January 31, 2007

News & Notes - 2007/01/31

In case you’re one of the few people that hasn’t heard yet, Google has added more local results in the web search results.

LookLocal’s integration of all 3 major mapping providers is nice but will they please eliminate the popup message for Macs (or at least cookie the mac user so they don’t keep getting the same popup)!

If you stumbled along this blog and aren’t aware of local search and what it means to you, here is a primer…you probably also want to read about local search SEO.

Mapperz points out that Google Books has added mapping to their books (they plot places mentioned in a book onto a map).

Microsoft’s purchase of Vexcel is making its way into Live Local Search but the 3D rendering requires a downloaded plugin for IE 6 or 7. Boooo! :-(

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January 23, 2007

Google Loses Google.de Domain, Gets It Back

Oops! Google briefly lost Google.de (Google Germany) when it forgot to renew its domain:

The search engine operator Google got back its German domain google.de this morning. Ownership of the domain had briefly changed hands last night. In place of Google’s search mask a website hosted by the young German provider Goneo would all of a sudden POP up when users tried to access the search engine at google.de. At the German domain registry DeNIC an investigation into how the hijacking operation was able to succeed is still underway. According to information gathered by heise online the name grab took place in a manner similar to that of a spectacular coup in 2004 during which a private individual was able to get control of eBay.de.

Last night at 8:30 p.m. the hosting of google.de had, according to Mr. Keilwerth, shifted to the German web hosting newcomer. When very shortly thereafter people became aware of what had happened, the company had without further ado allowed DeNIC to release the domain once again. Towards midnight however an outside KK application appears to have derailed google.de’s return to the search engine operator, causing it instead to end up in the hands of a Wiesbaden-based domain dealer. Thus it wasn’t until shortly after 9 a.m. that DeNIC was able to put an end to the domain’s odyssey. Goneo CEO Marc Keilwerth made it clear that he very much regretted what had happened and gave assurances that the company would in future carry out ownership checks of all parties filing KK applications.

A note to all you companies out there: set your domains on auto-renew, have the domain renewal email reminders go to a list of people who should actively check it, and, above all, if you are a registrar, at least set it up so you don’t lose your own domains! :-)

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January 22, 2007

Wikipedia Links are Now NOFOLLOW

People have been using Wikipedia as a way to get high-pagerank pages linking to their sites. They used all sorts of techniques to spam the online user-created-and-maintained encyclopedia.

So now it has gotten to the point where all Wikipedia links are being marked as “nofollow.”

foo

The nofollow tag was agreed upon by the major search engines to combat comment spam in blogs about two years ago.

The mailing list message about why its being done seems to imply it may be a temporary move…take a look at the email subject:

Nofollow back on URL links on en.wikipedia.org articles for now

Emphasis is mine.

What may not be taken into consideration is that the actual code and database is available for download and used by many sites. Those links have already (and will continue to be) propogated until those other sites change/update their code and/or database.

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January 18, 2007

Local Newspapers Gaining Traction With Blogs

Looks like newspapers are jumping on the blogging bandwagon for one reason or another.

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JudysBook should have Focused

Andy Sack, Judy’s Book co-founder and CEO, believes Judy’s Book should have focused on a specific category, in a specific region (sort of reminds me of Openlist, formerly local-i or even how Citysearch used to focus on Arts and Entertainment categories before expanding). He wishes he had focused on restaurants, most likely in the Seattle area (where they are located) because of 1. consumer passion, 2. review writing (and how users trust friends’ recommendations over someone like Zagats), 3. daily activity (frequency is important…we eat multiple times a day so are more likely to review about it).

Andy definitely sounds like he knows what he is talking about. I would say that I would most likely have to agree with him on his 3 points on why restaurants is such a great source for user-generated content.

He summarizes his post by using Amazon as an example (they focused on books first before expanding). Nowadays, they’re into everything. Even their logo says so… A - Z (explanation).

Judysbook and Insiderpages have received a lot of attention lately for allegedly downsizing or changing directions.

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Myspace’s History

Inside Myspace is a good article detailing how they upgraded their systems over the years, how they were founded by former Friendster employees, and how they beat them at their own game:

At the time, Anderson and DeWolfe were also members of Friendster, an earlier entrant in the category MySpace now dominates, and they decided to create their own social networking site. Their version omitted many of the restrictions Friendster placed on how users could express themselves…
In a recent interview with Fortune magazine, Friendster president Kent Lindstrom admitted his service stumbled at just the wrong time, taking 20 to 30 seconds to deliver a page when MySpace was doing it in 2 or 3 seconds.

As a result, Friendster users began to defect to MySpace, which they saw as more dependable.

Pretty interesting if you’d like to read up on their success and what pitfalls they came across as they rapidly expanded.

As a side note, Myspace is offering spyware for parents to monitor their children to prevent things like this.

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January 17, 2007

Google Has Already Beaten Yahoo According to Wired

Wired wrote a detailed article on How Yahoo Blew It
detailing how they almost bought Google but refused to pay more than their $3 Billion offer. Terry Semel’s (Yahoo CEO) plan B was to buy a search engine and a PPC engine and merge those 2 with Yahoo’s technology. They then go on to blame Semel for his technical ineptitude for losing the search/PPC race.

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January 11, 2007

More traffic to your local/mashup site using Google

The official Google Maps API blog lets us know that you can Drive More Traffic to Your Maps API Site - Include KML Files in Your Sitemap.

If you have a site with maps on them, include a KML file somewhere on your site and use Google Sitemaps to expose them to googlebot (so it knows where to find them).

Including KML files in a sitemap.xml file (see http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.html ) is a great way for you to help us index and drive traffic to your site. After publishing your data in KML, we’ll crawl the KML files that you specify in your sitemap.xml file. We’ll send users your way when they search for content that is found on your mashup site. As an added bonus, once your data is in KML, it will be available for viewing on Google Earth.

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Newspapers Create The Orbitz of Online Newpaper Advertising

Gannett, McClatchy, and Tribune, the 3 largest newspaper/magazine publishers are banding together to create an “open [advertising] network” to try to pull in national advertisers.

They will each contribute approximately 10% of their advertising space to the network to try to pull in national advertisers, no doubt to try to upsell them and get them into the print media.

The three have already worked together on other projects such as the Careerbuilder/Shoplocal/Topix.net deal.

Seems to me that they will sell national spots to these national advertisers (that may have no local value) and try to upsell them on their television networks and newspapers/magazines. Large national advertisers are cheaper (cost-saving) to obtain and maintain than multiple small advertisers (such as a SME) but will often also mean less revenue (those local ads mean they are more targeted and will often command more of a premium in an open & competitive marketplace such as Adwords).

They’ve definitely been feeling the heat from competing online advertising as well as competition over content from blogs and others, prompting some to predict their ultimate demise (not to mention all the media companies jumping off the newspapers bandwagon.

It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for them, who will purchase part of or all of whom, who chooses to increase revenues versus cut costs, who will join forces with whom, etc.

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