The £100M Google Atom Bomb

Thread Title: Is this a Google atom bomb? Thread Url: Thread Description:

For several months now I’ve been troubled by a nagging and unpleasant thought that there is a potentially large vulnerability in Google’s Adwords business model. I mentioned it for the first time the other day to a couple of friends and they urged me that I should publish it and not sit on it because it is better to get it out earlier than later.

If there is a problem with the business model then it can be dealt with while there are still mostly insiders holding the stock rather than Joe Public.

Okay, this is it:

A billionaire has arranged to give $100m to the first person that clicks on a special link that looks like a Google text ad.

In my opinion, you dont need to give $100m away, it could be $1m every couple weeks. Some company could make a game of this. "Find the lucky ad and win $1m".

Make the contest random. Once the pattern is random, the value of ads gets distorted and keywords lose value.

There would be two conflicts here then. How do I know that the user really clicked on the ad AND how do I know the value of the keywords werent distorted based on this "game".

There is a way where brands can direct traffic by paying a set fee.

Major Changes in Adwords, Adsense and Sandbox

Thread Title: Dear AdWords [referer spoofing req'd] Thread Url: Thread Description:

I'm getting reports that something major maybe happening with Adwords - the thread above by BakedJake suggests large and irratic jumps in usually calm, predictable stats for larger advertisers.

It may be that a major shift in the Adwords algorithm is taking place, and then it could have something to do with shifts in datacenters that also appear to be happening right now.

And let's not discount the introduction of the Adwords API as if there wasn't already enough to be paranoid about heh...

So, any Adwords guys want to add fuel to the fire or douse it?

Cookies get a Reprieve in Spy Act

Thread Title: Lawmakers To Rewrite 'Spy Act' To Exempt All Cookies Thread Url: Thread Description:

There has been a lot of worry amongst advertisers in recent months over the "Spy Act", the anti-spyware bill H.R. 29, notably services that track visitors across multiple sites for ad delivery and behavioural targeting.

This is apparently to change. Mediapost report that the contraversial bill is being rewritten to exempt all cookies - so affiliates should be rather pleased aswell.

An early indication that efforts were paying off came last week when Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.)--chair of a House subcommittee on commerce, trade, and consumer protection--testified at a Congressional hearing that it might be a mistake to mandate consumer permission for third-party cookies. "Another challenge that we face as legislators is ensuring that our responses to the growing spyware problem don't penalize legitimate uses of similar information technology designed to monitor and prevent unauthorized activity," said Stearns. "Among some of the concerns expressed regarding H.R. 29 that will be examined as we continue to work on the bill are: Examining the need for an exception for cookies and the issues raised by third-party cookies, since the bill is intended to apply only to software," he stated.

Yet Another Google BETA - Google Local Goes Live(ish)

Thread Title: Google Local Moves To Home Page But Stays In Beta Thread Url: Thread Description:

I know it's not just me becuase i've just read the nice post Danny S made linked above about Googles "BETA Problem" - has just gone live on the homepage, as yet another BETA.

What is it that makes google either unable, or afraid to finish a project?

Ask Jeeves Launch Blog

Thread Title: Will the butler be hijacking you? Thread Url: Thread Description:

The venerable butler powered search engine has joined the blogging masses and launched a blog.

Now as AJ haven't joined the rel=nofollow camp, as they have allowed comments and that they are using Typepad's JavaScript redirect on any URLs you drop in the comments will be suffering from Ask Jeeves hijacking?

MSN TV ads

Thread Title: MSN to run TV ad campaign Thread Url: Thread Description:

For the first time in four years, MSN ads will appear on television, complimented by a large online campaign reaching 21 million users, accounting for more than 30% of the overall spend.

The supporting TV advertising campaign will be aired on a broad range of channels, including Channel 4 and ITV... The adverts are positioned to run during television and web coverage of several high-profile events over the up and coming weeks, including The Brit Awards and the film premiere of Oceans 12. TV ads will run in global markets including the UK, Canada (in English and French), Australia and Brazil.

YQ - Yahoo's New Contextual Search Tool

Thread Title: Y!Q: Adding Context to Search Thread Url: Thread Description:

Yahoo! have launched a new contextual search technology called Y!Q, a play on 'IQ' (ho ho ho), that allows users to search for results in the context of what they are actually reading.

The idea, spawned by Y! Search chief Jeff Wiener's search for information on Gary Jules wonderful remake of Tears for Fears Mad World, is that you can make queries based on the whole page you are viewing or just passages of selected text. YQ will take that text or page and take out what it perceives as the key terms and search for pages in a similar context and theme.

Trying it out

There are several ways you can use Y!Q - firstly, try the Yahoo! News test page. Then when your appetite is whetted have a go with one of the Demo Bars available for Explorer or Firefox. Firefox users also have seveal other options including using conquery in the way described by Chris Sherman

Once you've installed the toolbar you can highlight any piece of text on a page and click "related search" or just right click and choose the same from the context menu.

Refining Your Results

One of the great things about Y!Q is the ability, with the help of a little DHTML magic, to refine your search once you have the basic results set in front of you. Once you have selected either a whole page or part of one to search, and you have your initial results you'll see a yellow highlighted box at the top of the result set that marks out the key terms that Y!Q thinks relates to your query - for the test i tried, there were about 8. Next to each term is a checkbox and by unchecking a term, you can get refined results and see those results very quickly as the page updates as soon as you uncheck (or re-check) the box - Furthermore, on each of the results you'll see the "more like this" link - clicking that will add that pages terms to your query in an attempt to further refine your search. Nice...

DNS Piracy Claims from Dutch Tech Mag

Thread Title: Internet Storm Center's "Handler's Diary" for 2/2/05 Thread Url: Thread Description:

Is it April 1 in some timezone I'm not aware of?

The Handler's Diary at SANS Internet Storm Center is reporting on an article appearing in a new Dutch tech magazine "Bright".

The article details a "super secret group of k-rad organized hackers subtly herding innocent web surfers away from their intended targets" by a DNS exploit that is redirecting millions of users.

Supposedly the owner of a porn portal was approached and offered "a million hits" for $1000. To demonstrate, the "salesman" asked the owner of the site for his IP, and sent him to Google. The minute he clicked "Search", he was redirected to the site.

As the diary points out, it's kind of hard to imagine a DNS exploit acting this way (perhaps a malware infected "prospect" was being manipulated?), but apparently other media outlets are starting to pick up the story and spread it like mad...

It'll be interesting to see what spin goes on this. If it comes out as "Search on Google, get Porn Site", it'd sure be a great time to launch a competing search site...

MSN & RSS - Feed Submissions Back Door to MSN?

Thread Title: Moreover Technologies Provides MSN With RSS Feed Search and Access Capability Thread Url: Thread Description:

Just a little more info on the new MSN Search's deal with Moreover for RSS features.

From the press release, some key points:

Feed Discovery - use my.msn to subscribe to feeds Feed Reading - naturally.. they also cache the feeds RSS Search - this is an interesting one i think, you can search the full text of the feed from my.msn Feed Inclusion - and this is the real killer, like you can submit your sites feeds to my.msn and have them made available and searchable across the whole "msn community of users" - exact details aren't given but im sure we'll work out the benefits with a little creative experimentation...

If that last point does what i hope it does, it could be a great thing indeed...

thanks ls

Speculation on Skype Ousting SMS

Thread Title: Skype to Replace SMS Next? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Personally i can't think of anything more annoying than SMS and refuse to take part on general grumpy principle but Stuart Henshall has some interesting thought on current technologies Skype, Symbian and Voice Messaging technology.

It will work like VM... Skype will enable a text only program with VM capability... so you can receive and send VM and text... there is no need to yet go to voice on a Skype Symbian solution and most of the phones wouldn't cope. In some countries SkypeOut to mobile will be a good deal, in others it isn't. The presence indicator makes moving to SkypeMobile attractive while the application upgrades will enable you to broadcast presence as on mobile for text, for VM or invisible.

So Skype targets Nokia and begins selling this as an App which means the cell co's ca even retail it too. They are happy because Skype isn't eating their lunch tomorrow on 3G handsets while the Wi-Fi mobility app is already available for Windows PDA's

Whatever way Skype gets used it really is coming into primetime eh?

Are we all Media?

Thread Title: When everyone is media, no one is Thread Url: Thread Description:

Winer has an uncharacteristically interesting post today on reporters, tech, media and blogs - Interesting in that he's managed to write more than a few sentences on a subject but particularly interesting in that it's one of those increasingly rare moments of lucidity shown about the whole blogs vs journalism thing - let me quote you points 2 and 8 of his 9 bullets.

All media is technology and vice versa. The convergence everyone was buzzing about in the early 90s has happened. It's behind us. There is no separation between media and technology.

Basically reporters can only criticize people who will never employ them. That's why their role is shrinking all the time. Wait until Best Buy buys out Engadget. Eventually reporters will only be able to take shots at bloggers, and probably Microsoft (because they seem to put up with it). Don't try criticizing Steve Jobs, or even talking about him until he's ready for you to.

It's an interesting read, and really not that long to so check it out and then air your views - worthy of the benefit of the doubt IMO and im not so inclined to say that on much of what i read on the whole rather over exuberant blog evangelist sites these days...

Google gives Exclusive to Battelle

Thread Title: Google gives an exclusive to John Battelle ? Thread Url: Thread Description:

I'm sure your opinion on Google changed after getting inside access in researching your book. How "inside" was your access to the Googleplex, and what changed most in your opinion of Google?

Well, they told me I'm the only author they are working with, so I guess that's pretty inside...I've been there a lot, but Google still holds its cards pretty close. My opinion is far more nuanced than it was going in – after talking to dozens of staffers, it can't be anything but.

Getting into Google News

Today i noticed a blog that's only a couple of weeks old in Google News - I've not seen blogs in there before (though im not saying they don't exist) and i've certainly not seen a site less than a month old in G News.

Good for them - they're an SEM company so possibly it's who you know rather than what you know? - So, why are we not in there and what can i do to change that?

I think we deserve to be don't you?

Online Ad Spend to hit Downward Slope

Thread Title: eMarketer Report: Search Growth Slowing Thread Url: Thread Description:

eMarketer report that online ad spend including paid search has peaked and will decline through 2009:

"I think a lot of search and advertising professionals are going to be surprised," David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the report, said in a statement. Hallerman described his findings as a welcome retreat from the "bubble-and-burst expansion" of recent years.

eMarketer found that year-over-year growth in online spending will drop from 30.7 percent in 2004 to 21.1 percent in 2005, and should hit single digits by 2009.

I remember Andrew Goodman saying the exact opposite only a couple of months back, so what's the deal here?

Bill Gates has a tendency to give the Finger to Governments

Thread Title: Microsoft Windows Really Crappy Edition Thread Url: Thread Description:

Dan Gillmor has an interesting take on the recent M$ move to call their new XP the Reduced Media Version - they've since said that they'll find a better name becuase the EU whined about it.

A few years ago, when ordered by a judge to remove Internet Explorer from the Windows operating system, Microsoft offered as one option an operating system that wouldn't work. I called this "compliance with a raised middle finger."

Now, ordered by the European Union to sell a version of Windows with Media Player removed, Microsoft proposed to name the OS "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition," another example of the company's tendency to give the finger to government whenever the mood strikes. (This latest insult-the-judge move is even more puzzling given that the EU didn't tell our favorite monopolist to sell the "reduced" version at a lower price, which means that PC makers are hardly likely to opt for a version that has less software at the same price.)

He goes on to give some proposals for the new name:

Windows Government Censored Version Windows We Should Be Able to Bundle A Roast Beef Sandwich With the OS If We Want To Edition Windows Don't Blame Us For Your Security Problems Edition Windows Until We Become Part of Your Taxes Edition

Pretty funny Dan :)

How about, Windows - we will own the EU before the decades out Edition?

Yahoo to Enter the Blog Hosting Fray

Thread Title: Thread Url: Thread Description:

Yahoo! look as if they're finally entering into the blog hosting fray as they launch - shouldnt be long before we see a major roll out eh?

Here's the Cnet report courtesy of Aaron:

Yahoo Japan launches blog beta

Yahoo Japan, owned mostly by Softbank and partly by Yahoo, on Tuesday launched a test, or "beta," version of Yahoo Japan Blogs, a free service that lets users post blogs and up to 2GB of images, comment on other blogs, and associate their blogs with animated representations of users known as avatars.

"This is a basic community service," said a Yahoo Japan spokesperson who asked not to be named. "Last year there was a blog boom in Japan. Lots of portals have blogs now. So we came in late. But when we start, it will have an impact on a lot of Internet users here."

The launch could have implications for Yahoo users in the United States, too.


Google Step up Gmail Promotion

I logged into my gmail account today to discover that instead of the 6 Gmail invites that I had remaining to donate, I now have 50...

So it looks like Google are finally rolling Gmail out to the masses, or flooding the market with invitations at least...

Instead of going through a mini form process to hand out invites, you can now just enter the email address of the person you want the invite sent to.

It can't be all that much longer until they roll gmail out can it, or will they keep it as invite only?

Spyware - Things will only get worse

Thread Title: You're infected and we earn about $3 out of you! Thread Url: Thread Description:

The Reg are reporting on a piece by Richard Stiennon, the vice president of Threat Research at Webroot Software.

Because Richard is definately biased (his company aims to protect their customers from this type of application) his views should probably be taken with a sensible pinch of salt, but you can't just ignore out of hand the figures.

One company, Claria, revealed that their software resided on 40 million PCs and they generated $90 million in revenue a year. Another company, Avenue Media, claimed they had 2 million infected machines that generated $7 million annually. An average of $2.95 per-infection-per-year.


How many infections are there? Our online spy audit indicates that the average PC on the Internet has at least two pieces of adware on it. ClickZ Stats indicates that there are 280 million active PCs on the Internet.

Do the math. The Internet boom is alive and well as adware, spyware, and "slimeware" purveyors rake in over $1.6 billion a year, leading a new trend of hacking for profit.

The Reg bring up the sensible viewpoint

we remain unconvinced about Webroot's headline figure for the illicit ad market of $1.6bn, which it compares to the $10bn a year pulled in by Google, Yahoo! DoubleClick et al.

Let's presume the figures are inflated by 100% and the real income is only $800 million per annum, and the average income per infected PC is only$1.50 and that the average pc only has 1 infection of spyware on it.

These numbers are huge but whilst there is money to be earnt I can understand why people follow this route to earn it. I believe there is an answer, and legislation isn't neccesarily the right way forward in my opinion.

Google Hates Affiliates? - Check out Google Referal

Thread Title: Google Referral Thread Url: Thread Description:

How funny is THAT? Google will now pay you $20 for each new customer you give them for Adwords heh..

Check out Google Referral

The Google referral program (beta) is for businesses whose customers and visitors include small to medium-sized businesses, and who want to help those companies become more successful by running Google AdWords, or serving ads with Google AdSense. The program works by giving approved sites unique links to Google, then compensating the referring site for passing on a new AdWords advertiser or AdSense publisher.

Basic information on the program here, FAQ here, application form here and Terms and Conditions here.

How you get paid

One of your visitors clicks on the graphic or link and is taken to a Google sign-up page. That person signs up for an AdWords account or applies to become an AdSense publisher. Advertisers qualify as completed referrals after they spend $20 with AdWords. Publishers qualify after they earn $75 in AdSense revenue. Every month, Google calculates the number of completed referrals you have directed to Google. Once you accrue $100 (five completed referrals) or more, you will receive a check. Google only issues checks once a month (for details, see the FAQ

And guess what? It's in BETA heh...

SEM Conference in Australia

Thread Title: SEM Conference in Australia Thread Url: Thread Description:

It is not often we have SEM conferences in Australia, the last I attended was in 2003, and the one touted for last year never eventuated unfortunately. Nice to see a new conference announced with a good lineup of major players. Should be interesting, and a good opportunity to catch up with everyone.

via peter