Google Maps goes Live

Thread Title: Google Maps Goes Live Thread Url: http://maps.google.com/ Thread Description:

Google Maps is out in, yeah! you guesed it... BETA!

As zawodny points out this is probably the end of the road for MapQuest

Not being either a driver or an american, im gonna find it a bit tough comparing Google Maps to Yahoo Maps but the addition of live traffic reports to Yahoo's offering puts them a cut ahead i'd say.

Would anyone care to compare the two services?

There's no Escape - Google got Images in the SERPS

Thread Title: Google Pictures Better Search Results Thread Url: http://www.betanews.com/article/Google_Pictures_Better_Search_Results/1107821987 Thread Description:

Lots of blog posts around on this but i really can't be arsed to link to them all so we'll have the nice folks at BetaNews provide a snippet :)

Today, Google announced that its image search property's index has swelled to over 1.1 billion pictures from sources worldwide. Before long, the images themselves will be displayed against the traditional backdrop of aggregated search results contributing what Google refers to as "Image Results."

Once Images Results are integrated into Google's main Web search, queries such as "sun sets" will invoke thumbnail images that are linked directly to the image library. Thumbnails will be placed prominently on top of search results

Im not keen on this at all at first thought, but im willing to give it a little time before damning it to an ever growing list of things that annoy me... (top of that list right now is the fact that i cant find any queries that produce bloody images..)

SEO Sites Taking a Whack in the latest Google Update

I've been getting reports in about this all day today, im not going to name names as i really don't want to draw attention to the victim sites but at least 8 well known SEO sites have been hit hard by the latest Google update.

The key question is, is this part of the overall update and they just happen to be about SEO or is this because they are SEO sites?

The antagony between Google and Search Marketers is well known, so are they taking a direct hand in knobbling SEO sites?

What do you think and what are you seeing out there?

Kuro5hin Discover Google Hijacking - Bless 'em...

Thread Title: Google and the Mysterious Case of the 1969 Pagejackers Thread Url: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/2/5/183516/0997 Thread Description:

Kuro5hin discover the old 302 Hijack thing - if your not familiar, it's where one site can hijack anothers listing in Google by design, or more often than not, by accident. The Kur5 threads comments are worth their weight in gold, really, go check 'em out it's hillarious - bless 'em heh...

We've talked about it alot here at Threadwatch, though it was a little while back now, but, the problem still persists and Google either:

Do not think hijacking is a problem Do not think hijacking is a priority Couldn't care less about hijacking, buy Adwords!

and here's some previous discussions here at Threadwatch:

Google grants Amnesty for Spammers to Help Fix Glitch Hijacking A Google Listing - Testing Googles Secret Flaw Google & Hijacking - Fix it or have it Explode on the Forums

And in a recent case here in Denmark, Shell get screwed by Incompetent SEO - it wasn't a 302 hijack, but the results were the same - the Danish seo frim used META refresh to try and do a little mild blackhat naughtiness with Shell.dk and ended up shooting themselves and Shell in the feet.

DaveN has said before that if they don't fix this shit it might be worth ensuring that all the webmaster crowd know about it and force the issue that way - a lot of websites get hurt by Hijacking. - Dave, i think it may be time....

Google's Sandbox and Tinfoil Hat Theories

Thread Title: Compilation of Anti-Sandbox Tactics Thread Url: http://forums.searchenginewatch.com/showthread.php?t=3984 Thread Description:

We've not talked about Google's sandbox in a while - for the most part, there seems little point, but the threadlink above (at sew) does raise some stuff worth looking at.

It's astonishing just how many tinfoil hat theories there are out there on Google Sandbox effect on new sites and to be frank, most of the thread is full of pretty wild claims and guesses. No crime there, you cant do much else with Sandbox other than guess at it, for every claim of "this works!" there is a counter claim from another site owner who tried it.

Apart from a couple of little workarounds known to many seo's but kept pretty closely guarded the one thing that stands out for me as being solid advice is what I,Brian has to say on some of this stuff.

The most likely solution? From memory, Brians general points could be summed up as: Anchor text and links - get lots of widely varied anchor text and work on your on-page factors for actuall targeted keywords - and make sure those links are coming in from a very wide variety of IP ranges.

But wait! Maybe it's over... erm... im also starting to see some very wild claims that sandbox is actually finshed - that's not what im getting from those in the know at all, so i wouldn't go jumping for joy just yet. My personal belief is that Google have a problem they cannot solve, at least yet. Every month this goes on though, and new sites are not being found in their results makes Google just that little more less relevant - which is not good for a search engine.

I haven't personally had to deal with Sandbox so i can only comment on what seems to make sense to me and from what i hear from those i trust to know their stuff. Having said that, it's an huge issue for many, so feel free to rip apart my assertion that Brian is on the money, or validate it.

Travel Affiliates - What's the deal with Kayak.com?

Thread Title: Kayak.com Launches Beta of Ad Bidding Engine Thread Url: http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3469141 Thread Description:

I see Kayak.com have rolled out with a ppc bid engine for their new site:

Travel-search player Kayak.com is expected to launch a beta of its self-service auction-based bidding environment for hotel and airline advertisers today. The debut of the CPC ad tool comes in conjunction with the official consumer launch of the site itself.

Hotel chains and individual hoteliers can bid to appear higher in results when Kayak users search for accommodations options. Paid results are displayed with a "K" symbol to inform users the hotel displayed is an advertiser. Hotel marketers can tailor bids so their results appear higher for certain stays, lengths of stays, particular markets, or specific hotel brands

So what's the deal with them, does anyone have a little more info on Kayak?

Does the Google Bubble make you Nervous?

Thread Title: Google Makes Buckets of Money, I Get Nervous Thread Url: http://www.researchbuzz.org/google_makes_buckets_of_money_i_get_nervous_.shtml Thread Description:

Well, it certainly makes Tara over at ResearchBuzz nervous. She can't stop thinking about 1999 and how it could all go horribly wrong again. She ends with some good questions:

I have questions about Google that I don't know if anyone can answer; but they're keeping me up at night while I watch the stock:

1) Where's Everyone Else? -- C'mon, the bandwagon is one of the basic structures of the Internet. Where's Yahoo's ad network for content publishers? How about MSN? It's been obvious for a while now that Google's making serious money out of their text advertising, and more as it goes beyond their Web site. Where are the other competitors?

2) What Happens When They Show Up? -- Can anyone displace Google's AdSense?

3) What About Snidely Whiplash? -- Click fraud is a real concern especially when so much revenue is coming out of one place. Can bad guys doing click fraud put a dent in Google's revenue? How much can they disrupt the supply/demand market of text advertising?

4) When does Google stop being a search company? -- They started with a search engine, and now they're into mail and photo organizing and blogging and text ads. When does Google stop being a search company, if ever, and is that good or bad?

Some very good questions.

How to Write an Offline Press Release

Thread Title: 29 Points to Creating an Effective Press Release Thread Url: http://www.commpiled.com/more.php?id=89_0_1_0_M Thread Description:

Jeffrey Dobkin has a good primer of "29 tips" for writing offline press releases at the threadlinked post above. We continue to see huge amounts of stuff on online PR's bandied around the web and have written about them here on numerous occasions so it's nice to remember that whilst print is on a gentle but accelerating decline there are still enormous amounts of folks to promote to through magazines, papers etc.

Good stuff and worthy of a bookmark i thought. Does anyone here do much offline marketing of this nature? And if so, do tell...

Forget 64bit - Check out the Super Brain Chip

Thread Title: IBM, Sony, Toshiba to reveal ‘superbrain chip’ Thread Url: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/6b31ebfe-786b-11d9-9961-00000e2511c8.html Thread Description:

Dont you just love this stuff? Im still running on an Athlon XP - Sheeesh!

Advance reports suggest the chip is significantly more powerful and versatile than the next generation of micro-processors announced by the consortium's competitors, Intel and AMD.

The two leading chipmakers are just moving from 32-bit to 64-bit computing and to dual-core processors essentially two “brains” on a single chip.Cell is understood to have at least four cores and be significantly faster than Intel and AMD chips.

Has anyone gone 64 bit yet? Im planning to for my next PC but with Linux, anythng that new needs a fair bit of research before shelling out a bucket load of $$$'s....

Google under Fire for Orkut Hate Sites

Thread Title: Hate Messages on Google Site Draw Concern Thread Url: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/07/technology/07orkut.html?ex=1265518800&en=0a553b10ff5c8209&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland Thread Description:

Google have come under fire in the above threadlinked NYT article about a rash of "Hate Sites" on Orkut - the invite only social network community. What's more though is that these sites, that typically advocate hate and violence on the subjects of race, religion and sexuality specifically break the Orkut TOS.

The hatemongering is fast becoming an embarrassment for Google, the world's most popular search engine, particularly because the company has adopted "don't be evil" as its motto. The potential for tarnishing Google's gold-plated brand name also underscores the risks the company faces as it expands into new Internet businesses in which it has less experience.

and

Despite the company's stated policies, Orkut users - who are allowed to participate only if invited by a current member - can join the 2,300 people who already belong to an "I Hate Queens, Faggots and Gays" group, created in August by a Brazilian Orkut member. When setting up the community, the group's founder described it as a forum for Portuguese-speaking people to "show your indignation and make jokes" about a "type of person" who "is gaining in society." Because access to the Orkut site requires membership, general Internet users cannot stumble accidentally onto these groups.

I gave up with Orkut after only a few weeks on it, i guess im just not social enough for that kind of malarkey but man, if this stuff is going on to the degree that Gary Rivlin at NYT claims then surely it has to stop - and it' begs the question, why has it not stopped?

Bulk Checking Overture for Keyword Sets

Thread Title: Overture Keyword Selector Thread Url: http://www.combatstocks.com/overture-seo-tool/overture-keyword-submit.cfm Thread Description:

Danny points to a nice home built tool for checking sets of keywords in one go on Overture. I find it hard to believe that this has not been done before though? If you know of any others, put them in the comments...

As always, im a little wary of hosted tools of any sort - particularly SEO hosted tools - but it *is* nice...

What Linking is all About

Thread Title: What Links Are All About Thread Url: http://www.dgsdesk.com/index.php?p=26 Thread Description:

DG has some good comments on a post i made here - That was just a passing comment but what DG has to say is interesting stuff, which i fully agree with:

Search engines first reduced the dependency on links for web navigation, then in a cruel twist, made links little more than capital. Since then I’ve seen the value of links become inflated, and now I think we’re headed back to a web economy in which links are becoming worthless. At least the variety of links that are prevalent are nearly worthless. We don’t trust in the value of the currency any longer.

We’re inundated with links to sites about diet pills, calling cards and poker. Instead of banner blindness, we’re becoming link blind. The search engines don’t trust the links either, now that they’ve had a hand in inflating their importance they’re forced to come up with solutions to devalue the importance they’ve placed on them. So we end up with odd solutions to problems like comment spam.

So, linking for the user eh? That may be a novel concept for some heh... but IMO it's not bad advice at all.

Linking for Users - Really?

Sure, why not? Here's a few questions to get this wagon rollin' as it's an interesting subject near and dear to all of our hearts:

Should you link only for users? Have Search engines effectively ruined the internet with their reliance on links?

For me, as always, it's "horses for courses" - on a site like this then sure, link for users and link for users only - it's the only strategy that makes sense. On other types of sites though, im linking for SE's only, the users will be seemlessly passed on to wherever i need them to be...

Good stuff from Dean and nice to get a chance to introduce his new blog :-)

The TrustRank Algorithm - Sounds like PageRank with Knobs on

Thread Title: TrustRank Algorithm Thread Url: http://www.seobook.com/archives/000661.shtml Thread Description:

There's a new white paper out that outlines the TrustRank [pdf] algorithm that some of you will find interesting no doubt.

It's written by Zoltan Gyongyi, Hector Garcia-Molina, and Jan Pederson

Here's a quote:

Human editors help search engines combat search engine spam, but reviewing all content is impractical. TrustRank places a core vote of trust on a seed set of reviewed sites to help search engines identify pages that would be considered useful from pages that would be considered spam. This trust is attenuated to other sites through links from the seed sites.

To me, that sounds like pagerank with knobs on, and just as simple to game - but then im not a harvard doc right? heh..

If the technically inclined would care to give their opinions on the paper it would be cool...

McDonalds Fake Blog for SuperBowl Ads

Reports are coming in that McDonalds set up a fake blog in order to support some superbowl ad.

The originating report says:

Quote: Boo. Hiss. What's the point? No one in their right mind would believe the blog is real. So while it is not deceptive, it still stinks. The site is so very camp to begin with; the fake blog is simply trying too hard.

I suspect that McDonald's is probably already gearing up for next year's Super Bowl. Super Bowl XL? Are you kidding me? It will be a Super Size Super Bowl to be sure.

And it's true, check out the McD fake blog for another dose of "we think people are idiots" from a corporation that doesn't understand the medium.

Fun for you monday morning :)

MSN sponsors The Register

The Register, the definitive news breaking, tongue in cheek, IT website is being sponsored by MSN search.

The Register used to have a humourous tariff structure for bribes. (Hey, journos can be bought too!) I wonder how much it cost for the total rebranding El Reg has undergone?

Russell Beattie Bans Threadwatch

UPDATE: Check the end of the post for some more on this sorry tale...

Im not sure why, but it appears that "A list" Yahoo! blogger Russell Beattie has banned me from his website. I cant access it without a proxy and my comments inquiring if there is a problem have not been published or answered in email.

I did leave a long and thoughtful comment on this entry a few days back that did not agree with what Russell was saying - it wasn't rude, or in any way shape or form nasty, but it did disagree with his thoughts on the subject. The comment i spent 45 minutes writing was not published.

Is that the source of contention and the reason for being IP blocked?

What do you do with comments that do not agree with your point?

Other than a personal post to publically inquire as to what's going on with Russell there is a larger and more interesting point to all this: How do you handle posts and comments that do not agree with your view on subjects?

For my part, i love the debate - i enjoy the discussions here and at most other places where a group of people all tackle an issue or topic from differing angles and perspectives, even if they're vastly different to my own. This is a good thing. It's what makes the whole interactive discussion on blogs and forums actually worth reading, at least for me.

Exceptions With companies there might be exceptions, and with normal forum and blog comments also. Clearly if someone is simply out to discredit a company or product it's unwise to leave the comment standing, unless the misperception, if that's what it is, can be quickly and authoratively dealt with.

These topics tie in nicely with discussions we've recently had on moderating online communities and how to handle mistakes as dealing with unwanted criticism is all part and parcel of running a website with comments enabled.

ContentNext.com - One to Watch (Listen)

Thread Title: www.contentnext.com Thread Url: http://www.contentnext.com/ Thread Description:

Rafat and the team at PaidContent.org have just made public ContentNext.com for audio interviews and recordings of panels and sessions on the subject of "the economics of content".

As rafat says in his post on PC, the audio could use a little work, but there are already some good things on the site including Impact of Search Engines on the Publishing Industry from the SIIA.

Certainly one you'll want to add to my.yahoo, bloglines, my.msn or newsgator. Grab the raw feed here

Ask Jeeves buys Bloglines [update]

Thread Title: Ask Jeeves Buys Bloglines Thread Url: http://napsterization.org/stories/archives/000397.html Thread Description:

UPDATE: Jeeves have now officially announced the aquisition of bloglines. see the end of this post for the details

No, im not kidding - Ask Have just bought the number one RSS aggregator Bloglines and will be integrating it into the system next week.

Previously there had been talk from CEO Mark Fletcher about the forthcoming manifestation of a business model for Bloglines in the form of contextual ads this summer but now he becomes Ask's newest employee, starting Monday.

This is a very, very smart buy by Jeeves i think, bloglines domination of the RSS aggregator market was reported at 32% by Feedster only last month and is nearly double that of it's nearest competitor. Rafat at pc however says that Bloglines blew it with Google and Yahoo when they myopically named the service - and that this is a desperate attempt from the Butler to not be an "also ran" - this sounds more than reasonable, but it's a good move nonetheless i think...

Good stuff Jeeves, and Mark!

UPDATE: A couple of quotes from the Jeeves blog

So, what are our plans for Bloglines?

First and most importantly, our primary focus will be on building the Bloglines service to fulfill his vision for it, adding resources to their toolbox to get there faster and better.

There will be no short-term changes to Bloglines that weren't already on their roadmap. Over the long-term, Mark will now, as general manager of Bloglines for AJ, Inc., be responsible for that roadmap in the future.

Motivational & Inspirational Books for Web Marketers

Thread Title: Motivational Books / Quotes Thread Url: http://http://www.threadwatch.org/node/1342 Thread Description:

In this blog Effective Offline Marketing the discussion started off about ways to promote your website but several of the posts contained recommendations for good books about sales and marketing.

I thought it would be nice to discuss here what books and quotes people find inspiring. Working in this industry we are at the cutting-edge of technology. Beings geeks we try to automate everything. The Internet permeates our whole lives. Yet, however, high-tech the rest of my life I still believe there is no substitute for a good book. This industry probably has more ups and downs the most. You need to stay positive throughout. A good, inspirational book is as much a part of my kit as my laptop. It would be good to hear what book and quotes keep you guys going when Google kills all your sites!!

Suggestions:

Dot.con - John Cassidy (what NOT to do) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey The Perfect Store: Inside eBay - Adam Cohen (some good ideas for business growth) Awaken the Giant Within - Anthony Robbins Unlimited Power - Anthony Robbins How to Win Frieds and Influence People - Dale Carnegie (still relevant today) The Beermat Entrepreneur - Mike Southon Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time - Howard Schultz

Favourite motivational book:

Think and Grow Rich - Napolean Hill (the old ones are the best. This book is as relevant today as when it was first published in the 1930's)

Google Charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in French Court

Thread Title: Google loses trademark case in France Thread Url: http://news.com.com/Google+loses+trademark+case+in+France/2100-1030_3-5564118.html?part=rss&tag=5564118&subj=news.1030.20 Thread Description:

Cnet are reporting that Google has lost it's case with Louis Vuitton - They were charged with trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition and misleading advertising on Friday by the Paris District Court and orderd to pay $257,430:

The ruling comes on the heels of another French court order against Google, in a case brought by European chain Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts. In that lawsuit, the court said Google infringed on Le Meridien's trademarks by allowing the hotel chain's rivals to bid on keywords of its name and then appear prominently in those related search results.

Both lawsuits have hinged on Google's signature keyword-advertising system, Adwords, which pairs text ads with related search results. For example, a Nike ad appears after a search for running shoes. Through the system, Google allows marketers to bid for such search-related keywords, including common branded and trademarked terms.

The negative rulings could hamper the company's advertising practices--at least in Western Europe, where the courts have been favorable to trademark owners. Google derives the lion's share of its revenue from online advertising.

Seems the French at least are less tolerant of Google's controversial trademark practices...