Friday, March 25, 2005


how does google do it?

Imagine if your employer told you that one day a week you can just work on whatever you feel like. Imagine that they actively encouraged it and made it so your reviews would be negatively impacted if you didn't do it. What would it be like? It would probably be a lot like Google. As Joe Beda notes here, Google's unique development philosophy has a very positive impact on company loyalty and overall innovation. Plus its just dang cool!


the robots.txt is not out to get you

A few weeks ago I experienced the joy that comes with trying to remove a sensitive file from Google's cache. In the process I had to do some research on robots.txt and how meta tags can be used to exclude content from search engines. I also came across some good reference docs on Yahoo and Google to help webmasters build more search friendly sites.

So what is robots.txt anyway?

Well, to put it simply, it is a file you place in your root directory which tells robots, spiders, and webcrawlers what they CAN'T index. But what do you put in the file?

User-agent: googlebot
Disallow: dottactics.htm

The above command would exclude any crawler identifying itself as 'googlebot' from crawling the file named 'dottactics.htm'.

Here is another example:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /dottactics/

This uses the wild card character (*) to exclude ALL crawlers from the /dottactics directory.

There is no technological reason why spiders and bots can't crawl reserved files or directories, but virtually all of the major search engines honor the robot.txt. Want more information? This tutorial and dediacted forum should get you where you need to go.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


startup success story

Startup Nation has a great article on the guy who started He toyed with the idea of opening up a chain of Peanut Butter and Jelly restaurants in mall food courts before leaving his job to sell personal items on the internet. Sometimes all it takes is an idea and a little bit of courage to get started.


taking the lead in blogging

I just had a commentary on the topic of blogging published in the LED (pronounced lead) Digest. I recommend subscribing to the Digest, but since I know some of you won't I have included a copy of the commentary below.

In LED #1946 Ronni Rhodes asked if we might have a down to earth discussion on blogging, which is a lot like asking a group of singers to have a down to earth discussion about Stardom. There are people that are all hype and self promotion, people who are in it
mostly to amuse themselves, and people who have little ambition beyond entertaining family and friends. That is blogging. And often the best bloggers are doing it purely for the fun of it.

I just recently got into blogging (on my favorite topic of online marketing) and I did so for several reasons:

1. It helps me to practice writing.

2. It provides a handy place to collect the tips and links that I find useful.

3. It gives me an excuse to read all the tech news I read anyway.

4. It allows me to share what I have learned with anyone who passes by.

5. It will let me spotlight and get feedback when I test my own online marketing tactics.

But I didn't start the blog to make money.

As for as I can see the vast majority of online blogs (like the personal homepages that preceded them) have nothing to do with making money. Most don't even include affiliate links even when relevant products could be found. But some do try to generate income (or at least cover costs). Here are the approaches I've seen:

1. Adsense and Affiliate Links. A good example of this is It has a quirky topic and includes links to relevant merchants as well as Google's new famous text ad tower. They also highlight special deals at the top of the page.

2. Book (or other product) Promotion. Many people start blogs to help in promoting a new book or product that they helped to create or to distribute. They use the blog to highlight events and activities as well as highlight how the product can be purchased. A great way to use such a tactic would be to create a self-help book or ebook and then use the blog to answer reader questions.

3. Shameless Self Promotion. If there is any real business model for most blogs then this is it. Whether you are a designer, radio talk show host, doctor, or car mechanic there is nothing like walking into an interview and being able to tell your future boss "just google for my name and your problem and you will see that I've written about it extensively."

The reality is that if you create a really popular blog then you can make thousands of dollars a month in Advertising. But who can count on that? Blogging is about building a relationship of trust between the reader and author and is a very poor way to make a quick buck. That said, when it comes time to sell my condo I would gladly work with a Real Estate agent who's weekly blogging on the local market I had come to rely on.

That's my two cents anyway. I look forward to the discussion and I'm sure I'll learn a lot as I always do.

Monday, March 21, 2005


dot tactics makes it into blogarama

Good news everyone! We are now listed in blogarama. We already have one review, but feel free to add more and support the cause if you wish.


a 411 on yahoo 360

I found a good article on some of the features going into the soon to be released, MySpace like, Yahoo 360.


msn lets you go shopping

MSN has introduced a shopping search engine. It is a little buggy but I found it more useful that Froogle, if less useful that Yahoo Shopping.


buying, selling, and booking

There has been a flurry of activity over the past couple of days as the leading search services change hands, purchase other products, and deploy new functionality.

First on the list is the purchase of Ask Jeeves by InterActive Corp (owners of expedia and among other things) for nearly $2 Billion. This could be fairly significant as they add the search box to all the InterActive properties.

Second is the purchase of the photo sharing site Flickr by Yahoo. This probably had no real marketing impact, but shows Yahoo's willingness to hold onto their portal audience at all costs. See the post on the Yahoo Search blog.

Third is the full deployment of Google Print. Now if you search for things like Sherlock Holmes or Much Ado About Nothing (include the word "book" in your search) you will have access to the full text of the books. All books are scanned so you have to page through them, but it is still pretty cool. In does raise the question though, is anything safe from Google?

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