Sunday, May 16, 2010

Multivariate Testing for Template Driven Sites - Ryan Pitylak

By Ryan Pitylak

Someone needs to build a system that makes it easy to do multivariate testing across a variety of template driven websites. Many web design companies have a lot of very low traffic volume websites. Each website on its own doesn't have enough data to do great multivariate or A/B testing, but combined, the test results would be statistically significant. I've looked into quite a few different tools that purport to have this functionality, but it looks like a home grown system is currently the only realistic option when you're dealing with template driven content. However, a company should develop a way to make multivariate across template driven website testing easier. This could be done by taking a programming-focused approach to the problem. Actually go into the code that drives the website and integrate the testing technology into the code. It's very custom, which usually means is very expensive, but if someone could find a way to do this inexpensively, it would be immensely helpful.

- Ryan Pitylak

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

LifeReef Skimmer

Making Your LifeReef Skimmer Skim Successfully:

1) clean intake tube where water is coming up daily or every other day
2) water at a very high level in the underground sump (4" from top)
3) set valve closure to make very dense foam in the intake area up until the base of the collection cup
4) let run for 24 hours while it foams in the area within the collection cup
5) make sure the top of the collection cup has the solid area close to the intake tube so foam collects onto the solid area of the cap

Friday, December 11, 2009

Speaking at the Austin Entrepreneur Network

Special thanks to Hall, Jason, and Elijah for putting together today's search marketing class. I really enjoyed teaching a great group of people about search marketing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Monday, December 08, 2008

Marketing at ProfitFuel with Ryan Pitylak

It's been a lot of fun managing the marketing program at Profitfuel. With such an extensive customer base, we have to buy a lot of pay per click advertising. It's fun to apply so much math to our bidding algorithms, keyword selection, and overall strategy. On more of a strategic level, it's also enjoyable to look at where we're receiving traffic and to buy more of the most optimal traffic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

OtherInbox - It's Alive!

I've been helping Josh Baer of since the beginning of the year, and it's been a real delight. It's been exciting to be part of something so revolutionary. A little bit about OtherInbox:

OtherInbox, a new email service for consumers who get too much email, launched today at TechCrunch50, where they were named one of the 50 top startups in the world. From the TechCrunch50 stage, OtherInbox Founder and CEO, Joshua Baer, introduced the world to the cure for email overload. With its new approach, OtherInbox automatically organizes commercial email so that its easy to find the messages you care about most and ignore the ones you don't have time for. OtherInbox keeps the newsletters, receipts, and social networking notifications out of your work email account so that it only contains important messages from real people. At the same time, it shows you the real reason why you are receiving each message and gives you the power to stop spam once and for all with a powerful new Block button.

Needless to say, I'm really excited that OtherInbox is finally live and ready for public use. I've been using it for quite some time now, and it's been a real life saver!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Exciting New Job

I recently accepted a VP Marketing job at ProfitFuel. It's been an extremely fun work experience for me, as I have an opportunity to make a really large impact at an already successful company.

ProfitFuel's flagship business,, is a local directory service for local service providers, such as contractors and real estate agents.

It's exciting to be part of a great team and to have such a great opportunity to make a large impact.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cellphone Advertising - Bluecasting

I wrote an article about Bluecasting, a new form of advertising that allows advertisers to advertise directly to your cell phone as you're walking around places like the mall. This is a fascinating more of advertising, and I think there are a lot of moral questions to be asked before it's adopted in full scale. However, with the right considerations, I think you could bring a lot to people's lives, given that personalization is such a real possibility nowadays.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Top 10 Myths of SEO

I wrote about the top 10 SEO myths, as originally posted by Search Engine Land. I think it's fascinating to hear what people believe about SEO, since it's such a "black art" to most people. At the end of the day, it's just complicated, and with the right research and connections, you can learn the ropes. Once you've learned what's really going on, it's not that hard, because the algorithm doesn't change that dramatically for those of us who are playing by the regular SEO rules.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ryan Pitylak Anti-Spam Activist - How To Combat Spam: 700,000 Mobile Phone "Do Not Spam" Registrations

Ryan Pitylak Anti-Spam Activist - How To Combat Spam: 700,000 Mobile Phone "Do Not Spam" Registrations

"Do Not Spam" for mobile has yet to hit America, but when it does, it'll change the future plans for a lot of marketing companies. Mobile phones, much like email, will ultimately need regulation to keep any nuisances under control.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Viral Marketing in a Web 2.0 World

A viral marketing approach to any web 2.0 company is vital. The tools of the new internet allow information to disseminate quickly and inexpensively. A marketing executive in Austin recently told me: “if your company has a good product or service, people will talk about it.”

Is it enough to just have a good web 2.0 product or service? Will people tell their friends without you prompting them? The answer is yes, but how many friends will they tell? Will they tell enough friends to make the impact of viral marketing meaningful?

My friend mentioned that consumers will not necessarily come back to your service on their own….and in many cases, he’s absolutely right. Unless you’re a major brand, you need a way to communicate with the consumer so that you can remind them that “Hey, I’m still here, and I still have a great product for you!”

With all the competition for your attention on the internet, a passive approach to word of mouth marketing is probably not enough to really differentiate yourself. Look at many of the major successes in the web 2.0 world:,,, etc. These companies all had products worth talking about, but more importantly, viral marketing was inherently central to the product. When you post an article at, you are encouraged to ask your friends to digg the story. This value-added approach to your life is central for a viral marketing campaign.

At, we create inherent value by having friends in your network. The complicate maze of the live music scene is difficult to filter. Now people can find live music events that their friends will enjoy seeing. This makes the process of finding live music shows much easier.

Ryan Pitylak

Monday, August 06, 2007

Extracting the Maximum Value from your Company's Marketing Database

One of the most compelling areas of demand generation is figuring out how to maximize the return from your existing marketing database. Once a company is able to find its target customers, building a lasting relationship with those customers is a step that is often underutilized.

In a consumer focused internet business, anyone who visits your website is a potential customer. Below is a list of the potential touch points where you can build relationships with your customers. I've also included a list of ideas for effectively communicating with your prospects at each touch point.

Website visitor

Create a compelling landing page that is always conversions focused. Your prospects should immediately understand the value statement and your unique selling points. Give them an easy way to sign up, using a very simple sign up form. Do not put up road blocks in the sign up process. For example, no 'input the following code in the box below.'

If prospects leave before giving you their information (as most inevitably do), you need to find better ways of communicating with them. Provide special offers that will encourage them to sign up for your service. What unique products are you offering that provoked them to visit your website in the first place? Provide an easy way for them to give their email address and any other relevant contact information. This will provide you with an opportunity to communicate with your prospective customers through opt-in emails.

Customers who start the order process, but don't finish

These customers left the order process because you were unable to communicate with them effectively. Did they leave because the price was too high? Did they leave because your shopping cart didn't communicate trust and safety? Did they decide they could live without the product, for now? All of these questions should be addressed during the sign up process. However, follow up communication is an effective way to address these questions. Communicate with your new customers by asking them what they need from you, and provide them with ways to address their concerns. For example, if the customer is not interested in the product right now because the price is too high, would they like to be notified when the product goes on sale?

Finished order

These are your best customers, and you know it. You probably communicate with them regularly through email. If you don't, you're missing out on a big opportunity, because these customers are interested in your products enough to make a purchase. Create compelling emails that are brand sensitive and are focused on the unique value proposition of your business. Why should these customers care about your email? What value are you providing them in the email? Is that value properly expressed in the subject line? Limit the number of email communications to these customers to a maximum of weekly communication. If you're going to communicate with your customers weekly, make sure you have fresh and compelling content that really speaks to their needs.

Expressed interest in special offer or newsletter

These are prospects that have shown interest in your product, but have not committed to making a purchase. Your website delivered the notion of value and trust and some prospects decided to allow you to reach out to them through future marketing and editorial messages. Make sure you provide the customer with the emails they're asking for. If they're asking for editorial content, make sure your marketing messages compliment the editorial content, but are less than 20 percent of the messages delivered in the email.


This is a fairly new arena. The concept is to track visitors who have visited your website with a tracking pixel. This type of tracking is called behavioral targeting. Large companies, such as Tacoda (owned by Time Warner/AOL), use this targeting to deliver messages based on the behavior of the visitor. If you visit, and then leave, companies who deliver ads through remarketing can display ads for on third party websites. This is another opportunity to communicate with a prospect who you know was interested in your site.

Ryan Pitylak

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Predicting Consumer Behavior

Is it possible to accurately predict consumer behavior? Not if you’re trying to create a new market. This is the problem that was highlighted by the book titled “The Innovator’s Dilemma.”

One of my friends who started a major personalization company told me that people are only 50% correct when judging their intention to perform a new action. This is one of the main problems when using consumer surveys to evaluate the viability of a new product or service.

So what is the answer to this dilemma? There are two ways to approach the answer:
1) Find a market that is currently underserved. You can find these markets by looking at current consumer behavior and analyzing what consumers are doing in those markets. If consumers are using products in a way that they were not originally designed to support, a market opportunity might exist to develop a better product that meets the specific needs of those consumers. You will also need to develop a user acquisition model and business model to ensure the viability of the product.
2) Create a new product and see how people respond to it. Iteratively improve the product until people are happy.

At, we’ve attempted to marry the two answers by creating a service that fulfills the needs of live concert goers in a totally new way. We’re addressing an existing market (concert goers who try to find live music) in a totally new way (making recommendations based upon the user’s favorite music).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Entrepreneur's Dilemma

This blog highlights the interesting life of a startup B2C entrepreneur:

Many B2C businesses are difficult to predict, and therefore raising money for these types of companies has its own set of issues. I really enjoyed participating in this dialog, and hope that more dialogs are spawned from it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

FOX 7 News & Unlock Austin

It was great having the opportunity to talk on Fox 7 news about the local music scene. This blistering cold day didn't stop Austin residents from attending one of the cities annual festivals. I look forward to being a part of the festivals in the future as well.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The protection of consumer information

Xanga recently was fined $1M for violating children's online privacy. See

At UnlockAustin, we do not accept memberships from members under the age of 13 years old. It is stated on the sign-up that members must be 13 years old to sign-up for the service. Parental consent is necessary for children under the ages of 13 to join an Internet website. It is plausible that websites might accept parental consent so that their children can use the website, but this can be hard to verify. In the case of Xanga, parental consent wasn't enforced for those under the age of 13.

It is our duty to respect personal privacy laws and the wishes of these children's parents. This law was designed for protect children from capturing their personally identifiable information.

Many websites do not require members to be at least 13 years old, and these websites should heed the warning of the FTC, and take measures to stop children under 13 years of age from joining.

Some children avoid this rule by lying about their age to gain access to these websites. Examples of websites that require people to enter their age are alcohol sites or pornography sites. Stricter measures may need to be taken on these types of websites to ensure the age of their visitors, such as being required to enter their driver's license number. However, at websites that do not have provocative material, the request for identification numbers isn't always possible, especially for children under the age of 16.

Special software is available through certain Internet service providers, such as AOL. This software attempts to block access to adult sites when a child is logged into the service.

In all, privacy has come a long way over the years, and as the rules of the Internet continue to become more defined, websites will be forced to catch up with these rules.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

University of Texas Security Measures

The Daily Texan wrote an article about the new security measures that the University of Texas-Austin will be implementing this year. They plan to implement the same level of security used by the most security organizations in the world, such as Pfizer.

My initial reaction is: Wow, this is really impressive!

This is impressive because the sheer cost to implement a project of this scale is fairly substantial because it touches upon so much of the University's computer infrastructure. I give a lot of credit to UT for going through the effort to implement this system. They plan to provide possession-based security codes to every faculty member next year. These codes will be provided to users through USB key chains, cell phones, or key cards. If I could offer one bit of advice, it would be that cell phones are not completely secure, and therefore might be vulnerable to hacking.

However, the larger concern is whether the dean will find it necessary to implement the security system to all users. As president of Pitylak Security, I am telling my clients that comprehensive security measures like this are very important because of the high value organizations should place on personal identification protection.

This is a major step in the right direction.

Ryan Pitylak

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Notice of clarification by Susan Arenella:


From: Susan Arenella, Attorney

Re: Clarification to June 2 article

Dear Editor:

Regarding the story “Note to Spam King: You Got Nailed” (by Howard Witt, June 2), I am requesting clarification of statements in the article. When Mr. Witt contacted me last week regarding my association with Mr. Ryan Pitylak, a client of mine who was the subject of the June 2 article, he introduced himself and spoke very quickly, asking me to answer questions regarding Mr. Pitylak, whose name he mispronounced. I asked him to repeat who he was asking me about. He repeated Mr. Pitylak’s name, pronouncing it differently, and further identified Mr. Pitylak in relation to “Unlock City,” a business name which I then recognized. He then asked me if I had filed corporate papers for Unlock City. I confirmed to him that Mr. Pitylak is my client, but that I could not comment on his questions until I had an opportunity to discuss them with my client. I repeated this statement to Mr. Witt several times as he continued to ask further questions. As you know, I am ethically obligated to keep the specifics of any of my clients’ cases confidential unless I have obtained permission from them to do otherwise.

However, Mr. Witt’s article states that “Susan Arenella, the attorney who filed the papers for Pitylak and whose signature appears on the [corporate] documents, said she did not know who Pitylak was…” This is a grossly inaccurate statement. Mr. Witt’s discussion of Mr. Pitylak’s recent abandonment of an assumed name falsely implies that there was some type of “assumed name” cover up regarding Mr. Pitylak’s new business, which is not the case. In fact, Mr. Pitylak instructed me to file the assumed name, Unlock Austin, for his new Internet city guide business to make it applicable to the Austin market, and then simply changed his mind as to which of his companies would carry the new name. Unlock Austin is by no means a secret. It is still the assumed name publicly filed under Mr. Pitlyak’s limited partnership and is currently the domain name that Mr. Pitylak has registered on the World Wide Web for his new company.

I would appreciate an immediate clarification of these points with regard to the article. Or, at least publish this letter. Thank you in advance for your response.

Susan Arenella, Attorney
901 South Mopac Expressway
Barton Oaks Plaza One, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78746
p. 512.485.3060
f. 512.358.0998

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


The news of the Texas Attorney General lawsuit has been released.

I am pleased to announce that I am now a part of the anti-spam community, having started an internet security company – Pitylak Security – that offers my clients advice on systems to protect against spam.

Over time I have come to see how I was wrong to think of spam as just a game of cat and mouse with corporate email administrators. I now understand why so much effort is put into stopping it.

The settlements with Microsoft and the Attorney General’s office have been a serious reality check: harsh, but good, and in the public’s best interest.

I’m now working earnestly to help other entrepreneurs avoid the traps that deceived me and led me to make questionable business choices.

As a recent graduate from the University of Texas with honors degrees in economics and philosophy, it's my goal to apply what I've learned and use my entrepreneurial talents to help others.

- Ryan Pitylak

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Interesting article by SC Magazine

Here is the article: SCMagazine

My main motive for providing my anti-spam services is to help out the anti-spam community. That desire is first and foremost. I really feel strongly about making a difference in the fight against spam, and I truly believe that I have some knowledge that can be helpful in that fight. Please visit my Combat Spam blog for some posts and comments that talk about the spam problem and solutions to those problems. This is an ongoing discussion that I hope continues so that I can continue to help out members of the internet community.

In non-public settings I can talk about the tricks that spammers use and the structures spammers setup to send out email. I do not feel comfortable speaking about these issues publicly because I do not want to give spammers any ideas.

I understand that it'll take time to build people's trust. The settlement of the civil lawsuits are an important step for me so that I can start down the path of rebuilding trust (however long that might take). I've learned a lot since I was in the email business. My economics training taught me to think about the economy as a whole. It taught me to think about my actions in terms of everyone involved, not just the stakeholders in my company. I used to have a very narrow view of what a corporation was supposed to do. However, the combination of a business ethics class and an economics theory class helped me to understand that corporations (and it's members) must think about their impact on everyone that interacts with the business.

Laura Ingraham Interview

Notice! The time and date have changed!

This interview will be on Tuesday, June 13th, at 10:15am Central. Tune in to 1370AM in Austin.

I look forward to talking with Laura about my turn-around into the world of anti-spam.

Monday, June 05, 2006

When I decided to join the anti-spam community:

I've done a lot of interviews lately with reporters about my settlement of lawsuits with Microsoft and the Texas Attorney General's office and the reporters keep asking the question about when I had an epiphany about my need to join the anti-spam community.

I've given a lot of thought to that question - I haven't really been able to pinpoint a moment in time where I woke up in the middle of the night and had an "A-ha" moment.

If anything, I look back to some of the classes I was taking while the lawsuit was proceeding and I am now remembering my micro-economic theory class where we learned about the "Tragedy of the commons." The textbook was written by David Besanko and Ronald R. Braeutigam and they emphasized the problem of the tragedy of the commons. Mcgraw-Hill defines this problem as "The over-use of a natural resource as a result of unclear property rights. If ownership of a resource is not established, everyone has an incentive to take as much of it as possible, quickly depleting the resource. A typical example is the decline in the fish population resulting from over-fishing of the ocean."

Once I thought about this I realized that the internet had unclear ownership rights and that over-exploiting the unclear ownership rights was wrong. I decided that I wanted to be part of the solution to help bring clarity to who has the ownership rights. I think that the individual person and the internet service provider have the right to control what email comes through their network. I also think that the government is necessary to control the spam problem.

I hope this helps to clear up the reason why I made the transition into the anti-spam community. I feel very strongly about working with the anti-spam community, and I truly want to become a part of the solution.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Thesis Completed! Effects of Globalization on the Poor, by Ryan Pitylak

Direct link to the paper written by Ryan Pitylak (click here).

After spending two semesters reading what seemed like endless sources, I've completed the thesis. Dr. Bencivenga at the University of Texas was an awesome help, providing me with direction, constructive criticism, and corrections.

I strongly believe that poverty can be steadily lowered, and globalization is one way to accomplish this.

I also think that creative entrepreneurs are one of the keys to job creation, which is necessary for developing countries to become more developed. As poor people can find jobs, their wages can increase, and some will most out of poverty. This is crucial to global development, and I feel strongly that finding some way to stop people from starving is one of our most important goals as human beings. This may not be a large contribution to that goal, but it's a start.

Older papers are available at:

Ryan Pitylak

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Working for Good - FLOW Idealism

I am active in Working for Good, which is a project that was born out of FLOW Idealism. I talk about this project in my speech that I gave last night, and I strongly believe in these ideals. John Mackey, the founder of Whole Foods, was at the meeting today and discussed the reasons why we has joined flow as a co-founder. My plea to any entrepreneur out there: be a social entrepreneur.

Social entrepreneurialism is important for me because I feel like business creates jobs. After learning about the negative long-term effects of foreign aid on countries, I decided to look at alternative ways to think about how to help the world. I came across Michael Strong and Phyllis Blees, and they told me about FLOW Idealism. What they're trying to accomplish is great because they are trying to find ways to create socially conscious businesses. My feels are: why have a business that hinders society when you could have a business that helps society. And why stop there? Why not help people in developing countries move out of poverty by helping them find ways to increase their ability to earn a living? One of FLOW's missions, which is very important to me, is to help educate people in developing countries about ways to make more money and become financially stable. I am excited, and proud, to be part of such a great project!

Some helpful links if you are interested:
Working for Good:
Flow Idealsim:

Ryan Pitylak

Bootstrap Student Introduction to UT Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Society

Last night I gave a talk to the University of Texas at Austin Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Society The talk was about my experiences as an entrepreneur, to talk about some of the principles of bootstrapping, and to talk about the Bootstrap-Student organization.

This opportunity for me to speak was delightful because I truly enjoy helping my fellow entrepreneurs. I love to hear about other people's business ideas and help them succeed with these business ventures. This group was interesting because several people had started businesses while still in school and were struggling balancing the work with school. I've gone through these same struggles myself, and having this opportunity for me to talk about how to manage all of this is really great.

One of my goals with helping to run the Bootstrap Student Organization is to help students build a community with one another. My pleasure is being able to be a part of that building process. Working with Bijoy Goswami to learn how to build communities has been a great learning experience for me, and I hope to apply this knowledge in practical application for building the Bootstrap Student organization.

The talk in available at this website (click here).

Please wait for the file to load. It's about 50MB, and therefore might take up to 15 minutes to load.

Ryan Pitylak

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ryan Pitylak launched CombatSpam, Anti-Spam BLOG

Please visit

This antispam blog is an opportunity for me to discuss details about how to stop spam. Helping the cause against spam is important to me because I've learned that spam negatively affects society by creating problems for systems administrators and consumers. Although email is a cost-effective way to communicate with consumers, regulations and anti-spam filters are important to keep spam from cluttering mail boxes.

Hopefully through this antispam blog I can help not only systems administrators but also consumers from receiving so much spam in their inbox.

Ryan Pitylak

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ryan Pitylak launched Pitylak Security!

Visit for anti-spam security services.

I've renamed Sky Corp Services to Pitylak Security because I wanted to be clear about the purpose of this business. My goal is to help take the information I've learned over the past few years, and help the anti-spam community in the fight against spam. Stopping spam is a long process that includes many different avenues to be successful, and I can help advise on what avenues should be taken.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bootstrap Student in Austin Launches!

Leaders: Ryan Pitylak, Michael Griffen, and Jacob Salamon.

For more information, visit

Bootstrap Student is an organization designed to teach students how to start up a company with minimal start-up capital. Most graduates do not have access to venture capital, so this is a practical method to starting up most businesses. We are focused on building a community for students who are entrepreneurially minded.

This experience is one of the most important things I'm doing right now because it's allowing me to help build a community of student entrepreneurs. We're working with Bootstrap-Austin and Bijoy Goswami to guide us through the process of building this community. Our goal is to create an environment where entrepreneurs talk with one another about running companies or about the desire to run companies. Getting everyone together to talk about this, and to give feedback on my personal experience is great, because I enjoy helping other people become successful entrepreneurs.

Ryan Pitylak

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ryan Pitylak's Academic Research

My main focus of research is about economic issues. Namely, I focus most of my academic time on issues related to the poor in developing countries. Many differnet aspects of the economy affect the poor (globalization for example) and a better understanding of these issues might lead to less people living in extreme poverty. If you have any interest in this topic, please engage me in a discussion regarding this so that we can work together to finds solutions to the terrible problem of people having to live in extreme poverty.

Ryan Pitylak's Business Startup Information

Starting up a company can be difficult, especially with little cash. Please ask any questions about how to startup a company and run it on cashflow. Bootstrapping for Students is a University of Texas Organization that Ryan Pitylak helps run that teaches students how to run startup companies on cash flow. We hope to help the community by better educating enterpreneurs to run successful companies.

Ryan Pitylak's Anti-Spam Services

I hope to be able to provide valuable information in the fight against spam. Please ask any quesions ranging from general anti-spam questions to specific anti-spam questions. The intent of this blog is to embrace the opportunity for Ryan Pitylak to be able to talk with members of the community and hopefully provide valuable information to the community.