Want to Game Google +1?

We are seeing very interesting behavior in our testing of Google +1.

As I mentioned on Rand Fishkin ‘s post a few days ago, we started doing some testing of Google +1.

We tested buying packages of 30, 50, 70 +1’s using Fiverr.
We also tested a system on http://www.plused.net in which you +1 a bunch of sites (in rapid fire from their site) and other people return the favor. We used this to add tens of +1’s to several webpages.
We also tested getting REAL +1’s from a modest group of people who actually like a page.
We did our tests on pages we wanted to move up as well as ones we wanted to move down.

Conclusions so far –
– Google figured out that the rapid fire +1’s and the bought ones were fake and, they actually removed them from the count.
So we saw he numbers go up to say 60, and then the next day they were down to 10 again.
They could be seeing a large group of users with common +1’s and ruling them out. They could also be looking for rapid fire +1’s.
In any case, our conclusion is that Google has at least a basic system for identifying fake +1’s – which is good to know.

We did not see any evidence of fake +1’s causing a page to move in either direction in the SERPs.

We did see a possible connection between the real +1’s and a ~15% bump in traffic for a site receiving 2,500 visitors/day.

That’s it so far – we will keep you posted!

Why Israel doesn’t care about UN Condemnation

Hey UN,

In case you wanted to know why those damn Israelis are not particularly concerned when you condemn them for fighting back against the Hamas, the Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups hellbent on Israel’s destruction… Here’s why:

NYDailyNews.com: Subhuman Hamas terrorists target children, attacking a yellow school bus with a high-tech missile

So what’s the big deal – terrorists attack a school bus. Par for the course – what do you expect?

The big deal is where the hell is the UN? No time to condemn this war crime?
Or is it really okay, because Israel is the victim…

food for thought.

Yonatan’s Bar Mitzvah

Very exciting!
My son Yonatan (Jonathan in English) has just reached the age of 13 – so he’s a Bar Mitzvah!
While in Jewish law he is now responsible for his own actions and has basically all the responsibilities of an adult, I am feeling like my job is just beginning.

Now is when he is starting to make decisions about what type of person he wants to be.
Which friends will he choose? Which of his talents will he decide to utilize? How will he get past the inertia that keeps him from achieving more?
While these are his decisions I feel it is my responsibility to guide him and help him understand the options.
[Translation: If you mess around in 7th grade and get lower grades, you will have a hard time getting into the high school that you want to go to in 9th grade]

I don’t think telling him what I think he needs to do will ultimately be the best plan – so here is my thinking at this stage:

  • Try to get him to come to his own conclusions – people usually like conclusions better when they arrive at them on their own
  • Try to be an example for him – knowing that he watches me
  • Letting him in on the types of decisions and issues that I have – and letting him know what factors I use to address them
  • Finding the areas in which our interests overlap and finding ways to interact in that common ground
  • And if all of that fails I am planning to use bribery. (Is that so bad?)

    My kids have superpowers!

    My friend Raphael recommended the TV Series ‘No Ordinary Family‘ as a good way to pass the time on the flight into the US last night.
    I downloaded some episodes on Friday afternoon and let my kids watch. They were glued to the screen – one of the characters is super fast and another is super strong. One of the kids is suddenly super-genius and the other can read minds.

    Interesting that the script calls for each character to have one really strong power – but otherwise they are normal.

    Something about their fascination with regular people who have superpowers, made me think – my kids have superpowers too!

    I started to explain to my kids that each of them (and us) has superpowers just like the people in the show.
    – I have one kid who can make anyone smile anytime with no effort
    – One can remember the details of everything better than a computer
    – Another is super-creative and can envision things he’s never seen

    And my adult friends – almost all of them have recognizable super-powers too:
    – Some have superpowers in investing – they always make money
    – Some help people solve even really tough issues
    – Some are able to keep calm in every situation
    – Some can eat 3X as much as me and stay thin as a stick

    This requires a bit more thought… but my initial thinking is that teaching kids (and adults?) to recognize their own superpowers and then thinking about the best way to use them (and perhaps it’s even a responsibility to do so!) should give them a real feeling of empowerment. And if that doesn’t work, they can still wear the cape.

    Being more precise

    Last night I spoke to two friends, in both conversations we talked about the crazy cold weather and multitudes of snowstorms in the Northeast so far this year. Both of them made the comment that ‘they should really call it Climate Change rather than Global Warming. By calling it Global Warming when you mean Climate Change you are probably not being precise enough. Since words influence the way we think about things – it’s really important to be precise and not to miss out important details – even when they seem obvious.

    It struck me that western societies place a lot of emphasis on the importance of democracy. In the west it’s clear that democracy – the ability of the people to choose their leaders and to have a say in how their country is ruled – is something that all countries need and deserve. But democracy alone is not a value. In recent years we have seen Gaza’s citizens vote in a terrorist government, the Hamas, while Lebanon has chosen the Hezbollah to make up part of it’s government.

    Democracy makes sense only when utilized by peace-loving people who want their own welfare. Democratically elected terrorists are still terrorists.

    Now Egypt looks like it is headed on the same path. Assuming President Mubarak is removed, (this week?) we may well see new elections where the Muslim Brotherhood takes a major role.

    So, to be precise, I am in favor of democracy by a peace-loving non-terrorist society that is educated enough to choose good leaders.
    Perhaps easier said than done….

    Sphinncon Jerusalem, Israel – 2011

    Sphinconn SMX 2011 - Inbal Hotel Jerusalem
    Yesterday we attended Sphinncon 2011 at the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem. I spoke on a panel about Reputation Management.

    This was the best SEO/Internet Marketing event I had been to in Israel. Thanks Barry Schwartz and your team of organizers (RankAbove, TENS, etc)! While I have enjoyed the various other conferences in Israel, I have a feeling that there is now a critical mass of people doing SEO, PPC etc. here in Israel. The level of the discussions was similar to what I have heard at SES shows in the US. Unlike previous conferences, I took at least some notes during several of the lectures and panels.

    A few notes I made for myself:

    1) Think about utilizing various methods (caching plugins? W3 Total Cache?) to speed up page loads for sites running on Homegrown PHP CMS’s and WordPress.
    2) Learn more about Microformats and how these could help us define metadata that could be helpful for identifying our posts, sites, etc. with our clients, their geolocation etc. Especially look into how we can do this for our cell phone websites – tagging pictures of phones, prices, etc.
    3) Consider optimizing the intermediate terms in Instant Search – this can be a value add for Rep Management clients
    4) There is a way to tag our pages so that when shared on Facebook the right blurb etc. will be pulled.
    5) Optimizing and tagging video on our own sites (microformats again) could be a shortcut to better rankings – especially where there is already a video result and we can be the second in a double result.

    And now for the important parts…

    It was great seeing friends, clients, and colleagues – we should see each other more often!

    The food was good! Note for next event: would be a very good idea to serve fruits and vegetables in the afternoon. The cakes and cookies, while tasty caused many to be tired in the late afternoon.
    Oh, and while I brought my own wireless router and charged people to use it, it would be good to have Wifi working next time.

    Your Reputation is…

    This is what Google returns when you type “your reputation is”

    the one that really sums it up for me is the last one “Your reputation is what Google says it is.”

    I was speaking with a journalist yesterday who confirmed what I believed was true. If a Google search brings up some issue, it is difficult if not impossible to completely ignore it when you write an article about a given topic.

    Food for thought!

    Five Blocks Briefs Reputation Management Clients regarding WikiLeaks Release

    Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) November 30, 2010

    Five Blocks Inc. a leading US-based Online Reputation Management company reported today that it has briefed clients and business partners regarding the release of classified WikiLeaks materials some of which may pertain directly or indirectly to its clients.

    Specifically, Five Blocks urged affected clients to analyze the unfolding situation and take the following into consideration:

    1) The greatest issue raised in the various WikiLeaks has to do with countries being private rather than public about their intentions, their plans and their beliefs. The countries that came out looking worst were ones whose public face does not match what they are saying behind closed doors. The solution is to be more direct.
    2) Embrace the fact that Google and Social Media have changed the world – diplomacy is now intertwined with reputation and the resultant public discourse.
    3) Be a part of that discourse in positive constructive and substantive ways.
    4) Generate as much positive and especially unexpected press as possible – It may for example be a perfect time to release prisoners who shouldn’t be in prison anyway.
    5) While the world is focused on your issues – it may be the perfect time to show a human face, which does not mean you have to address head-on the specific issues.

    CEO, Sam Michelson stated., “While some government and political clients are clearly in crisis mode, we are working to turn this situation into an opportunity for them.”

    About Five Blocks: Founded in 2007, Five Blocks is a leading Online Reputation Management company. Incorporated in Nevada and maintaining an office in Los Angeles California and a development center in Israel, Five Blocks helps individuals, organizations, politicians, and governmental agencies take control of their online reputation, especially the search results seen in Google. Five Blocks utilizes proprietary analytics technology as well as search marketing and social media best practices to create and strengthen positive online content. This allows Five Blocks to provide best-in-class Reputation Management to leading organizations in the US and internationally.