JEREMY: Adam Mundane said that there was a thread online going on about the History of Search. Where you participating in this?
MARK: Well, I haven’t seen that thread. I’m doing some really cool facts finding. I’m trying to get artifacts to substantiate it. Like, if you’ve got an email from Danny Sullivan in 1998 talking about when he came over, I’m looking for that. Lots of folks can talk, and there is a lot of chatter I’ve heard, but I want to dig up artifacts. There’s that core group of folks that know certain things from that time, and have the ability to dig up things that will show dates and times of things they were doing, and that’s the kind of stuff that I want to lay all out there, and then if people want to have a buzz talk, great. Let’s focus on these facts and see how what you’re saying gels with these little points in time. Now, underneath, there’s this ulterior motive I think. I could be wrong, but there is this conjecture that it started here in Bend, OR. That some of the earliest thoughts about search happened right here, and one thing we know for sure is that the number of people that are in search today that came from Bend, OR is larger than most cities. It’s an anomaly for this size town.
JEREMY: I would have to believe there’s a lot of starts here, and a lot of roots, but it really is in what context. What context are you trying to define in terms of when we talk about search marketing? Because even if you talk about SEO, really what SEO is, SEO is just a function of web development. There have been people probably building websites for a long time that have had some interaction of doing search both either directly or indirectly. When I think about a lot of the folks that have been around for a long time, like the guy from Web Gorilla – Greg Boser – He was around back then. I would really be interested to see how many people… were you part of John’s I-Sales list way back? … I think the I-Sales list itself was actually the glue to a lot of the initial chatter and talk about internet marketing where search just became a vehicle that was showing a lot of return effectively.
MARK: Bruce Clay was on that list way back then, and he goes back.
JEREMY: He’s way back there. Yeah, so to say it originated out of here… I think there’s a lot of influence, because if you look at the paths that people took out of here, you know like with Marshall who’s now with the New York Times, and Derek Wheeler who’s now at MSN just as of recently. My march was sort of from here. I did some work with Noel McMichael and Paul Owen at MarketLeap, and then I went to Chicago with PositionTech and Jim Stob. Jim was involved way early, when Infoseek was doing paid inclusion. Jim Stob is someone you’d have to include in this because he’s been around for a long time and these were the days when Inktomi was just sort of a .com and it came up. In 1998 maybe 1999, Inktomi was powering MSN and Yahoo, Google was just starting to show signs of life not even until the later 90’s. I think John Audette was a big influencer in terms of bringing visibility to it. Danny Sullivan was doing it a long time but I think by John bringing him here, he influenced it and almost started a fire. Maybe the fire that was burning here was a little bit bigger than the fire that was probably burning in these individual spots, around the web at Bruce and Jim…
MARK: Yeah, well Bruce was in his garage doing something.
JEREMY: Yeah, exactly, I mean they’re all doing something. What I think is that I-Sales was a very preeminent list at the time in terms of major influencers on the web. It’s funny because if you look at the influence of how John and how MMG came on the radar with a large media congormer (002-00:50) like at the time as Tempus Group that eventually bought MMG. How do they just pick up a 20 person company in Bend, OR? It was that list. It was also the biggest business development driver for the company at the time. So, to say it was born here? I think there was just a lot of influence here.
MARK: Then if I back off words like originate, born, and move more toward influence and then look where that went. After that initial phase starts up and we can see the little fires burning around the place then the next thing is “Hey what happened,” and like you talked about how you went over to PositionTech and then Outrider got involved and Brenbug, and all the other different companies started sparking up. I remember going to an SES in San Jose, I can’t remember if it was the first one or not.
JEREMY: Well, the earliest one that I went to was in about 2000. It was in San Francisco at the Fairmont; it wasn’t even in San Jose. And we actually sat down and had formal meals. It was one room with about 6 booths down one side, 6 booths down the other, and tables in the middle. People actually came out and formally served us dinner and lunch.
MARK: Ha-ha. How many people were in the room?
JEREMY: Maybe 100; most of them vendors and such.
MARK: Yeah, someone to occupy those 12 booths.
JEREMY: Yeah, exactly. I look back then it was the engines that were primarily looking at it.
MARK: Did Danny have a format laid out at the time?
JEREMY: A little bit, yeah. There was definitely structure and its funny how it’s come a long way in terms of reaching a broader mass. At times it actually pains me to go through conferences to hear them talking about a lot of the same things.
MARK: Ha-ha; SEO 101.
JEREMY: Yeah, it’s not so much even the 101 as much as it’s talked about in such isolation to just marketing in general. There’s a heavy focus on search but you think about links. You know, what are links? How are they generated? It’s generated by creating a good marketing message that has value, that people like and want to share. So, it’s amazing that we’ve gone so far, and it’s moved from (in my mind) search optimization to what it is now, search marketing. We’re marketing to this vehicle called search and it’s not by accident why our company joined with Ogilvy, because Ogilvy is a mass marketer who influence a much broader message a much bigger message they create brands. And that’s where we need to be. We need to be at the table influencing that because that’s ultimately what’s going to define and shape what we ultimately do at this layer. So, no in terms of looking at the history of things, I mean, you could map it out fairly well to all the major influencers of the space. John Audette, Adam’s Father, was a huge influence - no question. I-Sales created a lot of awareness when they brought Danny over, to train a small group of people…
MARK: Were you there?
JEREMY: You know, it’s funny, I wasn’t actually in the room when they brought him over because I started with John in November of 1997, and if you actually looked at my name, there’s an old thread that comes up from I-Sales, and if you Google my name actually, you’ll see a thread and when John was actually starting his own conference series called AIM – Adaptive Integrated Marketing - or he was actually reaching out to individuals at certain strategic points in the country, where they would actually organize their own sort of conference and John would actually come and speak about it. I came into the company as John’s Executive Assistant. That’s how it started. From there we were doing OPSs – Online Promotion Specialists. That’s what we were doing. We were literally going out… I don’t know if you know John, did you see Johns top 100?
MARK: Yeah, yeah.
JEREMY: Yeah, where you submit your site. It was really just a submission list right? So, we had a various number of clients and I started after John moved the company from Portland to Bend.
MARK: So you were already here in Bend?
JEREMY: I was here in Bend, and my wife Heather actually started before I did at MMG.
MARK: Do you have any objection to me interviewing her as well? Is she working today or taking care of kids?
JEREMY: Yeah, taking care of kids. Yeah, I remember how it happened… Marshall and Derek worked together at CompUSA in Portland, and John was walking in the store one day and he would always go in and buy computer stuff, and at some point he was like, “Hey you should come interview.” John was trying to get him to come and work for him. That was actually in John’s basement in his house in Lake Oswego. Marshall just went to start and he worked there for a while, as well as Adam Sherk… Adam Sherk is a big person that you’re going to have to bring into the fold here, because he was in way early. He actually works with Marshall now at New York Times. It’s kind of funny because at some point… I can trace the patterns of most of the people in this hub of where people went… and so Adam and Marshall and another guy named Adam who John originally started a company with in Portland, who was involved early and then went off and started his own company.
MARK: And he’s in Portland?
JEREMY: Yes, he’s in Portland right now.
MARK: He’s still in Search?
JEREMY: I don’t know. He was doing more websites and marketing at the time. Adam Audette would know him for sure. I’m just blanking his last name. And then there’s another guy who John originally started with, his name is Shaun, that’s where the multi-media came from. Those guys were doing multi-media type presentation building for customers, and that’s where the multi-media name came early on… his name’s Shaun. Funny enough, Shaun ended up moving out east to Connecticut, and I actually re-hooked up with Shaun 3 years ago, up in Connecticut. One of our partners that helped found Global Strategies, our company now.
JEREMY: Bill Hunt and Andy. Bill Hunt used live in Bend. He moved to Bend in 1998 with MMG. Andy who’s another partner in Global Strategies, used to work for Brenbug, and he lives in Connecticut. That’s how it all kind of ties together. Andy, or one of the partners at GSI, he was working out at a Gym and this guy came up to him, and Andy had a Yahoo! shirt on, and it was Shaun. Shaun originally did work with John Audette in Portland in 1995 doing multi-media.
MARK: So they started talking.
JEREMY: They started talking, and they started doing work together with MetLife doing email marketing. But if you look at the core people that were there, like really early it was John, Adam, John JR you know JP – he was involved early on. At the time Link Exchange… John was actually the monitor of the Link Exchange Digest. John Audette was. Then it was handed over to JP who was doing it for a while. But it was John, JP, Marshall, another guy named Derek Wheeler, myself, my wife Heather.
MARK: Does Derek still live in Bend.
JEREMY: He just moved to Redmond a month ago to work for Microsoft. Microsoft recruited him to do search for them.
MARK: Excellent. So MSN is going to wake up.
JEREMY: Oh yeah. They’re involved. Marshall works obviously for New York Times out of Bend.
MARK: Right. Now, what was Derek doing say two months ago?
JEREMY: He was working for Axiom, which was formally MarketLeap. Then MarketLeap was bought by Digital Impact and Digital Impact was bought by Axiom.
MARK: Keith Boswell, I noticed just moved away as well.
JEREMY: Keith Boswell and Paul Owen had a small web development company here in town, actually over off of Empire. My wife was trying to learn web development herself, so she was interning or working for those guys for free just to learn, at Block Communications.
MARK: We used to work with Block; I was at First Choice at the time.
JEREMY: Block ended up going their separate ways after that, but there was this guy Noel who was working for Catholic Health Care West which was one of the hospitals down in San Francisco, he was a client of MMG, and he ended up needing some web development. He worked for a company called First Consulting Group, and he ended up starting his own company MarketLeap – Noel did. Paul then went down and moved to San Francisco, and Paul and Noel founded MarketLeap. But Noel used to be a customer of MMG, because of Catholic Health Care West. Derek did a lot of work on that account. Then they brought on a developer named Michael Hawk at the time to help them do some work, and those were the three core people of MarketLeap. Shortly after that, I think it was late 2000…
MARK: Yeah, and Keith joined him too.
JEREMY: Yes, at a much later point. It was not yet. He maybe started doing some consulting. He was doing a lot more freelance writing at the time, Keith was. MMG was bought in 2000, and investment was made earlier, but I think they were fully bought in 2000. I didn’t really want to be part of the bigger piece, so I actually went to work at MarketLeap.
MARK: Oh, you went to MarketLeap?
JEREMY: Yes, because I had more of a media background, and MarketLeap was getting a lot of requests for doing more media. It started out just doing pure web development, and some marketing, so I went to work at MarketLeap and did that for quite a while.
MARK: Did you work here in Bend, or did you move down to San Francisco?
JEREMY: No, I worked here in Bend, but I went down there a lot. You can ask Noel and Paul, I slept on their couch a lot in their apartment in San Francisco. We started doing more work, and then I know for a fact that we were the first company with Position Tech. This is when Inktomi offered a paid inclusion program; when they were doing a flat fee per URL.
MARK: 10,000 a month, or…
JEREMY: No, it was like $39 for the first URL and $20 URL after that. It was paid crawling basically. And then, Inktomi rolled out this XML Feed Program. We were the first folks to do an XML Feed through Position Tech. Position Tech was a paid inclusion reseller at the time, into Inktomi. So MarketLeap was the first one to do that, and we did it for Tyco Electronics.
MARK: I met you guys, it might have been Position Tech at the time… but they later sold those as well right?
JEREMY: No, Position Tech was the reseller. We went through them, and that was the first time I met Jim Stob, because at the time Detlev Johnson, Detlev was another guy that was here… but not till a little bit later. The early influencers were the ones that were sitting in the upstairs of that building right over there. This is now across the street from Goodies; that second floor.
MARK: Above Cascade Office Supply?
JEREMY: Yes, at the time right above Cascade Office Supply. That was where MMG was. Detlev joined at a later date. Where Detlev started to get his visibility is … John expanded the list, it went beyond I-Sales. Then he started rolling out multiple types of lists like I-Search. Early on JP, either JP or Marshall decided to moderate that list. People that moderated these lists early on became like super stars, because of the visibility in the name and in the industry. Marshall moderated I-Search. And then as it grew and different things, Marshall got recruited by About.com. Detlev at the time and shortly after that was working for Marshall in the search department at MMG, and Detlev took over the search list, he got a lot of exposure, and then he got recruited by Jim over at Position Tech.
MARK: So, moderating the list was like a ticket?
JEREMY: Big time! You became like a super star because of the visibility of moderating those lists. To give them all the credit, they decided to go for it. Marshall got recruited and went to work for About.com, but before that, Sheri Thurow came out to Bend and…
MARK: She’s been here?
JEREMY: She’s been here. Sheri Thurow has been out here. She came out to do some work with us… to do some training on search out here in Bend.
MARK: To get some training.
JEREMY: I think it was a combination of getting some training, yes, and maybe doing… I can’t remember… you’d have to get Marshall involved on that because he knows the real specifics of what went down.
MARK: She does usability right?
JEREMY: Now she is, but her background is design. She did a lot of graphic design, but she was born more out of a web development background, and then she came on doing a lot of search. So, her and Jill Whalen and Heather Lloyd Martin they did a lot of what is, search engine… no, Sheri did a lot of the Search Engine friendly design and then Jill and Heather did more of the copy writing side. Anyway, Detlev got involved, and then I eventually went to work for Jim at Position Tech because MarketLeap, at the time that was right when the .com kind of crashed; late 2000. I went to work early 2000 and late 2000 had the crash, and I stayed around through our struggles, and I ended up leaving. Eventually Derek left MMG and went to work for Intrapromote. They’re a small group of guys from out east, and Derek did a lot of work for Intrapromote for a long time and eventually left them and went to work for MarketLeap. Intrapromote was around for a while. I think they’re still around today, you should look them up. I eventually went to work for Jim to build out the feed side of the business at the time. That’s when the feeds really picked up; a lot of the XMO.
MARK: How does Global Strategies fit in, was that a company right here in Bend, or…?
JEREMY: Bill Hunt eventually came to Bend, and Bill and I travel all over the world actually and ended up being one of the main business development pieces of the company. We went out and did a lot of work for MMGs clients at the time. And then Tempus came in and acquired MMG, which was more online marketing. They also acquired a web development shop purely, Brenbug, they merged the two to form Outrider.
MARK: Now who did that?
JEREMY: Tempus Group. Tempus Group brought in those two pieces.
MARK: So Bill Hunt was at the time doing what?
JEREMY: He was working at MMG, but originally, Bill had a little company called Global Strategies out of LA doing mostly international marketing; a lot of translation work. So, he had that company but then it got folded in. Then eventually during that .com crash Outrider became Outrider. We had a big office in that office park off of Colorado.
MARK: Oh right, I’ve been there; with the servers behind glass.
JEREMY: Exactly, a lot of smoke, a lot of mirrors. Part of it was t-ing it up to be sold, because they only required a percentage of it initially, not the whole thing. So part of it was that John had the foresight to see that there was going to be some challenges ahead, and companies were being sold for crazy valuations at the time. He unloaded it literally a month before it exploded.
MARK: So there were some financial struggles.
JEREMY: Well, John was out. They bought him out completely. JP left as well, and then it went through some struggles because Outrider had a couple big .com customers, and so they ended up closing the office down here in Bend. They offered positions to some people out in Connecticut, and they ended up consolidating in Connecticut in Farmington. Bill went back East to Farmington. I didn’t want to go, but I went to MarketLeap before all of that happened. You could kind of see it coming. Andy worked for Brenbug, I don’t know if you knew that. I went to work for Position Tech, Andy did more web development, and then we were asked to redesign the paid inclusion program for Yahoo because Inktomi by that time was acquired by Yahoo!.
MARK: So Yahoo! paid you guys to redesign that?
JEREMY: To come up with the design. They wanted to move from a flat fee model to cost per click for paid inclusion. And that’s where paid inclusion really took a hit, because people didn’t see the value in it. The whole idea is an up-front onetime fee, as I get more clicks, more traffic, my cost goes down. Instead they wanted to do the cost per click, and just as of like 9 or 10 months ago, they switched it back to flat fee again. And they renamed it back to SearchtoMen.
MARK: That’s funny; all this innovation just to go in a circle.
JEREMY: So anyway, we just saw a real need out there in the market and paid inclusion I saw was going to have its challenges coming up just because of where search was in general and the fact that Google had gained so much market share that Yahoo! wasn’t such a player anymore. Early on it was. So when we go in to pitch a service and we say, oh, originally Inktomi and Yahoo! was actually even powering MSN for a while, even after we bought, so we still had good market share between Yahoo! and MSN, but then Google was rising, and eventually MSN dropped Yahoo, the organic results, and said we’ll do it ourselves. That’s when it really became challenging to sell the service because I was selling a sliver of the market. So, that was what lead to me leaving because it was harder to sell, and the value of the project slowly diminished.
MARK: How do you approach that today, if someone wants to be in all of the market? I think that challenge exists today. Google’s results are different from Yahoo’s which are different from…
JEREMY: Yeah, but primarily with paid inclusion you’re selling an index of service. You are just selling getting your pages in, right. There’s no guarantee of ranking. But now with Google site maps, and that file format being endorsed by both Yahoo! and MSN, sitemaps.org, now you can create a .gz file that was originally just a Google only format – it will be crawled by all engines now. So, effectively with that coming out, it’s eliminating the need for paid inclusion.
MARK: How hopeful would it be if you had a CMS package, that every time you edited your navigation it automatically rendered a new file and then told Google, “hey we have a new one, come check it out.”
JEREMY: A lot of that exists. I think that would be valuable pre-packaged in. One of the things that Google’s doing from enterprise level is the new search appliance does that capability. It does all of that automatic crawling. I think a lot of the big CMS companies like ATG, like Dynamo, which is a big enterprise level type content management system, they do some of that. I agree it’s a phenomenal service and a nice value add if you could do that. Google has the ability to dynamically do that, but it requires Python. You have to install Python on the web server and it will do all the automatic building of your URL list and compile a file. The challenge though, is that most of the enterprise level companies that we work with will not install Python on their web server.
MARK: What are they running?
JEREMY: We work with Cisco and IBM and a lot of these folks… P&G uses ATG. IBM uses WebSphere, which is their product. Cisco uses Documentum which is a big CMS package.
MARK: What about smaller and mid-size companies or you don’t mess with that too much?
JEREMY: We don’t mess with any of that size; not to say there’s not a huge market there. It’s just not what we’re doing.
MARK: Where are you now?
JEREMY: You asked about Global Strategies, how that all came about?
MARK: Because that’s where you are today right?
JEREMY: Yeah so what we did is, in 2004 after I was telling you seeing this diminishing value and return on paid inclusion, I know Bill because we used to work together here. He was doing individual consulting by himself, by that time he had left Outrider. Andy was doing individual consulting, because I started working with him again doing the Yahoo! project. We saw a huge opportunity out there at Enterprises, to go in and help companies create internal search programs in terms of if an enterprise ever wanted to cheat scale they had to do it from the inside out; meaning they had to… because SEO is web development, it’s just layers of web development. Where we saw a huge opportunity was in when you look at a web page or an IBM, when you start to get an enterprise level there’s probably 70 owners of any individual web page.
MARK: Wait, whoa, 70 owners.
JEREMY: Yeah, so let’s say somebody owns the corporate governance of how pages are changed, somebody owns redirection, somebody owns server configuration, somebody owns templates, somebody owns graphics, somebody owns content. When you start to grow into that size of a company, the only way they can scale that is if they add lots and lots of layers. Really what we saw in a big enterprise level is if somebody says, “Go change a title tag,” that seems trivial to us, when you go through a web enterprise you have to go through a publishing process, an approval process, with some companies legal has to approve changes.
MARK: I suppose legal owns some of it too…
JEREMY: Exactly, think about all these different players so really for enterprises search was a work flow issue. Its like, how do we embed SEO into a work flow? That’s really all this is. If people are educated and if a CMS system or a template was built in such a way that when a site is published and the header is populating the title. Now we’re starting to take a site like IBM that has 50,000 pages and we’re effectively SEOing 50,000 pages through a work flow change rather than in a page by page level change. What we decided to do… Bill was doing a lot of work with IBM, Andy was doing a lot of work with NET life, I was doing a lot of work with P&G – Procter & Gamble – on the paid inclusion side of things… so we broke off. Bill had a little company called Global Strategies but we reorganized Global Strategies in November of 2004, so it was Bill, Andy, and me.
MARK: So you’re a principal at Global Strategies?
JEREMY: Yeah, I’m an owner.
MARK: I didn’t know that; awesome.
JEREMY: So we started going and for about a year it was just us, and then eventually we saw that there was a really big need. As you know when it’s a small company there comes a point where you have to decide, should we try to grow this, or should we keep it what it is. We decided to go for it because we had phenomenal customers right out of the gate. We had P&G, we had IBM, and Bill was speaking on the big site bigSEO at all the Search Engine Strategies conferences; a lot of visibility there. March first of last year we were acquired by Ogilvy in Mather in New York. There are about 15 of us in Bend, 6 out in Farmington Connecticut.
MARK: That’s where Bill is?
JEREMY: That’s where Bill and Andy are. They both work out of the same office. We’ve got two people based in Stockholm, Sweden; one in Singapore and one in Beijing. We’ve gone down the road of agency services to a degree because that’s kind of where we were forced to go. We are now a search agency of record for P&G. We’re one of many actually because it’s so big…
MARK: Yeah, they’re like a house of brands.
JEREMY: Yeah, they are. We service like 5 different categories within P&G. We’re the search engine AOR for Cisco, IBM… but also there’s another reason why we went down this road with Ogilvy. Ogilvy is the agency of record for IBM, Cisco, and Search became an issue to where it was putting million dollar engagements that Ogilvy had at risk because they weren’t addressing a search problem. We kept running into that AOR level, and eventually we joined up.
MARK: Well, congrats.
JEREMY: Thanks. Yeah. So, that’s kind of the evolution of Global Strategies, and where we are at today. We’re growing, and we’re marching.
MARK: So what are your current roles and responsibilities?
JEREMY: I still today work on P&G a lot. I oversee our office. The challenge that we face right now, honestly, is finding the right talent. It’s a special mix of talent that’s need to do what we do. To go into a business now, and talk about search… yes it’s about search, but it’s about holistic marketing. That’s why we joined up with Ogilvy, because the things that we are trying to do now are marketing, website development, communication planning, PR, it’s all of these things. Ogilvy allows us to reach deeper into an organization and influence it in a way that it should be, because this is communication planning.
MARK: Do you have an Ogilvy business card?
JEREMY: No, I don’t. Right now some of the things we are facing with Cisco… searchers look for needs right, they search based on need. Ogilvy has been designing sites and organizing sites based on solutions. We are trying to get these guys more visible because these executives or different people will search for a problem or a need, but the site is not organized in such a way, so part of what we’re trying to do is use search to inform site architecture; so, not looking at even the page level. Page level changes, yeah, that has to happen, but if we’re ever going to make a substantial impact on an organization like Cisco then we need to change their architecture, and we need to change the way they speak to customers.
MARK: So what do you do when a site tries to have multiple voices? Do you have different voices in different sections of architecture? Or do you say, “Hey this is a different site. Let’s give this a sub-domain.”
JEREMY: Those are important decisions that we’ve got to make. I think it varies, whether it’s the marketing part of the site, or the support function part of the site… one of the things, for example, that we are trying to deal with Cisco is like if somebody searches router, is that a small business or an enterprise? Who is it? What happens then is… Cisco’s organized body, enterprise, small business, government, it goes by audience, and really it needs to be organized by product. So, when you search Routers, within the Routers tub there’s enterprise, small business. What it’s effectively doing is they create router pages across their different sections of their site, so they’re effectively competing against themselves to achieve prominence.
MARK: Yeah, all of that router stuff is divided.
JEREMY: Exactly. What we’re trying to do is reorganize to become a hub, which then becomes authority, but that can only be changed by first informing architecture and using search to inform the communication plan. We almost think of search as focus groups. We’re using searcher behavior to inform a focus group, because that’s the first thing Ogilvy would do. They develop a focus group, give them creative concepts, and what we’re trying to do now is introduce this into that type of planning. I think SEO as just a pure business is dead. I think as a pure stand alone message its dead, because where you’re doing more of a technology side, CMS, I hope you sell me a solution that has SEO baked into it.
JEREMY: I mean it should just happen at a template level CMS solution level. I shouldn’t be manipulating individual pages. I want to make a template level change that’s going to optimize my site. Yes, there are page level changes that need to be made. I guess the evolution of search and where it’s at is… I think search engine optimization as a pure play was dead when Google universal rolled out, because now you have news listings, blog posts, images, all showing up in the search results page. Those are just digital assets; but its like, when somebody searches for router and a picture of a router schematic comes up and there’s a blog post coming up, and there’s news links on different things…
MARK: Oh I see, so you’re saying the previous definition of SEO or even your current version of SEO is like a page level thing. And now it’s really way beyond that. You’ve got to bring the whole thing together; the right architecture, you need a blog, you need the video, whatever kind of things are going to be showing up in universal need to be part of your strategy.
JEREMY: I think SEO now is a function that happens in my mind, my role would be to go into Intel (Intel is one of our customers) they’re getting ready to roll out Documentum globally. The first thing I want to do is review the CMS and see what its capabilities are. First of all, does it have the required fields that are search friendly? Some CMS solutions don’t even have title fields. Once I train somebody on how to write an effective title, done. They need to train a bunch of different groups on how to write titles, so there’s a lot of training involved. But I’m going to review their CMS; I’m going to look at which things are automated, so what fields exist to where I can say, “Ok, what is RSS?” RSS is just tagging right? So maybe what I’m going to do is come up with a plan and strategy to say we’re going to use this field and Documentum to create our RSS, we’re eventually going to come up with a strategy saying we’re going to use this field for our SS Snippet, we’re going to use this Field to do X, this field to do Y, and the CMS itself from there anybody that’s selling a sophisticated CMS anymore… it better just do it. I don’t want to be building RSS feeds manually. That’s just silly, right? So really what we’re doing now as we look at from a search level, our job is visibility right? That’s our job, to make sure that our client is visible; but visible in different ways, it’s not just about a text link, a title, and a Meta description showing up, now images show up. So when I upload images into our CMS you better give me a field to tag the image properly. I want to be able to create an asset, and force me to create a name, rather than just gift.2; because that image now is very valuable. It could potentially affect our visibility at a search level, right?
MARK: Right. Like audio podcast, why not?
JEREMY: Podcast, that needs to be tagged. A lot of the new social introductions in the search results page, like RSS, podcasts, that’s almost the early day SEO when now you have to optimize the title and a description for that, because that’s the only information that they have to inform what that is about, right? So, a lot of what we need to do is… give me a CMS that’s going to make sure that I have to write a title and description for that. That’s scale, so when you dump that type of thing into an enterprise environment, there’s somebody within a group within Intel that owns podcasting, the creation, and it’s pushed to the web, but Documentum is going to manage that, and we need to give them the tools to effectively manage that. I’m not going to go in and individually tag an MP3 Podcast for Intel that would never scale; never at a global level either. I need to teach somebody, first, have the CMS have the requirement in there to have the field to tag it, and then I need to train the people that do that on how to do it.
MARK: And make it easy for them.
JEREMY: And make it easy for them.
MARK: Right, save them some time.
JEREMY: Exactly, and that’s where I think SEO is dead; us going in and individually being hired to tag these things, because as knowledge goes up from a client, there’s a diminishing value in what we offer when we’re dealing with that level, right? And our tagging for our company is search from the inside out. It was well ahead of its time in terms of what we were trying to achieve but you go to Intel, and they have thousands of pages and thousands of employees who effectually touch the website in some way, how are we ever going to be able to wrangle that?
MARK: Right, you have to get the work flow.
JEREMY: You have to get the work flow from not only people and documentation, but also from technical from the actual apps themselves.
MARK: So, the company comes to you, and they don’t have a current CMS selection made, you have this rare luxury of being able to carve that out for them. Do you have any favorites in your back pocket that you go to on a short list, or is that still an untapped… you don’t have a current…
JEREMY: It varies in an enterprise environment, because there’s typically already one place and they’re getting ready to… like one of the big things that I see right now with Documentum, now they’re layering social apps on top of their core product. So they will have like a whole podcast app that lives on top of their current program. They’ll have another blog app, so they can publish blogs across enterprise. So, they’re layering different apps on top.
MARK: Are they doing a good job?
JEREMY: I don’t know. I’m just seeing it. Websphere should design more commerce sites, where Cisco’s not really doing commerce per say on the front end, on the back end through their OEMs they maybe are. I don’t know, I mean, there are so many different flavors and they’re configured in so many different ways, I haven’t really seen. ATG has a lot of big traction Intuit uses ATG across their enterprise. P&G used ATG. These are big enterprise apps; these aren’t mid-level because they’re so expensive. These are million dollar solutions, you know?
MARK: Right, and candidly like the solution that those customers that you’re talking about, aren’t really on our radar screen, but we’re thinking there’s a whole lot of work down below there; tons of it. And ours won’t be a million dollar…. Yeah, but the things you’re talking about are things that we have a good handle on. We’ve redesigned this from the ground up with those things in mind. Our little tag line is, “web design with search in mind.”
JEREMY: Yeah, that’s it. It’s the same thing.
MARK: And it really is from a web development prospective, we’re trying to understand what are you trying to accomplish, what’s the purpose of this site or what’s the purpose of this section, and then work though that to obtain their goals. Do our research first and then put a strategy together.
JEREMY: And that’s a huge value ad, you know, you come to market with those effectively… you’re enabling marketing effectively instead of rather creating barriers that naturally exist in solutions, like a CMS system that creates session IDs. You guys are already re-writing URLs within the system, even if you are creating the session. That’s a baked in solutions part of it, and the benefit is that when you’re selling it to them is… we’ve done this with search in mind, we don’t have these problems, etc. etc.
MARK: H1 H2… it’s all a part of the package.
MARK: Would you have any availability to sit on an advisory board if we only bothered you like 2 to 4 times a year?
JEREMY: Sure, yeah, absolutely.
MARK: OK. We’ve been doing CMS for a very long time. In our current system we’ve been running it for about five years, and about 15 months ago we started the re-engineering from the ground up of things we would like to do different, and we ran into some things that our current… like just doing another version of our same stuff, it just wasn’t going to be as easy as just starting from scratch, getting a couple of core things right, and then building our experience back on top of that, and that’s what we started doing about 15 months ago. We have a test site up that we would never show anybody; it’s just for our own experimentation. We’ve been doing that since June of last year, and then we are launching a public site for a client in Texas in about a month or so, that’s going to be really quiet also. We’re prepping towards a product launch here in the spring. We really think that we’ve got a combination of things that are pretty rare. Candidly I went out to just buy one, I thought, “We should take a look at just buying one. We’ve been doing this for five years,” and I was amazed at some of the things you just mentioned. Some CMSs don’t even have a title tag field, and you can eliminate 90% of them, it takes time, but it’s not hard to say this is completely unacceptable. And then you get down to this last little bit, and there’s still not a lot that are doing some of the things that we’ve been doing for five years. H1 and H2 are built into our editor. I didn’t realize that was such a rare thing. We’re a little tainted because we know what we want. It started off being a tool… we wanted to improve our own tool set, and it’s turned into us looking to build a reseller channel of marketing companies that need a nice system. They really don’t have a lot of development technical skills but they need a good solution…
JEREMY: Oh, are you guys hosting too?
MARK: We are going to host as well. We’ve got a pretty significant farm right now with a couple nice customers in there, but we’ve got some plans to work with Acimy(012 – 3:03) as being spread across the country to have our farm replicated around the country, and ask resellers to join in. The hosting revenue side: they would get a percentage of. We’ve got a 15 – 30% share based on how active they are. Which, 30% is pretty darn good. We also think that some of these… they’re not so much tools, but they would definitely fit in that category… there is a lot of reporting capability. Imagine for a moment if your server log knew about your content, and that also knew about some of the things that are happening at the surps and all of those three data sets worked together to help you. So that’s kind of the premises; that’s why we want to host it. We want to take the service level to the next level.
JEREMY: Are you going to lay some analytics on top of it? Are you going to integrate with Google Analytics?
MARK: Yes, we’re going to integrate with Google Analytics, and do a little bit more with the actual server logs themselves. After this is all done, stabilized, and working on our farm, we already have slotted what we’re calling our Black Box Edition. Which would be a version of our software; it could go into a larger enterprise and we could license that box into their farm, and then they could utilize our software, and pay us an annual fee to keep the code current and support their development. That’s basically our strategy.
JEREMY: So what is your background? Where did you start?
MARK: The very first application I had any involvement in, I started writing backs files(012 – 4:55) a long time ago. It’s always been from a software development perspective. So we wrote a database for Deschutes County Legal Council in 1987. So that’s when I first started writing software. I would meet people, and we would be writing database applications for Networks, and the internet came along and the one thing that tripped me up, well it’s not really a trip up, is that I perceived the internet as a network. All that’s different is that we used to have this local area network, and now we have this much bigger one, and these audiences that we’ve never considered before… like a stranger can just meet your application. So, then all of this coding was going on. In the beginning, if you remember, static HTML was just massive. Everyone was creating static websites, and we did some but I had so little interest in it. My focus all along was, “let’s get this back in a database and let’s render pages and let’s create applications,” So, we started doing that, and we’ve written a lot of code. Often times our products are sitting behind a firewall or someone with millions of dollars of experience writing applications for companies you’ve heard of. Often times this stuff is like a competitive advantage software, but I’m not allowed to stick their logo on my wall and tell everybody what we did for them so while it was a great revenue source, we’re virtually unknown, although we have a lot of experience; we’ve been doing a lot of things for a long time.
JEREMY: Is it your own business?
MARK: Yeah, I’ve been the owner of the company since 1987, so the same phone number 388-4390 has been in my name since then. The company during the .BOOM part this group down in Silicon Valley got a hold of me and they were talking about wanting to buy my company; I wasn’t really interested, I was having fun, and I’m really passionate about this stuff. I can tell you are as well. I’ve never even approached burn-out, not even once. So these guys kept talking to me, and finally there was enough money on the table that I said, ok let me think seriously about this. We had about 20 or 30 employees at the time, and a portion of our company was network services; engineers running around fixing broken networks, and installing networks in town. I didn’t know we were the biggest network engineering company in town. It never dawned on me until somebody wrote an article and our number two competitor had 10 employees. At that time we were like at 40. So the web kept on evolving, and finally the stuff that we were doing – database applications – all of a sudden that was in. Everybody got tired of paying their webmaster between 500 to 1,500 a month to fix typos. We had a little system that let them do things like that.
JEREMY: That’s kind of like where Alpine is going now. They’re doing that whole thing.
MARK: And again, we were doing this kind of work behind what you would call the intranet for employees and vendors; really heavy lifting like the kind of work that a web design company would come along and not have any interest in. So anyway, then we busted out past the firewall and said let’s just get this thing going. That was in early 2002. That first year was pretty brutal. Our tool kit was not ready for the new audience, so we spent that year tweaking this and tweaking that, and then we’ve just been making it better ever since. Like I said, it was about a year ago when we realized that we really need the next level and this architecture, while it’s been fine, and again it’s actually more advanced than a lot of the things we see out there, there are some core things that we want to do. We need to change the database structure, and the way these elements talk to each other, and that means rewrite from the ground up. We are a Microsoft house, so this whole thing is in Csharp.net, that’s pretty much where we live. We are building a compatibility to run on Lenox with Mano, through the .net add on.
JEREMY: Do you guys do Ruby on Rails… that type of stuff?
MARK: No. We have guys that write in it, but we’ll have scaling problems if we do that. C# rocks; it’s really pretty good. We have a customer service team that’s been on the phone for five years talking to people about their questions, we have all of those trapped in a nice list… we’re not going to lose sight of those folks, we’re going to make sure we cover them. The next piece really is that I want to connect with a bunch of the search marketers at a heavy duty level, and get them together in a room and have them thrash us, and tell us what we’re missing; that would probably send us back to work for six months or so, and then come out with a nice solid product, and build a reseller channel. We really think the whole training and education… that you’re experience is very interesting, in that these re-sellers, the training aspect of this is enormous. So, they’re getting pressured to get into it, just like Ogilvy. That search pressure is coming up, and right now it’s just a sore spot for them, but the good ones are going to respond and come up with an answer. We think during that response the search for something like our system is exactly what they’re going to want. We have a number of ideas and strategies on how to do it but we’re not quite ready to say, “This is the one.” We might do four at once and then find out that two of them are lemons… I don’t know how to do it any other way. There are some audiences out there we want to pay attention to; we think we know what they want, so we just want to give them what they want… but they’re totally different. What the marketer wants is so different from what the search marketer wants, which is different from what the web developer guy wants, which is different from the little author, “I have a message. I want to say something.” So, we are trying to put together a route for each of them, and then bring them together. It should be really fun, and I think it’s going to be a nice ride. So Smart Solutions, the web development company… a lot of people don’t realize that 2/3 of our company is software development; we write software for people. In the last 10 years, 95% of that work is on the internet. Every now and then we get asked to do an exit, but not very often. Our web development team, the 1/3 part of our company, in the future will essentially be a reseller of this product. And we might give them a geographical boundary, so they just keep thriving, because I love doing that, I love meeting the people and helping them get that stuff done. But this is kind of being built as a separate entity that has a lot of exciting potential.
JEREMY: How are you getting the word out in terms of marketing? What’s your leverage point?
MARK: Well, first, we’re thinking if we made five or ten people in the search community really pleased with us, they could probably take care of the web side of it. So, the next piece, we’re actually in the selection process right now for a marketing company to come in and handle that side of it for us because we’re going to need some help on communications and even logo creation. We haven’t even named the product yet. Internally we call our production system Impact, and it’s on version 2.5, and so internally we call this one Impact 3.0, but it’s so different from 2.5. That’s just the natural thing – for us to call it Impact 3. So, the conversation is always, “Is that Impact 3 or 2.5?” and we are really saying, “Is that our production version or our future?” That’s how we’ve been doing it… it’s pretty much our future. 2.5 is getting less and less attention, candidly. If we are even close to on the fence, its 3.0, we don’t know. We’re just not investing any more effort to add features to 2.5. The move over for our customers… we have about 500 sites on that system, we are just waiting for them to have a new initiative, like doing a new look and feel. When we do the look and feel we’ll just build them over in the new system.
JEREMY: Right. So how big is your company?
MARK: There are 19 of us tomorrow. We just hired a heavy hitter Silicon Valley developer, it’s awesome. And then we have a group of five folks down in Costa Rica that are coming online. They’re starting Wednesday as well. But they’re not employees.
JEREMY: Yeah, that’s very common. A lot of people go down there.
MARK: Any pearls of wisdom? What do you think? Are we nuts?
JEREMY: I’d like to see your product someday.
MARK: Well, that we could take care of very easily. The advisory board role, just so you know, I’m being kind of picky, but what’s really cool about doing this in Bend, OR is that I don’t have to get on too many airplanes to put together a pretty powerful advisory board. You have some amazing experience, great stories, can’t be found anywhere.
JEREMY: Yeah, I did them for a while. I’m probably more like you, it sounds like, I’m probably less visible than others, but I’ve been doing it for a long time. I don’t tend to take the spot light role, where some people tend to go for that role. Like Bill is very well known, he’s written a book called, Search Engine Marketing Inc., its website marketing. If you search in Amazon, it’s in the top selling search book on the web, and it’s focused at the enterprise. In fact, I’ll give you a book. It’s worth the read in terms of the technical components, because you guys are in an input phase right now, you’re trying to take in and develop your requirements, and then start bringing them out. The book would highlight a lot of requirements, and the reason why I asked you what you feel like your leverage is, is because as you grow a business I think that’s a critical component; looking at where your leverage is at. Bill writing that book was huge because it gave us instant credibility. It was co-authored with one of our customers; he was a co-author with IBM on the book. That’s huge. I’m an entrepreneur at heart and those are the things that I think a lot about even in my business today. Yes, we have a bit more security because we’re attached to a bigger thing now, I don’t stress about making payroll, which are the things that I used to have to stress a lot about, its part of it. It’s part of the fun too, but it gets old after a while. So that’s why I was asking you what you thought. I think going after the search angles is a good angle, because it has a lot of visibility right now, and I think the convergence of what you’re doing in search is coming to the right point where people are just looking for automation.
MARK: Right. And that’s a scary word like, “Automation gets so close to black hat…”
MARK: And by the way, don’t blog about this, we’re not ready.
JEREMY: No, no I wouldn’t. I’m not a blogger. As much as people go down that road, I just don’t have that amount of time to sit down and blog. Writing for some comes very easy, but I have to think about my writing, so you won’t be hearing any blogging.
MARK: Do you have any conflict of interest that we should be aware of?
JEREMY: None. I’m marketing. The reason why I’m willing to do the advisory thing, while I appreciate you asking me, It’s only going to further my own education that I can offer our customers about things they need to be thinking about, because I didn’t come at this from a technical background. I don’t have an MIS degree. I’m coming at it from purely a marketing perspective, and I think marketing is more technical than ever in terms of enabling messages.
MARK: Marketing folks bump into technical problems all the time and they are like, “Whoa, what’s going on?”
JEREMY: I actually like to roll up my sleeves to the point where I want to talk about your database structure, how it’s created… why - because that ultimately helps me inform our bigger customers in terms of what we do. So, not only do I think I can provide a lot of input in terms of what the Market needs and wants, but I also think I’ll eventually provide more value to my customers by further educating myself.
MARK: And it might be some of your smaller customers. Documentum is huge aren’t they just a massive company?
JEREMY: It’s massive, just like Interwoven and those kinds of things; they’re huge, but I get a lot of people asking me, “Hey Jeremy, I want to do this. Are there solutions that exist out there?” Just do to the path of my history a lot of people come to me for advice, and these aren’t enterprise, these are small businesses, and a lot of times I don’t have a solution for them. So, when I hear about stuff like what you’re doing, I want a place to push people, I need a place to push people. I want to be able to offer them something. Especially if I know what you’re doing clearly, and your road map, it makes me more confident in pushing them towards you. I think some of the things that Alpine is doing are good, but I think they are boxing themselves in, in terms of their development, the way they develop their product.
MARK: Brian is great. I love both Brian and Drew; they are great guys.
JEREMY: Oh, great guys. Drew and Brian have asked me in. Jeff Possum, a good friend of mine, used to be a sales person over there. I know Meg Thompson, she used to work with Edco here in town, and they use rainmaker their product and stuff like that. Its fine, but I see bigger opportunities for them; but I don’t keep in touch with those guys. I only stayed in touch with them when I knew my friend Jeff worked there.
MARK: Right. What is he doing now?
JEREMY: Now Jeff is in health care. He literally just switched fields. He’s out of web development, and he works for a company that sells braces and they sell procedures to docs and instruments. I forgot what the name of the company is. We are always so busy I don’t really talk to him much. But yeah, he was never really too into web development. He wasn’t necessarily passionate about it.
MARK: I heard that he was a great sales person.
JEREMY: Oh he is. He’s fantastic. I shouldn’t say he’s not passionate about it; I think he wanted to make some money. He didn’t make any money over there. There a boot strap small company, Alpine.
MARK: We do compete every now and then. I’d say probably three or four times a year we’re the two finalists of a local website deal. It happens pretty regularly. But they’re nice guys, and they do good work. When we go head to head its purely professional… who’s going to meet the customer need and deliver? But I really like both of those guys.
JEREMY: Oh, they are great guys. Brian is a soft-spoken brilliant guy. Drew is the main sales guy, out shaking hands, face of the company guy. Brian takes the back seat to Drew in terms of public face. But every company needs that combination; that duo. That’s kind of how it works with GSI. Bill was our face guy, and I was behind running the company.
MARK: I would love to get in touch with Derek Wheeler, and I would be willing to jump on an airplane for that one. And also, Bill Hunt; the same is true. Both of those guys are critical to this story. I don’t know if you have their contact information.
JEREMY: I could probably contact Bill. Ha-ha.
MARK: Oh, you guys still work together right? Yeah ha-ha sorry. Are you in much contact with Derek?
JEREMY: Yeah, I just talked to him last week actually, briefly. He lives in town still. They’re in transition. They’re trying to sell their home here.
MARK: Not an easy feat.
JEREMY: No, not at all. He’s up in Redmond five days a week and comes home on the weekends. He has two little kids, so it’s tough right now.
MARK: I could do it over the phone too, but I would really like to meet him. Some of the interviews I will do over the phone. Like, I’m not flying to London to interview Danny.
JEREMY: Derek is a great guy. You’ll really like him. He’s really passionate too. That’s why he went to Microsoft. Marshall is here in town….
MARK: I had lunch with Marshall yesterday. He’s with New York Times. About is still part of that. I really like About. Its cool; a really neat idea. The human face to the content just brings this credibility to the table. There’s so much junk on the internet.
JEREMY: What did Marshall tell you? What did you learn yesterday from Marshall?
MARK: He was trying to rewind the early days, going back. I was asking him, “When did you get your first ideas about getting involved in search?” And he went back to MMG, and Danny; somehow Danny got in front of him on the internet. He bumped into Danny poking around on the web, and started reading what Danny was writing, and it might have been before SearchEngineWatch was actually a site. That’s what I don’t know about. I need to ask Danny himself, “So what were you doing…”
JEREMY: He had a little independent consulting company called Calphia.com. It was his company before he started SearchEngineWatch. Danny is a journalist at heart. If you look at his background, he’s a journalist. He started writing about it. SearchEngineWatch was just a front end to his writing. Then he started doing some consulting, and that’s how it ended up... did Marshall talk about I-Search?
MARK: He did. Those lists were pivotal in those early days. Now the one thing is, I’m totally slanted. So far, all of my research has started here, and then I get a name and I go out. But, I’m also going to do the same thing with Bruce, “I want to go back to your garage, and I want to hear some names.” He bumped into Danny early also. My whole thing may just be an exercise to prove that Danny truly is the Grandfather of Search in the United States. I don’t know if that’s true. But like Jim Boinken. Jim goes way back, but I’m not so sure, I think he came from a web development prospective, but when did he start…
JEREMY: Well what about Dr. Wilson too? He was in early.
MARK: That’s a new one. I don’t know Dr. Wilson.
JEREMY: He was in early talking about a lot of this stuff. I think the reason why Danny is the pioneer in my mind, is because he was the first person to bring visibility to it. There’s a difference when people say “Oh, I was involved…” Who pro-actively came out and started telling people about it; creating a medium, and a platform to discuss this stuff? I would have to say, even going back, I can’t think of anyone who did that besides him.
MARK: But, who before Danny? I haven’t come up with that answer. MMG were the first people to fly Danny to the US? If Danny is the guy, and MMG was the first company in the US to fly Danny in to talk about search… well…
JEREMY: You really need to talk to John Audette.
MARK: I had breakfast with him two weeks ago. I have that on tape too. You have a different perspective on things. That was a long time ago. So, I’m just collecting the little tid-bits, and then the factoids. Here’s one thing that has been really interesting: domain name creation date research. So you’re an entrepreneur and you get this idea, what do you do nine seconds later?
JEREMY: What do you mean? Oh yeah, you go buy the domain.
MARK: So, the one cool thing about this research is that I’m seeing the dates of when these domains were created for all of these little friends that I’ve been chasing around. So, I’m thinking it’s at least connected to the idea that this person said to themselves, “Hmm… I have to have this domain name.” One of the illustrations for this story is going to be this time line of the domain names.
JEREMY: I love it. You need to go find out when Jim Stob bought Position Pro, and Position Tech, the domains, because he was involved early.
MARK: I absolutely will. It’s been really fun. I need to get this thing done, and I really believe it’s a series of articles, not just one. There will be a profile; I’ll want to start connecting the time line with the people, and then the stories. That’s kind of the general premises of what I’m trying to do.
JEREMY: So what did John have to say? Did anything I tell you vary too much from what he said? It shouldn’t…
MARK: No. People’s recollection of the time line varies. I think I found the date of the Cascade Conference.
JEREMY: It was 98 wasn’t it? Michael Tchong came out and spoke at it.
MARK: See, there you go, Michael Tchong. Names keep coming up.
JEREMY: He had Iconoclast.com. Tchong; he was down in the bay area. Search Michael Tchong Iconoclast.
MARK: I will. LED Digest. When did Archie… do you remember Archie? Archie was a search engine, early on. Nothing happened before that right? This is really in our life time. So, want to get a nice authoritative chronicle written down, that people can challenge and if they do they’ll find facts.
JEREMY: I think the domain registration will be great to look at.
MARK: It’s fun.
JEREMY: What MMGco registered?
MARK: I think that one was in 97. It was before BruceClay.com. Interestingly, bruceclay.com and seotoolset.com have like a two year span.
JEREMY: Because he didn’t really get into the SEOToolSet™ until later.
MARK: Right, but Bruce knew, “I’m grabbing my domain name.” Jim Boinken; Webuildpages? He’s back there. So, there was no domain registration. This history really is in our lifetime, it’s cool, it’s documentable; but certain things like if you got access to your old email archives and you found something like an early email that was to a person that’s in this circle that had a little bullet point.
JEREMY: Seriously, I don’t have it because I got rid of my MMG mail. If I search my name on Google, I kid you not, John Audette it’s an I-Sales post from the archives out of I-Sales… It’s a post that John wrote from I-Sales when he was getting ready to launch aim. I would be curious to know who john thought was the early people involved.
MARK: John remembers being the company that flew Danny over here, and paying his way. And he thinks there’s a case to be made for Bend Oregon. Now the other thing that is kind of fun, is that when this whole thing gets going, like Chicago, Philly, LA, San Diego, and Seattle… Everyone will be like, “OH yeah?!” Coming up with their stuff. That will be fun. The thing is there are a lot of people who have only been at this for 2-5 years. Ran Fishken has a five year history. Vanessa Fox? She’s been in it for like 3 years. So, I don’t want to hear people talking about how there’s no more opportunity. That’s BS.
JEREMY: That’s BS. Well what they did is they just made a platform for themselves, and they started speaking and talking about it. You know what I mean? With Vanessa Fox, everyone wanted to figure out the inside of Google, and she was on the search team at Google, so she became someone that everyone wanted to know, just like Matt Cuts.
MARK: Right and then the product manager for Web Master Central; Boom, instant.
JEREMY: Exactly, and SEO Roundtable. Those guys have been around a while.
MARK: Barry Shwartz? Yep.
JEREMY: Oh, and what about Patrick Gavin? He’s been around for a long time. He’s the one who started TextLinkAds.com. He had other businesses before that one though; he’s been around for a long time.
MARK: It’s kind of a fun project, and I was right there doing some creative stuff, but because I was so quiet, I don’t have a dog in the fight. So, I will be able to present myself as independent, where like if John wrote this article, it would be so self tooting. People would reject that side of it. So, I’m just having fun doing it, and I’ve been at it a while now. I’ve still got a long way to go.
JEREMY: I think that what you are doing is brilliant for your own business, because eventually you’re going to create exposure to yourself and your business.
MARK: Yes, and where else should a CMS come from?
MARK: “Why, someone in Bend, Oregon should…” Well, coincidentally, that’s what we’ve done.
JEREMY: Well, you know, “Smart Solutions, the Father of the Internet.” You and Al Gore are hugging.
MARK: In my walker days. Well, it was nice of him to invent the internet for us. I wonder what he actually did, that made him say that, because he takes so much flack for that. There was a scientist in 1945, and back then there was a binder that had parameters for their research book on how to format a document. And these binders were huge assets of these major companies. Well, the scientists said that it wasn’t that they needed more knowledge, it was that they couldn’t effectively tap into the wall of binders that we have today. He said the real value is when we can figure out how to do that. That was the first time someone made a reference to that piece. Then when they get into title tags and links, you know links were footers. If you did a research project that was based on someone else’s experiment, you didn’t have to do the experiment yourself if you referenced the work, so you would use that in you bibliography, to say, “Hey Tom did this, and if that experiment is accepted, I built on that and here’s my thing.” So that was the beginning of the link world. So, the internet had to come up with a structure that supported all of this scientific work, and that’s how title tag and all of these things originated.
JEREMY: Does your CMS have a wiki built in?
MARK: We don’t have our own but we integrate with a wiki. Do you think that’s an important feature?
JEREMY: Well, it’s even more from an internet perspective, like people that want to publish internally, to have a wiki to talk about posted documents.
MARK: We set Wikis up for folks. We do a lot of work with churches and non-profits, and our product – it’s a little stale now – but it’s Smart Solutions for Churches. We’re bringing a couple churches online every month. After we get done with this version of Impact3 we are going to go back to Smart Solutions for Churches, and bring it in. We really like helping those guys, like right now we’ll set up a church wiki for $100 and host it for $100 a year, because they have little groups that want to get together and they’re all over the place, and they can’t get there at the same time. So we just use the open source that Wikipedia uses. Our own internal one is actually a pretty valuable resource. We have 18 people collaborating on that thing for a couple years, and we’ve probably had that thing up for 2 or 3 years. When a new employee comes on, we teach them how to search the wiki, and they can find a lot of answers.
JEREMY: Yeah, that’s great. One of the things that we need to do is… I just want to put a simple CMS on our own website, GSI, GoldenStrategies.com. Because then that way I could actively put someone on it, to manage it. Right now it’s stale. We’ve been busy, but that is no excuse for a stale website.
MARK: Well, this is hilarious. From a business stand point, we might be a really good fit. You’re not IBM, you don’t have 2,000 editors. That’s interesting; we might be a really good fit. I would love a shot to earn that business. What is it developed in right now? Is it hand coded?
JEREMY: Oh, it’s a ten page website. The only thing we want to do more of is we want to integrate more into salesforce.com so that we do lead generation, because we do a lot of speaking. Bill does a lot of speaking, so when people say, “Hey come download the presentation, but we require them to give us their first name, last name, and email address…
MARK: So, you want leads to come in through the salesforce.com pipe?
JEREMY: Well, we have an account at salesforce.com; you can integrate through your website, real simple. Because we are going to start selling research in the future, and so…
MARK: That would be awesome for you to say, “We looked around for CMS Solutions for our company, and…”
JEREMY: Yeah, yeah.
MARK: See if you’re not in a big rush…
JEREMY: See, we want to put podcasts on the web… we have a blog, but we need a system in which multiple people can manage it. That’s the problem with this static website. It’s a bottle neck for one person that can deal with it.
MARK: Now, our current system can probably do everything you need, but the thing is I really don’t want you to even bother learning it.
JEREMY: Yeah, yeah…
MARK: I just want to take you to the new gig. If you can wait we should talk about that in a couple months.