Mike Grehan says...

Random musings about search marketing, flying around the planet, networking and people watching.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Robert Burns: Scottish Bard.

As my family and friends know, my wife is a bit of a culture vulture. She's a real, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy kind of person. As a linguist, she absorbs literature like a sponge (a lot like I absorb Merlot ;-)

Some time ago, she mentioned that she had studied the work of Scottish Bard, Robert Burns. This is interesting because, living on the borders of Scotland as I do, I can pretty much understand my Edinburgh and Glasgow cousins. But each time I hear someone recite Robert "Rabbie" Burns (every annual Burns night) I have to ask for a translation!

No, of course, it's not that bad, he was certainly a prolific and extraordinarily talented writer. Anyway, having been away from home for a long time, I thought I'd give my wife a little treat of some pure Scottish culture. Robert Burns, I remembered was born in the small coastal town of Ayr. So, I booked the hotel. And off we went.

Not the world's greatest hotel, but the only one I could get that gave us a view of the Scottish island of Arran. If you look carefully at the picture above, you can see the snow capped mountains on the island (to the right of the picture).

Ayr is a quite a nice little coastal resort. I imagine it's very pretty during the summer. There are new developments in the town. But it still carries an age old, distinguished look in many places.

As you'd expect, in the centre of the town there's a statue of the great man himself (Robert Burns).

And also, as you'd expect, an inn complete with thatched roof called Tam O'Shanter ( a Burns classic).

But the place we really came to see was the actual birthplace of Burns which is a little out of town in Alloway.

Imagine the huge impact this guy had on literature and the huge amount of respect his work gets, and yet he was dead at only 37 years old. The cottage where he was born has a small museum with many original manuscripts of his work. And there are statues of him inside the museum.

And outside of the museum

The cottage itself is typical of the time. Small as it is, it had a barn, a stable and house all in this one building!

Inside the cottage is very quaint. It has been preserved in a way that depicts exactly how life would have been for the young Rabbie Burns. Lifesize waxworks are complemented by audio in the various scenes as you walk through the cottage. Here, his father is reading from the bible to the family, as the young Rabbie (standing next to him) fires question after question.

"For auld lang syne, We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne..."
Google expanding sitelinks with sitesearch?

This may have been mentioned elsewhere, but I spotted something very different in a Google results set at the weekend. I was planning a trip to Scotland and had been checking trough suitable hotels in the town of Ayr on the west coast.

My first search brought back a list of ten local results at the top of the pile which was quite helpful. I then went off at a tangent doing something else and only later realized that I still hadn't booked the hotel.

Lazy, as I am, I simply searched on the name of the hotel group at Google, to click through to the main site and then search for the Ayr hotel. What I saw really surprised me. Take a look.

I've seen results with up to eight sitelinks before. But I've never seen sitelinks with a sitesearch box combined. It's certainly new to me.

Of course, I simply typed - scotland - in the search box and was presented with this.

It's a list of all of their Scottish properties. I then simply clicked on the link to the Ayr property and booked a room.

Pretty neat, I think.

Staying on the subject of unusual results at Google. From time-to-time I've seen the error shown below on certain queries. I laughed this time though. I queried the name of a certain high profile search marketing person and got this:

The SES crew do.

Forgot to drop this pic into the last post. It was taken at a special event in New York which was thrown by Incisive and hosted by Kevin Ryan. A little get-together of the Search Engine Strategies advisory board, crew and luminaries.

James Handbury of Incisive media (mentioned in the post below this one) came along to say a special thanks to Kevin before he jetted off again.

There are too many people to mention in this post, so I'll leave it for you to pick out the ones you recognize. And once again, I'll just say another "well done" to Kevin and everyone in the picture for keeping SES such a powerful force in the industry.
SES, New York 2008

He did it again!

My pal Kevin Ryan and the SES crew pulled together yet another hugely successful show. SES, New York last week had such a great atmosphere. The sessions and speakers were great. And, as ever, the networking and nightlife just added to the buzz.

I thoroughly enjoyed my sessions. In particular, I had great fun (and lively debate) with Kevin when we co-moderated the Orion Panel on Universal search. The panellist included Lyndsay Menzies, John Battelle, Jack Menzel and James Lamberti, In the picture below, you can see I have their undivided attention as I put forward the case for more images of scantily clad and naked ladies in Universal search results :-)

I also thoroughly enjoyed the meet the crawlers session I moderated. Great questions from the audience. Tons of information from the search engine representatives. And my usual pic of the audience to give them some quality content to link to ;-)

And I was thrilled to have the absolute queen of the blogging scene, Lisa Barone as my date for Alan Dick's VIP do at the Manhattan Penthouse. She didn't leave my arm for a second... In the elevator. But then she spotted the handsome and debonair James Hanbury (founding member and CEO of Incisive media - owners of SES/SEW/CZ) at the table. And also at the same table, the no less handsome or debonair Rory Brown (Managing Director of Incisive's Interactive division, active Newcastle United supporter and generally very canny lad). That's when I was left at the bar with a flat beer and half empty bowl of peanuts...

Only kidding! That was actually the first time that Lisa had met the "bosses" from Incisive Media. And after a splendid dinner and excellent company, she and I swooped out on to the town to a general piss-up somewhere else. I remember arriving and bumping into the wonderfully warm and huggy Kim Krause (yes, the very same Kim Krause spotted on stage singing in a New York nightclub last week!). There were drinks... And more drinks...And then some shots with Matt McGowan and then... Some more drinks. So, please don't ask me what was going in the picture below... I have no recollection whatsoever!

I managed to spend some time at our booth with my new buddies at Acronym Media. I have to say, I love every single one of them (even if I can't remember any names yet :-)

Well, there are some I do remember. Here's the wonderful force of nature, otherwise known as Farah Sadiq (runs our Singapore office). And with her, our own analytics guru (and bonzer Sheila), Tami Dalley.

And here's my buddy (and Acronym CEO) the very suave and sophisticated Anton Konikoff with my new pal (and Director, Business Development ) Brad Neelan. Brad's a sure-shot when it comes to hurling coffee! Only joking Brad. It was a pure accident, I know. I know.

Love 'em all as I do, there's one special person at Acronym who I actually knew before I joined. It's a very small world thing which is quite the secret... Okay, she's Kevin Ryan's partner... Well... It was bound to come out sooner or later!

And here she is, the one and only Rhian Aidala helping me prop up the bar at the Acronym staff party last week.

And let's throw in some more staffers from the party

And finally...

Back at the conference I bumped into my buddy Mel Carson from Microsoft. They have some very cool new stuff going on over at http://www.adcentercommunity.com/ It's well worth checking out.

Okay, time to start planning for the tenth anniversary SES in San Jose this August. Now that, I guarantee, is going to be the show of the year!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My new book.

Well, it's been a long time coming, but now the time is right. This week I signed a
publishing deal with Wordware Publishing based in Texas for my new book.

With the very vague and mysterious title of: Search Marketing... I'll leave you to guess what it's about :-)

Wordware are the publishers of Fredrick Marckini's groundbreaking book Search Engine Positioning. That's a hard act to follow. But as he's a close friend I'll be tapping into his genius from time-to-time anyway ;-)

Got to go and write... It's due to launch with the 10th anniversary of SES in San Jose this August.

Very exciting!!!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Greetings from the Empire State Building!

Well, you have no idea how totally thrilled I am to have joined the Acronym Media team. CEO, Anton Konikoff and I have been friends for a number of years. And the opportunity to work with him at the most happening agency in the business is fantastic.

And no less fantastic is the view from my office on the 55th floor of the Empire State Building!

As Global KDM Officer, this is a very exciting opportunity and I'm so looking forward to working with the global team... Guess I'll be spending lots of time on aeroplanes again...

That'll be different :-)