My first social media induced server crash

I finally get it. I’ve seen the light and I’ve become a born-again social media whore!

I was starting to despair that I’d never see much benefit from social media, despite my consistent participation within the Sphinn community and my few attempts at Digg and But this morning changed all that. You see, this morning, somebody found my blog post Dumbass of the Week: the Call Center Cow and decided to Stumble It.

I’m not sure what they call it on StumbleUpon when a post goes hot or becomes popular, but it must have made front page or something because this blog went from 480 visitors yesterday to 25,321 today - I kid you not! That’s three times my traffic for the whole of December in a SINGLE DAY. 24,480 of those visits were from StumbleUpon. Even my feed subscriber list increased by 120 - the most new subscribers I’ve ever had in a single day.

The resulting traffic exceeded my server’s bandwidth limit and shut down my site, but luckily I noticed within a few minutes and managed to double my bandwidth allowance to cope with the gridlock. I still don’t know who stumbled my post but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! My faith in social media has been restored and I’ve been given fresh incentive for blogging.

Praise the lord blog and pass the keyboard!

Industry Flashback: Overture Gets Greedy

flashbackIt’s a New Year so I’m rolling out a new blog feature: Search Industry Flashbacks.

Some of you new to this blog may not know this, but I actually started blogging about the search industry in July 2002. I was wading through the old blog archives today and having a good old chuckle at the stories that made search headlines back then when it struck me. Those old posts would make blogging gold today! Plus they’ll save me from thinking up new ones.

So without further ado, I give you the first Industry Flashback:

Date: 21 August 2002

Original Post: Overture Gets Greedy

Summary: It’s August 2002 and Overture (later to be bought by Yahoo! and re-branded as Yahoo! Search Marketing) is the main pay per click engine with Google AdWords still playing catch up at this point. As an Overture advertiser, I’m fired up about a new feature they’ve rolled out. I must have been pretty upset as I’ve even compared them to LookSmart:


An email from Overture to advertisers has sent some shock waves around the SEO community today. Not content to disappoint us with their sneaky Auto-Bidding tool, now Overture calmly announce that their Match Driver tool will ensure your listings will appear for search terms you haven’t even bid on!

That’s right - your ad will appear for searches that you haven’t blatantly specified, meaning you will end up having to pay for clicks you didn’t even want!

In their email, the spin doctors from Overture worded it like this: “The new expanded matching enhancement allows you to receive traffic from more complex user search queries. This feature looks at your term, title and description to match your listings to searches where we believe the intent of the user is to find your product or service even though they have not typed in the exact keywords you’ve bid on”. Makes me wonder if they borrowed LookSmart’s PR team especially for the occasion.

Search engine forums are already abuzz with talk of the so called “enhancement” and it’s not pretty. I’ll keep you posted on developments.

Postscript: The Match Driver tool turned out to be a pre-cursor to the Broad Match or Advanced Match keyword-matching options later introduced by most pay-per-click search engines. And I still don’t like them!

Q and A: Is it true only 65 characters of a title tag will show in a browser but 200 will be indexed?

QuestionHi Kalena…

Is it true that only the first 65 characters of the title tag will be seen in a searcher’s browser even though about 200 will be indexed?


Dear Diane

Yes, around 65-70 characters (or 8 words) will be displayed and up to 300 characters will be indexed (by Google at least).
More info here:

Best Practices for Title Tags and

The Title Tag Experiment

Dumbass of the Week: The Call Center Cow

phone rage So it’s 10am at work and I am trying to wade through my mountain of tasks in the few hours I’ve got before I need to pick up my son from daycare. The phone rings. The conversation goes like this:

Me: “Hello, Kalena speaking”

Call Center Cow: “Is this Kalena?

Me: “Yes, who is this?”

Call Center Cow: “Hi
Kalena, how ARE you?”

Me: “Fine thanks, who is this?”

Call Center Cow: “Do you have a few minutes?”

Me: “Who IS this?”

Call Center Cow: “My name is
[whatever - didn’t catch it and it was probably made up anyway]. I’m calling from New York Commodities”

Me: [I hang up the phone]

30 second pause and then the phone rings again

Me: “Hello, Kalena speaking”

Call Center Cow: “Kalena, why did you just hang up on me?”

Me: “Didn’t you say you were calling from New York Commodities?”

Call Center Cow: “Yes, but I just wanted…”

Me: “Are you trying to sell me stocks?”

Call Center Cow: “No, actually options are different to stocks”

By now, I’ve got a serious case of phone rage.

Me: “Just a minute…”

At this point, I place the receiver on top of my PC speaker and turn the volume waaay up. It happens to be playing the world’s most annoying song, The Reflex by Duran Duran. (I knew those 80’s CDs would come in handy some day).

When I checked 5 minutes later, Call Center Cow had hung up. What a shame.