House of Fraser Product Ads #superfail

Earlier tonight our Dyson Ball decided to give up the ghost and fall apart – not bad really for over 4 years constant use; but it obviously meant it was time to buy a new hoover. Being the super SEO type that I am, I turned to none other than my trusty Google SERPs.

What I found was… interesting. I clicked on a House of Fraser Product Ad (the PPC ads that look like shopping results) and ended up at a dead end. It was a URL I hadn’t seen before, and assumed it was a error on Google’s redirect/tracking URLs:

So I clicked back to the SERP, selected a different ad and ended up where I expected; and then did the same again a second time with the same result. Clicking on the HoF ad still sent me to the “native_url” 404.

So I did a new search, this time for [white bedding]. Sure enough, there was a HoF product ad over on the right hand side, and sure enough it again sent me to a similar dead tracking URL.

The question is – is this a Google issue (unlikely) or is this a fuck up by HoF or their agency instead? If it’s the latter then that’s a lot of wasted click spend before somebody rocks up on Monday morning to notice the error. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in THAT meeting!

Update (01/12/2012): it looks like House of Failure (or Google) have pulled all of their product ads for the time being. Either way, they’ve lost a lot of traffic this weekend.

Skin Heads for Charity

Today was the big day – a bunch of us guys at HP Group had a mass balding in aid of two very deserving charities. It was organised by Patrick Hegarty and he even roped in his wife (yeah, how brave was she?!) and son to join the ranks of the follically challenged.


The two charities receiving funds are St Helena Hospice and Building Futures in Malawi. St Helena’s is very close to my heart as my sister passed away at the hospice back in 2009 – and they were absolutely fantastic both with her and the family.

All in all, 9 of us followed through with the deed (including five bald SEO’s and one bald PPC’er), and as if on cue a Royal Air Force recruitment bus happened to park outside just in time for a photo opportunity:

Army Recruits

And here’s a final bonus pic of me mid-shave getting a St George’s cross cut in (yes, very patriotic of me):

St George's Cross

Something new for 2012

I’m not normally one for making New Year’s resolutions, partly because I think folk rarely achieve them and partly because if something is important it shouldn’t need to be influenced by a new set of numbers on your calendar.

Having said that, I’ve decided to be a bit more transparent in 2012 and publish some general goals:

  1. Blog regularly and grow a subscriber list of over 1000 users
    In actual fact, I plan to start a new blog and leave this one for more personal/opinion led posts. More info on the new blog coming soon but it will be strictly SEO/affiliate oriented.
  2. Increase my Twitter follower count to 4000+
  3. Push my passive income above £3000/mo
    Some time ago I wrote a post about how I wanted to pay my mortgage with my affiliate earnings. Well, I’m pleased to report that I’m currently earning around £1000/mo so it is mission accomplished in that sense (although I’ve learnt there’s no such thing as 100% ‘passive’). The one thing I didn’t do was document the process which I regret now. I plan to change that for the next £2k/mo.
  4. Build and launch a web app
    This one goes hand in hand with point 3 but I have several ideas for web apps that could make good money. I want to have one live in at least a minimum viable product format by January 2013
  5. Lose weight and increase fitness levels
    Now, I’m no fatty by any stretch of the imagination but I’ve developed a bit of a beer belly over the last 12 months. I want to lose a stone (down from 12 to 11) and be regularly running 5-8k (couple of times a week). The bigger pitcure goal is to run a marathon in 2013, but it’s also about getting motivated physically and mentally.

So that’s it, not a huge list but one I think I can certainly make a dent in.

SEO Sunday: Oct 16 2011

I know, I know – 3 weeks in and I already missed a couple of posts. In my defence, I’ve been pretty damn busy on a Sunday night but hey ho. As always, this entry is from a series of weekly posts highlighting a handful of interesting links I bookmarked each week(s). For the full archives visit the SEO Sunday category page.