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Happy PI Day Everybody!

Posted by Alexander Fowler on March 14, 2007 at 01:59 PM Pacific Time

Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
Your digits are unending,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
No pattern are you sending.
You're three point one four one five nine,
And even more if we had time,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
For circle lengths unbending.

Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
You are a number very sweet,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
Your uses are so very neat.
There's 2 Pi r and Pi r squared,
A half a circle and you're there,
Oh, number Pi
Oh, number Pi
We know that Pi's a tasty treat.

(to the tune of O' Christmas Tree.)

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Britney Spears, Promises Rehab and Unsavory Linkbait

Posted by Alexander Fowler on March 10, 2007 at 09:34 AM Pacific Time

Looking for inside information about Britney Spears and her rehab at Promises Malibu? Look no further!

As I mentioned in my first post, Promises Treatment Centers is one of Geektime's search engine clients. The same Promises where Ms. Spears is currently undergoing rehab for drugs and/or alcohol. Of course, I am precluded by my contract with Promises and basic human decency from disclosing this information, but I have a sneaking feeling that its pretty much common knowledge now.

Promises is an interesting client as far a search goes. I love the owner, Richard Rogg, and volunteer my time for the Promises Foundation out of respect for his mission. Unlike many other treatment facilities in Southern California, Promises cares about treatment first and luxury second. For sure, it is upscale rehab at its finest, but treatment always comes first at Promises. Furthermore, the main site is in Flash. Entirely in Flash. Under one URL. For those not intimately involved in the search industry, this is very, very bad. And it will likely stay bad for a while as the Flash designer has a closer relationship with Mr. Rogg than I do. These two factors conspire against Promises and their search rankings. With an entirely Flash site and the marketing restrictions due to the sensitive nature of our service, it often feels like I have one and a half hands tied behind my back. Looking back at Promises analytics numbers, traffic (and search traffic in particular) dropped off a cliff last August when the new Flash site was unveiled. My first act was to restore the previous iteration of content and link it under the main Flash stage. You can see this clumsy arrangement at Promises home page. Thankfully, it stemmed the bleeding and I am seeing the site rising in the SERPs.

All of which brings us back to Britney and that inside information I promised. As of this morning's review of analytics data, since February 23rd, has experienced the following:

These numbers tell me that a LOT of people are interested in Britney Spears, interested in where Britney Spears is rehabbing, and really don't care about Promises. Traffic is traffic; however, and I certainly won't turn down all the inbound links we have been getting. Unquestionably, Ms. Spears has aided our search efforts, serving as unintentional linkbait. Which brings me to my ultimate point...

Unsavory linkbait?
These stats, and the assumptions that can be made from them, give rise to an interesting question. Would it be possible to find a way to use a celebrity as linkbait without appearing exploitative and losing future business? My position is no for two reasons. First, Hollywood is a very insular community and blacklisting is a very real possibility. Second, and more important - Ms. Spears is a human being undergoing treatment for addiction and quite possibly post partum depression. To exploit that would mean a reservation in one of the lower levels of hell. I am curious if anybody has a different take on this.

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Unveiling the new Geektime Design website

Posted by Alexander Fowler on March 09, 2007 at 08:02 AM Pacific Time

I haven't posted in a while, due to our move and the relaunch of our website for Geektime Design. Well, this morning at about 2:00am, I finally uploaded the new site - check it out at

Furthermore, I resolve to start posting more.

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Sitting on a corner in Phoenix Arizona

Posted by Alexander Fowler on February 20, 2007 at 02:44 PM Pacific Time

With obvious apologies to the Eagles, I am sitting on a seat in the corner of gate A21 at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Why you ask? Power, of course. My earlier meeting drained the juice from my Dell and I need a little AC action. Seeing as how Phoenix doesn't appear to have any powered computer workstations, this will have to do.

And, it looks like I might have to join the world of business travelers. I was in town today to pitch a new client - the good folks at It looks like we are going to be doing some search work together and I'll be a frequent visitor to PHX.

All in all, a good day, and hopefully a profitable one too!

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Work-Life Balance - Andy Reid and his family

Posted by Alexander Fowler on February 12, 2007 at 08:53 PM Pacific Time

Through Geektime's work with Promises rehab centers, and my past consulting experience with other Southern California treatment facilities, I have become somewhat jaded to stories of individuals who check themselves into rehab when things get tough. Mark Foley, Isiah Washington, Patrick Kennedy - all examples of people who attempt to wait out or deflect bad publicity by checking themselves into a treatment center. Now, these men may have indeed needed treatment, but for them rehab was a convenient escape.

This is in sharp contrast to today's news that Andy Reid is taking a leave of absence from the Philadelpia Eagles to help his sons deal with alleged heroin and OxyContin addictions. My heart genuinely goes out to Andy and his family. As the dad of three beautiful little girls, I dread the day that I get similar news. In Mr. Reid's case, his family problems directly affect his professional career. February and March are key months for NFL teams, as they navigate the free agent market and prepare for the NFL Draft at the end of April. However, there are times in life when family comes before anything else, and this is clearly one of those. There should be no talk of balancing his personal and professional life - the considerations of your professional life don't even exist when you get a phone call like the one Andy Reid must have gotten a few weeks ago.

Based on my observations while consulting to treatment centers, it will be a tough road for Reid and his family. Heroin, in particular, is very difficult to break away from. Sadly, relapse is the norm and many addicts find themselves relapsing five or six times before finally acheiving sobriety - if death does not find them first. My thoughts and prayers go out to Andy, Garret, Britt and the rest of the Reid family. Addiction is a family disease, and they will all need treatment. I can only hope the notoriously mean spirited Eagles fans will give the Reids all the time they need.

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SEOmoz Page Strength Tool
A cool tool allowing DIYers to quickly get a picture of how their site is doing. Fairly comprehensive, and free to boot!
With the NCAA looking the other way on U$C, perhaps its time for another billboard from the brains behind the "threepeat" mockery of U$C.

YouTube Maze Prank
Yeah, I know linking YouTube isn't the coolest. Watching videos of people being pranked is, though.

Lonely Planet New Zealand
To date, the best travel alamanac we've found on New Zealand. Website is good, book is better.

The Sausage Manifesto
Jeffrey Rohrs' Open Letter to Google, Yahoo, etc. on the topic of PPC click fraud

Consuming RSS Feeds with ColdFusion
A nice intro by Ben Cortese on using ColdFusion to retrieve and use RSS feeds

One Six Right
I discovered this delightful documentary the other night on Discovery HD. A must see for aspiring pilots (and politicians).

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