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Friday, August 1, 2003

PORTAL PARTNER PRESS August 2003


===========Volume 5, Issue 11, August 1, 2003 
==========
Subject: Portal Partner Press
Volume 5, Issue 11, August 1, 2003 

Date: Sent: Monday, August 04, 2003 4:31 PM 
editor@portalpartnerpress.com
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Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 11, August 1, 2003
ISSN 1545-3499
In this Issue:
Editor's Notes (Lynne Scott)
Hot in the Forums Ask Paynt (Debra Paynter) 
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This week we have some great stuff from Debra Paynter. She's really rising to the challenge of answering your questions on portal building. Thanks Debra, we truly appreciate having you share your expertise with us!
Housekeeping: I forgot one tasty little tidbit last week. SearchKing is offering free, brandable games to portal partners. You can see the game server at http://www.searchking.com/games Contact kevin@searchking.com to ask for yours.
Coming Soon: watch for the launch of the Independent Niche Directory Network. INDN aims to "lay the foundation for a community dedicated to the advancement, promotion and profitability of human reviewed data presentation serving niche markets."
Hot in the Forums:
> Portals Get a Good Kick in the Pants: it seems some people think that portals are trying to do too much, instead of concentrating on their core product. What do you think? Should portals dump their community tools, or should they keep trying out "sticky stuff"?
Talk Back:
http://www.searchking.com/skboards/ikonboard.cgi?s=7bcb48413a47454e86f7e4555d93c4da;act=ST;f=4;t=380;st=10;&#entry13
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal, Eye on Winnipeg, and KidsEdLinks.com. as well as serving as editor for the PPP. 
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Ask Paynt
Debra Paynter
We received three questions this month, thanks for taking the time to write.

• What is the easiest way you've found to fill your database? Where do you get your sites when starting out? First create a content rich product. Make sure it's within a defined niche or theme. Present your linking policy in very clear terms and provide both a form and an email address for submissions or communication. Think about what you are going to offer your listings in return, and if there is a cost involved. Given you have a product to offer that is what your linking audience is interested in linking to; creating the appropriate bait is half the battle. 
The next step is to determine who the linking audience is. More often than not, people limit their options by not keeping an eye open to the peripheral markets. When I am marketing linking towards a body care product, such as hand lotion, I'm going to think of complimentary lines. I'm thinking about what else the person who is looking for hand lotion might also be looking for. Those are all open to linking possibilities if you have the content to support it. 
People are eager for opportunities to link. Those offering higher levels of linking opportunity, not just a link page, are in a better position to draw in link submissions. Create a hub or niche portal that offers information, resources and community and your product will be more likely than others to succeed. Success still comes down to the passion and drive behind the product. People can feel that. 
Make it personal. Ensure that you method of communication is clearly defined, encouraged and easy to follow. Communicate with your audience. Don't be afraid to change and adapt content to what you see your visitors wanting more of. Much of this information will come through your logs but you can establish other methods including chats, message boards, newsletters and even polls. 
Initially I attempt to seed each category with 5 links, the best I find for that category. I let the sites know I've listed them and then I make my plea or plug or sale as the case may be. Remember to personalize your initial contacts. Ask for input and feedback. See if they would like to contribute in other ways. You never know where one link can take you. 

• There seems to be a lot of negative comments about the ODP lately. Would you care to comment on what you see as the future of the ODP? I am not a mind reader and I have no inside scoop, but, if I were to put money on it, I don't see ODP going away and I do see the benefit of a link there continuing to hold an important rank. It's a link worth getting and worth waiting for. In the mean time you want to be hustling related industry and directory linking. When the ODP link finally comes through it's gravy. 
ODP has developed through trial and error and, with contributions from very talented volunteers, into quite a directory. We can learn from its example and use it as a guide for both structure and potential listings when developing a directory of our own. Look at the niches within the ODP and imagine what you could do to perfect them. 

• If you could create your own spider for building a niche directory, what features would you like it to have? Could you briefly describe your "dream" admin control panel for such a spider? This is a great question and warrants more space than available this month so I would like to carry it over to next month. Thank you for writing. I'd promised more on structuring the hub and we have three excellent questions as well this week. I don't want anyone of them to be slighted. 
To continue, as I promised, with last month's discussion on structuring the hub, I'll introduce channels for you to think about. Not everyone wants to or should use canonicals (subdomains) in their structuring, but I do. Canonicals make it very easy to structure content and organize information, giving each a potential boost in positioning. There are secrets wrapped up in my canonical strategy but it's not too hard to imagine they include content. 
I organize my hubs by channels of either related information, a related presentation of information such as a glossary or directory, sometimes even by product or manufacturer. Initially themes are what start the process, based on what content we have to support that channel's development. If the whole directory or hub strategy is to divide it into channels, then I break them into complete topics. Last month I introduced the skateboarder into punk music as a possible hub idea. That doesn't seem to threaten any of you and it's a current interest of mine so I'll continue to use it as an example. 
Let's assume I've done my research, I know who my audience is and I've decided to divide the information into individual sections of thought. One channel is for the artists, the musicians and bands. Once I have determined the topic of the channel itself there are still decisions. I need to consider the section in complete terms, brainstorming, filtering, sorting and then strategizing the sub categories. Will I divide the sub categories based on the alphabet, genre, bands, and location? What fluff do I need to support the channel beyond the listings? What bait can I offer to draw listings, attract search engines and build returning traffic? 
In structuring the site consider the housekeeping pages. I've followed different strategies and now just include robots noindex, follow in the Meta tags for pages that offer no content to convert traffic.
If you want me to share more on structuring please let me know. 
Debra Paynter
Send your questions and comments to Ask Paynt: mailto:editor@portalpartnerpress.com?subject=Ask_Paynt
Debra Paynter of www.promotion-strategies.com is now blogging daily. Contact Debra for an affordable Foundation Plan to structure your online promotional strategies. She is accepting new projects from small websites to larger portal development. 
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Feedback: your comments, suggestions, beefs, bouquets, etc. are very welcome. 
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Portal Partner Press Archives: http://www.portalpartnerpress.com 
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Tuesday, July 1, 2003

PORTAL PARTNER PRESS July 2003


========Volume 5 Issue 9 July 11, 2003
========
Subject: Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 9, July 11, 2003

Date: Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 3:55 AM 
editor@portalpartnerpress.com
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Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 9, July 11, 2003
ISSN 1545-3499
In this Issue:
Editor's Notes (Lynne Scott) Google v. SearchKing collateral damage
Ask Paynt (Debra Paynter) Establishing Directory Structure: initial research 
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I hope that all of our American readers passed a wonderful 4th of July holiday, and that our Canadian readers had a great Canada Day. You'll notice that this issue is coming out a few days late. That's because I was waiting for some information that needed to be included. Two items that were to be included in this issue have been bumped to next issue in order to include this information.
If you've been to the PPP website recently, you will have noticed a note regarding the PPP's upcoming interview with Chris Ridings of SearchGuild ( http://www.searchguild.com ). That interview will be appearing early in August, but during the course of our discussion, Chris asked for some information on the Google v. SearchKing issue. Specifically, he would like information on any ongoing collateral damage being experienced by those either hosted by SearchKing or linking to it. Chris has generously offered to analyze this information in an effort to determine whether this damage is related to Google v. SK, and what course of action might be possible in the event that it is related.
If you feel that your site is experiencing ongoing collateral damage, please collect as much information as you can, and forward it to editor@portalpartnerpress.com with "collateral damage" in the subject line. Chris needs the following information:
• The url
• The PR before the difficulties
• Terms ranked for and where before the difficulties (or referrals per term)
• Google referrals before the difficulties
• The PR immediately after
• Terms ranked for and where immediately after (or referrals per term)
• Google referrals immediately after
• The PR now
• Terms ranked for and where now (or referrals per term)
• Google referrals now
• Whether the site sold inventory to pradnetwork or not
Some of you might not have all of this information, but collecting as much of it as you can will be a great help. I'll be forwarding the collected data to Chris for analysis. 
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Yahoo Acquires Overture 
http://www.corporate-ir.net/ireye/ir_site.zhtml?ticker=OVER&script=410&layout=0&item_id=430830 This is an interesting development in the whole SEO / SEM arena. Discussion is taking place in the Portal Network Forums, so why not pop in and share your thoughts on the issue. 
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ISSN Granted to the Portal Partner Press
If you take a look at the top and bottom of this issue, you'll notice a small change. The Portal Partner Press is now an internationally registered publication, with its own ISSN. This is a big step on the road to journalistic acceptance and recognition.
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This week Debra Paynter starts off her regular contributions with some great advice on doing initial research for a hub building project. I'm sure this will get all of you thinking, and generating questions about hub / portal building. Send them in to Ask Paynt.
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal, Eye on Winnipeg, and KidsEdLinks.com. as well as serving as editor for the PPP.
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Ask Paynt
Debra Paynter
The door is open on what to talk about this week so what I'd like to do is take you to beginning of establishing what the structure of your directory will be. Start easy with a niche portal on a topic that is close to your heart. In approaching the initial research time I start with a spreadsheet, a word processing document and a text pad. Next I open a browser to Google, one to www.dictionary.com, and my other is www.dnsstuff.com for the direct who is and such information. These are my basic research tools.
Knowing that I am approaching the research with a focus, a passion for the subject, or at least a general theme in mind, I can make a list of the general topics I want to use as a starting point to my research. Google directory is my first stop. I go to the top of my tree and check out how the ODP/Google directory approaches my theme/niche/industry. I take note of the 'related' categories and anything that appeals to me, including naming conventions and use of keywords. I visit sites included in the categories.
What I am doing with this first run through is getting a feel for how the 'organizers of the web' are dealing with my subject matter. There's no reason to recreate the wheel, so I look for clues to stimulate me to create something that totally encompasses what I can comfortably structure and provide content and listings for. If my goal is to make money from the hub, it is even more important that I take on only what I can comfortably handle and grow with.
While in the Google directory I look at what the industry has to offer by way of other directories. What's the competition like, what needs are they meeting, what topics are they covering along with all the same observations as when I'm looking at the upper level Google directory. Not only am I looking at what they offer but what is missing. It's very important to find the holes, especially if the goal is to bring in income. Every industry has them. My job is to find them so I can fill them with my content.
As this information starts coming in, I keep lists going. Usually there is one for category ideas, one for keywords, which I may break down into further themes, and one for sites I like. I list the competition and as I find the holes I list those. Often times I'll get ideas for articles, glossary terms or tip ideas, specific thoughts for developing content. If I find sites with communities, chats, message boards and so on I check those out for content. What are people posting about, what information are they looking for?
What I am trying to do is balance what the industry has to offer with what is missing. I am balancing what content people are looking for with what I can offer. These are the first steps, the initial feelers I send out. It's important at this point to gather in information. The only sorting is really the list making. Don't throw anything out yet, even if it seems impossible at this point. Research includes a bit of dreaming as well. Look outside the box and I know people are tired of that expression but it's the truth.
In the research-dreaming phase think about your audience. What might interest them, in addition to the main focus? Consider their peripheral interests and needs. Your original idea might be punk music but as you get into the research you find sites offering videos, clothing and poetry that you like as well. Maybe your original idea for a hub of punk music is too limited. Maybe what you have in you is a hub that's attractive to a larger audience. Maybe the theme will become more focused or completely open to a new direction, such as skateboarders who love punk music.
Until you start looking at these lists with an open mind, not limited by what every other site in your theme is doing or what they consider acceptable to offer from a similar hub, you don't have the edge. Hub building isn't reverse engineering a better page to rise in the ranks.
Next month I'll answer any questions that might come in and then carry through with this discussion tying in this initial research with the eventual structure. If anyone has an idea of a specific theme, niche or industry you'd like to explore as an example then let me know. Happy hubbing!
Debra Paynter of www.promotion-strategies.com is now blogging daily. Contact Debra for an affordable Foundation Plan to structure your online promotional strategies. She is accepting new projects from small websites to
Subject: Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 10, July 25, 2003
Date: Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2003 9:54 PM 
editor@portalpartnerpress.com
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=============Volume 5 Issue 10 July 25, 2003==============
Portal Partner Press: Volume 5 Issue 10, July 25, 2003
ISSN 1545-3499
In this Issue:
Editor's Notes (Lynne Scott)
Announcements 
Don't Get Me Started! (Jane Ellen Carr) 
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This week I've been thinking about linking strategies, and reading a few threads in various webmaster forums around the internet. I happened to come across one at Webmaster World that made my blood boil. The thread is titled "Pricing Text Ads for PR Purposes". http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/15476.htm
It seems that the owner of a very highly ranked website has been approached by a potential advertiser with a product relevant to the highly ranked site. The advertiser wants to purchase text advertising on multiple pages of the site. So far, so good. Now, if I received such an approach, I would set about determining the total value of those ads, based on my current rate card, and send a quotation off to the advertiser. The advertiser would agree with my quotation, disagree and end discussion, or try to negotiate a better price. Unfortunately, this is not what happened.
The site owner, unsure of how to price these text ads, asked an associate for some direction. The associate pointed out that the high PageRank of the owner's site meant that text advertisements would be worth substantially more than standard advertising rates, because PR would be passed to the advertiser, thus improving his search rankings and yielding far more traffic than the ads alone. NB: up to this point, neither the advertiser nor the site owner had mentioned PageRank as a factor in determining price. The advertiser might have been considering it, but we have no way of knowing that.
The associate made a post at WMW asking for some direction. In general, the advice he got was sound: price according to what the market will bear. What made me angry, though, was the suggestion that Google might penalize both sites for the buying and selling of PR, and that the links had better use some form of redirection so that Google could not follow them.
Think about it. Why should a search engine even enter into the discussion when neither the advertiser nor the site owner had ever expressed any concern over search rankings? Why should any webmaster have to worry about how a search engine might react to his having sold some of his ad inventory? Why should a webmaster have to think about hiding / cloaking / redirecting his advertisers' links? Am I the only one who thinks this is totally absurd? 
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Talk Back:
http://www.searchking.com/skboards/ikonboard.cgi?s=8fda23fbdecab2a9d635e185e503099f;act=ST;f=50;t=26;st=0;&#entry3
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal http://www.graphic-design-portal.com , Eye on Winnipeg http://www.eyeonwinnipeg.com , and KidsEdLinks.com http://www.kidsedlinks.com as well as serving as editor for the PPP. 
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Announcements Portal Plus owners will be happy to learn that SearchKing is now offering Pluses on top level domains. You can now have your portal plus at yourportal.com, instead of yourportal.searchking.com. Present portal plus owners can upgrade to a top level domain free. You will need to register a domain name. Details at http://www.searchking.com/portals/portal_plus.html
Talk Back:
http://www.searchking.com/skboards/ikonboard.cgi?s=8fda23fbdecab2a9d635e185e503099f;act=ST;f=1;t=99;st=0;&#entry3 
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Don't Get Me Started!
Jane Ellen Carr
Ok, I've had it! How many *experts* does it take to make enough recommendations to make you cut your nose off to spite your face? Let's talk about linking strategies. Years ago when the 'Net was young we all learned the value of adding links to our sites. Site visitors love them - that's what made the 'Net so interesting, go to one site, find something interesting, follow the links around and surf to your heart's content.
Then along came the big search engines that started adding value to your sites if they had lots of links out to other sites, making your site more valuable (ranking higher) simply because it was in fact more interesting to the user. Remember the killer link list pages in the old days? Those sites that gained huge recognition and traffic simply because they were an invaluable reference tool to find other sites on any given topic.
Now here we are 10 years later, with the likes of Google dominating the search engine traffic, and we are being told by all the experts to throw out all that old mentality (links are good) and devise a new strategy - only non-reciprocated links that you don't actively seek out are good. Just a few passive links (preferably from bloggers, of course), and a few links from a selected list of about 5 or 6 well-known directories are what you want, and heaven help you if you accidentally link to someone else who accidentally linked to someone else who accidentally did something that Google didn't like - but you don't know for sure who did something wrong, hence, be careful and don't link to too many outside sources (furthermore, this can harm you as it might dilute your own PR) and just to be on the safe side go through your linked sites with an axe and chop out anybody who has a PR0 showing on the Google toolbar, as you can't take any chances that they might just be a low rankin!
g site, or a new site, or a slow to rank site, but heaven forbid, you might get entangled up in a *bad neighborhood*, which nobody knows for sure exactly what that is, but its somebody who did something wrong that Google didn't like.
This is poppycock! The height of absurdity! Links are what bring you traffic for goodness sakes. Furthermore, links from other related sites bring you targeted traffic. Who in their right mind would want to trade highly targeted, interested traffic for the holy grail of moving up a notch or two in the Google result stack for some highly competitive keyword - big deal, now you come in position 42 instead of position 267? Lets face it not everybody is going to get in the coveted top 10 positions - there are thousands of good sites out there who will not rank well for their keywords, ever.
Now, I'm not suggesting that we all become link farms - we all know what one of those looks like, feels like, and does at a glance (despite the fact that Google can't seem to differentiate between a link farm and a valuable list of related links). I am suggesting that we use some common sense about all of this, and go back to freely linking, giving our recommendations of other good, related sites to visit, and not being afraid to give out a reciprocating link, regardless of the supposed *pitfalls and penalties* being imposed by the mighty Google.
See this thread for just one example of what I'm talking about (I see this same advice being given out all over the SE forums, time and time again):
http://www.cre8asiteforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=2210 And the site in question in that particular thread: http://www.littlefingerslittletoes.net/links_page.html which is a very nice site, btw, one who has taken a LOT of time and trouble to assemble two very long pages of links to other interesting sites.
Talk Back:
http://www.searchking.com/skboards/ikonboard.cgi?s=8fda23fbdecab2a9d635e185e503099f;act=ST;f=34;t=15;st=0;&#entry8
Jane Ellen Carr is the administrator of the SearchKing Forums. She runs Our World of Dolls http://www.our-world-of-dolls.com and Vortal Experts http://www.vortalexperts.com

Sunday, June 1, 2003

PORTAL PARTNER PRESS June 2003


====== June 03, 2003 =========
Subject: PR AD Network Press 6-3-03

Date: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 3:40 PM 

From: bobking bobking@searchking.com
The NETWORK NEWS
Published by the PR Ad Network
This newsletter is published for the sole purpose of educating, entertaining and exchanging information with those who believe webmasters have as much right to legally profit from their own content as those who use that content without benefit of contract or compensation. It is sent only to those who are either advertisers, inventory partners or like-minded interested parties of the PR Ad Network and those people are known only to the publisher and staff of this newsletter and will not be disclosed to any third party for any reason. We are not anti anything. We are simply very pro ecommerce. 
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• Date 06-03-03
• IN THIS ISSUE
• What's All the Uproar About?
• A New Service Launched

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WHAT'S ALL THE UPROAR ABOUT
? For those of you who follow Google's updates or the Webmaster World Forums, you are well aware that this last update is very different from updates in the past. Most of the data being displayed, including backlinks, is from back in February. What a commotion this has caused! Some of the longest threads in the history of WMW have been born in the name of the "dominic update". Everything from, "this is the beginning of the end for Google", to the old tried and true, "let's all just be patient and it will be all right", posts.
As I've advised several times in the past, when evaluating information in those forums, remember to consider the source. As usual, both extremes are VERY likely wrong!
It is true that they are using more data centers than before. It is also true that the main database is displaying content that is as old as the Feb. update. Most importantly to you, it is also true that many backlinks aren't showing up as we would expect. So what does all this mean? It simply means that link popularity, page rank and anchor text is more important than ever.
Anyone notice the discussion about the "god" sites? There is not much point in putting a link to the Google search for God as they are known for changing things quickly when it is brought to the attention of the media. Furthermore, it is well-known that Goolge does manipulate the results whenever they like for any reason they like, but as of today, a search on G for the word God, brings back this page, http://www.phpnuke.org
This site has no mention of the word God anywhere! Not in the title. Not in the link titles. Nowhere. Nowhere except in the anchor text of incoming links and the html link titles of incoming links. With Google, as always, page rank is the key.
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That is not to say that you can forget about all the other typical aspects of good SEO and good site design. The point is simply that page rank and having the right link from the right site with the right anchor text is the single most important factor to placing well under competitive keywords. Watch your P's and Q's but more importantly, watch your incoming links and your anchor text. As for my personal take on this latest Google update is that it actually has very little to do with SEO's as much as they would like to think that it does. It has more to do with the fact that Google is a business and their business is indexing as much of the web as possible. Contrary to popular opinion, I believe they see their core business as being NOT advertising, rather the collection and organization of the content on the web. The more content they can gather and organize, the more valuable they see their business as being.
The single biggest part of the web Google, (and every other search service for that matter), is missing is dynamic content. Dynamic content has always been the "nut to crack" so to speak. If you consider all the shtml, .asp, .php pages, all the flash pages and all the other dynamically generated stuff on the web, it leaves a big hole in anyone's 3 billion document database. My personal opinion is that all they are doing is trying and testing ways to gather and retrieve dynamic content and that it actually has nothing to do with Adwords or link popularity except of course in how to handle one page with thousands of versions of the one page being generated daily. Is that one link or thousands?
This too shall pass.
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Subject: Portal Partner Press Volume 5, Issue 7, June 20, 2003 
Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2003 10:19 AM 
From: "Portal Partner Press" editor@portalpartnerpress.com
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In this Issue:
Editor's Notes (Lynne Scott)
Ask Paynt (Debra Paynter)
Some of you will have received this issue twice. I apologize for that. Unfortunately, I discovered a URL error part way through the send, and had to correct it before I could restart. I'll try to make certain that it doesn't happen too often ;-)
Those of you who are keeping track will have noticed that it's been several weeks since the last PPP went out. The fact that this one is making out, more or less as it should have gone out 3 weeks ago, is due to a very good technician who managed to retrieve the vast majority of the data hiding on a burnt out hard drive. It took him the better part of 2 weeks to do it, but do it he did, thank goodness. That will teach me to go more than a week without backing up to a CD! Any of you who are wondering whether or not that CD burner would be a good investment can rest assured it will be. A recent backup would have had me back up and running within 2 days. Waiting 2 weeks between backups cost me 2 weeks of downtime and several days of reorganizing data. No contest there!
This issue marks several milestones for the PPP:
For the first time we are sending out both a text and an html version. I'm counting on those of you receiving the html version to send in some feedback on what you like or don't like about it! Please post your comments in the forums at http://www.searchking.com/skboards/ikonboard.cgi or send them to me at editor@portalpartnerpress.com
The PPP website (http://www.portalpartnerpress.com ) is also open, and the archives will be indexed over the next few weeks. This year's issues will be the first indexed, with previous years following close behind.
Chat is back! Bob will be hosting an hour or so of chat Wednesday mornings at 10 am, central time. See you there. http://www.searchking.com/chat/okchat/client/index.html
I saved the best for last. This week we welcome Debra Paynter of Promotional-Strategies.com ( http://www.promotion-strategies.com ) as a regular contributor to the PPP. Her bi-line will appear in the first issue of each month. Debra is well known as an authority on a number of issues related to niche or hub site building, and we look forward to her contributions. This week Debra answers the questions you sent in following our 2 part interview with her. Welcome aboard Debra!
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal ( http://www.graphic-design-portal.com ), Eye on Winnipeg, and KidsEdLinks.com. as well as serving as editor for the PPP.
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Ask Paynt
Debra Paynter
I want to start with two questions Lynne passed to me that came in from the interview. The first is from Brad,
"What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of redirected listings vs. direct URLs in regards to a SEO standpoint? And which do you think is better?"
Well Brad, there's a purpose for almost every tool, if we look at it that way there may be instances where a redirected URL is important to an overall strategy. I would rather turn the tables and ask why you want to use a redirected link? The most important reason for me to not suggest redirected links is in respect to the sites I am linking to. They deserve a straight static link, unless I've agreed to a redirected link for the purpose of an affiliate program, or at the request of a link partner. There are tracking reasons for redirects and alternative solutions that make a static link possible.
I suggest looking for alternative solutions to the use of redirects. Ask yourself what is the purpose of the portal in the first place and then consider the needs of the sites listed and if how they want their links presented is important to your overall strategy.
For the most part Brad, in my experience even the search engines like it simple. I'm all for keep it simple SEO. The pure nature of a portal puts it leagues ahead of a standard site for built in optimization benefits.
Diane asked, "Is there a guideline for creating a portal?"
Very good question, Diane, and the simple answer is yes there is a guideline. The more difficult answer, though, is you are the architect. Development experts know you need a plan to start with and that will act as your guide. The first phase is in the form of research and analysis into your industry and niche. Looking for what are both an industry standard and then the holes in existing information will give you an edge, ultimately, for the traffic, if you are smart in building out the content of your site. Mix that with the passion that drives the topic and you'll find your key to success.
If I were take on a new hub project, I would first sit down and figure out what the ultimate goal is and break that into all the supporting goals. I would list what content, tools, resources I had to offer through the portal. My focus would be on my strengths, but I would also look for the holes in the industry and do what I could to fill them. My next list includes the support features, tools and services I need to contract out to build my hub. This may include software, design and programming, even copywriting.
One of the most important items to consider is the structure. Along with that are the policies including about the linking/submission policy, privacy, copyright and communication. I have to consider the financial aspects, how the site will pay for itself. Will I sell advertising, PPC or enhanced listings? Equal to this are how the responsibilities will be divided. There are editing, communications, advertising, content development and link checking tasks that require ongoing attention. Add a forum or chat feature and the responsibilities multiply quickly.
I am happy to discuss in more detail any of these specific aspects of portal building. I think my greatest contribution though is help in the development/planning aspects so I'll tend to leave the technical aspects to those more qualified. Perhaps we can spend time on developing a working guideline for creating a portal.

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

PORTAL PARTNER PRESS April 2003


========April 03, 2003===================
Subject: PR AD Network Newsletter 4-3-03

Date: Thursday, April 03, 2003 11:48 AM

From: bobking bobking@searchking.com



THE PR AD NETWORK PRESS
This newsletter is published for the sole purpose of educating, entertaining and exchanging information with those who believe webmasters have as much right to legally profit from their own content as those who use that content without benefit of contract or compensation. It is sent only to those who are either advertisers, inventory partners or like-minded interested parties of the PR Ad Network and those people are known only to the publisher and staff of this newsletter and will not be disclosed to any third party for any reason.
We are not anti-google or anti anything. We are simply very PRO- Ecommerce.

Date 4-2-03
IN THIS ISSUE
• My take on the short term future of SEO
• Ask Bob

MY TAKE ON THE SHORT TERM FUTURE OF SEO
First, let me start by saying that what I tell you now is nothing more than my own opinion. I have no control over anything any search service, (other than SearchKing of course), may do at any time. What I tell you is visible to me today could very possibly be gone by the time you go look for yourself. What works today may stop working tomorrow. Always remember that we all have the right to choose what and whom to believe and the smart business person will develop a sense of just the right mix of reading, listening and considering the words of others, but will put their faith in experience. Their own experience! My best advice is to accept that there may be those who will gladly tell you where they think the gold lies, but it is always up to you to do the digging.
There was a thread recently a popular webmaster forum where a person known as googleguy haunts. The thread was about PR for sale. It went to 13 pages long with more and more people accepting that PR is a currency and it is was made that way by Google. Once the tone seemed to be shifting to a little of a disgruntled with Google feel, the management of that site decided it had no further use and closed it.
Like always, there is more to be learned from what is NOT being said as opposed to what is. If you notice GG's response was nothing more than a thinly veiled threat of possible impending doom, (without saying what he was specifically referring to), and a plea for help with a spam report. He is telling you one thing above all others. Google has a real problem!
PageRank is Google's crowning glory. It is the essence of their marketing hype. It is the foundation of their oft-touted algorithm. It is the backbone of everything they claim to be.
It is also their Achilles' heel. PageRank, as an algorithm, is very good, but it is not perfect. Google seems bent on not having to admit that. In many ways, they simply can not admit that.
With each new filter, with each new algorithm or policy change, they are telling everyone just how important PR is. Naturally, google feels like Page Rank belongs to them and they want to feel like they are smart enough to control it. Maybe they are smart enough to control PR, but they have created a market for a product that does not belong to them and that opens the door to free enterprise. As I've said so many times before, if there is a market for something and it is not illegal to provide a service to satisfy that market, that is free enterprise and there will be those who will attempt to legally capitalize on that market and there isn't anything Google, or anyone else, can do to stop it.
Link popularity does not belong to Google. The system for measuring that link popularity may belong to Google, (personally I believe that could be challenged as well), but you measuring the thing does not make that thing belong to you. Link popularity from your web site is yours to do with what you will. Google may be able to penalize you for doing something they don't like, but that does not alter the truth of the statement or the concept and penalizing you for doing anything legal with your own property is a mistake on their part and they will, at some point, be forced to deal with the fact and the consequences of the actions and decisions they make in an attempt to control the legal practices of others.
Obviously, I can be called a spammer and everything I have worked to build be brought into question because I had the audacity to speak those beliefs, but history is proving me right as we speak. Just because it is the internet, the laws of supply and demand are not changed, only hidden behind a veil of technology and that can only go so far.

SHAMELESS PLUG
Control your own domains! Running your own server is much cheaper and faster if you maintain more than just a few domains. More importantly, your server, your domains under your control. You decide how to set up MX records, designate sub-domains, manage re-directs and scripts. Get secure before you lose your placements or PR. Get control of your domains and your clients' domains now!
You can run your own hot rod server from just $299 per month with 10 unique IP#'s from 2 class C's. We can manage and maintain it for you for just $149
For details, call Ronnie K at 1-888-956-7672 and get secure today!


Now, more on topic, PR is more valuable than ever, but NOT just the number in the toolbar. The RIGHT PR is the key. The question has been asked over and over why a lower PR page can outrank a higher PR page in the Google search results. That answer is now easily visible to those who care to look and see.
I told you all several months ago that off site criteria was getting to be far more important than on site in regards to top search engine placement. Off site criteria, for all intents and purposes, IS the SEO of 2003 and beyond.
I'm telling you now, as I told you then, don't take my word for it. Prove it to yourself. Do a search for just about any keyword and then look through the top 10 sites for the number of times that keyword/phrase shows up on the page. Do it with all top ten sites. The smart SEO will quickly realize that the title on your page isn't nearly as important as the title on the page you want a link from.
Now, search the backlinks for the same sites and see the difference in how many references to the keyword/phrase there are on those pages and see for yourself what sites gets what site placed under what keyword. >From this day forward, SEO has much more to do with PR planning, procuring and maintenance, than all the meta tags and keyword density for on-site optimizing put together.
The next clue is checking the backlinks for how many of those links come from domains that are not affiliated. That does not mean domains that sell something as an affiliate of someone else. That means sites that have different domain names that can be easily associated with each other. As usual, when googleguy announced on WMW that PR was no longer being passed from expired domains, he was telling us a lot more than just that Google was trying to improve their search results.
He was telling us that
• , anyone who was in the business of brokering, finding or selling/leasing expired domains was having to face the possibility of extinction virtually overnight at Google's whim. Not that I'm defending the selling of expired domains. I agree that most were of low quality and the purpose of buying these domains was questionable at best. However, not all expired domain purchases were dubious and none of them were illegal. Google has shown before how easily they can accept the consequences of collateral damage.
• , They were telling us that they are now able to adjust the value of PR based on Whois records. All of us who own, or control multiple domains, now know that the PR value of crosslinking our own domains is not long for this world.
THEY WERE NOT TELLING ANYONE THAT PR IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT!! They are telling us that PR from AFFILIATED sites is not that important but that PR still is the key.
As always, you are free to believe whatever you like, but my advice is to stop hunting for PR and start hunting for "the right" PR. An on topic PR is worth more than a general topic PR. Also, you don't need hundreds or thousands of links. In fact that is a very easy way for anyone to flag your site. The quantity of links has virtually nothing to do with anything.
Need more money from your site? Like to get some paid ads on your site to help defray the expense of doing net marketing? If you have a PR 4 or higher, start looking for available ad money from people who need the link from your topic.
The days of begging people for links is fast coming to an end. PR Ad Network pretty much put the last nail in that coffin. The open marketplace of links is here and it is here to stay until such time as Google either loses dominant market share of finds something to replace PR. I believe that text links have more value than the vast majority of affiliate programs out there. Not many affiliate programs can pay you a minimum of $500 a month for 10 text ads! I predict over the next few months you are going to see everyone and their dog offering every kind of PR generation program you can imagine and the more Google tries to control it, the deeper the hole they will dig themselves into.
I find the whole thing more than a little ironic. All I ever wanted from the very beginning was a way that webmasters could expect to be compensated for their efforts if they built a quality niche directory. Google has done more to make that happen than I ever did. As I have said so many times in the past, they are creating the very beast they claim to be fighting.
Life is good!

SHAMELESS PLUG #2
Secure hosting for your promotional domains. Unique Class C IP#. We help you with your domain registration. Set up on an anonymous server. Unique DNS. Unique MX records. All the whistles and bells with 150 megs of space and 10 gigs of burstable bandwidth.
$25 a month or $199 a year
For details call Ronda at 1-888-956-7672 and get secure today!

ASK BOB
Some of you probably knew of me before the PR Ad Network through my Ask Bob columns I wrote for Terry Dean's Web Gold and The Internet Marketing Chronicles as well as few other lesser known ezines and newsletters. I wrote those columns for almost 4 years, (still do write one for Terry Dean), until I just no longer had the time to devote to it.
Basically, I was kind of a Dear Abbey of SEO. People would write in with their questions, they would be sent to me, I would answer them and those answers would get published in the next issue.
There seems to be as many questions about PR these days as there ever was about SEO in general so in spite of the fact that I don't relish the idea of giving up yet more of my time, I do think there is a need.
I can't guarantee you that I can answer every question. I can't guarantee that I will always tell you what you want to hear. Hell, I can't even guarantee you that anything I would tell you would even be right. What I will guarantee is that I will tell you the truth. At least the truth as I see it.
You can ask me anything you like by sending your questions to bobking@searchking.com and putting PR Question in the subject line. I will never disclose your identity unless you give me explicit permission to do so. I will post the question as you send it to me without any information about you personally. I will then answer your question as best I can, or ask the readership of this newsletter, in the next issue of the PR Ad Network Press.
Remember though, no matter what I say, if you act on my advice or answers and it doesn't do what you expected or even if it has some negative effects, I accept no responsibility whatsoever. BUT, if you do something on my advice or recommendation and it works, I expect to be given full and unconditional credit.
That should do it for now. Thanks for taking the time and thanks for your support.
See You at the Top Bob

SHAMELESS PLUG #3
Did you know that we build and maintain promotional domains, hosted on our servers or yours, for as little as $689 set up for up to 5 pages, including any and all secure pages or scripts, and maintain the site for as little as $249 per month. This includes a complete objective and strategy based on your own goals that YOU approve and at least two pr 5's to the site to get your toolbar glowing.
Our maintenance covers up to two hours a month for anything you need. We will build keyword targeted interior pages. We will consult with you in regards to marketing strategy. We will secure and maintain links until we reach our PR objectives. We will research your keywords and/or your competition. We will manage your PPC campaigns. Most importantly, we will monitor and review with you monthly, the logs and stats to ensure that we hit our numbers and MAKE MONEY with the site.
We have multiple hot rod servers, full time programmers on staff and 7 full time employees. We can install cgi scripts. We can locate, evaluate and install off-the-shelf software for you. We can even write custom scripts. When it comes to internet marketing and website development, we are a one-stop shopping source! Also, we pay $200 for referrals and offer a reseller plan.
Details ? You know who to call.

==========Vol. 5, Iss. 5 April 21, 2003=======================
Subject: PR AD Network Newsletter 4-21-03

Date: Monday, April 21, 2003 6:01 PM

From: bobking bobking@searchking.com



**********************************************************************
Portal Partner Press Vol. 5, Iss. 5, April 18, 2003
**********************************************************************
Inside this issue:

• Editor's Message (Lynne Scott)
• Product Review: Turbo Seek
• Interview with Debra Paynter, pt 1

**********************************************************************

Editor's Message
I hope everyone had a blessed Easter, or Pass Over, or whichever holiday you celebrated this weekend, and that nobody has over-dosed on the droppings left by that rotten Easter Bunny.
Housekeeping: There have been many requests to restart the Portal Partner Chat. A simple php chat room has been installed at http://portalpartnerpress.com/chat/phpMyChat.php3 This room will be available for scheduled chat on Thursdays, at 7 pm central time.
Thanks to Portal Partner Planet Doom for suggesting this week's product review. You can find him hanging around the Portal Network Forums, where he moderates several topics or in the forums on his sci-fi portal, Planet Doom. ( http://planetdoomportal.searchking.com )
As promised last week, today we start a series of articles and interviews on the subject of niche portals, building and running them, making money with them, using them to build a related business, and a whole slew of related topics. 
**********************************************************************
Portal Network Forums: pop in and say hello, read up on what's happening, tell us what you think, or just lurk and learn http://www.searchking.com/skboards/ikonboard.cgi 
**********************************************************************

Product Review: Turbo Seek
• FocalMedia.net
• Price: Shareware License: $169
• Minimum Requirements
• System: Unix / Linux
• Access: Telnet or SSH, CGI bin, sendmail
• Language: Perl 5.002 or better
• Optional: MySQL
• (source: http://www.focalmedia.net )
Turbo Seek appears to be a big step up from other directory programs in its price range, with features usually not found until you reach the over $500 level of software pricing. It includes banner rotation software, the ability to generate html directory pages, and a fairly complex online admin panel.
Documentation for Turbo Seek is relatively easy to follow, with full tutorials available on the FocalMedia.net website. Although Telnet or SSH access are specified in the system requirements for this program, documentation and tutorials don't mention anything where these are absolute musts. It appears that full ftp access is sufficient. If there are problems with the install, Turbo Seek includes an online troubleshooter that can help get any bugs resolved.
According to FocalMedia.net, Turbo Seek is a set of 40 complex scripts that will allow you to build a complete Yahoo-like directory / search engine. Online documentation supports this contention, and installation should be relatively straight forward for anyone comfortable with ftp and setting file permissions. For those who prefer to take over after the install is done, FocalMedia.net offers full installation for an additional fee of $25. Registration (payment for the shareware license) includes free email support, patches and upgrades for the life of the version registered, 1 hour of template customization, etc.
Details at: http://www.focalmedia.net/index_tb.html
**********************************************************************
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal ( http://www.graphic-design-portal.com ), Eye on Winnipeg, and KidsEdLinks.com. as well as serving as editor for the PPP. You can reach her at graphicdesign@opticalresolution.com
**********************************************************************
Portal Partner Ad
Webmasterbids - Online Auction for Banner Ads
http://www.webmasterbids.com
**********************************************************************

Debra Paynter on Niche Portals
**********************************************************************
This week we talk to someone very well known in webmaster circles, who has some strong opinions on the subject of niche portals, or hubs as she likes to call them. Many of you will be familiar with paynt, from the Webmaster World forums ( http://www.webmasterworld.com ), where she moderates the 'link development' and 'content and copywriting' topics. Read on for part one of an interesting interview with Debra Paynter, of Strategic Web Ventures ( http://www.strategicwebventures.com ).
PPP: You have been known to express strong opinions on the subject of niche portals. Do you believe they make a contribution to the internet? What is that contribution?
D.P.: First, it doesn't surprise me that I have a reputation for strong opinions. I've often commented at Webmasterworld on my obsession with niche portals. Generally I format them in terms of a hub but the fundamental principles I express are the basically the same. The question of whether I believe niche portals contribute, of course [they do]. There are several reasons, each a full article, so I'll attempt to summarize starting with the obvious enormity of the web. Combine that with more people, searching daily for specific information. As good as Google is for bringing up relevant results, with the growing impact of new visitors to the web looking for information, interpreting those needs takes more than what a list of even a hundred sites in a row can offer. With the vying for placement in those positions daily captured through intense strategizing, the actual searcher is often confused, and a comfortable niche portal or topical hub can be seen as a safe harbor in the storm of information.
If you give me that point then I'll suggest even a great search engine like Google respects the fact and results are littered with examples of hubs and niche portals. I believe on multiple levels [that] niche portals serve a vital purpose on the web. Of course, that's my take from the searcher and the engine perspective. What also attracts me are the promotional benefits for the marketer, the corporate benefits for the multifaceted business enterprise, not forgetting the educational opportunities for presenting focused information. Anyone entering the web today must consider the pros and cons of announcing their online presence with their own portal, if only to organize their own operations.
A niche portal can be a tool. Any organization can use it to manage their empire, from its feeble beginnings on through domination. At some point in time maybe all the ideas will be used up, but for now the way I see it I guess I don't understand controversy surrounding niche portal development. It seems to me this can be the core to build from, with even the simplest niches. There are so many untapped opportunities on the web today. Soon everyone will need a website, like we need business cards at the very least. If you are a part of a niche then it makes sense you'll be draw to that when your time comes to jump online.
One of the ultimate appeals of the web is community building. A niche portal is the perfect foundation to build a community around. Many communities start from a hobby heavy with bookmarks. A normal progression from that is to develop a small directory. Add communication to the mix and you have the start of a community. Is community building a contribution which niche portals can make to the web? I believe so.
PPP: Given the current trend to centralization of search technology and massive general databases, how do you see the future for small niche portals?
D.P: Like wants to draw together, a possible key to niche portal success. That and how you organize information. Niche portals don't succeed because of the software or the bells and whistles; often they survive in spite of it. What a massive general database can't offer is the specialization, unless they channel information, which, in a sense, creates a niche portal within a mega structure. Even with that we will always find a place for a niche within a niche.
A beautiful thing about niche portals is that you can have several within an industry, run by different businesses or hobbyists. They can dance around each other in that same industry and still find success. It takes creativity, certainly, to find your place in an industry where niche portals abound. Take the financial industry or the health/medical online industries. Probably those, more than any besides hobby sites (who have had it figured out forever), make use of the niche portal as a means within their strategy. The Real Estate industry tries but it's ugly, really pitiful and needs a good shaking clean up.
What is the future of a niche portal? I think it's like the two car garage. Everyone will have one. I see them as the standard not the future. The future is here now. This newsletter will be popular, for standard operating information about website development. There is room for discussion.
**********************************************************************
Be sure to read next week's issue for part 2 of this interview, and your opportunity to talk back to paynt.
**********************************************************************
**********************************************************************
Feedback: your comments, suggestions, beefs, bouquets, etc. are very welcome. **********************************************************************
Ask Bob: send your questions about search engine positioning, community building, etc. 
**********************************************************************

This publication is edited and distributed by Optical Resolution http://www.opticalresolution.com

=========April 21, 2003=========================
Subject: PR AD Network Newsletter 4-21-03

Date: Monday, April 21, 2003 6:01 PM

From: bobking bobking@searchking.com



**********************************************************************
Portal Partner Press Vol. 5, Iss. 5, April 18, 2003
**********************************************************************
Inside this issue:

Editor's Message (Lynne Scott)
Subject: PR AD Network Newsletter 4-21-03
Date: Monday, April 21, 2003 6:01 PM
From: bobking bobking@searchking.com



**********************************************************************
Portal Partner Press Vol. 5, Iss. 5, April 18, 2003
**********************************************************************
Inside this issue:

• Editor's Message (Lynne Scott)
• Product Review: Turbo Seek
• Interview with Debra Paynter, pt 1

**********************************************************************

Editor's Message
I hope everyone had a blessed Easter, or Pass Over, or whichever holiday you celebrated this weekend, and that nobody has over-dosed on the droppings left by that rotten Easter Bunny.
Housekeeping: There have been many requests to restart the Portal Partner Chat. A simple php chat room has been installed at http://portalpartnerpress.com/chat/phpMyChat.php3 This room will be available for scheduled chat on Thursdays, at 7 pm central time.
Thanks to Portal Partner Planet Doom for suggesting this week's product review. You can find him hanging around the Portal Network Forums, where he moderates several topics or in the forums on his sci-fi portal, Planet Doom. ( http://planetdoomportal.searchking.com )
As promised last week, today we start a series of articles and interviews on the subject of niche portals, building and running them, making money with them, using them to build a related business, and a whole slew of related topics. 
**********************************************************************
Portal Network Forums: pop in and say hello, read up on what's happening, tell us what you think, or just lurk and learn 
**********************************************************************

Product Review: Turbo Seek
• FocalMedia.net
• Price: Shareware License: $169
• Minimum Requirements
• System: Unix / Linux
• Access: Telnet or SSH, CGI bin, sendmail
• Language: Perl 5.002 or better
• Optional: MySQL
• (source: http://www.focalmedia.net )
Turbo Seek appears to be a big step up from other directory programs in its price range, with features usually not found until you reach the over $500 level of software pricing. It includes banner rotation software, the ability to generate html directory pages, and a fairly complex online admin panel.
Documentation for Turbo Seek is relatively easy to follow, with full tutorials available on the FocalMedia.net website. Although Telnet or SSH access are specified in the system requirements for this program, documentation and tutorials don't mention anything where these are absolute musts. It appears that full ftp access is sufficient. If there are problems with the install, Turbo Seek includes an online troubleshooter that can help get any bugs resolved.
According to FocalMedia.net, Turbo Seek is a set of 40 complex scripts that will allow you to build a complete Yahoo-like directory / search engine. Online documentation supports this contention, and installation should be relatively straight forward for anyone comfortable with ftp and setting file permissions. For those who prefer to take over after the install is done, FocalMedia.net offers full installation for an additional fee of $25. Registration (payment for the shareware license) includes free email support, patches and upgrades for the life of the version registered, 1 hour of template customization, etc.
Details at: http://www.focalmedia.net/index_tb.html
**********************************************************************
Lynne Scott is a graphic designer and partner in Optical Resolution, a Winnipeg, MB design house. She runs the Graphic Design Portal ( http://www.graphic-design-portal.com ), Eye on Winnipeg, and KidsEdLinks.com. as well as serving as editor for the PPP. You can reach her at graphicdesign@opticalresolution.com
**********************************************************************
Portal Partner Ad
Webmasterbids - Online Auction for Banner Ads
http://www.webmasterbids.com
**********************************************************************

Debra Paynter on Niche Portals
**********************************************************************
This week we talk to someone very well known in webmaster circles, who has some strong opinions on the subject of niche portals, or hubs as she likes to call them. Many of you will be familiar with paynt, from the Webmaster World forums ( http://www.webmasterworld.com ), where she moderates the 'link development' and 'content and copywriting' topics. Read on for part one of an interesting interview with Debra Paynter, of Strategic Web Ventures ( http://www.strategicwebventures.com ).
PPP: You have been known to express strong opinions on the subject of niche portals. Do you believe they make a contribution to the internet? What is that contribution?
D.P.: First, it doesn't surprise me that I have a reputation for strong opinions. I've often commented at Webmasterworld on my obsession with niche portals. Generally I format them in terms of a hub but the fundamental principles I express are the basically the same. The question of whether I believe niche portals contribute, of course [they do]. There are several reasons, each a full article, so I'll attempt to summarize starting with the obvious enormity of the web. Combine that with more people, searching daily for specific information. As good as Google is for bringing up relevant results, with the growing impact of new visitors to the web looking for information, interpreting those needs takes more than what a list of even a hundred sites in a row can offer. With the vying for placement in those positions daily captured through intense strategizing, the actual searcher is often confused, and a comfortable niche portal or topical hub can be seen as a safe harbor in the storm of information.
If you give me that point then I'll suggest even a great search engine like Google respects the fact and results are littered with examples of hubs and niche portals. I believe on multiple levels [that] niche portals serve a vital purpose on the web. Of course, that's my take from the searcher and the engine perspective. What also attracts me are the promotional benefits for the marketer, the corporate benefits for the multifaceted business enterprise, not forgetting the educational opportunities for presenting focused information. Anyone entering the web today must consider the pros and cons of announcing their online presence with their own portal, if only to organize their own operations.
A niche portal can be a tool. Any organization can use it to manage their empire, from its feeble beginnings on through domination. At some point in time maybe all the ideas will be used up, but for now the way I see it I guess I don't understand controversy surrounding niche portal development. It seems to me this can be the core to build from, with even the simplest niches. There are so many untapped opportunities on the web today. Soon everyone will need a website, like we need business cards at the very least. If you are a part of a niche then it makes sense you'll be draw to that when your time comes to jump online.
One of the ultimate appeals of the web is community building. A niche portal is the perfect foundation to build a community around. Many communities start from a hobby heavy with bookmarks. A normal progression from that is to develop a small directory. Add communication to the mix and you have the start of a community. Is community building a contribution which niche portals can make to the web? I believe so.
PPP: Given the current trend to centralization of search technology and massive general databases, how do you see the future for small niche portals?
D.P: Like wants to draw together, a possible key to niche portal success. That and how you organize information. Niche portals don't succeed because of the software or the bells and whistles; often they survive in spite of it. What a massive general database can't offer is the specialization, unless they channel information, which, in a sense, creates a niche portal within a mega structure. Even with that we will always find a place for a niche within a niche.
A beautiful thing about niche portals is that you can have several within an industry, run by different businesses or hobbyists. They can dance around each other in that same industry and still find success. It takes creativity, certainly, to find your place in an industry where niche portals abound. Take the financial industry or the health/medical online industries. Probably those, more than any besides hobby sites (who have had it figured out forever), make use of the niche portal as a means within their strategy. The Real Estate industry tries but it's ugly, really pitiful and needs a good shaking clean up.
What is the future of a niche portal? I think it's like the two car garage. Everyone will have one. I see them as the standard not the future. The future is here now. This newsletter will be popular, for standard operating information about website development. There is room for discussion.
**********************************************************************
Be sure to read next week's issue for part 2 of this interview, and your opportunity to talk back to paynt.
**********************************************************************

=====April 29, 2003=======
Sent: Subject: PR AD Network Press

Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 3:23 PM

From: bobking bobking@searchking.com

THE PR AD NETWORK PRESS
This newsletter is published for the sole purpose of educating, entertaining and exchanging information with those who believe webmasters have as much right to legally profit from their own content as those who use that content without benefit of contract or compensation. It is sent only to those who are either advertisers, inventory partners or like-minded interested parties of the PR Ad Network and those people are known only to the publisher and staff of this newsletter and will not be disclosed to any third party for any reason. We are not anti-google or anti anything. We are simply very pro ecommerce.
*************************************************************************
Goodbye April '03 Issue
Date 4-28-03
IN THIS ISSUE
• The Trouble with PR 9's
• Embedded Links
• Good News

*******************************************************************************************************************************

THE TROUBLE WITH PR 9'S
• There aren't enough of them. 
In our daily net excursions around the PR jungle, we are not seeing any new PR 9's being awarded. This would indicate that the ones that are there are kind of grandfathered in. Google can't just reduce the PR of these sites without having to face a possible devastating backlash due to extreme collateral damage. Try to imagine the number of sites that would be effected if just 50 PR 9's all of a sudden went to 8's. I don't recall where right now, but I do remember reading something in a newsletter about three years ago, (long before the toolbar), about every website on the planet being no more than 16 clicks away from anywhere. At first I was very skeptical until I realized it's kind of like the 6 degrees of separation thing. No matter how you look at it, we are all connected by links. You may not link to me but I bet a dollar to do-nut, that you could get to me from your site within 16 clicks or less. Probably a lot less. 
The point is that very few sites, VERY FEW, have a tremendous amount of perceived power. With so few PR 9's, identifying them, scrutinizing them and watching them closely is very easy. 
If I can't afford it or don't understand how to use it, obviously anyone that can afford it or does understand it must be a spammer and I should snitch. 
You've heard the old adage, "those that can do and those that can't teach"?. 
In the world of website promotion, a new axiom has arisen. Those that can do and those that can't run to WebMasterWorld to snitch to google guy. 
It is too easy for so called SEO's to find PR9's and if they can't afford the links or don't have the marketing skills to know what a return on investment means, then obviously, anyone who can afford it or does understand it, must be spamming. By telling google about competitors, they don't have to accept that they aren't a marketer or an SEO at all, they can keep on telling themselves they are "ethical SEO's" just trying to help google. What a joke! I have little respect for those who claim that people in the same business they are in, are not as ethical as they are and I don't care how many forums they moderate or how many "tips" newsletters they write. Anyone charging a client money for placement and snitching on someone else doing the exact same thing is a hypocrite. Anyone claiming to be promoting their own site and their idea of success is to get everyone above them busted as a spammer is an loser. Just my opinion. 
Google seems to like this type of character as they acknowledge those who make these stupid posts. Does anyone really think google has respect for these people? That does not alter the fact that they will act on some of the information passed on by these people. As I said, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to find the 9's. You don't have to know anything about the difference between java and php. You don't have to know anything about reverse engineering anything. All you have to know is how to post in a forum and you have the power to alter perception. That is validation and that makes it OK to tattle.
• Who do these PR 9's think they are? $5,000 a month for any reason, including PR, without having the targeted traffic to justify it is absurd. Who set these prices???? It isn't hard to see how this over-valued asset came to be. Everyone wants to get rich the fastest, easiest way possible. If a PR 7 is good, then an 8 is better and a 9 must be GREAT! The fact is, the fastest, easiest way to get rich is to develop an objective and a strategy, set your goal and hit your numbers. It actually has nothing to do with PR other than just a means to an end. 
When we first launched the PR Ad Network, we established a value on those links of $600 a month because we felt that was a fair price for the inventory and the advertiser alike. Quickly, greed set in and it wasn't long before a one-eyed monkey could easily spot the sites that had gone crazy. One, now famous, site with a PR9 had over 80 links at a rate of $2,000 a month on the front page alone. 
I'm the first to admit that $160,000 a month is going to tempt just about anybody short of Jesus himself, but that doesn't change the fact that over 80 unrelated links on your front page is just a little stand-outish in anybody's book. As soon as it became the hot topic among the "if you're on top of me you must be a spammer" gang, google had little choice but to do something. 
That is not to say that those 9's aren't still EXTREMELY valuable. For those of you who like wasting your days, (and nights), reverse engineering backlinks and then checking the sites to find target keywords and then checking the SERPS for placement, you will find the same as I did, there is still a lot of power in placement for those PR9's. Almost every link was an 8 just two weeks ago. Now they are 6's and a few 7's. Coincidence? 
When checking the backlinks and discounting the interior links, maybe the one 9 is what got them the PR of 6. Also, and more importantly, check the target keywords in the anchor text and the metas of the target site and then check out the placements. Right there on the first page! I'm not saying every webmaster paying for the link picked the right keywords for anchor text, but all the ones I checked were right where you'd think they would be. When you are talking about keywords like New Orleans hotel reservation, maybe 2 grand is a bargain. 
Remember kids, the harder google tries to dominate and control PR links, the more they validate the importance of PR in the SERPS ! 
Who do these PR 9's think they are? Maybe they think they are a very small group of members in one hell of an exclusive club. A club that really can change the lives of the people they choose to lend their support to. So, what kind of a price do we put on that? The price I put on it was $600 a month, but it would appear the sites that have that coveted 9 think the price should be much higher. In this game, they pretty much have the ball. 
As always you are free to make up your own minds, but my advice is to cherish that what makes you money and cast off that what does not. Just be sure which it is first.

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Our maintenance covers up to two hours a month for anything you need. We will build keyword targeted interior pages. We will consult with you in regards to marketing strategy. We will secure and maintain links until we reach our PR objectives. We will research your keywords and/or your competition. We will manage your PPC campaigns. Most importantly, we will monitor and review with you monthly, the logs and stats to ensure that we hit our numbers and MAKE MONEY with the site.
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EMBEDDED LINKS
It simply means links that are embedded within the text of a web document. Instead of just seeing a page with a list of short text links, you would see an optimized content page with links inside the text.
I personally feel that optimized PAGES with links to one or more target sites are going to accomplish two objectives. Better placement for the target sites and less likelihood of being the subject of the next ethics debate at WebmasterWorld.
As I've mentioned in past issues, we are finding more and more that the site you find in the top 10 results for a keyword search seem to have very few, if any, of what we would all consider the basic optimization techniques employed on the site. You can do a lot of searches for some of the most competitive terms and find many sites in the first 10 that don't have any reference of the keyword in the title, H tags, or even any mention of the keyword anywhere on the site !!! How can that be??? Well, the answer, (there is always an answer. We are not dealing with fairy dust or some magic potion. We are dealing with only a computer program.), lies not with the target page in the SERPs, but it lies in the anchor text and the optimization of the pages linking to that target page in the SERPs. Don't take my word for it, check for your self. I could be wrong ---------- but I'm not.
This little discovery certainly makes a guy go HMMMMMM.
Google has made it very clear that they have every intention of trying to dominate and control page rank. They have also made it clear that their concern for so-called collateral damage is not that great. They may discount the value of PR from expired domains, the may program filters to catch affiliated sites, they may even figure in percentages for too many incoming links or too few outgoing links and on and on. When it comes to hunting fleas with elephant guns, google seems to have the biggest guns of them all.
The one thing that no one, even the mightiest flea hunter of them all, can ever do is start discounting source documents within a domain. If the page is graphically, aesthetically and conceptually integrated into the look, feel and theme of a site, this, above all other strategies would be the most effective online advertising vehicle making the least amount of noise. The only downside is the length of time to get indexed may be longer depending on exactly when the index updating began. It would require two dances to get the target site updated and placed. This means it could take two or three months to start producing the desired results. In my opinion, a small price to pay if I'm right.
I'm looking for a few advertisers and a few inventory partners to participate in this experiment. If you have a gambling nature and feel I have proven to you over these past months that odds are I do know what I'm talking about, then I will run these ads for half price for up to 90 days. If you feel the results are not producing EXACTLY what you expected within the 90 days you may cancel and not have lost more than the half price for the PR you chose. If you realize it really is doing what we think it will do, I'll only charge full price from then on.
As for the optimizing part. You may or may not know this, but I happen to be one of the best at the old search engine game. If you are not confident of your own SEO skills, I'll have my people do it for you for $250 a page of up to 200 words including up to two graphics. If you make your own page, it has to have no more than two graphics and no more than 300 words and no less than 150. It has to load fast and still be subject to all the other rules of the PR Ad Network.
Whether you make the page or have us do it, we will then send the page and one interior link with the anchor text in it to go on the inventory's main page as well as the url for the inventory link. So, ----- anybody game?
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GOOD NEWS!
The good news is that as much as I hate seeing so-called SEO's run and discuss every thing they don't understand or can't afford with google guy, it still amounts to little more than word of mouth advertising for the network. We just keep growing.
This past three weeks, we have picked up three great new PR 8's and over 40 7's covering a wide variety of themes including the pharmaceuticals. These are some very nice sites we are very happy to have as inventory partners.
We have not picked up any new 9's and don't count on that changing. We can still get you 9's just not for the $600 a month we started out getting them for. I honestly feel a site would place better with less risk by spending the money on a mixture of lower PR's with the proper anchor text.
Oh yeah, one other thing in closing.
You know how we all keep hearing about on theme links? Well we agree with the concept, it is just common sense not to put monoxidil ads on kids clothing sites, BUT, we see NO evidence of that making any difference at all to google at this time. It looks to me, (just like it has from the beginning), a link is a link and the more you have coming into your site the better. The higher PR of the incoming link, the better. Get every link you can get anyway you can get it and if it you don't have to give a link back that's even better!
See You at the Top!
Bob 
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The good news is that as much as I hate seeing so-called SEO's run and discuss every thing they don't understand or can't afford with google guy, it still amounts to little more than word of mouth advertising for the network. We just keep growing.
This past three weeks, we have picked up three great new PR 8's and over 40 7's covering a wide variety of themes including the pharmaceuticals. These are some very nice sites we are very happy to have as inventory partners.
We have not picked up any new 9's and don't count on that changing. We can still get you 9's just not for the $600 a month we started out getting them for. I honestly feel a site would place better with less risk by spending the money on a mixture of lower PR's with the proper anchor text.
Oh yeah, one other thing in closing.
You know how we all keep hearing about on theme links? Well we agree with the concept, it is just common sense not to put monoxidil ads on kids clothing sites, BUT, we see NO evidence of that making any difference at all to google at this time. It looks to me, (just like it has from the beginning), a link is a link and the more you have coming into your site the better. The higher PR of the incoming link, the better. Get every link you can get anyway you can get it and if it you don't have to give a link back that's even better!
See You at the Top!
Bob 
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Saturday, March 1, 2003

PORTAL PARTNER PRESS March 2003



=========March 18, 2003=========
Subject: PR AD Network Newsletter 3-18-03

Date: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 9:11 AM

From: bobking bobking@searchking.com

THE PR AD NETWORK PRESS
• IN THIS ISSUE
• The New Ad Format
• New Google Algo
• Rotating Class C's IP#

THE NEW AD FORMAT
Just in case you haven't noticed, just about everybody that has a PR of 5 or up is selling text links. We think that is great! Google probably does not.
It doesn't take a high school grad to figure out that Google would probably like to see themselves in total control of PR and not appreciate individual webmasters wanting to profit from their own sites. While we have no concrete evidence that Google is penalizing any specific site for any specific links, it just stands to reason that they certainly may.
We have seen an incredible number of websites now running 5 word text links at the bottom of their high PR pages. If someone were trying to identify a site that was likely offering text links, it wouldn't be too hard. Add to that fact the number of so-called SEO's running to webmaster world and posting about sites selling PR, there is reason for concern.
In our efforts to continue providing state of the art service and security for our clients and our inventory partners, we are changing the look of text links on the web. We don't want our links looking just a list of links at the bottom of a page. We want our links to look professional, We want our links to provide quality and revenue for our partners and we want our links to pass Page Rank on to the target site.
So, we have begun sending links to our inventory partners that are a combination of a graphic and text while still providing a straight html link. These "text banners" look very similar to links you would find on the main pages of major search engines. They consist of an image of approx 70x70 that provides a high quality, logo type graphic and the anchor text as a link.
No big changes in how they work. Big changes in how they look and how they are perceived by the surfing public and your competitors.
Here's an example:
If you have a specific graphic that loads fast and we can use, let us know in your comments section of the next order and we'll get in touch. If not, we will design one that will be accepted by the inventory partner for you at no extra charge. We can also create a custom grahic for you but we do charge $125 for those. 
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NEW GOOGLE ALGO
Almost every update, we get people calling us and claiming that Google is using a new algorithm. This month, they may have a point. Actually, it is not a new algo, it is just more filters.
In the 6+ years I have spent working with search engines, very seldom have I seen anything developed that was intended to get more good stuff in, in spite of the press release hype the search engines released. Almost without fail, their new feature is nothing more than yet another filter to keep what they consider bad stuff out rather than get good stuff in. You may think it sounds like the same thing, but it is two entirely different concepts and it determines which direction to look when faced with the ,"why did my site drop" question.
The PR Ad Network does not get involved with search engine placement. If you need help with that you need a different service and we recommend http://www.magic-city.com" who will build you a site from the ground up with the focus on placement for only $689. All the Ad Network does is find you sites that will run your text ad.
With that being said, we do have more occasion to notice specific changes than most people and there is one we've noticed.
Did anyone see the announcement by GoogleGuy about Google NOT passing PR from expired and re-purchased domains? Well, what they are telling us is that they are now using Internic to aggressively apply certain filter, penalties or algos if you please, to urls BEFORE they are assigned Page Rank.
There has also been a lot of discussion this past month about the "new" patent they have applied for commonly referred to as linking interconnectivity. According to the online application, it would appear that it is saying page rank is re-assigned on the fly to a listing AFTER a search query has been entered. This would indicate that in order to place on the first page of results, you would need to get a high PR link from a direct competitor that Google considers an authority or a hub.
HMMMM, getting a high PR link from a direct competitor. I don't think so.
In that application, they also mention how they will filter, (like I said earlier, when I noticed Googleguy mention it, it was referred to as a feature), for affiliated sites. What could that mean? It means sites that are affiliated in such a way as to strengthen, or as Google calls it, artificially inflate their own page rank.
So, they are telling us they are working directly with Internic to filter PR from expired domains and they are telling us they are checking for affiliated sites.
When checking for your backlinks and you find absent that one you expected to see, don't jump to conclusions and automatically assume it's the incoming link. What we do is check to see if other links on the page are showing up as backlinks. If one backlink shows up for even one site, then it is not the link that it is coming FROM that has the problem. It is the site that the link is going TO.
If all the links from an inventory page don't show up as a backlink for any link from that page, then it is not your site, it is theirs and you need to notify us and have us remove all our clients from that site.
So let's assume you find other links that have backlinks from that site but not yours. Why? What we have found so far is that either the site with the link coming in has a re-direct or it was very easy for us to find the affiliation with other domains owned or at least registered by the same source.
That means you need to take care of that trail and get the PageRank back!

ROTATING CLASS C IP# HOSTING
I would imagine most of you are familiar with the fact that I am involved in a lawsuit with Google. The reason for the lawsuit and for my insight into this new filter system is related. I did not sue them because they PR0'd the pradnetwork.com site. I sued them because they penalized every site I owned and every client's site and every customer's site they could find. The key phrase here being THEY COULD FIND!
I've known about the affiliation thing since October, when Google went to great pains to literally put me out of business on the web. Yet, here I am. I'm here because I was lucky enough to see it coming and well over a year ago I started acquiring servers from different sources. I started insisting on as many IP# as I could afford from as many class C's as I could get.
When Google wiped out most of our promotional clients overnight, I was able to have them restored within 60 days because I know how to protect my clients and I have the resources to do it.
If you find that you have a problem with getting your backlinks showing up, check to see if you can find a connection within Internic. Registrations names the same? Addresses, Emails, Names, Phone numbers?
The bigees. IP#'s and domain name servers.
If you have multiple sites, even on unique IP's, but they are on the same class c and they represent a significant portion of the total IP's from that class c, or if they all have the same DNS, it is just a matter of time before you are busted.
If you find a site that is not passing PR to you or anyone else linked from that page, let us know so we can move your link. If you find a site that is passing PR to others but not to you, maybe you should give me a call. I have begun offering anonymous, secure hosting from random servers with random class C's. I can offer just the hosting and even random servers for those of you who have a lot of sites that need protecting. These aren't low end servers either. These are PIII's and IV's with 1.3 gig processors and up to a gig of memory starting at about $399 a month depending on the software packages.
Not many people can offer this type of service. Not many people even understand what it means. If you know what it means and you see a problem, you are welcome to give us a call. Whether you decide to call us or not, you need to take some action about this problem BEFORE you get hit. If you do it before you get popped, you can save the PR you already have.
See you at the top
Bob