Friday, March 26, 2010

Will Niched Content, Support In Social Networks Impact Search

I have been working on a site that is geared towards helping people find all car specials and rebates available by location. The site uses a combination of on site actions and GeoIP recognition to find all the specials and rebates being offered by manufacturers and car dealerships and any available vehicles that apply to them.

This type of site and others that are creating unique and specific information are getting a huge lift from referrals from social networks.

The habit of jumping to Google or any of the search engines is being lessened by this synergy of social communication and specialized sites. Real time search seems to be a tag that some of this is being given, but in reality the web is just catching up with what we as social animals have been doing since tribes existed.

Google's placing of the latest mentions of a search term in to their results may be considered real time search, but when the twitter comments are part of the mix it really isn't filtered well for relevancy unless you were looking for what is being commented on at the moment for those keywords.

Most Twitter apps have a search function that pulls that information and one would tend to use that as opposed to going over to Google.

The impact of Twitter on search is like a conversation where someone will ask the people involved if they know X - if no one does you will usually see someone grab a smart phone and start doing a search, but before that the answer can come from the group. That answer will be given more weight than any that be be found through a search engine if the group places faith in source.

Social media is creating an environment similar to our preWeb days when everyone had those people we contacted for various types of answers - this is ingrained in our human nature and the social media is helping. Maybe prior to the mass communication tools Google had become one of those sources - we were willing to give up the preferred human reference points for the quickness and ease of responses. But with the presence of social media maybe we are reverting back.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Google Sending Mix Messages, Offering Analytics Opt Out

Will the new Google Analtics opt out have a huge impact on the ability to fully track conversions? Absolutely. Does the Google Ad Preference option show a future of personally interactive and personalized ads or one that Google as the host of all these wonders will be the only ones that have the data?

Sure Google claims it deletes accumulated personalized data but with the volume of predictable actions garnered from accumulated behavioral information do they really need the individual data.

Seems Google is really saying allow us to block everyone else's chance to learn from their traffic, it will be our little secret.

Are they pushing people back to the non analytics days? When blanket adwords buys were done without the benefit of tracking conversion, why would they want such a thing?

Could they be getting ready to launch a new form of advertising, or another product like caller id creating blocking?

The Official Google Blog when discussing the future of display advertising states:
"image, text, video and rich-media formats — on most of the websites that you visit. These ads are crucial to the Internet. They provide information about thousands of products, services and businesses. They help to fund the web content and services that we all use. And they enable large and small advertisers to reach new customers, increase sales and grow their businesses."

Google plans "unveiling new features to improve display advertising for users, advertisers and online publishers alike."

But if analytics can be countered is the average advertiser likely to get faulty information of the ROI for ads? Or is Google giving a back door opportunity to the analytics companies whose pixels cannot be turned off by the Google opt out?

Could Google be trying to get other analytics firms to help with the development of new innovations for the space? Could some former Google Analytics employee have a start up Google is eying?

Google Watch's Clint Boulton calls "the notion that the search engine's tendrils are seeping into every aspect of the Internet realm, from broadband networks (no, really) to social networks (Buzz), to niche Web services such as annotations to ambitious forays into mobile platforms (Android)," Google Creep. Thanks for finding the Hungry Beast video, Clint, I miss the Australian humor.

It's scary but true. Hiding behind the Google logo cannot stop people from wondering why they are shooting their own system - GA - because turning off analyics means others will gather more accurate information and become a financially viable alternative. Or could the view through conversion technology be the new way to track everything.

"By using View-through conversion reporting, you can more easily compare the performance of your Google Content Network campaign with the performance of your other display advertising campaigns. This feature can also help you determine the best ways and places to advertise, how best to optimize your display ad campaigns, and, ultimately, how to spend your advertising dollars more effectively," Google explains.

How can they offer this while also the ability yo opt out? They must be storing enough http-referrer info to track without the feedback of the tracking code?

"Here is an example of how View-through conversion reporting works: Let's say you're selling pet food online and you're measuring conversions on your site's email newsletter sign-up and your shopping cart "Thank You" pages. If a user sees your display ad, does not click on it but then visits your site within the next 30 days to sign-up to receive your email newsletter and to purchase a couple dozen cans of organic cat food, you'll see two View-through conversions reported on your Campaigns tab in AdWords".

The messages are mixed and really need to be clarified. How does opt out impact accuracy of analytics? How does this view through technology work when opt out is enabled? Will opt out decrease the ability to see some conversion sources? Does opt out effect any other tracking collecting data? Why decrease information gathering? Is Google expecting the FCC to regulate the opt out ability and just starting early to get in front of the curve? I am sure this will be discussed at SES NY this coming week.

Monday, March 8, 2010

RipOff Report Now Selling Links, Verifying Safe Cash4Gold

You have got to be kidding me right. Google still loves Ripoff Report and it seems they can do no wrong. They are selling links and verifying Cash4Gold stating:

"Ripoff Report has recently added Cash4Gold Company to its exclusive list of businesses who have qualified for "Verified" status. As a member, cash4gold has been shown to have a successful track record of customer satisfaction regarding its products and services.

Other online complaint sites have quite a few reports against Cash4Gold - guess Ripoff Report does not take them anymore because the list when doing a search for Cash4Gold on the Ripoff Report site - actually it has an extensive red letter list of reports saying they are good.

These guys need to be taken out of the search results. Come on Google - Yahoo and Microsoft do not give them the authority you have bestowed on them. Did Ed Mangedson make a large investment during the venture capital days?

Hey Matt - they even give opinions on search engine behavior cockily stating their reports have a way of finding their way back to the top results.

Paying to join their Consumer Advocacy Program "is the best way to manage and repair your business reputation. Hiding negative complaints is only a Band-Aid. Consumers want to see how a business took care of business".

"WARNING! Businesses who hire SEO companies to try and hide complaints, it does not work most of the time, and you have to keep paying them forever, and if it works consumers will still find the report even if it is on page 2, 3 or page 10. Search engines don’t like this kind of SEO!. Ask your SEO company to tell you what damage it does to your business with the search engines once SEO work is performed to try and move negative listings down!"

I wonder when they will be offering classes on how to do your own SEO. They know how to get their reports that they want people to pay when they pass the CAP. Just link other pages to them.

Come on Matt it really is time. AND they are link selling.

Ripoff Report is a blight in the search results and really needs to be removed.