May 31, 2006

Another Way to Fight A Ticket

Just read the correspondences.

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Don’t Rip People Off…But If You Do, Wipe Your Hard Drive First!

Read the article about a guy who sold his laptop on eBay. It falsely claimed more Ram and was supposed to be in working condition.

The buyer tried to contact the owner to fix or refund but, when the seller didn’t help/respond, he created websites with his findings on the laptop, including pictures of the seller, bank account information, passport scan, and much more. Now that site is getting a ton of traffic.

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May 30, 2006

Marchex Acquires OpenList

Marchex, which has acquired a number of sites and domains and provides various SEM and SEO services, has just acquired OpenList.

Openlist was formerly known as Local-i. Openlist had been aggressively hiring in New York for Perl positions with experience in crawling. They build their site by aggregating information from all the other major providers and presenting it in a way to make it more useful to end users and allowing them to make a more informed decision (i.e. more reviews, etc).

With all of the zipcode domains it bought, plus all of the sites its been buying, it looks like they are banking on the 1) relevance of local ads and, therefore, 2) higher premium merchants will pay for them. The tagline they are currently showing on their homepage is: “A leader in delivering vertical and local online traffic to merchants.”

press release, more info.

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May 19, 2006

Top 20 Google Properties

Bill Tancer of Hitwise researched the top 20 Google Properties.

Note that the market share percentages are market share of all Google page requests as opposed to percentage market share of their respective areas.

Its not surprising that the web search was, by far and away, the highest. What was surprising, though, was that the web search only accounted for 79% (approx) of all Google page requests…and these percentages, even the small ones, account for quite a bit of traffic (so I disagree with this):

vertical sites not withstanding, the collection of Google properties continue to grow, in total, accounting for 4.3% of all Internet visits for the week ending 5/13/2006.

FYI, local is at 1/20th of 1 percent of all Google requests.

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May 17, 2006

Maps Mashups for Dummies

MSN aim to bring Maps Mashups to the general community that may not know how to code using APIs.

They are offering MSR Mapcruncher from Microsoft Research.

There’s nothing else quite like it. MapCruncher enables a user to take existing road maps and aerial imagery and overlay particular, specialized maps to create unique mash-ups tailored to the user’s specific interests.

It’s quick, it’s easy, and – judging from the enthusiasm displayed by this pair of map aficionados – it’s fun.

“MapCruncher empowers anybody in the world to take whatever data is important to them,? explains Elson, the project lead, “and share it with everybody else in a format that makes all of these types of data interoperable.?

“Traditionally,? Elson adds, “the whole process of taking geographically registered data and generating new maps has been the purview of geographic-information-systems professionals, people whose job it is to think about maps. Our goal was to try to make it so simple that everybody in the world who had some map they cared about would be able to trivially convert it into a format that would be easy to share and combine with other people’s maps.?

MapCruncher even includes an error-correction feature that flags possible mistakes in establishing correspondences, so a user can fine-tune a composite to the degree of accuracy desired.

The MapCruncher Web site includes a full tutorial and a gallery of example mash-ups, such as one consisting of bike maps in the Pacific Northwest.

press release.

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Google Replies to Big Daddy Complaints

Google had an algorithm change when it finally launched the Big Daddy update.

Since launching, a number of people have complained about various things…dropping out from the search index entirely being some of the more extreme cases.

Apparently, this update tries to do a better job of handling link farms, link-buying, and reciprocal linking.

From the post, here are a few things that you might be able to figure out:

  1. Matt points out some sites that complained and looks at their footers. He points out links to non-relevant sites (i.e. links to ring tones sites from a real estate site). This may imply that linking to other, non-relevant sites means the trust of your site is lowered. This may also mean that links found in footers are checked a bit closer (maybe even in sidebars…although no indications of that in the post).
  2. Matt also points out reciprocal linking can hurt you. This is easily done by finding a reciprocal link within each site.
  3. Google may have a hard time distinguishing some links in the case of a) advertising and b) a network of sites so I wonder how these are addressed…probably by the total number of backlinks (especially through “trusted” backlinks).
  4. In a previous post, I remember Matt suggesting that Ads have a nofollow attribute in the link. This was probably suggested to prevent these side affects so this may address the ads issues. Additionally, most “larger” sites use ad servers and javascript so these links won’t even be seen…so my guess is smaller sites are affected more by this.
  5. This also seems to be a reverse in the position that Google has had in the past. They have always said that people cannot hurt your ranking by linking to you. Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case now. Now, your competitors may have a hard time catching up to you so can be able to get you delisted entirely (not just ranked lower) simply by buying a bunch of links from non-relevant sites to you! :-(
  6. Those taking part in SEO Contests better watch out where they place their links. If they place their links on their sites (or others), they can really hurt them (one of the example links Matt provided was also to an SEO contest n a real estate site).
  7. I wonder if they are “ignoring” blogs or doing something else with them. Its quite common for them to link to different themes almost randomly (except for highly targetted ones…but personal ones seem to be all over the place some times). I suppose they may not be hurting anyone too much since they usually link from one post entry as opposed to footer links which may be in all the pages of entire sites.

Keep watching to see what other modifications/improvements there are. Google has been receptive to feedback and have been making adjustments accordingly. WMW is a good forum to express your concerns and GoogleGuy (a google employee) reads and responds to posts there. If you think you may have been affected, more instructions (including a timeline for you to use to try and determine causality) are available at Matt’s post.

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May 16, 2006

MacBooks Launch

Apple has launched their Macbook (note: not Macbook Pro).

This appears to be their replacement of the iBook.

MacBook At a Glance

  • 1.83GHz or 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo
  • 13.3-inch (diagonal) TFT glossy widescreen display
  • Apple Remote with Front Row
  • Up to 2GB memory(3)
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
  • Slot-loading optical drive
  • Up to 120GB hard drive(3)
  • Built-in 54-Mbps 802.11g AirPort Extreme wireless
  • Analog and digital audio in and out
  • FireWire 400 and USB 2.0 ports
  • iLife ’06, Mac OS X Tiger
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New Yahoo Homepage

Yahoo has finally released a preview of their new homepage.

More info and pictures here:

The new marks a significant new look for the most trafficked website in the world. There’s plenty of AJAX magic to make the Yahoo homepage more interactive - and Yahoo has made a big effort to make the user the primary focus of the new homepage. It has a larger search box, in recognition of the big role that the search interface plays in today’s Web. There is also more emphasis on personalization, news content and community - moving away from the 90’s ‘everything under the sun’ portal to a more user-focused homepage for the user. Indeed upon visiting the preview page, you’re greeted with a banner that shows just how important personalization is to this re-design: “Welcome to the all-new Yahoo! It’s made for you.”

In the podcast we also discussed how the homepage has added more multimedia links and content, in line with Yahoo’s status nowadays as a media company. This trend for more video and audio content on the homepage will only increase over time.

From a design point of view, the most noticeable feature is an increased use of AJAX in the new layout. Also the page is wider, recognizing that the average PC monitor size has increased over the past few years (nb: there is an option to switch to a “narrow page”). The visual design employs the famous web 2.0 technique of faded colors - and there is more use of tabs too. In the podcast, VP of Front Doors Tapan Bhat explained some of the scaling challenges of implementing AJAX in a mass market website. He made it clear that the move to a more AJAX-heavy user interface required a lot of testing and optimization before it was ready for prime time. For an example of the AJAX touches, check out the “Personal Assistant” in the top-right corner

My opinion: Appears to have a lot of nice features…but it is very busy and, for some reason, reminds me of news sites. At least all the javascript and AJAX modifications aren’t significantly slow (I’m in the Mai Beta…it looks and operates a lot like MS Outlook…but it, like Zimbra is VERY slow).

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May 12, 2006

Google Pressday - Google Releases a number of Products

Google had a Press Day where they launched a bunch of stuff:

  • Google has launched Google Co-op. It’s designed to increase community and community-generated content. There are far more users of Google than employees of Google so why not tap into them for some free content/quality improvements?
  • Not only can users improve the content through Google Co-op, but they can “program” (using the term very loosely) or build tools on top of the Google platform. User can build Subscribed Links which will allow you to build a way for users to create their own searches that users can subscribe to and get those results on the search page…sounds an awful lot like MSN Search Macros.
  • Check out the pictures of google notebook. The plan is to launch this next week.
  • Also of note, Google Trends maps trends of search words appearing over time in their search results. They claim to use small sample sets and approximations/extrapolations. You get all sorts of info such as by geography, languages, etc).
  • What happened to all the rumors about Google Health?
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May 8, 2006

There are still 3 character .net domains available

In case you’re wondering, there are still some 3 character .net domains available. I ran a script against a list provided to me from November and found that list of 2678 domains dropped yesterday to 1443. Today, the list is down to 1121. That’s a big jump and could be an indicator that these domains will be drying up shortly just as the .com 3 character domains have. I would expect that their price would also slowly increase.

Of the domains that I found to be available this morning, there were 203 and 918

The Latest 3 character .net available domains (based on the last time I ran the file)

UPDATE: As of 2006/03/10, there are only 274 available!!!

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