As all the navel gazing that occurs on this blog about quality score and match types suggests, it’s hard to deny that I’m a search geek.
I’m not particularly proud of it, but it’s part of my job.
Another element of my job is creating awareness for ClickEquations, as a product and a brand.
So when our friends and competitors at Marin Software held their 2nd Annual ‘Search Geek’ contest, it seemed a great opportunity.
The plan was simple: I would slip into the contest, win, and then enjoy the humor and publicity of having been the founder of a competitive product and the winner of the Marin Software contest.
It didn’t turn out that way.
With about 30 minutes to spare in the month-long event, taking a few minute break from Olympic Bobsledding, I sat down and signed in.
Now I’ll admit that the part of the plan about winning was based on pure ego and really was more of a belief that I had at least had a shot at winning.
Objectively, I know a tremendous amount about paid search, with an emphasis on the trivial and esoteric elements of how the systems and options work. I clearly have my areas of weakness – I focus mostly on Google, don’t have a ton of experience managing international campaigns, have some mathematical limits based on a childhood trauma, and only dabble in the content and placement networks.
I know there are at least one or two dozen folks out there (maybe way more) who would likely cream me on a real comprehensive test. Geddes, Szetela, Conner, Michie, and others come quickly to mind and there are certainly many others that I haven’t met. But I figured most of them aren’t likely to enter, and this is just a little game, so why not. I could win.
And then the questions started.
- The test was hard.
- It was well conceived.
- It was diverse in scope.
- And it was fun.
But 3 or 4 minutes in, my delusion of winning was gone. I was guessing here and there, straining to figure out answers in what seemed like way too much time, and generally being humbled as a search geek.
My downfall wasn’t what I’d consider the core paid search stuff, but the history of Google, questions about tags from display and analytics vendors I’d never used, some international stuff, etc. All fair questions for the way the contest was designed and promoted.
Oh Well. I emailed news of my failure to the few folks who knew of my plan.
So I was surprised yesterday to get the email.
It said that I’d made the top 50 out of 1200 participants. It turns out I came in 31st. Better than most but below 30 others.
My hearty congratulations to Tim Ossmo (the winner), and other 30 who showed me that I really need to spend more time learning about search 🙂
And thanks to Marin Software + SearchEngineLand for designing and running a fun event.
PS: I am geek enough to have written an ebook about paid search.
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