8 Nisan 2010 Perşembe

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This is the first in a series of posts about entrepreneurship and the resources that can help small businesses succeed. In the coming weeks, we’ll share the inspirational stories of real people — just like you — who’ve used various Google tools to start up, maintain and grow their businesses. To kick off the series, we’re starting with a post about a small business owner’s experience with Google AdWords — the program that helped level the marketing field for companies of all sizes. -Ed.

Small businesses are especially close to my heart. When he retired from teaching, my father ran a small art company in Maine, and I saw firsthand how fulfilling — and how difficult — it was for him to realize his dream of running his own business. Unfortunately, his business closed its doors after just a few years. His key challenge: attracting qualified customers.

Many new businesses face similar challenges, but the power of technology can help business owners find the customers they need. Whether you’re a fledgling entrepreneur trying to turn your passion into a profit or an established enterprise trying to get to the next level, Internet tools like Google AdWords are the key to being there when customers come looking for you online.

To show what's possible, we invited 53-year-old Jay Berkowitz to share his experience creating a business and using AdWords to help it flourish. Here's what Jay has to say:

Like most first-time parents, my life completely changed when my daughter Hillary was born in 1993. My wife Janet and I decided that one of us should stay at home to care for her while the other continued working full time. Janet kept her engineering job, and I ended up quitting my job as a Wall Street bond analyst to become Mr. Mom.

Later, when Hillary started school, I had more free time. It seemed like the perfect chance to do something I’d always dreamed of: launch my own business and work for myself. I started selling themed plates and lunchboxes at New York City street fairs. Then in 2001, eight-year-old Hillary showed me (her non-tech-savvy dad) how to turn on a computer. That was the beginning of taking the business online, and realizing a whole new world of possibility. Janet and I worked together to build a website, PlatesPlus4Kids.com, and we started advertising online with Google AdWords. Soon, my little project became a full-fledged venture.

By advertising on the Internet, I was able to reach interested customers not only in my area, but all over the country. More and more people found my store through online searches. In no time, I had so many orders that I could no longer keep my inventory of themed cups, plates and lunchboxes on the kitchen table. The stock moved to the den, then the basement, and finally to a warehouse 20 minutes from our house in Little Neck, New York. Over the years, I've also expanded my product line and now offer children’s backpacks, umbrellas, flatware, snack containers and sandwich boxes. What started as a hobby now brings in about $500,000 in sales annually.

I only pay when people click on my ad and go to my website, so the cost of marketing is within my means. I increase the budget during the back-to-school season and the holidays (my peak periods) so my ads show above the search results during those times. I've also noticed that customers seem to be in a shopping mood on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I sometimes increase my budget on those days to make sure my ads show up more. Depending on trends, I create new ads to promote different characters and new inventory. For example, now that Yo Gabba Gabba is popular and baseball season is starting, I'm making adjustments so that those phrases combined with words like “dishes,” “placemats” and “cups” trigger my ads. And of course, I have ads that mention items with princesses and superheroes — those are top sellers year-round.


What's really great is that even though my business has expanded over the past seven years, it's still a small family company. Two people work for me at the warehouse, but I work from home. Janet takes pictures of the products and works on the website on the weekends. I've had the freedom to be a hands-on parent to Hillary and the privilege of helping other parents connect with their kids through my store. Certain celebrity parents have found me through my AdWords ads and bought items for their kids.

I consider myself a pretty ordinary guy. When I started PlatesPlus for Kids, I had no idea it would become what it is today. It's heartening to know that by following your gut and putting in a lot of hard work, you can find a fulfilling second career. Or maybe a first one.


Jay, Hillary and Janet


Posted by Claire Johnson, Vice President, Online Sales and Operations, Advertising Programs

Reklama AdWords na portalu YouTube

Biorąc pod uwagę liczbę polskich użytkowników (9,9 mln*) odwiedzających co miesiąc portal YouTube możemy zauważyć, iż staje się on atrakcyjną platformą reklamową. YouTube oferuje coraz więcej innowacyjnych i niestandardowych formatów, które umożliwiają precyzyjne dotarcie do odpowiednich użytkowników. Ponadto reklama na portalu jest dopasowana do tego, czego poszukują internauci i jest odpowiednio wkomponowana w layout strony. Aby dać Wam pełen obraz możliwości reklamowych portalu, w kolejnych postach przedstawimy informacje dotyczące formatów, możliwości kierowania reklamy oraz ustawień kampanii.

Mamy nadzięję, że przygotowana przez nas seria postów przybliży Wam, jak za pomocą AdWords możecie skutecznie promować swoją firmę na portalu YouTube.

*Megapanel styczeń 2010

Mission Blue: filling in the blanks...

Last year, we launched Ocean in Google Earth, expanding the scope of Earth to include 3D maps of the world’s oceans and videos, photos and narrative from the world’s leading scientists and media sources to bring them to life. We worked with more than 100 partners to begin to fill in the “blue” part of the planet, adding hundreds of placemarks in more than 20 ocean layers. Since then, we’ve added hundreds of new posts to the Ocean layer with the help of Sylvia Earle’s Mission Blue Foundation and dozens of committed individuals around the world. The posts come from a diverse range of partners including National Geographic, independent videographers and dive enthusiasts, government organizations like the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and international organizations like the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Today, the layer will become part of the default set of annotations seen by all Earth users. Although a humble step given the dearth of information available about these vast expanses of geography, we are happy to take one more step to make the oceans a first-class part of Google Earth and to give them at least a starter portion of the thick soup of photos and places that describe the land part of the planet. One of the greatest things about Earth is that it allows everyone to see and experience the fullness of their planet, from revisiting places they know well to venturing out to formerly unknown mountain peaks, desert vistas, and increasingly, the blue heart of life on Earth. As Sylvia has said of the Ocean on many occasions, “With knowing comes caring, and with caring there’s hope.”

Soon after last year’s launch, Sylvia asked attendees at the TED conference to help her realize a wish: to create a series of marine protected areas she calls Hope Spots. Sylvia and a group of influential thinkers are now on a Mission Blue Voyage to the Galapagos Islands to brainstorm how they might best achieve better ocean protection. You can follow them on their journey by visiting the the Mission Blue Foundation website and on Twitter at @MissionBlue. There you can learn more about the launch of their Hope Spots initiative and visit all 18 of these spots using the Google Earth plugin.


We’ve also created a narrated tour featured in the Ocean Showcase to introduce you to eight of the regions proposed for protection: the Eastern Pacific Seascape including the Galapagos Islands, the Gulf of California, the Mesoamerican Reef in the Caribbean including Belize, the Sargasso Sea in the mid-Atlantic, the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, the Coral Triangle, the Ross Sea in the Antarctic and Gakkel Ridge in the Arctic.

We’d also like to take a moment to thank the partners who have helped us improve our 3D canvas of the world’s oceans in the past year: NOAA (global coverage), MBARI (Monterey Bay Canyon), The California State University at Monterey Bay (California Coast), The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping - Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire (Arctic) and The Living Oceans Society (British Columbia and Canada).

As Earth Day approaches, we hope you’ll take a little time to explore the planet, including the blue part.

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Let’s say that you have x different stocks, and the plots of their prices over time. You want to print them in newspaper, printing multiple plots on the same chart to save space. But here’s the catch: no two plots on the same chart can overlap, lest the readers be confused. Look at the plots and figure out the smallest number of charts required.

Looking for a challenge like the riddle above? And I mean an exciting brain-twisting and turning kind of challenge. I mean competing with fellow coders from around the world for top bragging rights kind of challenge.

Since 2003, we’ve brought you our annual Google Code Jam — a competition in which professional and student programmers from all around the world solve tough algorithmic challenges in a limited amount of time. Last year’s 23,000 contestants vied for the title of Google Code Jam champion. After five rounds and some furious typing, China’s Lou Tiancheng (code-named ACRush) was named champion.

Sound like the challenge for you? Well registration is now open. And you can try your hand at problems from previous competitions and get up to speed with the rules. We recommend that you practice hard — Code Jam is not for the weak of heart! And, this year we’ve decided to take the show on the road — for the very first time, the final competition will take place in Google’s Dublin office.

The qualification round starts on May 7, 2010 and after four rounds of online competition, the top 25 competitors will be flown to Dublin to match wits for the $5,000 first prize — and, of course, the title of Code Jam champion!

P.S. Have you solved our “Stock Charts” problem yet? Test your solution on the Code Jam website.