Posted May 22, 2007 3:23 pm by with 10 comments

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After much deliberation, our judges have voted on which of our five scholarship contests should win the $10,000 scholarship contest.

I could provide a flowery summary and in-depth analysis of the contest, but I know you’d just skip over that anyway, so here are the results.

The Winner: Increase Conversion Rates with the Google Website Optimizer? by Jeff Horsager

Congratulations to Jeff who wins the fantastic scholarship with 4 votes from our judges. Jeff barely won, as we actually had a tie, with CK Chung’s Have Your Top Competitors Do Some Of Your SEO For You article also receiving 4 votes. However, Jeff won via the tie-breaker, achieving 3,385 visitors compared to CK’s 1,094.

Paul Steinbrueck was the third choice of our judges, picking-up 3 votes. Daniel Tynski picked up 2 votes and Marios Alexandrou had 1 vote. Two judges didn’t vote.

The Prize Package

Here’s a reminder of what Jeff’s won…

Jeff’s going to be a busy boy! And I’m going to be busy connecting him up with all those great prizes!

Praise for the Finalists

Praise for Jeff’s effort included…

“The “this is the plan and here are screen shots to help” sealed the deal”

“Well written, with concise sentences and not overly technical”

“A good example of how he can do product reviews and present them to general readership”

“Very nice article. Nicely laid out and organized, I also love screenshots to better explain what to do. Nice reference links as well for further information.”

“The information is timely and unique…good screen grabs to support the content”

All entries received praise from our judges, including…

CK Chung – aka Kid Disco

“…he’s not afraid to put his personality into a piece…He certainly rattled the troops with unethical practices but that comes with SEO territory”

“catchy title”

Paul Steinbrueck

“Great post, plus they talk about marketing and how it was used to help others. The other thing I liked about the post was good comment interaction as well as good trackbacks.”

“Timely and unique…gained attention for an important issue”

“This article was not only informative and insightful, but Paul made use of the scholarship contest to further propagate the goal of the article itself, which is clever thinking and good viral marketing.”

Daniel Tynski

“I liked his a lot and would have voted for it if not for Jeff’s…I LOVED his links to tools.  He wrote a useful article. I could see myself using the advice and even better, understanding it.”

“It has a catchy title that uses the effective “list” tactic and addresses the target audience…I learned something new from reading it – actually – several things. That’s difficult for an article to achieve for an SEO veteran disenchanted with the pulp and propaganda pushed in this industry.”

Marios Alexandrou

“Marios has a good start…He tackled a somewhat dry topic, but it’s also an important one”

“Thought-provoking content that encourages you to approach your business in a new way”

“…had to go with it, because it’s such a great subject, along with good writing and specific examples”

Contest Summary

So, on to sharing more details of the scholarship. As with last year, I’ve compiled a list of visitors, page views and top 3 referrers for each entry. Here are some interesting observations:

  • The article with the most actual visitors was not our winner, but had more than 3x the traffic of the winning entry and almost as much traffic as all other entries combined!
  • The two most visited entries took advantage of social media sites. The bulk of Daniel Tynski’s visits came via a strategically placed link at the end of a story that made the Digg homepage.
  • Some entrants bought some of their traffic. PPC and pop-under traffic was popular among those that decided it might be worth it to spend some money.
  • Our winning article took advantage of both Slashdot and organic traffic from Google, to achieve success. Perhaps demonstrating that a good organic campaign needs a balance of traffic sources.
  • Google dominated organic referrals. Yahoo made the list just of top referrers just one time.


Thanks to all that entered! Thanks also to the company’s that donated prizes and our awesome judges for donating their time. Lastly, thanks to all of our readers for their support and participation!

UPDATE: Each of the four runner-ups will receive a full pass to Future of Online Advertising conference. Thanks to the organizers for the prize!