A New Idea for Publishing
John Battelle is proposing a new advertising and publishing model that he says would eliminate the current imbalance between publisher, advertiser and reader at the techreview article threadlinked above.
Advertisers initially loved paid search for one simple reason: it worked, driving valuable leads to their sites. But the publishers’ concerns were well-founded. After all, paid search can undermine the value of a publisher-created community. It also fails to garner the benefits of a publisher’s influence and endorsement. Finally, advertisers care a lot about where their ads appear. A big question arises: can we create an advertising model that has all the benefits of paid search and at the same time values the relationship between publisher and audience?
It's a novel approach that would be an utter bastard to implement but on first thought, great for all three parties in the online publishing equation:
Because an Internet-based ad is already a little piece of software, it can be tagged with information about its target audience, how much the advertiser is willing to spend to reach that audience (and how much each click will cost), what kind of websites are acceptable or forbidden (such as porn sites), and any number of other attributes. Most important, each ad could communicate with a “home” application that tracks its progress and status.
Once these tagged ads are let loose, publishers could simply copy and paste them into their own websites. Through connections to their home sites, the ads would report which publishers have pasted them where, how many clicks they’ve received, and how much money is left in the advertiser’s bank account. The ad propagates until it runs out of money. If it is working, the advertiser simply fills up the tank with more money.
Why is this model better than the current one? Because publishers know their audiences best. There’s no incentive for publishers to place ads that don’t perform or that offend their readers.
24/7 appoints chief for new search division
Rob Wilson formerly of Overture is to run 24/7's 13 man search division according to the netimperitive story threadlinked above:
Wilson was previously at Overture, (owned by Yahoo!) where he set up the European customer support operation for the search marketing company in Dublin. As a board director, he also oversaw Overture's expansion into 10 new territories.
His responsibilities at 24/7 Search will include the re-branding of Decide Interactive's paid search management technology Decide DNA, developing new business in the UK market and providing customer support services.
Greg Lindon just announced that Findory are now adding personalized search RSS Feeds - essentially the system will tune itself to your past searches and the current search you are performing to better match what it thinks you want - pretty neat huh? From Greg's post threadlinked above:
Execute a news or blog search on Findory and, at the bottom of the search results, you'll see links to RSS feeds for those searches. The persona feed (visible only if you are signed in) highlights recommended articles from the search results.
It's true that many others offer RSS feeds for searches over news or blogs. What makes Findory's RSS feeds so different is our personalization.
We've seen Greg out and about in targeted blog posts touting the Findory fineries and apart from having a ball calling him a spammer :-) what he has to say is exciting and this latest news just adds to that. From the comment linked above:
The problem with current web feed readers is that they don't solve the information overload problem. You can pick and choose which RSS feeds you subscribe to, sure. But, once you have tens or hundrededs of subscribed feeds, reading them becomes this cumbersome process. Click on a feed, skim the articles. Anything interesting in that one? No. Click, skim. Click, skim. Click, skim. Ugh.
We're trying to solve that problem at Findory. It's a personalized newspaper and weblog reader. It learns your interests, searches thousands of news sources and weblogs, and builds a front page just for you.
Greg, you can spam us right here mate, go ahead and tell us a bit about it eh? It sounds cool.....
The Consumer Electronics Show opens Minus Webloggers
From this infoworld story:
"The CEA spent more time qualifying attendees this year to make sure everyone in attendance has a legitimate attachment to the consumer electronics industry, said Kristen Peiffer, a CEA spokeswoman. The show is not open to the general public, and the CEA does not allow the blogging community or other independent observers to attend the show."
and from the GNC post threadlinked above:
I would have went to CES instead they have banned all webloggers, thus I am flipping them the middle finger and will be going somewhere else besides Las Vegas for vacation. See not only will CES miss me, so will Las Vegas miss my wallet and my wife at the Blackjack table. Sure I could have lied on the application but who wants to go where they are not welcome.
Videos to Enhance your Search Engine Listings
An interesting new tool from SiSTeR Technologies will allow advertisers to create short video clips that would appear alongside regular organic listings. They are currently speaking with a number of large players in the search engine world and if talks go well we may see the products of their labours very soon.
Frankly, I think this might work at first, but then when every listing has a video to go with it, it will just make the page more busy...and more annoying. Especially if they automatically play.
Black Wednesday for AdSense? Or a jump in earnings for publishers?
Jennifer Slegg has some interesting thoughts on how the new Adwords rules reported earlier will affect publishers:
Many publishers are used to seeing many similar ads on a page that lead eventually lead to the same affiliate program. But if the one advertiser per merchant also applied to content match, this could mean a tremendous loss of ad inventory for AdSense publishers to display. And for those publishers whose sites tend to display mostly affiliate ads, the income loss could be staggering.
However, if Adwords/AdSense get together on this and allow one advertiser per keyword per merchant on the search side, yet allow as many advertisers per keyword per merchant on the content side of things, this could actually result in more advertisers opting into content. If they cannot afford the bid price in search, advertisers would still have the chance of getting click throughs in content, where it could be more affordable if all the advertisers are not trying to outbid each other for a single spot in the serps.
I just know of Greg Jarboe by name. First I skimmed the article threadlinked above
and I thought I think he must work for a PPC management organization. On 2nd read, I think he's giving Organic SEO's a few tips i.e. sell services by showing conversion and tracking. Still not sure, but will give it a 3rd read. Although he is using SEMPO's research study in his analysis, so who really knows? Does anyone know the stats on the Sempo survey i.e. how many participated, who participated? I'll search around later for the details, but I know my dog participated succesffully in the survey.
I just read a very interesting piece for SEW subscribers that Danny Sullivan pointed out on the SEW Blog - The article is based on the "black hat / white hat" session at the recent SES Chicago
Now, im dreadfully bored with the whole thing about hats and ethics, and have resolved not to get into it (we'll see how long that lasts..) this year but it's a damn good article and well worth a read - though you do have to be a paid ($100) member to get to it. Nestled in the middle is this little exchange between Danny and Yahoo's Tim Mayer, i think you'll like it...
Tim Mayer of Yahoo Talks About Search Spamming
I have added some notes in bold to let you know who is saying what :)
If you're being entirely organic and going after "viagra," it's like taking a sword to a gunfight. You just aren't going to rank.
Did I hear right? Was that Yahoo saying spam is OK depending on the industry? No. When I followed up with Tim, he emailed me:
Yahoo does not think that spamming is OK. We are aware that spam (or over optimization) is prevalent in highly competitive categories and realize that many webmasters in these high reward categories are willing to take more risks and use spamming techniques even though they know the search engines may label their sites as spam.
I think one of the key things I brought up in the session was when I talked about where the line was between optimization and over optimization (spam). I said this may vary by industry as in very non-competitive industries, where very little optimization takes place, the line will be very conservative and there will be little room for aggressive optimization techniques. In a very competitive industry like 'texas holdem poker' where optimization is the norm, heavier optimization may be tolerated.
The Future of Wireless Networking
Here's a really quite enlightening podcast from ITConversations (threadlinked above) that provides a very neat look at the possible future for wireless networking - im listening to Gee Rittenhouse, the VP for wireless tech for Lucent talk about personalization right now and it's cool as...
Here's a snippet from the text:
The wireless industry is undergoing a transition. We see the evolution from cellular 2G to 3G standards, the migration from circuit to packet applications, and the procession of voice to data. We also see the industry incorporating new wireless access technologies such as WiFi and WiMAX. All of this is occuring in a market place where voice subscriber penatration levels in many parts of the world are saturating and there is incredible pressure to reduce network capital and operating costs.
MapQuest offers to navigate mobile users
InfoWorld report in the threadlink above on AOL owned MapQuest offering a new service to send color maps and directions direct to mobiles.
The navigation-focused Internet company, owned by America Online (AOL), unveiled the "Send to Phone" feature on Wednesday as part of its MapQuest Mobile service, priced at $3.99 a month.
To access the feature, users visit MapQuest.com from a computer, request maps and directions, and enter their mobile phone number. They can then retrieve the information through the MapQuest Mobile application on their cell phones. The MapQuest Mobile service is offered through a partnership with mobile phone application publisher Vindigo, which leverages its relationships with wireless carriers, AOL said.
So for $4 a month you needn't have to stop and ask someone for directions:
Google Receives Patent for Highlighting of Search Results
This'll put the cat amongst the pidgeons...
A system highlights search terms in documents distributed over a network. The system generates a search query that includes a search term and, in response to the search query, receives a list of one or more references to documents in the network. The system receives selection of one of the references and retrieves a document that corresponds to the selected reference. The system then highlights the search term in the retrieved document.
Doors open at biggest gadget fair
Gadget freaks all over the world will be wetting their pants with excitment over the Vegas CES that opened today. Rather than litter the recent posts list and RSS feed with dozens of CES related threads i thought i would put the ones i find interesting all in one place. Including Podcasts.
Please feel free to add reports you find interesting as comments, providing a link to the source and a relevant quote.
Kicking off at CES Vegas
We can start with this BBC report on the opening of CES. It's a nice all round intro to the whole deal.
The thrust of this year's show will be on technologies which put people in charge of multimedia content so they can store, listen to, and watch what they want on devices any time, anywhere.
About 120,000 people are expected to attend the trade show which stretches over more than 1.5 million square feet.
Highlights will include the latest trends in digital imaging, storage technologies, thinner flat screen and high-definition TVs, wireless and portable technologies, gaming, and broadband technologies.
The show also includes several speeches from key technology companies such as Intel, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard among others.
List of Links to Good Coverage - Comments Contain Quotes and Details...
PaidContent on Orb Networks
Good overview from The Ledger
USAToday launches a CES blog via MP
SEO Spam Cop
Interesting series of articles on ClickZ by P.J. Fusco on identifying questionable SEO tactics, etc. Seems to take pride in having fired SEM firms.
It's often irritating to me when people take the high road just to distinguish themselves, but there are many very good points brought out in this article. It would be nice (and more compelling) to see more specifics on search performance improvement after the "SEO spam" tactics were removed and the "right" tactics implemented.
Comment Spam? How About An Ignore Tag? How About An Indexing Summit!
Danny Sullivan posts some proposed solutions to comment spam and links to a number of other proposals and discussions including the one we had on solving comment spam a few weeks back.
Danny suggests that it's the search engines responsibility (or at least implies) and proposes a exclusion tag that would tell a search engine not to index certain portions of a page:
To me, the solution seems simple. Why not give designers a tag telling search engines to ignore portions of a web page? Or better yet, how about a coordinated summit among search engines and webmasters to advance the state of site indexing overall?
To me, this is the wrong way to go about it, for several reasons:
Why should genuine comments be ignored by search engines?
This is what would happen if you roped off portions of the page and told search engines not to include the links - firstly, the people commenting and adding value to the page should get all the benefit of a link to their website IMO - this is what the internet is all about and what the various link algos are partly about: Accrediting value where due. You could argue that maybe just the links wouldn't count but the content of the comments would be indexed but it still leaves that problem accreditation which i think is important.
Search Engine Adoption: It just aint that simple!
I cant imagine all of the search engines either agreeing to such a solution or implementing it any time soon, can you? It just doesn't work like that so for a start we have a potentially huge delay in implementation assuming that all parties agreed anyway. If only one of the major players did not agree, comment spam would still be an excellent, cheap method of gaining traffic rendering the solution useless.
Blog Vendor Adoption: It just ain't that simple!
Pretty much the same as above for this reason against such an idea. You would have to get all of the major vendors to agree on a standard, and these things take time. Then you would have to implement it on new releases of the software, provide patches for older versions and set up support channels for all of that. To be fair though, some of the things i proposed in the above linked post have exactly the same problems at this point - there really isn't a simple, quick, killer answer on the table or anywhere near it.
Information flows too slowly
There are people that call themselves search engine optimizers that are out there on forums right now talking about optimizing their META tags - with me? It would just take far too long for this information to filter down to the lowers tiers of the SEO knowledge base.
The Solution Lies with Blog Software Vendors
For the above reasons i think that the solution to blog spam rests with the software guys, there's going to be just too much collateral damage if the search engines start excluding comments, or devaluing links from comments and it simply is not a viable solution in the real world.
The Cultural Divide Between LiveJournal and Six Apart
With the news of Six Apart's move to buy Live Journal comes an interesting piece from Danah Boyd on the cultural differences of the two blogging communities.
Jump inside LJ culture. People who use LJ talk about their LJs, not their blogs. They mock bloggers who want to be pundits, journalists, experts. In essence, they mock the culture of bloggers that use Six Apart's tools. During interviews with LJ/Xanga folks, i've been told that MovableType is for people with no friends, people who just talk to be heard, people who are trying too hard.
LJ folks don't see LJ as a tool, but a community. Bloggers may see the ethereal blogosphere as their community, but for LJers, it's all about LJ. Aside from the ubergeek LJers, LJers don't read non-LJs even though syndication is available. They post for their friends, comment excessively and constantly moderate who should have access to what.
While you cannot generalize about LJers, a vast majority of them are engaged in acts of resistance regularly (think: subcultures, activists, youth rebels, etc.). They value LJ because it values them. They value LJ because it is a tool of resistance, an act of going against mainstream and representing those already marginalized by society - the geeks, freaks and queers among us. They don't want to be mainstream. They don't want their parents/authorities/oppressors using the same service. At the same time, LJ provides shelter, support, community. When someone threatens to commit suicide, LJ doesn't throw up its hand and scream "not my problem." There are folks who actually work to help friends help each other. They're not just an anonymous service - they care.
While many bloggers love to talk about LJ with disdain, as a low-brow version of the culture, i adore LJ from the bottom of my heart and i'm truly concerned that LJ's culture will be corrupted by an acquisition. It is not like any other blogging service and the needs that it serves are fundamentally different. I understand that Brad would gain much from selling, but it breaks my heart all the same. I can totally understand what he will gain, what Six Apart will gain... but what will LJ folks gain?