Love: optimizing your universal search presence. The natural search results aren’t the only results that deserve optimization attention. Universal search requires a holistic approach to SEO where you need to also focus on optimizing for local, blogs, videos, images, and if you have an e-commerce website, product search which makes an appearance in the search results as shopping results. Check out the Product Search for Webmasters video from Google on how you can go about optimizing for shopping results. Also, you’ll need a Google Base account in order to get started with the optimization.
Love: focusing your efforts on more important things…I kid (sort of), the news from Google that Pagerank sculpting does not work as SEO’ers thought is important. The Google man himself Matt Cutts explains it on his blog. The basics:
Your page has a Pagerank score of 8
It has 4 outgoing links
Left as is, each link passes along 2 points of Pagerank, 8 divided by 4
Previously, if 2 of those links pointed at less important pages, “Contact Us” and “About Us” for example, some SEOs would nofollow those links
In doing so, it was believed this allowed the other 2 links to pass along 4 points of Pagerank rather than 2
Now, nofollowing those important links does not pass Pagerank points in this simple way and requires Pagerank sculpting using a number of other techniques
Here is a SEOmoz post of the topic that also provides pros and cons from the SEO perspective.
Love: simple and reliable tools that allow you to track your company and its keywords across multiple channels – blogs, microblogs (Twitter, FriendFeed), social bookmarks, comments (blog, forum or otherwise), news, video and more. It’s extremely easy to get bogged down with tools just as it is with too much data. Personally, I tend to stick with those that are simple, efficient and reliable and do not often switch unless the tools will allow me to provide even more actionable insight – Occam wins. SocialMention is simple and reliable. Not only are you provided with links to blogs, blog comments, Q&A sites, social bookmarks, and more, that mention your company or keywords, but SocialMention also provides data on sentiment (positive to negative mentions), reach (number of unique authors mentioning the entered keyword) and other metrics.
Love: making your website not only able to be found, but actually accessible to everyone. Think of the user. Remain outwardly focused (just like phenomenal non-profits). Not everyone uses the same setup for surfing the internet, so you should ensure nearly all users are able to actually find information on your site once they’ve found you on the search engines. There are a few pointers in this post that play a role in SEO:
Supply proper meta tags – small piece of the pie, but a piece of the pie nonetheless
Use accesible navigation – descriptive title and header tags provide keyword relevancy and help structure your site, which can help improve the ability of Google to provide Site InLinks
Love: when you get information about search from the mouths of the leviathans. This whiteapaper, distributed by Microsoft, details features of Bing, the layout of the search results page, the structure and details of the search results page and much more information.
It took me awhile to join the Twitterverse. I signed up about a year ago, tweeted that same day and then let my account sit for three months. Who wants to hear about me cutting my fingernails, I thought. No one. Cutting your fingernails is banal. Boring. Again, no tweet needed to inform the world of my clicking and snipping. Then, three months later, I sent out an email to my natural search team members asking if anyone knew of a program for such-and-such task. I received one reply. With the answer came a post script, “This is the sort of question Twitter is good for; you should check it out more.” Interesting. Twitter as a search engine.
Fast forward to last week. By now, I’ve fooled around 90 people into following me on Twitter. I follow approximately 80. I’ve mastered the art of including @ replies anywhere within a tweet. I use is.gd, BudURL and TinyURL simply because I can – why limit yourself? I follow hilariously pointless accounts and enjoy The Odyssey immensely. I ensure the number of characters I use in a tweet allows space for people to retweet my message. Basically, I’m in it. I understand the ecosystem. I have enough followers to ask Twitter a question I cannot ask Google, Yahoo! or MSN.
While reading a blog I came across the interesting picture at the top of this post. I didn’t know the name of the painting, nor did I know who painted it. In a situation like this, Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask, Mahalo and every other search engine wouldn’t be able to tell me the name of the painting and who painted it. I even right clicked on the image, selected “Copy Image URL” and pasted it into my address bar hoping the person who posted it on the Internet named the file, the painting or painter’s name. No dice – “http://www.hegel-system.de/de/gif/Gruen.jpg” didn’t tell me what I needed to know (tip: tag everything on your site properly; it enhances usability, user experience, findability, etc). If you search for [Gruen] on Google you get to learn about the Gruen Watch Company or Sara Gruen, both interesting I’m sure (side note: if you do a Google image search for [Gruen] you can find the answer).
So, I head to Twitter. I tweet, “does anyone who know painted this?” and I included the url. Within 5 minutes, I receive two replies, “isn’t that hieronymous bosch?” and “looks like Bosch to me too.” The plot thickened when I received a reply that read, “Matthias Grünewald 1515 ‘The Temptation of St. Anthony’…different from Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych version a decade earlier.” The point, of course, is that I used Twitter as a search engine. I couldn’t upload the image to Google for the answer. I didn’t want to instant message each person on my AIM account because that’d be annoying.
This is what Twitter has become, a real-time search engine. The importance of this development is made unequivocally clear with news that Google is potentially looking at collaborating with Twitter on how to best mine its data. Sure, there are still people who tweet about the banal things in life, and that’s okay, but there are also people out there that use Twitter to provide information to followers - links about search marketing or thehunger issue in your town, for instance. From a business perspective, there are millions of people using Twitter and some are talking about your product or your company. If you’re participating and tracking your company name and product via the RSS feed ofhttp://search.twitter.com or TweetDeck, you have an opportunity.
Taking a step back, Twitter is not the end-all-be-all social media platform and in my opinion, will never hold that crown – no platform will. The Internet is a rapidly changing environment and the crowd moves from one platform to the next. As a business, you need to follow the crowd. Will the crowd always move to a platform that is easily trackable and readily monetized? Probably not. But, in the age of the Internet, it’s about the crowd. It’s not about the business. My favorite Seth Godin line, and one I refer to perhaps too often, goes something like this:
The Internet was not created by business people and does not exist to make you money – it’s not how does it help me? It’s, “how are people using the Internet and how do I help them achieve their goals?”
If I had to sum up social media strategy in one sentence, it would be “follow the crowd.”
The four of us on the business model panel at OMMA had diverse points of view and different plans for the future of Twitter, and those have been well-documentedelsewhere. My business model was built on the idea that, as a Twitter user, I wouldn’t want Twitter to change very much. As a Twitterholic, however, I did not want Twitter to change at all, and therein lay the foundation for my business model.
Twitter needs to capitalize on its addiction-inducing capabilities. As laid out to awesome effect by Rohit Bhargava, Twitter has stages of acceptance, and while it would be unwise to rely on new adopters to invest in Twitter’s livelihood, there is a group of core users that, in my opinion, would gladly support Twitter as a conduit of direct communication to the community they’ve grown within the Twitterverse.
My business model postulates that after a Twitter user has issued (not received) 100 “tweets,” they would be cut off from tweeting for the rest of the month–they could still receive tweets, but not send them, unless they paid a $5 fee. Upon payment, the user would be able to tweet at will for the rest of the month, and this process would repeat each month. This would keep the fee optional, and assuming most people don’t usually tweet the same amount from month to month–for example, many entities who tweeted in abundance during election season might not tweet as much since then, and wouldn’t be taxed as if they were not consistently heavy users. New Twitter users, except for spam accounts, aren’t going to tweet enough to break that limit, and therefore will not be charged. However, people could elect to give $60 upfront to Tweet freely for an entire year. This way we build Twitter’s future based on small commitments from many people, rather than large commitments from just a few companies, which other proposed Twitter business models rely on.
Hey, Obama’s campaign succeeded with this mindset, so why not Twitter too? In my honest opinion, relying on corporate Twitter accounts is definitely not the way to go, but that might turn out to be the route that Twitter takes. To be continued….
Do you track the conversations about your business meandering through the Internet? You should. They are not only opportunities to connect with your customers and potential customers, but these conversations can act as link bait. The ultimate form of link bait – outside of a viral piece of content – is certainly the engaging and informative content of your website itself, but conversations don’t need to be 500 page novels. Conversations online can be as short as 140 characters (as they are on Twitter) or as long as the longest tail in the form of a blog comment. The entire Internet is a conversation. Figuring out where people are talking about your business and engaging these users, by both listening and providing information when necessary can lead to improved customer relationships, increased brand awareness, and can serve as link bait to improve your search rankings and keep you in front of the competition that still thinks their online presence isn’t that important. So, how might you find these conversations?
Here’s a brief list of the communication coffee shops you should be visiting regularly:
I must admit that the gap between the time I opened my Twitter account and when I actually became a part of the community stretched months, and it wasn’t because I was too busy clipping my finger nails. Twitter does provide value. Twitter provides instantaneous information about anything and everything. Whopper Virgins? Check. Recent news?Check. Conversations about your company? Check. Head to http://search.twitter.com, type in your product or your company name, say hello and start the conversation.
Blogs are perhaps the ultimate conversation conduits of the Internet. They allow users to write exhaustively about life, love, lemmings and your product. Also, you can leave a linkwhich will help drive traffic and, if the link is not “nofollow,” help increase the link juice flowing to your page. Head to Technorati and, again, search for your product or company name and engage your constituents (and add a link)!
Forums and Message Boards
BoardReader allows users to perform searches for specific posts and forums about your product or company as well as providing a topic profile for your search. Searching forums and messages boards allows you to find communities of users that are highly relevant to your business and can be an ongoing source of interaction for business and link juice.Blogs, unless they are targeted at your product, can be less qualified in terms of an ongoing relationship than forums or message boards, but they can still provide link juice via incoming non-nofollow links.
Okay, so this isn’t a website that allows you to find conversations per se, but using Google Analytics can help you find conversations about your product or company that have already taken place (in addition to its somewhat important task of tracking visitors, goal conversions and other metrics for any SEO campaign worth a dime). While scanning thereferrer traffic for a client recently, I noticed a decent amount of traffic referred to their website from bbc.co.uk. “Interesting,” I thought. I headed to Google and typed in “’www.Client’sURLHere.com’ site:bbc.co.uk” and…Voila! Someone had linked to the client’s website on the forums tucked inside the BBC website. Sure, the conversation had already taken place, but it was a naturally occurring (followed) link from a powerful domain (PR 9) which made the forums worth monitoring.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but merely a starting point. I’m sure some will notice that I have not included Google Alerts. It’s certainly a good tracking utility, but it might not provide the sort of granular conversation tracking you are looking for, particularly when it comes to forums and messages boards (not to mention the need to diversify your sources). In the end, people are talking about you and your product all over the World Wide Web. User engagement is the name of the game. You can increase your brand awareness and improve your rankings through links and your sales through direct contact.
For the past three years my parents have asked me what I want for Christmas and the answer was always the same – SXSW Gold Badge, Gold Badge, Gold Badge. I was a student then and couldn’t afford it on my own, but now that I’m gainfully employed (bless you, Apogee) I can buy my own badge this year. Fun!
However, just because I don’t need presents doesn’t mean Christmas just goes away, so again my folks issued the call for gift ideas for their decidedly geeky/crafty/quasi-pinko-hipster daughter, and I had to think of something. Not only what my folks could give me, but also how to get them a list specific enough to where my choices were unmistakable.
Being a slave to social media, I made my list this year with Delicious. The social bookmarking site scraped the very title tags from Amazon, Target and the like, making each item’s title descriptive enough to where my parents could easily find what they were looking for among the options I offered – however, some of them needed a little doctoring. For example, My Ben Folds shirt didn’t have title tags at all and selected items from theWilco store were merely labeled “WILCO: STORE,” whereas Amazon had keyword-rich title tags, making it easy for me to remember what I linked to, and creating an opportunity for links with optimized anchor text. As items from e-commerce websites get sent around the Internet during seasons of high volume gift-giving, optimized title tags are a great way to get correctly-optimized links from a variety of sources. So label those pages carefully for holly jolly traffic even in “bah, humbug” recessions.
At the beginning of the year, this post on the Apogee Search Marketing Blog made some predictions about search marketing in 2008. Before we try to make any predictions about 2009, let’s take a minute to review 2008’s search predictions compared to what actually occurred over the last 12 months.
Apogee’s 2008 search predictions were as follows:
Management tools become the cost of having a seat at the paid search table, rather than a competitive advantage. PPC management tools were certainly abundant in 2008. And, yes, they were almost necessary to a campaign’s success. Whether these tools were internal or external, focused on automated bid management, analyzing data or testing campaign variables, management tools freed up paid search managers’ time so they could focus on new opportunities, expansion and overall strategy.
Business/marketing acumen becomes more important to paid search management than technical prowess. While tools are great, tools just do what we tell them to do. Ultimately paid search managers have to set appropriate goals for marketers and outline the necessary steps to reach those goals. This year ad copy and landing page testing have gained popularity as marketers focus on increasing conversion rates. With new tools such as Google Website Optimizer (GWO), these tests are becoming easier to implement.
Search engines continue to provide better bid management functionality. Most tools vendors don’t react. Search engines have made many improvements in an effort to provide better bid management functionality in 2008, but despite all of the changes made this year, there is still a long way to go in providing reliable bid management functionality.
Google announced a new quality score method this year that determines CPC in “real-time,” as opposed to its tried and true static quality scores. It also allows for marketers to see first page bids rather than minimum bids.
AdWords Editor now allows users to download performance statistics so that analysis and adjustments can easily be made in the same interface. In addition, the newest 7.0 version, allows users to see quality scores and first page bid estimates for keywords.
Yahoo! now allows marketers to view average rankings when in the bid editing page.
MSN Live Search released a desktop beta tool that is essentially an AdWords Editor for Microsoft.
Bid management tools are also still a bit behind the curve. While their automation saves paid search managers time by adjusting bids, they are slow to react to changes made by search engines. Adjusting bids manually within the search engine’s interface is often more complicated than just using the free tools offered by search engines. As for full blown campaign management, we’re still not seeing many tools with the ability to handle that functionality yet.
Google extends its lead in the paid search market, either a little or a lot, depending upon how you measure the industry. Without a doubt, Google continues to be the leader in the paid search realm. ComScore recently released that in October 2008 Google Sites held 63.1% of all searches, as compared to58.5% in October of 2007. Google’s revenue also increased 31% from third quarter 2007 to third quarter 2008, raking in $5.54 billion in Q3 2008.As for service offerings, Google rolled out tool after tool after tool aimed at helping paid search marketers in 2008. All of these tools successfully assist marketers in optimizing and expanding their paid search campaigns, allowing for Google to maintain and grow its steady cash flow.
Local search continues to grow, but still has a difficult time providing substantive traffic in most markets. This year businesses flocked to Google Local Business Center. It has become “the” thing to do. As Universal Search rolled out throughout the year, local search optimization became even more visible and critical. In most industries and major cities, a business with a service that is location-specific and not on Google Local, will basically be behind by the end of this year.Furthermore, Google’s Local Business Ads (LBAs), a version of paid ads that appear mostly on Google Maps, contributed heavily to local search’s growth in 2008.
Google rolls Click-To-Call in with its local search service, and still no one cares.Not much word about Click-to-Call this year; still no one cares. What has gained recognition in 2008 is phone call tracking for paid search campaigns. Companies such as ClickPath, provide the ability to track calls to the keyword level.
Google Pay Per Action gains traction with B2C advertisers, struggles with B2B advertisers. Google launched Pay Per Action beta globally in June 2007, but phased it out in 2008, citingthe DoubleClick/Performics acquisition as the reasoning.
Google Product Search (previously Froogle) celebrates its sixth birthday, remains in beta. Yes, Google Product Search is still in Beta. During 2008, this product caught up with other comparison shopping engines by showing groups of similar products when a search is performed. This change caughtsome bloggers’eyes when it first rolled out, but ironically, later in the year Google Product Search made it on the list of search engines you’ve never heard of. An option that many companies have not yet tapped into is submitting services just as you would submit products.
Google continues to rail against paid links. The paid linking industry adjusts and continues to provide SEO benefit to its clients. SocialSpark was launched byPayPerPost in mid-2008, and the head of Google’s webspam team Matt Cuttssays he actually likes IZEA’s new service. SocialSpark provides advertisers an opportunity to pay bloggers for a review but requires a nofollow link to the advertiser.Another paid link vendor, Text Link Ads (TLA) launched InLinks publicly in November. Throughout 2008, Google has commented and posted extensivelythat paid links are in violation of the FTC’s Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. SEO bloggers have been debating about the impact of these changes as recently as the last few weeks.For whatever reason, Yahoo! and MSN haven’t been quite as vocal against paid linking in 2008. Yahoo! isn’t worried about the payment as much as the likelihood that a paid link usually doesn’t give as much value as a non-paid link.
SEO becomes more metrics driven as companies learn to measure their SEO performance. Absolutely. Tracking SEO leads and sales provides ROI that is critical to include in a company’s overall marketing expenditure analysis. The tricky part here is if the company knows what the value of a lead is to them or if they can track natural search visitors all the way through to a sale. During 2008, fewer companies were concerned about rankings as they were forced to look more at the bottom line.
Rumors swirl about an imminent merger between Yahoo! and Microsoft triggering a deluge of blog posts and nothing else. Yes, definitely. Talks between Yahoo! and Microsoft surfaced again early in the year but have fizzled quickly. Mid-2008 Google stole Yahoo! from Microsoft and became the attention of all, but that too died out by the end of the year. Although Google and Yahoo! gave it a shot with a trial period during the spring, antitrust scrutiny and regulatory concerns ultimatelycaused Google to call it quits with Yahoo.
The line between Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing blurs further, except among those that actually know how to perform SEO and/or SMM. SEO and SMM definitely continue to be blurred in some circles (i.e. many marketers think creating a Facebook page will greatly help their search engine efforts). While creation of the company’s profile in these outlets is a fairly straightforward process, actually promoting them becomes much trickier and requires a completely different set of goals and strategies. Tracking offline inquiries becomes an important consideration but is not yet mastered in most campaigns.
I recently spoke with Lauren Perdue, a natural search specialist at Apogee Search. She discussed social networking strategies that businesses should consider to increase their online presence.
First, let’s identify the difference between social networking vs. social media. Social networking sites are websites that allow people to connect and socialize. Usually, they have a profile based platform through which individuals create a profile and interact with other users. Social networking sites often offer a social media aspect within their sites, but this function is often secondary.
Social media, on the other hand, is self-published news or articles. Individuals can disseminate information without relying on a major news outlet. Social media has a very strong community aspect.
Businesses should consider using social networking sites since they are free and a great way to grow a loyal customer base. Facebook offers fan pages that companies can use for self promotion and to pass along information. This is a free option that any business can use to begin experimenting with social networking.
Businesses should be aware of the potential risks involved with social networking sites as well. They are opening themselves up for public comment, and these comments are not always positive. Companies should be especially careful if they have skeletons in their closet or other embarrassing information that they do not want to share.
Companies should also remember their goals when considering social networking options. If they do not have the time to continually update a blog, then they should not start one. Additionally, Twitter users often use cell phones to make updates. It doesn’t make sense for a company that forbids cell phone usage to utilize Twitter.
Social networking gives businesses the opportunity to interact with their consumers and to solicit feedback. There are very few forums that provide businesses as much information about their consumers as social networking.
Lauren concluded with two key tips for implementing a social networking camapign:
Maintenance is key! Users will only participate when the content is interesting and when new information is contributed regularly.
Try to maintain a fun and casual tone. Twitter and Facebook are not the place for stuffy, corporate tones. Keep these tools fun and interactive and you will find more success.
MapQuest recently added a Twitter feed to their local start pages that allows users to follow tweets from individuals living in their respective cities. All users have to do is select the city they’d like to follow, opt into the feed and voila! You can follow the tweets of people located in Austin, Portland, Boston, or any other city your inquisitive mind desires.
This development certainly adds to the already social aspect of the local start pages – you’ll notice the Local Reviews section of the page is “powered” by Yelp – and can provide small business owners with another opportunity to engage potential customers. Taken with the big picture in mind, the incorporation of Twitter into MapQuest Local follows the pattern of personalization across all Internet channels, from Google SearchWiki, the socialization of single sign-in protocols (Google Friend Connect, Facebook Connect) and personalized search results.
Moving back to a more granular picture, the Twitter feed is not perfect. The feed is not monitored or filtered, and as such, the feed picks up tweets originating from your city of choice regardless of the topic. Don’t be surprised to see an “F-bomb” appear in the feed — kids, cover your eyes! So, in terms of the feed providing small businesses with Tweeps (that’s Twitter for “peeps”) tweeting about your two-step lessons for twins, you’re out of luck. If you participate on Twitter as your business, you can potentially appear in the feed by posting consistently throughout the day – I posted a test tweet and it was picked up immediately by MapQuest’s Twitter feed.
Additionally, the feed alerts you to active members of a burgeoning online community, and in this case an online community located in your city. If you take only one thing away from this development, it should be to participate in these nodes of social media. Go where your customers socialize on the Internet, it’s all about the user!
Last week a new precedent for punishing cyberbullies was set as Missouri mom Lori Drew was convicted of three misdemeanors for violating MySpace’s terms of service in a complex hoax that led to a young girl’s suicide.
Megan Meier was thirteen when she had a falling out with Drew’s daughter, Sarah. Drew took it upon herself, with the help of a teenaged employee (who was given immunity for testifying against Drew), to set up a fake MySpace page under the name Josh Evans, complete with fake photos and a fake life story as to why this “new boy in town” couldn’t call Megan on the phone or why she’d never seen him at school.
This went on for weeks, and Megan, who had a history of depression and ADHD, started to care about the boy online who told her she was pretty and made her feel special. Even though her parents closely monitored her online activity, she still grew attached.
Drew and the others used “Josh Evans” to flirt with the girl, telling her she was “sexi,” the indictment charged.
Around Oct. 7, 2006, Megan was told that “Josh” was moving away, prompting the girl to write: “aww sexi josh ur so sweet if u moved back u could see me up close and personal lol.”
Several days later, “Josh” urged the girl to call and added: “i love you so much.”
- Chicago Tribune
Eventually Drew decided the ruse had gone far enough and the tone of the messages started to change. So, suddenly “Josh” heard Megan was mean, a bad person, someone who treated her friends badly. He didn’t want to talk to her anymore. The last thing Megan told “Josh” before running up to her room and hanging herself in the closet was “You’re the kind of boy a girl would kill herself over.”
At the time, there weren’t laws in place governing whether what Drew and her accomplice did was a crime, but Drew was convicted by bloggers before the courts ever got to her. The case stayed quiet for a year as the FBI sorted through the story, but slowly it gained more and more exposure.
There are no pictures of Megan, and the paper doesn’t name the family responsible for all this torment, out of “respect” for their daughter, nor does it name the single mother, out of respect for her anonymity and community decorum, which on one hand is understandable but on the other hand, actually f*** that. F*** your community, f*** any hope for cordial ties with those people, and ex-friend of Megan’s, f*** your parents. One age group’s peer pressure is another age group’s “I don’t want to be the b**** who talked to the newspaper.”
When the police wouldn’t release her name to the public after the stories came out, a blogger named Sarah Wells did her own detective work and posted her name and address. The tidal wave of outrage grew and the Drews were shunned by their community, but the police’s hands were tied – mad as the nation was, there was still no legal basis to punish Lori Drew.
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles thought otherwise as they believed they had jurisdiction over the case because MySpace is headquartered in Beverly Hills. On May 15, 2008, Lori Drew was indicted on one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization to obtain information to inflict emotional distress under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. On November 26th,she was convicted of three misdemeanor offenses of accessing protected computers without authorization to inflict emotional harm, reduced from felonies. Drew faces up to three years in jail and a fine up to $300,000 if she receives the maximum sentence.
So what now? What can we do to safeguard our social networks? MySpace issued a statement condemning cyberbullying after Drew’s indictment, but how can this be prevented? Children and adults alike need to be taught that bullying on the Internet is just as harmful as physical abuse – what is the role of the Internet professional to help prevent cyber harassment, and where do our responsibilities lie? Should violating a social network’s terms of service be a crime? Should Drew have received stricter punishment? One can only hope this outcome will quell any ideas of potential Internet bullies, but in between now and then, hopefully a real solution will arise.
Over the weekend a truly extraordinary example of the impact social networking is having on business to consumer relationships emerged as Motrin’s newest ad campaign turned from a firestorm of criticism into a brilliant PR move.
Motrin’s campaign (done by NYC ad agency TAXI New York) commented on the various tolls motherhood takes on one’s body, and how this pain was a badge of pride for “real moms.” Nevermind the potentially incendiary idea of “real moms” (versus what, “fake moms?”), mothers began to grouse that these ads were wrong on many, many levels:
“I am exquisitely aware that the only way my voice is heard, is when you repeat my words. I try to play nice and use my inside voice, and I need y’all to know that my ‘baby’ is seven. I’m not prickly because they picked on me. I’m prickly because they picked on new mommies. I’m prickly because calling us bad mothers will never be funny.” – LA Moms Blog
“I am deeply and profoundly offended. My kids are big, I no longer wear them so Motrin (Johnson and Johnson) didn’t hurt my feelings specifically but they broke the #1 rule of comedy and satire:
Don’t pick on the weak.
New mothers are fragile. Motrin has proven, irrevocably that they don’t understand that mothers are the ones in the grocery stores. Mothers clip coupons and build brands with discussion. Mothers get together and uplift one another.
Offended mom Jessica Gottlieb was the first to air her criticisms of the campaign via Twitter, and over the weekend thousands of tweets by “Motrin Moms” littered the Twitterverse, which surpassed Barack Obama to become the most-tweeted topic in months.
The last group of people you want to upset via the Internet are mommybloggers, for they are fast, efficient, and well-connected. In a recession, Motrin probably recognized the much higher cost of bad press and the idea of being blacklisted in American homes in favor of cheaper generic medicines and mom-friendly brands.
Motrin responded quickly, taking the ads down and issuing an apology to their offended moms:
The apology is circulating now, and while it was a drastic move, it was also very smart. The social networks that spread negative news can just as easily spread positive ones, and using social networks to their advantage was a great reaction on Motrin’s part. Social networks are community-based, and direct communication is key. Social networking is vital to monitoring public opinion and maintaining those connections, so that when a marketing move crashes and burns, you can fight fire with fire.