Will You Work for Free?

Free MoneyWould you work for free? Would you spend 20 minutes on the phone with somebody you have never met, knowing they will make a good amount of money based on the conversation you had over the phone? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for helping out strangers to extend my network, or keeping up with my current relationships. But some people are just pushing it… Sometimes, you get an email out of the blue from somebody you don't know, and it makes you happy. Sometimes you get an email from somebody who is trying your name out with the company domain as the email address, and they succeed to reach you. The latter won't become my friends easily! First of all, if you are trying to reach me, you can easily do that through my contact form. But be aware, if you contact me and ask for free-bees...little chance there are any for you!

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Case in point… I received the following email on my new work email. Now you need to know that I have no business cards yet, and have not visited any conference since I joined Airbnb, where my email could have been harvested! (bold, italic and color added by me to emphasis what makes me mad)

Hello Mr. Goedegebuure.

I am a partner with XXXXXXX Capital, a New York-based investment firm, and am conducting research on eBay Inc. for possible investment.

As a first stage of the research, I am speaking with a wide variety of  former eBay executives and others,  to try to assess the abilities of the leadership team, as we put heavy emphasis on management quality. I am getting getting in touch with you because of your  tenure in various management roles from 2002-2011, as I see from your LinkedIn profile.

I am writing to ask for about 20 minutes of your time, by phone, sometime over the next week or so.

Please note that I am not seeking insider or confidential information about any company or situation. I am only looking for a broad perspective on eBay senior management.  The information I gather will be shared  only within  XXXXXXX and won't be circulated or published.

If  there's a time convenient for you, please let me know. I would be happy to accommodate your busy schedule. Thanks in advance for your consideration.


[Name changed]

Sure, I have information. What I don't have is a lot of free time on my hands. We recently welcomed a new born in our family, and with little help around from family, we have our hands full. So any time spend on telephone conversations like these, either come at the expense of my current job, or at the expense of my family. So if I don't know you, have never met you, or even have never heard of you, and you ask me to spend 20 minutes to talk to you over the phone, it better be worth it for me, as those 20 minutes I will never get back, that is part of my life you are asking to give up!

So I responded:

Dear Mr. [Name Changed],

Sure, you can hire me as a paid consultant.

I can send you over the paperwork, after which we can schedule a call.

My hourly rate is $400,- with a minimum of 1 hour.
Please let me know how to proceed.
Thank you
Dennis Goedegebuure

This should bring home the message. I don't want this job, I don't need this job, but if somebody is willing to fork over $400 for me to talk 20 minutes with them, sure I'll take it and pay off part of the hospital bill with the funds!

But you guessed it right, Mister Wall Street investment banker is not willing to pay for the information he wants

Thanks very much, Mr. Goedegebuure, for your speedy reply. As a policy, we do not compensate for these brief conversations. I certainly understand and respect your position on this.  I am willing and able  to circle back at the end of the project and share, by phone, some highlights of our findings, all anonymity protected. If that appeals to you, great. If not, I understand and sorry to bother you.
Best,[Name Changed]

So this is where I get the inspiration from for writing this blog post. Listen, I have a masters degree in Economics, with focus on Finance, specifically investments, and Marketing. I know what this information might be worth, as this is a classic case of Information Asymmetry. I posses information on eBay which is a possible investment of the firm. This information is not freely available to any other market agents, where the possession of the information could be of great value to any investor. You're going to make millions with the information, and you ask me to give up 20 minutes of my life, stealing it away from my kids?!?

So unless you are going to compensate me for my time, you are not getting any of it!

Just imagine you are calling a plumber with a problem, let's say, your sink is leaking water and unless you get it fixed fast, your whole new hardwood  floor will be ruined. Now, when you have the plumber on the phone, asking him for time to drop in to have a look at the problem, and fix it to avoid you having to pay the ruined floor, you ask him to do all that for free...how do you think he will react?

Right, my point exactly!

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Image credit: Free Money Day Under Creative Commons

LRR Sign of the Times in SEO

LRR stands for Link Removal Request, and some site owners are going apeshit about how they need to clean up their link profile. Personally I got one LRR so far, on a link which was completely editorial, so I didn't complied. The company did use some questionable tactics to get backlinks for a competitive vertical around voucher coupons...

As an SEO, I know how to handle these requests. Either you fight it, and get your site reported in the link disavow tool, which could have a negative side effect later on. Or you just remove the link, and be done with it. But what if you are not an SEO, and you run a successful blogger network, which has been the target for spammy guest bloggers who are trying to take advantage of your authoritative website to get direct match anchor text inserted in the guest blogger profile bio! Yes, that's been happening at a large scale, and now those companies are trying to clean up their act. I guess it was just a matter of time to see these kind of pages pop-up on websites from real businesses...

Link Removal Request confirmation page

Avoid 1 Star Reviews in SERP: Dynamic Schema integration

I stumbled on this Yelp snippet the other day. Normally you would expect to see rich snippets increase the click through rate of your result, but in this case, I doubt it.

Yelp one star review snippet

What if Yelp would be smart with Rich Snippet optimization and take it one step further. Dynamically implement the schema code based on the review score. This way you could avoid 1 star reviews to show up as rich snippets in the SERP's.

Something like:

>If AggregateRating =< 3 don't implement AggregateRating markup

>If AggregateRating >3 implement AggregateRating markup

This way, Google would most likely not show a one star review rich snippet for those places which suck...

Marktplaats data; eBay’s entry into classifieds

Back in 2004, while working for eBay in The Netherlands, I was able to work on an interesting project. The project was code named Manhattan, and resulted in the acquisition of the largest classifieds site in The Netherlands, Marktplaats.nl, and eBay's entry into the classifieds business. Just last week, eBay bought another classifieds site, in Belgium. The classifieds business has become an important source of revenue for eBay Inc. an important school for learnings and a breeding ground for top talent who would migrate to other countries while working for eBay.

The decision to buy Marktplaats for $300 million in 2004 was not a fast and easy decision. The team in The Netherlands conducted a lot of research on the Marktplaats customers, the business model, and the sites ability to grow traffic and monetization to grow revenue. One of the research questions the team tried to answer was the affinity of the Dutch consumers to use the classifieds site over the eBay auction model. It turned out from part of our research, that the Dutch consumer would be willing to drive from one end of the country to the other end just to save a couple of Euro's. And with the country of The Netherlands being rather small, you can drive from the upper Northern part to the most Southern tip in a couple of hours, no seller is to far to quickly pick up your new DVD or piece of clothing.

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That was 2004, now 9 years later, more data has become available through Marktplaats itself in a cbs publication. (CBS is the official state bureau for statistics in The Netherlands. The study is in Dutch) I stumbled on this data through the Facebook postings of some of my old colleagues.
The research shows some interesting maps and how the population of The Netherlands is using Marktplaats.nl to buy and sell stuff.

There is one map which shows exactly more in depth results of the research we did in the run to the acquisition of Marktplaats; how far are buyers prepared to travel to pick up the item for sale, and maybe even hackle over the price to save a little. Check out the map below, which shows the distance between buyer and seller for all ads placed on Marktplaats in 2010.
Distance between buyer and seller in The Netherlands on Marktplaats.nl, the largest classifieds siteThe table below shows the distance between buyer and seller for each of the items in the different categories, where it shows that the distance becomes smaller the more expensive or heavier the item is. Makes sense, as some of the smaller items, which also do not cost that much, might be mailed to the buyer after the successful bargaining.

distance between buyer and seller per category on Marktplaats

Marktplaats turned out to be a very successful acquisition for eBay, not only for the direct revenue growth, but more for the learnings on the business model and its ability to grow into new verticals and grow revenue. The research we as a team conducted proved to be on the mark, where years later the market still shows the winning business model for The Netherlands is classifieds rather than the eBay classic auction model.

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Just Lost a Week of Life – Turns Out… I’m Allergic for Antibiotics

I just found out that I'm allergic for a certain type of antibiotics; Amoxicillin. And I found out the hard way, loosing a full week in the painful process. From now on, I'll have to carry a note saying what medication I cannot have, as the next time I get an attack after taking these kind of meds, I might not be so lucky that I can write a blog post about it.

As the effects of the allergy were so impact full, and at first I didn't pay too much attention to these, I decided to document the way I went through the week to remember me taking better care of myself next time. Most important, I NEED to give a giant shout out to my wife Fiona, as she was picking me and the 3 kids up. Unbelievable..!

But more important, there might be more people out there in search of how to respond to a sudden outburst of hives, flames in their skin or sudden cramps in their hands and if you just started on Amoxicillin, you might want to seek medical help.

Why take Amoxicillin

But first, what was the reason to take an antibiotic in the first place. Mr. D, now 4 years old, is on the schedule to get his tonsils removed. It will hopefully help him to get some better sleep. Running up towards the date of the operation, we found ourselves with some severe coughing people in the house. For already 1.5 week both my wife F and I were coughing, where it turned out to be a beginning lung infection for F. The doctor was so kind to prescribe some medication for us. That's where it all started...

From Wikipedia:

Amoxicillin and amoxicillin-clavulanate are recommended by guidelines as the first-choice drug for bacterial sinusitis (Sinusitis or rhinosinusitis is inflammation of the paranasal sinuses. It can be due to infection, allergy, or autoimmune issues. Most cases are due to a viral infection and resolve over the course of 10 days.)

Taking a first dose of Amoxicillin - Day 0

amoxicillinIt was Friday afternoon when I first took one of the large pills. Hoping my cough will be going away soon, I spent a nice evening with the family and a late night walk with F to top off the week. Before going to bed, I popped another one of these pills, since I was on a 2x per day schedule.

It started to appear to me that the skin on my hands started to itch. I didn't pay too much attention to it, since I just came back from a long week at work, and a busy weekend and next week ahead of us. Still, it suddenly came up, where I hardly could stop myself from scratching my fingers, especially the knuckles.

Day 1 - Busy Saturday

Our Saturdays are always very busy with kids sports and swim lessons. But this Saturday was extra busy with a family member from The Netherlands returning. This meant airport, saying goodbye and driving back and forth with the whole family.

So keep on schedule, waking up was not that hard and all the morning activities went on auto pilot. A quick breakfast with another one of those large pills made me ready to go. Although the pain in my hands was becoming worse, I had a job to do and didn't want to make others worried.

While we went for coffee in Burlingame before racing to the airport, the itchy feeling in my fingers and the palms of my hands was becoming more severe, where I just had to scratch and scratch the skin of inside and the top of my hands.

While driving back from the airport, my wife started calling the doctors office to get advice how to proceed. Obviously the first advice I got was: Stop taking more of the Amoxicillin pills. To stop the rash and the itching skin, I could just buy some Benadryl, an over the counter allergy medicine.

And stubborn as I am, even after the kids swim lessons and my hands were swollen and red, and other parts of my body began to break out, I didn't seek a doctor directly. My wife drove me to a weekend medical center to see a doctor, but he/she was not there for the Saturday afternoon. Later that night I tried to visit a night clinic, but it was closed as well..So we went into the first night with more severe itching and burning sensation over about 30% of my skin.

Day 2 - ER Sunday

Waking up Sunday was no fun. I immediately knew I needed to see a doctor fast. The skin on my hands was burning, and if I used my hands, it felt the skin would burst or crack. My face had started to show red hives and was itching like crazy. The first couple of red spots started to show up on my legs, which came with an increase in temperature as well. Overall, I felt like I had been lying on the beach for a good day in the blazing sun.

ER visit UCSF

Luckily it was so early on a Sunday morning, that I was the first and only one in the emergency care facility. However, after a quick examination, and some discussion, I was sent home with a single dose of Prednisone to combat the allergic reaction. As it said in my discharge papers: "You should not take augmentin in the future or PCN equivalent medication...It will likely take a couple of days to resolve the rash because of the longer half life of the antibiotic you were given".

So off I went home to hang out on my bed, trying to sleep a little and trying to help my wife, who was stuck with the 3 kids. But without hands, any husband is useless! Later that day my legs were beginning to show many more red spots, and my face was just completely red like I had been heavily sunbathing.

Amoxicillin allergic reaction red spots on skin

I thought it would have been done. I went to the ER, got some more medication to counter the allergy, so I must go up from here! Besides, it has been more than 24 hours since I took the last of the Amoxicillin. Little did I know yet the worse was yet to come...

Day 3 - Moving Monday

Red spots from allergy of AmoxicillinWith Monday breaking the week open, I had good hope the Prednisone from the hospital would have done the job. It would be an important and busy day at the office, where we would move into a new office with all the festivities and fun that would come with it. Although my hands were still cramped, swollen and itchy, the rest of my body on fire, I dropped my kids off at school, and joined the rest of the company for the move. The comments were as expected, everybody thought I had been lying on the beach for the full weekend and thought I had a little bid too much sun over those days. Having to explain myself that the red color in my face was from an allergic reaction to Amoxicillin was not too hard, I just had to lift up one of my sleeves of my pants to showcase the red spots on my feet and legs which had become much worse.

After just have moved into the new office, a light lunch and some email work, I threw in the towel. The itchy feeling, hot flashes and skin burn was just becoming to much. I had to get out of there so bad. By the minute it started to get worse, so I quickly packed my stuff and got home as soon as I could to go rest on my bed.

As soon as my wife saw me, she started calling with the doctors office to discuss my condition. We managed to get a new appointment to see the doctor and discuss what the next step would be. After arriving, the doctor herself looked surprised and concerned I had broken out so badly. Immediately she wrote me a prescription for 9 days of Prednisone medication. Next to the meds to combat the allergy, there were also drugs to avoid a heavy itchy skin; Hydroxyzine.

Prednisone to bring down Amoxicillin allergy

With the comment by the doctor that Prednisone is somewhat a magic pill for the allergic reaction I got, I had hope again I would be back in business within a day or so.

Day 4 - Tuesday with Meetings

Tuesday I wished I could have stayed at home from the start. short sleep, constant itching skin, and a red, puffy face were not the ideal circumstances to go into work. But with a meeting planned with people from out of town, it's a no-go in my book to cancel at the day itself, where people have been flying in for seeing you.

Just for the one meeting I ran into the office. The Prednisone was barely doing its work, where constant hot flashes were indicating I was running a fever, while the itch was now over more than 60% over my skin.

Immediately after the meeting I left for home, and fully expected to recover fast, as it has been already more than a couple of days since I took the Amoxicillin, and I had been more than 24 hours on Prednisone. The magic pill should be doing its job by now.. right? Nope!

Day 5 - Worst Wednesday

severe Amoxicillin allergy red skin
Wednesday proofed to become the worst day so far. After just 2-3 hours of sleep due to the fever, itching skin and restlessness, it became clear the thing was not over yet, long from it. 80% of my skin was showing a rash, little bumps and was looking like it was burned from the sun or a bad acne. My legs were completely red, where the skin on my hands was about to crack.

The day was spent in bed, but it was strange. Normally when you're sick, you would like to sleep, or not eat. Now, my brains worked as best I could expect on a couple of hours sleep, I had a healthy appetite, the only discomfort was that I had the hot flashes and the itchy skin everywhere by now.

Still, this was not the worse. The night from Wednesday to Thursday would proof the worse time. There were times I was laying in my bed ready to scratch my skin off my flesh so bad was the itchy feeling. There were times I wanted to lay in a bathtub full with Aloe vera lotion to cool my skin down.

I had taken 3 sleeping aid pills, all the Hydroxyzine I was allowed to, but nothing could take down the burning of my skin which was so badly itching me. I ended up to stay the full night awake, not because I wanted, but simply because I couldn't sleep of the bad feeling on my skin. And it doesn't help either that one of the side effects of Prednisone is: Insomnia...

Day 6 - Tired Thursday

Finally at around 5 am I couldn't take it anymore, and took a cold shower for 45 minutes. If only I could get away from the itchy feeling on my skin all over my body for 5 minutes, I would have been thankful.

I don't remember too much of the Thursday morning. So tired and wanting to feel better, I slowly fell into a state of unconsciousness. Half-awake, vs half asleep, I just didn't care anymore if my skin was itching. I could feel it, and it drove me mad, but finally there was a feeling of acceptance.

I managed to get some rest in the morning, where in the afternoon we paid the doctor another visit. Finally the redness of my skin was retreating, where the legs were first showing an improvement. Later it proofed the symtoms on my skin were moving upwards, where the legs were the worst on Tuesday, my Torso bad on Wednesday & Thursday. So the face comes on Friday?

Day 7 - Fuzzy Friday

At least I could sleep better. Still lot of itchy feeling on my chest and shoulders making it hard to fall asleep, but when I woke up on Friday morning, there was real improvement. At least to the skin on my torso. A new thing has popped up, and I instantly felt it opening up my eyes. That didn't feel the same as normal!

Looking at myself in the mirror when I woke up was scary. I could have sworn I was staring in the face of somebody who just had a long night of drinking behind him. At least 3 bottles of bad whiskey was starring me back in my face...Picture below was from a couple of hours later, so just imagine those eyes 5 times worse!

Puffy Eyes

But this I could handle, as long as these sacks under my eyes were not permanent! The skin was looking much better, where the legs were almost back to normal. Still the chest and the shoulders were itching, but long from  as bad as the two days before. My skin felt like I had been sunbathing for at least 2 weeks in the south of France, and started to peel off. Oh great new signs of this thing not over yet!

Day 8 - Road to Recovery Saturday

Finally on Saturday, yesterday, I could say that the rash on my skin was under control. The eyes were still puffy, and the skin in my face and ears were clearly showing there was a new one coming underneath, but the redness was gone for 80%.

Peeling skin due to Amoxicillin allergy

For a couple of days more, I will need to take the Prednisone pills, as we are building down the number of pills I'm taking per day. I'm sure all the other signs of this bad reaction to Amoxicillin will disappear with the next couple of days.

Lessons learned

While I was laying around, scratching my back, a couple of things have become clear to me which I tried to remember for this blogpost.

Skin - your largest Organ

I research a number of aspects in this situation. One of this is Skin. Your skin is actually your largest organ, and so important for all its functions: protection; sensation; thermoregulation; control of evaporation; storage of synthesis; absorption of important ingredients of life; water resistance.

It is essential to take good care of your skin. You think you can stay out in the sun for a long time, sunbathing to get a great tan. That is actually real bad for your skin. So No Más!

Oh, and drink lots of water, everyday, all day!

Support system

With a limited support system for us here in San Francisco, it shows how vulnerable we are for situations which are unexpected. F and I are alone with 3 little kids with a couple of friends from their school and some real close friends at around 30 minutes away.
Although we love all of them, and know they would be there for us, it's not the same as family.

Mrs. F - My Rock

How could I have survived without Mrs. F. She has been amazing the last week, as taking care of 2 young kids who need to be fed, clothed and taken to summer camp, a young baby with the demands that come with it, and a grumpy husband with all the side effects of the medications going around his body while sleep deprived is no fun!

How you put up with these kind of situations, the demanding kids and especially how you put up with me every day is amazing. Thank you for what you've done!


While reading the Wikipedia page for Amoxicillin today, I learned it was a good thing to take swift action when we had the suspicion the itchy hands were because of the Amoxicillin pills.

The onset of an allergic reaction to amoxicillin can be very sudden and intense - emergency medical attention must be sought as quickly as possible.

The initial onset of such a reaction often starts with a change in mental state, skin rash with intense itching (often beginning in fingertips and around groin area and rapidly spreading), and sensations of fever, nausea, and vomiting. Any other symptoms that seem even remotely suspicious must be taken very seriously.

However, more mild allergy symptoms, such as a rash, can occur at any time during treatment, even up to a week after treatment has ceased.

For some people who are allergic to amoxicillin the side-effects can be deadly.

It took more than a week, and clearly I'm not there yet. Work has been piling up, a lot of emails were left unanswered and the house can use some work from my end. It was heart warming to get all the well wishes, Facebook comments and emails from everybody. Sorry I could not respond in person, as I was just to out of it all...

Timing isn't perfect either with Mr. D's operation planned tomorrow morning, crazy busy and the roller-coaster of life hasn't ended yet.


Now go take care of yourself, your skin and most important: your loved ones...!!!

On Parenting, School Policy and Avoiding Diabetici

Seriously I don't get certain parents. If school policy says "no sugar allowed in school" why do you bring cupcakes for your sons birthday.
Deyan cannot have sugar, and if he does eat it, eventually he can become a diabetic. No fun!

So don't expect me to help you carrying 2 trays of cupcakes into the school for your sons birthday, and don't expect me to keep my mouth shut about you breaking school policy!

I'm an example for my kids, helping you with your sugar loaded treats, would be a direct smack in the face for my son.

  • How would he be able to trust me moving forward if I bring him in direct danger?
  • How would he be expected to follow the rules if I, his dad, am breaking the school rules?
  • What example are we setting for our kids if we believe kids with dietary restrictions should be denied a treat, while others are all enjoying the cupcake.

I understand its a disappointment for your son, but you can throw him a party, and serve cupcakes, candy, soda etc. I will be happy to decline the invitation.

My main concern is to prevent D becoming a diabetic patient. With a strict diet, we have a chance to prevent this as long as possible, which is hard enough with today's kids menus in restaurants.

So don't mind if I don't give a damn about the 1 day your son is disappointed for not bringing cupcakes to school! We have to deal with D's disappointment every day! Deal with it, you can to...How about you take those Sugar loaded cupcakes back home...


PS, I didn't even go into the correlation of sugar levels, corn syrup and bad nutrition and the rising obesity among kids.

SF Photowalk Promotion for Google Glass

Google is aggressively promoting Google Glass and the Google+ photography communities and its features these days. And rightly so, as a lot of people still claim Google+ is a ghost town, there actually are a number of very lively communities on Google+. These communities show there is interest in the new platform. Examples of communities active on Google+:

  • SEO's. With the potential of Google+ having a positive effect on a site rankings, and hence it's ability to get more free search traffic, it's almost a must have in every SEO toolbox.
  • Photographers. With the beautiful picture layout, unlimited amounts of pictures you can upload for free, large size display, and auto upload from your smart phone, this seems like the new favorite photographer platform.

During Google I/O last week, a special Photowalk was organized with Thomas Hawk (thomashawk.com) and Trey Ratcliff (stuckincustoms.com), two photographers famous for their pictures online, and early adopters of Google+. From all the announcements, the products placements and the free goodies which were given away, the focus of the Google team organizing the SF Photowalk (event link on Google+) was on the photographers community to introduce them to Google+ and Google Glass.

A large focus for the photowalk was also the product placement of Google Glass. All the Google people walking with us were wearing the new gadgets, and both Thomas & Trey had just received a pair of Google Glass to promote taking pictures with the camera in Glass. One lucky Photowalker would walk away with a fresh pair of Google Glass. Unfortunately it wasn't me...

Google Glass making its appearance at the SF Photowalk
Thomas Hawk & Trey Ratcliff posing with Google Glass at the SF Photowalk
Bystanders gladly trying out Google Glass
Bystanders were all very interested in what was happening. Imagine you see a group of around 250 people walking through the streets, all equipped with camera's and taking pictures of everything they see around them.

There were around 200-250 photographers and photography enthusiasts at the photowalk. The picture below was made by Peter Adams, and published here with permission. The original can be found here.
SF Photowalk group photo by Peter Adams

The San Francisco Photowalk was a lot of fun. Some people had taken props to take pictures of, like in the picture below here.
Fun with Props at the San Francisco Photowalk
I think I took around 200 images, which I will not all publish here. I have uploaded 172 pictures to a Google+ album, which can be found here.

Google Local Reviews

So this is how Google is trying to get more people familiar with their local business reviews product, and compete with Yelp; at popular events for the San Francisco Hipsters you might see a team hired by Google trying to convince people to try out the product. They actually expect you to review a couple of local businesses right there on one of the laptops. Just to make you familiar with the product. And what do you get for all the data you just entered and the time you spent, right.. a T-shirt.


 Google local reviews, trade a tshirt in exchange for your time and local knowledge

Google local reviews, trade a t-shirt in exchange for your time and local knowledge, write some reviews on local businesses and learn how the system works

The Great Gatsby at Airbnb

One of the great things at Airbnb, is that once every months, there is a formal Friday, which means the majority of the employees dress up in their best suits to make a smashing appearance. Flip Flops & Fleece will be thrown under the bed for one day. And once every quarter, a special theme is giving all those working at Airbnb the opportunity to put their best in impressing their colleagues. Today, with the launch of the new movie from Leonardo Di Caprio, after the book The Great Gatsby, the Formal Friday theme at Airbnb was: The Great Gatsby.

Usually, a theme Formal Friday also means all three founders of Airbnb are in San Francisco, and are dressing up like anybody else in the office. Airbnb is not such a formal company where the founders hide themselves in a private office. No, Brian Chesky, Joe Gabbia and Nathan Blecharczyk can be found in between all the other employees everyday. A perfect opportunity to shoot some pictures with them for the Formal Friday; The Great Gatsby...

Nathan Blecharczyk and Dennis Goedegebuure at Airbnb HQ

Nathan Blecharczyk and Dennis Goedegebuure at Airbnb HQ

Brian Chesky and Joe Zadeh (Joebot) at Airbnb HQ at The Great Gatsby Formal Friday

The Great Gatsby Formal Friday at Airbnb HQ with Brian Chesky and Joe Zadeh (Joebot).

Joe Gebbia Airbnb

Not only for The Great Gatsby formal Friday will Joe Gebbia; CPO for Airbnb, wear a bow tie. Many days on the week, not only on Fridays, Joe can be spotted with a bow tie dressed up!

Penguin Updates, Bring IT ON

With a lot of chatter on Twitter, it's probably safe to say that we are on track to see a large update hitting the search results just in time for the annual SMX Advanced in Seattle (from the chatter, it's most likely going to be a Penguin update). Like clockwork, Google gives the SEO's something to talk about, and since this is the advanced version of the SEO/SEM conference, it's a big update. Apart from all the discussions on the version number, it's incredible to see how SEO's stumble over each other to write "the news" what Matt Cutts have said online, and what you could expect from the next update.

Matt Cutts fro Google Tweets about Penguin 2.0


SEO's across the world are loosing their heads, and take the words of Matt Cutts all as a mantra. They shiver in fear on how the wrath of The Google might come down on their site, causing all kinds of trouble. But as my buddy Ryan ranted already:

We need to stop analyzing every word @mattcutts says like it’s some lost scripture and start paying attention to the meaning of what he says....


Remember when Matt said that Page Speed was a “all else being equal we’ll return the faster site” type of factor? That fits perfectly with the tree and dynamic weights I just talked about.

Instead of looking at the big picture, the meaning, and the reasoning behind what Matt says, we get too caught up on the literal definitions. It’s the equivalent of thinking David and Goliath is a story about how there are giants in the world rather than a story about how man’s use of technology helps him overcome challenges and sets him apart from beasts. We keep taking the wrong message because we’re too literal.


But I think some website owners should be afraid of what's coming down the pipeline, because if your site back-link profile looks like this, it might still works at the moment, but for how long...?

Does this look like a Penguin back link profile?


The funny thing is, the linking this site has done, still works like crazy. Check the sites visibility in search using the tool from Search Metrics. As you can see, the X-axes are not corresponding on the same timeframe, however, you can clearly see the search visibility of this site increased with the large jump in back-links in January of this year.


The next Penguin update will be larger than the previous ones. Next Penguin update will be a larger one than just a data refresh

Next Penguin update will be a larger one than just a data refresh


So, if you are already getting a ton of link removal requests, expect your inbox to show a flooding of new link removal requests rather sooner than later! Will you comply with the request, or have the requestor take more aggressive steps, like legal threads and stuff. I've heard of some very aggressive take down requests, even with authoritative domains. So far, I've received only one take down request, but have not taken the link down, since it was purely editorial. If the webmaster has screwed up their own link profile by being way to aggressive, that would be their problem. So I stand by Kim here, No I Will NOT respond to your disavow link paranoia. Bug off! 

So bring it on.. I'm ready for another Penguin update!

Black & White Penguin with a red bow tie