Will the butler be hijacking you?
The venerable butler powered search engine has joined the blogging masses and launched a blog.
MSN to run TV ad campaign
For the first time in four years, MSN ads will appear on television, complimented by a large online campaign reaching 21 million users, accounting for more than 30% of the overall spend.
The supporting TV advertising campaign will be aired on a broad range of channels, including Channel 4 and ITV... The adverts are positioned to run during television and web coverage of several high-profile events over the up and coming weeks, including The Brit Awards and the film premiere of Oceans 12. TV ads will run in global markets including the UK, Canada (in English and French), Australia and Brazil.
Yahoo! have launched a new contextual search technology called Y!Q, a play on 'IQ' (ho ho ho), that allows users to search for results in the context of what they are actually reading.
The idea, spawned by Y! Search chief Jeff Wiener's search for information on Gary Jules wonderful remake of Tears for Fears Mad World, is that you can make queries based on the whole page you are viewing or just passages of selected text. YQ will take that text or page and take out what it perceives as the key terms and search for pages in a similar context and theme.
Trying it out
There are several ways you can use Y!Q - firstly, try the Yahoo! News test page. Then when your appetite is whetted have a go with one of the Demo Bars available for Explorer or Firefox. Firefox users also have seveal other options including using conquery in the way described by Chris Sherman
Once you've installed the toolbar you can highlight any piece of text on a page and click "related search" or just right click and choose the same from the context menu.
Refining Your Results
One of the great things about Y!Q is the ability, with the help of a little DHTML magic, to refine your search once you have the basic results set in front of you. Once you have selected either a whole page or part of one to search, and you have your initial results you'll see a yellow highlighted box at the top of the result set that marks out the key terms that Y!Q thinks relates to your query - for the test i tried, there were about 8. Next to each term is a checkbox and by unchecking a term, you can get refined results and see those results very quickly as the page updates as soon as you uncheck (or re-check) the box - Furthermore, on each of the results you'll see the "more like this" link - clicking that will add that pages terms to your query in an attempt to further refine your search. Nice...
Internet Storm Center's "Handler's Diary" for 2/2/05
Is it April 1 in some timezone I'm not aware of?
The Handler's Diary at SANS Internet Storm Center is reporting on an article appearing in a new Dutch tech magazine "Bright".
The article details a "super secret group of k-rad organized hackers subtly herding innocent web surfers away from their intended targets" by a DNS exploit that is redirecting millions of users.
Supposedly the owner of a porn portal was approached and offered "a million hits" for $1000. To demonstrate, the "salesman" asked the owner of the site for his IP, and sent him to Google. The minute he clicked "Search", he was redirected to the site.
As the diary points out, it's kind of hard to imagine a DNS exploit acting this way (perhaps a malware infected "prospect" was being manipulated?), but apparently other media outlets are starting to pick up the story and spread it like mad...
It'll be interesting to see what spin goes on this. If it comes out as "Search on Google, get Porn Site", it'd sure be a great time to launch a competing search site...
Moreover Technologies Provides MSN With RSS Feed Search and Access Capability
Just a little more info on the new MSN Search's deal with Moreover for RSS features.
From the press release, some key points:
Feed Discovery - use my.msn to subscribe to feeds
Feed Reading - naturally.. they also cache the feeds
RSS Search - this is an interesting one i think, you can search the full text of the feed from my.msn
Feed Inclusion - and this is the real killer, like my.yahoo you can submit your sites feeds to my.msn and have them made available and searchable across the whole "msn community of users" - exact details aren't given but im sure we'll work out the benefits with a little creative experimentation...
If that last point does what i hope it does, it could be a great thing indeed...
Personally i can't think of anything more annoying than SMS and refuse to take part on general grumpy principle but Stuart Henshall has some interesting thought on current technologies Skype, Symbian and Voice Messaging technology.
It will work like VM... Skype will enable a text only program with VM capability... so you can receive and send VM and text... there is no need to yet go to voice on a Skype Symbian solution and most of the phones wouldn't cope. In some countries SkypeOut to mobile will be a good deal, in others it isn't. The presence indicator makes moving to SkypeMobile attractive while the application upgrades will enable you to broadcast presence as on mobile for text, for VM or invisible.
So Skype targets Nokia and begins selling this as an App which means the cell co's ca even retail it too. They are happy because Skype isn't eating their lunch tomorrow on 3G handsets while the Wi-Fi mobility app is already available for Windows PDA's
Whatever way Skype gets used it really is coming into primetime eh?
When everyone is media, no one is
Winer has an uncharacteristically interesting post today on reporters, tech, media and blogs - Interesting in that he's managed to write more than a few sentences on a subject but particularly interesting in that it's one of those increasingly rare moments of lucidity shown about the whole blogs vs journalism thing - let me quote you points 2 and 8 of his 9 bullets.
All media is technology and vice versa. The convergence everyone was buzzing about in the early 90s has happened. It's behind us. There is no separation between media and technology.
Basically reporters can only criticize people who will never employ them. That's why their role is shrinking all the time. Wait until Best Buy buys out Engadget. Eventually reporters will only be able to take shots at bloggers, and probably Microsoft (because they seem to put up with it). Don't try criticizing Steve Jobs, or even talking about him until he's ready for you to.
It's an interesting read, and really not that long to so check it out and then air your views - worthy of the benefit of the doubt IMO and im not so inclined to say that on much of what i read on the whole rather over exuberant blog evangelist sites these days...
Google gives an exclusive to John Battelle ?
I'm sure your opinion on Google changed after getting inside access in researching your book. How "inside" was your access to the Googleplex, and what changed most in your opinion of Google?
Well, they told me I'm the only author they are working with, so I guess that's pretty inside...I've been there a lot, but Google still holds its cards pretty close. My opinion is far more nuanced than it was going in – after talking to dozens of staffers, it can't be anything but.
Today i noticed a blog that's only a couple of weeks old in Google News - I've not seen blogs in there before (though im not saying they don't exist) and i've certainly not seen a site less than a month old in G News.
Good for them - they're an SEM company so possibly it's who you know rather than what you know? - So, why are we not in there and what can i do to change that?
eMarketer report that online ad spend including paid search has peaked and will decline through 2009:
"I think a lot of search and advertising professionals are going to be surprised," David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the report, said in a statement. Hallerman described his findings as a welcome retreat from the "bubble-and-burst expansion" of recent years.
eMarketer found that year-over-year growth in online spending will drop from 30.7 percent in 2004 to 21.1 percent in 2005, and should hit single digits by 2009.
I remember Andrew Goodman saying the exact opposite only a couple of months back, so what's the deal here?
Microsoft Windows Really Crappy Edition
Dan Gillmor has an interesting take on the recent M$ move to call their new XP the Reduced Media Version - they've since said that they'll find a better name becuase the EU whined about it.
A few years ago, when ordered by a judge to remove Internet Explorer from the Windows operating system, Microsoft offered as one option an operating system that wouldn't work. I called this "compliance with a raised middle finger."
Now, ordered by the European Union to sell a version of Windows with Media Player removed, Microsoft proposed to name the OS "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition," another example of the company's tendency to give the finger to government whenever the mood strikes. (This latest insult-the-judge move is even more puzzling given that the EU didn't tell our favorite monopolist to sell the "reduced" version at a lower price, which means that PC makers are hardly likely to opt for a version that has less software at the same price.)
He goes on to give some proposals for the new name:
Windows Government Censored Version
Windows We Should Be Able to Bundle A Roast Beef Sandwich With the OS If We Want To Edition
Windows Don't Blame Us For Your Security Problems Edition
Windows Until We Become Part of Your Taxes Edition
Pretty funny Dan :)
How about, Windows - we will own the EU before the decades out Edition?
Yahoo! look as if they're finally entering into the blog hosting fray as they launch blogs.yahoo.co.jp - shouldnt be long before we see a major roll out eh?
Here's the Cnet report courtesy of Aaron:
Yahoo Japan launches blog beta
Yahoo Japan, owned mostly by Softbank and partly by Yahoo, on Tuesday launched a test, or "beta," version of Yahoo Japan Blogs, a free service that lets users post blogs and up to 2GB of images, comment on other blogs, and associate their blogs with animated representations of users known as avatars.
"This is a basic community service," said a Yahoo Japan spokesperson who asked not to be named. "Last year there was a blog boom in Japan. Lots of portals have blogs now. So we came in late. But when we start, it will have an impact on a lot of Internet users here."
The launch could have implications for Yahoo users in the United States, too.
You're infected and we earn about $3 out of you!
The Reg are reporting on a piece by Richard Stiennon, the vice president of Threat Research at Webroot Software.
Because Richard is definately biased (his company aims to protect their customers from this type of application) his views should probably be taken with a sensible pinch of salt, but you can't just ignore out of hand the figures.
One company, Claria, revealed that their software resided on 40 million PCs and they generated $90 million in revenue a year. Another company, Avenue Media, claimed they had 2 million infected machines that generated $7 million annually. An average of $2.95 per-infection-per-year.
How many infections are there? Our online spy audit indicates that the average PC on the Internet has at least two pieces of adware on it. ClickZ Stats indicates that there are 280 million active PCs on the Internet.
Do the math. The Internet boom is alive and well as adware, spyware, and "slimeware" purveyors rake in over $1.6 billion a year, leading a new trend of hacking for profit.
The Reg bring up the sensible viewpoint
we remain unconvinced about Webroot's headline figure for the illicit ad market of $1.6bn, which it compares to the $10bn a year pulled in by Google, Yahoo! DoubleClick et al.
Let's presume the figures are inflated by 100% and the real income is only $800 million per annum, and the average income per infected PC is only$1.50 and that the average pc only has 1 infection of spyware on it.
These numbers are huge but whilst there is money to be earnt I can understand why people follow this route to earn it. I believe there is an answer, and legislation isn't neccesarily the right way forward in my opinion.
How funny is THAT? Google will now pay you $20 for each new customer you give them for Adwords heh..
Check out Google Referral
The Google referral program (beta) is for businesses whose customers and visitors include small to medium-sized businesses, and who want to help those companies become more successful by running Google AdWords, or serving ads with Google AdSense. The program works by giving approved sites unique links to Google, then compensating the referring site for passing on a new AdWords advertiser or AdSense publisher.
Basic information on the program here, FAQ here, application form here and Terms and Conditions here.
How you get paid
One of your visitors clicks on the graphic or link and is taken to a Google sign-up page.
That person signs up for an AdWords account or applies to become an AdSense publisher.
Advertisers qualify as completed referrals after they spend $20 with AdWords. Publishers qualify after they earn $75 in AdSense revenue.
Every month, Google calculates the number of completed referrals you have directed to Google.
Once you accrue $100 (five completed referrals) or more, you will receive a check. Google only issues checks once a month (for details, see the FAQ
SEM Conference in Australia
It is not often we have SEM conferences in Australia, the last I attended was in 2003, and the one touted for last year never eventuated unfortunately. Nice to see a new conference announced with a good lineup of major players. Should be interesting, and a good opportunity to catch up with everyone.
No sleep 'till DMOZ (- a sorry tale of abuse)
This is one of the finest, most eloquent posts i've ever read on the whole silly dmoz business - these threads come up on a monthly basis, in some places, a daily basis, but the cre8 boys and girls have been having an absolute field day with this one and tucked away back on page 7 or something ridiculous is this gem from Black_knight, aka Ammon Johns.
I've posted most of it, but there's a fair bit more and you should really check out at least this one post if not skim the whole thing for the juicier mayhem contained with in. Get a load of THIS:
It is indeed good to have the input of so many of the 'upper echelons' of DMOZ editing personnel. Thank you.
It could only be better if the discussion was a little more two-way. So far it has mainly seemed that we have on the one hand webmasters (we for whom DMOZ is not) talking about their experiences, and on the other hand the editors (who are in fairness rather limited in what they may say, both due to DMOZ editor communications policies, and by nature of peer pressure within DMOZ) mainly saying that our opinions are not valid because we are webmasters and not the audience, and because it does not come through the proper channels of a form email to staff that bypasses the front-line DMOZ editors entirely.
The 'proper channels' that kctipton007 encourages us to use - the email to staff - is a closed channel that usually ends in the ignore or bin folder. There is absolutely no openness in the correct channels, and if you ask Keith himself honestly, he could not tell you whether this whole matter has already been sent to staff a thousand times in the last month and binned.
The staff email is much like contacting any other editor. They won't usually deign to reply, not even to confirm receipt. Hard to believe that they invite your email and then just ignore it? Not at all. That is the DMOZ way of doing things.
They invite submissions that they apparently do not want. Invite email they definitely have no intention of dealing with. You're missing the point. They make the invitation only to be polite. They don't want you to actually use it. It is only there so they can continue to claim to be open. In fact, the Free Masons are far more open to outsiders than DMOZ.
Search Marketing Association UK is being given a right pasting by one of my favorite forum troublemakers PhillC over at webworkshop:
Well it seems to have died a death. Their website doesn't look like it's been updated since the launch last October. It still has the original press release on the front page, and nothing much else except a PDF info file, which isn't dated but looks like it's from back in October.
There is no discussion forum for people who might be interested but want to know more before shelling out £250 a year for an individual membership, or £1000 a year for a corporate membership.
But it's no surprise. SEMPO didn't do anything, so it was highly unlikely that SMA-UK would do anything
All fair points i think. Not exactly fucking inspiring is it? You'd think that a whole bunch of the UK's finest SEO's would be able to update the sodding homepage...
Tags run amok!
If you're not familiar with del.icio.us, in short, it's a social bookmarking system working on the priniciples of folksonomies - a way of letting users classify content themselves - see the link for a quick primer.
Well, guess what? When you have 30.000+ users and you're giving away free links, people are going to abuse it. It's a crying shame, but it's hardly surprising - the funny thing about many things like this (they come and go on occasion, the kind of "let the users take control kind of things) is that it never appears to occur to the creators that people won't behave in the way that they'd like them too.
del.icio.us is doomed, the poor chap that owns it only works on it at weekends and evenings so unless he can magic some kind of moderation into the system and find people to administer the app then it's dead in the water already...