Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hello Google!

I'm happy to report that Google has finally discovered the needle in the Internet haystack. It seems that the world's biggest search engine began listing direct links to the site yesterday--12 days after PoetsandQuants went live.

Interestingly, unlike Bing, the direct link shows up as the fourth result on page one after you Google "poetsandquants." The first mention? A blogger from India who noted that a post of his was on our site. The second and third results point to the Twitter feed for the site. And then finally, in the fourth place, is the direct link.

Thank you, Google!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bing vs. Google: Guess Who Wins?

It's now been ten days since the launch of our first website--PoetsandQuants--in the network. Thanks much to everyone who suggested ways to get noticed by Google's mysterious algorithms. There were quite a few very good ideas, some of which I put into effect. Thanks to a suggestion, for example, I have now submitted my URL for PoetsandQuants directly to Google as well as Google News. Several days later, I did the same at both Bing and at Yahoo. Interestingly, Yahoo tries to make this a business, charging newcomers to the web $299 for expedited service, or more if you sell porn.

I haven't heard from any of them, except Google News, which rejected my URL in a computer-generated email on the basis that we don't produce news, even though new stories and features go up daily. Oh well.......

So what has happened since my last post a week ago now that we've been live for ten full days? Type in "PoetsandQuants" in Google's search box and what do you get now? Not a single direct link to the site (see below), at least through the first ten pages of results (I just couldn't put myself through the trouble of digging deeper). You can find PoetsandQuants on the first page of results but only because of our Twitter feed, Facebook page, YouTube channel or coverage of our launch (we were written about by BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, MediaBistro, MINonline, among many others. Strangely, a blogger from Pune, India, who wrote a post on how we published something from him, appears as the fifth item on page one--well ahead the stories by The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek. One improvement from the last time we did this a week ago: the weblog link for Viagra fell to page nine from page five and now resides with all kinds of other irrelevant results, including links from

Google the headline of the most-read story on the site to date: "Our New MBA Ranking of the Top 50 U.S. Schools." What comes up? No direct links from Google. The page one results do include a link to Tweetmeme, which obviously swept up Tweets on the story, and there's a section Google now calls "Results from People in Your Social Circle," that grabs posts from Facebook and Twitter.

So let's try Googling the latest article published on PoetsandQuants just this afternoon: "My Story: From an Army Ranger in Iraq to Harvard Business School." You already know the answer. Google has no direct links to the story or the site. Yes, the search engine did pick up our Facebook post along with a tweet that is, respectively, the number one and two results on the first page. So at least you can find it, even if it's not a direct hit.

What about Bing? We tried PoetsandQuants and a direct link immediately pops up as the number one result on page one (see below). We tried "Our New MBA Ranking of the Top 50 Schools" and Bing serves a direct link to the story as its first result on page one, even ahead of the BusinessWeek rankings which have been around since 1988. How about the latest story about the Harvard MBA who was an Army Ranger in Iraq? You guessed it. Bing provides a direct link to the piece, again the number one result on the page. Obviously, Yahoo Search delivers the same results because it's now powered by Bing.

Colleagues have told me that it could easily take Google 45 days to find our site. So perhaps I have at least another 35 days to wait. But somehow Bing already has found the needle in the Internet haystack. I'm surprised by the speed and the quality of their search results as much as I am mystified by Google's inability to deliver on the expectation that it is the world's leading search engine.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Google? Where are you?

Monday of this week was a big day for me. I launched, the first in a network of niche business websites. The site is devoted to the coverage of MBAs and graduate business education. One of the most fascinating aspects of our debut is what Google has been able to discover, or fail to find, about the site. First off, a little background. This is not a blog, but a website chock full of stories, analysis, photographs, and video. It's updated daily. It has been written about by BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal. It has been heavily supported via social media with a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn group, and a YouTube channel.

So what do you find when you Google "poetsandquants?" Not a single mention of the actual website. On page one of Google's results, you'll find links to my Twitter feed, to this blog, to the blog of an MBA applicant who has been featured on the site, and finally in the top five, a link to my YouTube channel. In sixth place is a bogus operation called that offers an entirely inaccurate report on the site generated by an algorithm. In the seventh and eight spots are links to a press release about the launch of PoetsandQuants. In the ninth and tenth places are links to and, sites that track and aggregate tweets. Still not a single link to the actual site I've created.

It gets worse. As you go through the first five pages of Google results, there are all kinds of websites that have essentially highjacked Google, rendering its search product less useful and helpful to users. There's a so-called weblog that is little more than a place to advertise Viagra and Cialis. There's links to TweetMeme, Interceder, tweetcepts, twapperkeeper, rallyclips, and whotechpunditstweet, among many others. Most of them are search traps that have gamed Google. There's even a link to one fool who has no idea who I am yet calls me a "douchebag"  on page three of Google's results for PoetsandQuants. (See the screenshot below to get a real glimpse of how bad Google's results are.) Get through the first ten pages of results and there is still not a direct link to the site.

I then Googled (don't you hate that it has become a verb?) the headline to the most popular story on the site for the past three days: "Our New MBA Ranking of the Top 50 Schools." There's TweetMeme again in the first two results, Friendfeed in the second, Twitter in the fourth and fifth spots, and finally Facebook in the sixth position. Not a single direct link to the site that reported, wrote, edited and published the story.

A lot of the coverage of PoetsandQuants is devoted to MBA rankings due to their popularity and controversy. For the launch, we not only published the new ranking referred to above. We also published a ranking of the top 30 schools outside the U.S., and even an analysis of the rankings cranked out by BusinessWeek, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Financial Times, and The Economist, ranking the rankings. For the debut alone, there were a dozen different stories on MBA rankings. So naturally, I Googled "MBA rankings." Not surprisingly, there's not a single link to PoetsandQuants in the first ten pages of results. I didn't bother to look much after that, I confess.

Now, it's not that I'm unaware of the importance of search engine maximization (SEO). When I was editor-in-chief at, we had a full-time SEO expert on staff. I worked closely with my web developer on SEO issues for the WordPress platform we're built on. As I created the content for the site, I was careful to write simple headlines and multiple tags to allow Google to find all the information on the site.

So where is Google? I don't have a clue. Luckily, our traffic has been impressive out of the gate, thanks to the BusinessWeek and Wall Street Journal mentions, and all the attention we've paid to social media. Twitter and Facebook, in particular, are delivering amazing numbers of people to PoetsandQuants. Every day, the traffic sets another new record. As for Google, nothing. This goes to the quality of Google's primary product: search. If Google can't find PoetsandQuants or any of the stories published on the site, I wonder how many other legitimate, substantive efforts are also going undiscovered because Google's algorithms have been so effectively gamed.

Or am I judging Google unfairly? Does the mother of all search engines take a lot longer to find that needle in the haystack that PoetsandQuants obviously is.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Finally! I'm sending this release to media friends today. Debuts as First in a New Network of Business Websites Created by former BusinessWeek and Fast Company Editor

C-Change Media Co. will debut the first in a network of business websites and social networks with the Aug. 9th launch of, a site devoted to the coverage of graduate business school education.

“With PoetsandQuants, our goal is to become the go-to place for serious applicants to the best MBA programs in the world,” said John A. Byrne, chairman of C-Change Media and editor-in-chief of PoetsandQuants. “It’s also the very first of what we expect to be a network of at least a dozen sites and hundreds of bloggers serving important business niches, from doing business in China, to entrepreneurs who use disruptive business models for competitive advantage.”

Each C-Change site will rely on an editorial approach that uses original content, the curation of must-read stories and blog posts from around the world on the specific topic, as well as a serious community of users. “Those are the three Cs in C-Change that will differentiate what we do from others,” said Byrne. “But the most crucial difference is that we will produce stories, features and information that is highly creative, thoughtful and substantive, as well as meaningful for our readers. The mission of PoetsandQuants is to help people make one of the most important, and ultimately most expensive, decisions in their professional careers.”

PoetsandQuants is a natural starting point for Byrne, formerly executive editor of BusinessWeek magazine, editor-in-chief of, and editor-in-chief of Fast Company. As BusinessWeek’s management editor, he created the first regularly published rankings of business schools in 1988, authored four editions of BusinessWeek’s Guidebook to the Best Business Schools, and built out the brand’s business school franchise on the web in the mid-1990s.

Each site will aggressively employ a social media strategy to attract and retain a large target audience. PoetsandQuants, for example, is launching with pages, feeds and channels on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. The site also will use targeted advertising on Facebook to attract users.

Debut stories on PoetsandQuants:

# The most authoritative ranking of the top 50 U.S. business schools ever published.

# The most authoritative ranking of the top 30 non-U.S. business schools ever published.

# A ranking of the rankings of the best schools that closely examines and explains the flaws in the methodologies of every major full-time MBA list.

# School vs. school comparisons that highlight the cultural and numerical differences, as well as strengths and weaknesses between schools that compete against each other for the best applicants.

# A new social network for MBA applicants and MBA students at the best schools, with community groups on such topics as social entrepreneurship and post-MBA dreams and hopes.

About PoetsandQuants:

PoetsandQuants is a self-funded venture of Corte Madera, CA-based C-Change Media, although the company plans to raise capital from outside sources as it expands its network of business sites and bloggers. For the launch, C-Change has partnered with San Francisco-based Higher Edge Marketing Services and New York-based Knewton GMAT prep for advertising, marketing and some editorial content. The site was developed by Chicago-based Sandbox Development and Consulting Inc., and designed by Yellow Farm Studios.