Today, Twitter rolled out an updated interface for iOS, Android and the Twitter.com website that makes a major change to how tweeted conversations are viewed:

Today we’re updating our iPhone and Android apps, as well as Twitter.com, to make it easier to discover and follow conversations in your home timeline. From buzz about the VMAs to debates around upcoming football games, people come to Twitter to take part in these real-time, global, public conversations.

via Keep up with conversations on Twitter | Twitter Blogs.

And the internet is not happy:

However, we’re all missing the point with the twitter-rage (click to go read the search query).

Will Oremus writing on Slate nails the point of this (and why I think it’s a good move for the platform of Twitter):

For all its virtues as an RSS reader, real-time news board, and virtual water cooler, Twitter has never excelled as a platform for connecting with family and friends. The new emphasis on conversations could help to change that. If nothing else, it will privilege tweets that spark discussion over those that don’t.

Twitter, in its ongoing mission to boldly explore the zeitgeist and find a way to make that attractive to marketers, wants to be the center of conversations about twerking at the VMA’s, the next huge 3rd down conversion or that hideously ugly dress at the Emmy’s. It knows that its place is a protocol of conversation that allows for not only operability but also discovery.

Good move, Twitter.

Yoast-SEO-Plugin

 

I’ve used Yoast’s SEO WordPress plugin a great deal in the past when I needed a “set it and tinker when necessary” on a client site or affiliate site we’ve developed. I decided to give it a go with the fresh WordPress install we’re using for CostPerNews and discovered something that I’ve heard others complain about in the past… dual sitename titles both in the browser and in the meta.

So, a little googling turned this up:

I have taken a liking lately to Yoast’s SEO plugin.  So far, it just plain works.  Now I am not the type of guy to worry too much about this stuff.  I apply little tweaks here and there and maybe it helps.  But the plugin offers a lot of things I like, like bread crumbs, and easy access to my .htaccess file, and robots.txt.  Only a few things have to change to enjoy this plugin.  Let’s dig in to this.

via Modify Header.php to Get the Most Out of Yoast’s SEO Plugin in a TwentyTen Child Theme – VoodooPress

Basically, clean up your site’s title tags and you’re good to go.

Again, Yoast isn’t for everyone (interesting discussion in the comments if you’re into this type of thing). However, it’s free and is a nice helper when you’re looking for an optimization plugin for your affiliate site that is quick, generates clean sitemaps (necessary for hooking your site up to Google Webmaster Tools, which you should do regardless) or even optimizing your breadcrumbs (always good for SEO!) and cleaning up rel=author issues.

CostPerNews owes a great deal to one of its original backers Wayne Porter, even though he is evidently a spook…

Keeping Internet users safe is more than just making sure Google’s products are secure. Google engineers also contribute to improving the security of non-Google software that our products and users rely on.

Provided below is a list of software vulnerabilities discovered or fixed by Googlers, along with presentations we’ve given at industry security conferences. You can also find publications about security, cryptography, and privacy work in Google’s main research portal.

via Vulnerabilities – Application Security – Google.

Thanks for all you did  and do, Wayne :)

If you’ve been wanting to switch over to Android but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg, Google dropped the prices on their (fantastic) Nexus 4 phones (off-contract/unlocked) today:

Nexus 4 price drops by $100 on Google Play to $199 or $249 [updated] | Android Central: “The official Google Play Twitter account has just confirmed the ‘25% off or more’ sale for the Nexus 4 is active in Australia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Korea, US and UK.”

Nexus 5 coming soon then? I think so…

Google-AdWords-Keyword-Tool-2013

Google has removed access for its Keyword Tool that was a part of its AdWords platform. So now what do you do?

With Keyword Planner, we’ve combined the functionality of Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator to make it easier to plan search campaigns. That’s why Keyword Tool is no longer available. You can use Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaigns. We’ve also added several new features with Keyword Planner.

If you’ve done anything with keyword research for search campaigns, you are probably well aware that this isn’t too much of a bad thing (a la Google killing Reader) as Google is replacing Keyword Tool with Keyword Planner. The trick is that you have to sign in to your AdWords account to have access to the Keyword Planner. Again, that’s not a big hassle for anyone who has already done even the beginnings of a search campaign.

However, the removal of Keyword Tool has sparked a couple of interesting conversations on Twitter and in email today for me. Mostly, industry friends are using this as a chance to trade notes on their favorite keyword research tools beyond Google’s offerings.

I have my own personal favorites but let’s look at a few other suggestions.

For example, Bill Hartzer points to Bing Ads Intelligence, SEMrush and the veritable Keyword Discovery tool. All three are good tools but in my opinion SEMrush stands out here. Bing Ads Intelligence is definitely a nifty tool. However, it’s an .exe download that isn’t compatible with Mac OSX (yet). As a recently re-converted Windows user I do use Excel for keyword research, so BAI works well for me. However, I find that I do so much of my research and work in the browser that it’s one of those tools I just don’t use that often. Keyword Discovery is good at what it does, but I haven’t spent enough time there lately to have much of an opinion. In its heyday it did provide good insight. There are certainly lots of other great tools out there, so feel free to add your suggestions in the comments if you have any favorites.

For me the linchpin of keyword research at the moment is a blend of Google’s own Keyword Planner and SEMrush (in conjunction with WordTracker). From there, I use Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool (subscription req’d but there’s a free trial). Then I top all of that off with a version of Seer’s Keyword Research Tool (a handy Google template they’ve created) that I’ve forked and made very custom for my own needs. I add in some extra variables like my own keyword difficulty ranking formula and that’s my finished product (usually in a set of Excel sheets).

It’s a convoluted system in an age when something like keyword research can (and maybe) should be drop dead easy to perform. Many of the agencies who I work with that focus on just social media like to poke fun at my setup and brag about how easy it is to do similar keyword or demographic buying on Facebook or Twitter. Nevertheless, I enjoy getting my hands dirty and having to do keyword research much like an archaeologist might work in a complicated Tell going cm by cm through the dirt. It’s slower than Indiana Jones style archaeology, but the results are usually better.

fa7a2c23_dog-dude-wait-what

After a long day of yard work, I rushed into my office and registered the domain “CostPerNews.com.” For some reason, mowing the lawn and trimming hedges always causes me to brainstorm about online marketing. I had an idea of what I wanted to do with the site but only had a vague sense that it would be read by anyone. Initially, I saw CostPerNews as a bridge between the advancements that were happening in the online marketing world (primarily CPA networks, search and email) and the leaps that were being made by new companies such as Twitter and the soon-to-release Tumblr. It was an exciting time to be in tech.

Looking back on those first few months of posting in October, November and December of 2006 and January of 2007, I was averaging about 100 posts a month. That was while having a full time agency and also teaching as an adjunct professor. I was on fire and I remember those passionate days of micro-chunking, widgets and RSS delivery fondly.

Life happened and I eventually joined Wayne and Vinny in a group called incuBeta that rolled ReveNews and CPN into one entity. We had a great time and I came back to CPN full time after a while. Life continued to happen, CostPerNews grew and I decided it was time to go back to the classroom as a teacher. So in 2009 I left CostPerNews in the good hands of Evan Weber.

Seven years after this whole thing started, we’ve decided to reboot the site into something that both Evan and I really believe in… passionate and hard-hitting analysis combined with the ability for companies and affiliates to discover each other. We’re both excited and this is going to be a great step for the site.

So here’s the gameplan:

– CostPerNews will be both a blog (with the same type of content we were lovingly producing in the “good old days”) as well as a directory for networks and offers. You’ll be able to add your CPA, email, or coreg offer in the directory and have access to our still loyal and soon-t0-be growing readership. More on that later this week.

– My former marketing blog, MarketingTrends.co (and its predecessor PayPerTrends) is now folded back into CostPerNews. So in a way, it’s oddly satisfying for me that the content I’ve been making and the comments you’ve been writing are finally back under one umbrella.

– Evan will be heading up the directory side of things and I’ll be focusing more on content. That will overlap some, of course, but we’re excited about the partnership and the possibilities that exist between those two parts.

I can’t tell you how happy we are to be back on the “front page” and front lines of performance marketing both in terms of blogging and what we’re doing with the directory.

Here’s to the next seven(teen) years-

Sam

 

I got my driving permit the day I turned 14 and my full driver’s license the day I turned 15 in Marion County, South Carolina. I’ve never looked back and love driving.

When I moved to Connecticut for graduate school in 2000, I kept my SC residency. Eventually I had to give that up when I moved to North Carolina in 2006. I thought it would be a simple 20 minute stop to get a new drivers license for SC now that I’ve moved back to Columbia.

Wow was I wrong.

After four visits (during the workday while I’m trying to grow a business) to the Shop Road DMV and many hours of scrounging around for my passport, social security card, pay stubs, birth certificates etc later… I finally can prove that I’m not an illegal alien here to try to take advantage of SC’s bountiful resources and I have my driver’s license for the Palmetto State again.

Seriously, isn’t it illegal to require a social security card for identity verification?

Giving your Social Security number is voluntary, even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask why your Social Security number is needed, how your number will be used, what law requires you to give your number and what the consequences are if you refuse. The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours.

Yeah… tried that and was given the “well you cannot get a SC driver’s license” response.