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Topics - ergophobe

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So the staff at the Willamette Week went out searched the officials garbage.

It's worth emphasizing that our junkaeological dig unearthed no whiff of scandal. Based on their throwaways, the chief, the DA and the mayor are squeaky-clean, poop-scooping folks whose private lives are beyond reproach. They emerge from this escapade smelling like--well, coffee grounds.

But boy, did the mayor and police chief dislike it when the tables were turned.

The DA, by contrast, merely found the whole thing amusing.

Marketing / SERP Stat study of 1M snippets since Google extended length
« on: December 15, 2017, 08:15:26 PM »

Way more 300-char snippets than I would have expected with one snippet at 345 chars.

Most people are saying that only Google-created snippets are long and the meta description snippets are still being truncated at 928px (roughly 165 chars, but it depends on the chars and how many search terms are bolded obviously), but the SERPStat article implies that's primarily because the pages where the meta description shows are highly optimized pages where people actually took the time to carefully create metas of the "right" length and claim the hump in the chart at 140 characters is an optimization effect, not an algorithmic effect.

At the end of the day, it's correlational either way, but I'm no going to worry about the 928-pixel limit on meta descriptions anymore.

In particular, if you write "teaser" metas that get truncated in just the *right* spot, you can't know this anymore. So if you used to write a description like this

In 2017, we increased revenue by 230% using four simple techniques that skyrocketed conversion rate. The most important of these was asking the user to send us more money

Counting on it being truncated like this (assuming a search on "conversion rate" and 928px at standard google fonts), you would get this
In 2017, we increased revenue by 230% using four simple techniques that skyrocketed conversion rate. The most important of these was asking...

Now to clickbaitify your metas, you would need to manually add the ellipsis or leave it with the hokey "this simple technique. Read on for more."

Marketing / Keyword research beats Nate Silver's predictions
« on: December 15, 2017, 08:11:12 PM »
Well... I think the headline exaggerates a bit, but interesting. We often complain about how bad keyword data is these days, but it's interesting to stack it up against other types of data

Water Cooler / Watch those toxic detox teas
« on: December 11, 2017, 11:44:03 PM »
Healthy Liver Detox Tea Leads to Case of Liver Failure

Economics & Investing / Facebook projected to lose 80% of users by... 2017
« on: November 26, 2017, 02:20:06 AM »
At least that's what a team of Princeton researchers proved roughly four years ago

Facebook will lose 80 per cent of users within three years before eventually dying out “like the bubonic plague”, according to US scientists.

Water Cooler / AT&T Customer Support is on the job
« on: November 16, 2017, 11:27:39 PM »
We're now on the second day without phone or internet service at our house and several other houses in the area.

Dealing with AT&T is to understand Kafka. But never fear, AT&T's crack customer support team is on the job

Web Development / Handy email CSS resource
« on: November 01, 2017, 11:27:30 PM »
This is incredible

Basically tells you what CSS bits and pieces and placements are selected by what clients. Who knew that Gmail Android behaves differently than Gmail Android IMAP?


That’s because self-driving technology is a huge power drain. Some of today’s prototypes for fully autonomous systems consume two to four kilowatts of electricity -- the equivalent of having 50 to 100 laptops continuously running in the trunk

Traffic / Trump fatigue leading to dropping traffic on news sites?
« on: October 15, 2017, 06:57:55 PM »
The 2016 election spurred a lot of news reading and a lot of new print news subscriptions. But then fatigue sets in. We've seen it here with multiple threads about reading less news.

So far I've only seen one headline on the topic and I didn't bother to read the article because, frankly, I don't really care about the horse race aspect of media (who's up, who's down) except in broad terms.

Still haven't read it, but today my Promotions inbox had a letter from Monica Bauerlein (editor of Mother Jones). Just back from a manjor journalism conference, she write:

A lot of the chatter in the hallways was a hunch that, over the last couple of months, readers have started paying less attention to the quick-churn news cycle. Have you? Thinking is, that could partially explain the (off-the-record) murmurings from industry vets about declining web traffic after the spikes when Donald Trump was elected.

That pretty much tracks with what a number of news junkies here have been saying.

Economics & Investing / China doesn't want your junk anymore
« on: October 15, 2017, 06:22:36 PM »

... but Japan might.

The problem is that what Japan wants (electronics with high-value rare metals) is different from what China no longer wants (plastic and cardboard).

I've always said that the main purpose of most recycling programs (certainly plastic and paper), is not environmental, but it's to assuage consumerist guilt about all the sh## we buy. I often hear people say "In my city it's great. They recycle everything. They've even started taking #7 plastic."

Unfortunately *nobody* can recycle #7 plastic. The effective *definition* of #7 plastic is "plastic that can't be recycled." But people feel really virtuous by putting it in the recycle bin instead of the trash. If nobody steps into the breach the new Chinese policy will cause, lots of "recycling" will go straight into the trash (as substantial amounts do already because of contamination and the economics of recycling).

I say all this as my storage area fills up with cardboard and plastic delivered daily from Amazon (lest anyone imagine this pot thinks he isn't black).

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