kinda message is that? What exactly is disappointing you? The fact our dollar is worth more than yours? The fact that EVERYBODY would rather have a Canadian flag on their backpack than an American flag when aceboater traveling abroad? At least you got the logo right at the end of the video.Welcome to Canada YouTube. Now take Tony and Take Off Eh!!