Quintura Search & Blog Comment Marketing – Spam?
Quintura Search has been trying really hard recently to gather links to their web site via posting rather misinformed comments on various search engine blogs recently, including the Search Engine Journal, so I’m going to give them the exposure they’ve been looking for. It may not be the positive exposure they’ve wanted, instead I’d like to put together my thoughts on the Quintura Search blog commenting campaign which has been going on over the past month and how I think Quintura is going down the wrong path.
Before getting into my thoughts however, I would like to say that I do not intend for this post to be an attack on Quintura Search, just a review of their questionable blog marketing tactics to date and how they can improve on their strategy by building a trustworthy relationship with bloggers and the search community.
What is Quintura Search? Quintura is a search software which overcomes current Google, Yahoo and MSN’s tendencies to deliver too many results, which can be overwhelming to the average web user. By offering a visual semantic map which works with the user’s favorite search engine, Quintura illustrates relationships between keywords, adding or subtracting keywords from a query using the map and a mouse click, “One-Click Search”, allows a user to specify the context or meaning of the keyword, therefore narrowing the search and finding the relevant information faster.
Basically, Quintura helps the beginning or average user build an enhanced and expert search query to find what they are looking for.
Quintura Search even has a great slogan “The Way People Search” , helping to define their product as a way to contribute to the publics’ search experience. Quintura seems to have quite a strong and innovative search application.
Press and Quintura Search Upon releasing their Quintura Search 1.0 beta, Quintura started a press release and public relations campaign which has built up web coverage of their search application. If you perform a search on Google News for Quintura, you’ll see that their release was sent out over various distribution channels including I-Newswire and EContent. Additionally, sites such as CRM Today, IRISHDev, and TechSpot picked up the news and published stories on Quintura. The Pandia search blog and the Small Business Branding blog even picked up on the Quintura story – a great start to a search blog PR campaign.
Logically the next step with a search engine related product launch’s PR campaign is to contact bloggers and build a relationship with them, hoping that they will test your product and write a positive review on it. With such an innovative product which Quintura Search is offering, initiating an exclusive prelaunch beta testing window with the searchosphere (search engine bloggers) would seem like an obvious solution for garnering exposure of Quintura on search blogs.
Quintura’s blog marketing plan, however, is where they have gone sour.
Quintura ‘Spammy’ Blog Comments Instead of planning out a well thought blog marketing strategy, building relationships with popular and well read search engine bloggers, Quintura Search has allegedly ventured in the opposite direction.
On Search Engine Journal and numerous other search industry blogs, annoying and irrelevant comments have been appearing with links to Quintura.
NOTE: I wrote that Quintura was alledgedly comment spamming in this story because of all of the spammy comment links in blogs which attempt promote Quintura Search and also link to the Quintura site. As the different email addresses provided by the comment spammers seem to be fake hotmail and yahoo addresses, the IP addresses (18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124) are the same for the comment posts and based in Amsterdam. If you look at the WhoIs information for Quintura.com, you’ll see that their Tech Contact, GOLD SPACE, INC, is based in Tver, Russia. Some of the emails used for the comment spamming are addresses at Mail.ru.
However, I cannot find a hard connection between the post IP’s and Quintura, and if someone can I invite you to leave a comment below or email me. What I have found, however, points to the notion that Quintura is behind the comment postings. Or some fan of the search engine is going through a lot of trouble to cheer them on, which is highly unlikely.
Comments which have been made on the Search Engine Journal promoting Quintura Search include:
“those big engines are far behind of what those guys at Quintura have done, check at http://www.quintura.com it should be really cool!” : Posted 7 times, all from the same IP address and three different emails.
This post was made by “Flint” on November 25th from the 126.96.36.199 IP address. The “above the fold” comment relates to a note in the story about Ask Jeeves previously showing sponsored search listings above the fold, and organic below the fold :
Why be unsatisfied with search results and sponsored results above the fold, if there’s a tool without ads and with a contextual map. It’s called Quintura Search
And then yesterday this post was made by “Bruce” at “Flint’s” same IP. This post was fairly thought out, being that it was made as a comment to a story on Google & Yahoo sponsoring Manchester United :
This spring Quintura launches online search. With this they’re sure to gather a lot of funding. I heard they’re gonna compete for MU shirts!
Like I said, the last two blog comment posts were thought out before submitting them to the SEJ site, which led me to giving Quintura the benefit of the doubt and leaving them live on the site.
Then I noticed this comment coming in today in response to a post I made on Yahoo & Mozilla’s Asia partnership:
“Yahoo! may as well become the Quintura Search default engine after many others by promoting it to Asia. In view of Yahoo! and Mozilla’s partnership no wonder if Quintura starts opening its results in Firefox. Quintura is now a huge success in Turkey. Who’s next? Quintura Search.”
Besides not making much sense, there was one aspect of this post which was different from the others and set off the red flags. In this post, Quintura skipped the link to the informational homepage and went directly to the download page (quintura.com/download). Luckilly, the link to this page does not set off any automatic downloads of the product, but it is one step closer to doing so. This post led me to look a bit deeper into the Quintura blog comments.
After searching though the blogs of other industry peers, I noticed that Search Engine Journal was not the only search blog with Quintura Search comments:
* At Battelle Media Willi posted : “Tired of persistent ads on result pages? Download Quintura Search from www.quintura.com for free.”
* And then Alexander who actually claimed being from Quintura posted “Search is the most popular activity, but I use visual interface for google.com – Quintura search http://www.quintura.com/quinturasearch”
* At Corante John posted “I will agree that buiyng blogs is marginal they will dissappear soon, no value is created they should chase the guys like Quintura at http://www.quintura.com who will really make them independent on search engines and provide a next generation search technology based on context of the query”
* Quintura comments on MozillaZine : “I’ve heard Quintura will make a toolbar for Firefox, anyways, it’s a visual search but quite unusually scoping results. So I find very fast what I look for. http://www.quintura.com”
* Yakov tags SiliconBeat “Very good! Thinking of offering ex-Google people to grow the Quintura brand. Quintura has a next generation search technology and will launch online search services soon. Quintura offers a better search compared to any search player.”
* Ole comments on Inside Google “No wonder Google’s search monopoly is unstable. It’s challenged by map search start-ups like Quintura. www.quintura.com“
What Quintura Has Done Wrong – The thing that really bothers me about Quintura’s blog commenting campaign is that it looks like the people behind it, unlike most blog spammers, actually took the time to read the blog post and offer some attempt of relevancy in their comments. In my opinion, such comments would be somewhat useful, if they were not so overboard on the self promotion. A well thought out blog commenting campaign should not promote the product which a commenter represents, instead the product, if mentioned at all, should be done subtly and only when relevant to the post.
This being said, I highly doubt Quintura will be sponsoring Manchester United as much as I doubt that their software will overtake the Yahoo media giant’s popularity in the Asian search market.
And here’s what strikes me, if they have the time to read all of these blogs, and blog entries, enough to at least have an ounce of relevancy in their comment responses, why not first contact the blog owner, editor, or writer directly? Instead what Quintura has done is walked the fine line between strategic product placement and blog comment spamming.
In my opinion, Quintura’s actions are right on the razor’s edge, leaning in the direction of Quintura going down in blog AND search history as a spammer. Such a direction is really a let down, as they seem to have an extremely useful and marketable product.
What Quintura Can Do Right – I cannot be more honest when I say that Quintura’s approach to blog marketing is the opposite of a logical blog buzz campaign. Rub a blogger the wrong way and you can get burned – and leaving spammy comments on a blog is probably the best way to do so.
As opposed to infuriating the search blog community, Quintura should be working with them. While writing this entry today I looked through my email account and searched for Quintura. They did attempt to contact me on three occasions with copies of their press release. As a news blogger, I do sometimes post a press release, or write a variation of one, as press releases have proven over the years to be a useful way of contacting the press.
The three emails I received were from “Yakov Sadchikov, President & CEO, Quintura“. Yakov did a good job of using his name as the sender field for the emailed release, although I’d say its a bit too long. The release titles however, did not do a good job of differentiating Quintura from the rest of the releases, mostly from fly by night companies, that come into my inbox.
Subject headers such as “Quintura Search helps find information on the Web easier and faster” do not really catch one’s eye as they are sifting through their inbox.
Yakov, if you sent these emails you really should have personalized them better and made them stick out a bit more. I would suggest Subject Headers such as :
* [Product Launch] Quintura Search Launches Search Application
* Story Idea for Search Engine Journal from Quintura Search
* [Press Release] Quintura Search Application for Google, Yahoo, MSN
Yakov’s mails themselves also should have been more personalized. I see that the mails did begin with “Dear Loren:” but for the most part they were mail merged press release emails. Next time I suggest Quintura takes some of the thought they put into their blog comments, and does so with their announcement mails.
Instead of sending me a boilerplate release email, try something like an email response to a story (examples):
* Response to Ask Jeeves Post on Search Engine Journal
* Yahoo’s Asia Partnership and Quintura Search
* Addressing Google’s Weaknesses with Quintura Search
These would have all caught my eye and probably led to a response or even testing of the Quintura Search software.
The moral of today’s Quintura Blog Marketing case study is to view blog comments as a personal and intimate part of a site’s community, where readers can respond to a story with additional view and thoughts. Tarnishing the opportunity to speak your mind or even a useful product in a comment can lead to a negative reaction by the site owner or community bloggers.
Developing a relationship with bloggers is essential to blog marketing. If they ignore emails or do not post a story about your site or product, fine. Move on to the next blog. If Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Watch posts a story on a product chances are Search Engine Roundtable and John Battelle may pick it up and post something themselves. If I post the story on Search Engine Journal other bloggers at Threadwatch, Web Pro News or Search Engine Lowdown may be influenced enough to link to my post or write their own review of the product.
The blogosphere, especially our corner of the searchosphere, is built upon a chain reaction relationship between RSS feeds, readers, blog links, and news syndication. If you can build one good relationship with one influential blogger, that blogger’s post on your product may worth its weight in gold.
Recklessly spamming or promoting a product in blog comments is only going to lead to the deletion of those comments, negative feelings by the blogger, and a reputation as a spammer by that blog’s readers.