Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Google Ends Pay Per Click Beta

I wrote a short blog post about Google's Pay Per Click Beta. They are ending the beta, unfortunately, forcing online retailers to find other ways to measure ROI from paid search campaigns.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tracking Your Time with RescueTime

Attention data junkies: you use Quicken to see where your dollars and cents go, Google Analytics to see who visits your blog, and got the upgraded package in your car just to get the trip computer. Now, you can track how you spend your time on your computer and the internet with It keeps track of how much time you spend in various desktop apps, but it also tracks time on websites. You can see how much time you spend in GMail ("personal" time) vs. Google AdWords ("work" time).

I've been using it for a couple of weeks and it's been fun to see where my time goes. I was surprised that I don't actually spend much time during the day goofing off or reading industry news. Most of my time is spent in Outlook reading and sending email, with a lot of time spent in Excel as well.

The key to making RescueTime useful is the ability to tag sites so that you can see how your time is spent. Outlook might be tagged with "work" and "email" while GMail might be "personal" and "email". Add up all the different tasks marked as "work" and you can start to see how you spend your day.

The product is new and is being enhanced rapidly. Nevertheless, it's easy to think of features I wish it had: auto tagging of various websites using regular expression,, track computer idle time/screensaver time as a separate entry in the logs, be able to enable/disable automatically during various times so you can only track work hours, for example.

As for me, of the 5 hours I've spent in the office today, I've spent 40 minutes in Outlook, 35 minutes on Google, and 35 minutes working on AdWords campaigns in AdWords Editor. The hourly graph has a big dip where I went for a workout (and the computer was idle). Nice.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Running Route

Been playing with Google Maps, and created a route of the run I've been doing the last week or so. I want to run the 5 mile Gallop and Gorge race Thanksgiving morning, and needed to go on a couple of training runs. It's a good 3.8 mile loop, pretty well lit, with sidewalks on the entire path. That's useful since much of it is through downtown Carrboro, and I've been running at night.

View Larger Map
For those not running (that would be the other person reading this blog), I hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Much Ado About Click Fraud?

I just uploaded a post to ChannelAdvisor's blog about click fraud in paid search marketing; what it is, where it comes from, and what to do about it. Here's an excerpt but check out the full post for all the details.

Fraudulent clicks can kill a search engine marketing program. Costs can skyrocket, and for the on-line retailer, revenue goes nowhere. Most of my clients worry about it, and it's tough to impossible to get a complete understanding of the size or scope of the actual problem.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Liberals are More Smarter

According to a recently published study, liberals are now definitely conclusively and obviously smarter than conservatives. I read it in the newspaper. It must be true.

Unfortunately, the actual study in question was so narrow in scope as to be practically meaningless. According to the LA Times, liberals were more likely to do the Right Thing (that is, a politically correct, and therefore, liberal thing) when confronted by a "W" on a computer screen. Strange, considering that it is the conservatives who are so infatuated with the letter that they put a "W" sticker on their cars.

I'm all for believing that liberals have smarter brains than conservatives. Now the question is, are we smart enough to win back the Oval Office?


Friday, September 07, 2007

Parenting Advice from Burke, Hobbes, Sowell, and Woodlief

My buddy Tony Woodlief has been productive since our college days, having produced a PhD and 4 boys with his wife Celeste. He also writes about life as a parent in the modern age while quoting great thinkers and philosophers. Though his tone is quite critical of many modern parenting theories, he's also quite well read and funny to boot. I bought his short pamphlet, "Raising Wild Boys into Men" and enjoyed that. Today, he made the opinion page of the Wall Street Journal, where he waxes thusly on parental permissiveness:
Many parents in the unconstrained camp adhere to Rousseau's sentiment: "Man is born free, but everywhere is in chains." They not only fail to punish bad behavior but snarl at anyone who rebukes their precious darlings. In our house we have reversed Rousseau's theory: You are born in bondage and should be darn grateful for the free room and board. Besides, if you want to talk about restrictions on liberty you can take it up with your mother, who hasn't had an uninterrupted trip to the bathroom since 2001.

Worth a read!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What He Did Last Summer

My brother Brett was involved in a cool art project at Burning Man this year. He spent much of the summer helping to disassemble, then weld, machine, grind, and generally construct a large installation of two tanker trucks.

I visited the American Steel building in Oakland where the construction was taking place. It was noisy and dusty, but sculpture artist Mike Ross and crew were close to completion and planning the trip to the desert:

You could also climb through the structures.