Unusable RSS ads, courtesy of Jacob Nielsen
"Up to $250,000 in life insurance with inexpensive rates. Highly advanced life insurance system. Complete your application in less than 10 minutes. No blood or urine tests."
Jacob...why don't you supply your own feed directly so I don't have to delete these untargeted, irrelevant, and really unusable spam-bits?
I couldn't agree more Alex, the ones i really hate are the ones that come up as seperate posts prefixed with 'ADV: ' - they just get in my way and on my nerves and are NEVER about anything even remotely related to the normal subject matter of the feed im reading.
Give me decent contextuals in the feed if you must, but make them bloody relevant dammit!
Microsoft Won't Bundle Desktop Search with Windows
Looks like M$ have been forced to rethink thier integration strategies for Windows as a result of recent antitrust rulings:
Speaking on a panel on search technology at the Harvard Business School's Cyberposium, Mark Kroese, general manager of information services and merchant platform product marketing for MSN, said the federal antitrust battle Microsoft waged with the government has made the company think twice about what technologies it can add to the operating system.
There are some search engines out there right now breathing a little sigh of releif no doubt though they mention nothing of integrating a toolbar for IE for their MSN Search stuff...
Interview with a link spammer
Ok, so which Threadwatch member did an interview with The Register eh? heh...
Sam - let's call our interviewee Sam, it's suitably anonymous - lives in a three-bedroom semi-detached house in London, drives a vintage Jaguar and runs his own company. But "it's not not all rock and roll and big money", says Sam. What isn't? Spamming websites and blogs with text to pump up the search engine rankings of sites pushing PPC (pills, porn and casinos), that's what.
For that's what Sam does, pretty much all day long. He - we'll use the male notation, it's easier - would do this anyway for fun, but it's more than fun; he says he can earn seven-figure sums doing this. Sam is a link spammer. He's unapologetic about it. Skilled in Perl, LWP and PHP, Sam's first professional programming was done aged 13, when he sold some code to a gaming company. He's 32 now, and spoke to The Register on condition of anonymity.
Sounds like a dozen or more folks i know haha...
added: OMFG, it get's better....
So the link spammers - who prefer to call themselves "search engine optimisers"
Now that's going to put the proverbial cat amongst the pidgeons heh... i can see the white hat supremicists getting all frothy at the mouth right as i type...
added: I just spoke with "Sam" who still wants to remain anonymous as the piece may offend some of his blue chip clients but he did have this to say:
All quotes are accurate but some were taken out of context. it should also be noted that Charles Arthur is an avid Blogger - Remember he thinks it's legal to give bloggers content for free!
Here's Why Google Should Buy Technorati
Russell Shaw at The Standard posts a little mild speculation on whether Google already have plans to buy Technorati - it's no secret that Google are severely lacking in the blog search department: The way Google works is just not suited to rapid indexing of the kind that Technorati specialize in and, i would say, that that flaw is becoming increasingly obvious and making GOOG far less useful for many types of search tasks.
Im not sure that GOOG would actually buy Technorati, i think it's far more likely they would develop something similar in-house. Technorati may be watching 6.5 million blogs but with Googles power, if they were to launch a pinging service they'd surpass that number in no time i think.
From the threadlinked standard piece:
Google, they of the $52 billion market cap, needs that functionality in the blog search space. They should acquire Technorati, and then do the following:
*Keep Technorati as a distinct URL. Otherwise, pinging anarchy would rule, and that would suck.
*Set up a Blog tab on the Google home page, on the same line as "Web, Images, Groups," and so forth. That way, you can specify a search of Blogs rather than Web, Images, Groups, or even your desktop.
*If you perform just a plain ol' Web search, list the first few Blog hits above the Web hits, in summary form.
Yes, Google should buy Technorati. How about, now??
For me, i rarely use google for breaking news - i do use news.google.com of course but it's not the same, and it's not as fast as finding blogs that have already spotted a story and are linking and commenting on it right now.
So, questions for Threadwatch'ers:
Does Google need a Ping Service and blog index?
Should/would they buy Technorati?
Could Yahoo beat them to it? - after all, Yahoo are streets ahead in RSS adoption so maybe that would be a more likely scenario?
Sony Endorses Weblogs With Site Integration Sponsorship
Adrants reports in the threadlink above that Sony will become the "exclusive launch sponsor" of LifeHacker.com (auth req'd) LifeHacker will be a software oriented version of Gawkers Gizmodo, one of the original gadget blogs and will be run by Gina Trapani who currently runs scribbling.net and will focus on all manner of techy software.
Sony have also bought into Gizmodo itself:
Sony's site integration sponsorship of Lifehacker will include the integration of the Sony logo with the Lifehacker masthead, as well as standard IAB ad units. The buy also includes Gizmodo, Gawker Media's gadget title. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte pushes a cheap PC for the rest of the world.
RedHerrring report in the threadlink above on Nicholas Negroponte's brainchild to develop a $100 PC to be aimed at developing markets. China will be first on the list with the units shipping no less than 1 million orders at a time.
Mr. Negroponte’s idea is to develop educational software and have the portable personal computer replace textbooks in schools in much the same way that France’s Minitel videotext terminal, which was developed by France Telecom in the 1980s, became a substitute for phone books.
AMD, Google, Motorola and Samsung are among those that have pledged support for the project.
Yahoo to Offer Financial Data Feeds
Yahoo! will be giving Reuters the boot and will be running feeds direct from the stock exchanges and marketing those services to other sites. Forbes will be its first customer.
Craig Forman, vice president, information and finance, said that Yahoo would continue to license data from providers such as Reuters, but said the company wanted have "greater control and flexibility" over the financial data it receives and distributes.
"We're the No. 1 financial Web site on the Internet," Forman said, adding that Yahoo's Finance section -- http://finance.yahoo.com -- has gained enough recognition as a brand to be sold to other Web outlets.
"Now we're expanding that strategy of syndication to include financial information," Forman said.
No NoFollow - Fight Spam, Not Blogs
Seems like bloggers are starting to realize that nofollow is not necessarily a good thing for them - see the wiki threadlinked above.
Mick Stanic agrees with the anti-nofollow site but Scoble disagrees. Interesting to note that many of the evangelic nofollower's are now downplaying the tags effects on comment spam when only a week or two ago it was hailed as the saviour of blogs....
The National Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam are experimenting with using the Google database to teach meaning extraction to computers according to NewScientist
To gauge just how closely, Vitanyi and Cilibrasi have developed a statistical indicator based on these hit counts that gives a measure of a logical distance separating a pair of words. They call this the normalised Google distance, or NGD. The lower the NGD, the more closely the words are related.
Google already sort of do it with their ~ function (no it isn't a synonym search whatever they call it, not unless someone redefined synonym while I wasn't paying attention) but in principal it could be interesting if someone can make it work really well - and I wonder if Google will require use of the programme in return for them running it on their database? Now that could open up a lot of possibilities.....
Hyperlinkage is a little like Bloglines only it has less cool features but a much smarter interface - it's very young though - apparently still under development.
Certainly worth keeping an eye on but some questions that immediately spring to mind:
It gathers feeds when you want them, not every hour like bloglines - if it gets popular that'd be a big bandwidth/load balance concern im guessing.
Where's the biz model?
Im not sure if this is just "someones site" or a funded project but it does look like it has potential and i love the way you can simply get all your feeds in order but mixed.. er what i mean is, i subscribed to the threadwatch feed and the library stuff feed and all the stories came up at once but in timestamped order - neat. You can also get them individually.
Apple Edges Google as Top Brand
According to a survey by Brandchannel Google are no longer classed as the top brand worldwide.
In the survey of almost 2,000 ad executives, brand managers and academics by online magazine Brandchannel, Apple ousted search engine Google from last year's top spot, but the surprise to many will be Al Jazeera's entry into the top five.
interesting that neither Apple nor Google appear in the Europe and Africa top 5, but Nokia (mobile manufacturer) are, the North America tops are mostly tech while the S. America tops are almost entirely food and drink related with no tech at all.
Was The Mark Jen Flap A Publicity Stunt?
Last week there was much fun and mayhem with Google's rather unfortunate new employee Mark Jen - we had a field day here at Threadwatch (or i did at least heh...) with these threads:
Google Gag Rogue Blogger - But Yahoo! Tells the Story
The FULL Mark Jen Google Blog - The Blog Google tried to Gag
Mark Jen #2 - Google's Idiot Blogger Returns
In the last one i mentioned a few suspicions i couldn't quite shake off about the whole thing:
You know, there's a nasty, cynical little voice inside my head that keeps crying "Setup! it's a setup!" - this voice argues that PR is a funny old game and messin' with the blogosphere is *easy* - it's no real bad press for Google - but it's a hell of a lot of attention for them on a day when GOOG stock is downgraded
and now it seems that those suspicions may not have been so far fetched at all. From the blogoscoped post threadlinked above of an original post at dirson:
Mark has no reason for it, so either Google is publicizing him, or someone is trying to make Google look bad by purchasing this ad. Of course, there is little chance of the second theory, since, as Dirson shows, the very text of the ad is rejected by AdWords, since you cannot use the word "Google" in an ad!
Now, why would google do this?
They need a scoble?
Making the best of a bad situation
It was all a setup from the start for publicity?
Digital identity event at Future Salon
Nial Kennedy has some nice recordings of a presentation at Future Salon on Digital Identity including Eric Sachs of Google who talked about Orkut and Gmail and some of the issues surrounding digital identity and what G feel users want and need.
It's a worthy listen though their is little of surprise in the talk...
Did Norway Just Outlaw Google?
Mike at techdirt raises an interesting point about illegal content and the law. In a recently publicized case Norway have fined a student who published a community site that pointed to Mp3's - some of which where obviously illegal.
The guy didn't host the Mp3's, his users just posted links to them, Norway ruled that this was "abetting an illegal act" and have fined him the equivalent of £8000
Where does this leave Search Engines?
Scandinavian countries are particularly anal about Search - just a couple of years ago one News service was told that it could not even link to a newspapers stories - for the most part (at least here in Denmark) they seem not to get it. So, where do Search engines stand on illegal content now?
The ruling did state that the website in questions actins where "premedotated" but it's only a hop skip and a jump from fining someone for linking to mp3 files, prohibiting a site from linking to news stories to taking legal issue with a major search engine over what's available in the index.
10 Predictions for the Year
Some interesting predictions for content revenue, no.2 particularly caught my eye in light of Googles recent moves with Scholar and Library - it's clear as day when you read it but i'd certainly not given it much thought so i think some of you will find it interesting aswell:
To achieve much broader penetration, the information industry needs to change the process by which people find and buy the information they need. Two conditions are necessary and both will start to take hold in earnest this year. First, premium content will become discoverable though the major search engines. In seeking information, users often do not know the likely sources and therefore rely on search engines. While search engines are relatively effective in finding relevant content on the free web, they have as yet little content indexed from premium collections. As a result, search engines currently do not find relevant articles from The New York Times archive, Thomson’s Investext library of Wall Street research reports, Hoover’s company reports, or reports from market research firms, among other premium sources. An important example of change, however, is Google’s plan to index content from hundreds of academic journal publishers (with their permission). This move will enable users to discover content that previously was not visible to search engines. The second condition for broadening content sales is the packaging of information for pay-per-view purchasing as an alternative to subscriptions, so that users can purchase content once they find it. Pay-per-view packaging is not new. A variety of publishers and distributors, ranging from The New York Times to Factiva to Forrester Research, have been selling content “by the drink” as a complement to subscriptions. Now, however, the combination of discovery and pay-per-view packaging will set the stage for a much larger content market.
There's much more at the threadlinked post above so check it out.
Motorola set for Linux smartphone barage in 2005
The Linux Smartphone is, by the look of it, about to happen in a large way - Motorola have just announced thier intention to put out 8-10 linux Smartphones this year - although no linux based phones are available in the US right now, it's sure to follow as the light slowly dawns that linux = cheap and linux = good
According to the DigiTimes, Linux smartphones already account for more than 10 percent of Motorola's sales in China. China is the world's largest market for mobile phones, and Motorola is a top mobile phone vendor there.
Motorola Linux smartphones available in China today include the E680, A768i, and A780. Jim Ready, the CEO of MontaVista, which supplies the Linux-based OS used in smartphones from Motorola, NEC, and Panasonic, said in an interview in May, "[Motorola's] ability to pop out three phones based on the same OS is making people in the industry say 'Oh sh*t, how'd they do that?'"
Nice. Being a linux enthusiast it warms my cold black heart to think that by the time i get round to actually getting some kind of decent phone i might be able to get a decent OS on it heh..
So you have prooved to your merchant or affiliate company that you can deliver the goods and sales, what do you do now:
Forget it and move onto the next project
Give the affiliate manager grief and tell him if he doesn't pay you more then he get go and jump
Plead for more money
Ask the aff manager what he would be prepared to do if you could do more volume.
I knwo most affiliates just move on to the next project, but is that the right way?
Google Completes Definition Move To Answers.com
SEW reports that Google have moved to using Answers.com for their definitions - the links you find for your keywords at the very top of the page after querying.
This is cool. Yesterday i posted about Answers.com and expressed a wish to see a tab or some kind of integration into a major SE - now i have it! Danny S had reported previously on this but i missed it, sometimes the headlines fly by to quickly to catch everything on any given day...
Im going to enjoy having that on Google, i only used Answers.com for the first time yesterday and was much impressed :)
Searchday reports on AlmondNet's new behavioral ad network that tracks search queries users have made across pretty much anything, including Google and the other major SE's.
The "Post-Search" service gathers data on what people search for through partnerships it has established with web sites and ISPs. It then shows web surfers targeted ads if they visit sites taking part in its Post-Search advertising network.
ISPs, in particular, are how the company will know what people may be searching on at places like Google, where it doesn't have a data gathering partnership. The ISP sees all the traffic going between its customers and search engines, making that data trackable.
Now, i know i won't be the only one that's not happy at the thought of some company building a database of my search preferences - but what really, really worries me is that clearly some ISP's think it's perfectly ok to sell that data to AlmondNet - My data.
Apart from the general creepiness - what if you work in an open office and have in the past searched for "big boy rubber <imagine the rest>" and suddenly your screen, tuned to a nice work related pages is showing ads you would rather not be associated with publically? - it doesn't bear thinking about heh...
So, the issues here for me are:
This is "icky" and invasive
Is my ISP selling my data, and how can i find out?
How profitable is this going to be? (well, everyone has his price heh..)