For the Graphically Competent: GIMP vs Paint.NET

Thread Title: Paint.NET v2.0 is ready for download! Thread Url: Thread Description:

I'd never heard of, the Washington State University's free graphics tool (threadlinked above) until today, but it's quite the app by all accounts. And could prove a worthy rival for GIMP, it's *nix based older brother.

Although Paint.NET does not sport a GNU license like the GIMP (graphical image manipulation program) it does grant permission for you to do pretty much the same stuff:

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

It's only been around since Spring this year, it started out as a senior design project at WSU but with v2.0 pronounced fit for download it's already causing a stir at Slashdot

The GIMP on the other hand has been around for ever, it started life as a similar project at Berkeley the mid 90's (the first full version was released in 1997) and has been used professionally by hollywood effects companies and more regular designers alike.

Fire Search Spammers - or - Me Me Me Me Me Me Me

Thread Title: Sanctamonious Trumped up Drivel Red Alert! Thread Url: Thread Description:

This piffle really does have to be read to be believed: pj fucso makes a debut appearance at the Clicz article threadlinked above pointed out by Danny

It's nothing short of a sad advertisement using scare tactics and negative marketing (aimed at the whole industry except ms fucso it seems) to further the authors ego.

Unless you're at a loose end, dont bother. For those with nothing better to do (that would be me right at this moment heh..) here's a few choice snippets:

As a corporate SEM specialist, I've been directly involved with firing several SEM firms that have spammed the search engines.

Ok, i can live with that, though i doubt it's that many...

When I discover an SEM firm practices questionable SEM tactics, there's only one thing to do: Fire it. Although my penalty for an SEM firm that spams the search engines is completely consistent, how I actually go about firing them varies according to the degree of their spam tactics.

Ok, you're the big cheese huh? Im duly impressed...

Many SEM firms will agree to work on a month-by-month basis. It's usually not worth my time or energy to confront the firm in question about its spam-like ways. If the transgression is minor, I simply allow the contract to lapse and find an SEM firm that better suits my company's needs.

Doesn't seem very practical to me. Seems like you should have spent some time with the firm before hand making sure they understood what was required of them. In essense, your saying that you either a) dont spend anytime talking to the companies you hire about what you want from them or b) talk to them, but ignore them going against your stated wishes and have to start developing a good working relationship (if that's the case at all) with the next poor firm that happens accros you. Way to go...

Top Blog Citations for 2004 - Who, What, Why & How Often?

Thread Title: What was hot in the blogosphere in 2004? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Blogpulse have taken a years worth of blog posts and calculated a whole bunch of mind numbingly naff, but curiously interesting blog trivia for your delectation.

How did BlogPulse compile this data? Top Web sites, blogs, blog posts, media sources, media stories, books, movies, and products were tabulated by counting the number of times bloggers linked to them during 2004. Top people, actors, and actresses were found by counting the number of times those names, including common variations, appeared in posts.

via mp

Distateful Google Adwords - Queries Displaying Offensive Ads

Thread Title: Ethical Problems with Google's Adwords... Thread Url: Thread Description:

SEW member cryptblade raises an excellent point regarding Google Adwords in the threadlink above: Try a search for conflict diamonds and, untlill just now you would have got a whole bunch of adwords ads with dynamic titles like "buy conflict diamonds" etc.

Im assuming Google have seen the thread and taken steps as when i tried it just a moment ago all i got was two very relevant results.

It does raise an interesting question about automation in general though. With Google News making headlines in recent months over innapropriate news stories we now hear similar complaints/observations about Adwords.

I'd be at a loss as to what to suggest what, if anything, could be done to eliminate either problem but surely Google need far greater human intervention and a way of allowing the public to notify them of such things?

FastClick to go Public

Thread Title: Fastclick Files with SEC for $92 Million IPO Thread Url: Thread Description:

Word comes in via staci that FastClick plan to raise $92M in their planned IPO.

MSN Launch Search Wiki

Thread Title: MSN Search Thread Url: Thread Description:

Whooaaa, hold the press... MSN have launched a Wiki! - You can reach it at the threadlink above.

More when i've had a better look...

Forum Mayhem: Nick W gets a Kickin' at SEW

Thread Title: WTF is Going on at SEW? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Grab yer popcorn fight fans, yours truly is taking a hammering over at SEW :-)

The thread, started by me, was in complaint over an odd occurance with the user rep system. I took a hit, which in itself is no biggie as when i posted there regularly bad rep was an almost daily occurance aswell as good - some people like what i post, some dont - it's all good. The problem was more due to continued harrasment by one mod (which started when Threadwatch was born?)

Moving on from that, as it's not really the star of the show, have a read: The thread meanders all over the place, focusing mainly on SEW forum policy with intermittent sniping for my benefit.

Now, dont feel you have to take sides heh.. (in fact, have a pop here if you feel like it), this is just a heads up on a great thread that also includes a fair bit of pot shotting at renagade moderator Sebastian who had posted earlier taking a swipe at pretty much everything but highlighting what he sees as some burning problems with the SEW forum - when the mods start to rumble, it's worth paying attention to IMO - here's a quote:

sick of "me too" posts here at SEW. it's gettin' worse towards xmas and waaay worse after SES sessions

and from the threadlinked post:

it's crap. this place should be about search discussion. open and expressive. it was at launch. now a couple of entrepreneurial people have done well for themselves in this professional space and they dominate discussion.

if you spend so much time learning and researching and producing for clients, how can you be on SEW forums all day, every day???

Much of both posts have been <snip>'d out and i beleive he refered to WMW not SES but it's still a corker.

From the original threadlinked Nick takes a Kickin' post, rcjordan writes:

Bloglines, RSS, and Referrals - Competing with Search Engines

Thread Title: Mark Fletcher: Boing Boing, Bloglines and Google Thread Url: Thread Description:

This is a blog post with some interesting information about the impact Bloglines can have on referrals:

"Nutshell: Bloglines is the 3rd largest source of referring pageviews on BoingBoing, and the largest generator of referring hits to BoingBoing content, larger than Yahoo! and Google -- and all other search engines -- combined. Bloglines generates 30% of all referring hits to BoingBoing."

Interesting to see some real life referral figures about how RSS and and aggregator can cut the SE's out of the traffic loop.

Lots of interesting links and data in that blog post.

Yahoo! In the News - What's been happening at Y! Lately?

Thread Title: Yahoo! European president Chappaz in shock departure Thread Url: Thread Description:

Seems we pick up on every little news item on Google but not nearly as much with Yahoo.

Few recent news stories on Yahoo!

Yahoo! European president Chappaz in shock departure

LONDON - Yahoo! Europe has been rocked by the departure of president Pierre Chappaz, who has quit after just two months in the role.

Yahoo! raises the stakes in China

BEIJING Yahoo, which operates the world's second most-used Web search engine, at the end of this month will offer China's 27 million broadband subscribers the company's first service to combine mail and instant messaging as it tries to win market share in the nation.

Yahoo! Europe pre-installs icons

Yahoo! Europe is pre-installing the icons for Y! homepage, Yahoo! Messenger and Yahoo! Personals on Sony VAIO notebooks and desktops in a distribution agreement with Sony Europe. The

Yahoo! Unveils Local Job Search

Yahoo! Inc. on Tuesday launched a local job search for people unwilling to move, or for companies looking for talent close to their facilities. The new service is in response to Yahoo's experience that more than half of all businesses prefer to only look for job candidates that live nearby and know their business, the Sunnyvale, Calif., Internet portal giant said. The job-advertising service will cost companies between $39 and $275 per listing, depending on geography and the number of listings purchased.

M$ Forced to Provide Windows-Media-Less version of WIndows

Thread Title: Microsoft to Offer a Media-Player-Free Version of Windows by January Thread Url:,1995,1744853,00.asp Thread Description:

Microsoft have been forced by a European court to provide a media player free version of Windows that will be available in Janurary according to Mary Jo Foley threadlinked above.

Talking of the Judge in question she said:

He denied Microsoft's request that the ordered remedies (including the unbundling of Windows Media Player from Windows) be postponed. Whether or not Microsoft appeals his denial, the Redmond software giant said it will deliver to European OEMs starting in January a Windows-Media-Player-free version of Windows. Microsoft also will publish communications protocols, including some heretofore-unpublished Windows Server ones, as part of the judge's order.

I'd like to know what protocols those are if anyone knows? And does this mean what i think it means, in that M$ are only required to have a version available that's playerless or that all versions should come without the player?

The former im sure, which is useless of course.

Isobar Aquires iProspect - Search Marketing Industry Consolidation?

Thread Title: Isobar Acquires iProspect to Create World's Number One Search Engine Marketing Entity Thread Url: Thread Description:

Threadwatch member toprank points out that Isobar Aegis have bought iProspect - possibly making the worlds largest search marketing outfit.

Here's a little PR drivel for you:

"This is a major move in the development of Isobar's global vision," said Nigel Morris, Worldwide President of Isobar. "Our clients now have access to iProspect's world class tools, best practices, and outstanding management team. We believe in their philosophy of how search fits within the context of marketing, and look forward to creating the future of digital marketing together."

Earlier we raised the question of whether SEM companies would drop like flies in 2005 - consolidation would seem to be a part of such a prediction.

Q. Is this the start of search marketing industry consolidation?

Is SEO a Dying Profession?

Thread Title: Death of SEO? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Aaron Wall of threadlinked above points to a post by renagade moderator Sebastian over at SEW that states that SEM companies will be dropping like flies in 2005.

I tend to agree with Sebastian and Aaron seems to agree in part:

General broad SEO services for some random set fee to tons of clients will be a business model that provides less and less value as time passes and search advances.

Which is pretty much where I stand. Many SEO outfits will drop im thinking. It will be dinasoars that can't/wont move with the times and a large number of "the kiddies" - those seo's fresh out of school that have thrown up a website claiming seo-expertise.. (the ones that litter the forums with google-worshipping noise).

Good ridance.

Aaron goes on to point out that niche SEO and highly specific SEO services will always have a place as long as search dominates the way we find information - arguably that day may come to an end, but not for a few years yet i reckon.

For those willing to hustle and adapt rapidly, i'd say the future is bright whatever the search engines throw at us next year. For the incompetent or decrepit, it's game over...

Thoughts from TW boys and girls on the state of SEO in 2005?

Stealth Viral Marketing and the Subservient Chicken

Thread Title: Entertaining Web Sites Promote Products Subtly Thread Url: Thread Description:

NYT are running a piece, threadlinked above on stealth viral marketing, a trend seen most prominently this year with Burger King's Subservient Chicken campaign.

The article looks at a number of campaigns that run along similar lines: To discreetly and virally market a message to a younger audience that does NOT want to be advertised to. Well worth a read, here's a snippet:

Michael Borosky, vice president and creative director at Eleven in San Francisco, said specialty sites enjoy technical and creative support from the marketers, but do not have to observe the conventions of the corporate site. Eleven has created sites for companies like Barclays Global Investors and Eastman Kodak.

"I do consider them kind of like pirate radio stations," Mr. Borosky said. "You're kind of borrowing some bandwidth from the brand, but it allows you to do things the brand may not be comfortable with on its own corporate site."

I think these kinds of sites have a lot of potential based on what we've seen this year - consumers, particularly younger consumers are getting more and more ad-angry and certainly ad-blind so finding new ways to get their attention without triggering annoyance at brand intrusion seems sensible - at least as part of the overall mix.

Tell me what you think, do you like these kind of things? Think they have potential or are they just todays fad and tomorrows dust?

New White Paper Promises an End to Google Domination

Thread Title: Widget Chav PDF Thread Url: Thread Description:

Threadwatch member JasonD has written a spoof white paper on a new algorithm based on neck color:

1.2 Widget Chav Algorithm Overview Our approach is based on the same assumptions as the other connectivity algorithms, namely that the number and quality of the sources related to a person are a good measure of the person's quality. The key difference consists in the fact that we are only considering "expert" sources – criteria that have been analysed as having specific purpose of being used collectively by those with a tinge of red in their necks. In response to a new user visit, we first compute a list of the most relevant experts for the potential person. Then, we identify relevant links within the selected set of experts, and follow them to identify neck colour. The targets are then ranked according to the number and relevance of non-affiliated experts that point to them. Thus, the score of a target person reflects the collective opinion of the best independent experts on the query topic. When such a pool of experts is not available, Widget Chav provides no results. Thus, Widget Chav is tuned for result accuracy and not query coverage.

Just a little xmas funny for Threadwatchers :-)

IntelliTXT Testing Image Ads

Thread Title: Vibrant Media Testing Image Ads Thread Url: Thread Description:

Clickz are reporing in the threadlink above that Vibrant Media, the creators of IntelliTXT, the somewhat naf contextual ad program recently ditched by Forbes are to test image ads.

According to sources close to the company, Vibrant Media recently began a beta test of IntelliTXT Plus, which it plans to launch in the next quarter. The images will appear in the "tool tip" displayed when a user mouses over certain keywords within the content of a page. Keywords are marked with a double green underline.

Q. What do you do when users and publishers find your contextual ad approach annoying and cumbersome? A. Make it more annoying and cumbersome of course!

Jenstar has some comments on the swing back to image ads:

What is most significant, however, is the trend that the resurgance of image ads bring. It is interesting to note the trend swing so quickly from image ads to text ads with the launch of Google AdSense. But now it seems to be tentatively heading back to image ads once again, as a sideline to the currently offered text ads. Perhaps old school execs are adament on image ads, which is starting the swing back towards images. Or perhaps there are other reasons behind this new image ad trend.

I quite like image ads personally, not sure why really as i tend to be a rampant Firefox adblocker but if it's hightly relevant, images certainly catch my eye a bit better.

For or against contextual image ads?

Crunkie - A Location Based Mobile Social Network

Thread Title: Thread Url: Thread Description:

This new mobile, location based network comes in via smart mobs via mcd and is, as far as im aware, one of a kind.

The idea is that via a map interface, downloadable to your phone you can blog about a location and network with friends. It's feature list reads like this:

A Find Me and Friend Finder applications for users to locate either themselves or family and friends on a map-based interface Mobile J2ME (Java) & BREW application with vector-based map-based interface Advanced location capabilities such as pan and zoom controls, sophisticated visualization and navigation Location-based Messaging (to SMS) and blogging to friends -- from both Web and mobile phone Multiple search criteria such as location, category, author popularity, time

I understand it's now being offered by WaveMarket in the US with Asia, Europe and Latin America in 2005

It's this kind of social app that will really make mobile fun i think, interesting eh?

Who the $@#! are Alta Vista?

Thread Title: Happy Belated Birthday to AltaVista Thread Url: Thread Description:

Aren't they dead yet?

Does anyone actually still find AV useful? There has to be some point to them surely seeing as they're still going...

Just how connected are you?

Thread Title: but are you a member of the "Smart Mob Generation"? Thread Url: Thread Description:

Funny but cool wiki post threadlinked above asking if you're a member of the "smart mob generation".

In brief:

Do you wear a computer? Do you text? Are you wacky when you're not wified? Have you have turned some of your “remembering” over to a technology object? Do you participate in online reputation systems?

This makes me feel a bit old, my wife even discovered my fist grey hairs a few weeks back and i bloody hate SMS heh... However, it's a good point i think. Just how connected are you?

Personally im more than a little uncomfortable if i have to spend any more than about 3hrs from a connection. I regularly eat dinner whilst posting/reading and if i get up in the night i cant help but check what's going on - sad but true...

via smart mobs

Worm Defaces phpBB Forums via Google

Thread Title: Santy Worm Defaces Web Forums Thread Url:,1759,1744722,00.asp Thread Description:

If you're not running the very latest version of phpBB then you'd better get cracking. A worn called "Santy" is using Google to find phpBB sites and replace files on the server through a security hole in PHP.

By targeting the freely distributed phpBB, the defacement worm has become a major nightmare for some businesses that use the forum software to handle customer-service queries and other support issues.

In an advisory, security research outfit Kaspersky Lab said the Santy worm is "extra tricky" because it replaces several files on the server with its own code, meaning that other sites using the same host get infected.

Kaspersky Lab's advisory carries a "Red Alert" rating.

Anyone hit by this?

Marketing Discoveries 2004 - What have you learnt?

So, come on, what did you learn or discover this year?

Allow me to start, im bored out of my nuts as things wind down for xmas, sheesh! What is everyone doing? it SUCKS out there...

Nick's Discoveries for 2004

The Power of RSS for SEO Syndication marketing in all it's forms was one of the biggies for me. I knew about RSS almost from the get-go but it wasn't untill early 2004 that i first really started to use it with promotion in mind.

Bloglines In theme with the discovery of the beautiful mix of RSS and SEO comes the discovery of Bloglines - I've found im quite the information junkie and seem to have an insatiable appetite for new feeds on topics of interest both for Threadwatch and other projects - yummy!

How to Break Sandbox - In so many ways... Some of them still not proved to my 100% satisfaction but at least one, that i've seen demo'd again and again but not had the chance to use. Luvveryly (no pm's im not tellin! :-)

Not all White hats are Wankers Now that was a shocker! It's true though, honest guv..

To Learn about Search Marketing - You need to look outside of SEM Media Forget (well almost) SEO/SEM docs and dig deep into other areas - you can learn an awful lot about marketing in general by reading the right blogs/sites and apply those principles to your sites - it's gold..

It's not what you know... it's who you know. I've made a lot of good friends this year, and those seemingly random, without alterior motive meetings have turned up trumps on a number of occasions - im none to sociable by nature but i forced myself to be nicer this year and feel much the richer for it.

Your Enemies can provide the Strongest Marketing for You Thanks doug, i owe you a bomb mate..

Come on, post yours....

I know you're out there, i know you're lurking, so bloody well sign in and tell us all about your year :-)