Internet Market

La petite url is a personal URL shortener for WordPress

Posted on August 12, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

lapetiteurl

The recent shutdown and reopening of URL-shrinking service Tr.im drew a lot of attention to one of the most troubling questions about short URL sites: when one of them shuts down, what happens to the links? To avoid worrying about what a URL shortener might do with your links, you might want to scope out la petite url, a WordPress plugin for creating tiny links using your own domain name.

La petite url creates links to your WordPress pages using 5 lowercase characters, something like yoururl.com/nfpqd. This way, your domain name stays in the URL, letting people know which site they’re clicking through to. You can also automatically display a short link next to each post, making it easier for readers to spread your links. The disadvantage? Unless you have a tiny domain name, your shrunken URL is going to be significantly longer than the ones you get from ow.ly, bit.ly or tr.im.

Advertisements
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

W.tf?! Tr.im not closing after all

Posted on August 12, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , |

trimbackBy Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

Tr.im, one of the most popular URL-shortening services, shut down last week because its owners saw no way to monetize the service in such a competitive market. Twitter’s choice of Bit.ly as its default link-shrinker means that service dominates the market, with smaller players like Ow.ly abd Tr.im fighting over what’s left.

Tr.im has its supporters, though, and they apparently contacted Tr.im’s owners, Nambu, in such high numbers that the service has now re-opened. Creating new links seems to work fine, and all of your old URLs should be right where you left them.

Was this whole thing a publicity stunt, intended to bring greater visibility to Tr.im? Nambu says no.

They’re still looking to sell Tr.im so it can live on, but not to “an unknown group or individual” who might compromise users’ existing Tr.im links in some way. I believe that this wasn’t a publicity stunt, although there’s little doubt it brought the service quite a bit of extra attention.

Nambu just seems to have realized that they had little to gain by shutting down abruptly with a message that basically claimed Tr.im was practically worthless. The overwhelming user response seems to have made Nambu realize that’s no way to sell something.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Now on Twitter, Facebook, 65-Year-Old Smokey the Bear Is Young at Heart

Posted on August 12, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , , , |

 Nearly everyone is familiar with the big, brown, fuzzy bear who reminds us that “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

 The U.S. Forest Service mascot celebrates his 65th birthday in August 2009.smokey the bear

(ABC News Photo Illustration)

The sweet, but serious Smokey, also known as Smokey the Bear, is America’s most well-known wildfire prevention icon, and today, people across the nation are honoring Smokey on his 65th birthday.

The U.S. Forest Service mascot represents one of the longest running public service announcement campaigns in U.S. history and has taken his popularity to a new level.

Now, kids can interact with Smokey and the Forest Service through interactive games and programs on the USFS Web site.

Smokey also has a fan page on Facebook with more than 7,000 fans. Several Smokey the Bear groups are also sprinkled throughout Facebook, such as “I Support Smokey the Bear” and the “Smokey the Bear Fan Club.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

20 Great Google Secrets

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet Market, SEO | Tags: , , |

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1306756,00.asp

excl.gif No Active Links, Read the Rules – Edit by Ninja excl.gif

Google is clearly the best general-purpose search engine on the Web (see

http://www.pcmag.com/searchengines

But most people don’t use it to its best advantage. Do you just plug in a keyword or two and hope for the best? That may be the quickest way to search, but with more than 3 billion pages in Google’s index, it’s still a struggle to pare results to a manageable number.

But Google is an remarkably powerful tool that can ease and enhance your Internet exploration. Google’s search options go beyond simple keywords, the Web, and even its own programmers. Let’s look at some of Google’s lesser-known options.

Syntax Search Tricks

Using a special syntax is a way to tell Google that you want to restrict your searches to certain elements or characteristics of Web pages. Google has a fairly complete list of its syntax elements at

http://www.google.com/help/operators.html

. Here are some advanced operators that can help narrow down your search results.

Intitle: at the beginning of a query word or phrase (intitle:”Three Blind Mice”) restricts your search results to just the titles of Web pages.

Intext: does the opposite of intitle:, searching only the body text, ignoring titles, links, and so forth. Intext: is perfect when what you’re searching for might commonly appear in URLs. If you’re looking for the term HTML, for example, and you don’t want to get results such as

http://www.mysite.com/index.html

, you can enter intext:html.

Link: lets you see which pages are linking to your Web page or to another page you’re interested in. For example, try typing in

link:http://www.pcmag.com

Try using site: (which restricts results to top-level domains) with intitle: to find certain types of pages. For example, get scholarly pages about Mark Twain by searching for intitle:”Mark Twain”site:edu. Experiment with mixing various elements; you’ll develop several strategies for finding the stuff you want more effectively. The site: command is very helpful as an alternative to the mediocre search engines built into many sites.

Swiss Army Google

Google has a number of services that can help you accomplish tasks you may never have thought to use Google for. For example, the new calculator feature

(www.google.com/help/features.html#calculator)

lets you do both math and a variety of conversions from the search box. For extra fun, try the query “Answer to life the universe and everything.”

Let Google help you figure out whether you’ve got the right spelling—and the right word—for your search. Enter a misspelled word or phrase into the query box (try “thre blund mise”) and Google may suggest a proper spelling. This doesn’t always succeed; it works best when the word you’re searching for can be found in a dictionary. Once you search for a properly spelled word, look at the results page, which repeats your query. (If you’re searching for “three blind mice,” underneath the search window will appear a statement such as Searched the web for “three blind mice.”) You’ll discover that you can click on each word in your search phrase and get a definition from a dictionary.

Suppose you want to contact someone and don’t have his phone number handy. Google can help you with that, too. Just enter a name, city, and state. (The city is optional, but you must enter a state.) If a phone number matches the listing, you’ll see it at the top of the search results along with a map link to the address. If you’d rather restrict your results, use rphonebook: for residential listings or bphonebook: for business listings. If you’d rather use a search form for business phone listings, try Yellow Search

(www.buzztoolbox.com/google/yellowsearch.shtml).

Extended Googling

Google offers several services that give you a head start in focusing your search. Google Groups

(http://groups.google.com)

indexes literally millions of messages from decades of discussion on Usenet. Google even helps you with your shopping via two tools: Froogle
CODE
(http://froogle.google.com),

which indexes products from online stores, and Google Catalogs
CODE
(http://catalogs.google.com),

which features products from more 6,000 paper catalogs in a searchable index. And this only scratches the surface. You can get a complete list of Google’s tools and services at

http://www.google.com/options/index.html

You’re probably used to using Google in your browser. But have you ever thought of using Google outside your browser?

Google Alert

(www.googlealert.com)

monitors your search terms and e-mails you information about new additions to Google’s Web index. (Google Alert is not affiliated with Google; it uses Google’s Web services API to perform its searches.) If you’re more interested in news stories than general Web content, check out the beta version of Google News Alerts

(www.google.com/newsalerts).

This service (which is affiliated with Google) will monitor up to 50 news queries per e-mail address and send you information about news stories that match your query. (Hint: Use the intitle: and source: syntax elements with Google News to limit the number of alerts you get.)

Google on the telephone? Yup. This service is brought to you by the folks at Google Labs

(http://labs.google.com),

a place for experimental Google ideas and features (which may come and go, so what’s there at this writing might not be there when you decide to check it out). With Google Voice Search

(http://labs1.google.com/gvs.html),

you dial the Voice Search phone number, speak your keywords, and then click on the indicated link. Every time you say a new search term, the results page will refresh with your new query (you must have JavaScript enabled for this to work). Remember, this service is still in an experimental phase, so don’t expect 100 percent success.

In 2002, Google released the Google API (application programming interface), a way for programmers to access Google’s search engine results without violating the Google Terms of Service. A lot of people have created useful (and occasionally not-so-useful but interesting) applications not available from Google itself, such as Google Alert. For many applications, you’ll need an API key, which is available free from
CODE
http://www.google.com/apis

. See the figures for two more examples, and visit

http://www.pcmag.com/solutions

for more.

Thanks to its many different search properties, Google goes far beyond a regular search engine. Give the tricks in this article a try. You’ll be amazed at how many different ways Google can improve your Internet searching.

Online Extra: More Google Tips

Here are a few more clever ways to tweak your Google searches.

Search Within a Timeframe

Daterange: (start date–end date). You can restrict your searches to pages that were indexed within a certain time period. Daterange: searches by when Google indexed a page, not when the page itself was created. This operator can help you ensure that results will have fresh content (by using recent dates), or you can use it to avoid a topic’s current-news blizzard and concentrate only on older results. Daterange: is actually more useful if you go elsewhere to take advantage of it, because daterange: requires Julian dates, not standard Gregorian dates. You can find converters on the Web (such as

CODE
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/JulianDate.html

excl.gif No Active Links, Read the Rules – Edit by Ninja excl.gif

), but an easier way is to do a Google daterange: search by filling in a form at

http://www.researchbuzz.com/toolbox/goofresh.shtml or http://www.faganfinder.com/engines/google.shtml

. If one special syntax element is good, two must be better, right? Sometimes. Though some operators can’t be mixed (you can’t use the link: operator with anything else) many can be, quickly narrowing your results to a less overwhelming number.

More Google API Applications

Staggernation.com offers three tools based on the Google API. The Google API Web Search by Host (GAWSH) lists the Web hosts of the results for a given query

(www.staggernation.com/gawsh/).

When you click on the triangle next to each host, you get a list of results for that host. The Google API Relation Browsing Outliner (GARBO) is a little more complicated: You enter a URL and choose whether you want pages that related to the URL or linked to the URL

(www.staggernation.com/garbo/).

Click on the triangle next to an URL to get a list of pages linked or related to that particular URL. CapeMail is an e-mail search application that allows you to send an e-mail to google@capeclear.com with the text of your query in the subject line and get the first ten results for that query back. Maybe it’s not something you’d do every day, but if your cell phone does e-mail and doesn’t do Web browsing, this is a very handy address to know.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Which Search Engine Do You Choose In The Blind Test?

Posted on August 9, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet Market, Microsoft, Yahoo | Tags: , , , , |

By Michael Arrington, Tech crunch

blind search engine

 you tried out this blind search tool yet? It provides results from Google, Yahoo and Bing in three columns but doesn’t tell you which column is which search engine. You then tell it which one you think shows the best results, and you then see which answers are from which engines. I keep choosing Yahoo as the best results.

A few search engine experts we’ve spoken with over the years say that users tend to think Google results are better just because they’re from Google. If you take any search engine and put the logo on top, it tests better. So Yahoo results with a Google logo will always test better than, say, Google results with the Yahoo or Bing logo. People are just used to thinking about Google as the best search.

This search tool strips out all the branding, so you’re forced to really think about which results you like better. And early results showed a much more even distribution than Google’s 70% market share would suggest: Google: 44%, Bing: 33%, Yahoo: 23%.

The score keeping feature was removed when people found a way to game it, but you can still run the test against yourself and see which search engine you really like the best. Too bad the one I seem to like will shortly be mothballed.

The tool was created by Michael Kordahi, a Developer Evangelist at Microsoft.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Online Ad Marketplace TRAFFIQ Scores $10 Million in Series B Funding

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, SEO | Tags: |

By Robin Wauters, Tech crunch

traffiqOnline advertising marketplace TRAFFIQ today announced it has closed a $10 million Series B round of venture funding from Grotech Ventures, Greenhill SAVP and Court Square Ventures.

The New York-based company, which operates a management platform designed to connect buyers and sellers of online media, had previously raised $7 million from the latter investor and says the extra capital will be primarily used to enhance its TRAFFIQ platform and accelerate the company’s sales and marketing efforts.

TRAFFIQ positions itself as different from ad networks or exchanges, in the sense that they offer an end-to-end platform that is capable of consolidating planning, RFP distribution, order execution, optimization and billing. Its solution is targeted primarily to larger ad agencies like Havas Digital, IMRE and AdStrategies and publishers like WhitePages.com, Scripps Network and ContextWeb. The service also boasts the inclusiong of reporting and free ad serving tools, as well as integration with common third-party ad-serving technologies like Atlas and DoubleClick’s DART.

The company claims “millions of dollars of campaign demand and billions of impressions” are currently available on its TRAFFIQ platform, although it didn’t go into specifics.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Latest Google Chrome Beta Is “30 Percent Faster,” Supports HTML5, And Is Prettier Too

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet Market, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

by Erick Schonfeld, Tech crunch

Google just released a new beta version of its Chrome browser for Windows PCs. The company claims that it is 30 percent faster than the current stable version of the browser (based on V8 and SunSpider benchmarks).

googlechromelogoWhat may be more significant, though, is that this is the first version of Chrome that adds some support for HTML5, including video-tagging capabilities. The latest Firefox 3.5 beta also adopts HTML5, which allows for all sorts of cool things inside Web video like links and other interactive elements. It lets you treat video more like a Webpage. Along with Google’s acquisition of On2 today for its video codec, it looks like Google is getting behind open video in a big way. (Read this post from last year for more on the evolution of HTML).

The new Google Chrome beta is also prettier. Those themes we’ve been telling you about are now fully incorporated. And the new beta also improves the New Tab and Omnibox features.

When you create a new tab, Chrome shows you thumbnails of the sites you visits the most often (just like in Safari). These act as automatic bookmarks. Now, you can rearrange the thumbnails in any order you like by dragging and dropping them, or you can pin one down so that it doesn’t move even if you don’t visist it as much as other sites.

The Omnibox is Chrome’s all-in-one address and search bar. As you type words in, it gives you drop-down suggestions, which now have icons distinguishing between search results, bookmarks, and Websites.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

StumbleUpon To Launch su.pr ShortUrl Service

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Tech News | Tags: , , , , |

By Michael Arrington, Techcrunch

supr

StumbleUpon is preparing to launch a shortURL service (a web service that provides short aliases for redirection of long URLs, like TinyURL or Bit.ly) in the next couple of weeks called su.pr.

Founder Garrett Camp announced the new service on Twitter without any description of what it might be on March 3. In an email exchange he says it will be a shortURL service to share StumbleUpon links on sites like Twitter and Facebook and that it will be launched in a week or two. The site currently redirects to StumbleUpon.

Digg is planning its own similar service, which we covered late last month.

Digg’s service will show additional information, like total traffic to the link, in a Digg “toolbar” wrapper, and users can easily create links by simply adding digg.com/ before any URL (the short URL will then be created and shown. I don’t have any information on exactly what StumbleUpon is planning, but it’s a safe guess it’ll have similar features, and it may actually launch before Digg.

The benefit to StumbleUpon and Digg to these services is traffic when people click on the short URLs. People add a lot on links on Twitter posts but space constraints (140 characters per post) require short URLs.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Microsoft to shut down adCenter Analytics Beta

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Microsoft, SEO | Tags: , , , , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad

microsoft-ad-center

Microsoft is ending its adCenter Analytics Beta. The company is no longer accepting new users, although existing users will be able to access the service through the end of 2009. You’ll probably want to export your data by December 31st though, unless you’re cool with watching it all disappear.

Microsoft adCenter Analytics Beta was a bit of an answer to Google Analytics and other web analytics software although, as the name suggests, it was designed with advertising analytics in mind.

If you were an adCenter Analytics user, or even if you weren’t, Microsoft has provided a rather lengthy list of companies offering similar services, including Google Analytics, Omniture, and Yahoo! Web Analytics.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Hulu turns one, adds social features

Posted on March 13, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Tech News | Tags: , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad

hulu-friends

Online video site Hulu opened its doors to the public (in the US, anyway) a year ago today. Since then, Hulu says its video library has grown 333 percent from 12,000 videos to 40,000 videos. It’d take you 7,1000 hours to watch it all. The site now has 130 content partners, which is more than twice as many as it had a year go. And the number of advertising partners has nearly quintupled.

Of course, the site has also begun limiting the way users can access videos. When Hulu launched, the company was pretty hands-off with web sites and services that embedded Hulu videos. After all, unlike YouTube, Hulu doesn’t display advertising on its web site. Instead, video ads are embedded in each video and whether you’re watching videos at Hulu.com or Download Squad, you still watch the ads. But in the last few weeks Hulu’s content partners have pressured the company to shut down access to third party applications like Boxee that allow users to watch easily Hulu videos on a TV set.

In other news, Hulu has begun rolling out social features that could be either pretty cool or pretty creepy. Registered users can check a box that will allow their friends and contacts to see what they’re watching on Hulu. On the one hand, it could be a nice way to share ratings, compare notes on TV shows and movies, and engage in a discussion. On the other hand, do you really want all of your Facebook, MySpace, or email (Gmail, MSN, Yahoo!) contacts to know what you’ve been watching?

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Google Now Lets You Target Ads At Yourself

Posted on March 12, 2009. Filed under: Google Adwords, Internet Market | Tags: , , |

By Erick Schonfeld, Techcrunch.com

google-ad-preferencesGoogle is wading into behavioral ad targeting in a big way today. It will start placing cookies on consumer’s browsers to collect information about their interests whenever they visit sites that show AdSense contextual ads. Then it will show ads targeted to those interests to the same person as he or she browses the Web on other sites that also serve AdSense ads (which is a large portion of all commercial sites).

Since Google already knows what each site or page is about, it will use this information to place each user in one of 600 subcategories of interest. If you visit tech blogs often, you are probably interested in technology. If you visit Trulia, you are probably in the market for real estate. Through AdSense, Google can now target ads not only based on the context of the page you are on, but also based on the context of the pages you have visited in the past, even if you are on a site that is completely unrelated. For instance, as a completely hypothetical example, it might show you a real estate ad targeted to the towns you were searching on Trulia when you visit a gadget blog.

Not only will Google now target ads at you based on your interest, but it will also let you target yourself. Anyone can go to Google’s Ad Preferences Manager and see exactly how Google is categorizing their interests. (Most people will probably see nothing right now, since this program is only being rolled out on a test basis and will gradually expand). Now, here’s the really smart part: Google lets you add or remove any interest. In effect, it is inviting you to declare what kind of ads you wan to see. You can also opt out of the program completely.

While most people will probably never bother to tweak their ad preferences or even be aware that they can, this represents an important new precedent in online advertising. Why should the ad networks be the only ones who can determine how to target ads at consumers? Why not let the consumers self-target if they care to do so?

Google knows that its interest-based targeting algorithms need a lot of work. Even if it can get just a small percentage of people to correct the algorithm, that data theoretically could be applied to other people with similar browsing patterns. Google gets to say that it is giving users more privacy and control, while collecting really valuable data that will help make its targeting more effective. In the online ad game, whoever can target the best can charge the most.

goog-add-interest

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

AlertThingy adds more – filters, groups, deep search

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , , |

By Mike Butcher, UK.techcrunch.com

AlertThingy, an Air app for aggregating social networks, is poised to release an update to its recent version that improves filtering, adds groups and integrates powerful search. Next Tuesday AlertThingy 3.1 will have new filtering options which lets users identify items tagged as ‘very interesting’, as well as messages and comments ‘directed at the user’. In other words, you can leave it running on your computer if you leave the office and when you get back AlertThingy will track what you need to respond to and what needs your attention.

The next major change is Groups. Like Tweetdeck, the software lets you set up groups. But it now lets you group individuals from multiple networks. Grouping spans across networks including Twitter to Facebook, and interestingly, you can group any individual from any network with others. In other words, mashup news from friends on Twitter with friends on Facebook.

The third new aspect will be an improved search engine which allows for faster data mining up to 3 months in the past. So you can search multiple social networks simultaneously. Real time social web anyone?

The makers of AlertThingy (design & development house Howard / Baines) recently decided to dump FriendFeed but it supports Digg, Facebook, Jaiku, Pownce and Tumblr, besides Twitter and Flickr. However, if you want Seesmic, you’ll have to get Twhirl – owned by Seesmic.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Prepare yourself for bigger, harder to miss web advertising

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad

big-ads

A huge number of web site publishers make most of their money from advertising. That’s true of this site, and it’s true of the 27 major web publishers that have come together in an effort to find some form of advertising tha’s more effective than the old fashioned banner ads that populate many web sites today.

The 27 publishers are part of the Online Publishers Association, and they’ve each agreed to try at least one of three new units before July. The units are a 336 pixel by 860 pixel ad that scrolls up and down the page, a wider 468 pixel y 648 pixel box with page turning and video features, and a Pushdown box (pictured above0 that is 970 pixels wide by 418 pixels tall and which can be minimized.

In other words, all three ad units take up a ton of screen real estate. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing for readers. If you look at most web sites today, you’ll notice a fair amount of space is dedicated to advertising. It’s just that you typically see ads from many different companies. If these new ad units wind up being more effective at grabbing your attention, advertisers might be willing to pay significantly higher prices, which means that while the future could be filled with enormous ads on web pages, you won’t find nearly as many ads on each page.

Or the whole experiment could end in failure. Download Squad publisher AOL isn’t currently involved in the experiment, but the 27 participating companies have a combined reach of over 100-million page views a month. So odds are you’ll see one of the new ad units soon enough.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Wolfram to launch “computational knowledge engine”

Posted on March 11, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Tech News | Tags: , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad

wolframalpha

Wolfram Research, the makers of Mathematica, are at work on an ambitious new project that’s due to launch in May. It’s a “computational knowledge engine.” What does a computational knowledge engine do? Wolfram is making as much human knowledge as they can manage computable by the new program, called Wolfram Alpha. Basically, you can ask it a question using natural language and it will give you an answer.

Wolfram Alpha would be quite groundbreaking. Search has come a long way, but Wolfram points out that so far it can only handle questions other people have already asked and answered. A computational knowledge engine might actually be able to provide new answers. So far, the project’s site is just a skeleton, but you can request access to test it before it opens to the public.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Diigo Buys Web Page Clipping Service Furl Away From LookSmart

Posted on March 9, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , , , |

By Robin Wauters, Techcrunch.com

diigo-furlSocial bookmarking and annotation service provider Diigo has acquired web page clipping and archiving service Furl from publicly listed search advertising network company LookSmart in exchange for equity. The deal is being pitched as a partnership but looks more like a smart decision from LookSmart to offload a property that had little to do with its core business and Diigo jumping on a relevant opportunity without having to spend any cash.

Either way, Diigo has now bought a service that in many ways can be compared to its own product. Both offer a way for website visitors to save entire web pages or just parts as well as annotate and share with others what they consider interesting on the web. Diigo doesn’t refer to its service as social bookmarking but rather as a research and knowledge-sharing tool, but in reality it isn’t all that different from Delicious and the likes, including Furl. You might as well say Diigo bought a rival as it is readying the launch of the upcoming Diigo 4.0 platform, which is said to be taking social bookmarking and annotation ‘to new heights’.

Furl, besides being one of the very first web services profiled by Mike Arrington when he started TechCrunch, was acquired by LookSmart back in September 2004. Although it was one of the first startups to focus on leveraging new technologies to add a social layer to site bookmarking, it never really quite took off the way Delicious did and according to the press release attracted only 1 million users for its service since its inception 6 years ago.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Delver Gets Acquired by Sears

Posted on March 9, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, SEO | Tags: , , |

By Roi Carthy, Techcrunch.com

delver_logoSocial search engine Delver, which we placed on death watch a month and a half ago has been acquired by Sears in a last minute play right out of left field.

Israeli business media is reporting that as part of the deal, Delver CEO Liad Agmon will move to Chicago where he will hold a title of VP at Sears Holdings. Delver itself will become an R&D center for Sears and will continue to develop its social graph search engine, as well as additional products. It is not clear what Sears wants to do with Delver. Perhaps it will turn it into a social product search engine, or maybe it just likes the idea of buying an Israeli R&D team on the cheap.

The purchase price is unknown but it’s safe to assume it could not be very high considering the company was literally days from being shut down. The bright side of course is that Delver’s remaining 20 employees will not join the unemployed in Israel.

The company has raised $4 million from a single investor, Carmel Ventures.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

ZoomInfo Scores Deal With Microsoft To Integrate Search Into CRM

Posted on March 8, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Microsoft | Tags: , , |

By Leena Rao, Techcrunchit.com

zoominfoZoomInfo, a popular business information search engine used to find information about industries, companies and people is partnering with Microsoft to integrate its search engine into Microsoft’s Dynamic CRM platform. ZoomInfo’s search engine has proven to be useful tool to incorporate into CRMs because its research capabilities help identify new sales leads, expand data on existing customers, create more qualified leads and provide a single data source to integrate sales and marketing teams. Sugar CRM and SalesForce.com are also using ZoomInfo’s comprehensive search capabilities within their platforms.

ZoomInfo’s technology may not be sexy but its proven to be the basis for a good business model. The company is profitable, which in these economic times is tough for both big and small enterprises. Plus, ZoomInfo’s semantic based search engine and its vast information-delivery capabilities have caught the eye of quite a few Fortune 500 tech companies, including Oracle and Yahoo! (ZoomInfo offers a premium service products like highly powered executive only searches to companies).

ZoomInfo’s technology crawls the web to extract business information about companies and people from sources such as press releases and corporate bios on websites. The company claims its intelligence algorithm can even differentiate information about people that hold the same name.

Sugar CRM and SalesForce also connect to other competitive third-party business information databases, such LinkedIn and Hoover’s, so ZoomInfo’s engine is not the primary business information source for many CRMs. But scoring a deal with Mircrosoft and remaining profitable should help ZoomInfo’s applications remain competitive among fellow business search engines.

Here’s a screenshot of the integration of ZoomInfo’s on Microsoft’s CRM:

zoom

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

It’s Time To Start Thinking Of Twitter As A Search Engine

Posted on March 5, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Twitter News | Tags: , |

By Michael Arrington – Techcrunch.com

twitterAt a dinner tonight with a friend the conversation turned to Twitter. He just didn’t get it, and he’s certainly not the first person to tell me that. Specifically, my friend didn’t understand the massive valuation ($250 million or more) that Twitter won in its recent funding. I told him why I thought it was more than justified: Twitter is, more than anything, a search engine.

I told him what I thought of Twitter as a micro-blogging service: it’s a collection of emotional grunts. But it’s wonderful nonetheless. And enough people are hooked on it that Twitter has reached critical mass. If something big is going on in the world, you can get information about it from Twitter.

Twitter also gathers other information, like people’s experiences with products and services as they interact with them. A couple of months ago, for example, I was stuck in the airport and received extremely poor service from Lufthansa. I twittered my displeasure, which made me feel better – at least I was doing something besides wait in an endless line. I’ve also Twittered complaints about the W Hotel (no Internet, cold room) and Comcast (the usual Internet gripes).

More and more people are starting to use Twitter to talk about brands in real time as they interact with them. And those brands want to know all about it, whether to respond individually (The W Hotel pestered me until I told them to just leave me alone), or simply gather the information to see what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.

And all of it is discoverable at search.twitter.com, the search engine that Twitter acquired last summer.

People searching for news. Brands searching for feedback. That’s valuable stuff.

Twitter knows it, too. They’re going to build their business model on it. Forget small time payments from users for pro accounts and other features, all they have to do is keep growing the base and gather more and more of those emotional grunts. In aggregate it’s extremely valuable. And as Google has shown, search is vastly monetizable – somewhere around 40% of all online advertising revenue goes to ads on search listings today.

And as John Battelle says, its not clear that Google or anyone else can compete with Twitter at this point (Facebook’s giving it a solid try, though).

And it’s not just ads that can bring in the money. Brands need tools to make sense of all this data that Twitter doesn’t yet supply. Third parties like Scout Labs are going to be mining this data themselves, I’m sure. But there are lots of other ways Twitter can tax the utility they are bringing to brands. If they manage to turn down the acquisition offers like Facebook did a couple of years ago, there’s no reason Twitter can’t find revenue streams that will support them as a standalone company. Possibly even a public one.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Facebook Connect + Facebook Ads = A Social Ad Network

Posted on March 4, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Erick Schonfeld

fb-ads_connectThe push to ramp up revenues is clearly on at Facebook. If Mark Zuckerberg wants to prove Facebook’s valuation (something he won’t budge on for new investors), he is going to have to start showing some serious revenues. That means figuring out how to make social advertising pay. At Davos, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told us to expect to see “the evolution of the advertising products” this year. One big evolutionary step the company is working on is the combination of Facebook Connect and Facebook Ads, in effect turning Facebook Connect into a social ad network. We’ve learned this from two independent sources, one with direct knowledge of the product. Asked for comment, a Facebook spokesman offers the following statement:

We are always looking at new opportunities for our developers but have not launched anything new. Last month, we did announce that we are working with a few developers to test the placement of Facebook Ads within their applications specifically on Facebook.com as part of our efforts to help developers monetize. The results of those initial tests will help us determine if and how we could extend Facebook Ads to additional applications and developers in the future.

The introduction of ads through Facebook Connect is an obvious way to expand revenues, and our sources say it is part of Sandberg’s larger efforts to do so. Just last month, as the statement notes, Facebook began testing ads for the first time on third-party application pages. It also introduced a commenting widget for sites that use Facebook Connect which expands the footprint of FB Connect on sites that install it. One can imagine other Facebook Connect apps, and even third-party apps, appearing on partner sites. The more real estate those apps take up, the more room there will be to insert an ad or two.

Our understanding is that the ads will initially appear on this expanding real estate rather than in traditional advertising spots, where Facebook would have to compete directly against Google, Yahoo, and all the other established ad networks. Given the known under-performance of ads on Facebook’s own site and social networks in general, that is probably a prudent strategy.

For now, Facebook Connect remains a developer program for partner sites to allow visitors to sign in using their Facebook ID and voluntarily exchange data about their activity on those sites back to their Facebook friends via their activity feeds. But targeting ads to Facebook members on partner sites through Facebook Connect could become a potentially powerful revenue generator. At the very least, it would multiply Facebook’s available advertising inventory beyond its own site. At most, it would create better returns by letting Facebook place highly targeted ads in different contexts where people may be more receptive to them.

One of the reasons ads perform so poorly on social networks is because they are the worst place to show someone an ad. People on social networks tend to be in a socializing mode instead of a shopping or information-gathering mode. But if you show the same people an ad on another type of site (say, a clothing ad on a fashion blog), and you can target that ad based on their social profile (you know their age, gender, and where they live), that in theory should be a formula for better response rates. Facebook started down this road before with Beacon, before that effort blew up in its face because of privacy concerns. So it has to tread carefully. But it learned from Beacon, and FB Connect is completely opt-in. So far, it is a success.

Now it is time to make money off of it, and leverage the data Facebook has about its 175 million members. And have no doubts: If Facebook doesn’t create a viable social ad network, somebody else will. In fact, all the major social networks have plans to use access to their members, and their member data, as a wedge to create social advertising networks that can target ads based on profile or demographic data. For instance, Google Friend Connect, Google’s answer to Facebook Connect, is laying the groundwork for what Google insiders call “Friendsense” (Friends + AdSense). Even MySpace and AOL are working on their own flavors of socially-targeted ads. While these efforts are all couched in terms of making it easier for consumers to share data about themselves between the sites they care about, don’t be fooled. They are less about sharing data than about targeting ads.

This is the next evolutionary step in online advertising. it is only a matter of when, not if, it will occur.

Source: techcrunch

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

New Report Shows Decline for PPC Advertising in Q1

Posted on March 2, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , |

By Peter Young

The first part of 2009 has been interesting, very interesting. The global recession shows no current signs of recovery in the short term, and much of this has been reflected in advertising budgets worldwide. In particular, the retail sector has been one of the hardest hit, and this has been reflected in Rimm-Kaufman’s early first quarter 2009 PPC data.

The report took data from around 40 of their largest retail clients, and compares the first part of Q1 against performance data from the preceding 7 months or so. For summary purposes, we have included a number of the key points below

• Sales from search ads have declined by around 20% since week 27 2008 (around July last year)
• Around a 20% reduction in costs from search ads for the same period
• Whilst AOV remained fairly constant until the holiday season, these have subsequently declined by around 10% since last year despite conversion rates being fairly similar to the early part of 2008.

In the report, a number of potential reasons for decline were explored, many of which could be reflective of current trends, namely

1. Decline in sales per click – If it is taking more people to convert, this could potentially result in a higher CPA (depending on acquisition costs), which is likely to impact considerably on ROI – which ultimately is a factor when undertaking channel evaluation.
2. Competitive pressures – Are competitors bidding more (or are you bidding less), which may result in lower visibility. Are competitors creatives and promotions more compelling than yours – certainly in the current climate this appears to more important than ever.
3. Fewer searches – Are few searches taking place, certainly this is one key metric that is going to be interesting to keep an eye on.

Source: marketingpilgrim

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Adwords in the News, Literally

Posted on March 2, 2009. Filed under: Google Adwords, Internet Market | Tags: , , |

By Frank Reed

google-newsGoogle is now placing paid search ads in the news results. Whether it’s a response to the economy of justthe next step it probably is considered to be a long time coming. As the search industry takes some hits due to the economy there will be more efforts to put more ads in front of more people. It seems a bit surprising that it has taken this long to happen anyway.

Paid Content tells about the story and points to CNET seeing some glitches early on as it relates to relevancy of the ads. The example that CNET points to is for the search “spring training” which yielded 1 out of three results being in the ballpark. CNET’s use of a search term that can be ‘confused’ with a hot online keyword like training though is playing hardball for sure. I tried a few more normal / regular searches and the ads were spot on regarding relevancy.

While this is news to a degree it’s more of a recognition that Google knows where its bread is buttered. They need to do a little asset optimization like everyone else to get through these times. The article also pointed out that the search marketing behemoth let go of 100 recruiters back in January as they reigned in hiring. I suspect that many want to start to toll the bells for Google. That kind of thinking would fit into the environment we live in where everyone is trying to out- gloom each other from the President on down. Good luck though because they are Google after all.

I suspect that Google is fine. In fact it sounds like they are maturing rather nicely. They are taking measures to continue to do good business despite a rapidly changing environment. The chances of them being blindsided seem slim since they don’t take an ‘ignore it and it will go away’ stance but rather a ‘hey, it’s rough out there let’s cover ourselves for now and come out the other side of this strong’ How many companies would like that opportunity these days?

Source: marketingpilgrim

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Mobile Advertising Spend on the Way…

Posted on March 2, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, SEO, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Jordan McCollum

While there are a multitude of reports having marketers bracing themselves for this recession, there are still a number of optimists who say that the best is yet to come. The Kelsey Group is one such optimist, reporting that mobile ad spend is on the way up, and mobile search will lead the way.

Their prediction? Over five years, mobile ad spend will increase 81.2% annually (compound growth rate), going from $160M last year to $3.1B (yes, billion) in 2013. Over the same period, mobile local search will grow from 1/8 of the total mobile spend to nearly half—from $20M to $1.3B, consistently constituting a little over half of the mobile search spend.

Usually, when I say “mobile marketing” (and even if I’m so specific as to say “mobile search marketing”), a lot of people take that to mean SMS (text message) marketing. While mobile marketing encompasses a lot more than just texting, SMS accounted for $100M of last year’s mobile ad spend according to Econsultancy, with mobile search generating $39M (including the $20M mentioned in local mobile search above) and display generating $20M.

However, in five years, the split will look vastly different:

mobileadspendkelsey

In 2013, search will account for $2.3 billion in spending. Mobile display ads will account for $567 million, with SMS advertising accounting for $270 million in spending.

Kelsey Group also predicts that local searches will see the greatest lift in mobile. Last year, 28% of mobile searches had local intent; by 2013 that proportion is expected to grow to 35%. Focusing on iPhones only, about 15% of mobile apps are local.

Right now, there are 54.5 million mobile Internet users in the United States, representing a quarter of the online population.

What’s your biggest take-home from these findings? Do they seem overly optimistic in our current economic climate, or do you think we’ll turn the economy around in time to see numbers like these?

Source: marketingpilgrim

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

WebMynd Makes Your Search Engine Smarter With New Browser Plugin

Posted on March 2, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, SEO | Tags: , , |

By Jason Kincaid

webmyndlogoWebMynd, a Y Combinator company that launched early last year, has released a new plugin that is looking to streamline the way you search. The plugin, which is available for Firefox and Internet Explorer, enhances the search results on most popular search engines by inserting a handy sidebar with related search results from a variety of other sites. You can test out a web-based version of the feature here, or download the plugin on the site’s homepage.

WebMynd isn’t the first browser plugin to offer complementary results from other sites, but what it lacks in originally it makes up for with its polished execution. After installing the plugin, users simply visit one of the supported search engines (which include Google, Yahoo, and Live Search), and search for a query as usual. The plugin inserts a handful of small widgets at the right hand of the screen, each of which includes the first few matches of the same query from sites like Twitter, Amazon, or Digg. Users can choose from over 25 different search sites that they’d like to include in their results. The inserted widgets take some getting used to, but in practice they’re surprisingly useful.

The Firefox version of the new plugin also incorporates WebMynd’s historical archiving technology, which was the company’s primary focus when it launched (The IE version doesn’t offer this yet, but it is on the way). The archiving feature allows users to search through a comprehensive history of the pages they’ve visited, including the full text of each recently visited page (users can choose to turn the feature off during the plug-in’s initial setup process or at any time down the line).

CEO Amir Nathoo says that the company plans to monetize the new search enhancement by offering a white-labeled version of the plugin. Companies are able to set their search results as the default widget in the sidebar, though users are still free to customize the widget with their favorite sites after installation. A branded version of the widget can be seen at Fluther.com, and WebMynd is currently seeking other partners.

enhancesearch

Source: techcrunch

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

CMO Survey Confirms Online Still Growing

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , |

By Frank Reed

For quite some time now Internet marketers have experienced unbridled growth in the need and use of themedium. That growth recently has been threatened by the down economy and there has been impact across the board. For the most part the Internet marketing industry has had the good fortune of just seeing slowing growth. Many in the industry bristle at the thought of low double digit growth but in this environment getting greedy can be an unwise choice.

The CMO Survey, a poll of 581 U.S. marketing executives conducted in February 2009. The survey was conducted by professor Christine Moorman of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in conjunction with the American Marketing Association and its findings are quite interesting.
•  59 percent of marketers are less optimistic about the economy than they were one quarter ago, a reduction from the 77 percent of respondents who reported a decrease in optimism during the August 2008 CMO survey
•  Marketing spending is expected to grow by only 0.5 percent over the next 12 months, with a 7 percent decrease in traditional advertising and 10 percent increases in both Internet marketing and new product introductions. Business-to-consumer marketers will make the most significant shifts to the Internet, for both product and service advertising.

“The observed shift is part of a broader movement to the Web and social media as key ways to reach customers. However, it also reflects marketers’ hopes for improving return on marketing investment with a cheaper and more effective set of tools,” Moorman said.

The rest of the survey deals with the fact that lower prices will drive sales as well as new product development and market development. There appears to be less risk aversion despite the tough economic climate.

All in all though there is less doom and gloom than there has been in the recent past. Since this survey is actually from this month it’s a nice change of pace rather than old statistics that many people like to trot out as evidence. So once again the Internet side of marketing is poised for growth. Let’s do ourselves a favor this time though. Let’s take ANY growth as a positive sign versus getting upset at not enough growth. No one is in position to look at growth these days and be disappointed.

Source: marketingpilgrim

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Online Ads: Even the Evangelists Turning Bearish

Posted on February 26, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market | Tags: , , |

By Sarah Lacy

It wasn’t too many months ago that saying online advertising would decline in 2009 was enough to get you laughed at in the blogosphere, mocked on Twitter, and have Eric Schmidt roll his eyes and explain, again, why Google ads were such a better value than traditional media.

Flash forward to this week and the Interactive Advertising Bureau big wigs are predicting whole businesses dependent on online ads could go belly up, and researcher IDC has completely reversed its growth estimates. No longer will online ads grow 10% in 2009, says the firm. IDC now predicts a 5% drop in revenues in the first quarter that could get worse in the second. Fingers crossed for the second half of the year.

The trend is certainly already moving in that direction: Last year the market was growing at 18%. Last quarter it grew a sad .4%. That’s flirting dangerously close to the first quarter-over-quarter drop in online ad sales since the great dot com bust. Suddenly everyone’s bull scenario isn’t double-digit growth; it’s a year that doesn’t tip negative.

How’d everyone get the story so wrong? (Ok, not everyone. Stop waving your hand Henry Blodget, I see you.) Two big assumptions were at work here: One was that online advertising is more actionable and more measurable than advertising in the offline world. The other was this pie chart that Yahoo’s PR department used to love to trot out showing the discrepancy between the amount of time people spend online and the percentage of advertising spend that goes online. “At some point, that has to balance out, right? RIGHT?”

There’s enough truth in these assumptions to ensure that online advertising won’t have nearly as bad of a year as offline advertising. But in this market, that’s like saying a broken leg is better than an amputated one.

Plenty of attendees at this week’s IAB conference pointed out that problems like reliable audience measurement are no closer to being solved than they were during the industry’s last identity crisis in 2001. Some people argue, it’s gotten worse. There was also plenty of worried chatter that desperate times would lead to desperate measures, causing advertisers to play fast and loose with user privacy in an attempt to make a sale.

I have a better idea: How about actually come up with innovative advertising products? Google-aside, I think the Web industry has gotten lazy when it comes to advertising innovation. There’s too much outsourcing to the ad networks and too much of an assumption by the portals and other large properties that gaudy eyeballs will be enough. That’s old media thinking. It’s enough to get ads when times are good, but not necessarily to keep them when times get bad.

A lot of people criticize newspapers for just putting their stories online, the same way they’d dummy them up on the printed page, rather than really utilizing the two-way medium. I think you could argue the same about the way many sites think about display ads. Too often it seems a cat and mouse game where I’m chasing an ad around a page looking for the close button so I can read some content. Sure, maybe I look at your message more than I would in a banner. But it’s also annoyed me enough that I will never buy your product. In many cases, even a back-to-basics approach works better, as I wrote about in my BusinessWeek column today that highlights some of the shockingly high CPM rates that un-high-tech email newsletters are getting.

Like so many things in the recession, it’s ultimately a good sign that marketers are panicked. We might actually see some innovation here.

Source: techcrunch

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

« Previous Entries

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...