Be careful with Google Sitelinks (How I screwed myself)

Personal,Search,travel by on January 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm

While I’m generally a big fan of Google Sitelinks, I recently screwed myself by carelessly relying on them.

A few months back I planned travel for Affiliate Summit West. I began my process with a search for “Affiliate Summit West”. The search results today are below (which look pretty similar to what I recall seeing originally).

affiliate summit west - Google Search_1262889895341

I was already registered for the show, knew which day I was speaking (Monday) and since the show was in the same location last year all I needed were the dates.

I clicked on the ‘About the Show’ sitelink and booked travel based on the dates on that page. A few weeks later, my wife booked a trip to Hawaii based on my calendar availability.

mouseover

While all of the sitelinks were for the 2010 version of the conference, the ‘About the Show’ sitelink took me to the 2009 details. I carelessly booked my travel plans based on the wrong dates… which now collide with our trip to Hawaii…

Clearly, the error is mine and mine alone. If I had gone directly to the Affiliate Summit website and used their navigation, I would have not been in a position to make the error.

So, be careful deep navigating with sitelinks. Trust site owners more than Google (sounds obvious right?).

New Zealand Travelog

travel by on April 23, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Our writeup and pictures from New Zealand are finally online (close to a month and half after we got back)! Two of my favorite pictures are below.

Kawarau Bridge Bungy Punakaiki Rocks

Airlines, the FAA and Technology I Always Assumed Existed

Products,travel by on September 10, 2008 at 10:48 pm

I’m so immersed in the the high-tech world that I assume the implementation of obvious ideas has penetrated most other industries.

I was surprised to learn recently that air traffic controllers have to form a mental picture of weather patterns and flight paths in order to decide which flights to ground and which to allow to take off. From this Wired Article:

… the current system, in which an air traffic controller must take weather information from multiple sources and create a mental picture to determine how it will impact different flight paths.

Fortunately, a few researchers from MIT are taking the obvious step and putting weather systems, forecasts and flight paths into an easy to use interface (ok, so the interface isn’t exactly easy to use, but it sure beats a mental picture):

It is being tested in NYC and in ~3 months it has already saved 2300 hrs of delays ($7.5M in operational cost savings).

Why don’t Passport centers take Passport photos?

Personal,travel by on April 7, 2008 at 8:17 am

Our Costa Rica vacation got off to an excellent start as I was denied boarding at LAX (after flying the first leg from Seattle). Thanks to a United passport-scanning kiosk, my passport has had a small tear in it for a few months now. The tear has slowly grown as careless airline personnel swept it through their readers. I’ve gotten a few second glances from passport control, but no one felt it necessary to even suggest I replace it.

Is the quick-print photo lobby that strong?
By the time that TACA airlines got through with my passport late last night, they had increased the tear to a full 1.5 inches along the front cover. At which point, they refused to allow me on the plane.

TACA was the ‘operating airline’ for the latter half of our flight. They were unable to do anything with our tickets so they sent us to United. The United desk agents refused to believe that I could replace my passport in a day. They wouldn’t book us on the next flight - they just offered to ‘annotate our record’ to make rebooking easier. A bit of gentle insistence and they finally gave us a reservation on the next flight.

The passport office will only do same-day passports if you can prove you need same-day passports (eg show a ticket or reservation). United almost put me in an unwinnable situation. If I had listened to United the first, second and third time they refused to put us on the next flight, we would continue to be stuck in LA at a ghetto airport hotel.

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the armpits of United’s employees and those of its subsidiaries
The uneducated consumer consistently gets screwed by the airlines. Every time something goes wrong, their default decision is to screw the customer. No wonder they’re going bankrupt. Its hard to run a successful business when your best customers (I’m a Premiere Executive) passionately hate you.

BTW, my collection of lessons learned is here: Getting a same-day passport

Incredible Airline Customer Service

Business,Personal,travel by on September 17, 2007 at 8:40 pm

An oxymoron? I’ve traveled United and USAir extensively, and don’t have a single story like either of these:

Southwest

Several weekends ago, I booked two one-way flights from Seattle to Reno. Yes, both in the same direction. I probably had the cheapest tickets available as I had booked the flights way in advance.

I realized my error at the checkin counter in Reno airport. I thought I was either: Not flying to Seattle that night; or buying a really expensive ticket.

Instead the Southwest agent smiled warmly, commented that I looked like a ‘nice young man’, invoked a little known privilege and put me on the flight with no ticket.

JetBlue

Last week my wife attended an American Marketing Association meeting that was supposed to feature a Sonja Hagen, a Jet Blue Sales Manager, on brand management during a time of crisis.

Unfortunately, Sonja missed the event. Entirely. And didn’t let anyone at the AMA know.

Several days later, Sonja sent this personalized note to my wife (and presumably all the meeting attendees).

It is to my understanding that you attended the Puget Sound AMA monthly meeting last Wednesday, September 12th in Seattle. This email is my opportunity to sincerely apologize for my absence from the event. I was scheduled to give a presentation on brand management during a time of crisis. Last week was a time of crisis for me, since I have never in my professional career not followed through with a scheduled commitment. I am truly and deeply sorry for my absence at your event, as well as any inconvenience that my absence presented to you, AMA leaders, and membership.

I would have loved to have shared the JetBlue story with you and the things that we have learned over the years regarding our brand, marketing strategy and customer loyalty. Unfortunately, I did not get that opportunity and would love for you to experience our product first hand. Please accept my apology and this complimentary roundtrip travel certificate on JetBlue Airways. It is my hope that you will allow JetBlue the opportunity to serve you in the future.

Mistakes and errors are unavoidable. Nothing tells you more about a company or an individual than how they handle their mistakes and yours.

Back from Alaska

Personal,travel by on July 3, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Awesome, awesome trip. Still sorting through photos. I hope to have them up by the end of the weekend.

In the meantime, 2 photos:

Camping at Grewingk Lake across the Kachemak Bay from Homer.

grewingk glacier

Our first-ever fishing trip. All told the four of us came back with 80+ pounds of Halibut fillets. Guess what we’re grilling for the 4th?

img_2779-1.JPG

Update: Photos are now online.

Off to Alaska

Personal,travel by on June 22, 2007 at 5:38 pm

Not that I’ve been posting terribly regularly, but I’ll be traveling for the next 9 days and expect intermittent connectivity. In the meantime, have fun with the newest version of Desktop Tower Defense.

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