Saturday, July 27, 2013

Google search engine changes. Again.

Catching up on the news in actual work:

Google is modifying their search algorithms.  Again.

Google has quietly updated the link schemes document under their Webmaster guidelines to add large-scale guest posting, advertorials and optimized anchor text in articles or press releases to the list of types of links that violate their guidelines.
The new guideline examples that were added to this document include:
  • Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links
  • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles that include links that pass PageRank
  • Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.
The comments in this article are the best insights to the latest machinations.  Online press releases have been used as a "white hat" solution for more then 10 years to build links to websites and thus, improve page rank.  Some will allow keywords to be made into links - but as usual, too much of a good thing raises red flags at Google:  too many keywords in one article linked to the same website = spam.

Read the comments:  Google's attempts to force hand-crafted content and links may backfire and even the best-crafted, most well-intentioned content writing may end up in the abyss as collateral damage.  Clearly, the struggle isn't over and both Bing and Yahoo are emerging as major players.

Your best bet:  diversify your advertising.  Search engine results are still critical to a website's visibility but the most successful enterprises use everything from radio and TV to billboards (large and small), coupon offers (Groupon, etc) and real-life in-person promotions.  Make sure you have a QR or similar code to get visitors to your site via the exploding mobile use market.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

UPDATED Now it's a race (three, actually)

From Reporter Newspapers:

Calling themselves the “clean sweep candidates,” three long-time Dunwoody residents declared their intention to run for seats on Dunwoody City Council.
Jim Riticher, Henly Shelton and Sam Eads said they plan to run as a slate of candidates. Riticher said he plans to run in District 2. Shelton said he will run in District 1 and Eads said he will file for election in District 3.

What makes these new entries interesting is that this is the first time an "official" self-proclaimed slate has run for city office.  In our first elections, the people who ran (or were asked to take an office) were already heavily involved in the formation of the city and had the background and tools readily available to step into their new roles as a startup.  It wasn't a surprise that they knew each other and had some history working together to some extent, especially since 46K is still considered a "small town".  You can't help but run across someone you know in politics or business.

Now that Dunwoody is better established and has some history behind it, the pool of candidates and approach to campaigns and offices is evolving.  There had to be some planning that went in to this to find candidates who qualified for each of the three districts and were like-thinking enough to run as a group.  These three gentlemen claim they are not involved in any of the major established organizations or recently-aggregated advocacy groups in Dunwoody, so time will tell what their connections really are.  

And with as many news outlets, mailing lists, and bloggers out there, we *will* find out, guys....  if there's anything in the closet, clean it out now.  Don't forget to behave yourselves.  Contenders who seem to be publicly getting involved with the city for the very first time will have every move under scrutiny and a moment's indiscretion can derail your plans.  Ask Ellen Fix if you doubt it.

First question asked by any interviewer is going to be:  what have you done as part of Dunwoody before now?  Which leads into qualifications for office, etc.  And if they are distancing themselves from the Chamber, from the DHA and other groups, how are they going to work with these and other advocacy groups if they are elected?

The current candidate list for November 2013  (Post a comment if there's a Facebook link I couldn't find)

District 1 (West)
Denny Shortal
Henly Shelton (individual FB profile)

District 2 (Central)
Jim Riticher
(Blog created with Riticher's name above, can't tell if it's real or a spoof)
Then we have this little gem.  Given the neighborhood I live in and what it looks like on October 31, as well as my past history of frequenting sci fi and comic cons, I'm not going to pass judgement on costumes in public.

District 3 (East)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dunwoody Observations?

Background -

I received the following letter this afternoon with a request to post it on the DWG blog.  It seems to address some of the methods behind the latest rounds of complaints and protests.

I didn't write this and there is nothing in the email to indicate who did.  But just for the sake of discussion, here it is, unedited.  If the author wants to chime in and claim this piece, the comments are open.


Dunwoody Observer
Dear Community,

There has been much conversation, press coverage and distribution of propaganda regarding the political happenings of the City of Dunwoody.

It seems time to open the kimono (so to say) and outline some rational information for thought.

1.) Tax Income Distribution: The important thing to keep top of mind is that tax proceeds funneled to the City is the primary income stream for the City to compensate crucial Community safety staff and provide improvements to the City and its residents. Previous similar tax increases & resultant tax income was diluted throughout the County of Dekalb and spread across the County geography to fund County service providers. (For which the origination and quality is under investigation, based on the recent indictment & suspension of Burrell Ellis.)

2.) Inflation Happens: Taxes will increase with inflation. Period. Whether the additional tax funds go to the County Services or the City Services, there will be an increase taxpayers will eventually be subject to.... When distributed among a larger population, a 2% tax increase may result in less than a 0.5% increase in focused support to Dunwoody residents. It seems noteworthy to highlight that our tax dollars currently being discussed are now 100% focused on Dunwoody.

3.) Demographic of Opposition: If we take time to closely observe the make-up of the vocal opposition of the City of Dunwoody's planned progress, it is quite interesting. The demographics are primarily made up of over 55+, maybe even best characterized as over 65+, citizens. Amazing people, who shaped this City and most likely are living on meticulously planned retirement incomes.

Quite frankly, inflation and additional costs are understandably scary and unwelcome to this segment of our population. After all, when their retirement years hit and they planned on enjoying Mai-Tai's in Hawaii...they instead watched the stock market crash, the real estate market crash and we have no idea what type of financial impact may have subsequently incurred.

However, this segment of the populations also has significant tax exemptions extended to them as Senior Citizens and therefore contribute a minimized amount of tax revenue.

4.) Furthering Education: Having witnessed the Accreditation issues and the School Board CEO ousted, the opposition group was interestingly not in attendance at large at the meetings key to shaping the education opportunities of our next generation. Why is the primary focus on their personal finance and tax situations with little regard to supporting the growth, sustainability and next generation of our beloved Dunwoody? What does this communicate to the community?

5.) Emotional Rhetoric: There is a self-demonstrated structure of the communication pieces of this "opposition" segment primarily focusing on emotion versus fact. The flyers distributed throughout Dunwoody regarding Charter Commission meetings and their stated "issues", were emotional, name-calling and without any statistics for the reasonable community to consider and evaluate. Unfortunate, self-imposed, characterization of anger and emotion was all this piece communicated, versus a legitimate communication piece.

6.) Respect: There is no known vocal resident or City Official who has an "agenda" to ignore the sage advice of our "forefathers". There is a lot of respect for our "forefathers.". Unfortunately, those so active in the "opposition camp" do not seem to be offering a lot of rational / fact-based advice to the community at large.

7.) Voting: We ALL had our times at the polls. We are all stakeholders. CEO's of publicly traded companies do not issue a vote for every spending decision made. Nor does the President of the United States. Its quite simply, the American way. Our "voice" is heard at the polls. "Shareholders" all have a right and structured platform in place to provide constructive / actionable feedback. It is crucial to not circumvent these channels and the feedback is presented in a structured, productive and fact-based manner.

8.) Cost: The result of emotional politics is cost: The cost of the community's time and money. Emotional approaches create additional costs the community must absorb as we watch the delays in the work committees. They are forced to manage non-fact based, emotional campaigns of Citizens who offer complaints rather than solutions. Is the rhetoric costing us more than the actual proposed tax?

9.) Balance: Free Speech? YES! Balanced Government? YES! If you want to contribute, it appears that contribution, accompanied with a balanced, fact-based discussion, is always welcome in Dunwoody. If you have a plan, share it! If you have a concern, outline it with facts and statistics.

If communications are not based in fact or intended to "educate" the reader, these communications distract from and stunt the focus and growth of the community. Take time to consider the economic impact on your neighboring Citizens and if they are to "educate and promote" a point of view or if they are simply "name-calling" communications.

10.) Legacy: The last point that I would ask the "opposition" camp and all those observing the actions of this camp to consider is this.... Would you want your children (or your grandchildren) to live in and invest in real estate, businesses and a community fraught with people who oppose progress? People who don't show up in droves to support the next-gnereation's education but instead show up in droves to air unproductive emotions? Would you advise your children to live among people fighting the building blocks key to continuing to grow an astute, independent, self-sustaining community? Would you call that "a good investment" for a community? Dunwoody was established by quality, intelligent, hard-working leaders. Don't distract from or destroy their legacy. Take time to consider the progress the next-generation is trying to fund is key to ensuring this community maintains its status of an elite Perimeter community to call home.

Times are changing all around us... As a community, we must thrive or we will wilt. If we do not embrace this change, we will have seen our bloom and best days in years long past.

To the Opposition camp, please consider your next moves wisely. If it is considered hard to be educational and factual about your issues without name-calling, then consider no longer distracting from your fellow citizens time and money and let our City do its work to continue the growth of Dunwoody.


A Dunwoody Observer & Resident