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August 15, 2007

Craigslist is Stealing My SERPs!

I was checking on one of our client's rankings with keywords "dallas dumpster rentals" today. I found the resulting Google SERPs astounding. I've seen spammy results before, but nothing quite like this lately. I checked up to the 10th page and found each one was riddled with Craigslist postings except for a handful of valid entries.

Craigslist Spam

Apparently someone has been quite busy spamming Craigslist. These pages are keyword stuffed with a link, each one pointing to a different location with the anchor text, "Find a Home Contractor". The link then redirects to http://www.servicemagic.com.

Below is just a sample of the text found on the Craigslist postings (link removed, anchor text in red). I did not include all of it as there are 2 1/2 pages worth of keywords crammed in there:

Find all types of Home Improvement Contractors at Find a Home Contractor All types of work and all trades, from dumpster rentals, handyman, painting contractors, floor installers, pressure washing, brick masons to heating and air conditioning, even find an architect or land surveyor. Also have things like gravel or topsoil delivered. All Contractors are pre-screened, save time. Send an e-mail and get contacted back for your estimates.

rental roll off recycling gutters clean shredded mulch buy top soil dallas dumpster metal stairs asbestos cost removal pool enclosure railing stair wood drafting business mobile homes move basement leaks home duct cleaning construction waste removal barbed wire fencing pvc gutters shed installation fire repair sprinkler fuel tank replacement water well information blown insulation pool built crushed stone window sills replace control bees wallpaper-hanger home fire protection cost fill dirt paint contractor washer and dryer repair fix a dripping faucet fire sprinkler installation synthetic golf green building architects

Some of the posts have been removed or flagged for removal and I'll probably try to report some of the ones still in there. I just can't seem to figure out how Google determined that all of these Craigslist postings are more relevant than a website whose sole purpose is in dealing with dumpster rentals in Dallas, without the use of keyword stuffing. It reminds me of the Google Maps spam abuse that happened last month.

So, aside from me going into each of these Craigslist posts and reporting them as spam, any tips on how I should deal with this and get these spammers out of my SERPs so my client can get back in there where they belong?

August 13, 2007

Setting Goals for your Web Site

When building your site remember to have a specific goal planned. I have heard business owners describe the purpose of their sites in many strange and bizarre ways. From a marketing perspective you should have a predetermined goal for visitors on your site. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are generally 3 basic goals for business web sites. There may be some odd ones out there but they can usually be narrowed down into these 3 groups.

1. Revenue Generating
This site has some type of e-commerce where visitor can come in and buy something or this site generates revenue by selling ads/ad space

2. Lead Generating
This sites main function is to generate lead either through a form that can be filled online or pushing visitors to dial into a call center

3. Brochure Site
This is generally an information site. Although not the best use of a site, theses tend to lean a little towards Lead Generating.

Revenue Generating by far is the most common one. Just about every site you go on is selling something or has links that are selling something. These sites can also have shopping carts incorporated into them to increase the ease of visitors purchasing more products. You are also looking into security certifications here for credit card orders.

Lead Generating sites will/should have their phone number plastered everywhere. They can also point visitors towards an information form for the company to call or email them back. Another variant, of this model is to give something away, some type of review software with a time limit, a book or report in soft copy but you must fill out the form in order to receive it.

Brochure sites will have their contact information listed but they are not really pushing to get your information. The goal here may not be as clearly defined. Generally, these sites were built simply to have a web presence. Although useful for adding credibility to your company, it should be geared at least, more towards the Lead Generating type.

The moral of the story here is to always have a set goal for your web site. This information will help in the development and growth of your site. By knowing in advance where you would like your visitors to end up, helps to create what you will need to get them there.

MasterLink offers top ranking website design and development, graphic design, flash design, e-commerce programming and design, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing services (SEM), database integration, software development, hosting, server collocation, Internet access, video streaming and video conferencing.

July 27, 2007

Squidoo Back in Google Results

There have been many reports earlier this month on Squidoo, a co-op site that allows anyone to create web pages on just about anything they want for free. Squidoo has been used (or abused?) by SEO's, internet marketers, and spammers for the last year to gain links and search engine visibility. Squidoo pages, or lenses as they call them, ranked surprisingly well for relatively competitive terms rather easily and quickly. The traffic to lenses which ranked well could then be directed to any other site via links.

That all changed when Google seemingly penalized the site. Squidoo lenses disappeared from the search engine results across the board. Duncan Riley of TechCrunch wrote about Google Acting Against Squidoo Due To Spam:
"The reports indicate that some Squidoo pages have seen a 75% drop in traffic, and in other cases have either been removed from high ranking positions on Google, or removed all together."
Now I have a few Squidoo lenses out there with links pointing to my clients sites. These were ranking well in the search engines, but we didn't really feel the hit of the so-called "Squid Slap". Fortunately, we Never Put All our Social Marketing Eggs in One Basket as social marketing blogger Michelle MacPhearson suggests.

Well apparently Squidoo is back. Seth Godin, founder of Squidoo, wrote on the Squidoo blog:
"Those of you who track Squidoo pretty closely know that we had a lousy week. 30 spammers took advantage of us and blew Squidoo’s name all over the web.

The good news is that as of Thursday, July 12th, all of those holes are closed. We erred on the side of goodwill, and we’re going to be a lot more careful in the future."

Today we noticed Squidoo lenses back in Google's search results, even at #1 & #2:

Interestingly, the results above show our lens at #1 and the links feed at #2. The clients actual site with the keyword in the URL is ranked at #3. While I love to see a domination in the SERPs like that, I can't seem to figure out why the Squidoo lenses are now outranking the actual site that has more content and a stronger domain.

Has anyone else noticed Squidoo pages not only back in the search results, but perhaps ranking even higher than before the "Squid Slap"?

July 23, 2007

Using Blogs for Online Advertising

The market for paid blogging has been receiving much attention recently. Services like PayPerPost have created an unprecedented business model which connects advertisers with bloggers. Advertisers gain publicity and traffic while improving their rankings with the search engines. Bloggers also receive an opportunity to generate revenue from their Web site.

Paid blogging delivers online word of mouth marketing, brand awareness and traffic leads for the advertiser. Companies like PayPerPost provide advertisers with a way to promote their Web site, products, services or company through a network of independent bloggers. Companies can team up with bloggers to generate buzz, build traffic, and receive product feedback, as well as gain links, syndicate content and much more all in an effort to improve their internet marketing plan.

In a staff opinion issued by the Federal Trade Commission, the consumer protection agency discussed the practice. Though no accurate figures exist on how much money advertisers spend on paid blogging, it is quickly becoming a preferred method for reaching consumers who are skeptical of other forms of advertising.

The FTC proposed that companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships.

I can’t seem to wrap my head around that line of thinking. Why should bloggers be required to disclose whether they have been paid to post about the company or not?

When we see the contestants on Survivor winning rewards such as a cold Mountain Dew or a Pontiac Aztec, do we assume it’s because Mark Burnett actually prefers Mountain Dew over Coca-Cola and Pontiacs over Fords? When Red Beard at Lone Star 92.5 radio suggests drinking an ice cold Coors Light, do we assume he personally prefers Coors Light over say a Heineken or Shiner Bock? Not I. I know that this is product placement and they are being compensated by those companies to have their products shown or spoken of without them having to tell me so.

Even if paid bloggers must include a disclosure, I see paid blogging from an advertisers stand point to be a wonderful internet marketing solution. You can determine how much you are willing to pay, how many different posts you want as well as requiring the blogger to link to your Web site using your chosen keywords.

When comparing paid blogging to something like Yahoo’s Directory listing which costs $299 to submit and $299 annually I find paid blogging to not only be a bargain, but much more beneficial to the advertiser as well.


July 13, 2007

Google Audio and SEMPO Present in Dallas

The Dallas / Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM) will be hosting an event this Monday evening with co-presenters Jay Donovan from Google and Katie Donovan from Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO).

Katie Donovan will discuss the SEMPO Institute’s new educational certification for search engine marketers. She will also be presenting "Hire for Attitude; Train for Ability", highlighting best practices of hiring for Search Engine Marketing candidates for small businesses, corporations, and agencies.

Jay Donovan will talk about Google’s latest news on Google Audio, Google Print, and Google TV ads.

The event begins at 6:30 PM with networking, and the speakers will begin presentations at 7:00 PM. The event is open to all DFWSEM members and non-members, including marketing professionals, SEO’s, agencies, and the general public. The event is free for existing members, and $20 for non-members.

The meeting will be held at The Renaissance Dallas-Richardson Hotel located at 900 East Lookout Drive, Richardson, Texas 75081. View Map.

Hope to see you there!

June 12, 2007

Day Without Google? Exploring Alternative Search Engines

Today shall be an interesting one. Day Without Google Begins! from Read/Write Web announces that today will be an experiment in searching. AltSearchEngines are seriously asking everybody to go one day without using any of the five major search engines; Google, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, or Ask.

The "ground rules" according to AltSearchEngines:

  1. All day Tuesday, June 12th, don’t use any of the 5 major search engines.
  2. Avoid Meta search engines, since most of them include the major search engines. (for this day only! Meta search engines are important; see the Great Debate Tuesday night!)
  3. Likewise, the specialized vertical search engines may be too narrowly focused. (for this day only. It’s the vertical search engines that usually search the best; within their niche.)
  4. Consider changing your homepage or downloading their toolbar. You can always uninstall everything and change back on Wednesday.
  5. On Wednesday, leave a detailed comment under this post and share your experience with the rest of us. Which alt search engine did you chose? How would you rate the experience?

Can you survive without the big G? Sounds scary, huh? Well, I’m going to give it a shot.

AltSearchEngines provides a list of The Top 100 Alternative Search Engines to choose from. I tried out a couple of searches on both kartOO and Quintura, which tied for Search Engine of the Month. Both use an interface that incorporates tag clouds to refine your search terms. kartOO uses colorful graphics and presents results with thumbnail images of the sites, while Quintura presents a more traditional text based tag cloud.

Personally, after only a few searches on each, I think I prefer kartOO. This may be just because I got better results – better meaning my sites were ranking higher for my terms. ;)

I am going to try as hard as I can to steer clear of the big five today. Join me and other searchers today and explore the alternative search engines for just one day and share your experience here or over at AltSearchEngines.

~Kimber Cook

May 11, 2007

Microsoft Project Gatineau Coming Soon - Update from Microsoft

As users of what used to be DeepMetrix's LiveStats analytics software, MasterLink was recently contacted by Microsoft about the upcoming launch of Microsoft Project Gatineau that we mentioned back in January. To sum the message up, Microsoft is planning on opening up the beta to Project Gatineau this summer (no specific date given). Also a feature of the new system that jumped out at me was a mention of demographic segmentation reporting in this new analytics solution. I am curious to hear more about this, but I guess all we can do is wait until they give us more info or give us something to look at.

Additionally, if you would like to give feedback to Microsoft on what you want out of their web analytics offerings, then you call fill out this survey. It looks like they have been advertising on the term "sitemeter" to get people to fill out this survey so go ahead and voice your opinions to help make Gatineau a better system.

Below is a copy of the email that we received:
"Dear DeepMetrix Customer,

We're excited to update you about Microsoft's activities since we acquired DeepMetrix.

Over the past year we've focused on building the next generation of Web analytics. We've reached a transitioning phase, and are now rolling out our new service. Because of this rollout, we're no longer updating DeepMetrix products and support services will discontinue on January 31, 2008.

You may continue to use the unsupported products after this date. We also want you to know that we'd like to work with LiveStats.XSP customers to plan a smooth transition to the new service for you and your customers.

This summer you'll be invited to try the beta of our new Web analytics service—Project Gatineau. Some of the highlights of the beta features include:

  • Click and visitor tracking
  • Marketing campaign reporting
  • Conversion tracking
  • Demographic and geographic segmentation
  • Paid and natural search analysis

As customers of DeepMetrix and Web analytics, Microsoft values your business and hopes you'll try our new Web analytics service.

We'll let you know more as further information becomes available. For general questions or comments regarding DeepMetrix products or Microsoft Project Gatineau, please e-mail us at dms@microsoft.com.


The Microsoft Project Gatineau Team"

-Mark Barrera

tags: real estate training, buying a business

April 27, 2007

New Marketing Clients and other MasterLink News

I just wanted to take a minute and mention some new clients that MasterLink is now working with. We are excited to be working with the following companies:

Blindstop.com - BlindStop’s website is a new concept in the window blind industry. The site offers discount window blinds, as well as blind repair parts.

TechRack Systems - TechRack carries full lines of server cabinets, server racks, computer cabinets, wire racks, printer stands, kvm switches, and more.

International Speakers Bureau - ISB is a speakers bureau that provides professional speakers, motivational public speakers, and other speakers primarily for business purposes.

Castle Hills - Castle Hills is a 2,500-acre master-planned residential development in the North Dallas area. Their site features home builders in Dallas and other information about the premier Dallas golf community in all of North Texas.

Carrington Laboratories - Carrington Laboratories, Inc. is an ISO 9001-certified, research-based, biopharmaceutical and consumer products company currently utilizing naturally-occurring complex carbohydrates to manufacture and market products for mucositis, radiation dermatitis, wound and oral care, as well as to manufacture and market the nutraceutical raw material Manapol® and cosmetic raw material Hydrapol™. Product categories include: Bandages & Dressings, Diabetic Care Products, First Aid Products, Health & Nutritional Supplements, Incontinence Care Products, Odor Eliminators, Oral & Dental Care Products, Personal Care Products, Radiation Therapy Care Products, and Wound Care Products.

Also, MasterLink has been working hard on a redesign of our own site. We should be launching it in the next month or two so check back for our new look and feel. The site will be easier to navigate and we are looking forward to getting it up and running!

March 27, 2007

Google Custom Search - The Future of Search? Or is it the Past?

So I was reading Getting Link Love From Google Custom Search Engines at Search Engine Land, where Eric Ward discusses the link building opportunities and possible effects that Google Custom Search Engines (CSEs) may have on the future of search.

I was inspired to create a Custom Search Engine for one of our clients who is an industry leader and definitely an authority in its' market. Creating the CSE was simple and I am excited to see what kind of results and benefits we can achieve by incorporating this new CSE into our client's Internet Marketing efforts.

After I created the CSE, I was exploring the different options in the account and reading the Google Custom Search Blog about CSE's popular queries. I knew I wouldn't have any statistics yet, as I just created the search engine, but I was curious so I accessed the statistics page for my new CSE and was presented with the following screen:

1970? Huh? I thought this was the future of search? What's up with that Google?

Is it just me? Or is this a Google Co-op bug in all accounts for the new statistics feature?

March 14, 2007

Google's Local Search Onebox is Hurting My Head!

As a web design company in Dallas (who was recently recognized as one of the largest) we deal with a lot of clients who provide services only in the Dallas area. Clients like Dallas Landscapers, Dallas New Homes, and Dallas Auto Body Shops as well as clients who provide services and products nationally.

With the implementation of Google Maps Onebox to Google’s search results I have been researching the implications of how this will affect our clients in the local market and it’s hurting my head!

Take for example Dallas Landscapers, Google’s SERPs show:

Our client is ranked organically #1 for the term, but does not appear in the Onebox. Why? What determines what gets displayed in the Onebox? Now, granted I did just submit the site to Google’s Local Business Center, so I am not sure if that will help at all. I have read speculations that the results are the top 3 that are closest to the center of the city.

So, since our company, MasterLink has been listed in Google’s Local Business Center for quite some time I searched for "Dallas Web Design" and was provided the following Onebox results:

Digging down into the maps further to find MasterLink I finally found us in the map below, we are "I" on this map. Now obviously we are not closest to the center of the city, but "A" and "C" certainly are not either. And what’s up with "J"? It sure looks pretty close to the center of the city, yet they are listed after us? My brain hurts!

Through my research I found that Bill Slawski from SEO by the Sea has created a Google Local Search Glossary where he provides:

"A collection of terms and definitions from a number of Google’s patent filings on Local Search (not everything discussed in a patent application has been incorporated into Google’s Local search - but the interesting thing about many of these patent filings is exploring whether or not they may have been)."
More brain pain for me.

Anybody out there have any insights into how this new Local Search and the Onebox in SERPs works?

I’m off to get some BC Headache Powder!

Posted by: Kimber Cook

February 28, 2007

MasterLink Featured in Website Magazine

MasterLink's Director of Internet Marketing, Mark Barrera was interviewed and featured in the Cover Story of the February 2007 edition of Website Magazine, available now.

The article, "Going Social" focuses on social media and user-generated content on the internet. MasterLink's Director of Internet Marketing, Mark Barrera was contacted by Website Magazine for an interview for the article via the MasterLink MySpace profile. The interview focuses on the use of Myspace and YouTube as social networking for business purposes.

MasterLink Myspace Page

Website Magazine is a publication available both online and in print with a free subscription. Their mission is to help readers succeed by providing helpful and valuable information about online business trends, industry insights and best practices.

February 22, 2007

Microsoft adCenter beta site Upgrades Coming

We just received this email from Microsoft adCenter:

Dear Content Ads pilot participant,

You can experience new time-saving features within the Microsoft adCenter beta site, which will update over the next few days.

What's new in the adCenter beta site?

Using the adCenter beta site is now easier and more efficient. The updates provide you with improved campaign management, navigation, and reporting. You can:

  • Save time importing campaigns. Directly import your campaign structure from other search advertising programs into adCenter. Update your existing campaigns, ad groups, ads, and keyword bids and match types using a single Microsoft Excel or CSV file.
  • Preview your ads on Live Search. Visualize how your ads will show up on Live Search with Ad Preview in the ad list.
  • Search within your campaigns. Full text search allows you to easily find ads, keywords, ad groups, accounts, or campaigns that contain all or part of a query string.
  • Manage keywords faster. Edit keywords in bulk to simultaneously change settings for all keywords or delete poor-performing keywords from your campaigns.
  • One click adCenter dataset downloads. Download your adCenter datasets into Excel with one click—making campaign management that much simpler.

Learn more about how you can save time with these updates—read the adCenter blog post and watch our webinar.

As a Content Ads pilot advertiser, you have a first-hand opportunity to use these time-saving improvements in the adCenter beta site. If you have any questions, please visit our support center.


The Microsoft adCenter Team

Let's hope that these upgrades will do what they promise. I have not been very happy with the interface and the ability to manage keywords easily. Check out Shoemoney's rant to see what has everyone so upset with Microsoft adCenter

February 14, 2007

CPC Bidding for Site-Targeted Campaigns in Google Adwords

We just received this email from Google inviting us to try their new CPC bidding for site-targeted campaigns:

Hello from the Google AdWords Team:

Because you're a valued AdWords advertiser, we'd like to invite you to beta test a new feature: cost-per-click (CPC) bidding for site-targeted campaigns.

Site targeting has always enabled AdWords advertisers to choose the individual sites where their ads can appear on the Google Content Network. But until now, advertisers could bid for site targeting only by paying for each thousand impressions (CPM). The feature we're testing will let advertisers set a price for each ad click instead.

Why try CPC bidding for site targeting?

  • More flexibility. Select the sites where your ads appear and choose the bidding option that fits your needs. If clicks are your goal, try CPC bidding so you pay only when you get the result you want.
  • Full control. Create new CPC site-targeted campaigns, or switch existing campaigns between CPC and CPM at any time. As always, you retain full control over your budgets and bids.

We hope you'll join this beta test. Your participation can help you reach customers more effectively, and you'll be helping us improve AdWords for all advertisers.

If you're interested, please fill out our short web form. Please note that we will select a limited number of advertisers from all that apply. We will contact you within the next few weeks if you're selected to participate.

To learn more about site targeting, please visit our Help Center.

Best wishes,

The Google AdWords Team

For more information on this beta test, check out the Inside Adwords blog.

February 13, 2007

February DFW Search Engine Marketing Association Meeting

The next DFWSEM Association meeting will be held on Monday, February 19, at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson. This will be an open networking and informational event that will follow up on sessions from Search Engine Watch Live in Dallas. Time is from 6:30 PM to 8 PM.

Meeting Place: Renaissance Dallas-Richardson Hotel located at 900 East Lookout Drive, Richardson, Texas 75081.

The hotel is in the Richardson Telecom Corridor, on the east side of 75 Central Expressway, approximately one mile south of George Bush Tollway. Symphony Room. Hotel Phone: 972-367-2000 Map: Renaissance Richardson

January 31, 2007

The Disarming of The Googlebomb

The new anti-Googlebomb algo change has been getting a lot of attention lately. I have to admit that when the news first came out I was a bit concerned about how this would be handled.

Please tell me, GoogleMaster, that my countless hours of linkbuilding have not been deemed worthless.

As most of you know Google is always quite tight-lipped when it comes to discussing algorithm changes, so I spent some time researching this issue and after a little push, er begging encouragment from my boss, I decided to write about what I think about all this hype.

As I stated, from an SEO perspective this news was quite earth shattering, just check out the industry blogs and forums and you'll see that everyone is talking about Googlebombs everywhere. I have however, decided to stay off from the Google conspiracy/paranoia bandwagon...for now anyway. We have yet to see any effects from this algo change for any of our or our clients' sites.

This is not to say that I completely agree with what Google is doing.

Here is a past statement regarding Google's stance on Googlebombing from a New York Times article in December 2003:
Craig Silverstein, Google's director for technology, says the company sees nothing wrong with the public using its search engine this way. No user is hurt, he said, because there is no clearly legitimate site for "miserable failure" being pushed aside.

Moreover, he said, Google's results were taking stock of the range of opinions that are expressed online. "We just reflect the opinion on the Web," he said, "for better or worse."
With the new algo in place Google is no longer going to "reflect the opinion of the web" (and those that use it). Although, we in the SEO industry are continually trying to manipulate the SERPs to our benefit, for Google to intentionally disable this type of popular opinion/commentary is a true detriment to the web and America's dwindling free speech rights. I understand Google's concerns over users thinking that the famous Googlebombs, such as George W. Bush's miserable failure, were of their own opinion, which is partly why they chose to impliment the change, according to Matt Cutt's , Google Engineer. However, by implimenting this change are they now not editing (or more presicely censoring) others' opinions instead?

There have been many theories on how Google is implimenting this new anti-Googlebomb algo. However Matt Cutts says on his blog, "I don’t think we’re going to get into discussing the internals of the Googlebomb algorithm other than to say that it’s due to improved link analysis".

"Improved link analysis"

This is not saying they are discounting huge numbers of backlinks. What I have taken from this is the possibility that if the target URL has tons of "off-page" optimization for a certain keyphrase, but very little or no "on-page" optimization for that same keyphrase, then it might be considered a Googlebomb. That is to say, backlinks which have anchor text not related to the content of the URL they are directing to, or the landing page, shall be completely ignored, or discounted, by the new algorithm changes.

Matt also explains the scope of the anti-Googlebomb algo on his blog:
Here’s a good way to think of the algorithm. If queries were sand, and Google’s daily queries was a big pile of sand, this algorithm would affect less than a couple hundred grains of sand. It really does have a very limited scope and doesn’t affect a large fraction of queries. The intent of the algorithm is to minimize the impact of "true" Googlebombs, which occur when someone is causing someone else's page to rank for stuff that they wouldn't want to rank for themselves.
Here's to hoping my grains of sand remain in Google's unaffected sand pile! ;)

While pouring over the many comments over at Matt Cutts blog, I found that user "jonydzine" pretty much took the words right out of my mouth:
That’s good to know… but I am a bit torn. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think these kind of things are actually good. I mean people will always prank and find a way to prank, and most of these instances that I’ve seen of Googlebombing, I think people need to get a sense of humor, including some presidents (I will not name names, of course). I’m sure that in some sense of abuse, it is good that this thing not go unchecked. However, I hate to see one of the last forms of "free" speech become a bit more sterile. Isn’t it American to sign the declaration of independence in extremely large letters to add insult to the King? Didn’t we toss a boat full of tea back into a harbor a while back? Just seems that good ol’ hooliganism and shenanigans to get a point across or to chide people to let you know what they think is a very American tradition and despite what good it may do to sterilize the net of abuse, a part of me is sad… :)
And you know… some big fella once said "there is no such thing as BAD publicity…" of course, I don’t think he was a politician.
So there ya go, thanks Matt and Google, for making us all a bit less evil…"

January 22, 2007

Yahoo Updating Index and Algorithm | Outperforming Google?

I just read at the Yahoo! Search Blog that they are in the process of making some changes to their search results. Many people may see great changes in rankings.

I have been watching Yahoo a lot more closely lately and it seems to me that their algorithm is getting much better. Many people have complained that Yahoo has too much spam in their results. I personally think they are doing a MUCH better job at combating spam these days. Just take a look at the results for Viagra on Google and Yahoo.

On Google, the search results for Viagra contain 5/10 pages on page 1 that are .edu domains that have had Viagra spam pages "injected" into the site and link in to sites that sell Viagra online from iffy sources. Yahoo, on the other hand has MUCH more relevant sites in its first page results. All of the sites in Yahoo take you to medical and government sites that have factual information about the drug. All of these sites are trusted sites with non-spam results.

While lately it seems that everyone is bashing Yahoo as a company, I think that they are doing great things with their search algorithm. Hopefully people will start to realize this and they can get going in the right direction and increase their share of searches in the marketplace.

Tags: real estate investing, real estate blog

January 15, 2007

Microsoft Analytics Solution 'Gatineau' to Compete with Google Analytics

I recently stumbled across a post by Ian Thomas that confirms that Microsoft is working on its own analytics software - a modified version of the analytics software created by DeepMetrix (who was purchased by Microsoft last year).

We attended a presentation last year and first reported about adCenter's 3.0 beta upgrades. During this presentation, I asked about Microsoft developing an analytics solution for its advertisers. At that time, we were only told that the adLabs group was working on something but no more information was provided.

Now, we are sure that Microsoft is working on this and has codenamed this analytics project 'Gatineau' (note- this link will not allow you to login or register as it has not even reached Beta stages). Gatineau is the name of a city in Canada that at one time housed the headquarters for DeepMetrix.

Not much else has been released at this time, but expect that this should launch hopefully before the end of the year. I do expect the system to fully integrate your adCenter data for advanced tracking.

Now, on to the other product we asked Microsoft about - When are we going to see a publisher network come out of adCenter so that advertisers can get increased exposure, and publishers can get some money?!?

January 10, 2007

Apple iPhone, Apple TV & Xbox IPTV - Marketers Take Notice!

Most posts on our blog deal with web design or Internet marketing news, but I felt that with all the news announcements about new technology products this week, a few of them were worth mentioning. Why? Because, they have more to do with Internet marketing than first meets the eye.

The biggest news of the week is that Apple Inc. (yep, they dropped "Computer" from their name) announced a new cell phone that also doubles as an iPod. They are calling it the iPhone even though Cisco owns the trademark on that name (and as I expected the lawsuit has been filed). Now, I am sure that Apple was aware that this would happen because I have been reading for weeks that Cisco had the trademark. So, one wonders if Apple did this to stir up more hype around the product, settle the suit, and pick a new name - in the hopes that this would help sell more phones. Or maybe, they actually believe somehow that Cisco had no write to trademark the name in the first place for some reason.

Other big news is that Apple introduced its Apple TV. This allows you to view on your television any media that is on your computer. So now, any videos you download via their iTunes can be watched on your television instead of only your computer monitor. I personally don't think this product will last too many years because most the the new HD-TVs being sold have computer inputs. I myself already have my TV and computer linked so that I can view my computer media files on my TV, and I didn't have to pay $299, my TV had the input so I paid $10 for a simple cable. I think the only people that need this box are the ones with non-HD televisions but those are be gone by February of 2008 as their signals will be cut off.

In related news, Microsoft announced that you can now use your Xbox to watch television via your internet connection on the new IPTV enabled Xbox. The offering is expected to deliver world-class TV experiences such as digital video recording capabilities, with gaming, movie viewing, and even voice and video communications.

So What How Does This Affect Internet Marketing?

These new products are the future of the platform that media will be delivered to consumers. More and more consumers are gaining more ways to be exposed to digital marketing. The cable networks are being pushed out by new IPTV technology and this could changes the way we watch commercials. The benefits of a television, DVR, and the Internet are all merging into one. Newspapers are already feeling this crunch on their industry as consumers move to the Internet to read their news AS it happens, not the next day.

More people are looking for their cell phones to do more such as play music, text, surf the web and more. Phones are essentially becoming miniature laptops. I know I just bought a Samsung Blackjack and it has been a life saver for checking email and surfing the web. Using cell phones combined with GPS technology, local advertisers will be pushing out ads to cell phones in ways never previously imagined via text and other alerts.

We are seeing a massive media convergence that is being adopted by consumers and is surely the wave of the future. So, pay attention, learn all you can, and make sure that you are using every means possible to reach prospective customers.