Real Winner of Panda 4.0 Correlation is Causation

I can't believe this was missed by all those SEO experts writing their analysis posts about the latest Google Panda update, this is Panda 4.0! They all are focussing on the wrong stuff. You need to put your thin foil hat on to be able to see it, but it's pretty obvious once it is pointed out to you. The real winner from the Panda 4.0 update is Google!

Here is how this is played out. Google updates their index, shifts a couple of large companies around. Naturally, all SEO's trying to get into the spotlight of mainstream media, throw out a quick headline with a poor analysis of who is the biggest loser. Something like; "Brand X just lost 80% of their rankings, once you find out which company it is, it will blow you away...!" This is all the big smoke screen to hide what is really going on.

However, seasoned SEO's, who have learned the law of correlation = causation see right through this smoke screen.
Tweet: Correlation = Causation?

Here it goes:

My friends at Search metrics wrote an extremely helpful data analysis showing the biggest losers and winners of the Google Panda 4.0 update. As you can see in the losers row, large brands are used to pull up the smoke screen. You will need to pay attention to the winners of this update. Which company is close at the top of the list..? Right, it's

Glassdoor winner of Panda 4.0

Glassdoor, off course is the company where we all go to rate the company and our bosses, not using our real name off course!  Well, Glassdoor won in this update BIG TIME! Is Glassdoor so good in SEO, that they had to win? Not sure, as I received an invitation to apply to their head of SEO not that long ago, so they must still be looking for somebody setting out the strategy.

It clicked with me once I saw the headline this morning at the Wall Street Journal;

Google Rated Top Employer for Pay and Benefits by Glassdoor

Google Rated Top Employer for Pay and Benefits by Glassdoor

You see, there is an epic battle going on in Silicon Valley, the way for talent. Free food, free transportation, multi million dollar stock packages, you name it. These are the perks thrown in by tech companies to get the best people to work for your company.But a company get's really the most and best resumes if the perception in the market is that it's the best place to work.

I know a trick when I see one, and by the law of correlation = causation, this must be true. Google has given Glassdoor a giant lift in search rankings to get the #1 spot of best place to work, while pulling up a giant smokescreen so that every SEO analyst will focus on the losers. In the process, Google will safe giant recruiting budgets.

Well played Google, I guess I saw right through your trick!


Disclaimer: This obviously is a parody post, to make fun of all the so called "SEO experts" who do half baked analysis on an update just to get the attention. One of the only post I believe describes the facts, is the one from Search metrics, rewarded with a link here



LinkedIn now with WeChat

Just recently when I logged into my LinkedIn account, I saw a little pop-up box at the top of my page. LinkedIn just asked me if I would like to connect my WeChat account with my profile. WOW, how do they know I have WeChat installed on my iPhone? Creepy!

LinkedIn & WeChat integration

Ever since Facebook bought WhatsApp for this crazy Bazillion amount of money, people in Silicon Valley have set their eyes on what Facebook will do with the app. The funny thing is, the majority of tech journalists so fully engaged in the echo chamber in and around San Francisco, are almost missing one of the biggest revolutions happening in online chat ever! WeChat is huge in China, and is rapidly expanding beyond the Asian continent.

WeChat is more than just online mobile chat. It has voice and video capabilities, group functions, games or functions which connect you with people based on your location or interest. A WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram on steroids. And what's more, WeChat has a super large business in virtual goods; Stickers. You can buy a sticker to send your mood at the time to one of your friends. The sticker market is rumored to bring in more than $100 million per year, and is growing very rapidly. No wonder that the mother company Tencent is such a hot commodity.

So from now on, you can reach me on WeChat, which is connected to my LinkedIn profile for your convenience.

My WeChat QR code, connect with me

Google Purchase Protection

New way for Google to get conversion data on products: Google Trusted store purchase protection program.

Google Purchase Protection program

I just bought something online, went straight to the merchant website, did not go through Google, as the product was recommended by a colleague. As you can see from the screenshot, Google offers me free purchasing protection. Great, the catch is, my email address will be shared with Google, and I bet a lot more information as well.
I paid with Paypal, but this is a nifty way for Google to get more data on my purchasing behavior.

Damn you Google for being this smart!

And here is how the program works:

From the page (emphasis mine):

"After completing a purchase with a Google Certified Shop, most users will be offered the chance to opt in to free purchase protection from Google for that order. At this time, purchase protection is offered on a per-order basis, and only at the time of purchase. If you opt in, then the merchant will share your order information and email address with us. We’ll send you an email with the details of your order, the merchant's contact details, and a link to contact Google in the event of any issues."

Free Google Purchase Protection, You Pay With Your Data

Remember; if it's free, you're the product being sold... aka your data!

Farmville 2 Street Party

Every morning I walk by the Zynga office on my way to work in San Francisco. This morning there was something different, as the side walk suddenly had a white picket fence set up. Next to the road, there were farm props set up, and Zynga employees walking around with Farmville 2 T-shirts were all smiling. Turned out, Farmville 2 on mobile is launching today! The game is called Farmville 2 Country Escape.

Farmville 2 country escape - Zynga game on mobile launch party

Farmville 2 price winning live stock

Sidewalk street party for the launch of Zynga mobile game Farmville 2

Police in Violation of Parking Laws in San Francisco – @SFPD

A couple of years ago, I received a parking ticket. Not an ordinary ticket because my car was parked in the wrong section, or forgot to fill up the meter, no I got one because I was 10 Centimeter in the lower section of the curb. The ticket claimed I was blocking potential handicap people crossing the street. The ticket was $350,-! I had my fair share of parking tickets in San Francisco. I always paid these just right away, even the expensive one, as it's just hard to fight these tickets and you'll have to go to court. Since I'm not a US citizen, but a green card holder, I rather stay away from rubbing the court system the wrong way, even if I know I could win.

I already spotted SFPD officers not following those same parking laws as ordinary citizens have to obey to. A couple of times I took some pictures of police vehicles being parked in red zones or next to a fire hydrant. See the two below here. One police car was even parked in the red zone for more than 24 hours (post in Dutch). Just imagine if a fire would have broken out, while the cop car was blocking the SFFD to get water out of the hydrant.  The San Francisco parking police sometimes also totally ignores the signs.

This morning, while walking in the Richmond neighborhood I spotted a police officer parking his car in a way which blocked the pedestrian crossing completely. As neither his light or his sirens were on, this could not have been an emergency stop. The officer hopped out of the car, and went into the little convenient store. Probably to pick up a quick doughnut. I started to make pictures, and was thinking to switch my camera to video to document the parking violation. Should I confront the police officer? Based on video's I've seen online, I chose not to do this. The SFPD hasn't been very nice to people exercising their 1st amendment rights. And, although a green card holder has the same rights as citizens with regards to making pictures in a public place, I don't want to test these cop on how nice he will be.

Police parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 finePolice parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 finePolice parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 finePolice parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 finePolice parking in the pedestrian crossing. Normally this would be a $350 fine

Sometimes the SFPD thinks they are above the law. While the officer was just doing a little shopping, and it took only 5 minutes, maybe, he should have just parked his car somewhere within the parking laws.

This is not the first time I've seen SFPD park in a way which violates all parking laws. Check out these two I made pictures of earlier:

SFPD parking in red zone, next to fire hydrant

Police car SFPD parked next to fire hydrant, for more than 24 hours, in red zone

Snoop Dogg Went from Rhyme Pusher to Brand Pusher

While rocking on the tunes of Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice on Spotify, I'm seeing the traffic rolling in on Airbnb's special created SXSW The Park pages. At the moment, Snoop Dogg is making it's appearance on The Park, as he designed one of the special Airbnb pop-up listings as part of the SXSW event this week.
Check out this short video of Snoop chatting about the design of his Pop-up house, which was shared on Snoop's Google+ account, where he has more than 7M followers.

Couple of awesome quotes:

If you're doing the SnoopDogg, your mind has to go through different stages and changes… I can send a blank room, but the room would have to change colors just cause I walked in.

SnoopDogg is a collage, he ain't that, he's all of that...

And here is an Instagram picture of Snoop, getting his mail.

From Rhyme Pusher to Brand Pusher

For years Snoop has been pushing Rhymes to make his cash, now he pushes brands and their campaigns through his social media channels. And with a large followers army on all social media channels, I bet he is racking up the money through the different campaigns.

Marketeers will get their money worth, as Instagram pictures are being tweeted, video's being shared on Google+, and more messages are pushed through the Facebook page.

Here is a tweet for the special event Snoop is doing in The Airbnb Park:

Social media has proven to be a new money machine for celebrities. However, these people have more influence than just pushing a campaign. Check out how Shaquille O’Neal has a well thought out social media strategy;

When asked about his social media strategy, Shaq parsed out his surefire approach to maximum social success. 60 percent of his posts “will make you laugh,” 30 percent are there “to inspire,” and ten percent of his posts are “to sell stuff.”

Winning Strategy

So, to become a big money making machine on social, you first need to get famous about something, after which you could do similar endorsements. And some people just become famous because of their social media...

I'm actually happy it's not me. You..?

PrimeHangout Let’s Beat Facebook

Saw this billboard this week, and I was just surprised. What are they thinking..? As I was reading, I was thinking:

Facebook #1, huh? I dare you to check out Let the competition begin

Let's beat Facebook

With more than 1 billion active members, and a market value of more than $100 billion, who in their right minds would think they can beat Facebook? As it's posted on the site; Prime Hangout is social media with artificial intelligence! The future is here.

Check out the video with the CEO of Prime Hangout, and determine for yourself if there is artificial intelligence in this social media network.

 Here is what the site looks like.

PrimeHangout screenshot

So, what do you think? Does PrimeHangout has a chance to beat Facebook? Even just taking 5% of market share could be profitable, so if they can't beat Facebook, could Primehangout capture 1-5% of market share from Facebook..?

Turn a Side Project in Valuable Work Projects

When I moved to the USA almost 8 years ago, I started a blog, in Dutch, to keep everybody back home informed with our adventures here in San Francisco. Before I knew it, I was getting more and more questions on my blog. The questions were coming from Dutch people interested into traveling to San Francisco, either for work or for a vacation. These questions ranged from things to do in San Francisco, how to get from the airport SFO to the centre of the city or where to stay. So to be able to keep up with the incoming flow of questions, I started a new site, with tips about San Francisco;

San Francisco Tips a website for the Dutch traveler to San Francisco

The site served me well over time, as I learned a lot from it with regards to the travel vertical, as well it provided me with some seasonal revenue upside to pay for other side projects, in particular in the San Francisco hotel booking and airline tickets from AMS to SFO space.

Fast forward a couple of years, and just imagine how I can use the knowledge on the travel patterns, search keywords and best converting topics I learned from my side project in my job at Airbnb at a larger scale. Introducing longer form content articles to service our community of travelers;

San Francisco Travel guide

This is just a start, but we can say welcome to the first longer form content articles on the San Francisco Neighborhood pages from Airbnb; which are around two specific topics which are important to anybody traveling to SF; Transportation to, from, and around San Francisco and When it's best to go to San Francisco. In total, there are 6 helpful articles, all six in Airbnb style and design, with loads of beautiful pictures. These are:

  1. Getting around in San Francisco
  2. Getting to and from San Francisco
  3. Ridesharing
  4. Travel seasonality
  5. Events
  6. Dressing for the weather

These six represent a good start.

Side Project vs Work Project

As long as I managed people in my job, I encouraged them to have at least have one side project. As long as the project does not conflict with the work you're doing, it can actually be a great learning experience, something you would be able to apply to your daily work, where you become much more effective. So how do you turn your side project into a valuable work project? Well, I can say; there is no magic formula, but a common element I've seen making side projects successful, while these also add value to your work in the workplace is this:  be passionate about your side project, where eventually you will find a way to make your passion your work. For me, it is still the way I can combine exploring the city I live in, with the rush I get to drive traffic through SEO, which ultimately will help me becoming more successful in my job.

And what is more interesting; I get fired up to work on my old project again, where I'm now exploring new ways to get more information for the Dutch traveler to San Francisco on my website...

Target Customers are Getting targeted with Phishing Email

Update: My friend George set me straight. After posting this blogpost on Twitter, he responded that the domain the email was sent from IS actually a Target domain.

Target ESP domain looks like Phishing
Target probably never got around to implement a new domain to send their emails from. Now they look like a phishing email to people like me.

Target customers can't get a break from cyber crime. First it was the credit & debit cards which information was captured at the point of sale systems, now there are phishing attempts going on targeting Target customers. The following email landed in the inbox of my wife:

Target customers are getting targeted with Phishing email

The message of the email: a public Mea Culpa, and a promise you will be protected as a Target customer in an identity protection program paid by Target. Just click the link, and fill out all of your information...

Luckily my wife didn't fall for this one, as she is suspicious about all these kind of emails, and I have told her many times how many spoof emails eBay customers always were getting. And if you look closer, the email address from where the email was sent is not even spoofed. Amateurs...

I feel for those Target customers who got their credit card information stolen, and now become a victim of another scam on top of that. Protect yourself, learn how to identify those emails that look like the real thing, but essentially aren't. Educate yourself on cyber crime!

How to Make Your Child Happy – Sleeping in a Treehouse

In the race to be coolest dad, the hunt for new treehouses is on! Last January I took my daughter to a treehouse adventure for her 6th birthday. This weekend I treated my son for a night stay in a treehouse for his 5th birthday. This time the treehouse was a little bit further out of the safe area of San Francisco, this treehouse is located in the Santa Cruz mountains in between Santa Cruz and Watsonville. Right in the middle of the Redwood tree forest, you can find this Redwood Treehouse.

Tweet this: Happy Child - Sleeping in a Treehouse @airbnb

The drive up is hard, especially as we did it in the dark, and relied on our GPS to get there. Big mistake, as the GPS did send us over the long road, through the woods, where the road was not paved. Without blankets or a lot of food and water in the car, being on the road where nobody drives made me nervous. Eventually we made it.

The treehouse sits deep into the woods, where we needed to walk for 4-5 minutes over a small unpaved trail to get there. For Mr. D this was a little scary. Thank god for the iPhone having a flashlight build in, so we could find our way to the treehouse. And then, after 5 minutes we saw this...

Redwood treehouse on Airbnb entrance bridge at night
Redwood tree forrest treehouse at night

These two pictures were taken with a tripod and a ultra long exposure time, since it is very dark in the woods after sunset. The Redwood trees are so high, that even at sunset the darkness comes really early.

The treehouse is cozy, and has room for two, who will easily fit. In the picture below you will see that there is even a kitchen, and next to the table there is a door which leads to the bathroom with a toilet and a shower. Outside, there is even a hot-tub, one we didn't use, since we were late.
Treehouse in the Redwood trees forrest , picture from the insideIn the morning we were enjoying the sunrise from our bed. We woke extra early at dawn to experience the sun bringing the light in between the trees, waking up the forest.

The picture below is made by Mr. D who really wanted to make a picture of me with the treehouse.

Dennis Goedegebuure at the Redwood treehouse rented for a night at Airbnb

Redwood treehouse on Airbnb entranceThat was another treehouse adventure with one of my kids. Next year I will take the two, to give Fiona a break with the baby. That will be fun! Now on to look for another treehouse! Which one do you think we need to go visit?

Redwood treehouse inside

Thanks Airbnb for Giving me the Chance to Build Lasting Memories with my Kids

If it wasn't for Airbnb, we probably would have never started this family tradition. Where else can you find fun places to stay for a short staycation? I have my eye set on one of these Modernist Marvels, sleeping in a train or in one of these cool Airstreams. Hey, I'm Dutch, don't judge our love for Caravans! Enough to explore on Airbnb before we go checking on all these Exceptional Treehouses.

The ability to stay in these cool places with my kids is helping me to build lasting memories of cool things my kids did when they were young. As my daughter was drawing a picture from the treehouse after her holidays break, instead of her Christmas presents, it shows how important and valuable these moments are for kids. If I keep up the tradition to go to a different treehouse every year, they will cherish these memories for the rest of their lives. That is worth much more than the next Barbie doll or Choo Choo train made in China.

Thanks Airbnb!

On our way back to San Francisco, we made a quick stop at Casa del 17, which is a road restaurant next to highway 17 in between Santa Cruz and San Jose. You can find these wooden statues there...

Casa del 17 - a bunch of happy faces