How much of a Pie Chart Looks Like Pac-Man per Matt Cutts?


A lesson in Repurposing Content –

I heard an English teacher once say that “Every modern love story is a copy of Shakespeare.” She used Westside Story as an extreme example, stolen from Romeo and Juliet. She went on to challenge us to find a theme that Shakespeare did not cover. But there are those who argue that Shakespeare himself stole content. Who did Shakespeare steal stories from? Well, no one really knows at this point. But if he did borrow some ideas, does that constitute stealing? He took stories and themes and reworked them so eloquently that they became his own. Taking a peak at what people have done in the past and building upon their thoughts and ideas can be a healthy exercise. Adding to the conversation is a good thing. Further, those that we can identify with and build better thoughts with may even thank us. …or not. Matt Cutts may just consider me more of a pest than a pest control guy. I concede. But thanks Matt Cutts for the original Pac-Man Pie Chart idea.

Making Viral Pieces

Do your homework first. Successful viral marketing campaigns don’t just “happen”.  Search out things that have already been done in your vertical. People send the same chain letters over, and over again. In fact, I was shocked just recently to get an email about some scandal 5 years after the first bogus email came through. Yet, the same sensationalism exists, and that email was forwarded and will continue to be forwarded for who knows how long. The point being, if it worked once then it will likely work again. If people liked it before then they will like it again. Weighing human nature into business is part of a winning strategy. Love songs are still sung, and new songs still come. So find something that worked well in the past and do it again. Do it better. You may not be able to judge a viral piece correctly every time, but if you do your homework then you can certainly increase your percentages.


But Don’t mind me, Just a pest control guy… Make it a great day!

Pest Control Guy - Thomas Ballantyne

-Thomas Ballantyne III
Director of Marketing for Bulwark Exterminating
Follow me on Twitter —> @Thos003

Legal Issues of Domain Names and Trademarks – Pubcon Vegas 2011

Privacy Law Developments – Las Vegas PubCon 2011 – My powerpoint aims to provide a synopsis on some of the most recent and relevant privacy law developments affecting Internet business and marketing — from security breach notification statute amendments to the SEC’s Guidance on cyber security and disclosure.

Competitive Intelligence Presentation – Pubcon Vegas 2011

Here is my presentation from Pubcon Vegas 2011 on Competitive Intelligence. This was a great panel and I am hoping everybody learned a ton! Enjoy!

Pubcon Vegas 2011 Competitive Intelligence session write-ups:

New Firefox 8.0 Doesn’t Support My Favorite Add-Ons

If you hadn’t heard, Mozilla Firefox released another new update.

I don’t mind updates, but this one forced me to complain a bit.

As a pretty consistent blogger, I frequently will take pictures of sections of a website with an Add-On called Screengrabber. Screengrabber would allow me to simply copy a section of a page, copy the entire viewable page, or copy the entire screen and then paste it in an email to share with my team.

It would also allow me to save those same images to my desktop easily for future blogging pleasure.

The point is, most, if not all, of my blog posts that show images of how-to posts, step by step guides, or “check this out” ideas, were created thanks to Screengrabber.

Until today.

Due to the Firefox 8.0 upgrade, there are quite a few Firefox Add-on’s I’m used to using that are not compatible.

Of course, Firefox has it’s reason for updating:

A Firefox software update is a quick download of small amounts of new code to your existing Firefox browser. These small patches can contain security fixes or other little changes to the browser to ensure that you are using the best version of Firefox available.

Firefox is constantly evolving as our community finds ways to make it better, and as we adjust to the latest security threats. Keeping your Firefox up-to-date is the best way to make sure that you are using the smartest, fastest and – most importantly – safest version of Firefox available.

Will the update effect my settings and bookmarks?

No. A Firefox update will not make any changes to your bookmarks, saved passwords or other settings. However, there is a possibility that some of your Add-ons won’t be immediately compatible with new updates. (bold and italics added for emphasis)

So, I found a new tool that actually might even be better. It’s called Aviary.

Here’s a screen shot I took while playing around.

Not only does the tool allow me to take a picture of a section of a screen, but it also gives me the following options:

  • Capture the visible portion of the page
  • Capture the entire page
  • And BEST OF ALL, EDIT the image on the fly!

That’s right, I can now avoid wasting lots of time opening Photoshop or Illustrator and trying to figure out how to make my image “talk” to people.

The above image took me about 3 minutes, and I wouldn’t call myself a “professional graphic artist” by any means.

Here are some of the other Add-On’s I currently can’t use with Firefox 8.0:

The Google Toolbar and Firebug were also Add-ons I was disappointed to not have access to, although the Toolbar has been non-compatible for a few updates. The hope is that these Add-ons will recognize the updates and become compatible shortly, but I’m not holding my breath…

What are your thoughts on the new Firefox Updates?

Too many?

Not enough?

Don’t care?

Nate Moller works with businesses who want to improve their online business. For over six years, he’s worked with thousands of companies who are looking for answers in their online marketing journey. Follow Nate on Twitter and become a fan of Moller Marketing on Facebook!



Update: Google Local Mixed Results Hit the Blender

Well there have been a bunch of busy bees in the Google local search hive. Local has been under the knife a few times. From reset data, to cool visual effects. These are today’s changes in Google’s local blended results.

Gray Google Map MarkerThe New Gray Google Map Marker

Less intrusive, less eye catching, more interactive.

Rolling over the this gray marker will change it blue for pay per click (PPC)  ads on the right, or red for organic listings on the left. Scrolling over markers in the google map section highlights the respective listing markers in the PPC and organic section. You will also get a nice snippet for the local organic listings. No snippets for PPC. It’s also interesting to note that the listings have moved the once red-pins-now-gray-pin to the right of the blended results. Google also removed the triangle pointer they once displayed for the top listing.

Example of Snippet and red corresponding markers for search term Phoenix Pest Control.

Blumenthal alludes to the fact that the move from grey to red might be happening because Google is losing revenues on the local results. So this could decrease traffic to the local listings. But at this point we don’t know how much this will effect traffic to the local listings.

The Local One Box Left-Foot-Shuffle

The One Box moved it’s map to the right, the area usually occupied by PPC ads. … Just a new look?

Searched Bulwark Houston


 Changes to Listing Preview

In the past a listing preview would show a screenshot of the website for both local search results and regular search listings. Now the local search results show a smaller screen shot accompanied by a map, images found in google places, quick glance of categories, business hours, review sites with review count, and a feedback link.


Bulwark Exterminating - Phoenix Pest Control Results
Full Disclosure - I am a pest control guy for Bulwark Exterminating

The feedback link takes you directly to the “Report a problem” screen of google maps.

If the red pin change was due to a decrease in revenues then it might be interesting to note that this preview is pushing Google’s property a little more. Further, the other review sites are now only visible in the extended view. In the past those sites were found under the place page listing.

Local Bug Report

In the image below the cursor was over the map and it was highlighting the first PPC ad for Bulwark Exterminating and not the correct ad for scorpion control. Just a minor scripting error.

Script Error - Mesa Pest Control Search

This happened again in a Houston search. The marker with no number indicates “not on the map”, the marker with the 1 in it on the map belongs to a different Houston pest control company.

Bulwark Exterminating | 10900 Brittmoore Park Drive Houston, TX 77041
Bulwark Exterminating | 10900 Brittmoore Park Drive

With all the recent updates Google has been moving the local map rankings around. And sadly Bulwark Exterminating dropped out of the Houston pest control local pack. Clearly something is wrong. Needless to say, we have found a few bugs here as well. Not simply because Bulwark wasn’t listed, but because Google was listing a cash parked page from Godaddy that’s for sale. Apparently on-site SEO has little to no relevancy in Google’s Local Listing algorithm.

Yesterday's screen shot for Houston Pest Control

Just a few minor bugs google may want to check into. Overall, Google has done a good job with their local search section. Overall, they still have a lot of problems to fix.

But Don’t mind me, Just a pest control guy… and that is the Search Pest Report.

Pest Control Guy - Thomas Ballantyne

-Thomas Ballantyne III
Director of Marketing for Bulwark Exterminating
Follow me on Twitter —> @Thos003

Google Places Gets A New SERP And Yelp Continues To Win

Yes we all know by now that Google Places has a new look for their SERPs (one which I really dig by the way) but I want to talk about who I still think comes out the winner in all this – Yelp.  If you remember, Yelp fought hard to get themselves removed from the “reviews” area of the Places page (or as I like to call it “reviews jail”), insisting that Google was stealing their content.  What it really boiled down to, is that people didn’t have to actually CLICK and go to Yelp to see any of the reviews, because they were right there in the Google Places listing for people to read.  Yelp ended up getting what they wanted, and getting the reviews removed from this “reviews jail”.

Bring on yesterdays changes  – Here is a before and after look of the same local search SERP (note where you do not find Yelp in the reviews area, but one of the top results on the regular SERP listings.)  Also note where you still find Yelp – dominating the top of the organic SERPs (right where I’d want to be if I were them).  You know Yelp is benefiting greatly, and getting loads of traffic from these organic listings.

Google Local SERP before
Google Local SERP before
Google Places SERP After
Google Places SERP After


As Yelp continues to be free from the “reviews jail” that Google had placed them in, and enjoys these top organic rankings (for virtually any and all queries I did anyway) they are going stay the DOMINATING force in reviews.  I know a lot of people locally who have told me they search for a business just to find & read the Yelp reviews.  IMO – Yelp is winning the reviews battle (for now) with Google.  Yelp has always had good rankings in Google, but as I said earlier – there has yet to be a search I did where I did not find the Yelp listing in one of the top 3 organic spots.  Again I say, win for Yelp.

I reached out to my Yelp contacts (who I adore) for comment on the new SERP change, and they politely said “sorry, have to pass”.

Thanks to Greg over at SEL for making me think of this (from his post this morning on Google raising the local search stake).

DSM at Search Conferences and Other Speaking Engagements

David Mink
David Mink

We always enjoy the opportunity to share our marketing experience, knowledge and tips with others at search marketing conferences and networking events across the country. Recently, we have been pretty busy doing just that.  Here are just a few updates:

David Mink, one of DSM’s founding partners was asked to serve on the founding board of directors for  David is handling all of the legal “to do’s” that come with setting up a non profit organization.  David will also be heading back to Las Vegas for PubCon 2011 to once again speak on the “Legal Issues of Domain Names and Trademarks” panel with fellow attorney Clarke Walton.

Mat Siltala will be joining David at PubCon to speak on several panels including Foursquare & Gowalla – Geo Location MarketingInteractive Site Reviews: Focus Brand & Reputation Management and Competitive Intelligence – Tools and Tactics.

Dream Systems Media also became a “dinner sponsor” for Epic Dinner  Pubcon Vegas 2011, and is really looking forward to that huge event… within the bigger event (PubCon) and the opportunity to connect with even more amazing individuals in our industry!

Andrew Melchior, our other founding partner made a trip down to Tucson, Arizona to help Local First Arizona present to a number of businesses on “local search” marketing strategies.

Matt Siltala
Matt Siltala

The whole crew will be heading to  PubCon Paradise 2012 In Honolulu Hawaii where Mat has been asked to speak & moderate a variety of panels.

All in all, lots of skymiles, meeting with old and new friends and learning from some of the brightest minds in the game.