Saturday, May 28, 2005

Is Yahoo Contextual Joking?

I guess they are relying on a bunch of people not thinking their web traffic is worth anything. Google's AdSense at least pays you something. You would think Yahoo would offer a share of the paid listing revenue.

Come on Yahoo how much more are you going to treat web users like fools? With each of your recent steps you show little regard for the development of community. Novel widgets may get you those mesmerized by shiny things, but will not improve your credence.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Anoox Challenges Google and Yahoo

Great publicity gimmick, and not too likely to happen, but you have to give it to Anoox for pushing this challenge out there.
As their press release describes the engine:
AnooX, the revolutionary Search Engine that delivers the most accurate search results due to our innovative mechanism for search generation that 1st machine generates the results and then continuously re-generates them based on the majority Vote of the People - invites Google and Yahoo to a contest to see who actually delivers the more accurate search results

Unfortunately this is like having the Democrat and Republican presidential candidates having the Greenpeace party candidate join them in the debates.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Everyone Should Have Their Own Satellite

Okay everyone is ohhhhing and ahhhhing about MSN's Virtual Earth, their version of Google's Keyhole aka drill down section of Google Maps.
And Google is renaming Google Maps to Google Earth.

The use of Earth will be handy when we start occupying Mars and other planets so there can be Google Mars and MSN Jupiter.

Guess we all need our own satellite.

The really interesting part of this is how long will it take before it gets pulled down - or more likely - how long before Homeland Security gets all user information when people log in to use these services.

I have heard the argument that secured areas are able to be zoomed in on - let's hope there is actually a program that blocks all pixel rendering of the various coordinates that countries want to be blocked. Otherwise the people who misuse this info could run the broad selections through their own zoom program.

Now I am a huge proponent of free speech and civil freedoms in general, but this technology really has no individual worth apart from the vanity aspects of it.

Drop this stuff and move on.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Suing Over ClickFraud: David and Goliath???

I came across a few references to this effort over the weekend. Aaron of SEOBook and Nick W at ThreadWatch posted info about and their attempt to fight click fraud through the legal system.

If this is a legitimate effort, I really think these guys deserve our help. Aaron's suggestion of a forum or blog is a step in the right direction. I was planning on offering my help to run the blog if they need it, but the fact that the site is run by two lawyers gets me thinking someone else is working the angles.

The fine print seems a little odd: is provided by the Law Offices of Joel M. Fineberg, P.C. and by the Law Office of Stephen F. Malouf, P.C. Both law firms are located in Dallas, Texas
Not Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Also with all the 10s of thousands - 150,000 plus according to Google's number of advertiser -) isn't it weird that Lane's Gifts & Collectibles LLC, a Texarkana, Ark., retailer is the David facing the Goliath.

Maybe that town is soft for plaintiffs, a town that prefers underdogs over large companies... once a judgement is in place the floodgates of the bigger advertising companies will pin back the ears of all PPC search engines.

It is all very interesting and will be watching this with keen eyes.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Google Portal Closing In

Okay when are they just going to tell us they are offering a portal.
Google Portal?

I feel like I just got a lap dance.

While I can see this building out with ties to Friendster, etc. but if they walk down this road they will eventually run into trouble.

Stick to what you do best. Why risk coming in second to Yahoo. This is not email, if it does not weigh in with all the bells and whistles and a bunch of new things too, Google loses the edge.

We will just have to wait and see. Meanwhile can someone lend me another $20 I want another lap dance.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Some Tracking Companies Stealing Links

In my explorations to keep up with tracking solutions and ROI technology I came across Stats Counter and figured I would check out what they offered and how they worked.
Google shows they have 455,000 inbound links - impressive feat.

Curious as to the origin of who was giving them praise with a link I went to look and see how the links were set up.

I randomly tried the UCSD Registrar's page - an edu extension that is always hot to Google.

Unfortunately I could not see any mention of Stat Counter on the page!
So going to the video tape, I pulled the source code and did another search, only to find the following code:

{!-- Start of StatCounter Code --}
{script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"}
var sc_project=426260;
var sc_partition=2;
var sc_invisible=1;

{script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src=""}{/script}{noscript}{a href="" #target="_blank"}{img src="" alt="free hit counter" border="0"}{/a}
{!-- End of StatCounter Code --}

Now if you pull the image, even that is not shown on the page. It is hidden in the no script section and on the server side the invisible instruction to the serverside php decoder sends back an invisible response....

Anyway you cut this, Stats Counter has found a great way of spamming the search engines - and if that was it I would say okay you have every right to work any way you want - BUT the fact that it is counted as part of the outbound links for a given site (455,000 of them to date) is another issue. I do not see anywhere in their info where they ask for this link.

I am off to see what other web analytic companies are using this approach.

I did call over to Stats Counter and they said you can remove the offending reference if you have the upgraded service - but it is not publically announced and is not referenced on the website. Interesting approach!

Google Readies for War

Recent hires over at Google would suggest they are readying themselves for war. Guess MSN and Yahoo really are seen as enemies by Larry and Sergey.
Either that or they figure hiring DC bigwigs will help them with legisative concerns down the road. Whatever the motivation, the recent hire of Dan Senor as vice president of global communications and strategies, is an interesting choice. As chief spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and senior adviser to U.S. Ambassador Paul Bremer, Senor would have good global political knowledge.

This type of hire also shows that Google sees their position in the world as more than just internet based.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Simple Way to Notice Click Fraud

We constantly analyse our traffic. It's how we discover where visitors are coming from and what campaigns are having the best results.
It also is a basic way to catch greedy and stupid click frauders.
Looking at your top referring domains. You may want to see the top 50-100 but depending on the amount of your traffic you want to look at the domains in relationship to other well known referrers.
We recently uncovered a bunch of second-hand search engines that use Yahoo, Enhance and FindWhat for 1,000s of clicks. Tough to belive when some of our best referrers are getting beaten by these unheard of sites.
There is also a player who uses parked domains and domains for sale (so when people type in the domain they are presented with a page with 2 sentences about the domain and then 20+ search results.
There is no way we received 521 visitors from people who type in a domain that these guys were selling!!!
I am contacting the various engines and will post when each replies... tick, tick - let's see who has the best response time and answer.

Yahoo Mail goes to 1 gig

Just noticed last night that my Yahoo email account now has 1 gig capacity.
Guess the pressure of Gmail is telling.
As recent articles have mentioned Yahoo gets 40% of its traffic from the email client.
With Gmail having a big splash the waves must have started swamping the boat.

Monday, May 9, 2005

The Google Black Hat Arrives

Sorry no controversy in this one. Just glad I finally received my collectible Google hat (well actually a cap). This is given to the first 100 people to qualify as Google Advertising Professionals.
It's an impressive crew and the hat is the symbol.

Friday, May 6, 2005

Finally Content Advertising Filters at Google

It is about time. Small engines like Bowsearch have had this for over a year. But Google maintained that it would create havoc, some advertisers would never get any traffic and the big ones would be fought over by the big advertisers and the little guys would get pushed out.

Welcome to the real world of business.... and I guess the IPO and a solid period of growth moved Larry and Sergi into the right clubs and at the right dinner tables where through the smoke (allowed or not allowed - these guys do it anyway) of cigars the conversations of business methods and how real wealth is maintained slowly made them aware that the illusion of high standards are fine for organic search. But if you are going to maintain the lofty ideals there has to be a sweat shop somewhere behind the curtain.

This is business. The big guys always get better service - unless the sellers have deep pockets and want to build on the short supply methods. Google seems to be adapting well to the real world of modern business... keep it up and the portal is right around the corner.

Hell, I would almost be willing to bet that if Google has 3 bad quarters of decreasing stock prices that they would start selling ads on the homepage!!!

Thursday, May 5, 2005

SEOBook launches New Link Measuring Tool

Aaron is keeping himself at the front of the pack and investing some money and time to give the community a bunch of handy free tools. If he keeps this up I may have to see if they can add a philanthropist of the year award to the SEW awards.

This nifty little tool checks backlinks from Yahoo by domain... listing each referring domain once and counting the number of total links through various pages that link to your domain.

You can then filter by these duplicates and grow out the numbers.

It becomes a handy tool to see if you are getting too many links from a given site. You could see who links to your competitors or also what sites have links for both you and your competitors.

It is a hosted solution and offers a CVS download of the information. Something every SEO/SEM company should be using to provide insights to your customers.

Go try it out at Link Harvester

PPC and Rogue Affiliates

We have a number of affiliates that market our products using PPC. In most cases it does not represent a problem as we have deeper pockets and after a while the affiliates realize they are better off looking to go into niched or alternative keywords and areas to buy terms.

There are a few, however, that have become rogue affiliates. They took the lessons I passed along and added some of their own ideas and now hassle me with higher bids and bid gapping problems. This afternoon I am about to school another of these fast lane aspiring web marketers - he has gotten aggressive and has bid gapped me on some higher end terms - the $7-15/click range.

So now I have to show him a few tricks I did not pass along.

He will chase me for a decent number of these terms as he has seen good conversion. Well come on and follow, I will lure him up and then let him keep the number one spot. Sitting one penny below him but $6 or more from the company below me means he will be paying top money for any of his terms.

I know his creatives are stale and I will work and constantly change ours. Keep the copy fresh, timely and geared towards the real customers. I will keep you informed on how he is doing.

Testing Search Relevancy

The well-known RustyBrick or Barry Schwartz has created a comparative search engine that tests the relevancy of results.

I hope everyone goes over and plays with it so Barry can get better resarch results and help us all better understand the relevancy issues that have been getting a lot of bytes typed about it lately.

Obviously relevancy is subjective. I had a friend who wanted to develop a relevant search engine 3 years ago - basically using the same principles of personalization and categorizing terms to provide as many possible alternatives as possible and then have the option to drill down within that area.

The example we used was Albert Einstein. A search back then was dominated by the scientist and sites heavily weighted for the keywords on the page (the old days).
But what if you were interested in Albert Einstein the tailor or account?
What if you were looking for interesting biographical information or specific scientific articles?
The reality of relevancy is that at best it is subjective.
But from what I have seen with there maybe a way to narrow and develop levels of relevancy. Keep up the great work RB!

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

The Link Police Are Coming for You

Interesting thread over at Search Engine Watch forums.... seems Google is getting a little out there... or is it that they are just trying to improve the quality of the results and we as people working in the industry take affront to any changes.
This thread is developing into an interesting exploration of perception of the different sides of the "battle" for truth, justice and the Big Money way!!!!!