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March 13, 2006

MSN adCenter Support/Help Desk Phone Number

This post is for all advertisers using MSN adCenter and are in need of help from an actual person. If you advertise in MSN adCenter and have clicked on the "HELP" button, you know that this button does nothing. The same is true when you attempt to "Contact Support" by means of the "Give us Feedback" link. It took me almost half an hour to find a phone number for adCenter technical support.

The phone number that I located that puts you in direct contact with the support desk at MSN adCenter is 1-800-966-7361. Their hours are 6:00am to 6:00pm PST. (TTY phone number is 1-800-877-9580).

I called this phone number and was directly connected to an MSN support representative, without having to go through any menus and withour entering any account information, which was very nice. I asked my question and was put on hold for less than 5 minutes and an answer was given to me. The answer was not the one I was looking for as they told me what I wanted to do was not yet possible, but none the less I had an answer from the adCenter help desk. I was also told that the issue of the "help" was being worked on by an MSN adCenter team and should be resolved "soon". This has been an issue for at least the 3 weeks that we have been using adCenter, so I hope this "team" can figure this thing out soon.

-Mark Barrera
Online Marketing
The MasterLink Group

MSN adCenter Ads soon to be on Xbox Live? You bet!

It seems like the big news in the Pay Per Click Search Marketing war seems to always be about Google.  I would say though you should never underestimate a billion dollar giant like Microsoft which many search engine marketers seem to do all to often.  Microsoft seems to be getting ready to display adCenter advertising to millions of Xbox players via the XBox Live service.
According to Reuters Business Channel with a report released on Sun Mar 12, 2006 4:34 PM ET.
“Microsoft envisions adCenter to one day be a one-stop shop for advertisers to gather information then buy ads on search results, Microsoft-related sites and services, non-Microsoft sites, mobile phone software or even online Xbox video games.
You can read the rest of the Reuters Report, “Microsoft takes on Yahoo, Google for Web ad dollars” at the Reuters Website and the rest of my thoughts on this matter at my Cracking the MSN adCenter Code Blog in my post, adCenter comming to an Xbox near you.

~ Jack Spirko
Web Site Optimization Specialist
The MasterLink Group

March 06, 2006

Google to Provide Hosting? - What's Next?

Well, for years Bill Gates and the boys and girls at Microsoft have tried to basically own the operating system market. Goggle has seemed to be on the same track in the internet world now here comes more evidence.

Garett Rogers posted on his Google blog a discovery of some code hidden in GMail. This following line was the code in question

function vJ(){if(uy){;return''+"Manage this domain"+" "}else{return""}}
Don't worry if you don't know code all that well the only real piece that you need to grasp is the part that says, "Manage this domain".
What this indicates, (according to Garett) and I would tend to agree, is that Google will soon be allowing people to set mail.google.com as thei mail server as they develop their own mail servers for public use. This is nothing like Gmail it would be like me using @masterlink.com for my email but then have the mail traffic run over the google servers.

Taking this one step further and based in part on the launch of Google Web Page Creator last week and building on the launch of Google Analytics (for free) it appears that the folks at Google are preparing to not just index the Internet, they want to control it by monitoring how people use your site (Google Analytics), control how you design and host your site (Google Web Page Creator) and now, control how you communicate over the Internet with others.

So whats next? In my opinion full scale hosting (for less then most quality competitors). Will we see Google's top three in front of Congress some day in a "Microsoft Like" set of hearings? Who knows but it is certainly possible,
Jack Spirko
The MasterLink Group

March 02, 2006

Is there a Rogue Google Data Center not Using the Sandbox?

Recently we have launched several new websites with brand new top level domains.  We quickly got them indexed and began to gain ranking for some non competitive terms as is the usual pattern.  However, we also have noticed with some of them, a major traffic spike for some quite competitive terms.  This issue is that all the traffic seems to be coming from one particular google data center.


While the other centers have stuck to the pattern of making it tough to rank new sites for the more competitive terms (more then 100,000 exact matches) and you really have to throttle your link building to avoid a "google bomb" this new data center has picked up, on one particular niche not only our site but 3 others that appear to be new as well and ranked them in the top ten among some very powerful sites with high PR and a good deal of age on them.


(clearly we are unwilling to release the exact terms and the sites in question for obvious reasons)


This has us thinking [and for now it is only a thought], that this data center may be rogue in nature and perhaps Google is looking to see if the "sandbox" is being over used and having a negative effect on their results especially on new topics.  Here are the factors we have noticed that at least are worth considering.


1.  40% of the top ten terms on this one data center are new to very new sites (one is less then 5 days old! and drawing close to a thousand visits for one term per day all from one data center)


2.  While some decent links were used to get the indexing done swiftly they were from PR4 to PR5 sites (not pages) so now major power of a PR7 or PR8 is at play here.


3.  More interesting the traffic is from all over North America so it is not like this data center is serving a particular region or anything like that.  If you wanted to "test" something you would get better results with a broad sample.  The traffic logs clearly show that this traffic is from a very broad geographic region.


4.  The sites are all indexed by the other data centers and rank for non competitive terms but not the competitive ones that rank top ten in the rogue center following the typical pattern.  Only this one data center gives the newer sites a high rank for the harder terms.


This is an interesting concept to consider.  We have not yet decided whether or not we are going to publish the IP address of the Google Rogue Data Center so stay tuned and may be we will release it. 


Of course we did all the things right with these sites to avoid the sandbox and they are optimized well, have reasonable links for a new site, etc.  Still it is clear one data center has for some time treated this group of new sites a lot differently then the rest.  Dusting off and old quote, "things that make you go hmm".  There is no doubt that highly revelant new sites are penalized by the sandbox and that it must hurt searches as well that are looking for the newest content available.  So may be just may be there is indeed a Rogue Google Datacenter and perhaps it is intentional.  As marketers we know that testing is the best way to get answers based on facts so that could be what Google is up to. 


Any thoughts or comments are appreciated,


Jack Spirko

SEO Specialist

The MasterLink Group

Dallas Web Design and SEO Firm

March 01, 2006

MSN adCenter Blog

Recently I decided to launch a new Blog Dedicated 100% to MSN's New adCenter called The MSN adCenter Code Blog. We will continue to post MSN adCenter and all intenet marketing news and tips here but all MSN specific posts and some exclusive posting will go on this new blog.

Jack Spirko

MSN Adcenter Taking Away from Yahoo Search Advertisers

MSN Search has recently turned up the amount of ads that will be served from its new AdCenter advertisers. MSN had been showing their ads 25% of the time and announced that this Monday they were increasing that amount by 75% meaning that almost half of the ads shown alongside organic MSN Search results. This rollout should be done by the end of this week.

The upside to this is that advertisers who are currently advertising in the AdCenter Beta program will be seeing better results from their campaign. These advertisers need to watch their budgets carefully if they have set budgets higher with the expectation that they would not be reached in the beginning. Their impressions and click throughs are expected to climb immediately.

The downside to this change affects advertisers in the Yahoo Search Marketing program. Currently these advertisers are having their ads shown not only alongside Yahoo search results, but also along side MSN Search results. This means that as MSN stops showing the ads on its network the number of impressions and click throughs that will been seen on the Yahoo Search Marketing will inevitably decrease. Many self-serve advertisers with Yahoo Search Marketing will have to search out new keywords for the traffic -OR- as Bill Gates is hoping, put that money into MSN's AdCenter.

MSN has also announced that they will be showing their own ads fully by June so Yahoo Search Marketers need to hurry to get into the MSN AdCenter Beta or else face losing a large chunk of their traffic.

Now you may ask how to start advertising in MSN AdCenter when they are only sending out invitations into the Beta program. The answer to that is to call up an Internet Marketing Firm who manages large accounts and has a little more pull with MSN. Otherwise, it looks like you will have to wait and watch as others reap the benefits.

-Mark Barrera
Online Marketing
The MasterLink Group