The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Domino’s YouTube Video and the Ripple Effect on Fast Food Restaurants

The infamous Domino's YouTube video and its impact on fast food.My guess is that you’ve heard about the appalling Domino's YouTube video by now. It’s the one featuring two employees performing some disgusting acts to ingredients as they prepare orders for customers. For example, one employee sticks pieces of cheese up his nose while making a sandwich with that very cheese. And if you watch the video, it only goes downhill from there. The employees then decided to upload the video to YouTube for the entire world to see. You know, because nobody visits YouTube, so they probably wouldn't get in trouble, right? :) The videos (which I won’t link to from this post) went viral, which ignited a PR firestorm for Domino’s on a massive scale. Patrick Doyle, the President of Domino’s, released his own YouTube video explaining more about the situation, but the damage had been done. The two employees have been charged with felonies for food tampering, and I believe Domino’s is considering filing a civil suit against them (although what could you really get other than a moral victory.)

I've been asked at least one hundred times over the past few weeks what I think the impact will be on the Domino's brand? Will the incident impact sales? How long before people forget about it? Is it already over? These are all great questions, but I unfortunately don't have a crystal ball. That said, you don't have a to be a Harvard MBA to know this will impact sales, it has tarnished the brand, and it will ultimately lead to poor business results (at least in the short term). And yes, this was all done by two people (jerks) who are now learning a hard lesson...but unfortunately at the expense of Domino's.

Becoming Part of the Domino’s Case Study
Let’s see how an incident like this really impacts a brand and a business. It's one thing to project how this will impact sales, the brand, etc. and it's another thing to become part of the case study. Last Thursday I ended up taking a later train home from New York and knew I wouldn’t have much time to make dinner. As I was ready to get off my train, I decided that I would quickly pick something up on my way home. I got off the train and knew there were a few fast food restaurants right by the train station. This is where it got interesting.

As recently as a few weeks ago, I would have no problem making a quick stop at one of the fast food restaurants to pick up some dinner. But this time was different. The first thought that hit me was of the two Domino’s employees messing with the food they were preparing. I feel horrible saying that, but that image was simply the first thing that came to mind. I could not for the life of me get that image out of my head. As I walked to my car, I couldn’t get over it. That's when I pulled out my Blackberry and ended up ordering a much more expensive dinner from a restaurant in my area (even though I knew that I would have to wait 20-30 minutes to pick it up.) Yes, I decided to spend four times the amount of money and wait an extra 20-30 minutes in order to avoid fast food restaurants. As I waited for my food at the restaurant, I started to think about how many other people this might have happened to. How many people were about to order from Domino’s, stop off at Taco Bell, visit a Burger King, and then thought of the infamous Domino’s YouTube video? How much revenue has Domino’s lost? And beyond Domino’s, how much revenue is being lost by the fast food category based on what happened? I believe there is a ripple effect from the Domino’s incident.

Could It Happen Anywhere?
Listen, I'm not naive enough to think that more expensive restaurants are free from food tampering. But, I did work in restaurants growing up and I know what an Executive Chef is like... Most are fanatical about their kitchen and their reputation. They run a tight ship and would probably physically harm anyone on their staff that pulled the sort of stunt that the two Domino’s employees pulled. So, when I thought about where to buy my dinner, I went with the higher end restaurant with the Executive Chef who would saute any person who thinks it’s funny to stick cheese up his nose and use it while preparing a dinner (or worse). I’m sorry Domino’s, I really am, but I'm not sure I can get over this so quickly...

How Many Glenn's Are Out There And How Much Money Is Being Lost?
Let’s say there were 50,000 people in the United States like me who decided to bypass fast food restaurants for lunch or dinner. Next, let’s estimate that they would have spent ~$25 per month. That’s probably a few meals at a fast food restaurant.

50,000 people x $25 per month x 12 months would be $15 million in lost revenue per year.

That’s a lot of dough, no pun intended. So the two ex-Domino’s employees could be responsible for approximately $15 million dollars in lost revenue annually. And that doesn’t take into account the damage to the brand… Amazing, isn’t it?

In closing, I feel horrible for Domino’s. They don’t deserve this. In addition, I’m not sure their competitors are benefiting either… If there are others like me, and I’m sure there are, they are running for the hills when thinking about fast food. Personally, I’d rather dish out more money and wait on longer lines to ensure I have an Executive Chef overseeing the preparation of my dinner. How about you?

Post a quick comment below and let me know.


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Thursday, April 23, 2009

What To Do When You've Been Labeled An Attack Site By Google, My Guest Post About Malware on Search Engine Journal

Steps to take when your site has been labeled an attack site that contains malware.Imagine you wake up one morning and notice a significant drop in traffic to your website. You dig deeper in your analytics package and notice that search traffic from Google is down (as part of the larger overall drop). You start checking rankings for keywords that drive a lot of traffic to your site and notice that you still are ranking…but there’s a slight addition to your listing in the SERPs:

“This site may harm your computer.”

Yes, Google has labeled you as an attack site! It gets worse, though. When you are identified as an attack site that contains malware, Firefox 3.x users will be redirected to an interstitial page warning them about your site. Not good, right? Between the new line in your search listing, an interstitial page presented by Google, and another presented by Firefox, you can experience a serious negative impact on your traffic levels (and revenue levels.)

Needless to say, you would want to tackle the problem quickly and efficiently. But where do you start? Well, that’s the focus of my guest post on Search Engine Journal, which went live yesterday. To learn more about the attack site situation, including steps to resolve the problem, you’ll have to visit my post on SEJ! :)

My guest post:
Yes, You’re An Attack Site That Contains Malware, Now Here’s What To Do About It

If you have dealt with attack site or malware situations, please post a comment either here or on my post on Search Engine Journal. I’d love to hear how you handled the problem and how you cleared your website’s name!


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

YouTube Ranking Factors: Additional Factors That Can Increase Your Rankings, My Guest Post on ReelSEO

YouTube Ranking Factors and Going Beyond Titles and Tags
As some of you know, I covered Search Engine Strategies New York (SES NY) a few weeks ago via twitter and blogging. Each year, one of my favorite sessions at SES is Video SEO. Since I have a lot of experience with video seo projects, I enjoy hearing from the panelists and comparing their advice to my own findings. This year, Greg Markel from Infuse Creative focused on YouTube ranking factors. Greg knows his stuff and his past presentations were top notch. This year was no different. In addition, Matthew Liu from YouTube was part of the session, so it was interesting to watch Matthew's reaction as Greg made his case. :)

Going beyond views, titles, and tags...
Whenever you discuss optimizing YouTube videos, most people think about titles, descriptions and tags. But as Greg pointed out, that's only part of the equation. There are many other factors that can impact your rankings on YouTube, including several community factors. This actually makes complete sense when you break it down. For example, views, ratings, comments, channel views, subscribers, age of video, inbound links, etc. Needless to say, this intrigued me...

So based on Greg's presentation and my obsession with testing everything in online marketing, I decided to take a closer look at the factors that contribute to YouTube rankings. That's when I decided to visit YouTube and conduct some research. To learn what I found, you'll have to hop over to ReelSEO and read my guest post! :) The only thing I'll say here is that I believe Greg is on to something...


PS I'd love to hear your feedback. How are your YouTube videos ranking? Have you analyzed your competition on YouTube? Definitely feel free to post a comment on ReelSEO or just post it here. Now check out my guest post! :)

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hacked Gmail Accounts: What To Do If Your Gmail Account Is Compromised By Hackers

How to recover your gmail account after it has been hacked.The morning of March 2nd started out fairly normally. I moved quickly to get ready and jumped on my computer to check email, twitter, my feeds, etc. So I launched Outlook and happened to see an email from one of my good friends Matt Leonard (or @mjleonard if you are on Twitter). He's a great guy and a smart marketer so we're in touch often. The email was sent from Matt's gmail account and the subject line communicated the urgency of his message.

Apparently, Matt flew to Nigeria the night before to attend the Tinapa Opening Ceremony. {???} He ended up staying at a hotel, which was attacked by armed robbers. {OK...} They took all of his money and his wallet. {???} His email explained that he needed money badly, to the tune of $1500 so he could settle his hotel bill. {LOL} He seemed very scared and he emphasized that he needed the money sent as soon as possible. As you can imagine, I was genuinely concerned for Matt... {sarcasm}

Yes, Matt's gmail account had been hacked and I'm sure many people received the same email I did. Here was the original email:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: *****URGENT REPLY NEEDED *********

I am in a hurry writing this message, I had a trip to West Africa *NIGERIA* on visiting the TINAPA OPENING CEREMONY, Unfortunately for me all my money got stolen at the hotel where i lodged from the attack of some armed robbers.Right now,I'm without money and I'm even owing the hotel here, the hotel telephone service is disconnected,i have only access to emails,my mobile phone can't work here so i didn't bring it along, please can you lend me $1500 so i can return back and settle the hotel bills i would return it back to you as soon as i get home, I am so confused right now.You can have it sent through western union money transfer. My passport is with the Embassy here so i cant use my name to collect it now, But you can have it sent directly to a western union Manager here and i would get it through him as he helps the people here in the hotel to receive the money, I have already spoken to him, please let me hear from you so i can collect his full name and address where you can send the money tomorrow please,or if possible today. I am waiting for your reply.

Thank you. I look forward to your positive response.



OK, this was absolutely ridiculous, but being the good friend I am, I still wanted to reach out to Matt as soon as possible to let him know what was going on. I was pretty confident he didn't know yet. Now, I didn’t know if his actual account was taken over. I simply thought that someone was blasting out emails using his address as the sender. There’s a difference between the two. So, I created a new email (which was sent to his gmail account) informing him that his email address had been compromised. Unfortunately, that was the only email address I had for Matt...

It was a brief email that looked like this:


Hi Matt.

I just received a spam email from your gmail acct. Not sure if it's
widespread or not, but wanted to let you know.

It was one of those Nigerian schemes.

Let me know if you have any questions.



It was only a few minutes when I received an email back from Matt. My guess was that he wanted to quickly thank me for notifying him of the scam. I opened the email and was shocked to see that the original email from Matt wasn't a joke! Matt was in fact in Nigeria at a hotel and needed money. {sarcasm yet again}

You see, “Matt” actually responded to my email!

Holy smokes, the scammers who hacked Matt's gmail were answering emails right from his account! I'll admit it, that creeped me out. Read their response to my email below:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: Re: Email Spam
To: Glenn Gabe


Its not a scam mail, i am really there now. i need you to help me with $1500, i shall pay you as soon as a i return. i hope to read from you asap. below is the info where the money will be sent to....


So, I direct messaged Matt via Twitter notifying him of the hack, this time using only 140 characters or less. :) Before long, I received a DM back from Matt that he was handling the situation. He thanked me, and got back to fixing the problem. So, after Matt recovered his gmail account (and after he got pummeled by jokes on Twitter), I asked him about the steps he took to recover his gmail account.

After this happened to Matt, I asked myself if I would know what to do... I really didn't. I'm sure I would eventually figure it out, but I didn't know the exact steps. So with Matt's assistance, I decided to write this post to document the steps you should take to recover your gmail account after it has been compromised.

So in Matt’s own words, here’s how to handle the situation:

The process was pretty simple.

First, from the Gmail login page, select "I can not access my account".

Gmail, I cannot access my account.

Second, select the radio button "My account has been compromised". This will show a new prompt below "Please fill out our account recovery form to help us process your request as quickly as possible". Follow that link.

Gmail, my account has been compromised.

From the Account Recovery page, select "I believe someone has taken over my account" and fill out as much information as possible.

In my case, Google had contacted me pretty quickly via my alternate email with instructions to reset my password. {Glenn: Make sure your alternate email is active. You can check this from your Google account settings. You can also add additional email addresses just in case.}

Some other useful notes from Matt:
I'm not sure how someone hacked my gmail account. I did make a mistake by using the same password on way too many things. My main passwords are now individually unique. Passwords I set up for vendor accounts are no longer the same as I would use for other more sensitive services, like online banking.

Matt’s Tips to Protect to Your Logins:
1. Avoid unsecured networks
2. Don't use the same password everywhere.
3. Don't duplicate your email password with any login elsewhere (if you do, someone can use your email to login to your other accounts).
4. Change passwords periodically.
5. Don't share your passwords with anyone. Even if they're not going to abuse it, they may not store it properly.
6. Know where you enter passwords. 3rd party Twitter apps that require passwords are a perfect example of sites that people will enter their password without much familiarity aside from a tweet referral.


So there you have it. If you wake up one morning and everyone is asking how and why you checked into a Nigerian Hotel, forgot your wallet, ran up a $1500 bill, and now need money, you'll know how to handle it. :) And definitely feel free to connect with Matt on Twitter. It's ok to joke around with him about the situation. He's a nice guy and has handled the jokes with grace. But don't go too far, he can bench press 375 pounds and used to be a minor league hockey player. ;-)


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