How to opt out of Google and protect your privacy: Move to remote village

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

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad

google remote village

may be the top search engine in the world, and it may collect a lot of data about you if you use its email, chat, photo, or video services. Heck, even if you’ve avoided every Google product, Google probably still knows a few things about you if you’ve ever done anything that might have possibly left a trail on the web.

But America’s finest news source, The Onion, lets us know that Google has a new service that lets you opt out. All you have to do is click the opt-out button and a van will show up at your door and relocate you to a remote 22 acre village where you’ll be expected to sever all contact with the outside world. Your home will be destroyed to protect your privacy.

You can check out The Onion’s satirical video after the break. Sure, it’s all a joke. But you know what? It does highlight just how difficult it is to stay off the grid in the age of the internet.

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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

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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.

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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

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8-Word Search Queries Up 34,000% in Last 5 Years!

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

By Andy Beal

If a picture is worth a thousand words, we might want to start scanning-in images of what we’re trying to find on the search engines. As new data from Hitwise suggests, we’re gradually starting to use more & more keywords when conducting our search engine queries.

Hitwise compared January 2009’s data with last year’s, but I want to take you back farther in time–5 years in fact! Not that my memory goes back that far, but I did remember covering this data for my old blog: Search Engine Lowdown.

Here are the numbers from this year, with Feb 2004’s numbers in parentheses:

1-word searches = 20.29% (19.02%)

2-word searches = 23.65% (32.58%)

3-word searches = 21.92% (25.61%)

4-word searches = 14.89% (12.83%)

5-word searches = 8.68% (5.64%)

6-word searches = 4.65% (2.32%)

7-word searches = 2.49% (0.98%)

8-word searches = 3.43% (no one did 8-word searches in 2004!)

As you can see, there’s been a significant drop in the number of people using 2- and 3-word searches, while those using 5-words and above are becoming more common–likely from those of us that cut-and-paste large quantities of text into Google.

One interesting observation: the number of people using 1-word searches has remained surprisingly similar–in fact, showing a small increase in the past 5 years. This either means that the search engines are getting better at delivering relevant search results, or more “brand” searches are being made, or some of us are just committed to being lazy with our searching.

Source: marketingpilgrim

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Reunion.com And Wink Morph Into MyLife.com

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Internet Market, SEO, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Robin Wauters

When Reunion.com and Wink announced their merger in early October 2008, the company indicated that it would be relaunching under a different brand name and with a completely overhauled website in early 2009. That day has finally come, and henceforth the merged companies will live on as MyLife.mylife

The website for Reunion.com already redirects to MyLife.com, while dedicated people search engine Wink still has its own web presence. MyLife, however, already integrates Wink’s technology, which means the new hybrid social platform is now a full-fledged search engine which not only finds people—thanks to aggregated search across social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace—but also helps visitors connect with them all on the same site. On its company presentation page, MyLife boasts that it can locate over 750 million online profiles via its search index today.

Reunion.com has been getting decent traffic lately, rising to 15.4 million U.S. unique visitors and 18.2 million worldwide last month, according to comScore. Google Trends also paints a picture of continued growth, albeit almost exclusively for North America. That basically means MyLife is now effectively the fourth largest social network in the U.S. after Facebook, MySpace and Classmates.com, leaving behind a bunch of more talked-about companies like Bebo, LinkedIn, Digg and Imeem, if you compare comScore data for January 2009.

According to Founder and CEO Jeffrey Tinsley, Reunion grew 92% last year and its revenues for 2008 was somewhere in the vicinity of $52 million. Up until now, the company has raised $26.4 million in venture capital over two rounds, and it has used $6 million of this capital to acquire five companies to date (Wink, GoodContacts, MyAddressBook, Planet Alumni, and HighSchoolAlumni.com).

mylife-screen

Source: techcrunch

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Using Directories for Search Engine Reputation Management

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , , |

By Michael Gray

searchSearch engine reputation management (SERM) is a growing discipline under the larger umbrella of search engine optimization (SEO). If you deal with client services, and you don’t already have at least one reputation management client, chances are you will in the very near future. The more tools or options you have at your disposal for this type of project, the easier the task will be. In this article I’m going to look at one of those tools; directories.

Let’s take a high-level look at the concept, so we have a better idea of what we’re trying to accomplish. Getting a negative search engine listing taken down, removed, or changed, is a tricky process–with the potential to blow up in your face if you aren’t careful–so we’re going to assume it’s not a possibility. Your main goal then shifts to identifying positive SERP listings, and looking for ways to boost them above and displace the negative results to page two or beyond. This is where directory listings can come into play. Many companies or websites have listings in directories like Yahoo or Business.com, the problem is your listing is mixed-in on a page with other websites. Secondly the title of that page, which is one of your strongest on page SEO elements, is usually the category or sub-category name, making it practically useless. What you really need is your own page on that directory, with a title that you have some influence on.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, unless the name of your company actually is “Buy Cheap Blue Widgets Online” chances are pretty slim that you’ll be able to get a page/listing with that type of title. Most directory owners are concerned about the overall quality of their website, and aren’t going to sacrifice themselves over the long-term to help you meet your short-term goals. In most cases you’ll be able to get your company name or your DBA name.

This is where knowing your space and looking for niche vertical directories can be very helpful, as they have a greater likelihood of having the type of setups you are looking for. Sometimes however that option don’t exist. If you are dealing with a client who has a physical presence, another option is a local directory like Local.Botw.org. When you sign up for a local directory listing you are placed in the local region for your business just like a normal directory. However, you also get an individual page like this one for Bridge Self Storage: http://local.botw.org/California/Richmond/Bridge_Self_Storage/10000136 65.html.

With an optimal title, on an optimized page, on a quality domain, it’s a piece of cake. Point a link from their company website, with their company name as anchor text. Point a few links from a few other websites and give it a little bit of time. You should be able to displace a less than favorable listing with one you control fairly quickly.

What if you are working on a reputation management project for a person not a company? The principle is still the same, but this time you are looking for a “business professional” directory. Two examples of this would be LinkedIn and VisualCV. To see this in action look at the SERP for Guy Kawasaki–you’ll see his LinkedIn page sitting at #9 and his VisualCV sitting at #11. The process of getting these pages to rank is the same, just link to them using a personal blog or company website with the person’s name as the anchor text, allow the links to age. Keep pointing link juice at them until they displace the negative listings.

Source: marketingpilgrim

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Yahoo Shows Search Ads With Images and Video

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: SEO, Yahoo | Tags: , , , , , |

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

Yahoo is introducing a new type of search advertising that integrates images and video in paid listings, the company plans to announce Thursday.

Search advertising typically shows only text advertisements and links. Marketers usually devote part of their online budget to search — which shows text-only advertisements and links — and part to display, the banner and box advertisements that show images or video.Yahoo

By introducing video and images, the new offering from Yahoo, called Rich Ads in Search, gives search some of the advantages of banner advertisements. “It moves the advertising experience from just the blue links, to a more engaging experience for advertisers,” said Tim Mayer, the vice president for search monetization and distribution at Yahoo.

Yahoo has been trying to win back paid search advertising from the market leader, Google. Yahoo’s market share in paid search has fallen from 13.8 percent in 2004, to 10.5 percent this year, according to the research firm eMarketer. In the same time period, Google’s market share has more than doubled, from 32.8 percent in 2004, to 67.7 percent this year.

Yahoo’s strength has been its display advertising, where it sells boxes and banners on its highly trafficked pages. However, as the recession has deepened, many advertisers have shifted money to search, which gives them direct, measurable results.

Yahoo’s fourth-quarter results, reported in January, reflected that change. Search revenue was up 11 percent, and display revenue was down 2 percent.

Yahoo has been testing its offering with advertisers like the dog-food company Pedigree. A search for “Pedigree” on Yahoo turns up a light-blue box at the top of the search-results page holding an image from a Pedigree commercial, which plays when clicked.

“Video is always more powerful than just words on the page,” said John Anton, the marketing director at Pedigree. “It’s definitely compelling to us to have options like this, where, when you type in ‘Pedigree,’ you get more than just the words, you get the video itself.”

Yahoo can also include images — a search for Staples results in a similar light-blue box with the company’s logo on the side. Or, it can include a search box within the light-blue space, asking the visitor to enter his ZIP code, then taking him to the section of the advertiser’s Web site that lists bank branches or car dealerships near him, for example.

“What the search results look like is a very different experience with rich ads in search versus the text link,” said Joanne Bradford, Yahoo’s senior vice president for revenue and market development in the United States. “There is consistency to the experience, which all advertisers want, and were unable to get until this point.”

Yahoo is charging a monthly fee for the service, versus the auction-based pricing of search advertising, which Mr. Mayer said Yahoo might use in the future. For now, it is allowing only certain large, brand-focused advertisers — which have existing commercials or logos — to participate in the program. SoBe, Pepsi and Home Depot were all part of the pilot program.

According to Yahoo, some advertisers in the pilot program saw an improvement by as much as 25 percent in click-through rates. Karin Blake, the senior search manager at the ad agency Razorfish, who tested the offering for some of her clients, saw slightly less significant results: she said her clients had a 5 to 10 percent increase in click-through rates compared with a regular text ad.

Still, the new type of search will probably be attractive to advertisers, who pay high prices to develop their commercials and logos, and want to be able to show those wherever they can.

“In a typical search landscape, you can’t utilize things like video and images, just because the nature of search listings is really text,” Ms. Blake said. “It does allow Yahoo to sort of put together a more robust offering.”

Ms. Blake said that “right now, there isn’t anything in the paid search landscape that either Google or Microsoft is offering” along these lines.

Even as Yahoo updates its search capabilities, it has been under pressure from Wall Street analysts to consider selling its search business to Microsoft. Recently, Microsoft’s chief executive, Steven A. Ballmer, has repeatedly expressed interest in such a deal.

Carol A. Bartz, the new chief executive of Yahoo, has not specified her plans for Yahoo’s search business.

“Maybe we should divest of some things, maybe we ought to focus a little more on the company,” she said in a conference call last month with investors. “So, yes, everything’s on the table,”

But, she added, “this is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens.”

Source: NYTimes

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The New Bulls-Eye on Google

Posted on February 19, 2009. Filed under: Google | Tags: , , |

By Sarah Lacy – TechCrunch.com

Google Bulls EyeGoogle may be having its share of recessionary stumbles, but compared to most of techdom it?s still smooth sailing over in Mountain View. And apparently that?s enough to make everyone want to sue. Three potential legal threats are looming in the news today around Google: One deemed a non-issue, another that should be deemed a non-issue, and one a very serious and troubling issue.

Let?s look at them in order of most frivolous first. Remember the Pennsylvania couple who sued Google last spring for taking pictures of its house and posting them on Google Street View? The aptly named case, Boring v. Google, has been handily dismissed. The courts wisely struck down the idea that Google was compromising the couple?s privacy since, ahem, they launched a suit calling more attention to their house than an obscure picture on Google Street View ever would have in the first place. It also said the trucks driving by weren?t enough to be considered trespassing, threw out the idea that the whole thing had caused emotional distress, and just generally told the Borings to get a life. Score one for justice and capitalism working hand-in-hand.

But today Google has to contend with a new case that?s almost as absurd. TradeComet, which already complained to the New York Times that Google is upping its advertising rates unfairly, is now suing Google for antitrust. Here?s the gist of the complaint: TradeComet?s SourceTool.com is basically a middleman-site that aims to connect searchers with the businesses they are looking for by showing them search ads and directory listings. The press release says repeatedly that Google was supportive of SourceTool until the site got too powerful and became a clear ?competitive threat? to Google. Now Google is using its monopolist power to run TradeComet?which plows some 80% of its profits back into Google ads?out of business.

Let?s count all the things wrong with that argument, starting with the obvious: Google may be a lot of things but modest isn?t one of them. The company isn?t even worried about Microsoft when it comes to search. It?s certainly not viewing SourceTool as a competitive threat, especially if the company is plowing 80% of its revenues back into Google keywords. That?s inane.

Second, Google?s bread-and-butter is helping searchers find what they?re looking for in one-click. My guess is someone coming to Google and entering the name of a business is looking for that business, not another search engine that will give you another list of results no matter how ?specialized? it is. Google is right to use market pressures to make the end user experience better and make life harder for the useless middlemen.

Third, no one is forcing SourceTool to rely so heavily on Google for its business. Startup 101 dictates that you never want to be 100% reliant on a potentially competitive company for your business. If SourceTool is that reliant on Google keywords for traffic, perhaps it?s a sign that it hasn?t built something that useful. News flash to TradeComet: You can?t sue your way to a good product or a thriving business. Just ask SCO, that Salt Lake City company that claimed to own Linux and was last heard from filing Chapter 11.

For More Details: washingtonpost

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