On Wed night of Search Engine Strategies last week I had the privilege of attending a dinner hosted by Gary Price of Ask.com. Organized by their PR department, Ask was making a specific effort to reach out to bloggers in the search marketing space. Other Ask staff were in attendance as well including Paul Vallez the Director of Ask search advertising, a representative from Bloglines as well as Paul Loeffler and Patrick Crisp from their public relations department.
Bloggers in attendance included: Matt Bailey, Rand Fishkin and his mom Gillian, Chris Pirillo, Andy Beal, Loren Baker, Lee Odden, Jennifer Laycock and our favorite party crasher, Jim Hedger. (links are to photos from the dinner)
An excellent dinner was had by all but the most interesting and enjoyable part of the evening was the conversation. Ask staff were great about mingling and “asking” what we thought about various aspects of Ask products.
A few months ago when the Ask Blogs and Feed Search launched, I was given a preview under embargo. I misunderstood the timezone and posted to my blog one hour early (11pm CST). I realized immediatley this mistake and took down the post after 2 min. Since I didn’t hear back from Ask’s PR department, I thought they didn’t catch it. I learned at the dinner that not only did Ask PR see my early post, but Jim Lanzone, the CEO noticed it as well. Oops!
The good news is that they also saw me take it down right away and post at the correct time. What would another search engine do? All I know is, Ask has made the effort several times to reach out (to me) in some way as a blogger to foster rapport and solicit feedback. I appreciate that and I am sure when I get the chance to write about those efforts, our modest 25-30,000 monthly visitors to this blog appreciate it as well.
Whatever I use a search engine for, the act of reaching out does make a positive impact. It’s smart blogger relations.