My new friend and fellow Yahoo! Store Developer Rob Snell was invited by a director at Yahoo! Small Business to testify in front of Congress at a hearing of the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Small Business about Online Advertising. His preperation and written testimony was easy-to-read and Rob published it here at Search Engine Land. You should definitely read that first.
Now that’ he’s back and rested, with a fresh .gov link in his pocket, I thought I’d ask him a few short questions about how it went, what it was like as an experience, and what he thought it meant for search marketing’s future.
Scott: We had lunch at SMX Advanced and know you’ve been on the road pretty much since then. I want to thank you for carving out a few minutes with me.
Rob: Not a problem!
Scott: The public has had a difficult time understanding search marketing. Did you feel that the assembled panel truly understood the industry?
Rob: Yep. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, especially. He understands the overall concepts from top to bottom. Was asking good questions about the specific applications. Lynn Westmoreland, too. I think the DUMMIES material helped, but these guys were sharp.
Scott: Did you stick to your written testimony? If not, what areas did you expand on?
Rob: Written testimony was 5 minutes. Q&A ran almost 2 hours. You can watch highlights on Youtube.
Scott: What other types of testimonies did you hear on the panel?
Rob: It was a good panel. I was able to talk about Gun Dog Supply, our family’s web store. There was a content guy who runs Adsense, Askthebuilder.com’s Tim Carter, who really has his act together. The Retailer of the group was SkyFacet.com, and their CEO and Founder Paul Sanar (23 years old) does 5x the volume we do, which speaks volumes. Randall Rothenberg was there as head of the Interactive Advertising Bureau and represents Web publishers and advertisers and was very, very knowledgeable. Lastly, Richard Lent, CEO of AgencyNet NYC brought extremely well-rounded knowledge, mostly from working with upper end clients. They were all well-prepared.
Questions Asked To Rob
- How do retailers deal with all these keywords?
- Would I sell my keyword lists?
- How can small firms get into buying paid search ads?
- How easy is it to get online? And launch paid search ads?
- Are you afraid of Google’s domination in the search engines?
- What are the differences in free search and paid search?
- What did we think Congress should do? What should Congress NOT do?
- For more… click on Rob’s wrapup
Scott: Coming out of it, how did the SEM industry fare in the minds of the audience?
Rob: Great! It was more SEM in general and paid search than SEO. The panel was ONLINE ADVERTISING and SEO was a small part of that. Personally, I was afraid that the “SEO is snake oil” problem would rear its head, and the only negative I heard was the “I paid an SEO $35,000 and I got banned from Google” horror story, but IMHO dude should have done his homework before paying that kind of cash to an SEO.
Scott: What do you think the SEM industry could learn from what you heard?
Rob: Google needs to be careful. Congress can step in at any moment and regulate our industry if they think they need to do so. Kinda scary!
Scott: Cool Rob, I’ll look forward to your wrap up later. Get some rest!
For more… click on Rob’s wrapup