For those of you outside the United States, "60 Minutes" is a well respected television news magazine. The story above is a transcript of a show
(CBS) Has there ever been a brand name like Google? Non-existent six years ago, it’s now a part of the global language, as in, “I Googled this,” or “I Googled that,” or “I Googled you.” To Google, a verb, is to get an instant answer by using the company's super-computer to look up anything on the Internet.
What began as a school project is now worth about as much as Ford and General Motors combined, thanks to a stock that has roughly doubled in price since the company went public last August.
And for the first time since then, Google has opened its doors, to let "60 Minutes" Google them. Lesley Stahl reports.
added by Nick: these urls need to be in there but the quotes are in the comments below - wanna make sure they get their trackback if they have it on :-)
Hong Kong 'ring-ring': An ad in every call
So, when your on your mobile and calling someone, you get that "ring ring" tone right? How would you feel if that were replaced with advertising messages direct to your ear?
Ad-Phone has patented a system to replace the ring-back tone - that "ring-ring" you hear while waiting for the person you called to answer - with an advertisement or other message. Using the digital technology that connects calls, Ad-Phone puts messages directly into consumers' ears, whether they're using a mobile phone or a wired line.
James at MoCoNews says:
When I postulated the idea a month ago in this article I suggested it would be an alternative to ringback tones, whereas the system patented by Ad Phone has the caller as the one who joins the service. This provides even more reason for the program to be “incentivized", to quote the bastardization of the english language used in the article. People will only sign up for the service if the ads offer them something concrete, or they get some other kickback such as cheaper calls.
So it's certainly opt-in at present but regardless of patent, how long before that little gold mine starts becoming a reality?
What if those ads actually diverted you from your call? "press * now to get a free walrus tickling kit!" kind of thing?
Paid content points out the threadlinked Ad Age article by marketing legend Al Ries who slams a recent BusinessWeek piece titled "The Wizard of Web Retailing"
In the decade since its founding in 1994, Amazon.com has racked up $17.5 billion in sales. Currently its stock market value is $16 billion. And according to Business Week’s annual survey of the world’s 100 top brands, Amazon.com is No. 66 with an estimated value of $4.2 billion.
$3 billion loss
Not bad, except for one thing. Amazon.com doesn’t make any money. In the past decade, the wizard of Web retailing has managed to lose $3 billion. That works out to an astounding 17.1% loss on each dollar of sales.
A retailing wizard? When you look at the numbers, Amazon.com looks more like Kmart than Wal-Mart. As a matter of fact, in the last decade, Kmart managed to lose only 1.8% on each dollar of sales and Kmart went bankrupt.
Staci at PC notes:
I just got off the phone with a VC who says that analysis is off base and assures me Amazon is a thriving business with plenty of cash in the bank. I'm not sure that cancels out Ries' efforts to look beyond the myth but it's worth remembering.
New Google filter flaws search results
Threadwatch member Brian Turner posts a nice summary of this thread over at SEW started by NFFC a couple of weeks back.
The long and short of the "problem" is that Google is returning far less results than it would normally for terms that would usually return about the limit of 1000 results. From Brians post:
One of the most affected search terms is for "Yahoo", the rival search engine. A search on Google.com for that word will return only 48 results - most of which are Japanese language pages.
Even the most common words on the internet are being returned with far less than 1000 pages, for example:
902 of about 100,000,000 for casino
851 of about 96,000,000 for porn
900 of about 616,000,000 for internet
911 of about 1,010,000,000 for web
914 of about 376,000,000 for computer
951 of about 8,000,000,000 for the
So, what, if anything, is going on at Google and is this affecting anyone other than just not returning so many results?
The State of Blogging - PDF
So, just about every blog out there today is trumpeting the amazing figures published in the PEW Internet report threadlinked above. If you've not got your marketing up to speed with blogs and RSS yet, you really should. This stuff isnt going away anytime soon and can be used to SELL STUFF.
Here's a couple of quick figures from the report courtesy of CyberJournalist:
7% of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the internet say they have created a blog or web-based diary. That represents more than 8 million people.
27% of internet users say they read blogs, a 58% jump from the 17% who said they were blog readers in February. This means that by the end of 2004 32 million Americans were blog readers. Much of the attention to blogs focused on those that covered the recent political campaign and the media. And at least some of the overall growth in blog readership is attributable to political blogs. Some 9% of internet users said they read political blogs "frequently" or "sometimes" during the campaign.
5% of internet users say they use RSS aggregators or XML readers to get the news and other information delivered from blogs and content-rich Web sites as it is posted online. This is a first-time measurement from our surveys and is an indicator that this application is gaining an impressive foothold.
The interactive features of many blogs are also catching on: 12% of internet users have posted comments or other material on blogs.
At the same time, for all the excitement about blogs and the media coverage of them, blogs have not yet become recognized by a majority of internet users. Only 38% of all internet users know what a blog is. The rest are not sure what the term "blog" means.
If anyone reading here at Threadwatch would have use of a "blogs 101" style post later on this month then let me know here, or send me a private message, i'd be happy to write one as i know at least a few out there just dont know much about them or RSS and more importantly, how you can use them to make $$$'s
Only kidding really :-) but bearing in mind that Russell works for Yahoo this might amuse a few of you search marketers out there:
There's two ways to think about making money this way: The hits and the tail.
The first is very mercenary: If there was some way to find out the most expensive Keywords for a certain time frame - it'd probably be pretty easy to guess which ones were pretty in demand, actually - you could then have a blog which is dedicated to writing up summaries about only these most valuable topics and attracting lucrative search engine traffic as a result. I'm talking about real posts, not garbage, but not dedicated to a theme, but to whatever was the most expensive keyword that day or week or month was. There are keywords that cost $30 a click, right? If you attract a few dozen people your site a month, who read your summary then click on the ads? Well that could be some serious dough.
2005: The Year Of The Mobile
Russell Beattie of Yahoo Mobile is back from his blogging hiatus with what he admits is an easy prediction: 2005 will be the Smart Phone's year.
He starts out by pointing at a couple of "ideas that need to die":
There's a few ideas out there that still have to die. First is that WiFi is somehow going to be a competitor to mobile networks. It's not. As more and more people have access to higher speed cellular network technologies such as EV-DO or WCDMA, they're going to realize that for most people, these speeds will be more than reasonable to check email, browse the web and stream media from wherever they are on the planet.
The second idea that needs to die is that mobility involves any other device other than the mobile phone. I constantly hear about "multiple devices" as if you're going to be doing much browsing or email on your TV or iPod. You're not. The future market of data services revolves completely around the the mobile phone. The latest predictions are for there to be 2 billion mobile phone subscribers by 2006, and the percentages of those subscribers with access to IP data is growing on a hockey stick curve.
and goes on to talk about how the term "smart phone" is going to be slapped on everything this year as marketers pounce on the boom in mobile.
The BBC also have a story about mobile out today, it's a worthwhile read also:
Moves to unite mobile and fixed phones look set to get more emphasis in 2005 too.
Old-fashioned rotary phone, Eyewire
The net is putting fixed line phones under pressure
For a start, BT looks set to roll out its Bluephone project during the next 12 months.
The service revolves around a hybrid device that uses the mobile networks when you are out and about but switches back to the fixed line when you are at home.
Fixed line phones will also start to get much more serious competition from a technology that has the formidable name of Voice over IP (Voip).
There's still almost nothing marketing/tech wise going on out there at the moment so I thought i'd share a few thoughts with you on the weeks ahead - please feel free to tell us what you're up to aswell...
Over the first couple of days i'll probably just be linking to and commenting on whatever is of interest but i've been slowly bookmarking some stuff to write some longer pieces on things that interest me right now. They include but not limited to:
Grass roots journalism
Mobile vs iPod
Blog marketing - hehe..
Open Source marketing
Permission based marketing
so i hope to be knocking those out when i've got my head up to full speed again (im having a nice glass of red now but it's back on the wagon for me next week heh..)
I also have some plans to monetize this beast - im thinking hard (read - im pretty much there..) about showing ads to non members - that doesnt mean it costs anyone anything, just that SE traffic et al will get some adsense or whatever and the registered non-paying members will not, if they choose. There will be much more detail put onto that when i have my thoughts ordered and have some more interesting stuff done first.
There is also (and partly because of the above) a redesign in the works. grnidone was kind enough to give me a usability report, much of which i will be implememting and, quite frankly - I can DO BETTER... so im going to try :-)
I dont really have that many resolutions for this year other than the following:
Get the subscriber section working and operational
Get the public side monetized in a way that doesnt piss off members
Stop fretting about some of the pettiness that goes on out there
Conclude a bunch of biz stuff that started to take shape last year and lost momentum over xmas
For the most part - much of the same but with a little more focus now TW is really up and running.
Aaron Wall of SEOBook.com is donating all proceeds from the sale of his SEO Book to the Tsunami effort:
To try my best to help out, for the month of January I am going to send all my SEO Book sales income to help out with relief from the storm. I think Paypal eats about $2 out of each order, but other than that the remainder will go to help out Sarvodaya.
On that note, i think we should follow Aarons fine example and have some kind of button or link here at Threadwatch eh?
I've been seeing quite a lot of posts about 43 Things over the last few weeks and it's just launched so i decided to have a go and find out a little more.
If you've not heard of it, it's a social network like site that focuses around "things you want to do" - for example, as with the launch post above i thought the start a company that lasts longer than 2 years idea was a good one so i joined that group. I have no idea how i might actually get anything out of this other than a little time filler for a dull rainy saturday but, im keen to find a social network app that keeps my interest longer than a week and is genuinely useful.
By the look of it, I can invite people to "do this thing" - which is cool maybe. I see some stuff in there like contribute to a OS project that would certainly be cool to invite people to - maybe this app will have some use other than filling time?
If you've not tried it, go ahead and have a play around, ive messed with a few things like this and to me, this one actually looks like it might be useful...
oh, and btw, check out my things and feel free to comment/add/join or whatever, i may well add some more later on during the day :-)
On this system i have a rudimentory referer list that keeps a track of incomings over the last few hours. It's pretty neat to see if suddenly a lot of people are talking about something on TW in a forum for example.
I just clicked an odd looking one that went to someones "start page" - Here's what i found:
ALL his affiliate sites
A link to CJ complete with password in the url - direct access to his earnings.
Shit loads of other passwords and logins
Links to other family member "start pages" that had the same kind of stuff!
So, after having a nose around (well why not? im only human after all...) I left a note on his "todo list" telling him to lock his and his families pages down NOW...
Crikey, how could you leave data like that open for just anyone to go look at? An unscrupulous individual could have a ball with that kind of information...
After 3 months - Google updates PR
DazzlingDonna points out google's PageRank and BackLink update incipience,
shown on 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 datacenters.
PR and Backlink Update Starts New Year Off With Bang
Google has begun its PR and Backlink update - just in time for the New Year! Since it is still propagating across the datacenters, the best place to check your upcoming PR is at www.seochat.com/seo-tools/future-pagerank. Currently, the new PageRank is being shown on 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. Just run the link: command from one of those datacenters to see your updated backlinks. Happy New Year!
Mobiance have developed a system that can track the location of mobile users by SMS - The user gets asked if they want to grant permission for their location to be given to the asker and if so, the asker has a 10-100meter accurate fix on location.
From the CXOToday article threadlinked above:
The tracked mobile user has three options and may give permission for one-time usage or unlimited access. Though the third option allows the tracked mobile user to deny access it will not be a permanent one. The same service can also be accessed through the Internet.
Apart from parents who want to track the movements of their children, the software also helps corporates to track their on-field employees.
So i've been hearing a lot about the Gigablast site search since they launched it and just spotted a post by a recent aquaintance of mine, David Tebbutt, who has installed it on his site with the purpose of searching all his sites.
I tried a couple of queries and was not so impressed when one I was certain wouldn't return much actually returned plenty. Plenty of crap results but when i searched for his product, Brainstorm it seemed very good.
Has anyone tried it, and if so, what do you think?
Tsunami of Spam
I didn't think that people could sink any lower, not after Dougie and glengara's mutual wank fest over the current challenges faced by WebAtlas, I was wrong.
It seems that already spam emails are being sent asking people to make "donations", as Mr Mackin would say sick and wrong.
"So far, we've seen two different examples of these, designed to capitalise on the misery of hundreds of thousands of people affected by the tsunami that swept the coasts of the Indian Ocean early this week."
Google - we take it all, give nothing back
Googles Adam Bosworth takes an almightly slap from Krzysztof Kowalczyk and then whilst realing from the blow takes a kick in the nuts from Microsofts Dare Obasanjo as noted in this post at InsideGoogle.
The attacks center around a plea Adam made to the Open Source Community for improvements to relational database projects - the point being that Google take a lot from Open Source and give nothing back in return.
From the original post by Adam:
My message is to the Open Source community that has, so ably, built LAMP (Linux, Apache and Tomcat and MySQL and PHP and PERL and Python). Please finish the job. Do for databases what you did for web servers. Give us dynamism and robustness. Give us systems that scale linearly, are flexible and dynamically reconfigurable and load balanced and easy to use.
From Krzysztofs post:
Let’s estimate how much money did Google save by using open source software that they would otherwise have to purchase. The operating system for tens of thousands of their computers. Web servers they use. All the Unix utilities they use. Editors, compilers and debuggers they use to write their code. E-mail smtp server. E-mail pop servers. Languages like Perl and Python. Databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL. It’s safe to say that if Richard Stallman was never born, the licenses for those kinds of software would cost them tens of millions of dollars.
And what does Google contribute back? Where are their patches to gcc, gdb, python, postgresql, sendmail, emacs?
and from Dare's post:
I doubt that this is the kind of response that Adam Bosworth was expecting when he posted his plea. The fun thing about corporate blogs is that it gives people more places to read between the lines and learn how a company really thinks. I suspect this is why Google doesn't have many authentic bloggers and instead has favored the press release page masquerading as group blog approach at http://www.google.com/googleblog/
The typical Threadwatch reader probably fits the description of a PC based multitasker given in the threadlinked Seattle Times article above very well. We have constant interruption during our working hours and for some (most..?) during our playtime aswell.
and all manner of derivatives
The article points out that it's been shown that although multi-tasking is encouraged and expected, it's often counter-productive and sometimes harmful:
We're shooting through technological rapids that have opened doors and changed the dynamic of work, how we communicate and live, and sometimes even think. All these tools have made our lives easier in many ways. But they're also stirring deep unease. Some are concerned that the need for speed is shrinking our attention spans, prompting our search for answers to take the mile-wide-but-inch-deep route and settling us into a rhythm of constant interruption in which deadlines are relentless and tasks are never quite finished.
Scientists call this phenomenon "cognitive overload," and say it encompasses the modern-day angst of stress, multitasking, distraction and data flurries.
In fact, multitasking — a computing term that involves doing, or trying to do, more than one thing at once — has cemented itself into our daily lives and is intensely studied. Research has shown it to be consistently counterproductive, often foolish, unhealthy in the long run, and in the case of gabbing on the cell phone while driving, relatively dangerous. Yet it is also expected, encouraged and basically essential.
For me, im still bearing up under the strain, and loving every moment. Im wired in so many ways to so many news sources and communication mediums that when i think about it hard, it really is quite insane. However, im still enjoying it though the point the article makes about my information intake being a mile wide but inch deep is well taken.