Shareable Audits & A Holiday Scam to Avoid

Hey, folks. There’s only one more newsletter between now and Christmas. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your shopping done unless your idea of fun is digging through Circle K’s remaining gift cards at 10 PM on Christmas Eve (like one of us did in 2022).

It would be worse to do that now than it was last year. There’s a new, widespread scam: teams of scumbags have been going into places like pharmacies and gas stations, stealing gift cards en masse, taking them home, capturing the redemption codes, then sneaking them back into stores. These buttholes have software that monitors the codes they took down so they can immediately drain the balance of a tainted gift card as soon as it gets activated by a cashier.

People who do that kinda thing should be taken into international waters and drowned. That might sound extreme, but we’re always looking for ways to bring viking traditions back.

We asked Bing Image Creator to illustrate the brand of Old Norse justice we just described. A small amount of scrutiny will reveal several arm-related curiosities, but it looks pretty decent at a glance.

We have a new update while we’re talking about vikings. You can now directly link your clients and/or prospects to the audits you create with our software. For example, anyone can view this audit we created for Wild Willys Airboat Tours, a location that is not associated with us or any of our users. Airboat tour businesses just have amazing names. Our only regret is coming across Swamp Donkey Airboat Rides after we chose Wild Willy.

The shareable links are at the top of your audits (pictured above). If you’re one of the folks who set up a white label domain for Local Viking or Local Brand Manager, the links will take people to your domain and the audits will have your logo instead of ours. The important thing to note is that you must sign in on your white label domain instead of or in to get a white labeled audit link.

There’s a post from yesterday on Google’s blog about its browser phasing out third-party cookies (3PC). Heh. The classy move here is probably giving Google some kind of credit for persistence. The recurring promise of Chrome users navigating a (mostly) cookie-free advertising landscape is as old as this newsletter.

Google originally planned to remove cookies from the Chrome browsing experience by 2020. Then 2022. Then 2023. Google now hopes to roll out its new, cookie-replacing, “Tracking Protection” scheme for 1% of Chrome users in January and for all Chrome users “in the second half of 2024.” Imagine Babe Ruth hitting a foul ball into his face and getting carried off the field on a stretcher after calling his shot. That would perfectly embody Google’s still-unfulfilled promise to slaughter a cash cow it claims to oppose.

There’s also a post from Tuesday on the Google Maps blog about people soon getting an option to save their location history on their phones instead of Google’s servers (if your browser is signed in to your Google account, you check whether or not your location history is enabled here). There are no marketing implications for where your location history is stored, but a graphic from the post about saving your routes inspired us to pass along an SEO tip.

A lot of you are likely aware of the fact that local rankings improve for businesses as more and more people request driving directions to it. You may not know that the distance covered by those directions factors in too. There are disreputable folks who set up banks of 20-30 cheap Android phones and repeatedly simulate 90-minute drives to businesses with unpolished software like iMyFone AnyTo. That’s not the kind of thing we’d ever recommend, but if you’re already far from home and a business you want to help is relatively close to where you live, you may as well pad its stats by requesting driving directions to it (and actually driving there before peeling away to go home).

Here are some rapidfire links because today’s newsletter is already longer than it should be. Jeff Bezos gave Lex Fridman a two hour interview yesterday. Another widely-loved, charismatic billionaire featured in a Wired piece that was also published yesterday. Although Mark Zuckerberg is pretty casual with our personal information, he has gone to great lengths to keep information about his 1,400-acre Hawaiian compound secret (e.g. he fired an entire construction company because one of its workers sent an ephemeral picture to a Snapchat friend). Details have leaked anyway. Apparently his tunnel network puts the one we keep hearing about on the news to shame. Finally, the Later blog has a listicle of 18 ways to get more followers for Instagram brand accounts.

Have a great weekend.

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