Monthly Archives: December 2006

26th Birthday

It’s that time of the year again, today I turned 26!

After waking up in no particular rush, Claire prodded me to open some presents first thing. So, without getting out of bed I reached into a nearby draw to find some presents stashed away:

  • A new pair shorts to play sport in
  • A nice casual Calvin Klein shirt
  • A few DVD’s (Green Mile, X-men 3 & Hellboy)
  • Gulian chocolate

Since it was a weekend and it was a birthday, actually.. mostly because everyone loves a cooked breakfast; Claire and I went out for breakfast at Caf̩ Campanile in the Robina Town Centre. I had a ritualistic big breakfast (it really is superb, you should try it some time) and Claire had bacon, eggs and mushrooms Рmmm.

After returning from breakfast more than satisfied, we proceeded to tidy the house a little before Andrew and Belinda arrived at around twelve o’clock. The four of us fluffed around a little, decided it was time lunch and headed into Toscani’s in Surfers Paradise. Immediately after lunch, Claire and Belinda picked up some odds and sods from the shops whilst Andrew and I washed lunch down with a Mocha Fusion from Zarraffas.

For dinner, the only sane choice was Hogs Breath. Lorraine, Sterle and Jean arrived from Brisbane as a bit of a surprise. We all ate our fill of fine prime rib steak and dessert and whilst there a few more presents popped up:

  • An electric toothbrush
  • A button up shirt
  • Lindt chocolate

After dinner, we decided a movie was in order. Andrew and I saw Eragon, whilst Claire and Belinda watched The Holiday. Without seeing The Holiday, I’m pretty confident our movie was better for, but not limited to the following reasons:

  • it wasn’t mushy
  • it had dragons in it
  • it involved various magical acts
  • it featured a red flaming sword

If that isn’t reason enough, well I’m not sure what is! Thank you to everyone who travelled, phoned, SMS’d or IM’d me today; my 26th birthday was great. See you all this time next year!

Google Adsense & Images Clarified

The Google Adsense team have clarified the use of images near Google Adsense advertising.

For those that can’t be bothered clicking through and want a quick run down:

Can you display little images beside the Google Adsense ad units?
No, you cannot display little images beside the Google Adsense ad units. Doing so implies a relationship between the images and the advertising, which there isn’t.
Can you display images beside the Google Adsense advertising?
Yes, you can display images beside the Google Adsense ad units, so long as it is clear that there is no association between the image(s) and the advertising.
Can I display images on the same page as Google Adsense advertising?
Yes, of course you can but you must take the above two points into consideration first.
Can you add in some white space or a separating bar between the images and the advertising?
No, adding in white space or a separator would still appear as though there was a relationship between the images and the advertising.

I first noticed people placing images beside the Google Adsense advertising a couple of months ago. As soon as I noticed it, I knew that it wouldn’t be within the acceptable usage policy for Google Adsense. Unfortunately, at the time the policy didn’t explicitly disallow doing such a thing. So, while it wasn’t expressly forbidden, publishers took advantage of the loop hole and I’m sure enjoyed far higher click through rates than they would have otherwise seen.

Ho Ho Ho Holidays

Christmas is upon us once more and its time to kick back and enjoy the festivities. Friday 22nd December was the last work day for me and I have off until Monday 8th of January! It has been quite some time since I’ve had any substantial back to back time off, so I’m really going to enjoy not doing any work related work.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all; enjoy the time off with your families and friends.

Yahoo! Search Marketing Launches Sponsored Results

Yahoo! have been in the search engine and search marketing game for a long time. Recently, Yahoo! Search Marketing increased their offering to match those of Google by allowing sponsored search results.

Using Yahoo! Search Marketing, you’re now able to have your advertisements listed along side the normal Yahoo! search results. In a similar fashion to that of Google, you have two general positions where your advertisements can be placed:

  • Directly above to search results in a wide banner style
  • On the right hand side of the search results, stacked in a tall skyscraper shape

Yahoo! have also included one more advertising position:

  • Directly below the search results in a wide banner style

Its interesting that Yahoo! have included the advertising space below the main results. Typically, the lower section of a web site is under developed. There is significant amounts of research which describes the benefits you can receive by optimising the lower section of your web site. If the price of that advertising space is right, I think it might turn out to be a fantastic value proposition for advertisers.

Without signing up for Yahoo! Search Marketing, it seems reasonable that you’ll be paying more for the advertising space directly above the search results; as they are more visually prominent and look similar to natural search listings. Second will probably be the sponsored search results on the right and the cheapest will probably be the advertising at the bottom.

There are a couple of things I don’t like about Yahoo! search results:

  • There sponsored advertising isn’t always clearly marked. As an example, the right hand side advertising is quite clearly marked, however the above and below is not.
  • Yahoo! seem to always present a lot of other stuff in search results. For example, you are likely to see alternative search suggestions, the top advertising block, some Yahoo! shortcut links and finally the actual natural search results.
  • As a derivative of point #2, the search results page feels cluttered and busy

To the defense of Yahoo!, they do place little icons beside each block in an attempt to separate them. For a savvy internet user, they will probably notice and associate the icons and realise there is something different about those results. Unfortunately, I expect that an average user probably won’t; at which point they are clicking on advertising without knowing it.

Mezzoblue Redesigned

After two and a half years, Dave Shea has redesigned Mezzoblue and launched his site back into the lime light.

A few quick points of interest of the redesign:

  • Its sporting a 1024px based design, up from the more traditional 800px design
  • The familiar blue colour of Mezzoblue is gone
  • Posts are organised into collections, where a collection is just a bunch of posts revolving around some arbitrary period of time.
  • The designs colours are adaptive and change based on a photo which represents the time period. As an example, Dave has assigned a photo of the Madrid Airport to the time period between 1 July and 30 September. All posts during that time period will carry that photo as their imagery and the theme of the site will reflect the colours within the photo.

I really like the new design, its good to see that Dave has changed it up. The familiar blue which has adorned Mezzoblue for so long was nice but it was about time to move onto something a little different to freshen it up. The navigation around the site is simple and the typeface is easy to read. I would personally prefer a slightly larger sized font but the size that it currently uses certainly achieves a particular look and feel.