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28.03.2022 RustyBrick Barry Schwartz Search Engine Roundtable

David Melamed On Review Gating, Misinformation, Trust Decay & Personalization In Marketing - #165

In part one of my interview with David Melamed, we spoke about his background and the beauty of the search marketing industry. David Melamed and I in part two then spoke about the long term viability and success of search spam, antitrust issues and more. In part three we talk about reviews, review gating and how to handle all of this properly.

0:00 - Online Reviews & Review Gating
2:35 - Misinformation Online
5:43 - Trust Decay
8:05 - Google Personalization In Search
10:30 - Empathy in Targeting
12:35 - The Value Of An Ad Impression

David explained that you really just want to work with companies that provide amazing service where the reviews are just amazing. He brought up the recent FTC fine for review gating and blocking negative reviews. He explained why that company got in trouble. He said if he receives a call from a company that needs help cleaning up reviews, he said, he won’t work with a company that is bad, he doesn’t want to clean up the mess.

He feels most people are sensible enough to censor out bad or misinformation. I disagree with him, I think those in the SEM industry pick up on it quickly because we are good at finding manipulation. But the average person, including our senators and congressmen and congresswomen don’t know how search works.

He said this kind of came from cookies and ultra high targeting, driving mass traffic that was without value, including entertainment news sites. So these sites drove tons of low quality traffic to the site, that devalued the ads themselves. Not only that, David said it also led to trust decay.

David brought up an example of how Amazon lost his trust and his purchases for months because Amazon targeted him for baby gifts when he and his wife have fertility issues. He was mad at Amazon and Amazon lost his trust and him as a customer for months. That led us to talking about emotion and empathy that companies should look for in their data when doing targeting. Personally, I never really get upset by data but the average person does. I just don’t see a way for companies to handle this without missing out on opportunities. We discuss how important personalization and data is for marketing and targeting, and maybe it is not important? In short, we don’t think data or personalization is done with bias.

Then we start talking a bit about Google Ads, the value of an impression and conversion rates but the action camera cut out.

You can learn more about David Melamed on his website at

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