Archives for March 2012

3rd Annual SEO BBQ and BlueGlassLA 2012

blueglass-2012-speaking-badgeI can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that BlueGlass is coming back to Los Angeles on April 23rd and 24th at the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. BlueGlass does events differently, as only 125 tickets will be sold. When their events are sold out, that’s it. (BlueGlassLA is SOLD OUT) I tweet and talk so much about BlueGlass and their events, primarily because of the world-class individuals that make up the team. I have been grateful to make many friends in the SEO/Internet Marketing world, and a number of them are at BlueGlass.

Since I typically work independently, spending time with like-minded individuals is extremely valuable to me. The SEO BBQ began as a way to share my appreciation for friends I’ve made in the world of search. It’s a casual experience, held at my home in Venice Beach California, and I’m looking forward to seeing friends again, as well as meeting new friends that are going to join us this year.

Things may not be as casual as in the past, since approximately 60 people have RSVP’d, but that’s spread throughout the day, and there is plenty to see in the Venice Canals neighborhood.

The past two years, the SEO BBQ was held during Memorial Day weekend. We had been blessed with terrific weather both times. Weather in Venice Beach should be mid 70s for the end of April, and we will be outdoors for most of the day, dress for beach weather and bring a hoodie or something similar.

SEO BBQ – April 22, 2012 – 2 PM to 9 PM
Location: 2509 Ocean Ave., Venice, CA 90291

Quite a few of those planning to attend are not locals to Los Angeles, as they are in town for the conference on Monday. We are located about 7 miles from LAX airport (less than $30 cab ride) and about 16 miles from the Downtown Los Angeles Standard Hotel. Parking in the area is limited so arriving by taxi may be a good choice. For those staying at the Standard, I am arranging for a limousine (7 passengers max per trip) to make trips back to the hotel Sunday evening. That way guests can enjoy themselves and not have concerns about driving.

Do I need to RSVP? Yes, I want to make sure we have enough food and beverages for those attending. Contact me via e-mail at planetc1 {at} gmail.com and also let me know if you’re bringing anyone along. You can also message me or DM on twitter @chiropractic.

What should I bring? As far as food and drinks go, do not feel obligated to bring anything, we should be pretty well stocked. There will be a margarita machine blending both regular and pomegranate margaritas most of the day, plenty of red and white wines, and an assortment of ice cold beer and sodas. In the past guests have brought tequila, beer, deserts, and meat for the barbecue. If you have a particular preference for food or beverage, bring it along with you, or message me with your requests.

What’s to eat? We will be serving traditional barbecue foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers. There will be chips and salsa, guacamole, and other things to snack on as well. Again, if you want something specific to put on the barbecue, either bring it along or make a request.

A 7 hour barbecue, what time should I really arrive? If you show up before 2pm, you can help us set up. Come and go as you please. There will be something to eat/drink at all times between 2 and 9 PM. Were going to call it an early night since it’s a Sunday, and I imagine most of you will be checking in (or already checked in) at the hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Any activities besides eating and drinking? Yes, we live in world-famous Venice Beach (The Most Beautiful Beach in Southern California) and I’m planning an evening group walk through the Venice Canals, followed by a sunset walk near the Venice Pier.

Sunset Venice PierIt’s a short and picturesque walk along the canals, to the beach, and back. If you’re not going to be hanging out at the house all day, it’s a terrific neighborhood to explore. You’re welcome to use my house as your home base, and enjoy a day visiting Venice Beach, and Ocean Front Walk. It’s one of the most visited tourist attractions (2nd only to Disneyland) in Southern California.

Can I bring my kids? Yes, bring your kids if you’d like, but don’t expect me to babysit them or you for that matter. I’ll be preoccupied operating the margarita machine. If you have BBQ skills, don’t hesitate to toss something on the grill and prepare it for yourself, your family, or guests. Our home is casual and the plan for Sunday is to chill out and have a great time with great friends.

What about the SEO? Being that it’s a Sunday and there’s going to be 2 intensive days discussing SEO/Search and Internet Marketing at the BlueGlass conference, don’t feel obligated to talk SEO while at my house. But if you get bored or can’t resist, there’s a huge whiteboard in the house, featuring a number of sites/projects I’ll take feedback on.

Seriously, I am hiring, and so is BlueGlass, so speak up if you’re looking to work.

If I think of anything else or there are unanswered questions I’ll update this post as necessary and make mentions on twitter.

Update: A bunch of people are getting into LAX midday Sunday afternoon. I’d suggest coordinating with friends and sharing a cab to my house. Cab fare should be less than $30 from LAX cab line. We have a guest room where you can keep your things until it’s time to head to the hotel.

I’ll open up WiFi for those of you that may need it, forgot some are international travelers and don’t have service in the states.

Sponsors: People have been asking how much it costs to get into the BBQ. You are a guest in my home, there’s no admission fees, there’s no sponsors, only good times with good people. Technically, the event is being funded by Planet Chiropractic, don’t forget to check in via Foursquare when you get to the house.

Hashtags: The official hashtag for BlueGlassLA is #BlueGlassLA and the hashtag for the BBQ is #SEOBBQ.

Keep an eye on this post as I’ll update again on Saturday!

2012 Los Angeles Marathon Winner Photos

The 2012 Honda Los Angeles Marathon was run on Sunday, March 18, 2012. This year’s women’s race was won by Fatuma Sado of Ethiopia, and the men’s race was won by Simon Njoroge of Kenya.

Fatuma Sado of Ethiopia wins LA MarathonFatuma Sado of Ethiopia wins 2012 LA Marathon

Fatuma Sado of Ethiopia crossed the finish line with a time of two hours 25 minutes and 39 seconds. She beat her personal best by more than two minutes which also won her the $100,000 gender challenge bonus.

Fatuma Sado Bib F11Fatuma Sado (Bib F11) Crosses LA Marathon Finish Line

At 20 years of age, Fatuma Sado completed her fourth marathon, and her first in Los Angeles. The Ethiopian distance runner knelt to the ground just seconds after crossing the finish line.

Fatuma Sado LA MarathonFatuma Sado puts her forehead on the pavement at 2012 LA Marathon

In the 2011 Istanbul Marathon, Sado at a time of 2:28:01. For the Los Angeles Marathon, the women’s elite runners had a 17:31 head start against the men’s division. Misikir Mekonnin was the next elite women’s runner to cross the finish line.

Misiker Mekonnin Los Angeles Marathon 2012Misiker Mekonnin 2nd Place Finish at Los Angeles Marathon 2012

Misiker Mekonnin is also from Ethiopia but currently lives in Albuquerque New Mexico. She finished with a time of 2 hours 28 minutes and 9 seconds (02:28:09). For the men, it was 31-year-old Simon Njoroge of Kenya, taking first place in the 26.2 mile race.

Simon Njoroge 2012 Los Angeles MarathonSimon Njoroge breaks tape at 2012 Los Angeles Marathon

Simon Njoroge broke the tape and finished with a time of 2 hours 12 minutes and 12 seconds. The race began at Dodger Stadium and finished in Santa Monica, near the corner of California Street and Ocean Avenue. Many of us were prepared for rain but the weather stayed clear, although it was windy at times. During a post race interview, several of the elite runners said the weather felt as if it had turned cooler as they came into the final miles of the race. Winds picked up on the Santa Monica shoreline for runners making their way towards the finish line.

Fatuma Sado and Simon NjorogeFatuma Sado and Simon Njoroge at 2012 Los Angeles Marathon

Fatuma Sado and Simon Njoroge answered questions and posed for photos at a post race meeting with media. Congratulations to everyone that participated in the 2012 Los Angeles Marathon. I’ve posted a 2012 LA Marathon Photo Set to Flickr. If you ran in the race, or you know someone who participated, check the photos and feel free download and enjoy them. Photo credits are appreciated.

Cheers Los Angeles!

Costco Closed on the Following Holidays

Costco is closed for seven major holidays in the United States. Those holidays are New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

This may be the most useful post I’ve made so far this year. At least for me, since nearly every week I shop at Costco for my office supplies and other items. I was at Costco Wholesale today in Marina del Rey and noticed a new sign at the front entrance. I thought I’d snap a pic and share it.

Costco closed the following holidaysCostco closed the following holidays

For 2012, the only holiday that has passed so far is New Year’s Day. My first question when looking at the sign was when is Easter Sunday? A quick search online and I found this year Easter Sunday is on Sunday, April 8, 2012 (in the USA).

Here’s a bullet list of all the Costco holiday closures along with dates for 2012.

  • New Year’s Day – January 1, 2012
  • Easter – Sunday, April 8, 2012
  • Memorial Day – Monday, May 28, 2012
  • Independence Day – July 4, 2012 (a.k.a. Fourth of July)
  • Labor Day – Monday, September 3, 2012
  • Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 22, 2012
  • Christmas Day – Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Memorial Day holiday and the Labor Day holiday are always on Mondays, and in the US, Thanksgiving Day is always on a Thursday. This year Independence Day (4th of July) is on a Wednesday, and hopefully I’ll remember to avoid the crowds at Costco on the days before the Fourth of July.

Christmas is on a Tuesday in 2012, so you can only imagine that all Costco Wholesale warehouses open worldwide, are going to be as busy as ever on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Christmas. Having shopped at Costco nearly 2 decades now, I’ve discovered it’s part science and part luck, to avoid crowds while shopping.

While I’m at it, here’s the list of Costco Wholesale 2013 closed holiday dates.

  • New Year’s Day – Tuesday, January 1, 2013
  • Easter – Sunday, March 31, 2013
  • Memorial Day – Monday, May 27, 2013
  • Independence Day – Thursday, July 4, 2013
  • Labor Day – Monday, September 2, 2013
  • Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 28, 2013
  • Christmas Day – Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hope you found this helpful, have a great day!

A Kink in Google’s New SafeSearch Filtering?

I think there’s a kink in Google’s new SafeSearch filtering.

I blogged the other day about new image related search quality highlights being rolled out by Google. One of those changes was improved detecting of adult content in image search, which should provide better filtering of objectionable material when SafeSearch is selected. It’s likely a welcome change for many users, but I suspect some expert SEOs would claim Google’s algorithmic changes, near always result in innocent website casualties.

In the example for this post, we see that types of hairstyle images can get caught in Strict SafeSearch filters, resulting in significantly different images displaying for users.

hairstyles unfiltered google image searchA hairstyles image search with SafeSearch off

Take a look at where the green arrow points to see the particular hairstyles searched. The screen shot shows a collection of 18 hairstyle related images, all that I’d consider safe to be viewed. At least 5 of the images appear to be of children, and it looks to me like a good representation fitting the search query. Note that SafeSearch off is selected. Look what happens when SafeSearch Strict is turned on.

google safesearch hairstyles filteredHairstyles image search results

A single keyword has been filtered from the search because Google SafeSearch is active, and the difference in results should be obvious to anyone. Among the innocent victims here are the 304,000+ results that have been filtered, none of which now likely appear among the 47 million plus results when hairstyles is searched.

You could argue that all one has to do is turn the SafeSearch filter off but schools, librarys, government offices, and many corporate environments, may have the safe version of image search locked at the strictest setting.

To correct this issue, Google can either further tweak the SafeSearch algorithm, or those wanting to appear in safe search will have to begin using different terminology when naming hairstyle photographs and images.

brown auburn gold corkscrew hairstyle Misty StoneMisty Stone Corkscrew Hairstyle

Model Misty Stone, has a brown and auburn (with highlights of gold) corkscrew hairstyle, and a great smile. If I want this image to have a chance appearing in safe image search, I’m going to have to be careful how I title and describe it. Believe it or not, some of the images filtered in the example I shared, were removed because a comment was left using the term Google filters as offensive.

Alternatives terms one could use include:

  • Springy Corkscrew Curls Hairstyles
  • Natural Curly Hairstyles
  • Natural Hair Curly Hairstyles
  • Type 4B Hairstyles

For more on the topic of non-adult only content being filtered by SafeSearch, read the 2003 Harvard Law School Study Empirical Analysis of Google SafeSearch, it’s old but covered in great detail.