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who gives a google about yahoo and microsoft


If you have a web site and you want to be found, you understand how Google is currently the world’s primary search engine when it come to marketing or optimization (Search Engine Marketing or Search Engine Optimization ).

Microsoft’s search engine, MSN, is by most accounts the third man in a two man race between Google and its waaay back in second place competitor, Yahoo. You may be aware that Microsoft decided this week it didn’t want to be an also ran anymore and that MSN wasn’t going to be a player on its own. Microsoft submitted an unsolicited offer for over $44 billion to buy Yahoo. Yahoo, whose financial health isn’t the strongest, is deciding what it wants to do.

For internet users and for business people, the prospect of this type of change could be a big deal.

I have the gall to comment on such a humongous business deal not because I am so connected in the tech world or so incredibly web savvy but rather because search engines are a valued part of my voice over business. Mine is a web-based business, primarily, and as such depends in some measure on my search engine success.

So as a point of reference I shall offer up some general statistics to let you know what this proposed merger means to my business regarding search engines. And don’t worry, these will be easily relatable statistics that won’t make your eye bleed.

From January 1, 2007 – January 1, 2008, the following were the search engines that guided the most visitors to my voice over business web site, audio’connell.com

1. Google 2,833
2. Yahoo 173
3. AOL 58
4. MSN 37

Quick math will tell you that Yahoo, AOL and MSN combined don’t total even 10% of the visitors guided to my web site by Google. So what’s the near-term impact of the merger to my business (especially since I own no stock in any of these companies)?


It may make good business sense for Yahoo and Microsoft (or it may not) but unless they come up with some amazing search engine idea that can blow the wheels off Google, it won’t help my business. It won’t hurt it either.

I’m just one business example however and I’d love to hear your comments on how this merger would (or would not) impact your web based business based on your search engine traffic.

life is a gift, not a guarantee


Two people I knew died this week.

In what I recall to be about 1989 or 1990, I was a new member of the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives and had been recruited to join a committee for an event the association was hosting. Good thing too as I had pretty much decided I was going to quit the group because I hadn’t made any business contacts. Nearly twenty years later, as a BNSME past president, I’m still a member. (Moral: if you join an association, get on a committee).

The event BNSME hosted was a presentation by the famous pastor and author (ordered by importance there) Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, he of “The Power of Positive Thinking” fame. He was accompanied by his lovely wife Ruth Stafford Peale. As chair of the event’s public relations committee (ok, a committee of one), I got to spend time with both of them. I knew instantly then as I know now I was in the presence of greatness.

Not like the overblown greatness of athletes or the fleeting greatness of celebrities (many of whom are greatly gifted but in my personal experience with them seem frighteningly perplexed by the overblown adulation they received). No, with the Peales it was the type of greatness that you sense so strongly just through conversation that it is a certainty. So impressed by this couple was I that trying to summon the words to properly describe them now fails me…kind, faith-filled, caring, listeners. Ack, I am woefully inarticulate!

With all their knowledge and duties and responsibilities, they actively asked about me when I was with them and they held my name rather than so quickly discard it as would be understandable. They sweetly focused on and engaged me in a way that was beyond mere politeness. But clearly it was so much a part of who they were and how the Peale’s dealt with everyone, I thought, that there was no way they could behave in any other manner. Wonderful and honest people, the Peales were the very definition of gracious. They made me (and make me) want to be a better person.

Dr. Peale died in 1993 and at the age of 101, his wife Ruth died this week.

I arrived home on Monday night with news from my wife that her step mother had died unexpectedly Monday. She had taken a nap in the afternoon and didn’t wake up.

Grandma Judy adored her grandchildren, the two here now and even the one due in a few weeks. She sent a picture frame to us this past Christmas that held a sonogram picture of O’Connell 2 that simply said “we love you already”.

She came to our house for my daughter’s first birthday, when we gave the baby a play tent with a tunnel to crawl through. And who was one of the first people to crawl right in there and play with the baby who squealed with delight? Grandma Judy.

And there was the basis for my self-fish first thought upon hearing of her death: “She won’t get to see her new grandchild.” I was sad for the new baby, for all my family and for Grandma Judy. While she will watch from heaven, I’m selfish. I’d rather she was in the tent with the rest of us. I need to be a better person.

Today in the church before the mass, I sat in the pew behind my sister-in-law and father-in-law and I was thunderstruck by an image and an accompanying thought that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

As this father and daughter sat in front of me mourning the death of Grandma Judy, I realized it is no longer outside the realm of possibility that 40 years from now my own daughter could be sitting with me or my wife in a church pew mourning the other’s loss. It wasn’t a conceptual thought…it was real, too eye-poppingly, ear ringingly, brain stunningly real. While I always knew there was an end for us all, today for what was thankfully only a brief stinging moment, I felt it. I need to be a better person.

Will we even be blessed with those 40 years? I fervently and selfishly hope so. I so love my wife and children that I desperately want our lives to go on forever. But I’ve also long known (and now innately feel) that life is a gift, not a guarantee. You may live to a 101 years old but you also may not wake up from your nap. God bless Ruth and Grandma Judy.

I need to be a better person.

this is the logo for super bowl 43

Super Bowl 43 logo_all rights acknowledged

My congratulations to little Brian McGuire of Mrs. Smith’s 3rd grade art class in Ottumwa, Iowa who was chosen among all the 3rd grade school art students in the country as the winner of this logo design contest.

Brian wins a pair of tickets to the tailgate party for Super Bowl 43 (at the Hy Vee Arena in Des Moines, not Tampa where the actual game will be played) and a Super Bowl 43 baseball cap.

The comments above are, of course, a joke.

I’d like to say so is the logo but no, that’s the real logo unveiled tonight by NBC.

Please keep this blog post away from any professional graphic artists or even….anyone with the ability to draw a straight line. Artists are very sensitive people and somebody got paid to design that…thing!

Upon further review, this design sucks worst of all.

the hypocrisy of tabloid media and why the shame is ours

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie Heath Ledger has ever been in and if so I don’t remember it. The truth is most movies don’t get my attention any more. Going to a movie theatre isn’t a pleasant experience between high movie prices, teenagers running amok and young parents bringing babies and toddlers out with them because they spent their babysitter money on popcorn.

So I would say I was more surprised than saddened to hear of the actor’s death a few weeks ago. Sorry certainly that he left behind a daughter who now won’t know her father and a family who mourns their tragic loss.

His death did generate some portion of outrage from me though, in what was initially an unexpected way but upon further review shouldn’t have been so unexpected.

The tabloid media, in this case Paramount’s Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, paid what I believe was hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain video of Ledger’s past drug use. The faux-news shows teased (hyped) their exclusive content for some of their future broadcasts. It was content born of the sadly dysfunctional marriage between the portable electronic devices and some people’s soulless devotion to either making a quick buck or garnering their 15 seconds of fame no matter how they do it.

Paparazzi trying to videotape or photograph celebrities doing mundane or illicit things, it really doesn’t matter which, are selling to broadcast and print outlets feeding a public’s insatiable appetite. That doesn’t make it right.

Such video could not be considered news as it was understood the actor was a drug user who had sought treatment so obviously he used drugs…do we need to see something he’d admitted doing? Further his death was not related to drug use. Above all else: why would any of this be any of our business anyway?! The purpose of the video – for both the seller and the buyer – was to titillate and destroy.

Then, out of the oddest circumstances, the video was not aired. Certain high profile celebrities threatened the shows by saying they wouldn’t be seen on them or provide them access. I’m not sure which is more pathetic – that the shows would be so scared by such a threat or that celebrities could actually have any power by virtue of their participation on these programs.

And shall I even broach the saga of Britney Spears? In what has become clear via mainstream media accounts portraying a woman suffering from some kind of mental illness, her problems are terribly personal and none of anyone else’s damn business! While I don’t own any of her music I’m am certainly well versed in the drama that is her life. Yet I’m not actively searching for that information. That fact is simply ridiculous.

If there was some smaller degree of mental instability within her, I’ve no doubt that it was dangerously exacerbated by the war like media coverage of her every move. The real insanity here are the hundreds of media swarming this singer whether she went for coffee or to dinner.

What is the point to the madness of these two stories? Why do the media need to show videos of dead actors doing drugs and of a young mother whose grasp on reality is currently faltering?

Sadly, the answer is because there is an audience.

Multiple these two stories by one thousand and you’ll not come close to the number of similar celebrity stories covered each day around the world. Paparazzi trying to videotape or photograph celebrities doing mundane or illicit things, it really doesn’t matter which, are selling to broadcast and print outlets feeding a public’s insatiable appetite.

That doesn’t make it right. If it were you or someone in your family, would you really want to be treated in this way?

The only way to gleefully kill celebrity journalism (as it likes to be inaccurately named) is to eliminate the audience. Are we globally strong enough to universally endure a 12 step program to overcome this celebrity addiction? Can we even try? It starts with one person…you.

Here’s how you can start to beat your addiction….

• Stay away from celebrity web sites like TMZ and Perez Hilton, filled with content from video and still photo parasites
• Turn off the TV when Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition or the like come on. And don’t ever watch Entertainment Television, VH1 or MTV….these networks are chock full of gossipy programming
• Do not subscribe to or even pick up to look at in the check out line magazines like People, US, National Enquirer, OK or any other celebrity rags

No one would produce this crap if there weren’t an audience hungry to absorb it.

Start with small steps and add more with time until the issue of celebrity and the coverage of same has a rightfully much smaller place in our collective consciousness, until we learn to save glorification for deities and until we realize we should never measure our value, worth or lot in life against a computer enhanced image of celebrities who really have no true understanding of how they got so successful in the first place.

super bowl logos

superbowlxllii_all rights acknowledged

It is the most over hyped day in America. A game and an event that allows the NFL’s already collectively outstretched egos to be supersized for 24 hours.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday.

While I may be risking legal life and limb even writing the ridiculously (in my opinion) over protected term Super Bowl (I don’t know the copyright law covering its usage in blogs that don’t produce any revenues), I do so in a marketing vein. Because, as everyone knows, you can’t have a Super Bowl without a Super Bowl logo.

To wit I came across this page of all the Super Bowl logos. You’d think that with all the money that goes towards this silliness, the selections would be a bit more eye catching but maybe I’m the one with bad taste.

While you watch hours of pre-game drivel, won’t you place your vote here for your single favorite logo version among all the Super Bowl logos?

And for the record, in spite of my superficial distain for such a mundane event…yeah I’ll watch it.

But only for the commercials.