Searching for Google -- Shhhhh, it's a secret
Google have apparently shelled out $300M on a new datacenter in a Georgia industrial park. About 100 employees in a non descript unmarked building with no windows - pffft! 007 eat your heart out hah!
This from the CRM Knowledgebase threadlink above:
Almost without notice, the Internet search company has tiptoed about 100 employees and a significant investment into a windowless building in a Douglas County industrial park near Six Flags Over Georgia.
There's no sign on the building, no logo on the locked glass door, nothing to indicate that an Internet icon has come to town.
A note taped to the door points visitors to a buzzer, which prompts a polite, but firm, female voice to shoo you away. The voice can't --- or won't --- confirm you've found Google, or even if you're in the right place.
It's all very mysterious.
So why the big hush hush? Sheesh, google are news, if sergey farts it hits the homepage of every major industry site on the net - did they think they'd be able to keep 100 people and all the people they know quiet for long?
Online Ad Networks Back in Vogue
DMNews has a piece related to the launch of AdMarketplace yesterday in the threadlink above.
The question now, with this new player in town and the many other networks out there, is: Is the contectual ad space crowded enough for us to start seeing casualties?
Forbes ditched intelliTXT recently and i cant say i hear much about smaller networks like Quigo or ContextWeb. Tacoda's behavioral network seems interesting though and you cant go a week without hearing something from Kanoodle, which at this point just leaves Chitika. And we've not heard a peep from the "network of networks" since it's launch
The titans of context: Overture and Adsense may well fight their own battles but it seems likely there is room for both, possibly even Kanoodle, but what of the smaller networks mentioned above? Some questions on contextual search for Threadwatchers:
Will the smaller networks find a place alongside the big boys?
Are we likely to see more enter the context arena in 2005?
Do any of you give a f*** as long as adsense still pays?
Meta Tag Lawsuit Filed In Florida
Trademark Infringement Claims Now Extend to Meta Tags
According to Out-Law, using trademarked terms in your meta tags, could get you in trouble.
A biopharmaceutical firm that distributes plasma derivatives has sued a rival, alleging that Health Coalition Inc. used the trade marked name “BDI Blood Diagnostics” as a meta tag in its web site source code, according to a report by Law.com.
This, alleges Blood Diagnostics Inc., is a breach of its trade mark rights.
SELowdown point out this post threadlinked above at motley fool.
They're talking about Accoona specifically:
Even if you offered me $70 billion, I am not sure I could effectively break into the search engine business. To me, Accoona's late entry is a sign that the teams headed for the playoffs have been named and the competition will now begin in earnest. But maybe I'm wrong. As Rick Aristotle Munarriz pointed out, maybe it's just starting to boom. Either way, there's some tough competition down the road from the big guys in the search engine business.
So we have MSN, Google and Yahoo! making up the big 3 players with Jeeves coming up from the rear (i cant help it, im english) and a whole gaggle of specialist SE's that seem to only make a hit with Search folks.
Could the game sustain another player of is that it?
User Reviews and Local Search Optimization
Chicago, recenlty appointed moderator of WMW's new Local Searh Forum has a fantastic discussion going with some of the boards heavy hitters on how to manipulate Yahoo! Local with "user ratings".
Users can order their results by user reviews and so both automated, dodgy tactics and clever legit strategies for exploiting this are disussed in detail. Stars of the show are Chicago, eWhisper and tedster. This from Chicago:
When is the last time you checked your business or your client's business reviews? When is the last time you submitted a review? How about your competitors (scary)?
and this from tedster:
Using Amazon's review system, the best way we found to get good, natural reviews was to ask our happy customers to post one. In some cases, we offered a perk of some kind, especially for those listmaniacs who took the time to put together a list. This worked very nicely and created natural positive reviews - avoiding the stilted sound that people who have a business involvement with a product tend to use.
So I would imagine the same would apply to a pizza parlor, a general contractor, a real estate agent - anyone who already has happy campers in their corner and uses local search. And of course, if you don't make customers happy (or don't know if you do) then that would be step number one for the business anyway.
A very nice read, thanks Chicago!
Some questions this raises for me:
Will we see bots developed to manipulate this feature?
How will Yahoo maintain a level of quality control?
Is it as important as it might first appear?
The BBC are reporting on the proposed outlawing of "upskirt pics" - It's quite amazing that this kind of invasion of privacy isn't covered already in some more general law but in NZ apparently the photos would have to be proven "objectionable" first...
Under the proposed measures, the making, publishing or distributing of voyeuristic material made without consent will carry a penalty of up to three years in prison.
Knowingly possessing such material without reasonable cause will become an offence carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail.
Will search be different on mobile?
Peter Davanzo points out an article submitted by a searchengineblog reader that hits the nail right on the head for me. Mobile search will change everything.. - See the full article threadlinked above.
The author, Scott Schaffer points out that at some point in the not to distant future, mobile net activity will surpass the regular PC net we know now. And more to the point, the throat will be ripped out of online advertising as PPC advertisers struggle to adapt to a very different set of stats for net usage and a mobile consumer landscape with a very different model for information retrieval.
He goes on to hypothesis about scanning barcodes to get information rather than laboriously typing in phrases into a search engine and how who holds a trademark will count far more than who has the highest ranking on Google.
It's a damn good read, and although there is still infinate room for the mobile web to shape itself in any manner of direction I think he paints a plausible picture. Go have a look and tell me what you think...
When is permission to repost images needed?
Adland point to this post by blogger Jason Calacanis on reposting images. Naturally Jason is talking about it in the context of blogs, like there was some kind of difference between a blog and a regular site, but as many a web dev knows, it's a tricky issue.
From the adland post:
it seems there's a new idea forming - posting images without permission is OK as long as they are small?? Please help me out here, am I reading this right? Fair use? Has the world gone mad!? Is this the guy Denton thought should be the one to look up to when it comes to blogger ethics?
The web does cause trouble in this area, but would this new 'rule' hold water in court, or work in the long run - in a fair way? I don't think so.
And I see his point. But then the idea of images as fair use doesn't sound all that crazy does it?
Opinions? I know we have a few copyright experts in here, let's have your thoughts...
The battle for search loyalty drives innovation
Forresters Charlene Li shares some snippets from a consumer survey conducted on US households. Some of the data is unsurprising but it does make for interesting reading.
Google continues to lead as the site consumers use most frequently to search the Internet, while Yahoo! lost share from 2003.
MSN gained substantial share as the default home page for online consumers. + Among Google's loyal searchers, many were likely to have MSN and Yahoo! as their default home pages, opening up the possibility that these portals will regain search loyalty.
MSN has a slight lead in the percent of consumers who use its toolbar.
Almost half of all toolbar users also use another toolbar.
Google tops the list in terms of search effectives (as ranked by their own loyal searchers) but overall quality remains poor, leading consumers to use multiple search engines.
I find it very difficult to break the Google habbit (and there's mostly no reason why i should) but I have in recent months been turning to Yahoo! a significant proportion of the time.
I cant seem to take Clusty seriously, no matter what good things i hear :)
Hot on the heels of Chitika comes Conducive's AdMarketPlace. Clickz have the scoop in the story threadlinked above but i must say, bearing in mind that Conducive also provide search engine marketing and their site is utterly unspiderable their offering doesn't inspire much confidence at first glance.
Also, they could do with hiring someone to help with their PR - check this out:
"We've taken a lot of the learnings from that and repackaged it a bit into maybe an AdSense version of that system," said Jim Waltz, president and CEO of Conducive, referring to Google's contextual ad program.
Adware cannibals feast on each other
Cnet are roporting on how one spyware company's program deleted millions of a competitors installs that has cost direct revenue, another so dubbed "spyware firm", $10,000 a day.
Im more than a little behind the curve with podcasting but thanks to Aaron im at least familiar with the general idea :)
Today, in the article threadlinked above, Steve Rubel talks about the possiblility of reaching the streets ahead super early adopters that make up the burgeoning ipod nation.
You can’t walk 50 feet in a major city without seeing them. You can spot them a mile away by the dual white wires that dangle from their ears. They’re young, technically savvy, loyal, enthusiastic card-carrying members of the burgeoning iPod Nation. They represent an attractive demographic of early adopter influencers that marketers covet. And, thanks to an emerging revolution in online audio content called podcasting, there are all kinds of new and exciting ways to reach them through “podvertising.”
So, i have 3 questions for Threadwatchers if I may:
Do you have an Ipod?
Is it cool?
Will the new gen mobiles kill it?
Google News' chief robot speaks out
The Register's Andrew Orlowski's anti-google views are well known, most folks in Search take his comments with that fact in mind. This piece, thredlinked above, is however both very funny and, i think, important.
Is Google News' chief scientist, Krishna Bharat, actually a robot? From an interview in the current issue of Wired magazine, it's increasingly difficult to conclude that Bharat could convincingly pass the Turing Test. Every time Google News is criticized for bias, Bharat is wheeled to field out an identical reply. He claims that humans can't be held responsible for what appears on his website - because machines are in charge.
"The truth is, Google News doesn't have a point of view," he tells the magazine. "It's a computer, and computers do not understand these topics the way humans do and can't be systematically biased in any direction."
So human or algorithm? We're leaning towards the latter. What the Bharatbot doesn't seem to have been programmed with is the experience of ever having being someone who reads the news himself: and experience is often the vital difference between bot and machine.
Does Orlowski have a valid point in that G news should take some responsibility for their content?
Google will test animated ads through its AdSense network, the search company said yesterday.
The animated image ads will appear shortly on Web sites that opted to display Google's graphical ad units, which the company introduced in May. Until now, Google has allowed advertisers to use only static banner ads. A test group will run animated GIF files, though Google said it would keep its maximum file size for image ad units at 50 kilobytes.
Ads on your mobile: Believe it or not, you may welcome them
James Pearce takes an interesting look at how inovative telcos and ad firms will very likely begin to advertise to your mobile in an opt-in viral way. The main problem with mobile ads is the fact that the new-gen mobiles, capable of receiving streaming video are infinately configurable and models to deliver ads via your cell are in their infancy.
One line of thought is the classic viral ad. The system talked about in the article would require users to enter a short code to have your ad streamed to them and one way to encourage participation is viral ad marketing.
It's an interesting read if you're following this sector and a good primer on what the various options for mobile advertising are now, and may be in the future.
Convera Plans to Enter Web Search Marketplace
Convera, a company with US government agency ties, including the FBI plans to enter the commercial search fray next year as pointed out by Gary in the SEW blog post threadlinked above. The source of this info comes from this Washington Post artcle and they may very well be something to look out for in 2005.