AP to knock out Ads on Syndicated Stories

Thread Title: AP Partners With Winstar to Sell Ad Inventory Thread Url: http://www.clickz.com/news/article.php/3467131 Thread Description:

The Associated Press has tapped Winstar Interactive Media, a division of Interep Interactive, to sell ad inventory within its syndicated news and multimedia feature stories in the U.S.

The partnership offers Winstar the opportunity to sell ads on a network of over 450 syndicated newspapers and broadcast Web sites with over 6 million unique users per month, many of which have well-established regional audiences, said Tim Mahlman, Winstar Interactive's SVP of sales.

The clickz story threadlinked above doen't mention anything about potential conficts of advertiser interest...

Spamming New MSN for Fun and Profit

Thread Title: Search Engine Spam - Query on MSN Thread Url: http://search.msn.com/results.aspx?q=search+engine+spam&FORM=QBRE Thread Description:

I've spent a little time this evening talking to some of the better er... enthusiastic link hunters out there about how to game the new MSN

"Just get links, from wherever is convenient"

Know what? It's easy, way too easy in fact. One professional search spammer told me "Just get links, from wherever is convenient" - it turns out that MSN's links are not weighted in any way like links are in Google and Yahoo, you can just go right out there and get the links you want, with the exact anchor text you want and be ranking for your terms in a very short space of time.

Also, they either have no duplicate content filter, or it has a major flaw - you can copy any page you like (provided you have the site owners.... ack, who am i kidding?) and providing you get more links coming into that page than the other guy, you win.

Is this the best start for MSN?

Ok, so i know MSN is new, and this is a v1 search tech but surely the fact that a child could game it is not good for MSN? The default homepage of a Windows install is still MSN if i've been informed correctly so there's plenty of incentive for people to want to rank now rather than "when it kicks in" right?

The interesting question for me though is this: If it's very easy to game, which it is, will users actually notice the fun and games search marketers are having with the new engine? After all, there's little point in spamming away like mad to rank for shoes if your site is about venezuelan beaver cheese is there?

Anyone care to offer thoughts on the new Mickey Mouse algo from MSN?

MSN Search Cock Up's - Cache Issues, Returning Google Results & more...

When you search on the new MSN the cached pages are served from the domain cc.msncache.com

I get a 404.

You heard it here 1st and I hope all the other media outlets pick up on this story and give Nick credit for the amazing resource TW is :)

Spam tool for hire....

Thread Title: Let us ping Yahoo for you... Thread Url: http://www.blogburner.com/ Thread Description:

Auto pinger for hire. Just pay up to 10c per page and we will ping away until the cows come home!

The above is a quote I could imagine being on the above site. Essentially a service to let Yahoo you have updated your blog.

Personally if you want such a service it will take about 5 lines and perl. If you REALLY want such a service I'll do it for you at half their cost, and I'll still be charging you 10 times too much :)

MSN's Ad Campaign to Hit 90% of US Households 40x in 8wks

Thread Title: MSN Takes On Google With New Ad Campaign Thread Url: http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticleHomePage&art_aid=26819 Thread Description:

MediaPost runs all the gory details of M$' media blitz on Google for a slice of the Search pie:

The ad campaign aims to reach 90 percent of U.S. households 40 times in the next eight weeks, said Chris Cocks, MSN's director of global campaigns. "This will be our biggest campaign since the introduction of the MSN Butterfly in 2000," Cocks said. The initiative will hit 25 markets in 10 languages concurrently.

In the United States, the campaign, coordinated by McCann Erickson, San Francisco, will include TV, viral, and out-of-home advertising, in addition to heavy online media. Online advertising will appear on MSN's home page and other MSN properties targeting the company's 360 million users. Apart from the MSN network, online ads will appear on sites including CNet, USAToday.com, and CBS Sportsline.

MSN will primarily buy ads on cable TV, but also plans to purchase air time in the top 12 metro markets during heavyweight television events like the Superbowl this Sunday, the Academy Awards, and the NCAA finals in March.

That's one hellava campaign eh?

Niall Kennedy to manage Technorati Community

Thread Title: Managing the Technorati community Thread Url: http://www.niallkennedy.com/blog/archives/2005/01/managing_the_te.html Thread Description:

Niall Kennedy who previously worked for NexTag will be managing the Technorati community according to his blog threadlinked above and this post by Richard Ault, one of the Technorati founders.

Starting Tuesday, February 1, I will start a new job as Community Manager at Technorati. I will be responsible for helping the world understand Technorati's service offerings and providing developers with the tools they need to build and extend Technorati. I will help make your voices heard and build new features to strengthen the links we create while consuming and producing content.

Adding a community manager to a staff of twelve is a big move for any company and a strong signal to a community of users. Expect big things and we will all be working hard to deliver new tools to track the world live web.

and hey Niall, people reply to your comments here dude! I still want an answer dammit! heh...

Good luck with the new job..

When Innovation runs ahead of Consumer Demand

Thread Title: Hey, what about the consumer? Thread Url: http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?page=1&guid=%7BCA960A11-D563-4635-9B06-E6D0D0C1BD51%7D&siteid=mktw Thread Description:

Bambi Francisco has an interesting story at MarketWatch threadlinked above about the internet bubble burst of 2000 and the current arms race amongst Search companies and others.

Her point, is that while they're all very busy keeping up with eachother and trying to outdo one another at every turn with innovation, they may very well be missing the point: Consumers are not ready.

llow me to remind you that it was in March 2000 when the Nasdaq hits its peak, investor complacency turned into fear, and, importantly we began to realize that the products and services being sold or offered were ahead of their time.

Translation: They were clumsy versions of what the consumer of the future would need, embrace and pay for.

In like vein, it appears to me that many companies -- in their effort to keep up their expected growth trajectory -- are throwing service upon service at consumers.

Some of these services are merely slight improvements over what's already out there. Some are services that consumers aren't even aware they need.

Unless these services are useful or differentiated enough, consumers won't pay for them. Nor will they stick around long enough for advertisers to pay to reach them.

Makes for an interesting need and good food for thought...

Skype for Linux & Mac Launches

Thread Title: Cross-platform Compatibility and Extensive Features With Skype Thread Url: http://skype.com/company/news/2005/macosx_linux_v1.html Thread Description:

Good news for me as a Linux guy and also for the Mac crowd today as Skype breaks it's betas out into full versions of the free VoIP software for both platforms. Features include:

Skype's Global Directory - the user-built global Skype contacts directory with numerous search options and an easy add-a-contact tool Instant messaging – cross platform messaging ability Conference calling – instantly create a free 5-party conference call Logs – reference or discard call and message history Presence – easily manage availability and view status of contacts Customization – MyPicture image display, ring tones, call alert options File transfer –send and receive files via Skype Mobility – sign in to a Skype account anywhere in the world SkypeOut –pre-pay to call traditional phones around the world, at local rates Multiple Skype accounts on one computer End-to-end encryption for superior privacy

You can grab the downloads here

Mobile Content and it's Risk for Verizon

Thread Title: Verizon takes mobile TV prime time Thread Url: http://telephonyonline.com/mag/telecom_verizon_takes_mobile/ Thread Description:

There's a great piece threadlinked above from telephonyonline detailing Verizon's moves into Mobile "mobisodes" with the launch of it's VCast service tomorrow:

Verizon and News Corp. claim the mobisode is a milestone in mobile content, which may not be over-stating it. It shows that major entertainment companies are willing to devote resources, money and talent toward creating something solely for the mobile format. The studios are willing to bet that the tiny screen of a handset can be an entertainment medium in its own right — a so-called “fourth screen” on par with the movie, TV and PC screens — not just an adjunct to wireless.

“We certainly believe that wireless is becoming a new medium for entertainment,” said Paul Palmieri, executive director of business development for Verizon Wireless. “We're targeting mainstream media and bringing it directly to subscribers. These mobisodes are a signal of what's to come.”

But the industry is also taking a risk. Video streaming is barely in its nascent phases. The repurposed sports, news and entertainment video streams currently available have limited audiences. The format of the short video clips optimized for a tiny screen may seem a bit arcane to consumers bred on living room TV. News Corp. and Verizon are gambling that they can spur the market for multimedia by creating an entirely new format of wireless entertainment. And while industry observers laud both companies for taking the plunge into these unknown waters, many of them expressed doubts as to whether the mobisode will be a success.

Risk or not, the potential of the handset is too great to ignore, said Lucy Hood, senior vice president of content for News Corp. She pointed out that there are 1.3 billion mobile subscribers in the world today, compared with 1.1 billion TV homes — and the growth in handset purchases is far outpacing that of TVs. “This is a growth market that we want to be a first mover in,” Hood said.

Google becomes Domain Name Registrar

Thread Title: Google Is Now A Domain Registrar Thread Url: http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2005/01/31/google_is_now_a_domain_registrar.html Thread Description:

scroll down to 895 - it seems Google are now a fully licensed domain name registrar, what could this mean? Get out of sandbox with a GOOG domain name buy? heh...

Yahoo vs Google - Yahoo Lagging but Growing FASTER

Thread Title: Yahoo! vs. Google (continued) Thread Url: http://avc.blogs.com/a_vc/2005/01/yahoo_vs_google.html Thread Description:

There was an article today in NYT which was only mildly interesting - what i found on a related subject that captured my attention more though was the threadlinked post by Fred Wilson:

According to Comscore, one of my portfolio companies, Google's US market share is 38% and Yahoo! is 35%. So between the two, they own 73% of the US market. Worldwide, Google is stronger, with 47% to Yahoo!'s 27%, but even worldwide, the two of them capture almost 75% of the market.

and...

It's interesting to me because I use Yahoo! (my.yahoo.com to be specific) as my start page, but I use Google as the search field in Firefox, where I do most of my searching. And I use Google's desktop search which further drives me toward Google when I do a search. But for local search, maps, and yellow pages, I always go to Yahoo! because they have by far the best service for that kind of search.

Of course that's all well and good, Yahoo is a more rounded service by far, but what when, that's when, not if, Google put all these Beta's and aquisitions they've been hoarding into play? Maybe under my.google.com - the whole scene could shift dramatically at that point...

MSN Officially Enter the Search Race

Thread Title: Microsoft officially enters search engine fray Thread Url: http://www.globetechnology.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050131.gtmsnjan31/BNStory/Technology/ Thread Description:

Im not sure if the Globe and Mail are breaking an NDA here but it looks like they might be, especially in light of peter's comments - one of the "SearchChamps" team.

From the Globe and Mail piece:

Microsoft has declared war on Google, Yahoo and other search engines with MSN Search, which is being officially launched tonight at midnight, Feb. 1.

After a development period of just 21 months, MSN Search — in Canada at search.sympatico.msn.ca — Microsoft took the final wraps off its newest product, which it promises will offer a "more personalized search experience."

Microsoft's entry into search-engine technology represents the Redmond, Wash., software giant's attempt to take a bigger bite out of the lucrative search-engine pie. Ad revenue from searches on all engines in Canada added up to $21.3-million in 2004, aimed at the country's 16.4 million Internet users.

Let the games begin...

News Officially Broken

...and some quotes and links from the more interesting sources:

NYT - Microsoft Introduces Its Own Search Service

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, said that Microsoft was now in a position to differentiate its offering.

"There is a tremendous opportunity for rapid innovation here," Mr. Gates said in an e-mail interview, "and the great thing about the launch of MSN Search is that we now have a strong platform in place that will enable us to begin to deliver those innovations to consumers."

Microsoft has added a few features meant to differentiate its new service.

It has included, free, the content from its Encarta encyclopedia, which until now has been fee-based.

VC $$$'s Tuning to Specialized Social Network Startups

Thread Title: Social Networking Sites Move Towards Specialization Thread Url: http://professional.venturewire.com/exclusives.asp?s=DEALBOOK&sid=IPHLQOOPLL Thread Description:

With a rash of relatively general social networking startups last year kickstarted by the likes of Friendster in 2003 VC $$$'s are tuned to more specialized services and structures in 2005. Dating and Business networks being a prime focus:

Opportunities remain, though only a few companies in the space are profitable as of yet. David Sze, general partner with Greylock, sees dating and business networking as the two areas where consumers are willing to pay, but he said that a lot of companies haven't figured out yet how to make money.

In both those markets, users are more likely to pay subscription fees, an extra revenue stream on top of the traditional advertising revenue that social networking sites usually focus on. VCs' belief in these markets in particular can be seen through the example of one round - the $110 million blockbuster round for e-dating firm eHarmony.com Inc., which raised the money from Sequoia Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and Fayez Sarofim & Co.

How to Break Captcha's on Blogs

Interesting article on how to comment-spam captcha enabled blogs

Quote: (if you were one of the 94 people i comment spammed) sorry about that, and hope that you are not pissed. if you are new to my site, then you must realize that i like to stir things up every once in a while. if you've been here before, then i'm hoping you've got a smile on your face, and sort of expect stuff like this from me :) anyways, you were targeted for 2 reasons. 1) because your blog uses CAPTCHA to provide a false sense of security. 2) because we are members of the same group. so i know a handful of you (and know of most of you). could easily have done this against a bunch of strangers ... but did not think that that was a good idea. this is just my way of saying that we've got more work to do. i will not be comment spamming you anymore. unless you comment spam me back in retaliation ... and then i'll have to blast you out of the water ... just kidding.

LifeHacker Now Live

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

Earlier today we reported on the launch of LifeHacker, Nick Denton's new Gawker Media property.

It's live - and im hoping for good things...

From Nick's post on the launch:

Lifehacker is to software as Gizmodo is to hardware. I wanted the site myself, as a reader, because I'm a bit sick of all the download directories out there. Say you're looking for freeware to convert Word documents into a PDF: you end up downloading half a dozen applications to find the one without spyware or a heinous interface. In future, Lifehacker will be the guinea pig.

It's on my RSS, for now...

ThomasNet - Industrial Search

Thread Title: ThomasNet.com Thread Url: http://www.thomasnet.com Thread Description:

Thomas Register and Thomas Regional have combined to form ThomasNet - as searchviews points out, if you're looking for Thermoset polyurethane elastomer products, you're in luck!

From the about page:

ThomasNet, powered by Thomas Register® and Thomas Regional®, brings together industrial buyers and suppliers on a national, regional, and local level.

For industrial buyers, ThomasNet is an industrial search engine that provides one source for finding the exact product, service, or supplier they need - at the exact time they need it. ThomasNet also gives buyers direct access to the detailed information they need to make a purchasing or specifying decision, including line-item product details, CAD drawings, and more.

For industrial suppliers, ThomasNet is a leading provider of Internet marketing solutions. The company helps suppliers grow their business online by driving qualified industrial traffic to their Websites, and converting that traffic into customers. ThomasNet's complete range of online catalog, e-commerce, and CAD solutions help suppliers deliver the detailed information buyers expect on the Web.

Jacob Nielson Slapped for Unusable RSS Ads

Thread Title: Unusable RSS ads, courtesy of Jacob Nielsen Thread Url: http://weblogs.asp.net/alexbarn/archive/2005/01/31/363750.aspx Thread Description:

"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!

No Microsoft Desktop Search for New Windows

Thread Title: Microsoft Won't Bundle Desktop Search with Windows Thread Url: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1757197,00.asp Thread Description:

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...

Link Spamming - Ok, which one of you interviewed with The Register?

Thread Title: Interview with a link spammer Thread Url: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/01/31/link_spamer_interview/ Thread Description:

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!

Charles Arthur being the author of the article...

Google & Blogs - Should they Buy Technorati?

Thread Title: Here's Why Google Should Buy Technorati Thread Url: http://www.thestandard.com/movabletype/russellshaw/archives/000833.php Thread Description:

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?

Tell us what you think...