SPAM e-mails cost US $22 billion annually.

Thread Title: National Survey Finds 22.9 Million Hours a Week Wasted on Spam Thread Url: Thread Description:

Findings from the 2004 NTRS, an annual survey that tracks U.S. consumers’ technology opinions and behaviors, indicate that online users in the United States spend an average of three minutes deleting spam each day they check e-mail. Aggregating their usage across the 169.4 million online adults in the United States, this equals 22.9 million hours a week, or $21.58 billion annually when based on the average working wage.

My main email box gets so much spam it isn't even worth checking anymore. Literally 500+ spams a day.

And yet, I still like the fact there isn't a lot of government legislation on 'the internet' as a whole.

Could Verisign Effectively Knobble ActiveX Spyware Installs?

Thread Title: Benjamin EdelmanHow VeriSign Could Stop Drive-By Downloads Thread Url: Thread Description:

There's an interesting proposition threadlinked above that says, in short, that if versign were to excercise its right to revoke the digital certificates issued to spyware vendors pushing dodgy "drive by" installs.

Even though Microsoft can't (or won't) fully fix this problem, VeriSign can. Before an ActiveX popup can install software onto a user's computer, the installer's "CAB file" must be validated by its digital signature. If the signature is valid, the user's web browser shows the ActiveX popup, inviting a user to install the specified software. But if the signature is invalid, missing, or revoked, the user doesn't get the popup and doesn't risk software installation.

There's a lot of info in the post above but it would take someone with a far greater knowledge of this stuff than I to work out if Benjamin Edelman's solution would hold water.

From reading it though, it certainly seems it might...

From Google to specific video point - Very Cool Tech

Thread Title: Vodium: Linking from Google result to a particular point in a video Thread Url: Thread Description:

This is actually very impressive.

Try this:

Do a search on Google for the phrase "innovation-based cultures"

Now, click on the first result. The listing should be "NICK VALERY Our next session is on the innovators themselves. Who ..."

That should take you to a page, which opens a window. In that window, you'll see a video of a presentation (along with synched-slides and a rolling transcript). The spot in the video to which you are taken is not the beginning of the video, but rather (and this is the cool part), the spot in the video in which the phrase "innovation-based cultures" is said. This trick would work with any phrase in the text. It's just that this result scores #1 for that unique phrase.

his is the handiwork of a company called Vodium and it definitely points to a compelling future. This is not the result of Google's video search. It's the result of Vodium's ability to make the transcript of a speech indexable and linked to the video itself.

I am not sure, however, if Vodium is partnered with Google to do this. Does anyone know?

Is Google Responsible for Ruining the Internet?

I was just sitting here drinking my coffee and I had a thought. Far from making sense of the web as they purport to do, Google is single handedly turning it into a bloated disaster zone.

First they spouted the content mantra. Webmasters diligenlty pumed out millions of pages to satisfy the hungry cralwers.

Then they started the anchor text numbers game. People then went out and built millions of sites especially to promote their other pages.

Now we have adsense. Pages are now being made from crap especially to make as many adsense impressions as possible.

Add to that buying pagerank, blog and guestbook spamming (all due to Google's algorythms) and the rest and I wonder if it's a master plan to take down the net :)

Rackspace bans Yahoo!

Thread Title: Rackspace hates Yahoo? Or Vice Versa? Thread Url: Thread Description:

How funny is THAT? - Well, not very funny at all for anyone hosted on Rackspace i guess..

Yahoo's Tim Mayer said:

A customer of a hosting company like rackspace may have a customer that is being hit by our crawler and not realize who it is so they report the IP to rackspace or another provider and they block the IP at the router level. This would cause other SE to have access and for us not to have access.


via barry

Gates + Windows = Interoperability?

Thread Title: Building Software That Is Interoperable By Design Thread Url: Thread Description:

Bill Gates has issued a letter to Microsoft customers that outlines an intention to design it's software with interoperability in mind, primarily in the form of XML

Simply put, interoperability is a proven approach for dealing with the diversity and heterogeneity of the marketplace. Today I want to focus on two major thrusts of Microsoft’s product interoperability strategy: First, we continue to support customers’ needs for software that works well with what they have today. Second, we are working with the industry to define a new generation of software and Web services based on eXtensible Markup Language (XML), which enables software to efficiently share information and opens the door to a greater degree of "interoperability by design" across many different kinds of software. Our goal is to harness all the power inherent in modern (and not so modern) business software, and enable them to work together so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We want to further eliminate friction among heterogeneous architectures and applications without compromising their distinctive underlying capabilities.

and from beta news

"I think Microsoft is premature trumpeting the open-format messaging. And to be clear, by any definition typically applied to file formats, Office isn't open," Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox told BetaNews.

But Gates made clear in his letter that interoperability does not equate to open source. He said that interoperability is about how different software systems work together, regardless of licensing and development. Gates claimed that open source could actually have a detrimental effect on making software interoperable.

The comments in the Beta news piece are not kind - much talk of FUD heh...

Time Warner - 5 Million Shares in Google

Thread Title: Time-Warner Owns More than 5 Million Shares of Google Thread Url: Thread Description:

Bearing in mind all of the talk about Yahoo being a media company and Google being a tech firm and how that relates to predicted market share and growth for both companies it's interesting to note that Time Warner own 5 Million shares in Google.

Find the SEC filing here and see this Cnet report also

Making the Perfect Geek Curry

Ok, so a little Friday FOO is in order :-)

Im going shopping for Curry tomorrow, and wanted to pick the collective brains of the Threadwatch boys and girls over general curry making. For my contribution, i give you... Follow the title link for the full post...

Effective Offline Marketing

I'm interested to hear what methods of offline marketing people have found effective in promoting their websites. A lot of people who have become successful through SEM and have a bit of cash in their pocket are now realising that 'branding' and building real sites and real businesses is the way to go (as well as doing a little bit of blackhat on the side to keep the funds coming in obviously!)

It would be interesting to hear about the more unusual and non-mainstream methods of marketing that people might not be aware of. For instance, I read a book recently that discussed 'Undercover Marketing'. This medium involves using actors to stage situations whereby people overhear another group of people praising a particular company or product. For instance, a group of hikers are out walking, another group of hikers approach from the opposite direction. They are talking animatedly about this great new brand of walking shoes that are the best they've ever had. Obviously, things we overhear like that are more likely to sway our decision making process than obvious advertising directed at us. Another example of this is the story that Amazon paid lots of concierges in apartment complexes to leave Amazon boxes in the hallway in the morning. The supposition of the tenants passing these every morning is that this company must be good because lots of people in my apartment block are buying from them.

I quite liked these two examples and I thought they could work well to promote websites. Interested to hear from other people what forms of offline marketing they find effective.

How to Handle Mistakes

Thread Title: Defending the Mistake Thread Url: Thread Description:

When a company makes a mistake, there is almost always one option that is taken: The wrong option.

Defending the mistake, despite everybody knowing a mistake was made is bad news. It breeds mistrust, and creates a serious "them and us" feeling amongst those that have to live with the consequences of the mistake.

The worst part of the defending the error problem is everyone knows that a mistake was made. Well, everyone but the decision maker, who refuses to acknowledge the problem at all.

Since the decision maker is often the business owner, there is little the other people affected by the bad choice can do, to help with the problem. They can try to offer suggestions, advice, and cost effective alternatives, but those ideas are often flatly rejected in many cases.

Personally i've nothing but respect for any company i deal with when, inevitably they make a mistake but, deal with it swiftly, professionally and apologise for it. It just goes to prove that not only are they human, but also that in a crisis, i can depend on them to sort it out.

Dealing with Mistakes Publically

Why not turn a mistake into an opportunity? There really is no need for a mistake (barring loss of life etc..) to be a total disaster - especially online. If you're seen to act upon the problem quickly, professionally and to the injured parties satisfaction publically then IMO it can only do your business good. Some thoughts on ways to do this:

Enable comments on product sections - and monitor them! Intall a forum for customer support - and man it! Issue a public notice on the website about the mistake, and again, enable comments and answer them..

Why don't people get this? To err is human, to admit error and handle it correctly and publically is a marketing & PR opportunity

original post found via Seth

WebmasterWorld Register - The Saga so far...

Thread Title: Thread Url: Thread Description:

This post has now been altered to reflect subsequent developments.

On Friday, I discovered that Brett Tabke, the owner of WebmasterWord had registered the domain

Brett has since posted in the comments of this post as NeoSeo stating that he only registered the domain to pass it along to me:

Were did you want that domain name xfered too Nick?

It was mentioned on wmw that it was not owned - so I imedicatly grabbed it to save for you.

fyi: I've done the same for: searchenginewatch/org/net/biz/ and about 50 other top domains names. I've never made a penny off any of them - lost alot of money doing it.

Someone did the same for me about 5 years back and I vowed that if I saw expired domain names come up, I would save them if I knew the person and give them to them. All I ask is that you pass along the idea to someone else.

I also recieved an email to the same affect: Asking me to make a transfer request so that Brett could authorize it. I've attempted to do this twice but the domain is locked.

At present, the whois information reads as follows:

Registrant: WebmasterWorld Inc (THREADWATCH-NET-DOM) 3801 cap tx hwy e240-181 Austin, TX 78746 usa [removed some phone numbers etc]


Awaiting the outcome

Although the intention has been said to be simply to pass the domain on to me, this has not happened yet. It shouldn't mean there is anything funny going on, as im sure Brett has other things to do during the weekend than mess around with domain names - which does beg the question, why register it at all however - So, for the moment im waiting for one of several possible outcomes:

January Search Patents for Google Yahoo M$ and More

This months most interesting Search related patents compiled by JasonD for Threadwatch - Google, Yahoo, MSN, IBM and Apple all make an appearance and it makes for interesting reading for sure - Thanks Jason... Follow the title link for the full post.

Jeeves to Increase Public Presense in Search Community

Thread Title: JeevesGuy Exposed! Thread Url: Thread Description:

Kaushal Kurapati has posted on the Jeeves blog the companies intention to increase their presense in the Search forums - and better yet, to drop the stupid nicknames - Yaay!

I know we have at least one or two of the ASK people registered here so you better come out now and damn well post something useful! heh...

Google and Latent Semantic Indexing

Thread Title: Google Latent Semantic Indexing Technology Thread Url: Thread Description:

Aaron Wall takes a look at Googles Latent Semantic Indexing technology in light of recent shake ups in the main index. He says that Google have increased the weight of the LSI part of the overall algorithm and that does seem likely as many around the web concur.

A brief definition:

Latent semantic indexing adds an important step to the document indexing process. In addition to recording which keywords a document contains, the method examines the document collection as a whole, to see which other documents contain some of those same words. LSI considers documents that have many words in common to be semantically close, and ones with few words in common to be semantically distant. This simple method correlates surprisingly well with how a human being, looking at content, might classify a document collection. Although the LSI algorithm doesn't understand anything about what the words mean, the patterns it notices can make it seem astonishingly intelligent.

I've also been told that Using Semantic Analysis to Classify Search Engine Spam - an older stanford document is well worth considering when looking at recent changes...

So, questions for the technically inclined as my eyes start to glass over with this stuff :-)

Is this what is going on at Google? What's the best way of handling it?

Go ahead and thrash out your theories, it's all speculation but it certainly seems likely so getting to grips with it is a must...

Getting MSN Results in RSS

Thread Title: MSN Search's RSS Feeds Thread Url: Thread Description:

As Danny has just pointed out, you can now get your MSN results in RSS in a much simpler manner - just key in whatever it is you want to monitor and check for the orange RSS button at the bottom of the page.

Here's a really dull feed to plug in and try :)

Unfortunately you can't jig the RSS to show results from out of the country you're in like you can with the normal SERPS - they say they're working on that.

Shell get Screwed by Incompetent SEO Firm

Shell have found themselves in some rather unfortunate circumstances in the Danish Google results - it appears that an SEO firm called have been somewhat incompetent with their efforts to promote the Danish arm of Shell.

It looks as though they've been doing doorways for Shell by promoting and having it redirect to the real Shell DK page - unfortunately they've somehow managed to META refresh wrongly and now we have this mess:

A [url= ]search for Shell[/url] now brings up the SEO firm as No.1 A search for Search engine optimization now brings up Shell as No.9

Not good news for Shell or the company involved in thier marketing - i debated about even publishing it but it's a major, global company so fair game i reckon...

Looks like a classic case of Google Hijacking gone horribly wrong...

Guardian Newspaper offers RSS Reader with Overture Ads

Thread Title: Guardian Offers RSS Newsreader for Download Thread Url: Thread Description:

There's been a lot of speculation and talk of the printed press' future online in recent months, even including this wonderful movie on the future of media in general but little seems to come out of all of this talk. Particularly from the newspapers themselves.

However, whereas im sure this isn't the killer app newspapers need, it's heartening to read that the Guardian will be pushing an RSS reader as download to help users keep abreast of content. The app is currently being offered to a limited number of users for trial.

The reader itself is called Newspoint and was produced by Cosenda. It comes prefilled with a whole bunch of feeds from the newspaper making it ready to go without fuss or thought.

Overture Providing Ads in the Feeds and Newsreader

Overture will be providing the ads both in the app itself and the feeds, with some room for the newspapers that partner with Cosenda to also provide dedicated ad feeds to the system. Cosenda are also working with the LA Times and courting a whole bunch more media companies as part of their strategy.

Seems like a fine idea to me.

More Conspiracy Speculation on Google as Registrar

Thread Title: 10 Things Google Could Do as a Domain Name Registrar Thread Url: Thread Description:

I love a good conspiracy theory, they're just so much fun... This piece threadlinked above gives, as the title suggests, 10 things Google could do with it's new status of Domain Registar - some of them are rather good, i'll list the main points but check the article for more details:

Organize a Mega Whois database - with G technology, think what they might be able to do with all that data. Blog Hosting - think Blogger Mining link networks (love this one..) no.4 is lame Just so that people don't discover what the next Google product will be? Simply to have more control over thier domains Use with Google Adsense for new domains My personal favorite: To start an ID service - buy a domain from Google and get an ID, they then track your sites via your ID and other registrars would have to interface with it so that you could get into Google - heheh... Sell you the domain, host your site, give you advertising and cut out the SEO's er.. no.10 is pretty much the same - Geocities on steriods...

Ok, the Threadwatch small plastic trumpet award for this week goes to anyone that can top that little lot for "tin foil hattedness" :-)

Added: Ooops, where are my manners? via Andy Beal

Click Fraud Going Mainstream

Thread Title: The click, the fraud and the ugly side of search Thread Url: Thread Description:

Mike Grehan has a great article posted over at NetImperitive linked above - it's an interesting read for sure but what interests me more at the moment is the fact that it seems that at least once a week you see something about click fruad.

This was not the case even a year ago as far as i recall, it's always been a problem, but one usually discussed in the seo forums rather than major newspapers right?

Even investors are looking at it as a reason not to buy Google stock. (i posted this elsewhere but i think it bears repeating..)

Google grew earnings via AdSense which is now close to half of its revenues. AdSense has the highest click fraud rate of any CPC product. In fact, many marketers refuse to use contextual advertising because of publishers clicking on their own ads which leads to low ROI

from always-on Funny how the success of Search and the mainstreaming of Search Marketing suddenly makes all the problems search marketers have been facing for years so much more in yer face...

How Secure are UK Government Sites?

Thread Title: Help me fix a UK Government website please. Thread Url: Thread Description:

Dylan, a poster at SEW asks

Hi Guys,

Please help me!

I am helping out on a webiste and have been told that the homepage contains 124k worth of .NET Viewstate which I am told is effecting the amount of time it takes for the website to upload.

Please could someone take a look at the website and have a look at the viewstate .net Scripting because I am no the best in this area.

Thanks Guys


Now if he isn't pulling our legs can you believe a UK government website asking for help in changing their code via a web based forum? Knowing how coders communicate and ask questions and request help via Instant messengers, email etc. then I can believe this.

What makes it worse is the website is for the Information Commissioner in the UK.

We oversee and enforce compliance with both the Data Protection Act 1998 and Freedom Of Information Act 2000.

Anyone, could go along, advice on the problem and drop a link script, a touch of cloaking or worse in the guise of helping.

As a Brit, and if true, I am concerned!