January 2008

Looking at 1000 Google Maps Hospitality Industry Reviews

Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!

This is just a quick pointer over to my Search Engine Guide article about Review Sites for the Hospitality Industry. I spent a couple of hours combing 1000 reviews listed in Google Maps for B&Bs, Hotels, Restaurants, etc. and made a list of all of the great sources from which Google is pulling its reviews.

If you’re a hospitality industry business owner, why not bookmark my list as part of your plans for increasing your reviews this year? Or, if you’re an SEO/Internet Marketer, the list may help you better serve your clients.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. I know I’m really enjoying writing for Search Engine Guide!

White Buffalo Inc. To Massacre Last Axis Deer – Shame and Infamy

Image of Axis Deer and Chief Yellow Shirt

Photograph of Chief Yellow Shirt of the Hunkpapa Sioux/Axis Deer

To the readers who have visited our blog over the past year for updates on the massacre of the Fallow and Axis Deer of Point Reyes, CA., I am sorrowful to report that the last remnant of the Axis deer family will be destroyed during this week of Jan. 28th – Feb. 1st. They will be rounded up and driven into a hole by gunmen piloting helicopters who will then open fire into the hole.

I have been meditating tonight on what is about to happen to these deer, accustomed as they are to the seeming tranquility that hangs in the grey-green atmosphere of Point Reyes like a soft fog. The sense of peace here may be a shallow perception, for this is the ancestral home of the Coast Miwok people who were driven to the brink of extinction by the diseases and attitudes of conquest of the invading Europeans. The legacy of violence and shame, from Sir Francis Drake to the Spanish missions, is so great in this region of the world, you would think that Americans would bend over backward to avoid anything that looks like a power trip here.

When I think about what will happen to the quiet, speckled, cinnamon-colored Axis deer, I remember the Yahi people. The last remnant of this tribe was driven to hiding in a cave. When they were discovered, a couple of government officials opened fire into the cave, murdering every last man, woman, and child.

Their panic, their pain, their suffering were not recognized as legitimate by the invaders and government men who had other plans for the lands they had usurped.

“We Were Not Savages,” says First Nations author Paul Daniel in his book which describes the near demise of the Mi’qmak people at the hands of the European conquerors who were masters of the art of the media spin, and completely without doubt regarding their right to deal out death to ‘dangerous savages’. As I have listened to the National Park Service’s public statements about the massacre of the local deer, I cannot help but wonder at how much people with too much power sound the same, no matter what century they are living in.

I have listened to Park officials say that the Fallow and Axis Deer destroy the environment by pawing the ground.

I have listened to those not paid by the Park say that all signs of this pawing disappear within a couple of months, and this is why no one can ever show the ‘damage’.

I have listened to Park officials say the Fallow and Axis deer are eating all of the vegetation in sight, leaving nothing left for the Black-tailed deer.

I have walked many of the 150 trail miles of the Point Reyes National seashore, and have seen the almost inconceivable abundance of vegetation – plenty for everyone to share.

I have listened to Park officials claim they are dedicated to returning the seashore to a Pre-Columbian paradise.

I have wondered when they will tear up their concrete roads, remove their toll booths and trucks, take away their power lines and leave. I am sure the Miwoks would be glad to have their land back.

I have listened to the Park’s head hired killer, Anthony DeNicola of White Buffalo Inc. say that his unit of gunmen will kill all deer with one swift shot to the head and donate the carcasses to a homeless shelter.

My friends have found the corpses of gut shot deer on their lands, left to rot after the agonies of a long and painful death.

I have listened to the Park explain away these brutally killed deer as first not having anything to do with their killers, then blaming the deaths on poachers, then turning around and saying that yes, they are leaving some deer in the fields in order to feed vultures.

I was not aware of a federal program to feed vultures. But I do know when someone is not speaking the truth.

I have listened to the Park’s paid biologist say that these deer are scary and aggressive.

I have stood amongst these deer unharmed and in great wonder at their quiet and beauty. It has been a privilege to know them.

I have listened to my government say that they are here to serve the people.

The Humane Society of the United States, State Senator Carol Migden, Representative Lynn Woolsey, In Defense of Animals, the Wildcare foundation, Dr. Jane Goodall and the taxpayers of Marin County, California have all made it abundantly clear that we would like our government to serve us by caring humanely for these deer, not by massacring them.

The Final Insult

My husband and I are both very proud that some of our ancestors were what are called ‘Native Americans’. I want to register our extreme displeasure with the fact that the animal killers the NPS has hired to slaughter our local deer are doing business under the name White Buffalo, Inc. This is an honorable name with many different meanings to different peoples. There is a story about White Buffalo Woman, who honored the man who revered nature and was good in his heart, but turned the man who did not respect nature into a pile of ashes. White Buffalo Inc.’s president, Anthony DeNicola, has published a twisted and wrong version of this story on his company’s website. We are offended and feel sorry for him that he does not even see what the true story of White Buffalo Woman would say about a man like him who compares killing innocent deer to brushing his teeth.

We are tired of companies like this making fun of America’s earlier inhabitants, stealing words that mean something to us but are nothing but a clever selling tool to them. We are tired of the hypocrisy of government edicts that, in one century, call for the murder of Natives, and in another, say that non-Natives must be murdered. Why is killing all they know how to do?

The truth is that there are no natives. Some of us likely came from China, or Siberia, or Mongolia, or from someplace in South America so long ago that everyone has forgotten. Everywhere we have gone, we have brought along with us our plants and animals. This is the migratory movement that rules the world and has always ruled it. Shooting at this truth with guns cannot kill it. There is no going back in time.

When the killing of the Fallow and Axis deer began in the summer of 2007, the Park publicly stated that these shootings would be taking place over many years. It now appears to local people that this, too, was a falsehood. The killings have gone forward at an incredibly fast and sweeping pace and there are very few of the Fallow deer left. After this week, unless the NPS is ordered to halt, the Axis deer will be entirely gone.

We join with the people of West Marin in their abhorrence of this violence and their deeply felt mourning for the vanished deer.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 Demo Fun

Image of Adobe Photoshop CS3 Demonstration

Greetings from Inside the SEOigloo!

We’ve gotten no work done around here tonight for a very good reason. We just received our copy of Adobe Photoshop CS3! Above, you will see the very cool gaucho (potentially one of my ancestors) that I have freehand drawn using this latest version of Photoshop in the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Standard Package. I spent about an hour drawing him. I hope you enjoy him.

The thing I’m loving most about this version of Photoshop so far is the flow function. Before becoming a web designer, I had been a fine artist all of my adult life. One of the skills anyone who draws or paints perfects during the course of their exploration of art is the control of the hand. Medieval monks were past masters of this with pen and ink. The alphabets used in the fabulous illuminated manuscripts they produced are all about hand pressure and the turn of the writing implement. This fine motor control is something you have to practice to get better at over time.

One of the things I’ve always found to be so funky about the previous editions of Photoshop I’ve worked with is that there was no sensitivity that mimicked hand pressure. Not so with my brand new Adobe Photoshop CS3. With that awesome flow setting, I can do shading of all kinds. I used that extensively in my friendly gaucho above.

Just for fun, here is the same image with various effects layered onto it. These effects have been part of Photoshop for years, but I still love them.

With Watercolor

With Paint Daubs

With Sponge

With Cutout

With Neon Glow

I really like that cutout one. That looks good enough to be on a label, in my opinion. The point of this post is not to show you how to use this software; I simply thought you might like to see how powerful such a tool can be in the hands of a web designer. A good designer is going to be able to create pretty much any look, any emotion, any atmosphere your business is looking for. And, though usability and SEO in web design are what are dearest to our firm’s heart, it is so exciting when we sit down to compose the graphic elements that make a website rich with visual appeal.

I am really looking forward to further exploring all of the new functions in this new version of Photoshop. It looks like its strength is going to be the ever-finer degrees of control it puts in the digital artist’s hands.

The Return of the Missing Google Maps Reviews

Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!

Mike Blumenthal is really keeping on top of this stuff! As he reports, the missing Yelp, City Search and Insiderpages reviews have reappeared in Google Maps. How did Google lose these? How did they find them again? I suspect that will remain a mystery!

This came as very silly timing for me, as yesterday I sent an article to Jen and Stoney for publication on Search Engine Guide that was speculating on Google’s seemingly-terminated relationships with City Search, Insiderpages and Yelp. I suppose it’s the nature of the Search business that what is breaking news today may be completely inaccurate tomorrow. I’m grateful to Mike for letting me know about this sudden change before my article went to print. Whew!

The great takeaway from Mike’s post is this. If you are in Google Maps and you want to see reviews from a specific entity, you can do a search like this:

restaurant site:dine.com sonoma ca

and it will show you exaclty that data – in this case, reviews from dine.com for restaurants in Sonoma, CA. Neat, huh? I can’t seem to get it to work for just Google’s reviews at the moment. I’ll keep fiddling with my wording.

Anyhow, we’re in different shape today than we were yesterday. If there ever was a coolness between Google and these partners, it’s all settled now, and if it was really just a bug in the system, it’s fixed!

We’ve Made It To the SEMMY Finals!

2008 SEMMY Finalist
Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!

Well, I can hardly believe it, but I’m a SEMMYs finalist! Voting is now open here here here if you’d like to swing by and read the 6 super final entries in the Online Marketing/General category.

In the Small Business and Local Categories, we lost our foothold to our very worthy colleagues, and there are some really fabulous articles in those sections for your reading pleasure.

I must say, it’s an edifying experience being in company with the brainy likes of Rand Fishkin and Bryan Eisenberg…the closest I’ve come to such a thing in the past was a dream I had about a year ago that someone handed me a bottle of water and in looking at the person, I realized it was Rand Fishkin. My husband once had a nightmare that he’d messed something up on a website and Bill Slawski was very angry at him…but that’s another story.

I’m going to make time today to read the articles I haven’t yet in the Online Marketing/General category, and I want to wish everyone the best of luck!

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