Archive for July, 2008

Not so Cuil

I was interested to read the publicity yesterday about a new search engine called Cuil which aims to take on Google as the predominant search engine of choice. A tough task. So naturally I tried a few of our keywords that normally rank highly in Google. When I entered “waterproof clothes” in Cuil I was (at first) happy to see a PuddleDucks image located next to the number one search result.

Cuil Results

Cuil Results

However the site shown next to the image was not PuddleDucks– it was some Italian site – completely irrelevant to the search term. And the accompanying text was for a tent from Halfords! We were nowhere to be seen in the first 5 pages on the Cuil search results, whereas in Google we are result number 2 on page 1 in the list for “waterproof clothes”.

I’m not happy with Cuil. If a user sees our lovely image (shown here)

Butterfly Set

Butterfly Set

– which was taken in our front garden! – they might assume that the image was associated with the site shown alongside. Not so.  

I see (by searching on Google!) that this is a general issue with Cuil as reported here. I have complained to Cuil about this but of course have heard nothing back.

I suppose with any new product it takes some time to iron-out the bugs but this issue seems so fundamental I wonder why they went live at this stage with such a flawed product? And as we all know, first impressions matter. I won’t be switching from Google any time soon.

Written by Aedan

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Songs about Rain – number 1 in an occasional series !

Singin’ in the Rain

 

“Singin in the Rain,

I’m singing in the Rain,

If I’d only worn my PuddleDucks,

I’d be happy again!”

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Gougane Barra

View over Gougane Barra

View over Gougane Barra

This is the first of our “Out and About” posts.

We have a section on the PuddleDucks website called Out and About. The intention is to build up a listing of locations around Ireland where families can have a great day out – regardless of the weather.  So with that in mind we’re going to try out as many new places as possible – but we’d love to hear about your favourite spots too.

So, anyway … back to Gougane Barra. It is a lovely Forest Park located in North-West Cork on the borders with Kerry. From Cork City it’ll take about an hour and a quarter to get there. Entrance to the park costs a very reasonable €5 and you get a detailed map of the various trails around the park. Some of these are tougher than the others. One of the trails was very steep – a struggle for mum and dad although J. took it in his stride like a mountain goat. ‘Twas funny at the entrance, the very nice man suggested this trail and said that it would just be OK for a seven year old. He forgot to say that it would be a struggle for the not-so-young parents!! Anyway we had a great time and we would wholeheartedly recommend Gougane for a day out.  There are lots of lovely places for a picnic (and if it’s the right season the Centra near the park sells the most delicous locally grown raspberries!).  We are looking forward to going back a number of times a year in order to enjoy the beautiful scenery in all seasons.

Written by Aedan

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Back to School Photo Shoot

Everyday Jacket and School Bag

Everyday Jacket and School Bag

It’s mid July and I’m asking J. to put on his school uniform and smile nicely for the camera. Luckily he’s very obliging as he enjoys being PuddleDucks’ top model. This year for the first time we’re introducing a Special Back to School Page and have a few new products specially in.  J. gets to road test them all and he doesn’t mind even trying on some of the girls stuff if necessary (that might change in a year or two though, but for now, pink or blue – it doesn’t much matter to him!).  A hundred photo’s later and we have one or two that are use-able.  Now it’s down to the still life – School bags and bottles. These are new products for us and harder for me to photograph. As a novice I’m never sure what settings to use and always end up on the reliable Program button! So for once I’m checking the manual for suggestions – but if anyone has any tips (aside from hiring a Pro..!!) – I’d love to know!

 Written by Suzanne

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Pepper the Dog

Pepper interested in having photo taken

What's goin' on?

We were taking more photos in the garden for our new “Back to School” page when Pepper said “hey – what about me?”.   This is a typical look of his – big brown eyes gazing up at you while his ears are on full alert! He’s always so interested in what’s going on and makes sure he gets involved in whatever it might be!  We got Pep (aka Pepperoni, Pepsicola) as a pup from West Cork Animal Welfare over a year ago and he’s been part of the family ever since.

Written by Suzanne

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We won a prize

A while back I attended the IIA congress in Dublin. While on a break I chatted to the people at TradeDoubler and filled out a form to enter a raffle for a free online campaign. I never win anything so left it at that. So I was surprised when I got a call a few days later saying “Congrats .. you’ve won!” The prize – one million page impressions for a PuddleDucks banner online campaign.

We’re currently planning for the campaign and are getting the banners created by talented graphic designer Claire (of Mitchell Design). We’re also chatting to TradeDoubler about what websites to target. The idea is to first have a campaign for our PuddleDucks Back to School range – launching in mid to late August. This is new ground for us so it’s a learning experience. Hopefully it will be successful and it will introduce some new customers to the joys of PuddleDucks!

Written by Aedan

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Starting a Blog

Back in February I received an email from Aileen of Aisling Software (of Sort My Books fame).  Aileen was  organising a ‘Business Blogging for Beginners’ course run by Damien Mulley, blogger extraordinaire who had  kindly offered his time free of charge.  Having been constantly told how much PuddleDucks needed a blog  this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.  So, bleary eyed on a Saturday morning myself and 11 other wannabe bloggers arrived at the Maryborough Hotel.  There was an interesting mix of businesses ranging from alternative health companies to a tyre business to the newly launched website run by Ciara Freely.

Damien took us through the steps of how to use WordPress and patiently answered our questions. Some of the blank faces finally started to disappear as we realised that we might just manage this! My big question though, was, while it’s okay to sell waterproofs – does anyone really want to read about us selling them….?  Damien referred me to other business blogs such as English Cut which is the story of a tailor and his  sewing thimble and  Ice Cream Ireland, the fantastic blog of Murphy’s Ice Cream shop in Dingle. So I was convinced we should give it a go.  However, the story might have ended there were it not for my husband and PuddleDucks partner Aed. Computers are not really my favourite thing and I’m definitely not very techie and would have been easily put off by that side of things. Aed on the other hand has an IT background and will happily spend all day messing around on the PC. So it’s thanks to his persistence that the blog has happened.  And finally here we are – the PuddleDucks Blog!  Off we go … 

Thanks Damien, Thanks Aileen!

Written by Suzanne

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