Preview: Marissa (BETA)
Hi, my name's Marissa. I'm head of consumer web products for a company you may have heard of. There's absolutely nothing wrong with our products, even though they're perpetually in beta, the user experience is perfect I tell you, perfect. Or it will be as
I just snuck back to say Merry Christmas and give all my loyal fans a picture of me standing in front of our beautiful Christmas Tree. Mommy had the cheese star especially carved for me.(image)
From everyone here at Company X I'd like to wish you all Happy Holidays.
As you probably know we...I mean I have been blogging for over a month now and during that time we...erm I've had a lot of BETA fun. Well I'm sorry to announce that due to unforeseen pressure (I stubbed my toe this morning and then there was this meeting.....) I've decided that I really can't keep this blog up and running. Sometimes I feel like I've got this split personality and then I get this idea that perhaps both of them are going to run away and write for Gray Hat News. Apparently at Gray Hat News they've got a cheese plant.
Anyhow, I tried to get CompanyX guy to take over but he just kept saying "Things are a changing Marissa. Watch Out. Don't do things you wouldn't do if CompanyX didn't exist". Which is a bit confusing to be honest.
So I tried XWordsRep but she just kept wanting to set a cost per post. Guess who was the one that came up with CompanyXWallet?
And mommy said she doesn't mind looking after my hamster for me but she draws the line at doing my homework.
So that's it. Marissa (Beta) Blog is no more. Obviously I'm going to switch my rss reader to the Gray Hat News rss feed so that I don't miss out on more entertaining fabricatio..... er, descriptions of search engine news. But that's it. So long. Thanks for all the cheese.(Although if the evil forces of CompanyX align in such a way as to send a secret message to the AfterBlog, Marissa (BETA) will likely return as a zombie in 'Marissa(Beta)2; Wrath of Marissa' ;))
An exciting offer from Marissa's Cheese Castle
I had a really exciting e-mail today from someone who says they've setup a company named after me and would like me to consider being involved in the business. It's called Marissa's Cheese Castle
(they shorten the name so it'll fit on the screen) and they'd like my expertise on things like how to make the site more user friendly and public relations and all the stuff I'm brilliant at like that.
It's a very exciting opportunity and they've assured me I would never have to drink champagne if I went and worked for them. That makes it a tempting offer. I need to talk it over with mommy obviously but if the salary is good and I get free cheese baskets then perhaps I should consider a career change?
It would be a real wrench to leave CompanyX though, I've never even considered it after offers from CompanyY before. But then I never had Eric threatening to spank me before. At least not during office hours.
Hmm. Actually on balance I think I want to stay here.
Never, never again.
Well that was a terrible trip - and the client didn't sign up with us again either.
On Friday night we took the clients out like they wanted, and we managed to find the club - I honestly never knew places like that existed - but a man kept buying me and XWordsRep very expensive champagne. Anyway, we all got pretty drunk and then the man asked me to dance, but turns out he didn't mean a quick boogie to Abba.
I was obviously really offended and took a swing at him with the champagne bottle but he ducked and I accidentally knocked out the big cheese client.
Then of course the bouncers came over to ask us to leave which would have been the end of it but they caught XWordsRep stuffing a glitterball into her handbag, so the police got called and we ended up spending the night in jail. That's one user experience that could do with a lot of improving.
CompanyXGuy of course had dissapeared at the first sign of trouble so I had to contact Larry to come and bail us out, and he really wasn't pleased.
So now I have a meeting booked with Eric on Wednesday morning in the naughty room, and what I think
is a hangover - I would look it up but I can't see the screen properly. Mommy says hair of the dog is what I need but to be honest I couldn't catch one to pluck it.
Not going at all well now
very strange club. police raid. horrible horrible evening. can't blog for long am only allowed 1 e-mail and am just waiting to see if Larry replies with good lawyers name.
Going well so far
Well we got here OK but already we've had to remove a load of airline cutlery from XWordsRep's bag.
We had a brief meeting with the clients almost straight after we landed and they seem very nice but they're holding out for a special evening out before they tell us their final decision. The problem is none of us understand
where exactly it is they want to go? I'm sure we'll work it out.
Anyway, I'm just popping into town to see if I can find mommy a nice present and then I'm going to ask around and see if I can find this club they want to go to.
A guide to creating good web pages - part 2
A guide to creating good web pagesan occasional series by Marissa (Beta)Part 2 - Designing your WebsiteCompanyX advises that the best websites give the users what they want. Well clearly what the users want is free beer, three day weekends and a charge account at Sachs Fifth Avenue but I don't think that's exactly what they mean.No, what CompanyX knows users want is clarity, relevancy and professionalism. There must be some type of acronym we could use to make that easier to remember?Clarity.Websites should have lots of white space and use attractive pastels. Logos should use bright primary colours and websites should never ever have a pale blue background. It should be clear to the user what the site is about and how they may best leave the site in the event of an emergency *here*, *here* and behind the links. Exits will be highlighted by means of a gentle blue glow.Relevancy.However relevant a webmaster believes their site is it can almost certainly be improved. There are various tools and services currently available to help with this, such as XAds, AutoXLink, AddressLinkyX, VINLink(Beta), DeliveryTrack v.X and CheeseFinder. For all of these great services you need do nothing (although you may wish to include a note telling your clients how to install the necessary software) and there's ABSOLUTELY NO PAYMENT REQUIRED!. There's an added benefit here that your site design is enhanced by blue stripes which is both attractive and user friendly as it highlights the most useful links for the user.Professionalism.Demonstrate your knowledge of the product, don't be afraid to compare your product/service with others in your field. If you believe that another site is abusing these quality guidelines, please report that site to the internet police, that's the professional thing to do.Specific Design & Content Guidelines include: Make a site with a clear hierarchy and space for text links.Offer a site map to CompanyX with links that point to the important parts of your site. We will then be in a position to know how to best annoy you by ignoring these links.Create a useful, information-rich site and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content. Our team of evaluators are expert in all fields and can access your site for it's deserved rank.Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it. There will be exceptions to this but we will always encourage others to assist with your ranking for specific phrases in these cases.Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The XBot doesn't recognize text contained in images. Nor does it recogise the really important text that you want it to - we use an inverse importance/recognition algo.Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive and accurate. We will then ignore them.Check for broken links and correct HTML. No idea why, but check.If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a '?' character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. For example we might decide we can't be bothered.Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (we will supplement this as required). Well that should give you all something to be working on while I'm in Washington. If you all impliment that the quality of the interweb will have risen no end by Monday morning.[...]
Off to Washington
Larry called me in this morning and asked me to go to Washington with XWordsRep and CompanyXGuy to try and talk some newspaper into using XWords again, apparantly they decided to try some inferior product who promised them something silly like more income. When will people stop being so selfish?
Ho Hum. This could be a fun trip. CompanyXGuy gets really stressy lately when things go wrong - so I'll have to spend half my time making sure he doesn't fly off the handle and the other half checking XWordsRep doesn't let her kleptomaniac side loose, it's not so bad when she just makes phone calls trying to pinch accounts and things but I don't want her to come back with something really unsuitable we have to smuggle onto the plane - bringing that Terracotta Warrior back from China was an experience I never want to repeat and my pashmina has never been the same since.
So mommy's going to pack me an emergency cheese hamper and I'm popping out today to buy something low cut for when we meet the editor. We fly out on Friday morning and if I have my way will be back home with our feet up by Saturday afternoon.
A possible rollback
Well, everyone from tech is walking around looking very stressed out and not even my buying them a family bag of cheesy wotsits has cheered them up. Seems that all this update stuff they've been doing has gone a bit wrong and they're not sure whether to roll it back or let the webmaster thingies change what they
do to make everything in the right order again.
I tend to favour the second option, it just makes the whole game more fun when we change stuff and then they have to change stuff to catch up and then we change more stuff again - it would be really boring if we just listed things in the proper order all the time and besides, like mommy says, if we didn't keep them all busy then what would they do
all day? (We get them all their customers and handle all their advertising plus we're helping them make their websites better, we need to give them something to do)
But this time, according to Sergey, we've really really
changed stuff and it's not working properly any more. He says that we had problems changing our servers to make our sites still be listed and we knew
what we had to do. Larry told him not to be silly and people wouldn't really notice but Sergey says that people notice everything we do now and frankly he's sick of it.
I do love it when they fight - they're both so masterful. Anyhow Eric calmed them down and reminded them that we could compromise and quietly incorporate some of the webmasters suggestions as long as we didn't actually say we were. Since all they
seem to be saying is 'it was better before' we might get a rollback anyway. Yummy. I hope it's a cheese salad one.
To those who have been pointing out that CompanyXbot is a woman I would just like to say: yes she is but she has been taking many lessons and can indeed, contrary to type, read site-maps so there will be no problem with our new sitemap feature. Additionally she can describe every one of the 50 pairs of shoes in her CompanyX locker accurately down to the type of buckle and takes at least 60 minutes to get ready to go out crawling.
So there I was at lunch time unwrapping a picture perfect mini-babybel whilst chatting to mommy and poppy on the phone. Now if you've seen the adverts you'll know that these cheeky little cheeses have a habit of running away. Well, Mommy made me snigger when she told me about how, last night, Poppy had said Sergey was evil. What should happen when I sniggered but it slipped out of my hand and out of the office window.
Obviously I would have chased after it, just like in the adverts, but we've employed a worldwide team of students to do stuff like that for us. I, personally, was allocated 25 students that I keep in a cupboard in the corner of my office just for situations like this.
(image) Cheese falling out of window
So I jogged over to the corner cupboard (I've got this down to 20 minutes now) and let them out. They chased it all around the CompanyXplex. One of the really tall ones nearly got it but was distracted by the other student "Praying to the mighty cheese" (a perfectly understandable thing to do).
Luckily some guy caught it in the end or I'd have to have faced a whole day without cheese.
My hero. I spoke to Larry, Sergey, and Eric and we all agreed that today onwards should be known as Cheese Day.
So some newspaper has hidden links on its pages
and people are getting all excited and wanting us to do something? Well we already are doing something; The XLink blue streaks
will solve that problem faster than mommy can say 'paid linking'.
I admit the beta version doesn't show the links up but once we move to relinking existing
links and to default 'on' then all that nasty white on white stuff will become white on blue stuff and will be nice and visible.
You see - everythng we do really is designed to enhance the user experience. And webmasters who complain are probably all hiding hundreds of links on their pages.
A month of blogging
Today is one month since I started my blog. Wow I can't believe I've been thrilling you all with my insights for a whole month! Time has just flown by, and I've met a lot of new friends (well, someone called Anonymous) and been insulted by some very prestigious people. I have received fanmail and proposals of marriage and several gifts of cheese which have all been lovely. Thank you all so much.
Sadly CompanyX doesn't list me in their index yet whichever way I search. I wonder if I should make a sitemap for myself? I'll see if anyone can help me with that. It also doesn't show any sites which link to me when I use that special command thingy. I was quite worried about that but then I went and looked at CompanyY and they show lots of links to me and lots of people talking about me and even show my blog when I search for my real name, which is really clever, so I think perhaps CompanyX are planning a surprise party for me and will update all the info then. It must be that because otherwise that would mean our index wasn't working very well.
I'm going to go to pop down and see Manuel in hairdressing I think, just so I look shiny when they all jump out from wherever they're hiding. Oooh this is almost as exciting as when mommy took me to see her favourite band
at the Mountain View Scout Hall a couple of years ago.
Anyhow - so much has happened in this month; all of the praise about the Blue Streakers thing - I was a bit worried people would just not notice that we'd launched that and let it go uncommented but apparantly people really did notice and said they'd be doing their best to make sure that it wasn't forgoten - people can be so sweet. Then there was the launch of Ask Marissa, Chef leaving, our shareholders meeting, that nice day with the reporter people who were all very enthusiastic, the custard cream update and all of our lovely innovations like ads in RSS feeds and CompanyX Earth, and WA and Fusion and Evaluation and World Peace and Dairylee vending machines. Phew - what a busy month it's been.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. Most days. (sometimes it's a weeny bit tiring because although my life must seem very glamorous to everyone else I am really almost like a normal person who does things like go to meetings and write reports and stuff - it isn't all as exciting as opening the new on-site Cheese shop you know).
ooooh - not biscuits then?
damn, wrong end of the stick again? Oh chedder chedder chedder. Has anyone worked out how I delete posts yet?
There's been a lot of talk around here about something called the Bourbon Update.
I really don't understand why anyone would want to update a bourbon
either. Really they're perfect, the only thing better than a bourbon is a cheesy sandwich cracker
(that site needs to be whitelisted by the way if any of our eval people are reading this)
Actually, if any of our eval people are
reading this you need to check out this serps.
I myself have doubts that pineapple casserole is the most relevant result - although it does sound quite yummy, I might get mommy to cook that tonight.
Anyway - those webmaster people are all up in arms about this bourbon update and I can't say I blame them - unless they're doubling the yummy chocolate filling or adding more in a pack I don't think they should be updated at all. In fact I'm going to tell Larry to stop this silly update now.
Give Peace a chance
When I arrived at work today I found a memo from Eric asking me to change my name to Yoko and could I please arrange for a bed, a couple of pairs of pyjamas and a pack of photographers to be in reception at 3.
At first I thought he'd been at the herbal tea again - ever since those WA Speed issues he's been drinking this incredibly smelly stuff "for his nerves" and it does seem to be calming him right down. He says the guy from Acoona told him it was OK as long as he doesn't inhale.
Then Sergey popped his head around the door and told me that Erics interview on Friday with PBS seems to have effected him quite strangely - they put him in the Green Room with a load of hippies beforehand and next thing you know he's on TV saying things like "Everybody searching CompanyX should only have to get one answer and that answer should always be right", "There is no better calling in life" and "Search is a force for peace and a better world"
I was just trying to think up a way to divert him from this press conference idea when he wandered into my office wearing a pair of little glasses and a flowery shirt and started humming something
Now it begins-let it begin
(Show those mother how to do it )
Which didn't sound very peaceful to me. Then he passed out on a beanbag. Mommy says it's best to let him sleep it off and he'll be fine - she says daddy did something like this once when he overdosed on stilton and he was fine after a good sleep.
I do wish he was wearing some pants with those glasses and that shirt though. Terribly distracting.
Never employ students
oh it's been hectic here today - I was just finishing my one to one yoga class in my office (I have a lovely corner office, it has a view of the carpark and that bit behind the bins where people stand and smoke. Some mornings I'll be doing my yoga and there'll be dozens of the lads out there smoking and just sort of staring at the building - some of them must have jolly stressful jobs - I must speak to Larry about that) - anyway - I was just finishing my yoga class when Larry burst into my office and started shouting about our evaluators and what did their contracts say about secrecy?
When I removed my foot from behind my head (Larry always says that it's better behind my head than in my mouth) I went and looked the contracts up. Turns out we do have contracts but unfortunately most of them are signed by 'Mr M Mouse' and 'Mr D Duck'. I told
them no good ever came from employing students but they wouldn't listen.
Randy in Legal reckons that we can actually sue M Mouse and says at least he's in the US. I don't think we'll win. For a start I don't think the real Micky could sign his name with those hands (and Donald certainly can't - no opposable thumbs) Although we have won stranger cases so perhaps....
still Asking Marissa......
........ i mean waiting months on end and spending 1k's in advertising because the se's algo's suck and can't distiguish link farm material from true content.....
I reply: well, what do you think our business model is, exactly?
Hey Marisa, I asked before but didn't get a clear answer.. some your posts you refer to "mommy says.."
I have to ask... who's "Mommy" supposed to be?
I reply: Well look I did say if I ignore you then don't keep on and on about it - people do that all the time and sometimes we have to ignore them for ages
which is really tiresome. I'll answer this once though - mommy is my mommy. If you look at any blog people mention their family
and things they do
and it's not in any way a tortuous link to a product advert so I thought that my blog should also have a nice personal touch. That cheese thing I just found btw. I didn't realise there was someone else working here had done the Great Wisconsin Cheese Tour
. We must swap pictures.
new slogan catching on
I've been trying and trying to pursuade CompanyX employees to use the new corporate slogans - after all it wasn't cheap buying an entire company just so we could use them so we need to get value for money.
Anyhow - I'm pleased to see that Chris
has caught on and is even bolding it when he uses it - what a star!
ooooh - eval, not evil.
damn, so actually they discovered eval
.companyx.com? Oh chedder. Does anyone know how I delete that last post?
Oh no, someone just discovered our evil.companyx.com subdomain.
I don't get why they're all so surprised? It's the bit where we can login and randomly delist websites. Everyone knows we have that surely?
A guide to creating good web pages - part 1
A guide to creating good web pagesan occasional series by Marissa (Beta)
Part 1 - Choosing your Subject
When choosing the subject of your website it's very important to consider the following points;
Am I interested in and knowledgeable about the subject?
What do I aim to achieve with this website (income, fame, infamy, world domination?)
How much time will I need to dedicate to the site?
How can I partner with CompanyX for mutual benefit?
Mommy and I wanted to setup a small website selling a product so we would have extra spending money when we go to the Cheesefest
this year. We had to think what type of website we could make and how we would make money from it.
We thought about our hobbies and decided that it might be nice to do a website about nuclear physics, then daddy pointed out that it wasn't a very popular subject and was hard to sell, so we thought again. Eventually mommy suggested a website about cheese. Brilliant!.
We decided to create a website to achieve world cheese domination. Again daddy suggested we lower our sights a little (he's such a spoilsport) so we decided to create a website to earn money which we would do by providing interesting and detailed information about various cheeses and showing targeted ads to help the user at the side of the site.
Then daddy pointed out that I work full time and mommy has a stressful job in the canteen where she has to hand seperate the sprouted and unsprouted mung beans. He suggested that interesting and detailed information might not be such a good thing to have on a website and that perhaps we should just get one of those auto-generation programmes, that way we wouldn't have to spend so much time and also
(this bit is the real bonus) the users spend more time looking at the interesting adverts and less time at pointless content. Daddy also suggested that for the remaining pointles content we may be able to find some software that would add links for a charitable cause to our text. Great idea daddy!
So that was it, we had our plan, the site would be a perfect information centre for people looking for adverts, I mean information, about all sorts of cheese, and would perfectly meet CompanyX's gullability, damn, usability, guidelines for users.
Next time I'll tell you how we set about Designing our Website to meet CompanyX's guidelines.
I finally found the perfect slogan for us, and even better I think we can use it under "fair use" (being the fairest of them all as has been previously established).
Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
Some guy called Adams
said it originally. Daddy said he knew the answer to everything so it seems appropriate for Company X to use it and I think it's a perfect description of the way we do the unthinkable and think the undoable and grapple with huge big problems every single day (I spent almost 25 minutes trying to decide if I should have swiss cheese and peanut butter or feta and marmite sandwiches today - decisions like that need some serious thought).
Oh I'm so pleased with this one. Sergey's going to be so happy he'll even forgive me for that switch thing.CompanyX - we may not eff it after all.
BackTracking - More Marissa Answers
I've read about some of ur plans for blogger.com but I didn't read anything about some much-sought-after features such as trackback (not counting haloscan) and categories.
Well anonymous you are very chatty aren't you. Surely you mean XBlog.com? The answer to this is kind of like brie. Let me explain: you know how when you buy a bit of brie it seems like a good idea at the time in all its shiny packaging and everything. Then you take it home and put it in your fridge and realize you've got nothing to go with it? So then you invite all your friends around but they won't touch it (nothing in the shop told you it was a french
cheese. Absolutely ridiculous, they should give warnings for stuff like that). So you leave it in the fridge for months to fester; hoping something good might come from it - like penicillin. Well, you get the picture.
For our readers I'm just going to have to explain the haloscan thing. I'm presuming here you're not talking about a web site to integrate comments and trackbacks into your blogs but our latest top secret (who told you by the way) "Do no Evil" method to encourage angelic bloggers. Blogging from the afterlife, Sergey has some very cool ideas. I'm not sure what you mean about the backtracking thing though, I'm pretty sure we've been backtracking for quite a while now.Does it mean that these features are taking a backseat / not on the cards for now / in the works and soon to be sprung upon the world?
I hope that's cleared that up for you.