Author Archives: Web Marketing

Lost Island – Google Maps PR Prank 2012 or Fly’s dung

- Would you like to join me for exploring trip to “Sandy Island”? I found this great place just off the New Caledonia coast.
- No, it isn’t!? It’s just fly’s droppings! What a shame…

You think geographers and cartographers in 21st century know everything about our globe. They can measure it with 1cm accuracy thanks to very accurate satellites and laser devices, explore it flying over things and taking aerial photos. However recently has been “discovered” Google among other providers made up some islands together with their names! You can clearly see below this is an artificial mark on the top of the satellite raster but it was given name – “Sandy Island”. According to Wikipedia its existence was questioned in 2000 (well before Google Maps existed) but it was not publicised. In 2012 it get full attention.
So, What happened?

Go to Google Maps search “Sandy Island” – unbelievable it does exist. First you would thought there should be thousands of places called “Sandy Island” and you are wrong not many of them around about 10 fairly well known. Second someone who made up this island together with its name must have a lot of fun now.

View Larger Map

Phantom Island of Coral Sea shows us clearly Internet published data can be greatly inaccurate. In some cases we perhaps put too much faith in this medium. Even “Sandy Island” existed prior to internet maps it looks like mistake was replicated in digitalised based on offline materials and taken for granted as correct in online world.
It is worth to mention here non of the existing big online map services is homogeneous. You would think so but this is not a case. In UK alone services like Google Maps or Bing Maps use at least 5 providers for satellite imagery and maps layers. After all GIS (Geographic Information Systems)  it is big complex structure and although Google and Microsoft  are some of the biggest organisations in the world they can not cope with global scale mapping on their own. With so many providers worldwide there is no wonder you will have lots of mistakes.

So how “Sandy Island” made to charts? There are few possible scenarios:
1) Raster problem – one of the satellite imagery providers for example NASA created image with couple of dead pixels this was interpreted as island when picture was processed
2) Copyright mark – a lot of cartographers make some insignificant mistake in order to recognise their work. In case map is replicated illegally this mistake is also replicated. There is only one but – this is not done on sea charts for security reasons
3) Prank – sometimes in 1990s someone decide to create island for fun – junior cartographer in some equivalent of Ordinance Survey when digitalising maps decided to create an island. If this would be the case this is the guy who has now so much fun watching all these articles.
4) Fly’s dropping – try to imagine this cartographer in late XX century produces digital vector version of the map based on satellite image. A fly flies over and… “Sandy Island” is created. Trust me however funny this sounds it is possible – I did create few maps in my life :-)

- Do not organise your holidays based only on Google Maps ;-)
- Always keep in mind internet is full of errors so do not take it for granted all data from Wikipedia is correct or this is true because you did “Google it”

Battle Of The Bloggers – How good at Travel Blogging are you?

Inspired by the travel bloggers at the WTM London at the Excel London recently, we have been paying close attention to what is happening in the travel blogging community. A few weeks ago we helped set up a competition which all budding travel bloggers can get their teeth into. The competition is run by popular 18-39 travel company – Topdeck Travel.

Topdeck Travel’s “Battle of the Bloggers” Competition gives all bloggers (whether already established or just aspiring) the opportunity to win a unique and once-in-a-lifetime prize. The winners will jet out to Topdeck’s Island Suntanner in Australia or Kiwi Encounter in New Zealand!

All you need to do to get a chance of winning your dream holiday is:

  •  Write a 500 word post on your blog decribing your favourite travel experience. (It must describe a Topdeck Travel destination).
  • Post a video entry on youtube describing the same experience, and tag it #battleofthebloggers.
  • Fill in the entry form on the Topdeck site.

In order to find out more or to enter the competition, just follow the link
The  competition is only the start of something that could become fruitful long term cooperation between young blog publishers and an established travel company.

If you have any multilingual skills or other unique to you publishing features up your sleeve, I would recommend using them!

Good Luck!

WTM London 2012 – Travel Online Technology – 5 Points to take away!

Earlier this week Travel Trade Show WTM London 2012 took place in Excel London. For 4 days people from all over the world were doing business accross all travel sectors. One of the most busy ones was Online Travel Technology sector. As one of the most non-invasive forms of wealth distribution these travel shows always attract a lot of attention and with advance online technology travel market specialists look towards Search Engines and Social Media as money saving solutions.
Question is – did you join any technology seminars this year? If you didn’t there are 5 main points which were discussed this year. You can treat this article as your guide to online travel technology and advertising 2012: WTM London 2012 Break from Technology Seminars
- Bloggers
- Search
- Video
- Mobile
And the most important one:
- how to use these techniques fully combined for your holistic marketing strategy.
I must admit this fifth point is something we’ve been waiting for over the past five years.

This is quick review of what happened during 4 days of seminars
1) Bloggers get their proper recognition this year. It was joyful to find in the seminar rooms dozens of bloggers. For the very first time I can say travel industry recognises bloggers on this same level as technology sector does.
On Tuesday in Platinum suite you could feel buzz like never before. This will only get bigger.
Take away point – find connections with travel bloggers ASAP if you do not have some already!

2) Search Marketing. No one needs to be convinced what benefit can you have from website. We had people from major players on the podium including chaps from innovative side of Search – Semantic Search. Where you can talk about artificial intelligence in search.
What you could learn here is that Google is so big regarding product span and operations that an external Search focused specialist knows more about their products than an internal representative :-) (it was fun to watch). Of course this showed how advanced online marketing techniques are these days.
Search – Yahoo!|Bing setup is still confusing regarding advertising opposite to Google where GDN and your AdWords pannel can cover all aspects of online advertising including YouTube, Gmail, Google Places and G+
You still have no straight forward approach to introduce advertising within Hotmail, MSN messenger, Yahoo publishing properties. This of course creates Bing platform less competitive especially for businesses with budgets below certain threshold. Sometimes people like Yahoo!|Bing alliance forget there are thousands of businesses which spent millions and millions of businesses which spend only thousands.
Google fully recognises this and this is the reason you can still create revenue on Google form campaign which has spend of £50pcm! Incredible but true.

Take away point two – make sure you always hire specialist from search to keep your team updated. Your team is not focused on general trends in search make sure you not running blind – talk to search engine specialist ASAP

360 picture of Europe stands on WTM London in Excel in 2012

3) Video – bigger then ever before YouTube annotations as way forward for linking videos made their stage this year. Good for annotations but what about content productions. There were some interesting results there too.

Take away 3 – Get your videos linked together  and do not spend money on video production. Ask your customers to do it – give them a bit of claim to fame.
4) Mobile – If you do not do it this year apparently you will be dead by the end of 2013. This was main message from specialists in this and other online marketing areas. Apart from couple of funny figures mainly “guesstimated” you could found out from speakers we have 4 billion internet enabled mobile devices in operation in the world and 5.9bn mobile phones altogether. All predictions for 2013 say this number will be higher then number of people in the world as soon as end of Q1.

Take away – four – make sure you have your mobile presence sorted – hot stuff is coming mostly from Android market and make sure you’re making a division between phone screen and tablet screen
5) Holistic marketing. When you decide to go ahead with promotion just make sure you talk this same language offline and online have decent approach to print as this will still run but needs online connections like QR codes and short URLs for each offer. Make sure when you do something you do this across the whole web. And perhaps the most important. Try to avoid country specific offers. This are old days tools now there is no borders. Your country local campaign will make it to social media in minutes and trust me you do not want to upset your followers from different countries and tell them they have to wait for this same offer another 2 months.

Take away number five – give it a go – all at once, use this same language, make easier  to customer to  switch marketing channels and make sure 4G is still ages away so create solutions which take advantage of downloadable material in case customer has no access to connection.

Now is all up to you – Go get your business in 21st century style cheap and effective.

New Nav Bar Layout For Google SERP’s

Too Long Google Sidbar Recieved Complains from Users earlier this year

Too Long To Cope With New Features - Google Side Bar Navigation

Earlier this month we spot Google again started testing new possible update to SERPs (Search Engines Result Pages) usability and structure. As previously this testing is not yet visible to everyone but we can perhaps expect it to be visible across all Googles within next few weeks (possibly with some modifications).
Switching Navigation from Left hand side bar to the top bar may suggest several things:
1) Google follows trends and decided to simplify some elements of navigation (current options for search criteria has been summarised in “Search Tools” button and they allow to tick options.
2) More products (search options) which popped up earlier this year created situation where side bar navigation become too long and not that useful. When you tried to open tab “More” and “Show Search Tools” you would need monitor with more then 1000px height res to see all options. “Applications” become for good part of the main navigation – obviously they create revenue for company and long awaited Flight Search looks like made its way from Beta to full release (maybe not yet as Error 500 is not what you expect from link on main Google Nav Bar :-( see more of this story here.

3) left hand side bar is now ready for new task – empty and wide enough to generate some revenue can be easily used for advertising or more push of google products like Chrom or G+ results also it is another space which could be used by AdWords let see.
G+ results make a lot of sense in this position as we have seen in the past them being on right hnd side where briefly they were replacing AdWords for some ad free but popular search terms.

The whole exercise with new layout testing suggests Google similar to other giants struggles with navigational expansion. These changes are made just few weeks after Amazon introduced their new sliding expandable navigation. All these companies need to deal with several layers of navigation from User specific/Account functions navigation through Products/Services Navigation and Functional/options navigation this creates a lot of navbars and buttons and the last thing they want to do is overcomplicated layouts. Perhaps we will see soon some ground braking propositions to keep all this functionality in place but at this same time to create some standardise systems to keep users happy.

One of these recent attempts to improve experience on multi level navigation we can see below:


In the past we also struggled with these type of navigations but we made good progress few years ago while we developed and Top-Content based websites .


New Functionality on Google Navigation Bar in SERPs – Flights Serch – Cool but with 500 Error!

We just checked new Top Nav Bar setup from Google and we spot several times “Error 500″ on return of the flights page. Google Flights is a quite new product from Google which was available online as beta release from 2011 but it did not made to the main search options up to earlier this year. It was mostly due to commercial and technical problems. It looks like despite recent updates which introduced more travel products within Google Flights some technical glitches are still there.

Unfortunately we discovered Google servers respond to some browsers with http Error 500 which of course is not what you expect when you browse one of the most popular services on internet. We checked if this was temporary issue and we logged in from different IP addresses over few hours to assure what we have seen is not temporary situation. Unfortunately Error was repeated with no obvious rule behind its appearance.
I can imagine once this is completed and with minimal Errors it will become our favourite tool unless it will share its faith with couple of other abandoned Google projects. As we can remember this is  what happened last year to Property Search.
Google Flights still needs some work to do - Error 500 on some browsers

No Google Doodle for Paralympics!?

The Google doodle has been with us since Google first started. Every day when something special happens: Xmas, Thanksgiving, Olympics, World Cup, Paralympics – No, hold on – Paralympics? – They’re not that important. Especially to those in London.  Who cares that these games are second biggest sports event in the world! With 2.5 million tickets sold this event must be not worth of investment in Doodle? They don’t make as much money as Olympic Games and the main sponsor Sainsbury is not a big Adwords spender – lets ignore it!
Googlers- What is wrong with you people!!! Shame on you!

Not enough search volume to promote great sporting event – no money there? And this is coming just a few days after RM had to be pushed to treat Paralympians medallist equally to Olympians by issuing stamps and by painting postboxes in their postcodes gold – Gigantic modern corporations with pathetic marketing approach from XIXc.
Paralympics not Equal to Olympics according to Google

gTLD follow up – New Internet behind the corner!

ICAAN ( Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) received 1930 applications for new gTLDs. Within these applications there are 1409 unique domains in different character sets including Russian, German, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Chinese.
There are very obvious three letters applications: LLP, LTD, WEB, SEX, etc. But also some longer ones even to some degree eccentric:

Apart from ICAAN’s fees (U$185K) applicants are expected to put forward up to U$20K in legal and administrative costs associated with registration.
This fee structure makes it only available for companies and organisations with a spare cash to play.
Industry believes the very first websites to use new gTLDs we can expect by the end of 2012. However, we @Absowebly are almost certain there will be a little bit of delay between release and actual market availability of these domains. From public point of view change will start happening in 2015 when the first proper campaigns will hit mainstream media advertising new internet to us all i.e., apply @, go to or something similar.

Have you got any plans regarding gTLDs?

More Room For Internet – IPv6, .anything and “Penguin” for dessert

While our economy shrinks Internet expands almost to infinity.

Two core elements of the global internet infrastructure have been “upgraded” during last few weeks, “signum temporis” as the Romans would say. Internet is no longer “new”! Last Month we officially ended its adolescence and opened gateway to exponential and potential  infinite growth along with new resources.


This gives us  far more IP addresses than there are stars in the Universe. It is big step from 4.3 bn IP addresses we had available up to June 2012. Some developers will suffer as it was very easy for them to remember and recognise their own infrastructure using IPv4 system. Now is all about to change

 IPv6 Example:


IPv4 Example
IPv6 and .any domain names - more room for internet 

What IPv6 does it mean for average person?

a) You can have more IP addresses for yourself then you can imagine. All your devices can be combined in to one private network. Cloud hosting can become obsolete and peer-to-peer networks will start to take over private internet structure. Your fridge, phone, tv, dishwasher, heating system or any internet capable device will contain all information about us and will be able to broadcast and receive all necessary data to make our lives easier and safer too (there will be divided opinions here) .

This is possible “typical evening digital conversation”:

Mobile: (in your pocket) end of the day micro elements analysis and fat burning analysis

Mobile to Fridge:  status report sent

Fridge to Mobile: Possible diner for today – poached salmon with new potatoes

Mobile to you: agree/disagree

You to Mobile: (let say) Agree

Mobile to Fridge: correct

Fridge to Dishwasher:…..

and so on :-)

b) At some point there will be proposition for each of us to have own static addresses on all possible home devices (from mobile to your fridge) – police or other organisations will be able to trace us better. How about health monitoring of your everyday shopping? Fridge could send report to your GP “you have too much sugar in your diet”. Very close to implementation of this type of monitoring are insurance companies. Automated warnings “you are driving 40mph in 30mph zone your comprehensive cover is now invalid …..

Dream come true or should we heed Orwell’s warning from 1984? Whichever it is it doesn’t matter it is closer to implementation then ever before! All thanks to IPv6.

c) Similar to the Higgs Boson Particle we do not really know how many great or bad things awaits us because of IPv6. This system opens yet unexplored for Internet users and infrastructure creators possibilities.

.anything Domain Names

Great news for all brand holders and big companies with no .com domains in their portfolio. They can have now domain like shoes.adidas or vests.adidas. Of course price point US$185000 for application makes it only available for corporate customers but there will be moment this will be available for much less in few years time for all of us. It is fascinating from search marketing point of view too. We know Google always mentioned a lot about “canonical” tag for domains. With Google buying domains like .youtube and .google we have clear indication .com supremacy as global domain will be challenged by new gTLD “corporate” level domain names. After all people who are able to pay US$185K for domain must be the most valuable Google customers too.

What .anything means for the average person?

a) You will buy your groceries from TESCO whether you do it online or offline.  www is almost obsolete now is time for .com to go. You will type shop.tesco and you will be taken to Tesco online shop. In many cases your search phrases will mean exact address of the website you are looking for.

b) In couple of years time when prices are down there will be fashionable to give a .anything domain as a  b’day present. Of course it will happen so you can type fridge.kurzydlo (author’s surname) on your mobile.kurzydlo and you will be able to pick up menu for tonight!

What about this “Penguin”?

A bigger Internet means more spam. Coincidence on this front comes from release of the biggest anti-spam algorithm Google has ever released! It is fearless - Penguin. It is worth watching its behavior as it treats irrelevant links pretty nastily. There are people in the industry who still believe there’s no such thing as bad links – ask them about Google Penguin update!

What “Penguin” means for average Joe?

a) A waterbird which can’t fly ;-)

b) There will be less spam on blogs, forums and other social media related areas

c) There will be more relevant results on Google. Relevant – means well established companies with a lot of AdWords budget ;-)


We hope for more exciting news like these in the second part of 2012 – we are changing world’s future without even realising it!

Enjoy your holidays!




Facebook Security Flaw – Database Table Names Exposed

Ever wondered what mysql table names Facebook use? Well, now you can see thanks to Facebook’s Advertising Platform, which under the right set of circumstances will spit out a lovely (by lovely we mean potentially dangerous) error which reveals a little more than Facebook probably intended:









The error reads:

QueryConnectionException: connection dropped; ‘SELECT `account_id`,`admarket_id`,`friendly_name`,`status`,`channel`,`max_budget`,`funding_type`,`funding_id`,`abtest_id`, `credit_status`,`terms`,`currency`,`vertical_type`,`timezone_id`,vat_status,tier,manager_id FROM `account` WHERE `account_id` IN (7*******) LOCK IN SHARE MODE’

10 facebook billionaires – Floatation Rich List

There you go the facebook shares cost $38.23 (on the end of the first day trading)  for a punter to start investment but who is the king of real “early punters”?

Facebook Billionaires Countdown
Pos Value     @U$38.23/Flotation Cash (USD) Name/Who Picture invest. year initial invest. (USD) share % Est. ROI
10 1.06bn / 0.64bn Peter Thiel  Peter Thiel Facebook Bn 2004 0.5m  ~2  2120%
9 1.21bn / 0.89bn Tiger Global Management 2005  ~2.1
8 1.4bn / 176m Bono and Friends / Elevation Partners Bono investment director 2009 90m 2.3 1600%
7 1.4bn / 1.1bn Goldman Sachs Goldman Sachs IPO  2009  2.3
6 2.67bn / 0 Sean Parker sean parker napster-facebook  2004  ~4.2
5 2.73bn / ? Eduardo Saverin eduardo-saverin-facebook-ipo 2004 co-founder
4 4.7bn / 2.5bn Yuri Milner and Friends( Yuri Milner DST Group Facebook ipo 2009-2011 about 500m overall
3 5.1bn / 0 Dustin Moskovitz Dustin-facebook-ipo  2004  co-founder  7.6  5.1bn%
2 5.85bn / 1.95bn Jim Breyer (Accel Partners) 2005 12.2m  ~8.5
1 19.2bn / 1.15bn Mark Zuckenberg Mark Zuckerberg Facebook IPO  2004 co-founder  24  19.2bn%

Surreal sums for 99.9% of over 900m people with accounts on Facebook thanks to whom this very few can earn such a money

Next time you post on facebook make sure you adding to these billions.

Krzysztof Kurzydlo