Domain Moving Day the Key Relevance Way

Domain Moving Day the Key Relevance Way

So, you’re gonna change hosting providers. In many cases, moving the content of the site is as easy as zipping up the content and unzipping it on the new server. There is another aspect of moving the domain that many people over look: DNS.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the translation service that converts your domain name (e.g. to the corresponding IP address. When you move hosting companies, it’s like changing houses, if you don’t set up the Change of Address information correctly, you might have some visitors going to the old address for a while. Proper handling of the changes to DNS records makes this transition time as short as possible.

Let’s assume that you are changing hosting, and the new hosting company is going to start handling the Authoritative DNS for the domain. The first step is to configure the new hosting company as the authority. This should best be done a couple or more days before the site moves to the new location.

What does “Authoritative DNS” mean?
There are a double-handful of servers (known as the Root DNS servers) whose purpose is to keep track of who is keeping track of the IP addresses for a domain. Rather than them handling EVERY DNS request, they only keep track of who is the authoritative publisher of the DNS information for each domain. In other words, they don’t know your address, but they tell you who does know it.

If we tell the Root level DNS servers that the authority is changing, this information may take up to 48 hours to propagate throughout the internet. By changing the authority without changing the IP addresses, then while visiting browsers are making requests during this transition, both the old authority and the new authority will agree on the address (so no traffic gets forwarded before you move).

Shortening the Transition
The authoritative DNS servers want to minimize their load, so every time they send out an answer to a request address for a given domain, they put an expiration date on it. This is called the “Time To Live”, or TTL. By default, most DNS servers set the domain TTL to 14,400 86,400 seconds, which equals 1 day (thanks Andrew). Thus, when a visitor requests the address of the authoritative DNS, it returns the IP address and says “and don’t bother asking again for 24 hours.” This can cause problems during the actual transition, since the old address might continue to be accessed for a whole day after the address has changed.

The Day Before the Move
Since the new hosting company is the authority, they can shorten the TTL to a much shorter value. We recommend that 15 minutes (900 seconds) is a good compromise TTL value during the transition time.

Moving Day
When you are ready to make the switch, have the new DNS servers change the IP information to the new address(es). Since the TTL was set to 15 minutes, very quickly the other DNS servers on the ‘net will be asking for the IP address of the domain. They will be provided with this info, and the switchover will happen much more quickly than if the authority had not changed. Once the new site is live and you have verified nothing is horribly wrong, you can change the TTL on the new DNS servers back to 1 day. If on the other hand, something IS wrong with the new site, you can change the DNS back to the old IP address and within 15 minutes most if not all traffic should be back to the old servers. We also recommend changing the old DNS info to point to the new IP address as a precaution, but if you follow these steps, most of the traffic should have already trasnsitioned to the new DNS servers.

A Bug in BIND
There is a bug in some versions of the BIND program (which executes the DNS translation). This bug will cause a DNS server to continue to ask the same authoritative DNS server for the info as long as he is willing to give it. To complete the transition cleanly, you need to turn the DNS records for the domain off in the old DNS servers. This will cause it to generate an error, which in turn will cause the requesting DNS server to ask the Root level servers for the new authority. Until you make this change, there is still a chance that some traffic will continue to visit the old domain.

Change of Address Forms
The USPS offers a Change of Address kit to help make moving your house easier. Below is the Key Relevance Change of Address Checklist that may make you site’s transition painless.




Key Relevance Domain Change of Address Checklist

2+ Days Pre-Move
Set up new DNS servers to serve up the OLD IP addresses

  • – handle old subdomains
  • – handle MX records

Once that is complete, Change Authoritative DNS records to point to new DNS servers.

1 Day before move
On new DNS servers, shorten TTL to 15 min (900 sec)

Moving Day
On New DNS Servers

  • – Change IP Addresses to new server
  • – Change TTL to 1 day (86,400 sec), or whatever the default TTL is once you are sure all is OK

On Old DNS Servers

  • – Change IP Addresses to new server to catch DNS stragglers

2 Days Post Move (or when convenient)

  • – Remove DNS records from OLD DNS servers (assuming they are still up)

Google Position Preference is Dead…Long Live Position Preference

On April 4th, 2011, Google announced they are retiring the Position Preference Bidding option in May 2011. If you want to emulate the Position Preference option, you can set up two rules (per campaign, adgroup, or KW, depending on your needs) to control the bidding. The downside is that the bidding adjustments are done at most 1 time per day (but see below) and managing the rules in AdWords is a little clunky.

KeyRelevance’s Recommendations:

  1. Use CPA Bidding instead, if that is an option.
  2. Make small adjustments (e.g. 5-10%, $0.05 – $0.10)
  3. Make sure to set upper and lower limits to bound the changes that can be made Continue reading

Sites in adCenter Search Network are High Caliber

As interest in Bing continues, and with the pending launch of the Microsoft/Yahoo paid search partnership, advertising in Microsoft adCenter PPC is becoming more viable. One concern is that adCenter does not allow one to opt-in/opt-out of their Search Network Partners. Here is a breakdown of the big three and their options for Ad Placement. On all three ad platforms, advertising on the Search or Content Network is optional on a campaign-by-campaign basis. Once you decide to use a given network, however, the details begin to vary:
Continue reading

Yahoo’s Ad Delivery Report Helps Tune PPC Campaigns

On 10 Sept 2009, Yahoo launched a new PPC Traffic Quality report that will be a real boon to PPC advertisers wanting to track the effectiveness of their campaigns across the Yahoo Search network. Yahoo provides PPC ads along side search results for both Yahoo properties and other sites that show Yahoo search results (called the Yahoo Search Network, or Search Partners). Since Yahoo does not allow advertisers to opt out of their search network, tracking performance is of paramount importance to making the campaigns successful. The new Ad Delivery Report will Continue reading

Key Relevance Review of eMetrics:’s Joe Megibow Keynote

Joe Megibow of - eMetrics KeynoteI don’t know if I’ve ever seen a keynote be so insightful and revealing about a major internet website as I did when I attended Joe Megibow’s Keynote at the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in Washington DC. Joe is from and the audience was certainly treated to some great insight into listening to the voice of a customer as well as testing and being fanatical about “getting it right”. is quickly approaching its 1 millionth user review. Through reviews and feedback they have learned to both listen and learn to provide what their customer really want, not what what they think their customers need.

Two years ago, was at a crossroads, they were known as the “low cost, cheap operator”, but they wanted to be more. At the beginning of 2008 they launched a re-branding which included re-branding their website. A few weeks ago, they relaunched their search engine which is faster and easier for customer to use. does a lot of analytics through Ominiture. They are fanatical, analytics drives almost everything on their site. However, over the last year they wanted to listen to their customers a little more, but they really had no context. Their good sales were masking the problems that were really happening on the site, so they needed to find another way. They combined “voice of the customer” with analytics in a usable way.

They installed OpinionLab, they got a lot of feedback. What’s even more important, every OpinionLab entry is tied to TeaLeaf. They also installed over 700 phone numbers so that they can measure all of the channels that sales and feedback comes from. All of this transforms

Executives at get feedback everyday, and they use it, they read it. They click on what happens in different issues watch it in TeaLeaf and send their own feedback to the different teams within Everybody has buy in to fix things on They’ve acted on 200 site conversion issues over the last 6 months. The thing to remember is that mistakes are common, everyone has them. But not everyone realizes they have them and on top of that not everyone acts upon their mistakes to correct them.

They had issues with logins. They thought they only had 2 ways to login, but through the customer feedback and watching the sessions being replayed in TeaLeaf, they were able to see that they actually had a third way to login that they never realized they had. This third way was what was creating a big problem. Because of this they added a “book without registering” option. Immediately half of all the customers chose this option! realized by installing the “book without registering” option, they were making it hard for their customers to book. Not only that, customers were not getting any kind of value out of registering with their site. There was a disconnect between how the marketers were thinking about customer conversion. They really needed to give customer a reason to register, a reason to care about their accounts. They introduced – book 10 nights, get 1 night free – “the loyalty program that doesn’t require too much loyalty”.

Joe Megibow of - eMetrics KeynoteThe loyalty program exposed issues they didn’t realize that they had. A customer had an issue with logging in. Joe called her and talked to in detail about what happened. He actually turned her into a fan of But from the conversation Joe also gained valuable insight, apparently something was happening with the loyalty program after booking many nights and getting a bunch of free nights. A certain field was getting wiped out. They looked into this and found thousands of profiles with the same issue and as time was going on, it was getting worse. They fixed the issue within a week.

Customers do not repeatedly make this stuff up. They were getting random reports of issues of their Terms of Service. It was not allowing users to accept it no matter what they tried. It was about 1 person a day, but they were having trouble recreating the problem. When they started looking deeper, they found 40-50 people a day were having this problem, and it had to do with IE. It took a few months of investigating but they fixed it, and now that issues gone and 40-50 more people are converting and booking.

Minor updates can create major issues! One of their updates created issues with the SSL and how cookies were handle. People browse in different ways, a lot of people use the back button. Apparently a lot more than they realized, combine that with the fact they use 4 different servers to service up, when customer were backing out of the SSL are to regular HTML pages, the update was dropping their cookies, and then they had a 1 in 4 chance of getting back to where their were before, if they didn’t hit the right server, their information was dropped. This was very frustrating to their customers, they listened, they used TeaLeaf and corrected it. is fanatical about getting this stuff right. Everyone inside is dedicated to it. Internally they have people just wanting to create mashups, tools and applications to help them make it easier to listen to the customer and fix things that aren’t working right. They built an in-house iPhone application for monitoring the Voice of the Customer since most of their staff was on the iPhone. Over the past months, they’ve seen a substantial increase in conversion because of their efforts. They’ve created a ton of good will and they are winning the cultural shift within internally of doing good by the customer.

eMetrics: Word of Mouth Metrics

Emetrics Word of Mouth Marketing Metrics SessionThe third day of the eMetrics Marketing Summit was chalk full of great information, just as the prior days were. I found myself completely enthralled with everything in the Social Media track, even the Word of Mouth Metrics session. In this session Sandra Ponce de Leon of BuzzLogic and Ann Green of Millward Brown presented some interesting information when it comes to measuring the effects of WOM campaigns.

Sandra Ponce de Leon, BuzzLogic

Social Media Metrics: Measuring Influence to Drive Effective Engagement & Sales

Social media means a lot of different things, it can mean social platforms, social bookmarking, etc. This fact makes measurement challenging, and without measuring where do you know where do you place your marketing dollars. More and more, marketers are having feet to fire – measurable results are demanded!

Reliable Social Media

Blogs: “old timers” in terms of consumer adoption and maturing. Blogs are pretty much mainstream these days. Over 77 million visitors go to blogs which is much more than Facebook or Myspace.

  • 90% of bloggers already talk about brands, 4 out of 5 post product reviews
  • 65% of blog readers seek an opinion when reading blogs
  • half of all blog readers consider bloga as a useful source for information

BuzzLogic offers a SMM platform & Ad network which:

  • measure influential content in social media across any topc and ..
  • serves display and rich media ads on relevant influential sites and / or…
  • makes it easy for brands to engage with content creators directly

Why does measuring influence matter?

  • looking at the influencers you can separate the signal from the noise
  • verifies perceived impact
  • provides insight into the people behind the content
  • facilitates intelligent relationship building
  • focuses traditional online advertising efforts

Social Media Strategies with Influence


  • determining whether the noise is just noise – and focus resource wlsewhere
  • commenting on blogs w/ high impact to steer conversation
  • competitive intel from blogs most influentinal on your customers


  • commenting on blogs w/ high impact
  • cultivating largely unkown but influential bloggers
  • cross-linking relationships from a corp blog to influencers
  • maximizing ad campaign ROI by targeting ads to the most influential sites

Identify “Conversations”
Quantify the “Influencers”
Identify Influencer Networks for Ad Placement

Ann Green Millward Brown,

Framing the Word of Mouth Measurement Discussion

eMetrics Word of Mouth Marketing Metrics SessionTwo types of WOM
1) Buzz – something to talk about, creates curiosity, exogenous
Great example of this is “Will it Blend” – iPhone 3g blended in their blender “buzz based campaigned” it got Bendtech on the Tonight Show (blended a rake handle on the show)
2) Advocacy – driven by product quality, offers proof, endogenous
Great example of this is Google- simple, easy to do, goal was to build a great product, they spent virtually no money on advertising. Google is now a top 10 valued brand.

89% of all marketers told MillwardBrown that they execute integrate marketing campaigns (across all fronts).

Web Analytics tools are critical to measuring online WOM transmission:

  • Audience/Reach/WOM Units
  • Tonality
  • Brand Recommendations
  • Visibility Times
  • Frequency
  • Depth of Dialog

But marketers also want to understand the impact of WOM. Its all about accountability, spending little on WOM. Word of Mouth Marketing does not operate in a vacuum, it’s about understanding its role in the purchase process. However not all Word of Mouth Marketing is all about online, WOM is a hugely influential touchpoint from any medium. In the end marketers need to make the distinction between buzz and advocacy – they build brands in totally different ways.

eMetrics: Google Analytics 6 New Features & Improvements

I think Google’s outdone itself here. Seriously!

I already had a sneak peak this morning at something I knew Google Analytics was changing. I figured “that” was the announcement at the 2 p.m. special session in the ballroom here at eMetrics Marketing Optimzation Summit. Early this morning, I was surprised to run into my friend Avinash Kaushik in front of the WAA booth, because he told me back in August he wouldn’t be here at eMetrics. I had a feeling something “big” was onhand.

I mentioned to Avinash, about the change and asked if that was the announcement. He smiled in his “coy” way and just said “Li, make sure you are in the ballroom at 2!” Needless to say, Avinash doesn’t have to say anything to me twice, I get it. So I was there.

Not 1, not 2, not even 3 features or improvements, they announced 6!

So here’s a quick rundown:
1. Interface changes
2. Adsense Integration
3. Visualization Charts (these are way cool looking)
4. Custom Reports
5. Segmentation
6. API! (this got huge cheers from the audience)

I’ve got video on three of the announcements, I’m working on getting them up to the web, so you can hear Avinash explain it in his own words.

emetrics: Reputation Management & Social Media

Katie Paine at eMetricsI first heard Katie Delahaye Paine speak at Blog Potomac this summer (thanks to Geoff Livingston for bringing her in to that event) and she just amazed me. Few speakers really enthrall me into what they are speaking about, but at that event Katie sure did. When I saw Katie listed as speaking here at eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in Washington DC, I circled that session in red as a must attend and report on.

Katie’s got a wonderful, straight forward, and to the point way of telling an audience “how it is”. Not in a rude way, but in a way that everyone sitting in those seats understood, what’s worth your time to look at and what’s a waste of your time. She’s got an amazing way to relate to audiences and it was certainly reflected in the questions asked when it was time for Q&A.

Katie started out her discussion talking about “reputation”. “The world ‘reputation’ is so 1999,” Katie began. The term that should be used today is ‘conversation’ and / or ‘having a conversation’. Trying to manage your reputation in a social media environment of today, is just plain silly (and futile), you just can’t.

Both PR Coverage and Social Media (it’s better when they are working together) have a big affect on how companies are perceived and in the end a big on affect on what they are doing. They key though, is to measure both what’s work and what’s not working. Companies also need to understand that people are talking online, they are saying and doing things with brands, products & services, whether you are active in the conversation or not.

Katie then presented the audience with some instances where companies were successfully using social media:

  • BestBuy measures 85% lower turnover as a result of its “Blue Shirt” community. 65k of their 85k employees are part of the community, the community has helped retain employees
  • State Farm measures it internal blog by the improvement in morale, they put tent cards on tables in cafeteria, re-branded their blog “ask your CEO” morale scores have gone through the roof – they feel “listened too”. Prior to this, it was just their CEO “talking to himself”, no one read the blog.
  • ASPCA and MADD can track online donations and increased membership back to its pr efforts and social media efforts
  • -Dell measures ROI based on the number of usable ideas generated in Ideastorm
  • -On Twitter a start up company got 100 great marketing ideas for free, a woman raised over 6k in day [I believe this might be Beth Canter, but Katie didn’t elaborate, Katie has a session I’ll have a wrap up of on SMG] and a wooden toy maker in NH got a nationwide contract
  • -$0 budget YouTube videos about Barack Obama were seen by 120 time the audience than Hilary Clinton’s video

So how do you know what caused the sale, conversion, registration, watching a video, etc.? As it is you don’t, how can you measure your success?

PR & Social Media – The Laws & The Myths

Katie then presented “The Immutable Laws of 21st Century PR Measurement”:

  • Banner ad & Popups are not the reason people buy stuff!
  • Its not about how many eyeballs, its the right eyeballs
  • Its not the media, its the conversation
  • Size doesn’t matte so stop screaming, start listening
  • “HTS” – How Idiots Track Success [this made me laugh out loud!]
    • (we’re use to big big numbers, but its about how you interpret the data)
  • -Be who you are and see who is pleased
  • -ROI doesn’t mean what you think it does because you can’t divide by zero

Along with the “Laws”, there’s also some “Myths of Measuring””

  • You can measure after the program is over
  • -Measuring reputation in expensive – if you think measurement is expensive, what’s the cost of ignorance?
  • Measurement is complicated
  • You can’t measure relationships
  • You can measure reputation

Reputation vs. Relationships

Katie Pain talks about social media & PR at eMetricsReputation = experience + actions + history + people
Katie stressed to the audience, you can manage relationships, you can’t manage reputation, to try and do so, especially in social media is pretty much a dead end. Relationships = trust, commitment, satisfaction, control mutuality, exchange / control. Katie explained that most relationship start with exchange, such as money for a product, but the important relationship to create is the communal relationship because its about loyalty.

7 Steps of Reputational ROI
1. Define the”R” – define the expected results
2. Define the “I” – what’s the investment
3. Understand your audiences and what motivates them
4. Define the metrics
5. Determine what you are benchmarking
6. Pick a tool to analyze the data
7. Then to do the “so what”

Listening to the Customers

Traditional PR drove and can still drive conversations on social media forums – its been going on since 1994, nothing new there. What is new, is the blogs and forums are now starting influence the conversations, for example Techcrunch, etc. But what businesses are finding is that these places were not big influencers on the consumers. What influenced the most – was other consumers reviewing products and services. People who actually bought and used the products and placing their thoughts, as opposed to an “expert” espousing “how great/bad” something was.

In a case study that Katie did for a client, their “traditional media” coverage was all bad press about a product, but yet this was one of their most successful products, when they filtered it down to find out why it was successful despite the bad press coverage, it was in the structured customer reviews of the product. The reviews of customers actually using the product were all positive.

Stop Doing Stupid Things, Your Reputation Changes

If you can change the conversation, you can improve your reputation. You can also improve your reputation by first listening and then responding. Negative coverage tends to come from companies, or company representative doing stupid things. This type of negative coverage can harm your reputation, because the web and social media allow things to travel at a fast rate.

Positive issue discussion over time, share of exposure, favorable position can all have an impact on engagement. Katie presented the case of the ASPCA. Rather than just “letting it happen”, they got everyone involved – analytics, marketing, social, etc. They did every possible known way to communicate except advertising. They utilized their online community, blog, myspace friends, youtube channel views, facebooks fans / causes …. but “So what”. None of this is a difference unless its put into context.

The big “Ah-Ha” was “what’s going on with online donations?” Her example of the ASPCA not really being “ahead” of the Michael Vick issue, and just letting legal handle it – they saw no increase in online donations. However, when the news broke about the ASPCA rehabbing the dogs Michael Vick had, they were ahead of the curve in promoting it through all those changes and their online donations grew.

Katie left the audience with this final thought, web analytics is not the tool for everything, media content analysis could be good, or relationship surveys. You need to match the analytical tool to the objective.

eMetrics & Google Analytics a Key Relevance Review of Day 1

Google Conversion University - ProfilesYesterday was the first day of the eMetrics Marketing Optimization in the Washington DC area. The conference runs until Thursday, and I’ll be posting some highlights from the eMetrics conference.

Google was one of 4 special sessions yesterday that eMetrics hosted on this first day. The other three sessions were eMetrics Industry Insights Day, Web Anayltics Association Base Camp sponsored by Omniture and Intelligent Research, Targeting & Measurement of Interactive Ads & Audience. In the all day session on Conversion was focused upon Google Analytics for about 95% of the time, and some focus on current and upcoming tools Google is working on.

In the Conversion University presented by Google Analytics session, things started off pretty basic with a basic overview of where Google Analytics came from, as most online marketers know, Urchin was acquired by Google back in March of 2005. Urchin itself, was started back in 1997, so it had been around measuring website analytics for quite a while. After the acquisition by Google (shortly after Urchin launched its Urchin on Demand product), Google launched its analytics in November 2005. It’s amazing to me it has been nearly three years since that launch – wow does time fly.

From the history we dove into a lot of different things with Google Analytics. From filters, to exclusion of parameters, to profiles and making them for special groups, subdomains, blogs, etc., there’s a lot of ways that small businesses can make Google Analtyics a powerful resource for gaining insights into what can improve their conversions. The most surprising thing to me, is that there is a lot more than I really ever thought.

I’ve been using Google Analytics since the inception of Search Marketing Gurus, but I’ve never taken the time to dive deeper than what is at the surface. Now that I’ve been introduced to the more powerful features, you can bet I will be utilizing them. Sometimes reading a book can inspire you, but for me actually sitting in a class, and having the tools demonstrated live, works even better to motivate me.

Discussing Google Analytics\' ProfilesThe class went on to work with hooking Analytics up to your Google Adwords account, how you can track down to the finest minutia of what is working and what isn’t working in your online marketing campaign with Google Adwords. It’s rather easy for small businesses to do, and easy if you are someone who is managing the PPC campaign yourself.

The end of the day was dedicated to Google’s Website Optimizer. Talk about a powerful tool, that FREE. Anyone can now take advantage of website optimizer, you no longer need to have a Google Adwords account to do so. So if you want to do A/B testing, multi-variant testing or split testing, Google’s Website Optimizer can handle them all. It’s really a neat tool, and you can use it to test colors, buttons, banners, text on the page and just about anything that you think would enhance or detracts from the visitor converting on your site. Remember conversions isn’t just buying something, it’s subscribing or commenting too!

The last part of the full day session went over other Google tools such as Google’s Webmaster Tools, Inisight and the currently in beta AdPlanner. AdPlanner is some very powerful stuff, and the representatives in the room with the instructor, Justin Cutroni of EpikOne, told us that the data that AdPlanner uses does not come from Google Analytics or Google Accounts.

Overall, I’m really glad I picked the the Google Conversion University. Sometimes as marketers we take for granted the “top level” of tools and don’t dig deeper, either because of time, or resources, or maybe that’s someone else’s responsibility. It’s great to get this kind of in-depth perspective, and it’s definitely a great reason to come to this conference. For some quick insights, hop over to my “A Morning at Google Analytics University” review on SMG.