Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

Cover Your Assets

January 12th, 2008

According to a recent thread on FlowerChat.com, images of floral designs by the award-winning Avante Gardens – Florals Unique florist in Anaheim are being renamed and posted on the site of another florist as their creation. This isn’t the first time someone has called The FlowerHaus a no talent rip off.

Google’s Link-Vote Utopia

January 4th, 2008

I know the Google vs Paid Links issue is last month’s news, but when the author of my favourite Christian blog, Tim Challies, came under fire for the endorsements of his new book it reminded me of just how far Google’s view of linking (endorsing) is from reality.Google wants to view every link that doesn’t bear the “nofollow” attribute as an editorial vote for the page receiving the link. Matt Cutts would have us believe that paid linking or paid blog posts will result in mass brain mutilation and others are worried that a single paid link might cripple the businesses of local Mom & Pop shops across North America.

The question of the integrity of Tim Challies’ endorsers only confirms what many of us have been trying to say: Paid endorsements are the way of the world, and it’s silly to expect the web to operate differently. Suspicion of any endorsement is natural to our character. The emphasis is on the user/reader/buyer to evaluate what is being presented and the presenter. To assume that any endorsement, vote or recommendation is unpaid or doesn’t benefit the endorser in some way is naive.

To be fair – I do like Google’s products, their search results are still the best of the options available to us. And I’m not recommending buying a million links from Russian porn sites. That’s just silly and it’s bad business. I would like to see Google harness some of their vaunted engineering power and fix their system so that useless paid links are no longer a factor. I have no objections to a relevant paid link – just as I have no objection to seeing AdWords results beside my organic SERPs. Both will likely help me get to where I want to go.

As for the issue of Challies’ book … this is a rare case of honest, thoughtful and sincere endorsements of a quality book. Go buy it. (Disclaimer: I’m not being paid for this link. Tim’s a friend and an author I respect.)

Local florists strut their stuff

December 10th, 2007

It can be a daunting task as a small business owner to try and complete with multi-million-dollar corporations and their seemingly bottomless pockets.

However, as I recently described to Florists’ Review magazine, the advantage to being a small business is that you aren’t trying to steer the titanic. Creative decisions don’t involve multiple committee and board meetings, and your marketing doesn’t have to be fixed many months in advance (I’m not saying don’t plan ahead!). Small businesses have the ability to be nimble and react quickly, and to be creative and appeal to niches not accessible to corporations driven by lofty sales goals.

A group of retail florists are highlighting their individuality on the Real Florists Blog by showcasing some unique designs I guarantee you won’t see featured on FTD.com (sorry, Mr Soenen, no link love for you). Save money AND get a unique gift? Score one for the small business!

Repetition vs Choice

December 6th, 2007

Every day I drive past a Billboard for Sirius Radio advertising their large selection of channels because “repetition is boring.”

It seems to me that they’ve missed the point.

It’s not about repetition being boring, it’s about being able to choose what’s repeated. Giving the customer the ability to select from their favourite items / genres / songs / topics / authors / products / brands puts the customer in charge. In the end, the user is looking for repetition of material that is relevant to their taste.

It’s not repetition that’s the enemy – it’s being irrelevant.