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Tomorrow, join +Dawn Anderson +Jan-Willem Bobbink +Rohan Ayyar +Tony Dimmock and I ( +Ammon Johns ) for this SEMrush roundtable discussion on the topic of ClickBait.

We'll be discussing whether the short-term traffic clickbait can gain you is worth the long-term trust it will cost you. We'll talk about journalistic integrity, publisher responsibility, and of course, the all-important customer.

https://www.semrush.com/webinars/panel-discussion-clickbait/
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Join me, +Dawn Anderson​, +Ammon Johns​, +Jan-Willem Bobbink​ & +Rohan Ayyar​ for a special +SEMrush​ roundtable webinar on 5th May.

Topics to be covered: click-bait, publisher responsibilities, editorial vetting & the proliferation of misinformation.

We're all fed up with it, so what can publishers do about it? It's time for discussion..
Join SEMrush and 5 industry experts for a round table discussion of clickbait in content marketing and SEO.
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I'll attend 
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Just getting ready to begin...
 
Bill and Ammon (+Bill Slawski  and +Ammon Johns   ) reprise their role as the "Wyld Stallyns" of SEO, with bodacious babe +Kristin Drysdale helping wrangle comments, and stop them chasing squirrels.  (okay, a more realistic goal: prevent them chasing too many squirrels).  +Terry Van Horne joins us to release more squirrels when Kristin isn't looking.

(No squirrels are harmed in the making of this program)


About Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout
This is not a polished, planned and scripted event.  This is a casual hangout with old friends and new, shared with all.  Somewhere around the halfway point, we'll post the link for anyone who wishes to come and join us (space permitting) allowing us to meet even more old and new friends.

The idea of pre-planning, a set topic, or even simply knowing who will be on the show this week?  All totally bogus.

Free Air-Guitars to all attendees (exact model and colour may vary with imagination)

Our general style is to issue uninvited invitations, naming folks we think might like a chat, without asking first if they are available (or willing). 

Last week we said "We're doing something a little different again this week though.  You know how we love to do that.  We are sending this out with no invites." This week we're doing that again, and not at all because we've only just remembered to sort out the event ...   Feel free to jump in and not only join the conversation, but help steer it.

We have no idea yet who will actually turn up, and that's how we like it.  
Excellent!

#beexcellent       #bogushangout   
This Hangout On Air is hosted by Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
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Tue, April 19, 3:00 PM
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Why Wordstream's Larry Kim is on my 'ignore' list

It started a long time back in one sense - the first time I came across one of his articles that was complete nonsense without any care for due diligence, accuracy, or even basic fact checking.  To be honest, I can't even recall which one it was, as he's published many that fit the description.

The first time it bugged me enough for me to respond, rather than just wonder how someone so misinformed can tie his shoes, was over 'Mobilegeddon'.  What a complete lot of scaremongering FUD fodder (FUDder?) that all was.  Kim wasn't the only one peddling crap on that topic, but it was with his content clearly in mind that I published my response: "Lemmingism in SEO" https://goo.gl/YMF2nT 

However, he recently tried to pull the same fear-mongering tripe with RankBrain and that is what brought matters to a head.

http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2016/03/16/rankbrain-seo

The article is, without a doubt, one of the most ludicrous, poorly researched, misinforming pieces of self-serving crap.  Its not that it tries to be funny.  Its that it doesn't attempt to bear any resemblance to fact, and happily misinforms readers in ways that could seriously cost them a lot of money.

"RankBrain: Analyzing Page Relevance on a 1-10 Scale" is one of the subheadings on this page, and has no basis in fact at all.  Completely made up nonsense.  In all honesty, I can't ever recall Google using something as simple as a 1-10 scale, excepting only the Toolbar PageRank scores, which were discontinued years ago, and which were only simplified because they used images of a bar filling with green (100 separate images would have been far too fiddly).  Even that one and only exception, the one that proves the rule, this was never, ever a metric that Google themselves used.

"RankBrain will analyze web pages for relevance. Every page will get a score between 1 and 10, with 1 being a dubious result and 10 being extremely strong." writes Mr Kim, somehow oblivious to the fact that the main purpose of RankBrain (according to a wide variety of sources available before Kim was sharing this nonsense) is in better understanding the query through machine learning.

I mean, Kim's post was published on March 16, 2016 - which is long after many, many other better resources.

http://searchengineland.com/faq-all-about-the-new-google-rankbrain-algorithm-234440 

http://www.thesempost.com/rankbrain-everything-we-know-about-googles-ai-algorithm/

Heck, a better one was even published on his own site back on November 2015 - http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2015/11/04/rankbrain 

Not only was it better, it was also the first to put the terminator spin on it, though only with an image and the reference to intelligent machines.  Kim didn't even originate his 'joke' approach.

That's not what got him blocked and on my list of people never to bother with again.  Its not what got him on my list of people I'd never ever recommend anyone take advice from either - that was the Mobilegeddon nonsense.

What got him blocked was how he reacted to criticism. +Tony Dimmock was finding several of the worst articles about RankBrain, ones that had not updated to the latest sources and google quotes.  He was pointing the publishers to newer sources and suggesting that they had a responsibility as a publisher to be accurate and truthful.

Several publishers responded well, with some immediately passing the matter to editorial staff.  And then there was Larry Kim.  Larry Kim responded with scorn and rudeness.  Well, its easy for people like Larry Kim to get carried away with their own sense of how important they are, and perhaps he didn't know Tony.  Not that he should have to to afford due consideration and courtesy to feedback and complaints.

So, I commented to, that Tony was right and the article was woefully misinformed and inaccurate.  (Recklessly so, when SEO articles are known to form opinions for business advice and decisions.)

Larry's response was to call us 'inadequate trolls'.  When I returned that small, weak people always try to dismiss criticism like that, where the wiser stronger types embrace it, I can only assume he ran off to his mummy, who told him to ignore the nasty men with their unwanted and pesky sense of things like 'responsibility' and 'truth'.  Because Larry Kim's only further response was to block several of us on Twitter.  (If he can't see us, we must have gone away, right?)

Like that's supposed to make me feel I have lost something? :)

I guess the truth is that he doesn't want anyone who actually knows what they talk about, and are honest with it, to see the shit he peddles on twitter on a regular basis.  At least, that's my take on it.

There isn't one social media advisor in the world who would agree with that method of dealing with criticism (Call them names and run away).  Articles, lectures, presentations by the hundred all talk about how to embrace criticism and deal with it.  Apparently, Mr Kim doesn't believe any of them.

I gave him a day or two to come to his senses.  The block remained.  Thus my decision - I blocked him in return (I am not a boastful guy, but I still think that he stood to gain a lot more from me than I from him), and resolved to actively recommend anyone who wants to know about SEO matters not consult with, bother with, or even bother to read, such an irresponsible and foolish seeming person.

To me, what Larry Kim did was so far from acceptable or professional, that I find any publication he has written for, and event he speaks at, is now tainted - unaware and ignorant of what Kim really is.  The last thing you want from a publisher or a conference is the idea that they are ill-informed and unaware.
Lemmingism in SEO If lemmingism is not already a word, then I take delight in saying it is long overdue to become one. I define it as hastening to… - Ammon Johns - Google+
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+Terry Van Horne why not, ppc is just like seo ​ 😀
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We all had a very interesting discussion (although we deeply miss +Bill Slawski and he was firmly in our thoughts while he's travelling on personal business).  Much discussed, and many insights, and possibly the best Googler shirt ever.
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It really was, +Donna Beckett.  We really only covered a tiny fraction of the questions we'd planned in terms of quantity, but that's simply because we went far deeper into the depths of the questions.  I had gone into this one with the primary objective of dispelling many of the nonsensical myths (and outright BS) around RankBrain I'd seen in many articles.  I was very happy that we did that, and with few exceptions, all the recent articles on RankBrain I have seen have been far better informed.
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Another week of merry mayhem and meandering musings from misfits and marketers - it can only be the Bogus Hangout
 
Bill and Ammon (+Bill Slawski  and +Ammon Johns   ) reprise their role as the "Wyld Stallyns" of SEO, with bodacious babe +Kristin Drysdale helping wrangle comments, and stop them chasing squirrels.  (okay, a more realistic goal: prevent them chasing too many squirrels).  +Terry Van Horne joins us to release more squirrels when Kristin isn't looking.

(No squirrels are harmed in the making of this program)


About Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout
This is not a polished, planned and scripted event.  This is a casual hangout with old friends and new, shared with all.  Somewhere around the halfway point, we'll post the link for anyone who wishes to come and join us (space permitting) allowing us to meet even more old and new friends.

The idea of pre-planning, a set topic, or even simply knowing who will be on the show this week?  All totally bogus.

Free Air-Guitars to all attendees (exact model and colour may vary with imagination)

Our general style is to issue uninvited invitations, naming folks we think might like a chat, without asking first if they are available (or willing). 

It seems this week that +Grant Simmons had enough fun a couple of weeks ago that he's keen to do it again.  We're wondering if +David Amerland is still enjoying these diversions that he'll make it 3 in a row, and a standard 'uninvited invitation' is going out to +Dawn Anderson

As ever, we'll open up the invitations to all for any empty seats once the hangout has begun.  Feel free to jump in and not only join the conversation, but help steer it.

We have no idea yet who will actually turn up, and that's how we like it.  
Excellent!

#beexcellent       #bogushangout   
This Hangout On Air is hosted by Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
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Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout #54
Tue, March 22, 4:00 PM
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Our content marketing mastermind group is now open to take new members, only 19 spaces left.
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I had a lot of fun last week

which is par for the course when it happens to be the week of #BrightonSEO

However, it really did underline for me what a joy it is to have our #BogusHangout chats almost every week.  There are few things as enjoyable as being able to talk with your peers about a field that few understand or can hold (or be interested in) a chat about.

It also highlighted how very close we've gotten to attaining the same vibe in our weekly hangouts.  If we simply all had meals and drinks and made ourselves shout over too-loud background noise, there'd be no difference at all.

At Brighton, I managed to see a few people that I feel like I know well, though we'd never met, such as +Gianluca Fiorelli, people that I see almost only at those kinds of events such as +Rob Watts, and people I'd not seen in years and was so happy to catch there, such as +Jason Duke.

But this year I realised that there was a new category.  A category of people who I'd never properly met face to face, and yet had interacted with enough to feel totally at home with such as +Fabrizio Ballarini and +Omi Sido.  I'm not even going to try to categorize old friends like +Judith Lewis+Tony Dimmock, and +Darren Moloney.  They are practically relatives by now.

I know for sure that I'd get along with other folks I know so well from the Bogus Hangouts, such as +John Moore as I did when meeting Fab and Omi, or meeting +Zara Altair when she came over to visit family in the UK.

So, there really is a depth and quality to the hangout format that translates totally to meeting in life.  I've been told that I'm exactly what people expect when we finally meet (which I'm not sure is a good thing ;) ) only, maybe a bit shorter.  Legendary curmudgeons seem taller online I think.

Anyway, all this is to say that there's a value to the Bogus Hangout beyond just a chat.  It really is a virtual meet-up, and it translates so closely that meeting in real-life felt like a completely natural and seamless transition.

Come and join us.  It is a lot cheaper than travelling to Brighton for the weekend. :)
 
Bill and Ammon (+Bill Slawski  and +Ammon Johns   ) reprise their role as the "Wyld Stallyns" of SEO, with bodacious babe +Kristin Drysdale helping wrangle comments, and stop them chasing squirrels.  (okay, a more realistic goal: prevent them chasing too many squirrels).  +Terry Van Horne joins us to release more squirrels when Kristin isn't looking.

(No squirrels are harmed in the making of this program)


About Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout
This is not a polished, planned and scripted event.  This is a casual hangout with old friends and new, shared with all.  Somewhere around the halfway point, we'll post the link for anyone who wishes to come and join us (space permitting) allowing us to meet even more old and new friends.

The idea of pre-planning, a set topic, or even simply knowing who will be on the show this week?  All totally bogus.

Free Air-Guitars to all attendees (exact model and colour may vary with imagination)

Our general style is to issue uninvited invitations, naming folks we think might like a chat, without asking first if they are available (or willing). 

Ammon had another chance to meet many old friends and new on Friday while at #BrightonSEO  and so this week, he's wildly throwing out our uninvited invitations to any of those who were there.  +Arnout Hellemans  +Darren Moloney +Dawn Anderson +Fabrizio Ballarini +Gianluca Fiorelli +Jan-Willem Bobbink  +Jason Duke +Judith Lewis +Montse Cano +Omi Sido  +Olga Andrienko +Rob Watts  +Tony Dimmock are just the most obvious names I'm throwing out there.

We have no idea yet who will actually turn up, and that's how we like it.  
Excellent!

#beexcellent       #bogushangout   
This Hangout On Air is hosted by Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
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Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout #58
Tue, April 26, 3:00 PM
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My favorite time in the pub, +Ammon Johns :)
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Don't be content with poor content

I ranted not so long ago about some of the appalling misinformation that is not just around, but far too common.  However, sometimes the problem is not in the accuracy of information, but the lack of any useful or meaningful information at all.

I'm going to pick out an example again, but this isn't about this case in particular.  This is merely one example out of the thousands I could have readily have picked.

http://searchengineland.com/10-ways-link-building-changed-last-10-years-246488 came to my attention via +aaron wall on Twitter.  It isn't a very long read, which is just as well given that it is a complete waste of whatever time is spent on it.

This article isn't horribly inaccurate - at least, not in the way that things published by Larry Kim tend to be complete bullshit just hoping to sell more PPC.  Instead it has opinions not clearly stated as opinions, generalisations and perspectives written as though facts, etc.

Example: "Much of this evolution was spurred by search engines directly — Google, for one, played an enormous part in cleaning up the web with its Penguin algorithm updates.
Combined with increasing user distaste for poorly placed links and a collective commitment from webmasters to give their users better experiences, we now exist in a world where link building is respectable, valuable and viable."

Man, I'd love to see what that world looks like.  Here in the real world, link-building is actually more contentious in most ways than it was 10 years ago when it might be spammy, but everyone knew it worked.  Today, even the phrase 'link building' will start a debate between reputable and knowledgeable SEOs about whether 'link-building' is the right term at all, etc.

I certainly don't remember us all sitting around in some giant think-tank and deciding that we were going to clean up our acts.  From what I recall, people only stopped even the worst and most cruddy link-building once it stopped working.  Nothing whatever to do with user satisfaction, or some imagined collective wisdom.  The wisdom only arrived once it stopped working, and I have no doubt at all, based on the volume of spammy emails still offering the very worst forms of link building, that it is still out there (we just don't see it working), and that if the penalties went away, it wouldn't be right back.

Anyway, its a '10 ways...' post, so lets get straight to the list.  Yeah, its yet another list of things piece of content.  I'm sure +Seth Godin would be amazed at how remarkable these all are.  Forgive them Seth, they know not what they do. ;)

The first 2 items on the list are fine.  Nothing new, nothing remarkable, but, nothing to argue with either.  Link-building has been most affected by the fact that there are penalties for misuse, and that misuse is harder to actually make work.  Because, y'know, you've never heard that before, having just arrived on Earth.

The third item is sort-of okay, but cites no evidence, no experience, no nothing.  Sure, that links from the same domain over and over don't count so much is commonly accepted, but in an article on SEL I expect to be told why.  You can find a wealth of papers and patents that explain elements of this thinking, and the idea of bias and affiliation, yet the article just says it without any thought, explanation, or example.

That is always a warning sign in any articles on SEO you should be wary of, and watching for.  Look for the why, or the examples.  If the author isn't providing them, he probably doesn't know them, and is therefore at best merely serving up what he was told and never questioned.  The echo chamber is strong there.

Back to our list post example though, and as we go down the list, so the quality goes down too.  Item 4 is where it starts to get very much into opinion masquerading as fact, and still with no provisos, no examples, no qualifications.

"Guest posting, the process of writing an article and getting it published on an external publication, has come to be the “gold standard” of link building. Because the focus is on creating quality content to reach a new audience, it has far more value than just SEO value. There’s virtually no risk of penalty, and it’s not so complicated or intensive that the effort it takes outweighs the reward."

It isn't that +Jayson DeMers is wrong so much, it is simply that this is such a personal view, depends so much on how good the articles are, where they are posted, etc.  However, in that the only real value of the article to anyone is whatever link juice Jayson is getting from it, it is working for him, or at least, is clearly his full belief.

However, there is another school of thought, and one which I ascribe to, that says the value of the link is in the reader's mind, and their association of value to the linked resource.  In other words, linking poor quality content to your brand is poor practice, while linking great quality content to your brand (even where the link is nofollowed) is far more valuable.

I've certainly written content that is designed to be linked in the minds of the readers (having them think: "this author really knows his stuff") where I know there is no chance of the link itself being seen by search engines directly.  Instead, its the re-mentions, the readers going on to link directly to what they find on my client's site, that has the SEO value.  The immediate value was in referring the readers themselves.

By item 5 of the list, +Jayson DeMers is reduced to ironically made-up stuff.  He declared that "Content standards have risen" when my post right here, and others' comments ( https://twitter.com/aaronwall/status/721222388747112448 ) are saying exactly the opposite about this very article.  This is not a high-standard piece of content.  And anyone reading SEL back when it started will tell you that back then this sort of fluff would never have made it past editorial control.

Fact is, content standards have plummeted, because there's this weird, wrongful idea that the most important attribute of content is to have lots of it, and always fresh.  To churn it, on a schedule, rather than maybe only write when there is something that needs to be written and has value enough.

Well, I'm only halfway down the list, and point 4 and 5 together just stop me in my tracks for anything further but criticism.  Frankly, that's where I'd close the page immediately, and remember that the last few pieces I read by Jayson were all of similar questionable quality and value.

For the purpose of this post, however, let me draw your attention to one final point on the list.  Item 9 states "It's harder than ever to break in".  This is both true, and false.  It is true in that with the sheer volume and amount of content being churned by publishers, and with pretty much all of the publishers losing the faith and trust of quality of their readers, it can be hard to get attention.  That's why it is a job, and a skill.  That is why people pay for good writers.

And the truth is that being a good writer isn't about how you write.  It is about how you think.  It is about your understanding of the reader, of their thought processes and needs in relation to the topic.  It is about knowing how to communicate the ideas and concepts in one mind to spark ideas and thinking in the minds of many.  The spoon-feeding crap-content deluge, the giant 'flush' of turds through content schedules, isn't doing this.  Its the sugar-rush without the nutrition.

And because of this incessant torrent of crap continually rushing past, when you do spot something good it stands out all the more.  The very nature and volume of crap makes even good content seem truly excellent by comparison.  That, is where Jayson's statement is false ... unless you write like Jayson, just for the link, and without any real care for being original, exceptional, or, to use Seth's word once more: remarkable.
Though white-hat tactics have changed over the years, link building remains one of the most important elements of SEO. Columnist Jayson DeMers takes a look back at the evolution of link building.
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>> , wrongful idea that the most important attribute of content is to have lots of it, and always fresh.

Yep, I only complain because I have to filter though it all. There's heaps of the stuff on LinkedIn and Twitter links. Great CTAs but ends up being drivel.

On the other hand it's providing opportunities for marketeers/businesses alike who take the time to do it right. I have no idea where people got the idea that any content and lots of it is key.

Good rant by the way, I wholeheartedly agree Ammon.


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Not Everything that Affects SEO Results is a Ranking Factor

A snippet:

Think of ranking factors as being like all of the things that can affect your performance on a race track given that you know your vehicle and it is tuned a specific way. Your speed, endurance, reliability and technology all play their part, as can your starting position.

Now, imagine that you turn up to the race and find it is a completely different sort of race to what you expected. There you are in your tuned up track racer and you suddenly find it is a rally. Or a boat race. Well, that’s how query rewriting would fit into the analogy.

https://medium.com/@ammonjohns/not-everything-that-affects-seo-results-is-a-ranking-factor-de9ab25c2ad4#.pdw9to1tx
Things move pretty fast in the world of the Internet. That was, after all, the point. Near instant communication means i…
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+Bill Bean the main thing that query interpretation and query writing mean is that 'The Long Tail' has changed in nature.  The long tail is no longer so much about unusual and specific wording, as about unusual and specific intent/meaning.

In one way, the closest many SEMs will have gotten to this approach is those who deal with PPC having to adapt to broad matching - but it is a lot more than just that.

The short version is that chasing specific phrases and keywords is becoming less and less worthwhile.  Go niche with the meaning and the intent rather than the specific words.
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One of the best real insights into how Google works today to have come from the company in years:

http://www.slideshare.net/SearchMarketingExpo/how-google-works-a-ranking-engineers-perspective-by-paul-haahr 

+Paul Haahr put together a superb presentation at SMX West recently that pretty much wowed all attendees.  With it available through Slideshare, nobody should miss the presentation.
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Marketer, SEO, and Pioneer
Introduction
The common view I get from what others say about me is that I'm a long-timer of Internet marketing, well respected, and described as a mentor, expert, and guru, especially in relation to SEO and search marketing.
(See for what others say at http://www.ammonjohns.com/testimonials.html and http://uk.linkedin.com/in/ammonj )

Sometimes I feel I could describe all that to myself in one word: Old :o)

I've been commercially involved with the web since 1995 when I started building websites, first for myself and later for pay.  Through 1996 and '97 I was spending more and more time on working out how to get traffic and custom to sites. 

Following demand (what people were actually hiring me to do rather than what I advertised I did) I shut down my web design business in 1997 and became a full-time specialist in web promotion.

By 1998 I'd started to attract something of a following for my advice, help and general observations in one of the big forums of the day - MarketPositionTalk - which was run by Web Position Gold.

Later, I moved over to a new forum my old friend +Kim Krause Berg was starting at www.cre8asiteforums.com and there met a lot of new friends and seemed to gain even more of a following.

Across the years since then, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of clients, and to exchange views and ideas with hundreds of other SEOs, webmasters, and others.  I've had the honour of helping small businesses to be successful, and of helping successful businesses to become giants.

My approach is inherently practical yet with a high degree of creativity.  I love when a client can show me a problem and I can get to work on coming up with solutions that can blow your mind with the creative thinking, yet at the same time are so completely practical they seem obvious in hindsight.

Of course, I'm not just about my work.  I'm fascinated by psychology, passionate about many arts, and can rarely resist the opportunity to share a good pun ... or a bad one. 

In addition to this personal profile, you can also find me interacting through my business profile https://plus.google.com/+Ammonjohns/

I am also involved with Bill and Ammon's Bogus Hangout (an extremely casual but fun weekly Hangout on Air with no specific topic) and with The Codebreakers (examining memetic triggers and memetic effects in relation to marketing, media, and events)
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Internet Marketing Consultant since I was the only match for those words together
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