Category: Blog

Googles New Pidgeon Update Could Push Franchisees Over the Edge

Google recently did another update to their algorithm and this one was called “Google Pigeon”.
This most recent update could greatly impact the rankings of Franchisors franchisee listings in Google search results and therefore sales revenue due to the fact that Google will be showing fewer “pack results”.
In a recent article done by Mod Girl Marketing called “top 8 ways googles pigeon algorithm changed local seo”. The very first of the 8 reasons identified discussed how franchisee listing would be negatively impacted.
A likely reasons for Google making this change is that Google wants to connect with the smaller more independent operators and not alienate them as they represent a large part of the bread and butter of Google. There is after all a lot of independent operators out there that Google can earn revenue from. According to Googles boffins that number is more valuable than the franchisees it is going to now down grade the rankings of.
While I understand diversity, variety and fairness, I am not sure that this decision is based purely on that. It will be interesting to see which franchisee listings are lowered and why? Just being a part of a “pack” shouldn’t be a negative. At the same time being a part of a pack shouldn’t be a boost.
Franchising is an integrel part of our financial system. Franchising represents the small to medium business owner. Franchising not only contributes billions to our markets it also employs millions around the world. Google needs to be careful how they implement this change and how they evaluate one business vs the next. With Google being as influential to a franchisees survival as it is, it could be enough to convince some franchisees to leave franchising and go independent, something that every franchisor should be very concerned about.
Variety and diversity is what Google is always after to give the searcher more options, however the result of this will be that it will make it harder for a franchisor to show all their store listings one after another. In other words some franchisee listings won’t show up on the first page of Google any more.
This has the potential to be very costly to sales for not only franchisees and franchisors but any multi store company. The scary thing is that most companies are blissfully unaware of the heavy impact it’s going to have digital sales for their organisation. Why? Well Google local listings are cheap and an easy way for small businesses to rank very high for potential customers who are searching for a local business. Examples of this are “Coffee shop Darling Harbour”, “lawn mowing Chatswood”, “Pool cleaner Geelong” or “key cutter Glenelg”. When 60% of people click on the first 3 business websites listed in a Google search result, small businesses have become heavily reliant upon this traffic for generating a lot of their income. See below a typical search result.

Who is most at risk
Any franchisees within shopping centres with low advertising and marketing budgets who heavily rely on foot traffic for income. These businesses generally look to low cost online methods like Google local business listings and Google maps to help channel online traffic to their shops. As a customer I myself have often pulled out my phone to find the nearest local coffee or key cutting shop to service my needs. Not coming up on that list of choices could be catastrophic for a franchisee that has to shell out huge rental fees each month.
In a time when business attitudes are already flat and franchisees are often struggling to make ends meet, a change like this could be the tipping point that turns a profitable business into one that isn’t.
However it’s not all doom and gloom for franchisee’s as there are many advertising and marketing work arounds ranging from optimisation strategies to Google advertising and social media that can help to counter act this new algorithm. However many businesses still don’t employ the services of a dedicated Internet strategy company to help develop these strategies yet. The role of an Internet strategy company is to do more than just provide the required services but also to allow a business to tap into the huge resource of knowledge of a company that works in this space every day. This kind of relationship will help to develop better strategies to allow the business to continually bend and flex with the changing digital environment.
Below is a typical local search and we have highlighted the most important locations where a franchisee needs to make sure they appear in search results. If you’re not here then you’re potentially missing out on a lot of business. Click on the image to enlarge.


Below is more detail from the original article;
A Google “7 Pack” refers to the highlighted Local listings (business name, address, phone number, website) displayed on a map within the first page of a Google search query — say, for something like “restaurants Boston Massachusetts.” In the past, small, independent mom-and-pop businesses had a hard time competing with multi-location franchises. These little one-off businesses seemed to be outgunned and never appeared among the first results. Suddenly, you’ll notice there are only two or three “pack” results listed — perhaps not the biggest chains anymore — and so many websites saw their number of queries drop by more than 23%. Other common searches affected included: jobs, cars for sale, cruises, apartments, train tickets, and sofas.
To read the full article click on the link below

Why you must invest in SLAM Strategy SEO services Adelaide

Why you must invest in SEO services Adelaide

It is the age of digitalisation and given the busy lives everyone leads, people rely on their smartphones and laptops, now more than ever before, to meet their retail and services requirements. If you are a business owner, the question is – have you invested in SEO services Adelaide?

You may have taken the leap of advertising your business on a website. However, it will serve you no good if your customers, and the right customers, do not find your website among the millions of web pages on the Internet. Yes, it’s time you invested in SLAM Strategy’s search engine optimisation Adelaide and allowed an internet strategy company to rank your business high on the internet and boost your sales.

Why hire SLAM Strategy SEO services Adelaide?
SEO Adelaide can bring a range of expertise and knowledge to place your business ahead of the competition and increase manifold the potential customers who would visit your website. A company that understands retail online marketing can provide efficient solutions to maximise search engine optimisation Adelaide and social media Adelaide for best possible ROI. Allow your website to be enriched with targeted keywords to improve your website’s ranking on search engines and better advertising to increase online visibility.

What will SLAM Strategy do for you?

A step-by-step approach is essential in building strong professional and social networks, and the same holds true for optimising a business online. SEO services Adelaide provided by SLAM Strategy include:

Search engine optimisation – Quality keyword research forms the basis of building an SEO-friendly website in order that it resonates what your business offers to its customers and gets ranked amongst the top pages in search engine results. A team of SEO experts ensure both online visibility and increased traffic from potential customers.

Social media optimisation – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Youtube, etc. are the mediums of today that bring you closer to your target audience. SLAM Strategy’s social media Adelaide consultants develop customised social media strategies that will answer your business requirement needs, help you tap online members and expand your brand through meaningful engagement on the social platform.

Pay-per-click advertisement – Google AdWords and Yahoo! Search are the largest providers of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and it would benefit your business to tap into this form of marketing that is not only effective but also equally cost-effective. Pay for online advertisements on a normal search results page as and when users click on them. The art of effective PPC advertising lies in crafting advertisements and campaigns that echo your business requirements, a task that an Internet strategy company can handle deftly.

Online marketing – It is difficult to match the effectiveness a team of specialists dedicated to running Internet advertising and marketing campaigns can achieve. Using tools like email marketing, Facebook and Google Advertising, your business not only gains visibility but also actively reaches out to your target audience, driving out competitors and driving handsome return of investments.

Search engine optimisation Adelaide is a systematic method by which businesses, small and large, can benefit through increased traffic to their website and increased sales by attracting the right target audience. SEO Adelaide services by SLAM Strategy are an investment that leads to even bigger dividends, making it a must-have tool for all businesses.

Astounding! The 600+ dotBrands Social Media Dilemma

Astounding! The 600+ dotBrands Social Media Dilemma
A strong social media presence is one of the most valuable assets that a brand can have in this new digital world. However as the social media world expands and both brands and consumers understand more about it, so does the complexities of how to effectively manage them. Facebook may have been one of the first but these days there are a huge number of social media options available including some from other countries that rival Facebook for users. The reason for this is that there is demand for specialized channels that services a variety of different needs that Facebook doesn’t adequately. However as the demand grows and channels diversify how are the brands and their target audience going to manage all these options? Will they still need them or will brands and consumers suffer from social media melt down? This is the dotBrand social media dilemma.

Social media is a journey not a destination that builds with equity over time just like any other asset. As your assets grow they can become more difficult to manage, especially if you keep adding new assets. This equity lies in the substantial and influential power that advocates of a brand can have through digital social networking. Social Media is one of the biggest, fastest and most profitable ways a brand can grow their business online over time and it’s only going to get bigger and more complicated with brands running their own top level domains as dotBrands. Considering the size of some of the dotBrand applicants that want to run their trademarks at the top level of the Internet, you quickly realize that that’s pretty powerful and potentially complicated stuff. Every social media connection represents a direct link with a potential centre of influence in a community and that is what a brand uses to build their social media equity (customers) with. But what will the social media channels of the future offer? How will brands manage it?

Our study of the 647 trademark holders that applied to ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) for a dotBrand new top level domain name raises some interesting concerns.


You can view our full dotBrand Social Media report on this here – SLAM Strategy Social Media dotBrand Report

This study focused on what social media channels could be found on home pages of each of the trademarks holder’s websites submitted during the application process. Considering these are the 647 biggest and or most progressive and influential brands in the world, you might be surprised to learn that 130 trademark applications didn’t supply a website address in their applications at all and several didn’t submit a URL that even worked. However of the 517 brands that submitted a website URL, amazingly over 45% didn’t have any social media links on their websites. Now true this has been skewed somewhat by brands like Amazon who applied for 26 dotBrands and only put down the 1 website for in their application. So if doesn’t have any social media links (and it doesn’t) then the figures will look even worse but regardless of that there still are plenty of others who also don’t have a social media presence. Of those 283 that are using social media, at least 90% use Facebook while 40% believe they need to have between 3 and 5 social media channels to reach their target market. At the extreme end, Lamborghini believe they need to have 10 social media channels to manage their brand. Although there are some exceptional reasons as to why some brands don’t have any social media channels on their websites, it’s still a jaw dropping number considering they have spent close to $500,000 or more (including other costs) on a branded TLD just to tell no one about it. It is a well-known fact that many brands applied defensively and these statistics perhaps highlight that.


Take for instance some of the brands that don’t have any social media channels listed on their websites, there are many reasons for this including the fact that many of these brands have listed their global parent brands websites in their applications rather than their sub brands. For example take Amazon who actually do have plenty of social media channels but for some reason don’t link them to their main site. Perhaps for some strategic reason they choose not to display them or perhaps it’s just too hard. Then there is who have sub brands like Cartier and Montblanc, perhaps they also find it too difficult to display all of the social media options on the parent site because they have 20 brands to consider. Or many be it’s a case of “well who really cares about Richemont anyway it’s the sub brands we are interested” perhaps. In some cases maybe it’s because they have so many separate websites and separate social media channels in separate countries that it’s just too daunting to consider like L’Oreal. L’Oreal has many sub brands like Lancome, Maybelline and Matrix with official Facebook, Twitter and YouTube social media channels (and more) for each of them in each country they are in. Now if you were in say 20, 30 or 50 countries then that is a lot of socialness to manage and their current website obviously can’t cope. From a central management and cost point of view, what started out as a relatively simple case of listing a Facebook channel has now turned into a social media soup of immensely complicated options to cover. It also highlights the limitations of both the social media channel’s ability to effectively address the brands needs and the tools for brands to effectively manage their social media presences online.

Here are just a few of the brands with no social media presence on their website’s home page.


Here are some of brands with at least 6 different social media channels on their home page.


You can view our full dotBrand Social Media report on this here – SLAM Strategy Social Media dotBrand Report

Of the 647 dotBrand applicants we found that they were using a total of 21 different social media channels. These channels are made up of hundreds of millions of fans, customers, subscribers, supporters, affiliates, distributors, sales reps etc., all digesting and sharing branded content on the internet in different ways and for different reasons. Although the top 3 social media channels appear over 60% more often on the brands websites than all the other 18 channels put together, brands are now using a combination of 21 different channels and up to 10 on 1 site to stay connected with their target market. Although the top 5 channels which includes Facebook represent 81% of the total social media channels being used, it was recently reported that for the first time in history Facebook has seen a decline in users. This is largely due to consumers moving away from the traditional channels to more specific channels for their needs and brands therefore having to follow. This could be why nearly 20% of dotBrand applicants who are using social media are using 5 or 6 channels. In other words while social media is still dominated by the big four (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn) it’s weakening and as a result brands are starting to feel the pressure to try other channels with possibly a better target market. Not too surprisingly though is the fact that the fallen original angel of the social media world Myspace, is only being used by 1 brand. Gone are the days of Myspace being the center of the social media world, possibly forever.

Why is this important? These dotBrands represent ALL of those brands which have or that have applied for their trademark to the right of the dot. In other words they will soon be able to replace their .com with a .brand and run their trademark at the top level. This ability is going to change the landscape of online forever, but how? Well when you run your trademark at the top level you have access to certain features that are only available at the top level. The main feature is of course the global brand exposure that you can’t get from a dotcom – If it’s not dotnike then it’s not us. On top of that there are the subtle emotional connections that come from a dotBrand that it is more specific than a as well as the potential SEO benefits that are still yet to be fully explored. Dotcom from a marketing point of view means nothing on a billboard or a sign, it’s just a combination of letters that don’t represent the brand like a dotBrand does. A dotBrand also allows for other more relevant wording to the right of the dot like product.brand or customer.brand.

What has social media got to do with a dotBrands presence? These brands have exclusive access to promote to millions of customers about their advancement in the digital world giving them an edge on their competition. They have a competitive advantage that others who didn’t apply could only dream of. Brands will eventually move from to dotBrand, and social media is the fastest and most cost effective way to communicate this transition. When you are running a global business, the very smallest advantages can have the biggest impact on the overall effectiveness of your marketing efforts and add millions of dollars in revenue to the bottom line. With a combined access to literally hundreds of millions of consumers through these 21 social networks, moving from a to dotBrand has never been easier. It allows for innovation that can only be achieved by owning a trademark at the top level. All these dotBrand applicants will have the opportunity to effectively communicate their competitive advantage quickly and very, very cost effectively. Combining a dotBrand with the next generation of social media could lead to new big data and new sales channels that were previously unimaginable.

In our next blog post we will go into more depth about how a branded top level domain will impact on dotBrands current social media channels, how dotBrands will manage their current and new social media channels and what tools dotBrands will need in order to capitalize on the control of the second level domains from their top level. Finally and most importantly is how their customers will react to this change and how dotBrands can take advantage of it.

You can view our full dotBrand Social Media report on this here – SLAM Strategy Social Media dotBrand Report

The Top Reasons Why A dotBrand is Better Than A

The Top Reasons Why Dotbrand Beats Every Time
What may be particularly surprising and even shocking to many in the domain industry is that unlike the generics TLDs, the success of the brand TLDs really has very little to do with the domain industry at all. The reality is it has everything to do with massively improved cost efficiencies and commercial relationships between trademarks and their target audience both online and off. No matter how you want to cut it up, in every way you look at it dotbrands are going to be the real big winners over the next decade on the Internet, contrary to what many may think. From heavily lowered advertising costs to centralised marketing initiatives and vastly improved bigdata, dotbrands give trademark holders exposure on a global scale like nothing they have ever seen before in history. With better control and management of the trademark on the Internet, dotbrands are where the real money is going to be made. What ever you think dotcom makes from selling domain names will pale into insignificance when dotbrands unleash the full potential of their secret weapons. And if that wasn’t enough great reasons to have a dotbrand lets not forget that its a closed shop with only 500+ kids allowed in the sandpit.
Trying to compare the success of the new generic TLD with the success of brand TLDs is the equivalent of trying to say that steam is the same as ice. Just because they both come from water doesn’t mean they are going to behave in the same way. I find it incredibly interesting that there is so much of a focus on what is happening in the generic world when really the BIGGEST, MOST SIGNIFICANT development since the invention of the Internet has to do with brands. By far the greatest invention to ever come to the internet since its inception has been to allow brands the opportunity to run their own slice of the internet. But still some people just don’t see it.
Sometimes the most impressive moments in history have been brought about by the smallest and simplest ideas. Take the paper clip for example or the pen or even email. Where would we be today if not for these small yet fundamentally significant inventions? Simple yet effective, life changing ideas that have impacted on our society is so many ways. No differently with online, the new dotbrand Top Level Domains are going to do exactly that.

Many of those that applied for a dotbrand initially did so out of a defensive need to protect their Internet identities. As time has moved forward the bigger questions of what to do with their dotbrand verses their .com and what’s their compared value, has started to surface. What many seem to be looking for is something radically different from a technology or administrative point of view when in fact (just like the paper clip), a dotbrand is a very subtle yet a significant shift is how consumers will perceive a brand on the Internet. It seems to be a sticking point for many of the old school domain industry but dotbrands have nothing to do with a naming convention although that is what they are. A dotbrand is a far richer tool than that. Fundamentally it’s the fact that it is so simple that makes the dotbrand concept so truly amazing and potentially lucrative to the brands and their consumers.

Why dotbrand (The digital bond x factor)
Purely owning a dotbrand for defensive purposes is like owning a Swiss army knife and only using the bottle opener, there is so much more you can do if you just look inside and get a little creative. Besides the obvious legal and technical advantages, a dotbrand provides the highest level of control of a trademark on the Internet you can get. The most important benefit of a dotbrand is the relationship brands can build with their customers. A dotbrand is about building direct digital bonds between a brand and those that have a close affinity with them, their customers. However once .com has been removed from the equation everything starts to make sense. Doors start to open, lights start to go and the creative juices start to flow like never before because a dotbrand creates new possibilities more in line with their brands ethos “if it’s not dotbrand, its not us. A dotbrand more closely resemble the very principles that bond a customer to a brand, thus making for a more personal, intimate connection. With a dotbrand the customer can feel like they are more than just a customer, they become a part of the brand and everything that makes it a success they can feel like in some small way they had something to do with it. Along with a dotbrand also comes a sense of responsibility, respect, trust and loyalty that only a dotbrand can develop. A dotbrand has the ability to bring about a feeling of a symbiotic relationship between the brand and their customers that cannot and will not ever be possible with a That is the x factor that can only come with a dotbrand.

Why not a (The ugly, irrelevant middleman)

Well the first thing to do is to just write it out and have a look at it, its ugly and partly irrelevant. The middleman “.com” waters down the relationship between brand and customer because dotcom means nothing to the consumer, its like wasted text on a short advert, you don’t need it so why have it? So which looks more visually appealing to you?,, customer.ferrarri or Which looks and feels more authentic, which is more memorable and which could be the brand and which is the brand? One can only be the brand, actually owned by the brand at the highest level of the Internet while the other is just bad advertising. A dotbrand means it is run by the brand, by people who work with the brand. One has a logical order about it that says we run our own slice of the internet and you can trust us. A dotbrand actually makes you feel like you are more than just a customer of the brand but an integral part of it existence while says your just another number.

Top 5 Reason Domainers Resist New gTLDs

Top 5 Reason Domainers Resist New gTLDs


On the eve of the largest expansion of the Internet since its inception I did my usual of reading the latest articles on the new gTLDs from my Google alerts. As I often do, I read an article from Michael Berkens from and as usual read the comments afterwards. And as usual I found that the responses where almost always negative towards the new expansion. The reasons for this are almost always the same usual responses too and I realised that there are two separate schools of thought at play which are worth noting because in my opinion it highlights the fact that potentially both parties (TLD industry and domainers) have not figured out how to communicate this expansion in a way that benefits both. In fact I would go as far to say that it appears to me like a case of “doing what we have always done” on both sides of the fence.

There is a lot of press and talk about what the domainers think about the domain industry as they are being looked at as potential investors in the new gTLD’s. How they perceive the new space is considered by some as pivotal to the profitability of these new domains especially in the early days. I think the reality is that most new gTLD operators are more concerned about being able to get to market at all than they are about registrations from domainers. Many of the owners I have spoken to are fully aware that this is a long term strategy that will develop over time as people become educated about the variety of options and the ways they can be used. However not being able to get to market due to delays is putting a real strain on the new gTLD applicants. A few new TLDs is one thing, a thousand is quite another and ICANN is also feeling the strain from all the interested parties who are under pressure to get to market ASAP so it’s never going to be fast enough.

The addition of so many TLDs to the root level will inevitably create diversity, improve choice, stimulate creativity and foster innovation if for no other reason than the fact that the opportunity to do so is there. You can’t innovate until the tools are there to do it and the creation of such a large number of TLDs backed by huge money and the right environment for new ideas means we will see new success stories (although some can’t yet see it).

Top 5 reasons domainers don’t want new Gtlds

1.       Invested interest in .com

2.       Resistance to change

3.       Lack of understanding of new industry

4.       Short term objectives

5.       Old thinking

Invested Interest in .com – Holding on to what we’ve got

Domainers have worked out and well formulated, tried and true strategies, invested money, done the research and built business models around the existing dotcom world. Any alternative to this is a direct attack on their revenue streams and considered a threat to their profits.

Resistance to change – Human nature to fear change

Domainers need to come to terms with the fact that there is no going back so start thinking outside the dotcom square now or risk being left behind and thinking coulda, shoulda, woulda. As much as they would like things to remain the way they are the reality is that these new domains are here to stay in one form or another. There is just too much invested in the industry for it not to work.  While they understand the internet to work a certain way and have profited from it once upon a time, they will be missing the opportunity to embrace a new industry as early adopters. Those that have invested in the new gTLDs have long term strategies. Domainers are thinking about today’s domain space and not about what it will look like in 5 to 10 years’ time. I often read things like “we don’t need them” or “it’s just a money grab by the wealthy”, or “dotcom will always be no.1”. This resistance to change is common in our lives and is a part of our DNA, we like things to stay the way they are because we understand it and it makes us feel comfortable and safe that we won’t get any surprises, its human nature to feel this way.

Lack of understanding of new industry – The domain river has changed course

When you have always done what you have always done it is often hard to see change when it is staring you in the face. Domainers where born from the old domain industry, a manifestation that occurred as a result of the availability of the addition of a few TLD’s to the root of which .com has been the champion. A big fish in a small pond that will soon be a small fish in a big pond. It’s quite normal then for a disconnect between domainers and the new gTLD industry. I liken it to a river that flows and the animals that enjoy the water that it provides. Then suddenly the river changes course and no longer can the animals drink from the same location. As much as the animals are displeased with the fact that they have to change their habits, unless they do they will die. This is what is happening in the domain industry at the moment and there is a lack of acceptance by domainers who are still heading to the same watering hole looking for a drink.

Short term objectives – the stagnant pool

The new gTLDs represent a change that is going to happen over the next 10 plus years. Domainers are looking at how this will impact on them today. If you look at the evolution of the domain industry over the next 10 years something has to change, it can’t remain the same or it will become a stagnant pool of the same old same old. Domainers should be looking to the future and looking for the next big thing. They should be embracing innovation of the DNS rather than looking at it as a threat. The biggest threat to domainers is not the domain industry but a lack of an evolution of the domain industry.


Old Thinking – Innovate or die

The reality is that the entire internet has changed tact and moved to a different dimension. It’s not even going to be the same domain industry any more. Embrace the change, look for the opportunities, be creative, and think outside the square. The domain industry is nothing more than a technology that can be relaced by something new and the expansion of the TLDs is about securing its future by making it more relevant to more people. Domainers need to embrace this or they are “cutting off their nose despite their face”. If the domain industry doesn’t evolve it runs the real risk of becoming irrelevant. If the domain industry becomes irrelevant due to a lack of innovation by a new technology that supersedes domains then all domainers will lose, so innovate or die.