The rapid growth of search engine marketing over the past two years has firmly established the SEO and SEM sector as an important concern for the mainstream advertising industry. Lacking the long-term background and technical resources to properly serve the intense demand for search marketing from clients, the traditional ad agencies are starting to think about the search marketing industry. Read more…

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Longest Two Day Weekend, Ever

Change seems to be the theme of our story these days with the Internet, search marketplace and our daily set of tasks morphing rapidly. Change is a good thing but never comes without its price. For us that price has been painful, literally.

The StepForth staff has just survived what has to be counted as the longest, most physically challenging weekend in the nine year history of our firm. Bill is still down sick, Scott is temporarily offline, Ross, Mark and I have just recently gotten back online, and our new offices are still turned upside down. Read more…

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Google.CN Promoting Propaganda

Google’s new China focused portal, has been roundly and rightly criticized for censoring results shown in China at the request of the repressive Chinese regime. The absence of material deemed dangerous by the Chinese authorities leaves search results that tell the “right-side” of the story. This is the material open to viewing Chinese citizens. Read more…

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

StepForth Placement Moving

StepForth is leaving its quiet, residential space in the Fernwood neighbourhood of Victoria and moving downtown to its new Bastion Square offices.

The move is prompted in part by the tremendous growth of our industry over the past few years. We’ve grown too, bringing on new staff, upgraded services and a growing list of marketing partners. Also, the new location is simply too nifty to pass up.

This will be our last full day in our current space. On Friday, we start the process of ripping out the servers, dismantling the office, disconnecting our computers and saying goodbye to the funkiest section of town.

We’ll miss the Thin-Edge of the Wedge pizza parlor, the George and Dragon Pub, and our downstairs neighbour, “Fast Sammy” the convenience store owner. Our free-range mascot, Hydro the death-defying squirrel will also be remaining behind.

Our new offices are located in historic Bastion Square overlooking Victoria ‘s gorgeous inner-harbour. Our new building houses some of the oldest offices in the Pacific Northwest region, originally built as a warehouse for supplies heading towards the Yukon gold-rush or to logging and mining interests on the north end of Vancouver Island.

Needless to say, we are all excited and a bit intimidated by the move.

As of Monday, our new address is:

StepForth Placement Inc.
#208, 26 Bastion Square
Victoria BC,
V8W 1H9

Please note that our phone numbers and email addresses will not change.

Toll Free (North America) : 1-877-385-5526
Local Phone Number: 250-385-1190

On behalf of the StepForth crew, I’d like to say thanks to the entire Fernwood neighbourhood. You’ve put up with a lot of parties, traffic, and general geeky weirdness from our space and we’re going miss it here. Thanks for the support, friendship and being such amazing neighbours.

Yesterday, the Bush Administration asked a federal judge to order Google to give the US Government access to approximately one week of recorded searches. Read more…

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

Who's Got the Biggest Ego?

Mirror, Mirror, on the Web, Who has got the biggest head?

According to the egoSurf Top50 , I do, for the time being at least. I even appear to have a bigger syndicated ego than the truly great grandfather of search journalism, Danny Sullivan, though a slightly smaller one than someone named LawMoose.

egoSurf is a new vanity search/reputation management tool that allows you to check your placements on Google, Yahoo,, or Technorati in relation to the number of links back to your blog(s) or URL(s).

If a name is mentioned in, or associated with a piece of writing or a blog document, “ego points” are assigned to that name. The more verifiable references found, the more ego points scored. Apparently, my name is mentioned a number of times in a number of places, likely found by reading between the by-lines. My new found and totally befuddling big-headedness is entirely due to the nature of an environment that allows 2000 word musings to be instantly syndicated through live-feed RSS or human-edited copy/paste routines.

Writers will vanity surf much in the same way an actor will preen in all mirrors. Reputation management is part of the job. It is amazingly gratifying to confirm I do in fact, have a big ego, even if that knowledge is known to go straight to my head. (I’m gonna be mega fun to work with for the next few months eh?)

Friday, January 13th, 2006

Microsoft opens "AdLab" in Beijing

Microsoft announced the opening its adCenter Incubation Lab (AdLab), a state-of-the-art research center in Bejing earlier today. AdLab is a joint project between MSN’s developing paid-advertising program adCenter and Microsoft Research. According to a Microsoft statement, the AdLab’s mission is to, “… research and incubate advanced technologies for MSN’s adCenter, designed to provide advertisers with rich targeting capabilities based on audience intelligence information.”

One of the technologies AdLab will be focused on is video hyperlink ads. The company claims it will be able to “detect product items displayed on a television screen during a show or commercial then zoom into products featured on the television screen and click through to detailed product descriptions and information on where the products can be bought.”

“Until now, there is no way for the user to actually interact with these ads in the video,” said Microsoft data-mining analyst Li Li in an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

MSN is expected to release adCenter in the US in ealry June.

Reporters Without Boarders is a public interest group established to protect the right of reporters, journalists, and bloggers to witness and report on events.

It is calling on Internet users and bloggers to support six key proposals it issued last week “… aimed at ensuring that Internet-sector companies respect free expression when operating in repressive countries.” Read more…

A full weekend has passed since Larry Page made the last of what was assumed to be three major speeches from the heads of the three major search engines at the 2006 CES convention in Las Vegas. Page’s lackluster announcements on Google Pack and Google Video followed similar underwhelming performances by Yahoo’s Terry Semel and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Perhaps expectations had been placed too high by the press. Scheduled fresh on the heels of the Christmas-New Year’s slump, commentators and observers wrote highly speculative pieces, mostly about Google. By Friday afternoon however, what might have been, simply was not. Read more…

Friday, January 6th, 2006

Searching for Cost Savings

About a month ago, Scott Gardner from Fortune Interactive wrote a smart piece that got published in Webpronews, “What’s So Special About Search Marketing?” In it, he covers several points that demonstrate why search engine marketing, particularly search engine optimization is the most cost effective form of mass advertising. Read more…