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(Sock?) Puppets by Gwen – Did GoDaddy Rig Their Superbowl Ad?

February 3rd, 2014
21 Comments


So Gwen Dean quit her day job to pursue puppeteer dreams in front of the country last night; in part thanks to an awesome GoDaddy website (a pretty good product btw). ¬†According to the Superbowl ad, Gwen has booked about 1,300 shows via her website. Technically, she says they were “booked online”, but the ad clearly implies the shows were booked through her GoDaddy website:

But I am not so sure this Gwen person is for real. (UPDATE: Looks like Gwen Johnson is in fact a real puppeteer in Yonkers – here’s her old site – but I still think GoDaddy took a few too many liberties with her story. #Marketing) Some Local SEO sleuthing reveals the following:

  1. THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT HER LOCATION/SERVICE AREA ON HER SITE
    Forget about the SEO implications, I don’t know about you, but I never travel more than 30 miles to do a puppet show. Gwen’s service area: the entire planet. Must be a new Google Places dashboard feature.
  2. ONLY TWO BLOG POSTS
    The first was this single photo posted on January 26th:
    Shit we need to post something quick!
    Well, who has time to blog when you have to do 1,300 damn puppet shows!
  3. KIDS LOVE PUPPET VIDEOS, BUT NOT ON YOUTUBE…
    Creating a great YouTube Channel can really pay off:YouTube SEO At It's Finest
  4. AND I GUESS GOOGLE+ REALLY IS A GHOST TOWN
    Puppet Circles
    That’s ok of course, because you really just need to have a verified Google+ Page for Business.
  5. OF COURSE MOST SMBS PREFER THE EASE OF FACEBOOK
    Puppets by Gwen’s first Facebook activity was on July 5, 2013:
    Please Like My Puppet!
    That same day, Gwen also posted a strangely out-of-season set of pumpkin carving photos. But after that, she only posted one event in August and then nothing until January 31st. And her Facebook page had no reviews until 17 hours ago.
  6. WELL, PERHAPS ALL OF THE PUPPET PEOPLE ARE ON TWITTER THESE DAYS
    Except it doesn’t look like Gwen has been active on Twitter, until a few hours ago that is.
  7. BUT YELP IS REALLY WHAT DRIVES MOST LOCAL BUSINESS THESE DAYS
    Of course you need to actually be on Yelp for that to work, but that’s just a detail…Hey, I heard GoDaddy has a new tool that can help businesses get on sites like Yelp:
    Get Your Puppets Found!

    Kind of reminds me of something…

UPDATE:
Thanks to Ryan Jones for pointing out that PuppetsbyGwen.com was only registered on December 26, 2013. Their website builder is fast:
PuppetsbyGwen.com WhoIS


Tags: Local Search

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dick Larkin // Feb 3, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Andrew –
    Great investigative work. You are the BOMB! You should get a job at the NSA.

  • 2 Dave // Feb 3, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Andrew: You are an amazing sleuth!!!!

  • 3 Andrew Shotland // Feb 3, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Beats working…

  • 4 Ryan Jones // Feb 3, 2014 at 11:23 am

    so a whois says the domain was registered in December of 2013. That’s the first registration of it. If she’s booked and done 1300 puppet shows on it already, that’s a LOT of shows per day.

  • 5 Andrew Shotland // Feb 3, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Ryan, don’t forget there’s a huge demand for puppet shows over the holidays. In the industry, they refer to it as “The Surge”.

  • 6 Will Scott // Feb 3, 2014 at 11:43 am

    @Ryan, talk about good sleuthing.

  • 7 Andrew Shotland // Feb 3, 2014 at 11:54 am

    How do you think I figured all this out Dick?

  • 8 Ryan Jones // Feb 3, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Looks like the original domain was MotionPicturePuppets.com and before that it was FunnyPuppetShow.com – at least the same phone number on the Godaddy listing was also used in relation to those domains.

    My guess: she’s real, Godaddy made her kill off her old sites and create a new one for the super bowl ad.

  • 9 Anita Campbell // Feb 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Hi Andrew, You missed your calling! You should be a private eye. LOL

    Seriously, I’m sure she’s real. With all the people and outside agencies (ad was produced by Donnie Deutsch’s agency according to the press briefer we got), you don’t get through the process without background checks being done, contracts being signed, etc.

    I think what happened is like Ryan says, she had some kind of presence before, probably not satisfactory, and might even have done booking through EventBrite or a tool like that.

    As far as not having a social or local presence, she is in the same boat as too many other small businesses (especially part time business owners). No time to do hold down a full time job, try to run a business on the side, and do online marketing.

    I think that was probably the point of the commercial.

    - Anita

  • 10 Andrew Shotland // Feb 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Nice work Ryan. Looks like FunnyPuppetShow.com was definitely the one.

    So she’s real. But no way she has booked 1,300 shows online unless she has been doing this since the day the Netscape browser lauched.

  • 11 Andrew Shotland // Feb 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Anita,

    I think you are correct in that Gwen is a real person with a real business – see the update above – but no way she has booked 1,300 shows online.

  • 12 Joe Goldstein // Feb 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Next you’re going to tell me that the Chili Peppers weren’t even playing their instruments.

  • 13 Andrew Shotland // Feb 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Give it away, give it away now Joe…

  • 14 Phil Rozek // Feb 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I think you’ll find Gwen’s Google+ and Yelp listings if you search for “puppeteers” near Potemkin Village.

  • 15 Andrew Shotland // Feb 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    @Phil – oh no you didn’t….

  • 16 Thomas Ballantyne // Feb 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Wait a minute Andrew… has anyone checked to see if she is on Fiverr.com?? She could have booked 1300 fiverr deals over the past year… if she was really hustling. It is possible.

    In which case, fiverr should be getting the praise and not Godaddy’s website tonight.

    .. Or maybe she’s booked out 1 a day until 2016.

  • 17 Joe Goldstein // Feb 3, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    @ Thomas – That would be a huge oversight if he didn’t. Restaurants have Yelp, hotels have Tripadvisor, and puppeteers have Fiverr.

  • 18 Doyal Bryant // Feb 4, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Great work Andrew. Appears GoDaddy have some additional catch up to all the extras that can help a SMB “Be Found” you listed some of those in your blog. I am curious about what you think the value of her getting found on Locu places is?

  • 19 Puppet Molester // Feb 23, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Duh guys, all the good puppets are on myspace.com

  • 20 Charles Lowden uk // May 10, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Who gives a shit , I know nothing of or about her , if she’s successful good for her , what did she ever do to you , leave her alone

  • 21 Andrew Shotland // May 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    She laughed at my puppet in first grade, then turned it into a career

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